A little bit of writing, a little bit of knitting...

Friday, April 28, 2006

Today's the 28th

I just realized that, today being the 28th of April, we're only a couple of days from the end of Project Spectrum orange and yellow month. That's not an easy thing for me to face -- because I really love orange and yellow. Also because I really want to finish my orange sweater before the end of the month, and it's not...quite...there.

So, over the next couple of days, I'm going to cram in all the orange and yellow I possibly can. I'm going to resist the temptation to knit like a fiend on my Adamas, and I'm going to finish up the second sleeve of my sweater. I'm already about 1/3 done, so it shouldn't be too difficult.

Not only that, but there's some painting on the agenda for the weekend. We've got a little free time on our hands this weekend -- and by the time it's over, our basement may just be orange.

Then, on Monday, we move from orange and yellow to green. Hmmmm...green. I have to say that I've never been much of a green person -- but, thanks to the influence of the Sock Princess, it's been growing on me lately. So during May, I will embrace green. I will sit out on the grass, and I will even eat my vegetables. Bring it on!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

One Sleeve Down...

...one to go.

I took a little break from my recent Adamas obsession last night to finish the first sleeve of my sweater. Believe it or not, it only took about half a skein of yarn, so I have a full skein left for the second sleeve and the neck. No problem! And if I can put Adamas down long enough to work on it, I may be able to finish it in time for the end of the month...

Instead of starting sleeve #2 last night, though, I went right back to the shawl. After all, I only have a little over a month to have that baby knit, blocked, and ready to wear. I cranked out another five rows last night, for a total of 24 since Sunday. It may not sound like a lot, but I'm pretty impressed, considering how long it used to take me to knit a row...

Yea Addis!

In totally unrelated news, our Noisy Neighbors with the Hearse (I swear I'm going to get a picture of it and post it so you'll all see that I'm really not kidding) have taken the next step in Front Yard Decorating. They tend to do some strange decorating -- which has included hanging a small child's raincoat next to their door in the spring or hanging a small child's swimsuit next to the door in the summer -- but I'm not sure what to think about the fact that they've now tossed a bathroom sink in the middle of the flower bed in the front yard. It's been there for a week or so now.

Between our house and theirs, there's a row of tall evergreens. When we first moved in, Paul thought we should take them down because they're not very neighborly. But we both agree now that the trees need to stay. Because if we pretend they're not there, the rest of the neighborhood is really quite nice.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It’s All In the Needles

Yesterday, I broke down and bought a 60” Addi circ. I sat there for quite a while, staring at it, all packaged up in front of me, as I knitted with the girls. I wasn’t going to do it. But I did it. And I'm ecstatic.

As I curled up in front of the TV, ready for The Apprentice, I knit my shawl onto my new Addis. By the time the show was over, I'd finished four rows. By the time I called it a night, I'd finished two more. SIX ROWS! WHILE WATCHING TV! It's a miracle! I kept telling Paul how happy I was. And when I finally stopped, I looked at him and said, “Look -- I just finished six rows of my shawl without bitching once!”

“Now that is impressive,” he replied.

I now have six full repeats of the pattern done -- and, for the first time since I started the shawl, I actually feel like I may be able to finish it by the wedding -- and still allow myself to get a decent amount of sleep.

Here she is, at the end of the 6th repeat:

And here's a closeup:

I wish I could get accurate color. This really doesn't do it justice.

I had a blast with the girls yesterday. It was Miss S's birthday -- a fact of which she’s reminded me every week for the last, oh, two months. So I stopped by Kroger's on my way in. I was about to pick up the standard cupcakes (three pink, three yellow), but then I remembered how much of a mess we made with them last time (cupcakes don't travel well -- even if it's just across the parking lot). So I ended up going with the old standby, Lofthouse cookies. In yellow. YUM! While I was there, I also picked up birthday napkins—and party hats, just to shake things up a bit.

Miss S was the first to arrive, as usual. We dug into the cookies right away -- and I made her don a special blue party hat, which she put jauntily to the side of her head. Then we settled in to knit. I started to worry for a while that poor Miss S would have to celebrate her birthday by herself, but Miss H finally showed up.

Miss H was jealous of Miss S's hat, so I gave her an orange one -- and took one out for myself, too. Of course, then Miss H decided that she didn't actually want to wear it -- but I didn't give her a choice. For the rest of the afternoon, Miss H's hat went from looking like a bright orange unicorn horn to a bright orange duck beak (NOTE: eating cookies through an orange birthday-hat-duck-beak doesn't work). And mine sat jauntily to the side of my head, like Miss S's.

Miss H informed us that she had food. Apparently, she had to cook for her French class yesterday, and she had the leftovers in a plastic bag -- some kind of bread with cheese, an onion/sour cream dip, and steak. She admitted that it looked pretty bad, so we chose to stick with the cookies. But for the rest of the afternoon, the store smelled like cheese and feet.

As I'm sure you can imagine, the abundance of frosted cookies led to a whole bunch of giggling -- which also led to the Birthday Girl almost spitting out a mouthful of her cookie (which, in turn, led to more giggling).

Poor Miss H somehow managed to lose the bag that she'd been working on for weeks, so we picked out some new yarn from the clearance shelves and a cool scarf pattern from KnitGrrl2. Miss S continued, amid the giggling, to work on her Barbie rug. And I, as is often the case, worked on a dishcloth, much to Miss S’s dismay. “You're supposed to be working on something else,” she told me, “And I'm going to try not to be mad.” And she narrowed her eyes and stared me down until I made her start giggling again.

Miss S has acquired an unhealthy fascination with the Super Secret Project that is still waiting to be frogged and re-worked. And though I've told her that I don't have time to work on it at home, thanks to the shawl, she doesn't care. And I'm starting to worry that when she finds out what it really is that she’ll be disappointed. But it's too late to turn back now…

As promised, I also have a picture of the sweater. When I tried it on, I realized that, since I made the body a bit bigger than needed, the sleeves already had a head-start in the length department. So I'm almost done with sleeve #1. I'm about at elbow length now. Just another inch or so, and I’ll do the ribbing and move on to sleeve #2. Maybe I'll even finish before the end of Project Spectrum Orange Month…

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Day Late...

Ah, the story of my life.

On Saturday, I continued my quest for long circular needles. Still fearing the humidity/silk combination that created problems for my shawl, I really, really, really wanted to find something in a nice long bamboo, since my temporary needle (bamboo, about 24") had been working so well. But alas, I checked the LYS, Hobby Lobby, and Michael's, and no one had over a 29". So I went to JoAnn's on Saturday, only to find that I'd missed a humongous clearance sale. How on earth did I miss that? As I walked through the yarn section, I found bin after bin that had the regular tag covered up by a bright pink tag. Unfortunately, almost all of those bins were already empty. The only clearance yarns left were the ones that had been picked over -- the colors and the yarns that no one wanted, even at clearance prices. I was on my cell with my mom at the time, and she got to listen to me storming through the store, totally ticked off that I'd somehow missed such a huge sale. AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!

The only decent yarns left were a few colors of a cute baby yarn, which I talked myself out of buying. Like I need more baby yarn...

So I've given up my quest for the holy grail, er, circular needle. Obviously, it's just not meant to be. So I took a deep breath yesterday and knit back onto my Denise needles. As I worked with them yesterday, I realized the problem. When working with Denise #5s, the needle and the cable are practically the same size. There's no thin cable to slide the needles across. The constant tugging (which, incidentally, I'm doing much more carefully now than before) is starting to bug me -- and I'm seriously tempted to slap down the $15 to get some Addis. My stubbornness is still winning out, but we'll see what happens after another day of working on the Denises.

This weekend was another pretty good weekend for knitting. I'm now almost finished with sleeve #1 on the orange sweater. And yesterday I finished another repeat on the shawl yesterday while enjoying some fresh air out on the deck.

I was going to post pictures, but I forgot to charge the batteries in the camera. Oops... It'll just have to wait until tomorrow...

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I had an insane morning this morning. Today we (at N&W.com) announced the stories that will be featured in our book. I was actually still making final decisions this morning -- just minutes before I sent out the announcement. Then I spent a few hours sending out contracts and fielding questions.

But then, after it was done, I allowed myself an actual lunch break. I figure I'll get to Tuesday's emails eventually...

Anyway, while I was on my lunch break (which I'm still on, actually), I actually allowed myself some knitting time. Just a few rounds on the sweater. Then I tried it on. I'm trying to figure out how long I should make it. Here it is with my last sweater:

I have to do an inch of ribbing before binding off, so I'd have to say that I'm just about there...

Yesterday, I had to run a few errands in the afternoon. While I was out, I decided to stop by Hobby Lobby. I'd been trying to restrain myself from starting another project until I get *something* done -- but I had to do it. Paul's hockey team was in the semi-finals last night, and I didn't have anything to work on. My sweater is in that critical stage where I need to try it on all the time. And there's no way I was going to try to work on lace while watching hockey. So I needed to buy yarn and start another baby sweater.

Of course, I was once again in a frantic state yesterday, working right up until the last minute. I threw my stuff in my bag, not realizing that I hadn't brought my gauge thingy. All of my tools were in another bag...at home. So much for starting that sweater. I almost started it anyway -- without doing a swatch -- but then I decided against it. Instead, I pulled out some work before the game started. Then I worked on a dishcloth during the game.

Incidentally, the game was also insane. Out. Of. Control. It ended in a tie, and no one scored in overtime, so it went into a shoot-out. It took something like 14 shooters until someone on the other team finally made the winning shot. So Paul's team lost -- but, as Paul said, it's hard to get really upset about it when the next season starts in a couple of weeks.

Tonight is the first time in ages that we don't have somewhere to be at night (well, besides the grocery store). So I might actually get to sit and knit for a while. Then again -- we'll probably end up back at Lowe's. After all, you can never get too much mulch.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Everybody Needs a Little Brainless Knitting...

That's why I love Mondays with the kids -- because I can kick back and knit something brainless. There is, after all, no way I'm going to be able to accomplish something that requires thought while I'm listening to the latest American Idol argument.

Often, I work on dishcloths. But lately I've discovered that one session with the girls is pretty much exactly the time/concentration I need to finish a baby bootie. Last week, I did one. This week, I did the other. Perfect.

I really, really, really wanted to take some Easter candy this week to share with the girls -- but then I thought again. Sugar and Miss A just don't mix. So I left the candy at home -- and then I went to the store and hid the candy jar. When Miss S arrived (with her mom, who decided to hang with us this week), she told me that she, too, had thought about bringing Easter candy to share -- and she'd changed her mind, too. As it turned out, we had nothing to worry about -- Miss A didn't show. Miss S was bummed. She said she wished she'd known -- because we would have had tons of candy to munch on. I did, however, let her pull out the candy jar (the hidden location of which she's known for a long time -- but she's sweet enough not to give it away).

Miss H returned this week, too, after a three-week absence. As it turns out, poor Miss H has been through a ton -- including being framed by a couple of friends and getting suspended for something she didn't do. Boy, am I glad I'm not 14 anymore. Miss H brought her fabulous black bag, but she couldn't actually work on it because she sprained her wrist. Instead, she hung out and discussed the sexual orientation and various couplings of her various friends at school -- a conversation that I think may have been a little bit too much for Miss S. Heck, it even made my head spin. It made me feel like I attended middle school in the dark ages, back when we had boyfriends, but we never actually spoke to them.

We did, however, have a blast this week. In fact, I couldn't believe it when it was 6 and we all had to leave. I could have quite happily stuck around and chatted some more.

After a fabulous dinner of Easter leftovers last night, Paul and I ended up once again at Lowe's, picking out mulch. Ah, the joys of homeownership. Just a mere two years ago, I wouldn't have been able to tell you the difference between mulch and nuggets -- but I can now. I can also tell you that Paul is seriously dissatisfied with the nuggets he bought this year, but the little nuggets that we got last year are no longer available.

Mostly, I just like saying "mulch."

Needless to say, I didn't get to do a ton of knitting last night -- though I did manage to finish off my latest Adamas repeat, move the lifeline and the markers, and start the next repeat. Four rows total, but all the beginning-of-repeat stuff takes extra time (which I'd love to skip, but I know now how critical lifelines are...). I've got to kick it into high gear on that thing before I start having more and more nightmares about it...

Monday, April 17, 2006

...And a Boy.

I got an announcement for Baby #3 over the weekend. The little guy arrived after 22 hours of labor (YEOUCH!), and after a week, the poor mom is up to just two hours of sleep at a time.

The tired new mom is a crocheter -- and the pictures she sent of the little guy had him wrapped in a really cute blue blanket. I actually remember her mentioning the blanket before. When she emailed everyone to announce that they were having a boy, she said that she was relieved -- because she'd already been working on a blue blanket.

In sweater news, I've come a long way...

This was my Thursday picture:

And this is my Monday picture:

As for my yarn supply, I think I'm pretty safe. I've already started the Love Handle Increases (my term -- not the pattern's), so I only have a few inches to go on the body. I think I've got three inches left. I may be close to the end of the current skein, but I have two more to go. I finished almost the entire body in three skeins -- I think I should be able to pull off some decent sleeves with just under two.

And, in other news, I broke my personal Adamas record yesterday. While cooking up my ginormous Easter meal, I cranked out a few rows. After dinner, while Paul was working off some ham (and making room for pie) by mowing the lawn, I sat on the deck and did a few more. Later, while watching Desperate Housewives, I finished a few more. Yesterday's grand total: 10 rows. Woohoo! I didn't even have to rip out any rows.

Apparently, I should eat loads of chocolate all the time. It improves my ability to knit lace...even while watching TV!

Friday, April 14, 2006

All Buttoned Up

Last weekend, I brought Baby Sweater #1 along to Toronto, where our friends were awaiting their first child any minute. Unfortunately, that minute didn't happen while we were in town, so I left the sweater -- and the buttons -- behind. After they announced the birth of their little girl yesterday, my MIL sewed on the buttons. I have to admit I'm happy that they had a girl -- I really liked the flower buttons I picked out.

Here's Baby Hazel's finished sweater:

I took a few pictures of the orange sweater-in-progress yesterday -- but then I worked on it a bunch, and now the picture is totally out of date. I'll just have to take another one later.

It's coming right along -- I'd say it's almost down to my waist. I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping I have enough yarn. Like an idiot, I only estimated my yardage instead of doing the real math -- meaning that I ended up with just 10 yards more than the pattern calls for. Since I'm 5'10", I usually need to add a little length -- so Paul's already helping me come up with my back-up plans:

a) I can have the store ship me one more skein.
b) I can make the sleeve shorter than the pattern calls for.

I could also
c) Rip it out and make it just a tad bit more fitted. But I've decided that I'm past the point of no return. I'm not frogging.

I've just finished 2 skeins. Three to go. Considering where I am right now -- and the fact that the sleeves aren't full-length -- I'm cautiously optimistic.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It's a Girl...and a Boy

The baby news came pouring in today. When we got up this morning, there was an email waiting for us -- our friends in Toronto had their little girl, Hazel, last night. And just a few minutes ago, I got another email from my friend in Michigan, announcing the birth of their son, Landon, on Saturday. And so The Year of the Babies begins...

And now for the bad news... What follows is a horror story that's not intended for the weak of heart. Proceed with caution...

Last night, Paul had a hockey game, and I thought I'd take the quiet time to do a little laundry and work on my Adamas. And, for a while, it went really well. Really well. I was cruising right along with my first row. The only problem was my needles. It was so hot and humid last night that the silk was sticking to my Denise cable, and I was having a hard time getting it to slide over the join. At one point, I stopped and tried to push the yarn back. I tried and tried and tried, but I just couldn't get it to go. I tried some more, tugging the little loops, trying to force them over the join...

...and my needle came apart. The needle and the cable separated, dropping stitches as they flew apart. I scrambled to try to pick up the stitches, but I knew it was no use. They were lost. My only option was to pull out the needle and rip back down to my lifeline -- all 6 1/2 rows, which took me more time to knit than I care to think about.

Just for the record, I did not cry. But I came close.

I just happened to have a #5 bamboo circ nearby, so I grabbed that and started over. Unfortunately, my bamboo circ is only 24" long, so it's not going to get me very far -- but at least things went relatively smoothly after I picked the stitches up off the lifeline and got back to work. In fact, I did 8 rows before bedtime -- meaning that I made two whole rows of progress. Let's see...2 hours...2 rows. At this rate, I should be done by 2045.

I've decided, however, that it's not my fault. It's my sister-in-law's fault. Remember the socks that made my head hurt back in December? Those were for my sister-in-law. And now the shawl...for my sister-in-law's wedding. It's all her fault.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I'm Not Pregnant, Thank You

Perhaps even more annoying than the fact that all of my friends decided to get pregnant at once, ensuring that I'll spend the entire year knitting baby gifts, is the fact that my knitting of baby gifts leads everyone to ask if I'm pregnant.

I'm not pregnant, okay? Don't ask. I'm not. I may look tired and pale, but that just means I'm stressed out. Not pregnant. But if you must ask, at least do so tactfully. Ask me who I'm knitting for -- because if it's for me, you'll know. I'm a horrible liar. But please refrain from asking about the status of my uterus. It's getting old.

Thank you.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blog entry.

It's been quite the week! Yesterday, Paul and I had to take the afternoon off to hang out at the INS office, where we were interviewed once again about the status of our marriage. I really should have dressed down a bit more -- because if I looked ragged, they'd know for sure that I didn't get paid to marry Paul in return for a Green Card (which, incidentally, is actually tan).

So, needless to say, I didn't have a lot of time for an entry yesterday. So let's recap Monday:

Monday afternoon was knitting with the kids again. Miss S was a joy, as always. She's started a new project -- a Barbie rug -- and the big needles are making her crazy.

Miss A returned from Spring Break, and she was back in full force. When she arrived, she pulled out her project, which had about 15 stitches pulled off her needles and dropped in a frightening fashion. I, of course, had the pleasure of fixing it, while I gave a little speech about taking care of your projects. I also warned her that if it happens again, she gets to fix it. Stitches dropped off needles...yarn dragged around the store...I've had to clean up a lot of messes for that kid, and I think if she had to struggle with it herself, maybe she'd learn to be more careful. Then again, probably not. Even after having to rip out several rows of her bag, she still hasn't learned to be careful about which side you knit on...

This week, Miss A's topics of conversation included:
- How my laugh "creeps [her] out" (or something to that effect)
- How she hates the nerds in her class (which brought back wonderful memories of my own nerdiness, thank you very much, and also made me feel bad for poor Miss S, who, I happen to know, is pretty much an A student, too)
- How at least five boys in her class like her (which was her direct response to Miss S saying that all the boys in her class are mean to her)
- And how she has reading glasses, but she never wears them (doesn't even know where they are anymore), though her teacher told her she needs to (please tell me what kind of parents just let their kid blow off wearing reading glasses just because she doesn't like them?)

I must say that the glass of wine that was waiting for me upon my return home was very welcome.

I did, however, manage to knit up a baby bootie while I was there (see rant above).

Last night, Paul had to get to bed early because of yet another early meeting, so I took the time to pull out my Adamas. I did four whole rows last night, and it didn't even take me two hours this time. In fact, it didn't even take me an hour. That made me feel much better -- and much less angry.

While it doesn't look nearly as good as Jeanne's, at least it's getting somewhere. But I'd better get my rear in gear if I'm going to finish before the wedding.

After my four rows were done, I watched a little TV before bed and worked on my sweater:

Just for the record, it's bright, but it's not as obnoxiously bright as it appears to be in the picture. I will, however, admit that you'll be able to pick me out in a crowd in this baby. It's definitely not subdued.

Monday, April 10, 2006

I Have Been to the Promised Land

...And it was glorious.

On Friday morning, we were on the road by about 8:30. I drove the first four rainy hours north to the border, where we stopped for lunch and duty-free. Then we switched, and I got to ride for a while. I started swatching for my orange sweater and discovered that I couldn't get gauge. I needed 18. I had 22. As I contemplated my dilemma, I finished up a dishcloth and helped navigate.

By about 3, we had arrived.

At first, I was a little surprised by the size of the place. I expected it to be bigger. But, then again, the Classic Elite store in Massachusetts wasn't very big, but I always managed to find great deals there, so I didn't complain. Once inside, I started off to the right, where there were aisles full of yarn. Patons, Bernat, Lily, and more. The prices were discounted from their regular retail price, but I didn't find the deals to be as spectacular as I'd hoped. I did, however, find some fun orange yarn that actually had the right gauge for my sweater. It's Satin in Sunset. Sure, it's acrylic. I know...I know... But it was really soft, and I loved the color. So I threw a few balls in my basket (which my dear husband -- whom I owe huge -- was carrying for me).

I was still just barely mildly impressed -- until I got to the other side of the store. The side where they have the clearance yarn. And that, my friends, is where I went crazy. I got a full bag of Melody in a discontinued bluish color for CDN$12. I got a whole bag of discontinued Fresco in blue for CDN$4. I got discontinued Cotton-Tots and a whole cone of orange cotton. And then there was the Seconds Bin -- stuff without bands. It was all CDN$.35 per ounce. I got more Satin in fun colors as well as some Sugar 'n' Cream. Seriously, I was so overwhelmed that I thought my head would explode. There were so many things that I wanted. I could have spent a fortune and filled up my entire basement with seconds and bags full of Shetland Chunky and discontinued colors of Grace. I could have dug through the bins of seconds -- and the boxes that were stacked on the floor. Poor Paul just carried the basket as it got heavier and heavier and heavier.

It was all just so wonderful for words.

I just did some quick math and figured out that my grand total would have been about $164, had I paid regular price for the two giant bags that I walked out with. But I ended up paying about US$50 for all of this:

(Notice that the Sunset Sweater is already under way in the picture -- that was on Saturday. I'm now ready to divide for the sleeves.)

I've heard lots of talk about a semi-annual tent sale at this store -- one that's supposedly absolutely spectacular. And I've already started planning. Apparently it's in August -- the second week, I believe -- and it's a circus. Who's with me?

When we got out of the store, this is what it looked like:

SNOW! It was 72 back home that day! But we made it through the snow and the outrageous rush hour traffic, and I spent the entire weekend with a strange feeling of euphoria that was unlike anything I'd ever experienced.

The main purpose for our trip was a party on Saturday night for my SIL and her fiance. But we spent the few short hours we were there hanging out with friends and family (and Paul got his payback -- we went shopping for hockey sticks on Saturday morning). It was a short weekend, but it was a lot of fun. I got yarn, and I got to hang out with The Coolest Brother-in-law in the World...

...so it was all good.

Now I've got a lot of knitting to do -- and lots of work to catch up on.

BTW -- Remember our friends in Toronto whose baby was due last week? Still nothing -- so we didn't get to see the new little one. That'll have to wait until next time. I did, however, leave the sweater behind for my MIL to sew on the buttons once the baby arrives. I also got to give the blanket to the other parents-to-be. I was thrilled to find out that the mom is planning to decorate the nursery in yellow and mauve (they're pretty convinced it's a girl, though they haven't found out yet...). And the blanket is yellow and white. Good guess, huh?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Always Be Prepared

That's my motto -- especially when it comes to packing. Tonight, as we were getting ready to start packing our bags, Paul's intended weekend clothing took up a small corner of our bed. My clothes took up the rest of the bed.

"I just can't narrow anything down," I told him.

"Well, how many shirts do you need?" he asked. I started counting the shirts stacked on the bed. "No, need. Tomorrow...you can just wear one outfit..."

"Are you kidding? I'm not wearing the same grubby car clothes all day -- we're going out with your brother at night!"

"So then you'll need two changes of clothes for Saturday..."

"Well, we don't actually know what we're doing on Saturday afternoon, so I need options. And I still don't know what I'm going to feel like wearing on Saturday night, so I need options for that, too," I explained. He just shrugged and got out the extra suitcase.

And, as it turns out, for a three-day weekend, I need eleven shirts, two sweaters, four tanks, a poncho, a hoodie, and a capelet. Seems reasonable to me.

I also need three bags for my knitting. One doesn't count, though, since it's all FOs -- gifts, even. The other one is my main bag, which includes all of my patterns and magazines and enough yarn for three dishcloths and the beginning of a sweater. I also have my secondary bag, which includes a book of baby patterns (just in case I feel the urge to start more baby gifts), the rest of the sweater yarn, a little extra dishcloth yarn, and the silk for the shawl.

For a grand total of sixteen hours in the car this weekend, I think that'll keep me occupied. That, and all the yarn I pick up at the SUPER YARN-A-RAMA tomorrow. (Wheeeee!)

Really, if I need to (for instance, if I'll be forced to carry all of my belongings in my backpack while running through train stations where all the signs are in a language that's not English), I can pack light. But I figure if I pack light, I won't be using my SUV to its full potential, and I wouldn't want my poor car to feel under-utilized.

I've just gotten the call that it's time to turn in. Have a great weekend -- and I'll be back on Monday...with plenty of pictures.


Lately, I've been pretty frantic in general. Work has been out of control, and there just aren't enough hours in a week to get everything done and still manage to sleep. But this week has been even crazier, since we leave tomorrow morning for Toronto, for a visit with the in-laws. That means I have one less day to do everything I usually have to cram into my week -- plus I have to do all that last-minute cleaning and laundry and packing...

Yesterday, Paul got home from work a little earlier than usual (since he had a meeting at 7), so we started off by doing our 2-mile trek around the neighborhood to take advantage of the gorgeous weather (speaking of which, I just want to point out to Emily, she of the fabulous dishcloth, that I actually *wore* one of my hand-knit sweaters yesterday!). While dinner was in the oven, we cleaned the bathrooms, and I started some laundry. Paul had hockey last night, so while he was gone I finished up some laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and scrubbed the floors. Then, at 10, I sat down to knit, determined to finish my baby sweater. And I had to stay up a bit late to do it, but I pulled it off (well, except for all the ends, which still need to be woven in). Here it is:

One more baby sweater down. And, as planned, I still have enough yarn to do a purple sweater with blue trim. Yea!

So today, being my last day of the week, was overwhelming. So overwhelming that I just couldn't take it anymore. So I do what I usually do when I feel that way -- I went straight to my dear stylist, Heather.

When I lived in Massachusetts, I discovered that the scariest thing about moving to a new place is not knowing any good stylists -- and not knowing anyone who can recommend a good stylist. So, for the 2 1/2 years we lived there, I only got my hair cut when I went back home. Oh, and one more time, when I let my friend Jake the Barber cut it (I'm sure you can imagine how that went). But when we moved to Ohio, I took a chance, and I found Heather. And I love her. She does a great job, and she's just a sweetheart. She's fabulous.

Heather's getting married this fall, and I'd love to knit something cool for her. Any ideas?

So now...after getting a haircut, I feel much less insane. And now it's time to start packing. As usual, my clothes are secondary. What really matters is which projects I'll be bringing. Definitely my new orange sweater. Maybe some dishcloths. And the cursed shawl.

The high point of the trip, however, will be a side trip here. It's totally out of the way, and we'll have to leave extra early to make it, but I don't care. I'm dying to scrounge through their cheap yarn. It's a good thing we're taking the SUV. I'll need the room...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Adamas Hates Me

Seriously. I don't know what's up with this shawl. I've never had a problem with lace before -- and suddenly I can't get this stupid shawl to work.

Last night, Paul needed to do a few things, and instead of going back to work, I decided to take a whole hour to work on the shawl. In that one hour, I finished TWO STINKING ROWS! I could have finished more, but after knitting those two rows the first time, I realized that I was a stitch off, so I had to rip out another row and a half and start over. Grrr!

Perhaps I'm just not relaxed (or coherent) enough to focus on lace. Perhaps I'm under too much pressure to actually finish it by a deadline. Perhaps I just need to pack up my shawl and go to a secluded little cabin for a weekend -- and there I'd finally be able to make some progress...

After that hour was up, I gave up. I set the shawl aside and picked up my baby sweater -- which, fortunately, cooperated. Before turning in, I finished the first cute little baby sleeve -- just one more sleeve and two button bands to go...then I can start on a new sweater for me.

Really, though, after yesterday afternoon's Knitting with the Kid, you'd think I would have been capable of relaxing enough to knit lace. After all, when I say "Knitting with the Kid," that's not a typo. It was just me and Miss S. It's spring break this week, so everyone was scattered -- and Miss S and I remained behind to hang out and knit in peace. We didn't even have to hide the candy jar.

When it was time to go, Miss S was getting packed up, and she pointed out, "It was really quiet this week."

"I know," I told her, "but it was kinda fun."

"Yeah," Miss S replied, "we should do this more often."

I couldn't agree more.

Finally...V requested a picture of the dyed yarn... So here it is:

The orange didn't turn out as bright as I'd hoped -- more of a bright peach, really. So I'm trying to decide if I want to use the orange for something else and use the yellow and the variegated together...or use the variegated for something else...or just forget about it and use all three (since there actually *is* some of the bright peachy color in the variegated hank)...or dye the orange again... Hmmm...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Vote for Me!

Okay...before I get down to knitting business, I have a favor to ask. You see, over at NightsAndWeekends.com, we're holding a little contest to choose the readers' favorite stories, which will be published sometime this summer in our very first book. Voting has been open for a couple of weeks, but I've been so busy promoting the contest in general that I've pretty much forgotten to promote my stories. So please...do me a favor and vote for me! You can vote once per email address -- for up to ten stories. Thanks!

So anyway...on to the knitting.

This weekend, we finally got a little warm weather. Yesterday, in fact, couldn't have been more perfect. So, of course, we ended up totally blowing off the house-cleaning that I swore we were going to do, and we spent yesterday outside. We headed over to the park and went for a four-mile walk. Then we came back and did some reading out on the deck before firing up the grill and grilling up some of the best burgers I've ever had. Yum!

This weekend's knitting-related tally:

Rows done on shawl, which I'm supposed to wear in 8 weeks: 0
Rows done on baby sweater, which doesn't need to be finished until September: lots
Hanks of yarn dyed in April Project Spectrum colors: 2

I'm so very ashamed of myself. Really, I fully intended to work on the shawl this weekend -- at least a little bit. In fact, I was carrying it outside so I could enjoy the sun and get some knitting done, but then I was reminded of the fact that I needed to make the pasta salad to go with the burgers. And I'm afraid pasta salad beat out shawl knitting.

But, on the bright side, the baby sweater is coming along quite nicely...

Isn't it cute? Of course it is. It's a baby sweater. And little tiny baby sweaters are, as a rule, cute. I'm making it out of Simply Soft -- and, despite the yarn's tendency to split from time to time, it really does live up to its name. And knitting with it makes my hands happy. Not only that, but there's no chart, and it requires very little counting, so it's getting more of my attention than the chart-heavy shawl. Paul assures me, however, that I'll have plenty of time to knit in the car this weekend, since we'll be heading to Toronto -- which is about 7 hours away, in good traffic.

Anyone want to wager on how long I'll be able to read a chart in the car before getting carsick?

Speaking of babies, two babies should be arriving this week -- one in Toronto and one in Massachusetts. Yep -- two in the same week! Fortunately, both have been sufficiently knitted for. Two down, three to go...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

New Month...New Colors

I marked the end of March yesterday by wearing my red hoodie -- and I'm celebrating the beginning of April in my orange T-shirt. Yea! Month 2 of Project Spectrum has begun!

March was a great month -- and I learned to embrace some new colors. I made my pink Girly Girl Scarf out of hand-dyed yarn. I made a red scarf for my niece's doll. I made a hollyberry and black clutch for my aunt. And I even dyed a whole hank of red silk -- for a shawl that I started and may finish...someday...

April, however, is a fab month for me. I love orange and yellow. I've already got a great hank of hand-dyed orange and yellow yarn ready to go. And I've got some orange yarn for a nice summery sweater. Bring on April! I'm ready to go all orange and yellow!

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