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

Saturday, May 27, 2006

...And We're Off!

Time to pack up the laptop and hit the road. I spent last night packing up my yarn -- I've got enough for one whole adult sweater, one whole baby sweater, some booties (almost finished) to match the baby sweater, my Muppet Wrap, and some odds and ends. I think that'll keep me busy...for a couple of months.

Have a great holiday! I may check in once or twice while I'm gone. If not...I'll be back in a week.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Shawl Countdown: 9 Days


Thanks so much for all of your comments on the shawl. So it's finished now -- with more than a day to spare before we pack up and go. I was so excited when I unpinned the thing today that I may have done a little dance. Now I'm just so afraid of it. I want it to look *perfect* for the wedding, so I'm trying to figure out what to do with it until then. How do I pack this thing so it doesn't end up a rumbled mess in my bag (like everything else)?

Tonight we've started the packing process. I'm doing laundry, and Paul's trying to figure everything out, since he has to pack for two full weeks and three different locations. I don't envy him at all. Packing for all kinds of weather at the cottage followed by all kinds of weather in Toronto followed by a wedding...that's hard enough for me. Paul has dug out all of the luggage we own -- and I think we might need it.

The biggest challenge of all, of course, is trying to plan my knitting for a whole week. I actually have a list that I've been compiling this week. I'll bring my socks -- since the cottage is the only place I've been able to work on them without throwing them across the room in anger. Of course I'll bring my Muppet Wrap (I saw SP's the other day -- just wait until you see which Muppet *she's* chosen). And some dishcloths. Maybe a baby sweater. And that cardigan I've been meaning to start for a year now. And some various odds and ends. Perhaps I'll finally appease Miss S and rip out my Super Secret Project -- or maybe I'll just keep stringing her along... :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Shawl Countdown: 10 Days

Last night, I had a total shawl emergency. Remember the Dyeing Extravaganza, when I dyed the heck out of this silk -- five times, I think -- until it was all finally red-ish? And then remember how I eventually ran it through a cycle in the washing machine in an attempt to finally rinse it all out? Well...

I prepared to block the shawl last night by soaking it in Eucalan. I came back 15 minutes later, and the whole sink was red. ACK! So I rinsed and rinsed again. Eventually, with Paul standing there watching me panic, I gave up. ("We'll just hope it doesn't rain on the day of the wedding," Paul told me, shrugging.) I rolled it up in a towel and squeezed the water out. And it's a darn good thing I used an old towel -- because it's just a little bit pink now.

With Paul's help, I got it pinned down last night. It's a good thing I ran out for more pins -- because I used all but two of everything I had. Despite the extra repeat, it's still not as big as the pattern suggests -- but I expected that (hence, the extra repeat). It is, however, 64x34 -- not a bad size, really. And the points aren't as pointy as Jeanne's. They're more scallop-y, really. But I'm cool with that.

I've already gone downstairs to check on it three times today. I can't wait to unpin it -- but I think that'll have to wait until tomorrow. I don't think it's going to be quite dry enough tonight.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Shawl Countdown: 11 Days

Rows to go: 0

Last night, thanks to The Apprentice, a little Deal or No Deal (which, incidentally, there's no way I'd watch if it weren't on before The Apprentice, and if I weren't worried that I'd get to into the shawl and forget to change the channel), and some random MTV programming, I finally finished the last rows of the shawl. I started the bind-off, but I realized, with all the k2tog tbl's, that it was going to take a while. Eventually, I gave up and went to bed. But I'm almost there. Tonight's movie night, but I should have it ready to block tomorrow.

Yesterday was Monday again -- time to knit with the girlies. Miss AL was the first to arrive, and she hung out in her usual corner, re-starting her cell phone case. We were stunned that Miss S wasn't there -- and we both admitted that it was pretty strange without her. Miss AL, however, admitted that the quiet was both a good thing and a bad thing. It was weird, but it was okay -- and it also meant that she could eat all the candy she wanted, and I wasn't going to stop her, since she can hold her sugar well. It was after 5 when Miss H arrived in a flurry of explanations. She'd had a bad day, so she went to Target for some retail therapy. Then, as it turned out, she spent all of her money and didn't have any left over for Starbuck's. She was THIRSTY! So thirsty, in fact, that she was considering returning a shirt she'd bought to get the money for a drink. I offered her my water, but that wasn't good enough. In the end, after all the Target-talk and the obsessing over thirst, Miss H managed to knit up a row on her scarf before it was time to go. And I managed to rip out the bottom of my baby sweater and re-knit a couple of inches. I have no idea how tall small children are, so I really have no clue where to end it. Paul suggested knitting until I'm almost out of yarn -- and then adding feet. He's brilliant, my husband.

Next week, the store is closed -- and I'll be gone -- so I won't get to see the kids. After that, though, I'm thinking that it might be fun to take the chairs and knit outside. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

In other news, (WARNING: SERIOUS RANT AHEAD) the feuds continue in our neighborhood. This time, though, it doesn't even involve the Noisy Neighbor with the Hearse (though they've decorated for summer now, and they got a plethora of new lawn ornaments -- all of which are pigs). The latest feud involves the people across the street -- or, more accurately, their unruly children. The people across the street have two kids -- a boy and a girl -- but, as it turns out, the entire neighborhood hangs out in their yard, right in front of my office window. Every day, I see the school bus come by to drop them off, and it makes me shudder. But they're kids, and there's nothing you can do about the constant squealing.

Recently, however, the children have taken to playing tag. To do so, they run screaming around the neighborhood, often racing past my window into our backyard -- or running through our flowerbeds, standing on our front steps, and screaming. Paul thought it was just over-reacting until he found the footprints that had torn up the grass he'd just planted. Not only that, but while we were outside on Saturday (which meant that they stayed out of our backyard), a few of them went running through NNwtH's yard and shattered some of their little ceramic thingies. After our other neighbor (who, fortunately, is perfectly normal) told us over dinner the other night that they often run out right in front of her car, Paul decided to talk to The Dad (who, incidentally, is the same guy who walked up to Paul a couple of weeks ago while he was watering the grass seed and asked, "SOOOO...how come your wife [the one who, incidentally, was inside doing the laundry] is never out here helping you?" What the heck am I supposed to do, hold the hand while he waters the grass?).

Basically, The Dad said he talked to his kids (and to his wife, who's home during the day), but there's really nothing he can do about them being loud. That's fine, as long as they're not loud while running through our flowerbeds or standing on my front steps -- but he didn't let me explain that. Instead, he told us, "Well, maybe someday you'll have kids, and you'll see that you try to tell them things, but they never listen." He also pointed out that the people who used to live here loved their kids.

Well, excuse me, Mr. Smug Neighbor, but I was once a kid, and there's no way I would have gone running through my neighbors' yards. In fact, I happen to recall that I never once even set foot in our next-door neighbors' yard -- though I played with their daughter just about every day. They did a ton of gardening, though, and we knew we'd get in trouble if we messed anything up, so we just played in my yard (which was more fun anyway, since we had a tire swing). But I guess we must have just been strange little kids -- because normal kids, apparently, never listen. I guess moms these days don't have wooden spoons to threaten their children with...

Boy, am I looking forward to summer vacation...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Shawl Countdown: 12 Days

Rows to go: 4

I was hoping to finish over the weekend, but we ended up having our neighbor over for dinner last night, which was totally worth it. Not only that, but she seemed to be pretty intrigued by my knitting. Who knows...maybe I'll be able to spread the joy of knitting on to my neighbor, too...

Fortunately, I had two whole hours of Desperate Housewives last night to work on the shawl, so I cranked out another four rows. Tonight, I'm thinking an episode of The Apprentice and maybe a Law & Order rerun, and I should be just about finished...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

New Shirts!

I've been threatening to do it for a long time now -- and I finally had a few minutes today to get Paul to help me out. Check out the new shirts!

Shawl Countdown: 13 Days

Rows to go: 8

Last night wasn't the knitting marathon I expected -- though 4 rows at this point isn't something to sneeze at (though, admittedly, there seems to be a lot of sneezing going on around here lately -- but that's just because it's spring). Currently, I'm counting down the project in TV shows: Desperate Housewives tonight -- 2 rows. The Apprentice tomorrow -- 2 rows. I'll have to throw in a few extra TV shows this week -- so I can get it blocked by the end of the week.

My latest dilemma: I have no accessories for the dress and the shawl. I kinda have shoes -- though I'm open to something different. I have no jewelry -- which I looked for yesterday, but I couldn't find anything I liked. And, finally, I have no purse. It's a realization that hit me the other day as we were walking into the library.

"I have no purse," I mumbled.

"What?" Paul responded. "Your arm hurts?"


Since then, I've been trying to figure out if I could find some nice navy yarn and felt up something small and kicky. The problem -- I'm pretty sure I have no navy wool. We'll just have to wait and see if I try to do something insane -- like knitting myself a purse before the wedding.

(OOOH! I could use some of my sparkly white Patons Brilliant to needle felt on it!)

13 days to the Wedding of the Year -- and we could be in for some serious marathon knitting, folks. Stay tuned...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Shawl Countdown: 14 Days

12 more rows to go. Last night, I finished the [crazy] 15th repeat, and all that's left is the edge chart. Almost there...

I also finished the baby sweater last night. Kinda. This morning (while I was lying awake in bed, trying to make myself fall back to sleep), I decided that the proportions were all off. Later, Paul suggested that, since the body and the sleeves were bigger than the original pattern called for, maybe I should just take out the bottom part and add an inch or so. My husband is a genius. That's exactly what I'll do.

When I'll do that...I'm not so sure. But it's got to be sometime before next Saturday, since I expect to be seeing the happy new parents and their new baby boy next weekend.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Shawl Countdown: 15 Days

15 days and 16 rows to go. Last night we ran out to the grocery store -- and to the library, to pick up some books on CD for our upcoming hours on the road. And we ended up crashing early. So I didn't get a lot of knitting in. I'll pick up the pace this weekend...

Jeanne finished blocking her Adamas. Yea, Jeanne! Hers is absolutely GORGEOUS (she used KnitPicks Shadow, which has the most beautiful colorways)! It makes me even more excited to finish mine...

I also worked more on the baby sweater last night -- which has to be finished by next weekend. That, however, won't be a problem. I only have about 15 rounds of the second sleeve to go.

In totally unrelated news, this week, we had even more reasons to be thankful that we're no longer living in Massachusetts.

See this?

This is where we used to live. Not in this parking lot, exactly. But this is our grocery store parking lot. See those buildings in the background? That's the condo community in which we used to live. According to Paul's coworkers back in MA (who didn't have to work for a few days this week -- because all of the roads to the office were flooded), the ground floor of our old building is flooded (we were on the third floor), and the parking lot is covered in water.

Here's the fancy condos across the street:

They're so new that they were still in the construction phase when we moved.

We knew full well that Andover had some flooding issues. One of the women who lived on our floor told us she had once owned a ground-floor condo, and she sold it after it flooded a couple of times. When we lived there, our friends' house, which was right next to our condo, flooded. Fortunately, there were only a few inches of water in their basement -- and we acted quickly enough to get everything off the ground before there was any real damage. But if the water had risen an inch more outside, they would have had about five feet of water in their basement. Fortunately, they've moved since then, too -- or I can only imagine what they'd be dealing with right now.

So if you happen to live in my old 'hood in Andover -- or the surrounding flooded areas -- hang in there. Just keep knitting -- the water will go down soon.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Shawl Countdown: 16 Days to the Wedding

I have 16 days until I will be wearing a fabulous (and finished...and blocked) Adamas made of hand-dyed silk. It will be finished. It will be fabulous.

Of course, it's not finished yet. Jeanne (of the beautiful newly-finished Adamas) thinks I'm crazy (not that she's the first person to tell me that), but last night I started my extra pattern repeat. I'm pretty sure I'm crazy, too. I could be working on the edging now. I'd be *almost there*. Instead, I'm trying to get one more repeat done... Crazy.

Last night, I sat my butt down and pulled out my knitting for a long knitting-and-TV marathon. Top Model, followed by American Idol (which I haven't actually watched all season -- I just watched it 'cuz it was on), followed by Law & Order. I worked myself up to such a frantic knitting pace that I believe I broke a sweat.

But I only have 16 days. And I have 18 rows to go. Plus bind-off. Plus blocking. I'm hoping to watch plenty of TV/movies over the next few days, so I can block mid-next week -- since we're going up to my parents' cottage for a few days before the wedding, and I really don't want to have to block it there. But if I've got to block at the cottage, Mom assures me she'll make room.

16 days. 18 rows. Can I pull it off? Frankly, I have no choice. I bought the dress to match.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Hi-ho! Kermit the Frog Here...

Obviously, I haven't had a ton of time to work on Kermit, since I'm been busy trying to finish Adamas -- but here he is, after his first few rows:

I met Beth at Hobby Lobby for a quick lunch-time yarn excursion. Unfortunately, they didn't have this particular yarn in good Elmo colors (they have a wonderful Miss Piggy, though, SP!), but we found something similar. She also picked up this yarn in more of an Oscar the Grouch colorway (which is actually quite pleasant)...

So anyway...yesterday was yet another Monday. I always find it amazing that I manage to show up at the store at all -- Mondays are so frantic. I run and run and run all day, trying to get everything done before I have to leave. Then I fly out the door, always convinced that I'm going to be late (though I always manage to show up on time). And then, after all that running, I need to somehow sit down and knit -- and be calm and patient. Sometimes, however, I'll admit that I wish there were something other than just water in my water bottle.

We had three girls again this week. Miss S was there, ready to finish up her Barbie rug. I helped her bind off, and she spent the rest of the time experimenting with something in the corner and snapping at anyone who offered to help her learn to purl. Miss AL returned as well -- this time, working on a cell phone case and generally sitting there, wide-eyed at the goings-on on the other side of the room. Miss H actually showed up right on time this week -- because her grandma finally came back from Florida. Yea for Grandma! It felt like Miss H's grandma had been gone forever -- and it was wonderful to have her back.

Miss H was once again working on her scarf. This time, though, we (mostly) knew what we were doing -- so I helped her figure out the pattern, and she was ready to go. Meanwhile, I got to listen to discussions about the changes in odor as urine ages and about exactly how much candy each girl should be allowed to take out of the candy jar (Miss S's assumption being that she should be able to take as much as she can shove in her mouth and/or pockets). I also heard the chorus of "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini" about 8,000 times.

We also continued our discussion about whether or not it's still a free country once they're inside the store. Miss S (who was particularly cantankerous this week) is still positive that it's always a free country, while Miss H has declared that, once inside the store, it is a dictatorship (me being the dictator).

Then Miss S declared that she was mad at everybody.

Meanwhile, poor Miss AL looked on in terror, and I begged Miss S and Miss H to be nice, so as not to scare another one away. Because, according to Miss S, our group is so frightening to newcomers that not only do they quit coming -- but they actually move out of the state just to get away from us. I had no idea... But I kinda like little Miss AL, and I'd like to keep her from leaving the state, if at all possible.

In other news, last night we finally worked on cleaning up the post-project clutter in the basement. One project just led to another down there, and now we've done all kinds of patching and touching-up. But now my knitting corner is somewhat back to normal. And I love it...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

It's All About the Shawls

This weekend, I decided, was Shawl Weekend. Fortunately, the weather cooperated. Cold and rainy -- not exactly the kind of weekend that you spend out working in the yard or going for long walks or having picnics in the park. It's the kind of weekend that you spend parked on your butt in front of the TV. Fortunately, Paul's week was every bit as exhausting as mine was, so he had no objections.

On Friday night, I only paused my knitting long enough for Paul and me to take a quick, rather rainy walk to the mailbox (which is actually down the road -- a fact that's seriously annoying). In it, was the latest KnitPicks catalog. When I pulled the mail out of the mailbox, I actually shrieked, "KNITPICKS!!" Then I went skipping back to the house to flip through it. And, lo and behold, it was all about lace. Yea! Not only did they have pretty pictures of lace shawls -- but they also provided blocking tips. This could not have come at a better time, since I had no freakin' clue how I was going to go about blocking Adamas, with all of its pointy bits. So once again, KnitPicks saved my tail.

I've been knitting like a madwoman on Adamas this weekend. I think I've cranked out another 15 rows or so in the last two nights -- and I'm at the beginning of my 14th repeat. Technically, that's supposed to be the last repeat before starting the edging, but I'm going to do at least 15 -- since my silk won't have a lot of give, and I don't want the shawl to be too small. I have 400 extra yards of silk, so why the heck not?

In my spare time, I've also cranked out a few rows of my Muppet Wrap. If frogs were capable of growing fur, I would have to say that my wrap would be Kermit. I've been looking and looking, but I can't actually find any furry green Muppets. There have got to be some furry green guys somewhere in the supporting cast...

Anyway, I decided to use 13s and just knit it in garter stitch. I thought about an openwork, but I decided that garter was nice and uncomplicated -- not to mention pretty brainless. Perfect.

I really need to create a button for a Muppet Wrap-a-long... Who's with me? Beth? SP? Anybody else?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Everybody Loves a Muppet

Today was freezing cold (I'm wearing a wool sweater! Sheesh!) and gloomy and rainy -- exactly the kind of day that requires a lot of coffee and a little pampering. So this morning, while I was brewing up another cup, I pulled out my fuzzy bright green Hobby Lobby yarn and did a little playing, in an attempt to decide on a stitch pattern for my green wrap.

Though I still haven't totally decided on a pattern, I cast on anyway. And I have to tell you -- the thing reminds me of a Muppet. And I like it. I mean, really -- who wouldn't want to wrap themselves in cuddly bright green Muppet fur? Sure, it's a little out there, but so am I.

Just for the record, no actual Muppets were harmed in the making of my Muppet Wrap.

Pictures to come...

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I Found It!

Yesterday, I went out to have lunch with Paul. Since Paul's office is so very close to the mall, I figured I'd stop in after lunch and see if I could find any other dresses. Oddly enough, though I'd had a hard time finding any navy dresses before, navy dresses are now *everywhere*. I tried on a room full of them at Ann Taylor and finally found one that I liked. It was a little more than I was hoping to pay, but at this point, who cares? I put it on hold -- then I dragged Paul back last night to get the final approval. Miraculously, he liked it, too -- so I slapped down the plastic and called it good. And not only will it look great with my shawl, but it will match his new suit. Is that perfect, or what? We'll be the most fabulous looking pair at this wedding -- well, maybe except for the bride and groom.

Yea for new dresses!

Now I just need to find some shoes...and finish the shawl.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Word of the Week

The word of the week is...noise.

This week, there were three girls at the kids' knitting group. But if you hadn't seen them, you would have sworn there were 25. It was just that loud. Just ask the women in the back of the store, who probably couldn't hear themselves think.

I left the house in yet another whirlwind, after having yet another hectic day of work, only intensified by the fact that I only get to work until 3:30 on Mondays. I threw my stuff in my bag—and, as usual, I was plenty early.

Miss S was the first to arrive—with her mom running behind her. Now that I think about it, it all makes sense...they'd just gone out for ice cream. Ah…sugar.

After we'd gotten started, we had a new group addition. Miss AL (not to be mistaken for the infamous Miss A) is 10, and she's been knitting for an age and a half. She knits fast. And though it took her a while to get a word in, she managed to jump right in eventually.

And, finally, after her weekly trip to Starbucks, Miss H arrived.

So, this week, Miss S spent two hours nagging me. "Why haven't you ripped out your secret project yet? It doesn't take that long to rip something out." "Bring it next week!" (Even though I've told her every week for the past month or so that I'm not going to touch it until the shawl is done.) "Tell us what it is!" "Miss H isn't going to be here this summer, so you have to tell us now!" And it just kept going. I could have sworn she was channeling Miss A—except she never once messed up her project and threw it at me, demanding that I fix it.

And if I wouldn't listen, she'd nag her mom. No more ice cream for her.

I swear there were 14 conversations going on at a time for two hours straight. I couldn't keep up with them all—especially since I was simultaneously trying to count Ks and BOs in Miss H's seriously complex pattern. (In the end, I had to draw it out before I could make it work.) And the longer it went on, the louder it got. I finally told Miss H to use her indoor voice, which made her protest by whispering for the next 10 minutes. I also had to announce that there would be no more singing, since it seemed like a contest to see who could sing the loudest. That's when Miss S announced, "It's a free country," after which I was forced to inform her that once she enters the store, she's in *my* country—and my country is not a free country.

On the bright side, I was finally able to figure out the pattern for Miss H's scarf—and I've taught her how to do all but one of the rows in the repeat. And I even had a little time to work on Baby Sweater #3. I finished the body—just the sleeves to go.

When I got home, I was totally exhausted—and I was relieved that I'd prepared a crock-pot dinner that was waiting for me when I got there. Just before we sat down to eat, Paul flipped through the mail and found more good news—his permanent Green Card (which is still not green) arrived today. After almost four years of paperwork and appointments, they're finally going to let him stay in the country. And, to our surprise, they didn’t question our marital status once. We agreed that we'd both gone into our INS appointments expecting them to try to catch us off-guard by randomly zinging questions at us—but it never happened. So apparently we're believable as a married couple.

We celebrated by opening a bottle of wine—which, after my day, was a welcome reward.

Monday, May 08, 2006

There are Good Days...

...and then there's yesterday. Yesterday was not such a good day. Yesterday I spent hours wandering through the mall, searching for a fabulous dress to wear to the wedding with my fabulous shawl. I ran into Mary, who was shoe-shopping with her daughter, her knitting in tow.

Behind me, I dragged my poor, long-suffering husband.

"The reason I brought you here today," I told him, "was to give you one more reason to be glad you're not a woman."

For him, finding something to wear to the wedding means pulling out his suit and deciding which tie to wear. For me, it means trudging through store after store, trying to find something that's:

(a) in my price range,
(b) in my size,
(c) in a color that matches the shawl (which, I figured, would be navy, black, or perhaps brown -- nothing too unusual),
(d) in some shape that
1) doesn't accentuate my pear shape
2) will not look like I could possibly be hiding the slightest of baby bumps.

During my entire afternoon in the mall, I only tried on six dresses that I kinda liked. Of the six, there was only one that I liked enough to show Paul -- and, of course, he didn't like it.

I returned home thinking that I'd better plan on knitting that shawl extra big -- because I'm going to have to be naked under it.

Then, after I picked up the shawl again, I came across a big flaw in the yarn. Mid-row. Ugh. So, following the flaw hassle, I ended up knitting just two rows yesterday, for a grand total of 14 this weekend. Not bad, but not spectacular, either. I have, however, finished my 10th repeat. And here she is:

Fortunately, the baby sweater has been going well. Despite the fact that I've pretty much thrown out the pattern, it still looks like a baby sweater. In fact, even though it's not supposed to be a roll-neck, I've decided that I like the way the neck rolls...so I'm keeping it, and I'm reworking the rest of the pattern accordingly. I should be finishing the body when I go to knit with the girls today -- so I'll post a picture tomorrow.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I Need Help

I am seriously in need of help. I can't stop buying yarn. I can't do it.

On Friday afternoon, I had to run out to the library to pick up a stack of books I'd reserved. On my way home, my car *refused* to go the right way. Instead, it kidnapped me and took me straight to Hobby Lobby. I swear I had nothing to do with it. It was the car's fault. But, while I was there, I figured I might as well go in and buy more yarn, since it was 50% off and all.

As I stood in line, my arms full of more yarn once again, I kept telling myself, "You have a disease. You need help."

I figure it could be worse, though. Instead of spending the weekend cleaning toilets and scrubbing floors, I could have been in Maryland, where I would have undoubtedly been blowing the money that my conscientious husband has been saving for our retirement. The pictures are already starting to roll in -- and I have to tell you how very jealous I am. I can hardly stand it. I desperately wanted to go. In fact, I have a Maryland Fund -- I've been saving my quarters and dimes and nickels and pennies since last year (and -- don't tell Paul, but I've been taking the change he dumps out of his pockets and leaves around the house, too...).

The Mitten Maven tells me that we're getting a caravan together next year, and we're all going, and I am so there.

On the bright side, however, I've had time this weekend to work on the Adamas. I'm almost to the point where I won't be able to spread the stitches out over the needle anymore, so I'll post a picture soon...

Friday, May 05, 2006


Here's the new half-price green yarn, which is pretty much entirely stash.

What am I going to do with it? Who knows. But it's green. And it was half price. Could I resist? Of course not. The stuff on the left, I have no clue. Maybe it'll end up in a baby sweater. The stuff on the right has almost 300 yards squished in there, and I'm thinking a quick big-needle wrap of some sort. It was only $3 -- maybe I'll go back for another one before the sale ends.

And here's the baby sweater:

I finally separated for the sleeves yesterday. I was supposed to start by working the sleeves on straight needles and then moving on to the body, but I decided to do it all in the round -- body first, sleeves second. It just seems easier that way, so I'll just wing it from here.

I also took some time to work on Adamas again. I'm 8.6 repeats down, with 29 days to go. I'm already working on the math, so I can figure out how much I need to do to pull it off...

Happy Cinco de Mayo!
...And happy birthday, Mom! :)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hmmm... Merino

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Merino Wool.You are very easygoing and sweet. People like to keep you close because you are so softhearted. You love to be comfortable and warm from your head to your toes.
Take this quiz!

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Isn't it amazing how, without realizing it, we can become totally and utterly dependent on something -- like our Internet connection?

This morning, I was just working away when my Internet connection was suddenly just gone. Poof! I tried all of the stuff that usually works. Nothing. Then I picked up the phone. Dead. The TV was out, too, meaning that there was nothing I could do -- the cable was out. Normally, this would be just a slight annoyance -- one that would throw me off but wouldn't be Earth-shattering. I've got plenty of things to do offline. But today is Thursday. And on Thursdays I have to send out my weekly newsletter to all of the site's subscribers. As a general rule, I do so by 10. But by 9:30, I was still getting nothing.

"Go to Panera," Paul suggested. "They have free wireless, right?"

So I packed up my computer, ran off to Panera, ordered myself a bagel and a coffee for six bucks, and booted up my computer. But, as it turns out, there's something screwy going on with my wireless access. So while everyone else was just a-surfin' away, enjoying their coffees and free wireless access, I was plotting various ways of killing myself that would be as painless as possible, me being a wimp and all. By then it was around 11, and I still had a bagel and a giant mug of espresso-fueled beverage to finish. So I gulped my coffee, scarfed down the bagel, and went running out to the parking lot, to find that it was raining, which never ceases to happen when I decide to wear my glasses.

I threw my laptop back into the car and sped home, where I found a couple of cable trucks parked down the street. I left the computer in the car (in case I had to get back in the car and try the library next) and ran inside to check the phone. There was a dial tone. So I got my computer back out of the car and came running back in to re-hook up my computer and get online.

So it took me three hours (and $6) today to do something that should have taken about 20 minutes.

I was going to post pictures today, but my Adamas still looks like it did a couple of repeats ago -- only bigger -- and my baby sweater (which, I've been assured, has a big enough neck opening) pretty much just looks like a knitted blob right now. I did, however, purchase green yarn on sale at Hobby Lobby yesterday, which I'll photograph tomorrow, when, hopefully, I won't have to spend three hours of my day trying to get online.

Sometimes I ask Paul, "What did we do before the Internet?" I'm still not quite sure -- but I think it involved a lot less espresso...

BTW -- I had an article on review writing published today. If you're interested, you can check it out at AbsoluteWrite.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

We Now Return You to Your Regularly Scheduled Adamas

Thanks to all of you for your wonderful comments on the sweater. I love it -- and I can't wait to wear it! I don't care if it's so bright that I'll stand out in a crowd. In fact, that's actually a good thing when it comes to shopping at the mall with one's husband...

So now that the sweater is done, I've moved back to my Adamas. I'd post pictures, but I realize that, to anyone but me, any pictures of the shawl at this point will look exactly like the ones I've already posted. Adamas after 7 repeats pretty much looks like Adamas after 6 repeats.

I'm still in awe of the Addis. I can't believe how smoothly it's going now. That doesn't mean, of course, that it's not going to be a last-minute race to the finish -- but I think it may actually be possible.

32 days to the wedding...

Yesterday, I showed up for knitting with the girls, not knowing if I'd be knitting solo. Poor Miss S had a dentist appointment, and I wasn't sure if Miss H would be there, either. So, along with my knitting, I packed a bit of work, in case I had to sit around and wait for a while. But, as it turned out, I didn't have long to wait. Miss M the Elder (whose little sister, Miss M the Younger, is apparently *very angry* that she hasn't been allowed to come along) showed up, ready to try something new. Her goal was to knit a hat on circs. But before she started on that, I decided that it would probably be a good idea to teach her to purl -- since it's much easier to get a ribbed hat to fit than a stockinette hat. So Miss M spent the day purling. I taught her all about bumps and Vs -- and as she practiced, I flipped through books of stitch patterns and showed her all the cool things she could do now that she knew how to purl. We were just getting to the point of working on a rib when it was time to go home.

Miss H also showed up. This time, in addition to the brace on her sprained wrist, she came in limping, her newly-sprained ankle wrapped in a bandage. Poor Miss H is an accident waiting to happen. The good news, however, is that Miss H found her missing bag back -- so she'll be able to finish it and felt it. The bad news is that she found that her new scarf was nothing but a headache. She'd worked on it for a while, but then she'd frogged it. So I started her out again. Once we got to the complicated part, I found that she wasn't kidding. It was confusing. I worked a row -- and was then in the process of taking it out when Miss H's mom showed up.

We had a great time this week. Miss M stood up and danced around the room while she worked, making strange noises and chatting a blue streak as she did. And Miss H played her favorite songs on her cell phone and filled us in on her week. Mondays with the girls never cease to amaze me. Our conversations range from politics to American Idol to teachers to the Oscar Mayer Wiener song.

And, somewhere in there, we manage to knit, too.

This week, I worked on my new baby sweater -- but I'm a little worried about it. The neck just doesn't seem big enough. But, since I don't have any babies to measure it on, I have no idea if I'm just being paranoid or if it's really too small. Right now, I'm debating whether I want to frog it and start over.

In other knitting news, how totally cool are these Knit Lite needles? How much to you want them? They're not available yet, but Beth placed a gigantic order for them today -- and we should have them by the 19th or so. I got a pair of 8s, even though I have about 15 pairs of 8s already -- two kinds of metal, bamboo, circular...you name it. But 8s are my standard size -- perfect for dishcloths. And if I'm going to be knitting in the dark, I'll probably be working on something uncomplicated...like dishcloths. Sure, it's a little pricey for plastic knitting needles, but how cool will it be when we can all go to our summer concerts in the park and knit right through to the end? We're so cool, I can hardly stand it.

Monday, May 01, 2006

How's About Dem Oranges?

Pattern: Knitting Pure and Simple Split Neck T (#257)
Yarn: Bernat Satin in Sunset

I finished weaving in the ends on my orange sweater last night as we waited for the second coat of orange paint to dry in our basement. I ended up making the sleeves shorter than the pattern suggested, but that made up for my questionable amount of yarn. And I actually like them this way.

Now I'm back to Adamas. That, and a top-down baby pullover from Cozy Knits for Cuddly Babies. It looks like I'll be seeing my friend and his new baby boy over Memorial Day, so my sweater deadline will come before my shawl deadline. But hey...it's a baby sweater. I'll knit it in my sleep...

As for the painting...in the past, I've done a good job of avoiding paint brushes. After all, after I moved out of my parents' place and until we bought this house, I lived in rentals. So other than the bathroom of our place in Massachusetts, which Paul painted yellow with a cool faux finish after we tore out the hideous gold 70s wallpaper, there was no painting. And after we bought this house, I tended to let Paul and my dad paint. So this was my first real room-painting experience. And, as it turns out, I don't really enjoy it all that much. In fact, by the time I'd finished taping the ceiling and the ledges, I was ready to hire someone to do the rest. And it pretty much went downhill from there. It doesn't help that I was born with seriously perfectionistic genes, which made things especially difficult. I'm sure no one will actually study every last inch of our basement walls, but I know where the little messes are, and I'm sure they'll drive me crazy for the rest of eternity. Or until someone fixes them.

Mark my words, it won't be long before I'm wandering around the basement with a container of orange paint and a toothpick.

But, goofs aside, I have to say that I love our obnoxious basement. Just for the record, we only did the top half of three of the walls in the room. The other wall, which doesn't have a ledge, is still eggshell -- and it now looks really bland. I'm thinking that it will be yellow soon. Or maybe a lighter shade of orange.

And now that it looks cool down there, we might even start using the basement again. Next on our basement plans: a futon for guests, a new TV, and some exercise equipment, thereby making it our guest/workout/family/knitting room.

And now...on to green. Today I'm wearing the only green shirt I own in honor of the new month. If only we'd waited just a little while longer to paint our bathroom green...

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