Friday, February 29, 2008

I was procrastinating

I saw this here and had to try. It would have been under 2 minutes if I didn't have to Google how to spell Massachusetts! I think this one is kind of cheating, though, because they give you the map. I'm not sure I could do it so quickly if I had to look at the map just in my head!


So maybe I'm only on the topic of tax dollars because my Federal refund was deposited into my account today (see, I KNEW I could buy all that new yarn!), but WHY are my tax dollars paying the FBI to investigate Roger Clemens?!?! Really, is our biggest concern highly paid adult athletes ruining their own bodies? If we're concerned about drug use, why don't we focus our energy on places where it could actually better the lives of Americans. . . those people whose communities are overrun with drugs and the crime that it brings? Or, say, helping treat addiction of those who can't afford it on their own? Who is benefiting from this whole MLB thing? For the life of me, I do NOT understand it!

OK, off my liberal soapbox. . . .for now ;)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Is it March yet?

Oooohhhhh. . . .I have the worst case of itchy fingers!! My Zephyr Lace came from Sarah's yarns, yesterday. The color is 100 times better than I expected, and I wanted to cast on immediately! I also got my order from Fearless Fibers yesterday, and the skein I purchased for sure to keep (sublime) is phenomenal. I am being very good trying to finish and not start,so I can't give in now, right?

At knit night last night, I finished off my two pair of socks, the cowboy boot and jeezny cricket socks. The first gave me a heck of a time doing a tubular bind off in P1, K1 rather than K1,P1. That damn knitting help video has "knit, purl, purl, knit" drilled in to me that I kept slipping into that rather than the P, K, K, P I needed to be in. The other socks just needed the toe grafted. Both pair have the problem that the first sock knit is looser than the second, but they don't have to go in the give away pile,which is good!

I (thought) I finished the first of Jake's socks. I love it (despite the never ending-ness)! When he tried it on,turns out I need ~1/2" more in foot length. Now I'm debating where to tear back to to add the length. . I really don't want to go all the way back to the patterning! Tonight, I hopefully will finish Sheldon while I try to make my house look presentable. My friend Brittany is making a marathon trip down to visit tomorrow from DC. She actually lives in Boston and is visiting her brother in Georgetown, so she rented a car to come down here for the day. I'm very exited!! I haven't seen her since August!

I will post all my FO pictures and all the new yarn (I had a few more splurges on Etsy!) this weekend!

ps - Has anyone else noticed the awful knitwear modeled on page 11 of the new KnitPicks catalog? (go to 'view more images' then 'on model' to see it if you don't have the catalog!) Seriously, that vest looks 3 sizes too big for her, and it's the most unflattering color, ever! Would anyone actually buy the book based on that??!??! And, if you're going to put ill-fitting clothes on the model, don't put another picture of the same model in a top that FITS on the same page!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's 4:30am, do you know where your knitting is?

It is currently 4:27am. I have been awake since 3am. I am very tired and I have an icky headache brewing in the back of my head. Today may be a sick day if this turns into a migraine. BOO :( I knew I shouldn't have eaten that pizza last night. . ..

School wise, I got an A+++ (seriously - the teacher gives degrees of A+s) on my drawings. I'm not sure if this is gratification for all the hard work (optimist in me) or if it just means I over thought and spent too much time working on it (the pessimist). You see, my general MO is somewhat slacker-ish: If I can get a B doing 2 hours of work, but it takes 10 hours to get an A. . . well, that is diminishing returns in my book and the 8 extra hours can be used for something much more fruitful than silly homework! (This is why I finished undergrad with barely a 3.6). Surprisingly, I'm leaning more toward the feeling happy my hard work paid off. That said, I have to 'tweak' my drawings to lower my wall mounted TV, slightly change the patterning on the built-in bunk beds, find a taller plant and draw in all my accessories. In case you missed it, that means ALL NEW DRAWINGS! At least I can trace 80% of what I've already done, so this should be much less time consuming!

Since I finished class early yesterday, I got home before Jake went to bed to be able to give him his surprise. For as long as I've known him (and surely before) Jake ALWAYS carries a small notebook and pen in his back pocket. Always when he is wearing pants at least (no, I'm not talking about him being naked! Get your mind out of the gutter! He doesn't always carry it when wearing shorts for some reason, is what I meant!) A friend of ours who rebuilds motorcycles knows a girl who does custom leather work - Heyltje Rose. Before you ask, no, I don't know how you pronounce that, but her MySpace says it means 'of the Heavens'. So, I asked her if she could make a notebook cover for him. OH MY FREAKIN' GOSH. . .. . It is amazingly awesome. (These are the photos she took and sent me before I got the finished product - I couldn't get Jake to let me take photos after he got it, plus it was dark out!).
Front ViewBack View
The pattern, which reminds me of a Phoenix the more I look at it, is the pattern that is on his cowboy boots. His initials are at the top. The whole thing is hand tooled. This girl is seriously talented in a way I only hope my knitting will some day be! If you have a reason for custom leather, now you know where to go! She is not cheap, but well worth it! Jake, who is notoriously difficult to buy for, absolutely loves it, which makes me happy. It was just a little 'just because' gift and I managed not to spoil the surprise, a big deal for me since I suck at keeping secrets.

With 4 days left in February, I have not much hope of finishing all my WIPs, but I am just about wrapped on my Jeezny Cricket socks, so if I can manage to do that, do the applied I-cord for Sheldon and sew the lining in my felted bag, that will make the count 5 FOs, no new WIPs for February, which isn't too shabby. Hopefully,writing this did not jinx it!

Yesterday I couldn't resist 3 skeins of Fearless Fiber sock yarn. Two are intended for swap packages (Blue Rain and Brick House), and so I just had to throw something in for myself (Sublime). Now, though, I have to stop buying yarn. I have enough stash for knitting projects that could last me for the year, plus I'll end up with more in swaps, so I just need to cool it for a while before the craft room gets totally out of control!

Enough rambling for now, I'm going to try to sleep on the couch until Jake wakes up!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Happier on Monday

So from the sound of my last post, you would have thought I did nothing all weekend except drawing. While it felt like that, looking back, it was actually quite productive. No, nothing useful like dishes or laundry or washing the floors (which is despartely needed!) My craft room (a.k.a. guest bedroom + sewing machine) is finally habitable again. Since sometime in December, the door has been solidly closed so that the dogs cannot make it worse than it already was. It is now all cleaned up and the puppies are most happy they can lounge on the bed again. Notice I said cleaned up, and not organized. I still haven't 'really' tackled the stash. It is now all contained in the one drawer unit I bought or in boxes in the closet. There is no rhyme or reason to it, but for now not being an eyesore is enough for me!

There was one casualty, which is one of the hanks of handspun alpaca I bought this summer in New York. It is very tangled and I need to work that out. I also need to find someone with a winder and yardage counter. I know the weight of what I have, but no idea on the yardage. It is so lovely, I want to figure out something to make with it soon.

Speaking of making it soon, I found this pattern through the magic of 'friends activity' on Ravelry. Tuulia queued it and I fell in love with it. Saturday night, I ordered 3 balls of Jagerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18 in Peacock to make this Maude for myself (I am not making the scarf in that link, that is just the color I bought!). I should end up with oodles leftover, after talking to the designer, so I'll probably make a scarf with the same yarn, too. Such a deal on the yarn, too, only $8.50/ball over at Sarah's Yarn. I don't think the yarn will arrive until March so I can cast right on ;)

Since I happen to be link happy today - go check out Paula's Sock Bag Tutorial. And check out this awesome shirt made by Pamela (sorry for the split link, couldn't find an address directly to her blog post with the shirt). I'm totally jealous. This really is pushing me to work on the sewing machine for some practice!

I signed up for the next round of PRGE. Signups are open through the week if you are interested! I also signed up for a few swap-bot swaps and am feverishly trying to find 'something funny' to finish off my Scavenger Hunt Package so it can be mailed off this week. It would be poor form for the Hostess to have her package out late, wouldn't it?

Finally, I almost forgot to share what the mail man brought me Saturday. My Mama Llama Club shipment (a.k.a. the birthday gift that keeps on giving)! The yarn is Silken Cash (55% silk/45% cashmere) and it is gorgeous! I'm only so-so about the pattern that came with it, so I think I will find another scarf to make with it once I am through petting it! Isn't the polka dot bag too cute?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

HELP ME! (And an almost FO)

So someone, remind me why I thought it would be a good idea to go back to school? I have never spent so much time on one class in all my education. Seriously, my engineering classes were not this time consuming. . . at least not the entry level ones. I spent nearly the entire weekend doing drawings. In concept, these are not difficult, but execution is a whole separate issue! Firstly, I am not artistic. The teacher claims this is not a requirement we'll see how true that is when she grades my homework! I stink at everything that is free hand :( Doing six drawings took me, without exaggeration, ten hours between Saturday and today. It doesn't help that you have to draw it, then trace it again on to good paper, so it was more like 12 drawings. This was supposedly the most tedious of the set we have to do, and I really hope that is true!

Spending this much time on homework left little time for knitting, but I just about finished my cowboy boot socks. For some reason, my row gauge was waaaaaaaay different for the 2nd sock and I was worried I'd run out of yarn. I ended up with like 24 extra rows to get the same length sock AND a ton of extra yarn. Go figure, since each skein weighed the same. I say 'just about' finished, as I haven't cast off. I did P1, K1 ribbing and I can't figure out how to do a sewn cast off (I accidentally did a K1, P1 on the first sock and did a normal K,P,P,K to bind off). I think my brain may be more clear in the morning and hopefully I can finish. I will post a picture when they are off the needles.

The good news is that Jake got a new toy this week that kept him occupied in the garage, so I don't feel bad about how much time I spent drawing. He's really good at turning already, it's quite impressive. So far he made a goblet, a pencil cup and a couple decorative small pieces that remind me of chess pieces. I also am super excited that I got an awesome surprise for him. I have pictures, but I don't want to post on the off chance he actually ever comes to my blog :) He is going to LOVE it, and it is gorgeous. It should arrive this week so I can share once I give it to him!

Here's to a good week!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dear Interweave

Your subscription policy SUCKS!

So, I got a subscription for IK for Christmas from Jake's brother and SIL. Very exciting, right? So last month, I got the Winter issue in the mail. I called and said 'Uh, I had already purchased this issue, and the person who gifted it to me purchased it to give me. At a minimum, they would not have purchased it had they known you would be sending it.' After some arguing, they agreed to extend my subscription by one issue. Now, I have been anxiously awaiting the spring issue. When I went to YfB on the 9th, everyone else had received theirs. So I have been trying to be patient, then came yesterday, the 19th, the day the issue can be bought everywhere. I called Interweave. 'I was just wondering why this issue is now available on newsstands but I haven't received it'. They tried to tell me that ALL the magazines leave the warehouse at once and that it is up to the post office when they choose to deliver it. Now, call me crazy, but I didn't know the USPS was in the business of holding onto mail just because they like to have it sitting around in their warehouses! Apparently, Interweave allows up to TWO WEEKS after the issue hits newsstands before they let you complain you haven't received it. So I have to continue to wait until I can call back and complain. GRRR!

In knitting, I knit up the balance of the balled yarn I had for my Jeezny Cricket socks. I was too lazy to go wind the other skein to finish the sock, so I cast on for the 2nd cowboy boot sock. They are toe up with an easy toe, and as I started knitting in the round, I realized I cast on some random number not anywhere in the pattern! So, I tore back, decided clearly if my brain could not count to 16 I should put aside the knitting and so I stopped for the night! However, I now think it may be possible to finish both socks for a Feb. Finishing goal! After knitting on Jake's socks for so long on Sz 1s, I forgot how quickly thicker yarn can go!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It's all downhill from here (almost!)

AAH! School is seriously impacting my knitting and I am going through minor withdrawal! I didn't expect one class to take so much time! I took two classes at a time when I did my MS and that didn't take this much time each week! I also didn't expect to be so decisive (as I am notoriously indecisive). Now, six weeks into the class, I am understanding that the class is less about HOW to design, more about how to PRESENT your design and starting to learn the techniques of drawings. I'm actually quite enjoying the drawing portion, even though I am deathly slow at it. But, my floor plan is now set. This week, I need to make final furniture selections so that I can draw my elevations, and then it should be downhill from here, doing material boards, finishes, etc. That stuff is all just compiling rather than deciding/creating, though, so shouldn't take as much weekly time. I love my design, though I can't take all the credit. . . I had a main idea, and then the teacher came to us all and 'tweaked' everyone who already had a rough sketch. By tweaked, I mean redid so that it makes a lot more sense! LOL!

The only knitting going on is the foot on Jake's sock (still!) and I also cast on and just finished the gusset decreases on my 2nd Jeezny Cricket sock. I think I will only be able to finish those socks and Sheldon (who just needs an applied I-cord now) in the February is for Finishing time frame. Then, come march, I am casting on for something with bigger needles -- All my current WIPs are on Sz 4s or smaller! I think I may re-attempt Lelah, and then really do some work on Sizzle.

I realized this morning why I had such an urge to work on my Jeezny Cricket socks. .. serious spring fever! Which was satisfied by some blooming daffodils!
(click for a clearer image. . . I still can't figure out why flickr links come out blurry!)

Finally, taken on time but not posted on time, my week 8 Project 365 picture. The puppies in their most comfortable spot, lounging on the couch with Jake!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope everyone has a great day! We don't do a lot for Valentine's Day anymore. The plan is to head out to our favorite Sushi place for dinner and that's about it! Jake used to get me flowers, but since they are like triple the price for Valentine's Day as they are on any other day. . . well, it's just not worth it! Here are some flowers for you, though! Yeah, yeah, I know RED roses are supposed to be for Valentine's, but yellow roses are my favorite and so I don't care!

Knitting is stalled due to school . . . but I did find bedding for my interior design project. And (hopefully) some wallpaper. I had to request a sample online, though, so god only knows if I'll really get it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Election Day

You may recall my rant a few months ago about the Virginia Republican Primary Oath. Today was election day, I went, requested my Republican ballot and braced myself. .. . . but no oath was presented for me to sign. I thought maybe it died a quiet death, so I googled it when I came home. Nothing says the request was repealed, so now I wonder if my city just refused to administer it. . . or forgot it . . . or something else altogether. I'm curious to know if any other Virginians who voted today had to sign anything. Let me know (if you are willing to share, of course!). Unfortunately, I'm really not enamored with any candidate on either side, which will certainly make for an interesting November.

In school news, my redo of Maine was met with rave reviews. This is good, as I couldn't stomach the thought of doing it again! Whadda ya think? We also got our partners assigned and the fates really are testing me. I got paired with the one person no one in class wanted and I KNOW she will end up needing lots of hand holding, which I am now obliged to give since my grade is intertwined with hers. Technically we are evaluated on our own, but our rooms have to be related and if our partners room/drawing stinks, it will drop my grade down by one letter. UGH! In the grand scheme, I know it's good to work on my patience, but I still don't want to! Also a request for help from anyone out there familiar with Montessori. I got assigned to design a bedroom to be shared by two little girls. The 'client' believes in the Montessori method and so I need to incorporate that into the space. I know very little about it, and I've requested some books from the library, but if anyone has suggestions or info about it, I'd love to hear!

School is really cramping my knitting time. We're nearly half way through February and I'm really not very close to finishing much of anything. At least I haven't started any new projects! Turns out the foot on Jake's sock was sufficiently large, so I'm working through the foot. . . just a couple more inches and then the toe to finish that. I think, to break some of the monotony I'm going to cast on for the 2nd cowboy sock and the 2nd jeezny cricket sock so I can mix it up a bit. My mini-goal for tonight is to sew the lining in to my felted bag to check that off the list!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


OK, while not exactly in the spirit of 'February is for Finishing', I do have a FO. This is my 'something green' for my Scavenger Hunt partner - a reusable shopping bag. And, my friends, it is crochet! I started it Saturday afternoon and finished it up this morning. So darn quick! Love it! It is smaller than some, but for me, I always remember to take them shopping when I do my big trip, but if I have to run to the store on the way home from somewhere, I never have them. So, I hope she can keep this smaller one in the car or her bag to have for just such occasions! In deference to my 'February is for Finishing' goals, I did frog, the first bag I was making for her. It was knit, but I was using crappy old INOX needles doing magic loop and I just couldn't deal with it anymore. I despise magic loop, but coupled with duller than dull needles, I just didn't have the patience!

I've also been knitting on Jake's socks, which have come to be known as the socks that will not end. I FINALLY turned the heel and knit the gusset.
In case scale doesn't come across in that photo, let me tell you, that sock, from heel to top of leg is 15 inches! It is nearly an entire ball of Essential to do the leg. The only thing is the foot opening seems oddly small. I can't tell if it is just because the leg is SOOOOOOOOOO long the foot hole is dwarfed, or if it really is small. I need to have Jake try it on. I think the rest of the sock will go quickly now, I just hope I can overcome the memory of how long that leg took and actually cast on for the mate!

Last night, we went to The Generic Theater with some friends of ours to see Glengarry Glen Ross. I have to say how impressed I was! For community theater, and for a very tough play, the actors did an awesome job! Jake really enjoyed it, not knowing anything about it before going. My only complaint was the guy with the GINORMOUS head in front of me for the second act :) How he could possibly need to move his head every 3.8 seconds to constantly be in my way is beyond me!

I missed week 6 of Project-365 here by one day. No dog pictures this week, instead, an homage to the spring weather we've had all week.

Yes, it is early February, but my daffodils have budded and look like they will start opening soon!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

C is for Clutterbug

Oy! I can't believe I will admit this in a photograph, but my name is Carly and I am a Clutterbug! Proof. . .this is my desk. Desk, you say, I just see paper! Yes, unfortunately, you cannot see much of my lovely antique desk because it is covered in STUFF! I like to blame the fact that this is SO bad on the fact that I have not yet finished painting/furnishing/decorating my office. Since I work from my house, this means that lots of paperwork has no place to go and so just stacks up. This does not totally excuse it, I really am cluttery by nature, as evidenced by the fact that there are two knitting magazines, several days of mail and other assorted non-work items on the desk, as well :) This is the main reason I cannot collect tchotchkes .. .I would end up with them everywhere! Other parts of the house are cluttered, but not as badly because Jake can't deal with it! Organization is a skill I need to work on, but there you have it, my 'C' for the ABC-Along.

However, timing being what it is, I have two more Cs. . . .

C is for Cocoa Swap! I got my package today from Sarah. It's awesome! And also funny that her blog is 'Craft n Clutter' when I just posted about being a clutter bug :) What did I get? I'm glad you asked! First, my mood booster (which admittedly I don't need today given that it is 80 degrees!! he has already taken up residence on my desk (see above) to make me smile in darker weather!) is Polk the Puppy, watching over the goods.
(There are great pictures of him on Sarah's blog, so I didn't attempt to get more yet!) I have yet to introduce Zosia & Jimmy to the new pooch, but it may have to stay that way so Polk is not mistaken for a chew toy! Polk also makes me chuckle, as I am Polish and so I think of the Polka :) I also got Gummi Bears (YUM! I've only eaten half the bag), Shaved Belgian Chocolate (to make into cocoa by melting into milk - my favorite!), locking stitch markers, which I really have been needing and are much appreciated, two skeins of Wool Bamboo and slipper bottoms to make Twinkle Toes with! She also included the pattern printed out for me! I love it all, thank you so much, Sarah! I can't wait to go through your blog :) I must admit, though, I love the color of the yarn so much, and I have several sock patterns that need a solid yarn. . . I may just have to make it into regular socks and use the slipper bottoms for Jake's felted slippers! Of course, none of this will happen until March when I can start projects again :) OOh, and I almost forgot, how cute is the knitter notecard??

While I'm talking about the Cocoa Swap, I forgot to introduce my spoilee, Kristen. She got her package Thursday and she and her kiddos enjoy the buddy I knit. He has been named Red :) Go on over to her blog and check out pictures of him at the park!

Finally, C is for chicken. In case you ever wondered, this is what 25 pounds of chicken looks like, it looks like this (note that I didn't capture the depth in this picture, but the ziploc bags go all the way to the back of the counter). I just bought a bunch from the butcher. If you order in bulk, you get a nice price break. And, this butcher gets his chicken from a local farm in Gates County (North Carolina) and I like the whole supporting small local farms and stores thing. I'd even have paid their normal price for chicken ($3.99/lb) because that is still cheaper than the Tyson or Purdue chicken at Kroger which is always $6-7/lb when they don't put it on sale. I consider getting it for $2.59/lb quite a steal!

Now, I need to go make room in my freezer for all that chicken!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

New England failed me

No no, not the Patriots. I had no vested interest in the Super Bowl, but oddly enough actually enjoyed watching it this year. Maybe that had to do with the fun group at the Super Bowl Party, though :)

The New England that failed me is the beaches of Maine. I didn't have much time for blogging or knitting last weekend because I was working on my project for my Interior Design class. We had to choose one of four beaches as the room inspiration. I chose Maine a) because I lived in New England and b) because I didn't like the other choices. Plus, I actually do enjoy the feeling of New England beaches. . . .you are never warm, even in the midst of summer, and there is something striking to me about the contrast of the coolness with the fact that it is still serene and romantic. Jake helped me construct a bead board box. . .. I stained my own Cape Cod shingles. I couldn't find the perfect fabric, but I made do. As I completed it, I thought the critique might be that it was too literal, but instead, the critique was that the proportion was off (which I can see, the box I built ended up a little too big) and that it was too outdoors-y. That is now where I'm struggling to determine how to redo, as I WANT it to be outdoors-y to covey the cool. I do need to figure out how to incorporate the comfort/coziness. . . . do I have time to knit a cozy sweater?? :)

So now I need to scavenge around some thrift stores and see what catches my eye. This, of course, impacts my February is for Finishing goals. Bummer :( All I've managed to knit is another 2 inches on Jake's 1st sock. I'm nearly ready to turn the heel. Sheldon is also completely knit and 90% sewn. . . he just needs legs stuffed and attached and he'll be able to ship off. I did purchase the lining for my felted purse and chose a button. That counts as progress, right? I also decided that my first attempt at design is going to be frogged. I like the design, but the more I look at it, I just don't think the yarn is doing what I want. Instead, the Silky Tweed will become this. Not until at least March, of course.