Monday, July 28, 2008

Long Weekend Wasted

Jake & I took Friday off. He had a floating holiday he wouldn't get paid for if he didn't use it when he leaves his 'temporary' job to go back to his real job. We decided we'd drive out to Northwest River Park and take the pooches on a canoe ride and do some fishing. We got there about 20 minutes after the park opened and walked over to the boathouse (dogs, cooler and fishing gear in tow) where we were informed the dogs were not allowed in a canoe. I was mildly irritated, as nothing on the website OR on all the signage at the boathouse indicated there was this restriction. So, instead, we walked (the park calls it a hike, but a flat gravel-ly surface doesn't constitute a hike in my book!) down to the fishing spot. It's about one and a half miles, and the dogs enjoyed the journey (Zosia even behaved enough to be let off leash). We fished a bit, Jake got a few nibbles, I got nothing. I didn't mind, though, because watching the dogs was a riot. Jimmy Ray tried to fight some geese that made their way toward us. Zosia finally willingly went in the water on her own! We ate our lunches then set back.

It was still early in the day when we got home so we did some yard work and made big plans for a productive weekend while we went out to dinner. Unfortunately, when the alarm went off Saturday morning, Jake and I were both totally exhausted. . . and itchy. Lo and behold, despite the soaking of our pants and socks in bug spray, we got eaten by chiggers at the River! Thankfully, they aren't nearly as bad as last year, so I guess the bug spray helped, but I have such an adverse reaction to these things. .. not just itching - I swear they poison me! So, I did NOTHING Saturday except a bit of shopping and helping Jake with some outside work. We trimmed all sorts of branches off a neighbors tree. I'm not sure what ettiquitte is in the situation when the neighbor doesn't trim things in their yard so it overtakes yours, but we just cut everything that was over the property line and didn't ask. The guy is a renter anyway, so hopefully no one gets too cranky. The yard looks a lot bigger now without all the overgrowth, so I'm glad.

Sunday was mostly a wash too, though I did manage to clean some and get the laundry pile down.

With all the couch sitting, I did get some knitting in. Maude is done! Well, completely knitted, that is. I still need to add the buttons and weave in the ends.I also swatched and cast on for Goddess. I'm using Elann Lustrado in Aubergine. It's a lovely dark brown-y purple. I wanted to get it going since it has oodles of stockinette and I have lots of travel time coming up to try to knock all the mindless knitting out. . . . I leave for Iowa tomorrow for work. The glam life of business travel, right?! Freakin' Iowa! (Sorry if I offend anyone who lives in Iowa, but on my list of exciting places to travel, Cedar Rapids 2 months after a major flood is near dead last!) It's a good thing stitch diva doesn't show you any of the pattern until you buy it, because I would have avoided it had I seen the stitch pattern! It's the inverse of the stitch from My So-Called Scarf, which I HATED! Being the inverse (K2togtbl, leave stitches on LHN, K first st tbl, drop both off) it's an even bigger pain in the butt, but it's only a few rows on the neckline then to finish at the waist. I think I can keep from slitting my wrists on that amount.

I have been continuing to work on Malagrigo squares for the blankie KAL in the Malabrigo Swap group on Ravelry.

So much for having 3 days to do so many things on the TO DO list! There is always next weekend. . . . .

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I think we have a winner

But, since I'm notoriously indecisive, I need opinions.

Come here to look at my potential wedding dress!

I love the dress but it's so hard to tell when they are so big! This sample was a size 18, and I'm not :) The one I'm trying on is ivory on ivory, but I'd get it in ivory on mocha, like on the model here.

What do you all think?!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

N is for New

Doh! I got behind again! My N is for New! We've gone on a bit of a home shopping spree.

My new Bakers Rack (will be painted black and have glass added. . . but I got 20% off since the glass top was missing!).

My new office rug (got 25% off this - good weekend for negotiating!).

Jake's new (well, used off Craig's List but new to him!) MIG welder (not to be confused with the TIG welder he got as an engagement present!)

Other New things:

New growth

I planted Basil and Cilantro from seeds in Miracle Grow (or as Jake calls it, plant crack). These were planted barely a week ago and Basil is making a strong showing. Cilantro - not a peep yet!

New Yarn

What's in the pile? The sock kit I won on Jess' blog (Regia Cotton & Cotton Color), the Elann order with yarn to start Goddess, 3 skeins of Malabrigo lace (2 blue for me, 1 green for a surprise) and 2 skeins of Silky Malabrigo, to have enough yardage for a wedding wrap!

In my last post, I mentioned a celebratory contest, but I haven't come up with a good one yet, so maybe later this week :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Remember that crap about Jake's job I mentioned a while back?! Yeah, it's been nearly a year since the whole thing reared it's ugly head and he just got word that everything is now cleared up and he's going back to his REAL job!


This calls for some celebration, we'll probably have a party here at the house in a few week, but I think perhaps also a contest here. Details to come. . . .

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Jake's parents have left, and as a result, my home is now cleaner and more flowery than it was before they arrived. Technically they left Tuesday morning, but I didn't have a chance to blog yesterday.

The visit was quite nice. It's been 6 months since Jake had seen his parents and over a year since I had. They had about the worst timing ever coming down, hitting DC during Friday afternoon rush hour, so they traveled a whopping 12 miles in 3 hours on 495. By the time they arrived, needless to say, we didn't do anything :) Saturday I went to knitting in the AM and they came up to meet me and we wandered through Olde Towne. Jake and his dad went out fishing Saturday night and Deb indulged in a few hours of Home Improvement shows on TV (they don't have TV back home!). They had told us while we were shopping they wanted to buy us an engagement gift. Of course, we 'need' nothing, so it took a while to figure out what we would get. On Saturday we had been through an awesome garden store - not a nursery with flowers and stuff, just copious amounts of cast iron and cement garden pots/decoration etc. Sunday we decided to go back and pick two urns for the front porch as our gift (OK, Jake wanted a chainsaw, but. . . .). Aren't they awesome?

They didn't get flowers until Monday - and hopefully the flowers last (I'm certainly not known for my green thumb, but I'm going to try!). Deb is really into flowers so she had a good time putting them together for us.

We also, of course, visited the beach (and had some great fish tacos while there) during the visit and spent Sunday night at the Tides game. They lost, but it was the perfect night to be outside. . . not too hot, oddly light humidity (as in NONE!) and no bugs!

In addition to the pots up front, I got a few new garden dwellers for the backyard. We have SO MUCH garden space that I do nothing with (due to lack of aforementioned green thumb). While we were at the beach, though, I saw these gorgeous flowers that turned out to be Hibiscus, so we planted one.
I love the deep burgundy center in the peach bloom! It's supposedly a pretty hearty thing, so maybe I can learn from this and figure out how to grow some other stuff, too!

There was knitting. I finished Bob's hat. . . until I tried it on him! It's a bit short, but I'm going to be able to pick up along the cast on and just extend the ribbing another inch or so. I love the pattern and can't wait to make a 2nd for Jake. You should knit it just for the cleverness of the designer! The way the decreases happen up the crown to keep the cables going is fantastic!

So that leaves me the sleeves of Maude, Jake's socks and my socks OTN. However, Kemtee was a very bad influence and suggested making goddess in the comments of one of my blog posts as a new cast on. Well, I forgot that that was in my queue and I REALLY like it, and I found a mercerized cotton on Elann that would make the shirt for ~$10, so the yarn practically bought itself and is en route to me now :) So much for no new yarn. . . .

Alright, at this point I feel like I'm rambling, so if you made it this far, congrats! I'll be back when I have something more interesting to talk about!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Something new

No, not a new project (yet), I went to the gym today and KNIT! Yeah, WHILE I worked out. I did my 15 minutes on the stairmaster as usual, I didn't thin kit was all that condusive to knitting, but the following 30 minutes on the recumbent bike. . . PERFECT! Now, it was a little like patting your head and rubbing your belly at first to think about moving my hands and my feet. . .. it slowed down both my knitting and cycling, but it made the 30 minutes fly by! I didn't get a single odd look, either. This may become a new part of the routine. (Of course, that assumes I keep a routine. . . I've been such a gym slacker these days!)

What was I knitting? Well, since I posted about my projects I didn't want to knit on, but no one voted yet (until Carrie a few hours ago), last night I re-tried on Maude to verify how much length I still needed. Much to my chagrin, the 1 inch I thought I needed was unstretched. . . Stretched I needed more, so I ribbed and ribbed last night and ribbed and ribbed some more today. I have 3 rows left then I can bind off the body! This makes me happy, so I may just have to wrap up Maude before casting on the next project.

Last night I also tackled fixing the cables on Jake's socks (I know, I said I wasn't going to, then I felt guilty). It wasn't so bad - the only difficult part was getting the last stitch knit on the lower rows, since there wasn't much slack left in the yarn. But the cables are now in the right place and I just need a clean foot from Jake for measuring against, since I think I'm ready for the heel.

I've been a total slacker cleaning, so I'm taking tomorrow off work to get the house ready for our visitors Friday. Hopefully I stay on task and don't get sidetracked by Maude :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Feeling Antsy

I need a new project.

I have no motivation to pick up Maude (I love it, I don't know why I can't motivate to finish. . . I'm so close!).

Jake's Boyfriend Socks had a mistake in the cable. I ripped it out once, and made the same mistake, only I knit further before I noticed it. Not wanting to rip everything out again (total pain to get 84 sts back on a Sz 1 needle again!) I dropped just the 6 stitches in the cable down 14 rows, and I really don't have the patience to work on that.

My Baltimore Socks, though I love the yarn, are not doing it for me since I have to rip back in the gusset, so they continue to mock me in my knitting basket.

Bob's hat - I'm not gonna finish it by Friday, so why work on it? He doesn't need it until October :) (Come on, my blog is titled procrastination. . . . .)

So, I need something else!

(Summerlin #2 ended up as a no-go. . . after winding what could honestly be the most poorly skeined yarn ever - so tangled from the start I couldn't get it on the swift! - I finally read the label and the Pima cotton is and wash/dry flat. . . not so much practical for kiddie wear. On the plus side, the cotton is beyond soft and lovely, so I need to find something nice to do with it)

Possible Options:

1 - Re-cast on for Lelah - It's warm, so I would wear it when done!

2 - Sizzle (I started a swatch in January, have not progressed - link is Rav link, the typepad seems to be down) - It's perhaps to warm to wear when finished (assuming I actually finish in the summer) because of the Alpaca.

3 - February Lady Sweater - I think the Jaeger Extra Fine Merino DK will be perfect for this!

4 - Something else altogether! Give me a suggestion! (but no socks - I'm waiting for new needles from KnitPicks to do 2-at-a-time for my next pair)

I finally got around to taking pictures of recent acquisitions.

My Mama Llama Club Shipment (sniff. . . the last one . . sniff. . .)

The dark green is Bamboo Lux. The lighter green is pure Bamboo (DK).

My Mama Llama Contest Prize (yay!)
Perfect Sock, in color Regal.

Two recent Swap-Bot Swaps:

CTH Supersock DK in Blue - Green (love this blue green color!)

Alpaca with a Twist Baby Twist (total of 220 yds, anyone have a suggestion of what to do with it?!)

Worth Every Penny

This weekend on one of our multiple trips to Lowe's, we finally bought a wheel barrow. Jake has been wanting one for a while, and there was a metal one finally under $100, so we picked it up. I put it mostly together on Saturday while I mulched, but I wasn't strong enough to stretch the (cheap) metal brace over all the bolts on the bottom, so I still carried all the weeds from the front mulching (and there were a lot!) out back to the compost. Jake finished the wheelbarrow assembly when he finished with the drywall sanding and it sat in the house all day Sunday. So last night I asked Jake if it was a 2 person job to take it outside, and he said no, he could take it. I held the doors open and he wheeled it out. "Where's it going?" I pointed to the woodpile. Then I asked "Does it wheel nice?"
"Yeah, want to wheel it around the yard once?"
"No, I want you to wheel me around" I said, mostly in jest.
"OK, Get in."
And I couldn't resist. So I slung my butt into the wheelbarrow and off we went. I felt like a 6 year old and it was great! The dogs where chasing Jake (who was running. . . I think he secretly wanted to 'accidentally' dump me out) so Zosia jumped into it with me and we went for round #2. Then poor Jimmy Ray looked left out, so he got in, too, and Jake pushed us for a 3rd (much slower) time around the yard (slow for beagle - he's nervous, not because he was tired!). It was, I'm sad to say, the funniest thing I've done in recent memory. I giggled like a school girl :)

This is my new toy. Unfortunately, it'll quickly get too dirty to sit in, but it's fun while it lasted!

I finished the socks for Rae last night, and I'm totally stunned by finishing socks in 3 days.
I'm glad this yarn is going to a good home, since I really love it, but seeing it knit up is nothing I'd wear myself. I'm now trying very hard to resist buying some STR online RIGHT NOW!

Also in the 'helping some else' realm, check out this raffle. The funds will help buy a wheelchair and there are some seriously great prizes. I promised if I win, I will in turn raffle off the yarn that I know I will not use anytime soon and donate the funds as well. So, what are you waiting for? You've got $10 to spare, right?

Monday, July 7, 2008

A weekend of Knitting

First off, I must gloat in the cuteness of Summerlin.

I LOVE IT!! The sewing was easy, the knitting was easy and the end result is more impressive than the work involved. My favorite? The back button! I'm not always the most inventive/use what you have kind of girl. I have a ginormous amount of buttons, inherited from my grandma and my estate sale sewing machine purchase. Unfortunately, there are not loads of 'cute' buttons, but lots of practical 4-hole buttons. I didn't want a totally boring button, but I wasn't going to go out shopping to buy ONE button for this dress, so, I picked a while button and a orange-yellow button slightly smaller. I got my hot glue gun and some fishing line and - there you have it! I used the fishing wire because I needed something other than the tiny holes themselves to secure the button to the dress, so I was able to make a loop of wire, and secure it between the two button sandwiched with hot glue! (Please ignore the excess hot glue, it has since been picked off!) I'll be casting on another Summerlin quite shortly!

I had planned to work on the cabled hat the rest of the weekend, until I saw a post on Ravelry that sent me on a new project. You may have heard the story from MDS&W, but that weekend a lady from the western part of Virginia, an active knitter and pattern writer, and her husband had a terrible fire. Their home burnt completely and they lost everything. They were, luckily, insured, but obviously it is still devastating, and they lost one of their cats. They were in temporary housing for a while furnished by the red cross, but then moved to an apartment while they set about rebuilidng their home. By some cruel twist, on Thursday night, the apartment building they were living in caught fire and the majority of their belongings were, again, destroyed, and their second cat who survived the first fire was not so lucky this time. Now, I must say I'm not often a 'there is an emergency, let me knit something' kind of person, but I recalled reading after the first fire how much Rae enjoyed knit socks and they were all lost in her home and so I immediately felt the urge to knit her a pair. I can't even imagine what it would be like to experience so much material loss in such a short span. I know it won't replace a kitty, but I hope in a small way some socks from a stranger will give her some small comfort. I'm making beyond fast progress (quite unheard of for me). I'm using the STR medium weight that I won off Carrie's blog contest because her friends said Rae likes really colorful bright socks best. (Side note, Carrie, I can understand your obsession.. . .the yarn is AMAZING and I want 100 skeins of it right now!) The combination of thicker yarn + small-ish feet (48 stitch sock) + simple pattern + awesome yarn = FAST socks! I cast on ~10pm Saturday, and by 3pm Sunday sock #1 was complete. Sock #2 is nearly to the heel flap, I think it will finish tonite so I can send them off. They are a very simple 3x1 rib and super soft. Of course, this leaves Jake wondering why his socks have been OTN for so long when I can whip these out :)

On a last note, we watched Lars & The Real Girl Saturday night. You really need to rent it! Super sweet and touching story - and there is even a knitting scene - when the ladies in town come to 'sit' and a few knit and one does Needlepoint.

Hope you had an awesome weekend!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Feeling Introspective

So I'm not normally one to read into everyday situations as a lesson in life, but Saturday I felt like I was being slapped in the face with one, and so I feel compelled to share (it is after all yarn related!) Either that, or I've just been reading Tracey's blog too long - she's big with the analogies!

Last summer on a trip to visit Jake's parents, I bought some hand spun alpaca from a farm up that way. I bought ~9oz, not sure on the yardage. At some point, not having a purpose to knit with the yarn, I decided in a fit of brilliance to figure out my approximate yardage. This was not long after we got back from New York in June. Apparently I didn't do a good enough job in securing the skein before I put it away (of course without actually writing down what I approximated the yardage). A few months ago I found it as a big tangled mess. I set it next to my sewing machine meaning to get to it later (and secretly willing it to untangle magically without human intervention) and it sat and sat. I had to move it to sew up Summerlin Saturday (pics to come later) and decided it needed to be untangled. I started to work on it myself and decided it really would be easier with another set of hands, so I asked Jake if he would help and hold up the skein while I worked on untangling. 'Holding up' didn't really work out, so we found both ends of the skein, and the pair of us sat for nearly an hour to untangle this mess:

In the midst of it (there was really no talking, we were both concentrating on our respective lines of yarn) I realized what an analogy for what is too often my life. I go and create some mess - not always purposefully - and I drag someone else in to help me put the pieces back together. I realize just how lucky I am to have people around me who are always there to help, though I often take it for granted. You see, I grew up as an only child, so selfless-ness is not my strongest suit. I am often selfish and self-centered, not because I don't care, but because putting someone else first doesn't often occur to me because it was always just me. I lived by myself all through college (except freshman year when you are required to have a roomie) because I would rather have space to myself. Writing it out, I rather sound like a narcissist, but my point is, I'm not sure I would be able to put up with me like my friends do, and especially Jake. I guess it's true that people love you for your faults, not so much in spite of them.

When we finished untangling, Jake wanted to weigh each ball - to see who did more (competitive much?). My ball ended up weighing 7 grams more. This means I did more, but really means Jake did the harder portion (all things being equal, the less in the ball, the more tangles there were to undo), which struck me, too, as I often leave the 'heavy lifting' to Jake. Not only things I physically can't do, but sometimes things that I don't want to do because it's dirty or whatever other reason may strike me.

I'm not sure why this particular incident really spoke to me. Maybe because I've been trying recently to work hard on not holding grudges or continuing an argument, just for the sake of proving I'm right (Yes, I'm a Scorpio. Why do you ask?). But more so, I really need to make a concerted effort to be a better friend and a better (to-be) spouse AND be mindful and grateful of the wonderful people I have in my life. Wish me luck! And here's to hoping you all have someone to help you untangle all your messes, too.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!

Hope everyone has a nice long weekend! (or at least a day off, if you are not in a 'weekend off' type of job!).

My plans for the weekend? Well, today will be the sewing of Summerlin (hopefully!) - I washed/preshrunk the bodice and shirt fabric yesterday, so now I just need to iron and sew! I'll wait until it is finished to share how proud I am of my cleverness in the button for the bodice. This evening our friend has a big annual 4th BBQ & fireworks show. And by big, I mean BIG! He and several neighbors spend an ungodly amount of money during a trip to PA to buy fireworks and set of a display that is bigger than a lot of small town shows I've been to.

Tomorrow I have to get back to yard work. I started mulching a few weeks ago, but didn't buy enough so the job is only half done. I also need to tie up the roses that Jake built a small trellis for and clean up a lot of pine straw and leaves that have built up in the backyard garden beds. Saturday will also include some interior cleaning, in preparation for the visit from FILs :)

Sunday hopefully just a small amount of cleaning during the day and then, the best part of my weekend - a 60 minute Aromatherapy massage!! I'm embarrassed to say how long I've had a gift certificate to the Dillards spa, but I'm finally using it. AND, Jake is making dinner, so I can come home from my 4:30 massage and do nothing but relax on the couch and knit the rest of the evening :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Distraction #2

So, last night I wasn't in the mood to do a short row heel and I couldn't stomach more ribbing on Maude, so I cast on for the Summerlin I'm making for Addi. I got both front pieces complete last night, then joined and finished the body this morning. Now I just need to wash the bodice and the fabric and attempt the sewing :) I really love the fishies on the fabric, I just hope a predominantly white fabric wasn't the worst decision in terms of wear ability on a toddler :)

I tore out the two colors on the Cabled hat and started to work again in just the black. I had forgotten how nice the Ultra Alpaca is to knit with! I tried cabling without a needle, but I think I knit too tight to do it that way. When I try to rearrange the stitches, and have to stretch them, the furthest ones unravel. Bummer.

And, in the good luck/good karma department, along with the Mama Llama contest (which I forgot to take a picture of the yarns when I did the Summerlin) I mentioned yesterday, I won a contest on Jess's blog, too! My prize is a sock kit, so that should be fun!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hat no more

Well, not exactly what I had in mind when I pulled out the hat I was working on for Bob to try to finish, but it is being frogged. If you recall, I had the fantastic idea to make the hat two tone. There were two reasons. . . first being Bob is color blind, so having two tone camel/black he'd at least see the contrast; second being Bob lives in one of the coldest places I've ever been, so having the floats inside the hat would essentially make a dual layer hat, so extra warm! Unfortunately, the floats are seriously impacting the stretchiness of the hat and as it is, would not fit anyone much bigger than a 9 or 10 year old. So, I will rip it out. I'm not sure if I'm going to give it another go with two-tone and try to leave more slack in the floats, or if I should just go with a single color. It may go on the back burner for a bit, shooting down my attempt to finish it before they arrive next week. This leaves me down to 3 active projects.. Maude, which the body is three rows from being cast off.. . . Jake's socks, that I couldn't find reinforcing thread for the heel so it will have to do without, and my socks, that I got a new set of (overpriced) needles to continue working, since I broke one of the Size 1s.

The overpriced needles came from a trip to Richmond. Jess, Jen & I took a trip Saturday up to do some wedding dress and yarn shopping. It was a really fun day! We started out at a vintage shop where I found a gorgeous dress from the 30s. Unfortunately, it was big on me and due to the construction (or lack thereof. . it was mostly draped!) I'm convinced the alterations would cost at least as much as the dress and the owners of the shop didn't necessarily disagree (but did give me the name of a seamstress to get an estimate). We wandered around Carytown and stopped at the Yarn Lounge before a yummy sushi lunch. Then we visited the best bridal shop ever (they don't have a website, or I'd link!). The worker was so helpful in telling me how many ways you can modify a dress by ordering it without a train, without tacky sparkles, etc, etc. I found a dress I love there, but it's a smidge fancy. The back is gorgeous, though. The second bridal shop we stopped at was insanely expensive, but I found a bridesmaid dress there that I really really love. It's nearly everything I wanted, the only downside is it was SOOOO big (the sample sizes are big ones!) that I'm having a bit of a hard time picturing how the waist will fall on me in the right size. I'm also not sure it says 'wedding' enough. I truly wish I was more decisive! After dress shopping we stopped at two more shops - The Knitting Basket and Lettuce Knit. Knitting Basket had so much awesome yarn I hadn't seen before and Jess left with some gorgeous laceweight. I left with overpriced needles (that's what I get for picking up something without a price tag and not putting it right back down!) and some elastic thread for the cuffs of Jake's socks. Despite some very reasonably priced sock yarns, I resisted the urge to buy any actual yarn, and I was rewarded with a PRIZE skein in the mail yesterday! I won the April Mama Llama Yarn Club contest and got a skein of Perfect sock in with my club shipment! I'll show pictures of the prize and the shipment when I'm motivated enough to take a picture :)

Have an awesome day!