Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Weekly Topic #3 - All Hallows Eve Dishcloth Exchange

Every holiday has oddball things available to use for decoration, have in the house, or wear - some things are stranger than others. What's the oddest/strangest/weirdest Halloween decoration you have ever gotten for your home? Or, if you've never had a "wow, did I REALLY buy that?!" moment - what's the strangest Halloween decoration you've seen somewhere else?

Well, to me 75% of the Halloween decorations out there are super bizarre. In particular, I really dislike the horror/dismemberment/blood & guts type of Halloween decorations. It makes me wonder why people purchase these things to DECORATE their living spaces. I just don't see the appeal of skulls with eyeballs hanging out of them, or chainsaws, replete with a generous helping of fake blood and body parts, or life-size cardboard cut-outs of Freddy Kreuger or Jason Vorhees, or Michael Myers. Anyway, one example I can think of: I saw in a drug store (like a CVS or Walgreens), this "bowl," which was supposed to be a "have the kids take the candy for themselves when they trick-or-treat" type of thing. Except...attached to the bowl at one end was a dismembered hand, nice and bloody, bone sticking out the back. And whenever anyone got within 12 inches of the thing, the hand would spring down and sort of slap/grab you. How delightful for the 6-year old who wants a Kit-Kat. :-/

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Speaking of Halloween...

I've never been a huge fan. However, I like to get in the spirit as much as the next person. And who doesn't like the copious amounts of chocolate that this holiday invariably brings?

So I saw this free pattern today on Ravelry and thought I'd share---Dishcloth Pal folks especially, because it's part of our theme for this go-round of the swap. This link will take you directly to the PDF.

I really want to make one of these. This is the cutest trick-or-treat bag I've ever seen. I have a niece who's only 13 months old. But this would be a great, use-until-I'm-14-and-hopefully-too-embarrassed-to-be-seen-trick-or-treating bag. Probably is cheap to make too! KnitPicks Wool of the Andes is only $2 a skein. So you could use 2 strands held together and that would cost about $12 to make. Not bad! If they have the colors, that is....

Monday, September 22, 2008

Knitters' Day Out 2008: A Reflection

First of all, let me get this out of the way:

The Clapotis. 50% of the people there had on one of these, which I presume that they made. Fine. It's a lovely pattern and I like the way it looks. ( I even bought some yarn to make one for myself at some point.)

But...I think if I ever hear ONE more person pronounce it as a Clah-poh-TEE, I think I will punch them. Look people, I realize that it was designed by a woman who (at the time she designed it) lived in France, but COME ON. I am not a anti-cultural slob, either. And I've taken advanced French language courses too. I KNOW it's supposed to be Clah-poh-TEE. But we don't all go around pronouncing hors d'oeuvres the way it's supposed to be pronounced, now do we? I suppose we could use the English translation and call it that. But "lapping water" just doesn't have the same appeal.

Clah-PAH-dis. Ok? Pretend it's Greek instead.

Moving on...

Aside from the Clapotis annoyance, Knitters' Day Out 2008 (KDO) was great. This was the first time I ever made it to KDO. Saturday was gorgeous weather. Sunny and cool.

My friend Marsha did all the driving, and it was four of us from our ad-hoc knitting group that attended (Marsha, Beth, Debbie, and me). Marsha and I took the same classes, which are done in 2 three-hour sessions: one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

For our morning class, Marsha and I had:
Custom Fit Raglan
Carla Sturgis
In this class you will learn to take measurements and fit them into an
equation to create the "custom fit raglan" sweater in the size you desire
knitted from the top down. Prerequisites: Measure accurately and read &
comprehend instructions; previous use of double pointed needles a plus.
Materials fee: $8.00 payable to instructor in class; includes yarn &
We learned to measure and knit a raglan sweater from the top-down.

And in the afternoon we had:
Advanced Finishing
Margaret Fisher
This class is for those who wish to go beyond the basics. It covers a
variety of finishing topics: the tubular cast on and bind off, provisional
cast on, working short rows, grafting, and duplicate stitch. Learn and
practice a potpourri of useful techniques to advance your knitting and
finishing skills.

I enjoyed both classes, but I must admit that the afternoon class was really an intense learning experience. That tubular cast-on is like a dream come true. It's not easy, but the end result looks A-MAY-ZING. I think the next hat I cast on will use this method.

Then there was the shopping! In one of the larger conference hall areas, local yarn shops set up tables to sell their wares. I got some lovely yarn (pictures forthcoming) and I bought the "magic loop" booklet to learn how to knit socks on one long circular. I also bought some hand-turned wood needles in size 7. They are quite beautiful!

Weekly Topic #2 for All Hallows Eve Dishcloth Exchange

So here's this week's topic:

Here in Atlanta, it's finally cooling down, and beginning to truly seem like fall. I sit now with windows open, and the air is cooler than usual, and trees are beginning to change. For me, cool mornings, crisp evenings, and trees in red, gold and orange glory are the very best parts of Fall - What are your favorite parts of fall? How do you know it's truly arrived where you are?

Well, it's still kinda hot up here in Delaware, believe it or not! This week will be in the high 70s, temperature-wise. ACK. But I love that first really crisp fall morning. I love being able to put on a sweater and jeans everyday. This weekend was a mini preview of that, as Saturday morning it was a chilly 50 degrees up in my neck of the woods (we left at 6:30 am to go to KDO; will post about that soon). It was great---short-lived, but great!

The other thing I love about fall is school supplies. No seriously. I love the smell of school supplies and stationery. There is just something about the scent of new pencils and crayons and copybooks, etc. When I was a kid in school and we'd go to like the K-Mart, I'd make a run for the stationery section of the store and ooh and aah all over the packs of pens and markers and erasers...sigh...I miss my Trapper Keeper :-(.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Arrr, Maties! It Be Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Shiver me timbers, it be talk like a pirate day! Aye, I be celebratin' in me own way, on this here blargh...er glob...er whatever ye land lubbers call yer new fangled contraptions....

So put yer eyeball on these here websites and enjoy: http://www.talklikeapirate.com/piratehome.html

ARR! I be SO SURE Anne Bonny looked like this here lass....

Yarr! And in honor 'o this special day, I fed me felines vittels called "Sea Captain's Choice." I told them, "Eat up, me hearties, or else you'll be walkin' the plank!" I considered dressin' the beasts up like this, but I be not ready to give meself up to Davy Jones' Locker yet!

Aye, and if ye scalliwags 'aint got nuttin' better to do wit yer time, I recommend to you this addictin' card game.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


So despite the lack of photographic proof on this blog that would indicate such, I have been knitting --- a lot, actually!

First of all, I finished my Steam scarf! WOO! I had started this back in January. A knitting friend of mine (Elizabeth) found the pattern online and shared it with me and my other knitting buddies. It looks great on paper. But, when you see it knit-up in person. WOW. It just is amazing to see in the flesh (or in the yarn?). What I like best about this pattern is that it's ALL cables. It's total cable-on-cable-on-cable action! A menage a trois...but with cables. There's no space between them. That's part of what I don't like about cable, that weird, flat area between the cables. I think too much, I know.

Anyway, to knit it, I used this absolutely luxurious but affordable (for reals!) 100% cashmere yarn that I got from Cashmeres by Kate (an ebay store) in an ivory/cream color. I just cannot say enough about this yarn except GO GET SOME. It feels gorgeous and has an incredible luster. It seems to glow from within. Here's a couple of photos:

Now I am trying to find the perfect hat pattern to match. I might try to go out on a limb and create a pattern based on the Steam pattern for a hat. A lot of work, but it might be worth it!

Also, I have just finished a Simon Tam (yes, that's the name of the pattern--it rocketh!) to give as my "hat donation" for Knitter's Day Out (KDO). What's Knitter's Day Out? You can read all about it here. So it's this weekend. And I am really looking forward to it! It turned out really nicely, despite using crazy-ass yarn that I hated (Wool in the Woods Pizazz). Here are a few pictures:

It might look a little small on me, but that's ok because I think the hats are meant for kids anyway.

I like the pattern so much, I bought lots of more-suitable yarn to make a bunch of these to give as gifts for Christmas. They knit up really quickly!

Now I am knitting up a scarf for the Red Scarf Project. This is one of those things that you always mean to do and want to do, but you just never get to budget the time for it, and then suddenly it's too late you feel all bad for having pushed it onto the back burner of your life, you know? Yeah. So I buckled down and got this awesome yarn and cast on the other night. I am using Rowan Plaid yarn in the Hearty colorway, which I got UBER CHEAP at Smiley's. I think it was $2.99 a ball! It's a very nice yarn to knit with.

The pattern I chose is one that I actually printed out like 4 years ago when I had just learned to knit. Simple, yet visually interesting. It's a quick knit and it looks really nice with the Rowan Plaid yarn.

What else? I am knitting a Dream Swatch Head Wrap. I'm using the bamboo yarn that my Dishcloth Pal gave me from the last go-round! Lovely stuff to work with. So soft and smooth! I'll try to get a picture of this in-production too. Oh, and I cast on another pair of socks. This time, I am trying it cuff down. The first two pairs that I knit were toe-up. So far, I like the toe-up process better, but we shall see when the time comes to turn that heel....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekly Topic #1 for All Hallows Eve Dishcloth Exchange

Check out the blog of one person you DO NOT KNOW yet who is participating in this round of the swap, and then post on your site linking to their blog and sharing a little something about them - perhaps you two share a love for wooden needles, or are both first-time swappers! Or perhaps you're both into Pumpkins over Witches for Halloween time! Just a quick blurb, but take a look around their blog and get to know someone new! It's nice to leave a comment when you're there, too - we all love some comment love.

I chose Joann P. over at Cape Sox Knitter, mostly because of her answer to question #5 on the questionnaire!

5. I love "stuff". I have all sorts of notions. I love to try out new things. I am also a "bag addict". I buy new project bags all the time. Just can't help myself!"

This oh so totally, utterly like me! I am constantly picking up unique, new notions and just...stuff...for knitting! I am addicted! And also, I have about 5787903465 different bags for kitting. Just like Joann, I am always grabbing a new, funky project bag somewhere!

The other reason I chose Joann is for her love of cotton yarns. And boy has she tried a bunch! But what stood out to me was the Plymouth Fantasy Naturale. Oh man, I LURVE me some Fantasy Naturale. It's a super duper cotton yarn. It's mercerized and a little heavier than the generic "Sugar N' Cream" yarns. It's soooo smooth.

The best thing to make with this yarn is the Fantasy Naturale Market Bag. I've made about 6 of these. LOL It's a free pattern from Plymouth. Here it is.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

All Hallows Eve Dishcloth Exchange Questionnaire

1. Do you knit or crochet? For how long?

I primarily knit. I've been doing it for a little over 4 years now. I can crochet, but I'm not very good at it because I don't do more than a crochet chain every once in a while! It's something I hope to work on in the future.

2. What sort of needles or hooks do you enjoy using the most? Are there some you've been dying to try out and haven't?

I like using Bryspun straights and Addi Turbo circulars. I'd like to try the KnitPicks Harmony wooden ones.

3. What kind of projects do you most enjoy? Small things you can take with you, or big complex ones that are just gorgeous when they're done?

I think I like smaller projects where I can get "instant" gratification, if there is such a thing in knitting! Things like scarves, hats, dishcloths, baby sweaters ---bath mitts are my absolute favorites! I tend to lose steam on the bigger tasks.

4. List one pattern for a dishcloth that you love to make, or just tell us about one you've made or received that you loved.

I absolutely love this pattern: http://www.jimsyldesign.com/dishbout/kpatterns/lacymockcable.html

And I love this one too: http://skullcharms.blogspot.com/2008/06/free-pattern-clover-tweed-dishcloth.html

5. What are your 'must have' notions? Are there any notions you need or can never have enough of? Any that might make you cry if you owned more?

Must haves: dangle-free stitch markers. I don't know how I ever lived without them. I have recently found the need for stitch holders and I have precious few of them right now! I think I lost a couple :(. Too much of anything is never too much! :-) I am happy to receive any kind of notions.

6. What are your favorite yarns to work with? Any you hate or are allergic to?

I love merino wool, cotton, alpaca, & bamboo. I don't mind acrylic if it's mixed with something (cotton/acrylic blends are actually really nice)! I'm not a fan of mohair or any of the furry, eyelash, ladder, novelty stuff. Also, I don't really care for "thick & thin" wool yarn. I find it very difficult to knit with.

7. What colors do you like to use in projects? Any we'd never catch on your needles?

Here's my short answer about colors: Anything but teal.

To elaborate: I like lots of colors! Really, it's more like what colors don't like me! For instance, I love yellow and orange, but they look hideous on me. They are great colors for dishcloths, though and for accessories. I like heathered, natural colors the best. I'm fond of plum, green, all kinds of blues, grays, terracotta, coral, purple, red, taupe, browns and mocha. Nearing the bottom of my list are pastels. Not a huge fan of burgundy either. And --- to reiterate --- I hate, hate, hate teal. Teal should be obliterated from all human existence.

8. Any cottons you'd like to try you can't find by you, or just haven't gotten around to getting?

I've tried tons of cottons and I enjoy them all. Cotton is just such a nice fiber to work with. Always fresh and crisp. I will say that I prefer worsted-weight cottons to the bulky-weight ones.

9. Do you like to use bar soap or shower gel more? What kinds of scents do you love? What kind do you hate?

I generally gravitate towards shower gel, but I'd love any fancy-schmancy soap! Scents: fruits (particularly pear and citrus), green tea, oatmeal & honey, cucumber, lavender. Bascially, fresh and natural scents. I absolutely CANNOT STAND patchouli and I'm not really a big fan of cinnamon all by itself.

10. What's more 'Halloweeny' - Ghosts, Pumpkins, or Witches?

I gotta go with Pumpkins. :-D

11. What's your favorite Treat to get? Sweet or Salty? Anything you're allergic to or just hate?

Oh, bring it ALL, baby! No Twizzlers, though. YUCK. Chocolate, of course, is the BEST. Love me a chocolate-covered marshmallow or pretzel. Fudge is awesome. I love pistachios too. Look, if it's high in calories and fat, I'll probably like it. ;-) Since this is Halloween-themed, I thought I'd mention that I love candy corn and those small pumpkin-shaped candies (which essentially taste like candy corn). YUM.

12. What was your favorite Halloween Costume as a kid? As an adult??

As a kid, hmmm...let's see...my grandmom would always put together neat costumes for us. But one year, when I was about 12, I ventured into the world of costume-making on my own and came up with a pretty convincing Charlie Chaplin. I'd have to say that is my favorite. I can't even remember the last time I dressed up in a costume as an adult, so that is an unanswerable question for me!

13. Are you on Ravelry? What's your ID?

Yes'm! Id is: mirthful

14. Anything else you'd like to be sure your pal knows?

Well, look upon my blog for 5 seconds and you'll probably figure all this out anyway but:
I am a cat freak. I have 6 of them. They are my furry children.
I am a huge fan of MST3K.
I love to collect little hand-sewn, stuffy animals or little carved wood ones or little ceramic ones. I am a video-game geek and just a gamer geek in general.
I think that's about it!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tweet Tweet

Todd nesting at Winterthur:

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


A real email conversation between me and the Assistant Dean of my college (who, apparently, put the "ASS" in assistant):

From: Assistant Dean of Jackassery
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 12:10 PM
To: Waters,Gina
Subject: FW: Course entry request
Importance: High

Gina ~ please approve and forward this closed course entry request to the RO…thank you. [RO is the Registrar's Office]

From: Waters,Gina
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 12:26 PM
To: Assistant Dean of Jackassery
Subject: RE: Course entry request

Hi, Asstard:

Is the student graduating at the end of the Fall? I need to know this. Also I need the closed-course entry form from the student's adviser.


From: Assistant Dean of Jackassery
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 12:27 PM
To: Waters,Gina
Subject: FW: Course entry request

It is a student athlete.

From: Waters,Gina
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 12:30 PM
Assistant Dean of Jackassery
Subject: FW: Course entry request

Hi Douchebag:

Oh ok, well that needs to be on the form or the RO will deny it. Also, I need the student's adviser to send me the form.


From: Assistant Dean of Jackassery
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 12:30 PM
To: Waters,Gina
Subject: FW: Course entry request

I sent you the form…RO will accept.

The student in question is an EDUC major. The Dean in the correspondence above is in the LIBERAL ARTS college, NOT the college of Education. Also? The Assistant Dean has been at his/her job for more years than I have been in my job, which is working towards 6. So...HE/SHE SHOULD KNOW BETTER.

Ok so WTF? Is this person retarded or just being a total douche?

I KNOW YOU SENT ME THE FORM. I HAVE EYES. I SEE THE ATTACHMENT. I need the student's ADVISER to send it to me. NOT YOU. GET IT? The ADVISER sends the forms to me for approval for their students, NOT some RANDOM ASSISTANT DEAN FROM A TOTALLY UNRELATED COLLEGE.

I didn't even bother writing back. I'm not approving it. As far as I am concerned, I need the form from the student's adviser. Period. Nobody cuts me a break, so fuck you.

And while I am off and ranting...WTF is so special (other than that they have 2nd-grade reading- comprehension levels) about student athletes? They get to have everything they want at the drop of a hat. Sorry. Gramma Waters don't play dat. Y'dig?

Monday, September 01, 2008

And The Bloggiversary Contest Winner Is...


Out of 17 possible integers (17 being the total of all the entries, blog posts, and referrals combined), the random number generator selected "11," which happened to be assigned to Katie.

Congratulations, Katie! I'll make sure you get the goods soon! :-)

Many thanks to everyone that participated!!