Friday, December 11, 2009

Hideous Knitting 101

Time for another installment of Hideous Knitting 101.

Did you manage to bag a muppet on your last hunting expedition to Sesame Street? Don't know what to do with the nappy carcass? Might I suggest this?



This lit bit of fuzzy insanity is the

FAST AND FLUFFY TOP-DOWN T-TOP!!!!

Yeah, that's the title as it appears in Ravelry, caps and all. No, I'm not making that up.

It will cost you $4 to learn how to make this atrocity. I'm not making that up either.



My faith in knitting humanity has been slightly restored, as only 2 people have favorited this pattern (one of them ME so I could remember the details for this post). Nobody made this other than the "designer" that posted it. It is, however, in 2 queues. SIGH.

It's hard to tell from the photograph what size this is. According to the pattern, it can be 34, 37, 40, or 43. Ok. Well, even if it was the 34, it STILL looks WAYYYYY too small to fit on any adult, female body that I know of, with the possible exception of Kate Bosworth. But even she couldn't get her bobble head in that opening! Think about it. The top appears to be laying on a tile floor. Most ceramic floor tiles are no bigger than 12 x 12. Well this...thing...is no wider than ONE tile and definitely shorter than 2 tiles. So, it's 12" across the bust and about 20" long from shoulder to hem. Um...yeah.

Hideous Knitting 101 report card:

Style: F There IS no style. It's a misshapen, teeny-tiny t-shirt.

Fit: F Good luck fitting a 34" bust into a 24" top! Maybe this would work as a dog sweater? Poor dog.

Color(s): D It was a sad day down at Fraggle Rock.... The world is your oyster here, so let's go for pseudo animal print so you can look like you ran into a baby leopard and caved it's head in with a club in order to get its pelt. Great choice!

Yarn: D Fun fur should never be used for a full-size garment. Period. But get a gander at her recommendations for yarn: "Plymouth ‘Flash’ or Gedifra ‘Technohair’ and a chunky weight yarn such as Sidar ‘Stampata’, ‘Cossack’, or Plymouth ‘Encore Chunky’. Can also use worsted weight fluffy such as Collinette ‘Silky Chic’ or Gedifra ‘Technohair Lungo’ held together with a worsted weight such as Plymouth Encore or Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran."

Wait, wait, WAIT. Hold the phone. Two things:

1) how is it possible to knit this in the same gauge by using two chunky weight yarns held together OR two WORSTED weight yarns held together? Foul.

2) Cashmerino Aran? Are you freakin' kidding me? Gedifra ‘Technohair’ runs about $6-7 a ball (also, it's spelled Tecno Hair) and Cashmerino Aran runs about $8-9 a ball. So $14-$16 per ball, basically, since we have to hold 2 strands together. And how many balls? Well, we have to buy the pattern to find out! But let's guesstimate; it's fun! It's 71 yards per ball for the Tecno Hair and 100 for the Cashmerino. Most short-sleeved sweaters use 400-600 yards. Since we're combining the yarns here and the sweater is the size of a large postage stamp, let's go with the low estimate and say we'll need 4 of each. So with a combined cost of about $15, we're looking at shelling out about $60 to make this thing. SIXTY DOLLARS. Thank Christ I didn't use the Colinette Silky in the estimate! That's $20 a ball JUST for the Colinette Silky.

"Make sure to buy extra yarn if you plan to make the body or sleeves longer" [No shit, Sherlock!].

Execution: D Is it me or is one sleeve smaller (the one on the right) than the other? And as I've mentioned at least two other times in this post, NO NORMAL, ADULT HUMAN FEMALE CAN FIT INTO THIS. This whole thing screams wanker fartass in execution. Just...bad.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Finished Kimono

I have this up on Ravelry, but just in case, here are the photos of the finished kimono for Shumin. I am so happy I got this done. I hope she likes it.

I thought about threading the ribbons through the eyelet holes in some fashion. But then again, I couldn't think of a good way to secure them in there that wouldn't be itchy or pose some other potential problem for the baby! So I just stuck with the pattern's instructions and made the two bows that tie at the bottom. And I think the ribbon is too wide to fully show through the eyelets anyway.




Also, I busted out the sewing machine tonight and folded over and sewed every edge of each ribbon strand. I didn't want it fraying all over the place. I didn't sew in the ribbons, either. I just threaded them right through the knitting at the seam and then right back through the front on the other side of the seam. That way if the ribbons get skanky, she can take them out and replace them! Yeah, I think too much.



The kimono ties through the eyelet holes that I continued down to the garter stitch. I think it made for a much more organic feel rather than to sew in 4 loose ribbons. It also lays nicely. I'm really happy with how the blocking turned out. Cotton isn't the easiest thing to block!

Just FYI

Here's an informational update on what's been going on!

1)
I finished knitting the newsboy cap about a week ago. Overall, I am pleased with how it turned out. I'm not in love with how the pattern works in the peak part of the cap. It looks a little lumpy. Basically, you knit a piece shaped like a squatty hourglass ---so that, when folded in half, it forms a half-moon shape. Then you sew around the edges. Meh. Not great, but using 100% wool yarn really helped. Wool is very forgiving and malleable for seams. And I lurve the color. Here's a photo:
















Now I have to give it a vinegar bath to set the dye. Any good recipes for how to do this? And will it smell like vinegar for the rest of its life?

2)
Thanksgiving was pretty nice. On the Friday after, though, I came down with a cold. A bad one. I think it was (is) a sinus infection. I had a god-awful sore throat and was tired and achy. I learned from my good friend Jen that honey was anti-bacterial. Another reason for me to adore honey! So I sucked down several tablespoons of honey over the course of the weekend, which really did help with the sore throat. Then my sinuses went ape shit. I called my shitty doctor's office first thing Monday morning and explained my situation. They refused to prescribe an antibiotic for me. Their reason? I hadn't been in for a check-up in a long time. Apparently, the doctor needs me to bring my horrendous germs into his office, let me sit there and wait for 2 hours, to make certain that I spread them around effectively, and examine parts of me that in no way have anything to do with the condition I currently have before prescribing me some Zithromax. Mmm hmm. All an excuse for them to bill my insurance company. And people say that public option health care will be a bad thing?? Don't even get me started.

By Wednesday, my face hurt so bad that I couldn't even touch my cheekbones or eyebrows. Pain relievers, like ibuprofen, only marginally helped. I was taking a decongestant all week, but it would make me terribly jittery and wake me up at like 4:00 in the morning and did almost nothing for the pain. I hardly slept all week. By Friday, I was at my wits end. That morning, I went on the internet to see if there was any viable "home remedy" option to make this sinus infection more tolerable. There was an overwhelming number of recommendations for apple-cider vinegar (also, apparently, anti-bacterial). What the hell, I thought. I'll try it.

There were about 5711 options for what was the most successful concoction to brew up. But I settled on a combination of 2 or 3 that I saw, which was:

8 oz of hot water (like you would use for tea)
3 tbs of apple-cider vinegar
1 tbs honey

This doesn't taste as bad as you might think. It's sort of like sweet n' sour sauce or the duck sauce that you use on egg rolls (minus the MSG, of course). In fact, I kind of like it. How weird am I? :-P

Twenty minutes later, and the excruciating sinus pain was down by about 80%. I kid you not. Moreover, I could breathe without taking any decongestants. Over the weekend, I did this twice a day and today I have nearly zero sinus pain. They only medication I've been using is a nasal spray at night. I think I'll drink it again tonight. Believe me, nobody could be more surprised than I am that this actually works. So sinus sufferers, make a note!

3)
A colleague of mine (Shumin) is having a baby. She's due in January sometime; she's having a girl. on Thursday afternoon, I received an e-mail from one of her co-workers that they are having a little baby shower get-together for her on Tuesday 12/8. Yes. Tomorrow. ACK. The e-mail stated, "if you'd like to bring something small to open, that's always fun, but again, not necessary." Well, I like Shumin. She's very sweet. Buying something isn't a great option for me because, well, at the this time of year, I am BROKE. Which left me 4 days to knit something up. Knitting booties makes me want to stab things. Washcloths? Meh. I decided to do the baby kimono from the Mason Dixon book.

I've made one of these before, for Aubrey about 2.5 years ago. I had a lot of Bernat Cottontots left over in my stash from an epically failed baby blanket project. The color is a light lilac. I went to Joann's over the weekend and bought some ribbon for the ties. Yikes, it was $5.39 for the roll. But I had one of those 50%-off-one-item coupons, so I got it for $2.70ish. Not bad. I finished all the knitting last night and decided to block it. I try to avoid blocking whenever possible because it's such a pain in the patootie. Well it used to be. Then I bought KnitPicks' blocking mats, which I used for the first time last night. And the heavens opened and the angels sang. AMAZING. Worth every penny.

I took a picture of it on the blocking mats:














I hope to get a picture of it too when it's all done. You know, the authors of the book say something like, "It'll cost you more to wrap it than it costs to knit it." And HOW. Today I went to the bookstore to buy a small gift bag, tissue paper, and a card. I get an employee discount of 15% too. Total? $8.29. SIGH.

4)
Next week, I am going to North Carolina with my parents to visit my sister and her family. We leave on Tuesday (12/15). It will be nice to see them all again. I think the last time I saw them was maybe May sometime? I don't even remember. Hopefully it will help put me into the holiday spirit, as I haven't felt very festive so far. I'm not even decorating this year. I just don't feel it. Also, I won't be home for most of December anyway. I'll be at Helene's for nearly a week. Then Todd and I are going to the River on Dec. 22, staying there through Christmas, then going to Manassas to visit Josh & Jen, coming home on Dec. 29.

Hope 2010 will be better. Didn't I say this LAST YEAR about 2009?!?!


Monday, November 23, 2009

DONE!

Hear, ye! Hear, ye!

All the yarn in my stash (give or take 5-7 items currently in use in projects that I can't easily pull out & photograph) is finally up on Ravelry. It was both labor and time intensive, but worth it in the long run!

I actually sold something too. Oddly enough, it was one of the last things I ever expected to sell: 3 skeins of Paton's Mosaic in Bottle Green. But hey! It's a start! I also listed 4 things on Destash, just to see if I get any bites there. Nothing yet. I actually have sold 1 or 2 things on Destash, so people do look there.

I also broke down and got some blocking mats for myself from KnitPicks. Since I seem to veer towards knitting gifts lately, I figured it might be nice to have them look a good as possible! And...I got this sock yarn. Oh boy, is it beautiful.

Stroll in the Tea Party colorway:























YUM

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More Stashing

Last night I put 2 more groups of yarn colors on my Ravelry page: purples and blacks. Man, I have a lot of purple-ish yarn. Tonight I might try to do grays and ivory/white. I have an assload of gray too, I'm sure.

In other news, I decided to knit a newsboy hat. I've been wanting to knit one for a while now and haven't been able to find a decent enough pattern that doesn't require cutting and inserting a piece of plastic in the peak. I finally found this free pattern from Coats & Clark. Unfortunately the pattern calls for crappy Red Heart Zoomy yarn. Blargh. The main problem I have with this yarn is that it comes only in pastel-ish colors. When I think newsboy hat, I don't think pastel. I think brown tweed, army green, denim blue, or charcoal gray, etc.

So I set out to find comparable yarn to use. Gotta love etsy. I found this 100% wool bulky weight yarn in a deep indigo color from Cordova Studios.














I cast on last night and I can tell it's going to be a really quick knit. I'm liking the way it's turning out. My only concern is that the dye is so deep and inky on the yarn that it tinged my fingers blue while knitting with it. I just hope that when it's done, it doesn't dye my forehead blue! But, we'll see!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ravelry-o-rama!

Hey folks! So I finally am getting around to updating my stash information on Ravelry. Took me long enough, I know!

So, I am photographing and cataloging in the order that I have the yarn in my wall-o-yarn shelf --- by color. So far I've done:

Red/pink
Orange/Yellow
Greens
Blues

Now, I also have some random yarn in bags or what-not hanging around and decided to do some of those as well. Just what I could grab nearby.

Which means that I'm about 1/3 of the way done. I need to do this on the weekends when there is nice light coming into the yarn room. At night it might be harder. I really want this to get DONE, but I don't want to rush it either.

I have left to do:
Purples
Black
Grays
White/Ivory
Browns
Pastels
Multi-color

Go over and check it out when you get a chance! I have some stuff listed for trade/sell. I might look into another place to try to unload this stuff. But we'll give it a little time on Ravelry and see if I get any bites.

I'm spent. LOL

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Top Ten Things I Will Never Understand About the Harry Potter Universe

Ok. Don't get me wrong; I fairly enjoyed the Harry Potter series. I hung on my seat while reading certain chapters, wondering what would happen to particular individuals. I was tremendously sad a the untimely passing of Sirius Black. And all of that jazz. But sometimes...I just want to put my fist through the books and call shenanigans!





10. In a world where there appears to be no heaven or hell or any semblance of a religious deity at all, they still celebrate Christmas.

9. Where do all these magical people exist, if not among the "muggles?" I mean I was on board for Diagon Alley appearing out of the randomness of the bricks and the secret train that takes a long, winding journey to Hogwarts. But the Ministry of Magic, which seems to employ about 11 billionty people? The huge-ass Quiddich stadiums that hold what looks like countless quantities of people?

8. There are apparently no child-endangerment laws in the "wizarding world." Wait, forget the wizarding world, in ENGLAND? I find it excruciatingly hard to believe that Harry Potter's life of confinement and servitude "under the stairs" would have gone unchecked for 11 years. Don't even get me started on Dolores Umbridge.

7. Speaking of Harry being emotionally and physically abused by his aunt and uncle (the Dursleys), why on earth would Lily Potter leave her only, infant son --- for whom she sacrificed her own life --- in the hands of her embittered sister and cruel brother-in-law, both of whom she KNEW hated her and her magical existence? I guess living wills also don't exist in the wizard world either.

6. Doesn't Hermione have a freakin' time-turner? Um...can't she take some wizards with her, go back to when Voldemort kills Cedric --- or anyone else for that matter--- and...you know...help stop him?

5. As a corollary to #6: Since there are apparently ways to go back in time to confirm or even alter events of the past, then why is it that no one ever believes Harry when he says that "the Dark Lord has returned?" Every year he exhibits evidence that it's true, either by fighting Voldemort himself, or one of his minions. Yet, with the exception of his closest friends and a few folks at Hogwarts, everyone dismisses him. Isn't he the "boy who lived---" the most celebrated wizard EVER? And now nobody believes him? Right.

4. The Cruciatus Curse is illegal, but Veritaserum is not. So...why do you even HAVE trials of any kind? The whole trial of Harry Potter for using "underage" magic out of school (in Order of the Phoenix) was pointless and dumb. I mean, just give him the flipping serum! "Oh! But wait," you say...! "The serum might be unreliable at times, since some witches & wizards could be resistant to its effects." (That's convenient, huh?) Ok, then what about the Pensieve? Wizards can just use their wands to yank out the memories from their heads and put the silvery, slimy stands into the Pensieve and anyone who dares stick their head in there can see them.

3. Snape. I don't get Snape. At all. Someone really needs to tell him to get a life. Oh, but he's dead now, so nevermind. Yeah, ok, James Potter was a jerk to you. So what? Get over it, dude. Seriously. Don't take out your frustrations on students, particularly the ones who can (and DO) SAVE YOUR ASS on numerous occasions. And that whole story line of him being in love with Lily before she married James was ridiculous, maudlin tripe. He does have some rather funny lines and is amusing in some ways. But I will never understand the cult-like appeal that his character has to the masses of Harry Potter fans.

2. I probably wouldn't call a witch or wizard "stupid" to their face, but anyone who spends their hard-earned Galleons, Sickles and Knuts on the Daily Prophet is a complete moron. How is this the ONLY daily, widespread newspaper that exists besides Luna's and her father's crazy-ass, subversive publication, The Quibbler?

1. Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts. It's painfully obvious to me that wizarding folk need to exist and subsist in the muggle world. How the hell do they pay for things? You don't walk into a bank and say, "I'd like to exchange these 50 Galleons for British Pounds, please!" I suppose it's possible for a wizard to go into a "wizard" bank --- like Gringott's --- and ask for some muggle currency exchange. Fine. But where does Gringott's get the muggle money? The banks are run by goblins, right? So...WTF?

Oh man, ONE MORE THING:
If a wizard dad and a witch mom spawn a PLAIN, OLD, DUMBASS KID, then where does this kid go to school?

Monday, August 10, 2009

In Direct Opposition to Hideous Knitting...

... I give you the cutest bit of amigurumi that I've seen in a long time:

http://taxigirl.deadjournal.com/9402.html

If I had any real talent at all in making little toys and things such as this, this would be on top of the list!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Hideous Knitting 101 --- A Departure

Time for more hideous knitting, kids. This time, I will depart from the standard Hideous Knitting format and instead tackle not just one specific pattern, but a whole genre of knitting (and even crochet): the useless & pointless knitted object that also happens to be hideous. Now, I'm not talking about toys, or knitted animals (which can be used as toys), per se. These objects may very well be "useless" for most, but if you love animals or know someone who would just think a gift of a knitted cupcake is darling (I know I wouldn't mind receiving one), they do have a point and usually aren't hideous, either.

But what I'm talking about this:



Yup. That's what you think it is: knitted poop. In this case, dog poop. This certainly has no use that I can see, so I can't imagine what the point would be.

Because it's funny? Hmm...maybe. But it's not really THAT funny. And it's gross.

And what a terrible waste (haha "waste") of yarn.








How about some human poop?
Here you go! I find it equally amusing and disturbing that people on Ravelry have "favorited" both this pattern and the one above, which are also offered for free if you are interested. And if you are, don't tell me. Because I would have to come hurt you.

Like that she put in on a closed toilet lid for the full effect? Nice.






Here's some more, this time in crochet:
Ah, amigurumi. You know, I normally think amigurumi is as cute as the next person. But don't crochet up some poop and put eyes and a smiley face on it and call it amigurumi.

Poop isn't cute.

Someone should call up the CDC and ask them their opinion on the cuteness of poop.






Ok, ok, lighten up, right? Alright, how about THE ugliest shawl to ever be created by human hands?


















I thought about using this all by itself for a Hideous Knitting post. But really, what can I say that would be any more effective at proclaiming its hideousness than just looking at it. A picture is worth 1000 words, right?

This one must be worth 10,000 words, at least, all of them bad.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Somebody Talk Me Down

So I am letting myself get WAY overwhelmed by a great many things: work (both mine and Todd's), health, knitting, money, bills, my crazy-ass house, cats, weird neighbors, etc. I am at the point now where I an starting to lose sleep with worry over such things. Deep down, I know that there really is no sense in allowing things --- over most of which I really have little control --- to get me all wound up. But, I am a human being, and a female, so I worry.

Several of the things on the top of my list go hand-in-hand. And are things over which I DO have control, or at least should. For instance, take knitting and money. Over the last 5 years since I've been a knitter, I have spent God-only-knows-what amount on yarn and other random knitting supplies, not even counting the stuff that I've bought and given away either as a gift or for a swap. I don't think I can even give a half-way accurate stab in the dark as to how much money I've spent. But I do know that it's a lot. Like disturbingly so. Like "what-the-crap-is-wrong-with-you-that-you-shelled-out-that-much-money" a lot. Gotta be in the thousands. Buying things in general is a weakness of mine (I'm particularly weak about yarn and anything on Etsy) and I need to get it under control.

Now.

I'm sure you've seen a few photos here on this blog about my yarn stash. It's big and it keeps getting bigger. There is no way in HELL that I would or could ever use all the yarn in my stash for knitted items within the rest of my entire lifetime. I'm convinced of that, and I'm not even that old.

So why, oh why, do I KEEP BUYING STUFF?!?

Like yesterday, I went to an online knitting store called LittleKnits and allowed myself to be sucked into buying $55.50 of yarn. It's not a ton of money. But it's still money that I didn't really NEED to spend. What did I buy? Oh, some very lovely stuff: a bag of 10 skeins of Skacel Adagio, which is a llama/silk blend DK weight yarn for $27.75 (I mean really, 28 bucks for all that yarn --- nice yarn --- is a steal) and three skeins of really nice, good-quality sock yarn in some gorgeous colors. Here's one of them. But this is all just sad rationalization. I don't need more sock yarn. I have a lot of it. Too much of it.

I seriously don't need ANY more yarn. Ever. I know this.

As I see it, my issue is two-fold. One, part of the problem is that I get an idea in my head or I see a pattern on Ravelry or somewhere on the Web and I say, "Ooh! I want to make this." So I go and find yarn that I like from some online store when really, I should go up to my yarn room and look there first. Chances are, I already have something suitable. It's just so fun to buy new yarn for a new project. And I probably wouldn't be agonizing so much if I always used what I bought, which brings me to number two: The biggest part of the issue is that 95% of the time, I don't make what I had set out to make with the yarn I purchased. No. It just sits there on my shelves. This is all kinds of wrong.

And I've only mentioned the knitting spending. :-(

With Todd's job being in an indefinite state (one of his bosses passed away about 2 months ago), and our bills being what they are, and our house needing maintenance and such, and the general state of the economy, etc., etc., it's supremely irresponsible of me to spend like I do.

If anyone has any recommendations for spending-reduction techniques that really work, I am all ears! I've tried cutting up credit cards, immediately throwing out all catalogs that come in the mail, I've even deleted my web browser off my computer at work. (This was not a good idea; you'd be surprised how much you need access to the Internet at work.)

I really do want to destash some yarn and some knitting books. But a) there just doesn't seem to be a good place to do it. Ebay is a pain and, as someone who buys from Ebay (and has sold things on Ebay), I know that people won't want to spend what the yarn is really worth. I'm not about to sell 100% cashmere for $5 a skein when it cost me $20. Etsy might be an option, but I'm not a spinner, so none of the yarn I want to sell was handmade by me, which is what Etsy is all about. I've sold a couple of things in the past on the Destash blog, but the market there is really small and there really isn't any buyer/seller protection in place. So where can I go? And b) I find it really difficult to devote the time to properly photograph and research the yarn/books I want to sell and load it up onto my computer and then the Web somewhere. I know I'm lazy; and that's another part of the problem with my destash endeavor having any real success. Again, anyone who has any good idea here, I'm totally open for suggestions!

I'm making myself nervous, anxious, and worried now. I can't write any more. Time for wine.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Orson photo

Ok I went with the second one only because it really was better quality. I will try to get another one soon. One that shows his icy blue eyes better!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Which picture?

I think it's finally safe to say that Orson is a permanent addition to the Waters' family of felines. So, I need to update my header to include a picture of Orson. Which of these do you like better?

Orson 1:












Or Orson 2:











Or should I try to take another photo? He's not easy to photograph. He's the kind of cat that wants to rub his face on the camera instead of stand in front of it and look good. I'm torn. Orson 1 captures his personality better, but the photo is a little grainy. Orson 2 has better photo clarity, but doesn't really say "Orson" the way I know him.

I promise I will post some updates from the last 2 months or so of my absence. UGH. I am so fired.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hideous Knitting 101

Alright, it's time for another exciting installment of Hideous Knitting 101. Today's fashion faux pas is...this...thing:

So my reaction upon seeing this on Ravelry the other day was, "What the fuck?" And after a couple of days thinking about it, my reaction to the above knitted "garment" is still, "What the fuck?" The fact that 4 people "favorited" this stupid thing is a scary indicator that mental illness is now an airborne disease. This pattern, which, BTW, is called "Boyle Apron," comes from a new book called Maggie's Ireland: Designer Knits on Location---a book of the most absurd knitting patterns I have seen in a long time. Not since Loop-d-Loop have I laid eyes upon such nightmares. Want to see a few more? How about this:



Or this apparent Irish tribute to Rabbis?



Or this equally stellar candidate for the "What the fuck" awards? I *think* it's a shawl:


Yes, all these disasters from ONE book. And there are MORE. Lots more. Anyway, back to the Boyle Apron...

Hideous Knitting 101 report card:
Style: F I don't even know. I mean seriously. It's a thing that you cover your crotch with? I remain.
Fit: D First of all, how does this thing, you know, stay on? I can only assume that you tie it on. Second, it has NO purpose whatsoever. Why would you spend the time and money to knit yourself an apron, if you intend to USE it as an apron? Foul. I doubt anybody really would use this as an actual apron. So are we to assume that one would knit this solely for decorative purposes? Uh huh. Sure. I'm going to guess that this is a pricey thing to knit, since they indicated some brand of Irish linen to make it.
Color(s): D WHAT colors? In fact, nothing in the entire book is in any color but tan, brown, beige, white, ivory or navy blue.
Yarn: B Maggi's Knits Irish Linen: 52% cotton, 48% linen. Worsted weight. 126 yards per ball. (Um...Made in Spain!?!? WTF!?) Natural fibers are always a plus. The yarn does come in more colors than just shades of brown, so that's nice. This yarn runs about $8 a ball. Not terrible, but be prepared to spend $48 to knit a useless crotch flap.
Execution: C- It's a long rectangle with some textured squares and some other squares in a different color. Whoop-de-do. Not visually interesting nor awe-inspiring from a technique standpoint.
Just...don't make this. Ever. If I see anyone wearing one of these, I will have to bitch-slap them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's Official!

Cat #6 is named Orson.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Thoroughly Insane...

...on many accounts, not least of which is knitting.

On Friday I decided to knit something for my friend Yuko. She's leaving the USA in July (maybe for good) to go to Southeast Asia (I think Cambodia) to work with Team Boravuth, a group that promotes child education. She's a very sweet, kind, lovely person. All who know her will miss her terribly, but we understand that the work she will be doing is very important.

So I wanted to make her something very nice. Where she's going, I doubt hats and scarves would get much use. Dishcloths/washcloths? Meh. So impersonal! I decided to make her a tank top. I searched on Ravelry for some patterns and decided on this one. I just so happened to have 6 skeins of Patons Grace yarn in a light pink color, which would be perfect both for Yuko and for this pattern. I grabbed the yarn and cast on. I have knit 2 of the 3 bottom repeats so far. It seems to be going ok. Size looks good. Yuko is easy to knit for; she's quite petite. So small is always a good bet.

Ok, well sounds good so far right? Why does this make me insane? Well, we're having a farewell party for her in June. Yeah...so...will I get this done by June?? I realize that it's not even May yet, but I am a SLOW knitter.

I will be spending several days in North Carolina, visiting my sister in early May. Maybe this will be a good opportunity to work on this. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

And for the second bit...

Allow me to present to you cat number 6:



Come on, y'all. How could anyone resist such a face? Here's the short story:

On Saturday, Todd and I were in PetSmart buying supplies for the other beasts. I asked if we could walk by the shelter cats to say hello, which is something we often do. And this cat was there. He just looked up at me and I died in a fire. I went in and held him for a little and just knew that he needed to come live with us. We filed the application and we picked him up last night.

Details:

He's 4 or 5. We checked his teeth to be sure that he wasn't really like 17. He's a Snowshoe mix with light blue eyes. He only has 3 toes on each of his front paws, which actually looks really adorable! He's fairly large, but not enormous. I think he weighs 13 pounds. He's super chatty, very "chirpy," friendly and lovable --- very lovable. He likes the other cats, even though they aren't too fond of him yet. Well, Titus is fine with him and, believe it or not, so is Sophie. But the other three (particularly Fi Fi and Luna) aren't happy. Give it a couple of days though, and he'll start smelling like the rest of them and I think all will be O.K.

He had the most GOD-AWFUL name that could ever be given to a pet ever: Sudoku. I have NO idea who decided that would be a good name for him. But it's got to go.

So what to name him? We're still tossing around some options, which include the following:



Orson, Caesar, Henry, Wolfgang, Ivan, Oscar, Julius, Ash, Teddy, Vulcan, Cupid, Kuma, and Todd's offering...


Lando Catrissian.



But I don't know if any of these names really suit him. Although Lando Catrissian isn't half-bad! I was pretty much dead set on either Orson or Henry when I first started thinking of names for this little guy. Any one of those up there is most certainly better than Sudoku! RETCH.

On the way from the car to my office today a name suddenly occurred to me. One which was perfect for his personality and his look and which would fit in really well with the names of his siblings.

So what do you folks think of...


Romeo?











And don't you just lurve his widdle feets??? Me likely. :-)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Check-In

So I just wanted to report that my WW weigh-in yesterday showed a .4 gain. Grrr. Not disastrous, but still annoying. It's obvious that I cannot waiver AT ALL from the prescribed set of daily points I am allowed. We're supposed to get 35 "flex points" a week to use (or not use) at our discretion. Yeah if I get anywhere NEAR using them, I don't lose a thing and this week showed the half-pound gain. :-(

Someone at work told me about watching the Biggest Loser or that she saw a magazine article about a woman and her fiance who went on the show. The woman lost 107 pounds in 6 months. W.T.F.? So that's like 18 pounds a month. That's insane. Of course, she had a nutritionist and personal trainer with her all the time. So that explains a lot. But how is this woman going to cope with that? I mean, after the personal trainer goes away (which he will because, hey, he goes where the TV show sends him) and the nutritionist too, what will happen to her? How can someone sustain that kind of extreme weight loss over just a 6-month period? It's really setting people up to fail. And that makes me sad.

So really, I can't complain about my 5 pounds a month loss.

Anyway, enough of that.

Todd told me last night about a woman named Susan Boyle who appeared on Britain's Got Talent and how she brought the house down. I hadn't heard about it. On our local news radio channel this morning they talked about her too. I asked Todd to find me a link to the performance so I could see what the big deal was all about.

OH. MY. DOG.

Grab a tissue box and enjoy:



Tonight is Lost and I am looking forward to it, as usual!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Great Shoe Purge of 2009

To be soon followed (hopefully) by the merciless razing of the spring wardrobe!

Anyway, for those of you who don't use Facebook or know me on there, I wanted to mention here that this past weekend I did a major purge of my shoes.

Here's the problem with me and shoes. Well, ok, with me and every frickin' thing:

Firstly, I. like. stuff. I can't help it; it's in my nature. Secondly, shoes are more complicated than one might think. In fact, let me explain what caused the Great Purge.

Back in 2000 (or possibly 1999 URK) I bought a pair of heeled, loafer-ish shoes to wear with pants. They were black patent leather and had just the right heel height and heel thickness that I like. They looked nice and fit great. As you may well imagine, wearing these shoes over the course of 9 years or so caused them to wear the hell out. This wear and tear actually started to show in, say, 2003. So sometime in 2003 or 2004 I decided that I needed to buy a replacement for these shoes. I bought something. Meh. Not ideal. A few months go by and I bought another pair of shoes. These are worse than the other replacement pair. A year goes by, and I bought another pair.... You can see the trend here? So what ends up happening, in many cases, is that I end up with 4 pairs of shoes, when really it should be one. AND I never actually got rid of that FIRST pair. I'd say that over the last 15 years or so, one out of every 10 pairs of shoes I have ever bought have been ones that I love to wear and are my "go to" shoes for specific occasions. The rest just accumulate in my closets, plotting my demise.

Well my loafer buddies REALLY had to go. The soles had deep gouges in them and the heels were worn down. The stitching on the top was coming undone and fraying badly. They looked like I took them out of a trash heap. I couldn't in good conscious purchase any more shoes until I seriously took stock of what I had and got rid of the crap.

Here's the result:

8 pairs are going to Goodwill (Several of these I NEVER wore. One pair, I don't even remember buying.)
1 pair went to Donna because they were too big for me. AND...
23 pairs went into the trash.

Yes...TWENTY-THREE.

So all told, I purged 32 pairs of shoes from my closets. That's a lot o' shoes.

I did, however, purchase 6 pairs of shoes over the weekend to replace what got thrown out. I think for me I have to start choosing quality over quantity with shoes. I can't buy the $15 shoes at Target or Payless anymore. I'm not saying I'm going to start spending $400 on a pair of shoes. I can't (and won't) do that. But $60, yeah. This is what's nice about stores like Famous Footwear. You can buy $75-$100 shoes for $40-$60. So that's what I did. I'm so looking forward to my new purchases! These, these and these in particular.

I Hate It When...

...I do dumb things. Here's the latest and my not-so-greatest:

Part the firste:

Sunday I spent Easter at my parents' house. It was a lovely day and I was in a great mood too. My dad cooked up a storm; and made probably the best roasted chicken I've ever had. He seriously outdid himself.

I brought my pysanky with me to show my parents. Because he's Highlander, my dad is interested in all kinds of creative activities. Naturally, he has a wide variety of paints and shellacs, so I figured I could put the clear coat on it to make it nice and shiny and better preserve the dyes on the egg. He pulled out a water-based clear coat made by Minwax, I think. Awesome, right?

WRONG.

I basically totally destroyed my pysanky. It was too painful to take pictures of it to post here, so suffice it to say that it's...really bad. The clear coat caused all the dye to run and it's now a ruin. I was nearly despondent for the rest of the day. Why didn't I test it on the bottom in an inconspicuous area? Because I'm an idiot. And I was excited about glazin' it all up and just rushed right in. And the thought that a water-based clear coat would re-activate all the dye and cause it to run honestly never occurred to me. Nearly 5 hours of work went down the tubes in 30 seconds. And I really liked how it turned out. Sigh. SO depressing. I guess I'll try it again next year. :-/

DURP DE DUR!


Part the seconde:

So after the food frenzy yesterday, it was back to the yogurt, pretzels, and apple today. Only...I wasn't feeling the pretzels. You know? Of course you do. So I went to the bookstore to seek out a moderatly healthy, point-friendly-yet-tasty snack to consume with the yogurt. That's another thing: I can't just eat yogurt. I absolutely HAVE to have something...else with it. Something crunchy or crispy; something to CHEW.

I stumbled upon something new! A rather large box that had a Fiddle-Faddleish, sweet popcorny kind of thing in it. I winced as I started to read the nutritional information and... it was pretty good! There were 5 individual bags in the box, one serving per bag. Each serving was 120 calories, 2.5 fat and 5 fiber. So only 2 points in my world. DING! I bought the box. It was $3.49.





Here's a picture of the dreaded box of delusions and lies.








I get back up stairs to my office and open the box. "Hrm...," I thought to myself. The bags within were TINY. Like airline-snack-size tiny. You could have put at least twice as many bags that size in the box they were in. I felt the contents of the package from the outside and then said out loud, " Oh, COME ON!" Seriously it felt like there were 3-4 small clusters in the package. I opened it and confirmed my suspicions. I should have put the pieces in a measuring cup (yes, I do actually have a set of measuring cups at work, thank you very much!). I'm positive that it was no more than 1/4 cup of stuff. I was so pissed off. How'd it taste? Well...ok. Basically like Fiddle Faddle but with a cranberry edge to it. So totally NOT worth 2 points. I'm the kind of person that likes to get a lot of "bang for the buck" with my points. And that just totally left me shocked and dismayed. In fact...I remained.

So don't buy it!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Lots to Tell

Let me update you all on what's been going on over the last few days.

First of all, here are pictures of 3 pairs of the socks I've made!













Hope you can see the tubular cast-on in the second photo.
Time consuming, yes. But also, SO worth the effort!

More!













More!











These striped kind of weirdly, but whatever. The balls were from the same dye-lot, so I have no idea why they look so different. I still like them, though!





Saturday 4/4:
Awesome Pysanky Day at Beth's

Saturday was a super day that started with learning how to make Pysanky, Ukrainian decorated eggs. Thanks to Beth's excellent instruction and vast variety of supplies, my very first pysanky was a success. Here are a couple photos of the finished egg. Note: my digital camera is NOT cooperating at all. I took these with the Photo Booth application on my MacBook.











This is an oak leaf and acorn pattern. All aspects of the egg's design I drew on first in pencil, then again in the WAX. OMG I was so nervous when I applied that wax for the very first time. I think this went through 6 different waxing and color dipping processes. First was yellow, then green, orange wash, orange, brick, and black. It was so cool to see the egg come together at the end with the final black dipping. I still need to apply some sort of clear high-gloss sealant. I'll get around to it...eventually. Again let me apologize for the craptastic pictures.














Sunday 4/5: Sakura Sunday

An extremely fun day with may friends in Fairmount Park at the Japanese House and Garden and the Horticultural Center. The weather was absolutely fabulous, too. Here's a picture of me that Katie took.

Come on now, you know I HAD to have one of those hats....


Tuesday 4/7: A Heartwarming Surprise

First of all, I had my weigh-in on Tuesday and I am happy to report that I am down another .8 pounds. So this brings the total to almost 12 pounds. S.L.O.W. but at least it's coming off, right?

It also happened to the first Tuesday of the month, which is one of our scheduled knitting nights at the Barnes & Noble in Exton. I hadn't been at one of these meetings in quite a while. In fact, I think the last time I had seen anyone was back on Groundhog Day! So I was really looking forward to knitting with my friends.

Once a nice group of us had arrived, Pat announces that they have a little gift for me --- a sort-of "fuzzy hug" from all my friends. My lovely knitting comrades noticed that I've been a little sad as of late, particularly since the loss of Mr. Chesterfield back in November. When I opened the bag I was greeted with a divinely gorgeous hand-knit scarf made from Noro Silk Garden and a card signed with a sweet personal message from each person. Every one who signed the card knit a part of the scarf! I think this is the most thoughtful gift I have ever gotten. I love handmade things and this fantastic scarf really was knit from the heart from all my dear friends.

And I have been more than a little down in recent months. This scarf was truly a testament to the power of real friendship and how important it is to never forget those who really do care about you. Some photos:




This is probably the best representation of the colors.






I wore it today (all day) at work and received many compliments, naturally. It is absolutely stunning. I really enjoyed telling everyone how all my friends made it for me.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Please Stop Raining! Please?

I don't think I can take another soggy, dreary, soaking-wet day. My morning commute was ridiculously bad today. It's always the days that Todd is off from work and I have to drive in that have THE worse weather. Like today; today it was pouring rain. And I absolutely HATE driving in the rain.

I'm really looking forward to egg-making tomorrow! Even if I do have to drive in the rain, I don't care. It will be early enough that traffic won't be too frustrating, especially since it's a Saturday morning. Speaking of things "Easterish," Look at this adorable pattern I saw on Ravelry this morning: Bunny Nuggets. Are these not the cutest things?? Oh and it's free! I might try my hand at knitting a few. They seem to be pretty simple to knit --- kind of like a cat-nip toy. God, I love Ravelry, seriously.

So last night I attempted to cast on socks toe-up. Oy. Back story: I made 2 pairs of socks (the first 2 pairs ever, as a matter of fact), a couple of years ago doing them toe-up. I decided after the second pair that I would try doing it the other way, cuff-down. And I've knit about 4 pairs of socks this way in the last 6 months or so; three of those pairs in the last 2 months. Anyway, I couldn't remember why I decided to start knitting socks cuff-down.

Now I do.

Sweet Jesus, that toe cast-on is a nightmare. I've seen a couple of different cast-on methods and none of them are very intuitive or easy to maneuver. I tried one that I hadn't seen before, where you cast-on 12 stitches, knit across them, and then you pick up 12 stitches from the back so that you have 24 stitches on two needles that are parallel to each other. Then you start increasing every other row by doing a KFB 2 stitches from every end. Yeah, I don't recommend doing it this way. Picking up those 12 stitches punched me in my soul. I tried it 3 times. And not only is it hard, but I don't like the way it looks either. I've heard of something called "Judy's Magic Cast-On," which is supposed to make this toe-up cast on much easier. So tonight I am going to try it again.

Why am I even bothering to do toe-up socks again when knitting them cuff-down is infinitely easier?

This yarn.

I bought that yarn back in September and it's been sitting in my yarn-storage cubby ever since. It stares at me longingly. Sometimes, at night, I can hear it whispering my name....

I thought I could maybe cheat and just knit it cuff-down, starting with the outside of the ball, instead of pulling from the center. But I don't have enough sock-knitting experience to be able to gauge how much yarn I have to knit the leg before I have to start the foot. I thought there might be a picture of the finished product somewhere on line, so I could figure it out that way. Nope. And with this yarn, you really want to use every lovely inch of it. So toe up it is. Sigh.

The sock I cast-on last night was with some random sock yarn I got really cheap from etsy. I didn't want to test the cast-on process with the real thing, so-to-speak. I hope I get a least a little comfortable with the cast-on. I really want to make these socks. If, for no other reason, to stop the yarn cakes from their distressing and inconsolable weeping in the cubby. They're starting to upset the other yarns....

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Welcome April

Happy April Fools' Day. Incidentally, I hate April Fools' Day. This is probably because I hate practical jokes and pranks. I think they are hurtful and mean-spirited. Remember the TV show Crank Yankers? Or the current MTV trash called Punk'd? God those shows make me want to tear my eyes out. I absolutely despise that kind of humor. I just do not see what is so hilarious or awesome about embarrassing people or making them seem gullible or stupid. Even worse is when the "joke" makes the person really upset or terrified. How is that even remotely funny? I hate anything that involves false pretense, even if it is in jest, or the end result is pleasant. Not that I don't like nice surprises; I just don't like being lied to, I guess.

Or maybe I'm just a curmudgeon?

So weigh-in yesterday was a success! I lost 2.2 pounds over the last week, which brings my grand total to 11 pounds. I did get my 10-pound ribbon, which was nice. Although the weigh-in lady gave it to me, so there wasn't any celebrating or "way-to-go" encouraging applause from my group or leader, which kind of sucks. But whatever. I finally feel like I am able to see the loss a little. Especially around my face. Eleven pounds really isn't a lot of weight, but it certainly is helping me continue forward.

I forgot to mention that I'll be headed to my friend Beth's on Saturday for a "Make a Ukrainian Egg" party. And I am totally looking forward to it. Check out the ones she made a couple of years ago. Aren't they amazing?? I can't wait. I'm not a religious person at all, so Easter is kind of a whatever holiday for me. But I do like being creative, so these decorative eggs are right up my alley!

I'm kind of hankerin' for a yarn/knitting swap. But it looks like the Dishcloth Exchange and Secret Pal are dead. I've heard of a coffee/yarn swap that's supposed to be good, but I haven't been able to find any current info about one. A group on Ravelry was doing a "cats & knitting" swap, which would be great for me. But I think I missed sign-ups (deadline was March 30) and I wasn't sure about what the actual parameters of the swap would be. I mean they did have a spending limit and a list of items that should be included, but I think some charity-type knitting for cats was involved, which I think is GREAT. However, they didn't say exactly what we'd be knitting. So going into that blind is what held me back from signing-up, I think. Maybe now that spring is here, the swaps will start up again.

Speaking of knitting, I just bought way too much sock yarn yesterday. Noro Kureyon Sock. It was 45% off at Little Knits, and I just could not resist that deal. This yarn is usually about $19 a skein and I got it for a little over $10. Granted, there are a few websites that sell it around $14-$15 a skein, but Little Knits had the best deal, the best color selection, and I got free shipping too, so I couldn't resist. I also got two US size 1 (2.25mm) 11" circular needles. I usually work on 5" DPNs (an invention of the gods) and Addi Turbo 12" circulars (another invention of the gods). But it's hard to get Addi Turbo in that US size 1, 2.25mm. They make them, but they are not readily available. Addi's standard size 1 needle is actually a 1.5 in the US (2.5 mm). So anyway these 11" true-size-1 needles were a welcome addition. They are some brand I never heard of (HiyaHiya), but they are almost half the price of Addi Turbos, so that's a plus. Also, this brand makes a 9" circular! I HAVE to try these, but they were sold out in the sizes I would want.

Now I just need to get rid of some of the crap I have. I'm just so freakin' lazy. I really should be taking pictures and de-stashing. Maybe this weekend? Uh-huh. Sure.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Done!

I think it's done. And actually, it's better than before, I think. I cleaned up some links, removed dead ones, added new ones. So I'm pleased as punch...for now.

Tomorrow is weigh-in day. I hope I have a better result this week than last week, in which I actually GAINED a pound. Not sure how. I did everything to the letter.... Anyway, I think tomorrow will show a loss. I mean, I FEEL like it should. Does that make sense? Look all I want is my damn 10-pound ribbon! Is that too much to ask?!

Anyway, here's a funny and cute little video that Todd's friend Dan sent me:



You know that if we had a cat door that led to the outside, we'd have about 73 squirrels running amok in our house.

Slowly...

This dumb blog is coming back together. I finally got the header the way I wanted it. Yes, those are all my beasts. I figured, since the blog does have the word "menagerie" in it, then I should probably include pictures of my animals, unusual and sundry as they are.

Maybe tonight I will work on getting back the 8375675465902 links that went missing from the sidebar.

In other news...I hope this will be a short week. The Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Festival's big finale day is April 5. I'd really like to go this year, since I've missed it for the last 2 years. The weather has been pretty crappy for the last 2 years. Since the events of the day take place outside, with limited activities inside (the Horticultural Society building), when it rains EVERYONE piles into this small building and it's just...not pleasant. So let's pray for DRY weather. I don't care if it's cold outside. Just no friggin' rain, please.

Today was the first day of spring classes where I work. It hasn't been too infurating so far. My extra-pointy trident has not had to make an appearance, yet.

More later!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

RAGE TIMES A BAJILLION

OMG I am ready to rip all my hair out in utter frustration.

I tried to change the template of this stupid blog. And I did as they recommended and downloaded a full copy of the template, just in case I screwed something up.

Well I must have screwed something up because when I tried to get back all my links in the right sidebar, I discovered that they are all gone. I don't know what happened to them, or even if it was my fault. It probably was.

Thankfully, I was able to find a cached copy of my blog through google and I saved it. It will be tedious for me to put in all those links again, but at least I have them all now. I couldn't even remember half of them.

I'll have to add them all tomorrow. I'm just so freakin' tired now....

And my quick editing option isn't working.

RAAAAAAAGE.

God, I hate you , Blogger.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lost Sleep over Lost -- Addendum

Ok I was wrong. LOL I did watch that episode last night --- well, the cave part anyway. And it seems like Jack is sure that one of the corpses is a woman. Oh well, so much for 4:00 am revelations!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lost Sleep over Lost

Ok so...Lost. Oh my DOG.

Without giving anything away of the explosive (literally and figuratively) last 5 minutes of Lost's episode last night, let me just say that it sparked a restless night's sleep, to say the least. My brain just would NOT wind down. I had a very difficult time getting to sleep because my head was full with so many thoughts, theories, questions, etc.

At about 4:00am, I was jolted out of sleep with a Lost "epiphany." I decided that it was a good idea to yell it out loud, scaring no fewer than 3 cats in the process and greatly confusing one husband.

Me: "I know who's in the caves! The dead people in the caves. It's Ben and little Ben. They are in the caves!"

Todd: "...You picked a weird time of day tell me that."

Me: (fully awake now) "Sorry! I just had to get it out of my head. I need to see that episode again when they find the corpses in the cave."

Todd: "...hrmumphsll tooby flmph.... ZZZZZZzzzzzzz"

So today, I went online to see if I could find the episode. It's there, "House of the Rising Sun," from season one. But I had to download some plug-in in order to watch it, so I didn't. There is a website I like to go to called Lost-Media.com and they have fairly-decent screen captures of all the episodes...except that one. RAGE.

They only have one shot of the corpses, and you can only see one of them in there. We have all the seasons on DVD, so I will just have to rewatch the episode tonight. However, they DID have most-excellent shots of Jack, who just prior to finding the deadlings, yanked his shirt off to prevent being stung by a swarm of angry bees. Observe:


Um, Jack should never be allowed to wear a shirt. Ever. Srsly.

Anyway, in retrospect, I think my stupendous, 4-am revelation is probably wrong. I seem to recall Jack referring to the 2 people as "Adam & Eve." But I need to know WHY he called them that. Maybe it was only because one was smaller than the other, in which case, my theory could still be right. But if he could make that determination by the pelvis or something...well then...nevermind. So I have to rewatch it.

Yes, I am obsessing.