Friday, December 23, 2005

Now that's ironic Alanis

You may recall the plan I shared with you last week. I was working furiously on washcloths for all of Ian's teachers after I finished the hat for the bus driver. I was delaying the work on the Irish Hiking Scarf since it was nearly half done and a week should be more than enough to finish it.

Here is where I am today, the washclothes finished, tucked into their gift bags with small bottles of lotion and shower gel. The hat also in it's gift bag, and the scarf I had finished earlier I finally weaved in all those ends and packed it up nicely as well. Everything neat, tidy and finished, right? Not so much, the Irish Hiking Scarf is in the black hole portion of the knitting so I'm barely at 3 feet. Avery's teacher will be getting his gift in the New Year instead of today.

Oh and the washcloths and other gifts, yeah well they will be going to their recipients in the New Year as well. You see Ian decided to get very sick around 2 in the morning and couldn't go to school today. Best laid plans of mice and men...yada yada yada...

Naked Stix by 2006 Update

1 washcloth - finished
1 Irish Hiking Scarf
1 Bob the Builder doll
1 Branching Out Scarf
1 pair of Ugg booties- frogged ( I will re-do them at another time, they wouldn't get there for Christmas anyway)
1 figment of your imagination

More on the figment this weekend, I hope...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Strike Stuff

Overall I can't complain too much about how bad my life is because of the transit strike. I live 4 blocks from the Botanical Gardens Metro North station, which will get me to 42nd street. At 42nd street NYU is running a commuter shuttle to help students and employees get where they need to go. Yesterday I was 2 hours late but the kids had a two hour delay in their school opening so I figured that was fine. I got to work just about as quickly as a regular day. So Rinaldo, Tisha and I left at 5:30 to get on a shuttle back uptown. I was expecting a slighter longer trip but nothing too bad.

Yeah, right...

To paraphrase that great thinker Riley [Escobar] Freeman the scene at Grand Central station last night was like, "getting to heaven and finding out that God smokes crack":

The camera phone picture sucks but that was when I was just about at the front of the line. You can only imagine how long it actually was. They had all the Bronx people herded behind these gates for the Bronx shuttles that they were running. The joke is Tisha got on a train as soon as we got there, since all roads lead to Harlem, sorry I mean all trains stop at 125th Street. Once she was happily sitting on her train she heard the announcement that in fact that train was also going to our stop in the Bronx. So why weren't we told of that option? To keep us from sullying the Westchester commuters? I don't know but it was a bit of a tinderbox toward the end. I will say that the Metro North cops and employees were doing a very good job of keeping heads cool and everything as organized as possible.

added later:
My co-worker Gary told me that he heard on the news that they shut the doors to Grand Central around the time I was there. They could not let one more person in, it was that bad.

All my gifts are done except for the Irish Hiking Scarf. I looked at it on the train this morning and thought, "wow, I think I can finish this by tonight" which would be ideal since I really want to give it a good blocking. When I got to work I measured it and it was a whopping 27 inches. Yeah a little over 2 feet. This is a gift for Avery's teacher and has to be given on Friday.

I am so screwed...

I wanted to say something deep and meaninful about the Winter Solstice but Cate did it so much better than I ever could.

Happy Solstice all...light a candle tonight...

Friday, December 16, 2005

Well, it's Friday, let's see how I did:

There are 3 washcloths there, and the yarn for a fourth. Not too bad, that leaves me about a half a day behind. What is that next to them, you ask? The start of a hat, no, no I don't see anything at all. Must be your imagination, yes that's it, a figment of your imagination, a trick of the light. My plan is very specific and there was never a hat mentioned in it so it can't exist.

A bit of a disclosure here, that yellow flower washcloth? Not mine. Maribel made it and since she hadn't used it or given it to anyone she offered it to me to give to the student teacher in Avery's class. You gotta have friends people, knitting friends to be specific.

I have made progress on the last washcloth, since I had the commute from hell this morning. Seriously, I would have had a shorter trip if there had actually been a strike. There was a flood in one of the stations so I had to leave the 4 train, to take a bus to Manhattan to get on the 6 train. This equals me being an hour late, it also equals lots of good knitting time. There's always a bright side.

I've decided at this late hour to join this:

I already planned to have all my projects done by new years this is just an extra incentive. I also declare that the Jaywalkers will not count since I have already called them a 2006 gift. So there.

Here's my list of what I need to finish:

1 washcloth
1 Irish Hiking Scarf
1 Bob the Builder doll
1 Branching Out Scarf
1 pair of Ugg booties
1 figment of your imagination (there is an explanation forthcoming but it's silly so I'll save it)

It's not as bad as many of the other participants so I know I have no hopes of winning the contest. I'm just in it for the fun of participating in something with the word naked in it. Yes, I'm that mature...

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

For Ann

So we bought the house a little over three months ago and this weekend it finally looked good enough to take some glamour shots. I didn't want to bore those of you who aren't interested so I'm linking them rather than showing them. If you're looking for knitting stuff go a little further down.

Here we go room by room:

First up is the dining room, trust me it is never this clean. It's so freaking huge and I still only have my little apartment table but we make a lot of use of the space. When I finally get my mother's piano out of storage it will go in here as well. Next up the living room. I really couldn't get the right angle to show it off. It's a nice cozy space but not too crowded. This picture doesn't show them off as well as I'd like but here are the pocket doors that slide out from the walls between the living room and dining room. My husband particularly loves the mantels above the doorways. Keep in mind while looking at the kitchen and the other side that I was preparing for a party. Here's the staircase that really sold us on the place (oh look it's the husband at the bottom of the stairs, most days I'm sold on him too). I'm hoping to work on restoring it in the Spring. At the top of the stairs is my other favorite thing, our skylight. It desperately needs to be cleaned but it's very pretty even so. Finally the master bedroom and the other side of the room. Don't you love that recessed area that the TV is in? I am not showing the kids rooms or the bathrooms or basement, they're just not that exciting. Homeowning is just as hard as I expected it to be but there is no denying the peace you find in having your own space and plenty of space for 4 people to share.

Where am I on my plan? Not too bad, here's the real finished hat:

I also have a nearly finished washcloth and will begin another one later today.

Stay warm all of you in the cold states, and I hate you to all of you in warm ones...

...just kidding of course.

Monday, December 12, 2005

It was a good weekend, I wish it wasn't over! I am so not ready for work today, but only 2 more weeks and then it's Winter Break. Whoo hoo!

I did finish the hat last night:

What do you mean it's not finished? Actually it came out really cute but far, far too short. So I ripped out all the decrease rows and will add a few repeats to make it longer. I do really love this hat though. I may have to make one for myself. After the holidays of course.

This week it's washcloths, washcloths, washcloths. I have 4 to complete by next Friday but I also have the Irish Hiking Scarf to finish by then. I figure if I can get the washcloths done this week that will leave all the weekend and next week for the scarf.

Here's the plan:

1- Finish the hat tonight.
2-Start washcloth A.
3-Tomorrow finish washcloth A, start washcloth B.
4-Wednesday finish B, start C.
5- Thursday finish C, start D.
6- Friday finish D, it's also my catch up day in case I blow it on any of the previous days.
7-Saturday go back to Irish Hiking Scarf

Seemingly only school personnel are getting knitted gifts this year. That hadn't been my plan it just worked out that way. If I work on anything during the break I may give some gifts for the new year but we'll see. I really want to finish Bob and Branching out before New Years. We'll see if that works out. I don't plan on keeping Branching Out, it's lovely but so not my style. Hopefully a receipient will come to mind when it is done.

We had a holiday party this past weekend. Mostly people from work. So I was in prep mode all day Saturday. We even sent the kids to my mother in law's for the night. I had a great time and I think my guests did too. In fact I was so busy partying that I didn't take any pictures. I did however take tons of pictures of the house just before the party, while the house was still immaculate (a Christmas miracle if ever there was one). Ann's been bugging me for shots of the new house so I will oblige her on Wednesday.

See you then..

Friday, December 09, 2005

Since Cara linked to me today I figured I should show my sad and pathetic progress on my Jaywalker.

Thank you to the Snapple bottle for modeling for me at 5:30 this morning.

I haven't worked on it since Monday so I can only blame myself today for the lack of progress. Although I have to admit that I have decided that it is not just the fault of the size of the needles but also because I am using bamboo needles. I am living in constant fear that I will snap one of them. The kids who were on the middle school tour with us on Monday asked if I was knitting with toothpicks. I'm getting really good at assigning blame on this one.

Of course I'm showing it off because I've got nothing else to show. The Irish Hiking Scarf hasn't been picked up since the weekend and although it's reached about a foot in length it doesn't look that much different than when I showed it to you last time.

The Lady hat, well, I uh kinda ripped it out yesterday, now hear me out before you judge me. I finally got into the groove of the pattern. In fact after continually forgetting a cable needle or a dpn I resorted to cabling with whatever was at hand.

First this:

yes it's a chopstick, I had a pair in the pen cup on my desk...

then this:

a red ballpoint pen

This was going along with varying degrees of success. Finally at lunch yesterday I went here and learned to cable without a needle. This made everything flow so much smoother that it was obvious when you looked at the hat. The first couple of rounds looked very sloppy. I decided since I get it now I should start again, and so I did. Unfortunately I didn't get a seat on the train home last night and then I fell asleep around 9 so I have nothing but a few rounds of ribbing. I'll spare you a shot.

I decided to do Scout's meme. This is my favorite knitting spot in the house:

It's the corner of the sofa, there's good light there, a table in front of me and one in back of me for my tea or hot chocolate and a good view of the TV. Plus plenty of room to put my feet up on the couch (I am incapable of sitting normally on a couch).

Lot's of snow this morning, which translates into shoveling and bus delays I am sure. Oh well at least it's Friday.

Have a great weekend everyone...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Yesterday I decided to take the Jaywalker sock with me to Avery's latest middle school tour (I could practically start my own having seen so many at this point). I am starting to see the pattern but you won't, so no pictures. I was working away on it at the school and on the bus and on the train to work, when it hit me, ain't no way it's going to be done by Christmas. Not 2 of them at least, not at the rate I'm going. So at the end of the day I called Tisha into my office and said, "hey, look at your socks to be, aren't they cool? Maybe you'll have them by your birthday". Thankfully Tisha is a knitter so she understood completely. In fact she laughed at me for ever thinking I could get it done in time. Ha Ha Ha...

By the way I've decided to blame Cara for this. Size 1s, what the hell was I thinking. I avoid size 1s even on socks as much as possible. I'll have you know Maribel has been churning out socks on size 13 needles for the past few weeks! House socks, yes, but socks just the same. Of course I should have remember the sockapalooza hell , when I swore to never do socks on a deadline again and what is Christmas but the deadline to end all deadlines for a knitter.

Last night I went to work looking for another hat pattern for Ian's bus driver. The beret has been ripped out though it was completed. The bind off was just too damn tight no matter what I did. Maribel re-did hers in another yarn and it came out fine. I searched through stash for something suitable but I just didn't come up with anything. Then I found this pattern and I thought that would be cool. First I tried it in alternating colors, blue and red. Nope not feeling it. Then I tried it in this yellow self striping that I got on the knitting cruise but as much as I love this yarn it really is too thin for this pattern (not to mention I won't have enough). I gave up at midnight deciding that I would just do a striped roll brim hat, 2 rows blue, two rows red.

I cast on this morning. I didn't feel like thinking so I checked my Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, estimated my gauge (it's just Paton's classic for god's sake) and checked the number I needed to cast on. 114, huh, really, 114? Ok, Ann Budd I trust you. I worked a few rounds on the train checking how the stripes were working but something was nagging at me, like the fact that it was fucking huge! Ok, yes I'm exaggerating just a bit, and yes it's nobody's fault but my own but damn, you know?

Now here's the thing. I made the nice Suede bias scarf for the matron on Ian's bus. I would like to make something equally nice for the driver who is frankly a sweetheart. She gave us her cell number so we can always reach her and asked for ours in case of emergency. In fact one day my mother in law was waiting for Avery's bus, whose stop is about 4 blocks away. Now she didn't know that his bus had broken down so she was still there when Ian's bus showed up at our house. Alexandra (the bus driver) called her, asked where she was and took Ian to her. She really didn't have to do that and may have even gotten into trouble if her bosses knew she did. I will pause for a moment to say that there were and are contingency plans in place if Avery's bus is late but my mother in law has some issues in judgment when these things happen and she blithely ignored them. Anyway she is deserving of something more than a plain old hat.

While sitting here at my desk actually working, amazingly enough, a little light bulb went off. Didn't Cassie make a very nice, quick, cabled hat a few weeks back. Sure enough she did and here it is. I cast on at lunch. Wish me luck...

Friday, December 02, 2005

I haven't gone much further on the socks. I mean it feels like I've knit about a million rounds on them but I haven't even added an inch, so I will spare you a picture. Can I just mention here that I hate size 1 needles? I have no patience in general so all that knitting and so little to show for makes me want to put the sock down and do something like this:

Now that's a bit of progress there.

I cast on [finally] for the Irish Hiking Scarf. It's coming along nicely. It's a really easy pattern. I only needed to look at the pattern for the first row and the eighth, when you cable, after that I can just go on alone. It's also a bit slow for my taste but I knew that with all the knitting and purling. I am so much slower when I have to switch back and forth within a row. I may end up taking a break from this over the weekend to do a washcloth (I just actually wrote sock, is that guilt?) for the student teacher in Avery's class. She's been leading a "literature circle" that he's in and he is very fond of her. A bit of gloating here, they're reading this as I explained to Avery, the students here at NYU read it as well. That puffed him up just a bit.

Ian had his IEP on Wednesday. Interestingly we didn't know until late Tuesday afternoon. Rinaldo and I were both able to make it anyway and although we were warned that the woman we were dealing with was quite nasty, she gave us everything we wanted so I can't complain. He continues with his full day preschool, 2 sessions of one on one speech therapy a week and he will go all summer. Yay!

Have a great weekend everyone...