Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"It takes a village to freak out non-knitters...and there is strength in numbers. "
- The Yarn Harlot

Monday, February 27, 2006

Since I kept you occupied with knitting olympics stuff this weekend, and let's face it I'm lazy, I'm phoning in my post today. Thanks to The Spinning Goth for a Monday meme.

Open up your MP 3 player, set it to “shuffle”/random play, and list the first 10 songs that come up. No matter what they are. Ready? Here we go…

1 - Stealing Rosemary - The Bangles
2 - Hard Times - Queen Latifah
3 - Tattooed Love Boy - The Pretenders
4 - Cup of Coffee - Garbage
4a - I've Got 2 - Big Bird & Oscar the Grouch (I have some of the kids' music on it for the car)
5 - Fernando - Abba
6 - The Boogie Hat Be - Black Eyed Peas
7 - I Hear the Bells - Mike Doughty
8 - Porno Star - Motley Crue
9 - The Message - Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five
10 - Edge of Seventeen - Stevie Nicks

I don't typically tag when I do meme's but I've got two fairly new bloggers who should suffer a bit. Maribel, Angelia you're it...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Podium Shot

I'm amazed. I finished it and it looks good damn it. Alpaca does block like a dream. The scarf does have a large flaw. One end is curved and the other is straight. You can see it if you look closely. I may wet the end and re-block it. I may not. I tried really hard to fix it when I was blocking yesterday and I couldn't. What I should have done was block from that end first. Live and learn. The pattern is so pretty I don't think the flaw will attract much attention.

I've decided to give it to my aunt when I visit her. Her birthday will have just passed when I get to Iceland and I'd like to give her something special. I may do Odessa to go with it, not that they match but in the same yarn it could work. I have enough on my plate at the moment though. Odessa will have to wait regardless.

My review of the pattern? Overall it was good, although I couldn't have done it without the print out that Lisa shared with me. She broke it down row by row, in columns. This way I never confused which direction went for which row. It irritated me that I had to be such a slave to the pattern, literally reading every stitch for every other row. On the other hand there was a great sense of satisfaction as I finished each repeat. Will I do lace again? Yes, I will but never again as my primary project. It's too intense. As for Kathleen's question, yeah I do think Charlotte is next but it will be the kind of project that may take a year to finish.

Thanks for all the support and cheerleading. It helped a lot when the outcome was questionable. Congrats to all my team mates on Team NY (who's button has mysteriously disappeared from my sidebar), Team Iceland and the US Swearing at Lace Team. You're all winners just for particpating, the finishing is actually just icing on the cake.

Enjoy your Sunday...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

...ssh...the lace, she is blocking...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Olympic Knitting

Betcha thought I wasn't going to pull it off. There were questions earlier in the week but it suddenly started to come together. I'm not going to lie, I have a repeat or two to go and a small issue with the previous row that I need to tink back but I think she's looking pretty good:

My plan is to finish tonight (I left it home so I could deal with the lack of a stitch in the row on my couch rather than the subway) and block the hell out of it this weekend. Either way there is no reason I shouldn't have it done by Sunday.

Now I was walking around yesterday feeling pretty damn good about myself. I mean I never finish things in time for a deadline, or at least if I do it requires a lot of last minute late night knitting and here I am totally on schedule. Yup the ego was pretty big yesterday. Then I went to my finishing class.

I was pretty excited about class last night as it was about blocking (also short row shaping and kitchener but blocking was what had me interested). I do block but not often and very informally. I wished I had blocked the Irish Hiking Scarf better, hell I wish I'd gotten a better picture of it but whatever. So the teacher brings out the lace scarf she is working on to talk about blocking and oh my it's Branching Out. So I mention to her that I am doing the same one and I pull it out. The scarf gets oohs and aahs from my classmates but the teacher (and the shop owner who was sitting in) were quiet. Ok, I figure they've seen better I didn't think much of it. Then she begins to show how when you pull the lace firmly you can see the pattern better. Now hers is huge. Much wider and longer than mine. It was done on much larger needles and was much more open than mine. It was more defined than mine when I started on the 10s but big and holey. I envision the scarf as being far more delicate but it's a nice version. I showed that mine was not very defined and then the criticism came. "I really would have used a larger needle" (the teacher) and "the yarn is far too fuzzy for lace" (from the shop owner). Now let me say these are very nice women overall but I was really hurt. If I was more of a novice I would have been devastated. The teacher did quickly put in that it will be a lovely scarf none the less but damn.

So now not feeling so good about my scarf. I can't lie that the fuzziness hasn't been bothering me a bit but the yarn on the ball is not fuzzy. It gets fuzzy as the scarf is worked on, especially after all the frogging, but the definition is definitely not there:

not a great shot but you get the idea

I've heard that Alpaca blocks beautifully so I'm still hopeful but seriously I think they could have been a tad more diplomatic in their comments.

Whatever dude, I'm gettin' a medal...

Have a great weekend everyone...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Shameless Filler

Please do not ask about the Olympic Knitting, really please, ok?

Here's the deal. I'm a bookseller (so is Maribel but that's neither here nor there). As a bookseller I get a free (well my job pays for it) subscription to Publisher's Weekly. Every three months or so they do these preview issues for the upcoming season. Every preview issue seems to have more and more knitting related books in it. I've decided to show you a few. Now the magazine is really just ads so I can't tell you anything about them. I will link to them so you can see what they look like and any information they may have out on them but I have no idea how good they are or bad for that matter. Just some stuff to check out in the upcoming months:

Beyond the Scarf : 15 Simple & Fun Fashions You Can Knit

One Skein April (although the website says it's available now)

Sexy Little Knits May

Lion Brand Yarn: Just Bags 30 Patterns to Knit and Crochet June

These are the ones I liked the most. There's also 2 or 3 books aimed at the tween or teen market and of course a few more beginners books, 'cause you can never have enough of those.

I ran into this article today. It flipped me out to learn that thanks to us (and the crocheters of course) yarn is a billion dollar a year business. I find that amazing. Of course with the price of some of the high end yarns I really shouldn't be I suppose.

This has nothing to do with anything but I know many of the bloggers I read have small dogs and this news story was something I wanted to share with you.

...what was that? Olympic Knitting, I'm sorry we must have a bad connection, you're breaking up...talk to you later...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I started this post yesterday but holidays being what they are I never actually got back to it. I did manage to finish the Chunky Cabled Purse in time for my student's birthday. I am frankly amazed at how well it came out:

Nice right? I am feeling pretty damn good about my mad skilz right about now. Tishana (the student) literally squealed when we gave it to her. She didn't even realize that I had made it, at first. She loved it more after finding out. She was thrilled because now she didn't have to buy a purse for Spring Break when she goes to Florida. Yes, she is that young...

If lace knitters are the figure skaters of the knitting olympics then I hit the ice pretty hard this weekend. On Saturday I was looking at the scarf and realized there was a fairly large problem:

Now I knew that one of the holes was bigger than it should be but I kept telling myself it wasn't that noticible. As I went further and further along however there was no denying it. On Saturday morning even Rinaldo had to comment on it:

So I had to rip back about 5 repeats. I have to say it hurt like hell. I worked on it as much as I could on Saturday so I could at least get those five repeats done again by the time I went to bed. Which I did.

I haven't done much work on the scarf since then because we decided to take a trip to Massachusetts on Sunday. I've decided lace knitting and riding in the car do not go well together so the scarf stayed home. We drove up with the cousins to visit Tashie at Mt. Holyoke. I'll share some pictures of the trip later in the week but I had to show you that Tashie's little sister Zeyda is a big fan of Clapotis:

She was feeling a bit cold in the dorm room so I let her use it to keep warm. Interestingly on the way home Ian also used it as a blanket in the car when he got a little chilly. That Clapotis, she is so versatile!

Have a good one!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Dude I Won a Prize!

I am not a person who likes surprises. For one of my birthdays a surprise party was planned and those closest to me knew that was not going to go well for the person throwing it. So they told me and we flipped it and made it a surprise party for her (her birthday is less than a week after mine). That being said, there are some surprises that even I approve of. Such as this:

Months ago Nancy did a 3 day walk for Cancer. I contributed to it. Now I don't even remember her saying she was going to do random giveaways for her contributors but she did. The package came on Tuesday. The keyhole bag is the prize but she included some Kureyon as well and a pack of pink ribbon post it notes. Cool. Thanks Nancy!

Olympic Knitting Update

No, picture today I was out at dinner with some business associates last night, so I got in late. For those who are interested we ate here. I love eating on someone else's corporate account. I have about 24" inches done on the scarf. Which puts me at the halfway point I think. I'm figuring 4 feet is fine especially since it may block a bit longer.

Thank you to everyone for the encouragement that blocking will bring out the pattern in the scarf. I needed to hear that.

Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Olympic Knitting

Have you seen how many people are now participating in this thing? I was skimming through Time magazine last night and they had a small piece on all the events inspired by the Olympic Games and there we were:

...and this is where I stand in my race for the gold. After another round of frogging last night, don't worry I have a lifeline in there so I only frogged one pattern repeat... a few times, I have completed about 18 inches. I guess that's not too bad. With 11d 4hrs and 34m remaining, according to the countdown on Stephanie's blog, that still gives me plenty of time to finish.

I did manage to get the needle and thread to put together the cabled bag, but I had this idea in my head that I should have 10 repeats done in Branching Out before I started. With the frogging I never got past 9. I guess Red Eye was just too exciting to knit lace by. I'll remember that.

Of course it could just be that I'm trying to live up to my team's credo of, "swearing at lace" since I have done plenty of that. For those of you out there who have knit lace before, now would be a really good time to remind me that the magic of lace is all in the blocking because at the moment it has even less definition than my first attempt. That means I'm doing it right, right?

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

C is for Cat

I was racking my brain trying to come up with something for C. I had thought of my cat but it seemed a bit trite, ya know? I was talking to Rinaldo about it and he too thought of the cat. Then I realized I could post about her on Valentine's Day and it suddenly made sense. You see my cat's name is Valentine.

The first Valentine's Day Rinaldo and I were together I went to visit him. On my way up the stairs to his apartment I saw the most adorable little kitten in the hallway. She was such a tiny little thing. I continued upstairs and Rinaldo let me in to the apartment. Once inside I told him about this cute little kitten that was down on the next landing. He wanted to see her so he opened the door...and in she walked. She has been our cat ever since. Hence the name. We celebrate her birthday on Valentine's Day since it's impossible to know when exactly she was born but she couldn't have been more than 4 to 6 weeks old when we got her.

Happy 14th birthday Valentine!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Although I'm sure everyone has seen a ton of blizzard pictures, I have to share mine as well. This is what I saw outside my backdoor:

This is what I saw outside my front door:

This is where I decided to spend my time while it was snowing:

You would think I'd have a ton of progress to show you right? Not so much I'm afraid. I did mostly finish the Chunky Cabled Bag:

I had some gauge issues so I had to go up to a 15. It's still a smidge smaller than it's supposed to be but not enough to notice. Unfotunately I don't have the right needle and thread to sew the lining in nor put on the handles. Otherwise it's done. I have to have it finished by Thursday so I need to get to a store soon. The snow obviously kept me in yesterday and I'm home with the kids today (the schools weren't closed but the bus delays were horrible, I couldn't put Ian on a bus and not know when he would get off of it) so I doubt I will get out today.

I did get some Olympic knitting done:

I had gauge issues with this also. It was far too loose on the 10s I was using so I frogged and went down to an 8. It's much better now.

One of the reasons I didn't get as much done as I would have liked it because of Maribel. She was a bit tired of being blogless. So we took care of that on Saturday. May I present Maribel's new blog, The Knitting Cube. Go make the girl feel welcome willya?

Friday, February 10, 2006

...and so it begins...

Ok, not actually this moment but Olympic Opening Ceremonies are very, very soon and I am ready:

I've also joined a couple more teams. First the obvious, Team New York:

Thank you to Iraida for the link to Mod Girl

Now in honor of my cousin Ingileif I also must claim allegiance to:

Thanks to Cassie for coming up with the idea and Sigga Sif for the execution.

Have you caught the publicity this thing is getting. That Stephanie, she has no idea of the power she wields.

Thanks for all the compliments on the Jaywalkers. I wasn't thrilled with the pooling on the foot but at least they both have it. Tisha loves them. She claims they are too pretty to wear but their softness will soon win her over I'm sure.

Have a great weekend everyone. Good luck Olympic Knitters!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Stick a Fork in Me...

...cause I'm done:

Do you want to see how close it was:

I was left with just enough to graft the toes. Just to be clear on what was going on here with my little siamese twin socks. Since I knew that yarn shortage was a problem with Socks that Rock (at least in the original skeins, they have since added more yardage) once I got to the toe decreases I stopped working on the first sock and began the second. I was using the other end of the ball. So basically I had socks coming out of both ends. Once I got to the toe on the second sock I worked 4 rows on one, and four rows on the other back and forth. The idea was should I need to use a different yarn at least it would be in the same exact spot. You can see some left over yarn from Devan waiting patiently in the corner of the first picture. As luck would have it I didn't need it.

I cannot recall being so happy to be finished with something. Though I like to think I am a process knitter, these socks were vexing me and I wanted them over. I don't know that I will ever make another pair. I can't really say why. It's a simple, well written pattern, that comes out quite beautifully but I didn't find it fun. It seemed like work. I may change my mind now that I've completed a pair. Should another sock yarn come along that screams for a pattern to show it's stripes it may be time to Jaywalk again. I just can't imagine it right now.

Tisha's excited. She will have her socks tomorrow, they are drying as I write. By the way Ms. Maribel, the blogless wonder finished hers over a week ago. I was just too petulant to share:

Enjoy the day...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I kept putting off blogging yesterday because I was trying to finish the Jaywalkers. I figured I would blog when they were done. I was home yesterday, I didn't feel well and with all the bus drama at the NYC public schools, I had no idea what time my kids would be getting home. The little one has the longer day, the big one doesn't. That means a day of knitting and TV for me until 2PM. All of that and guess what? Not done yet. I am very close though. I am halfway through the toe of the second sock, at this point I am switching to the other sock to keep them even. This way the yarn (which is running a bit low) will end in basically the same spot if it doesn't make it.

In the meantime I signed up for this:

This is just such a cool idea. A surprise at every stop, very exciting.

Friday, February 03, 2006

I didn't post anything other than the poem yesterday. I thought it should stand alone. I've loved Phenomenal Woman since the moment I first heard it. I think I appreciate it more because I heard rather than read it first. It's a rather funny story. I guess it must have been about 15 or so years ago I worked with a guy named Elvin. He was gorgeous and sweet and a very dear friend. He saw Maya Angelou on Oprah one day. The next day when he came to work he could not stop talking about this poem. He went and found a collection of her poetry and performed the poem for us (myself and some of the other staff). He was quite amazing, particularly for a guy. I've loved it ever since. For it's power, message and that great memory.

I thought you might want proof that I am actually progressing (somewhat) on Tisha's Jaywalkers:

There is the first toeless wonder and where I am on the second. I'm a bit farther at this point thanks to some subway knitting this morning. Yesterday we had a fire drill here at work so I took it with me outside to work on it. My boss looked at me and said, "Now that is obsessive". At which point Tisha said to him, "She's working on it because it's my Christmas present". She totally called me out. She's right though. Wish me luck on finishing it this weekend.

Anybody know what's up with GoStats? It's been down for days. I was pretty close to hitting 50,000 hits. I'd hate to have to start over with another service. On the flip side does anyone have another hit counter that they like, in case I do need to switch?

Have a great weekend everyone...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Phenomenal Woman

Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

In honor of the Bloggers' (Silent) Poetry Reading.

Thanks to Cara who saw the link Juno's...