Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pass it on

So here is my thought of the day. Recently I've rediscovered how chocolate is a mood improver. I've never been much of a chocolate fan, I'm more of a vanilla fan. However I do find I feel more relaxed and happy when I have some chocolate soy milk or Nutella. Things just seem not quite as big when I taste chocolate.

We all know how stressful the holiday season can be. I remember working with Christmas music ringing in my head, note that was not a good time for me. Today at Target I bought some Dove chocolates and thought maybe the clerk could use a bit of holiday chocolate mood enhancement. I opened the package and gave her one. Next time you're at the check out and you think of it offer some chocolate. What is the worst that could happen? They could say no and you leave anyways.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Little bit of this, little bit of that

I hate sitting down to the computer getting ready to post and as soon as the screen pops up my brain empties. Happens more than I am willing to admit. What have I not talked about in a while?

Books! I finished Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Mr. Quin a while back. Loved it! I love books that have mysterious benevolent characters in them. This one is a collection of short stories that feature the same two main characters. I was pleasantly surprised in the stories. I'm not a huge fan of short stories. In this case I was not able to figure out who and why but I enjoyed the story telling.

I'm one of those people that try to figure out the endings. My Mother trained me to pick up the clues. Well, trained is not how it started, she continually frustrated me by knowing the ending all the time. How could she do that? So I begged to be let in on the secret and finally she started pointing out little clues. I'm pretty good at it now, not as good as the original but still good. Sometimes it leads to my husband's frustration so I try to be quiet. Other times I let him in on the clues too, but only if he asks. Not many things in this life are as frustrating as living with a know it all.

On a totally unrelated note I use pictures of my yarn purchases as my desktop at work. You know looking at yarn all day is a good thing for me. I find I am calmer if I can sneak a yarnie peek. The bad thing is I constantly have the urge to cast on projects at work.

I think I found a pattern for a shawl for the grey alpaca yarn I bought at Saratoga Fiber Festival this year. It is in The Knitter's Book of Wool. I wonder if the yarn will be too dark to show the pattern. It is a lovely charcoal grey. I had to ball up the yarn the other day because Gus tried to bring it to me in my sleep again. Do you think he's trying to tell me to knit faster? But he sort of mangled the yarn a bit while dragging it out of the bag. Not enough to hurt it but enough to make me go argh. So now it is all neat and tidy and ready to knit from. I currently have three projects on the needles so I don't think I will be casting on any time soon. But you know how the yarn and needles like to gang up on me.

D's sweater is moving right along. I had him try it on the other day to make sure what I had so far would work. His comment about the sweater that at this stage resembles a very short football jersey, "I think it needs to be longer". Really honey? Ya think! You know it made me laugh when he said that even though I knew something was coming.

I think it will be ready by Christmas but I don't think it will meet the record set by his first sweater. I had that one done in a month. Can you see how proud of that I am?

I will just keep on knitting, it is bound to be long enough one of these days.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Good or Bad too early to tell

I keep a knitting journal. Have since almost the start of my knitting. It is a must have when you're knitting socks, and want to make the second one in a similar way to the first one. I try to write the significant things in there.
  1. Starting date/Ending date
  2. How much yarn I used
  3. Changes to the pattern I made
  4. Which size of something I made (sadly this has not made it in for most of my sweaters)
  5. Lessons I've learned while knitting something (See #4 - document projects better)
  6. Silly stuff like what was going on in my life at the time (burned my fingers on the lawnmower but still able to knit)
  7. When our knitting group meets and where
  8. New techniques I want to learn (I'm working on color work now)
  9. Purchases (when, where and how much)
My confession for the day. I have not wrote in my journal since 10/28/09. Gasp, and the world is still spinning? I know it is not a big deal but the longer I go the less I remember. Which is why I don't know what size some of my sweaters are.

The good and bad is that I have substituted writing on the blog for writing in the journal. So tonight I went back through old posts and filled in the details for my journal. I want to catch it up before the end of the month. Plus my knitting journal does not contain any photos of projects. So the blog wins the photo fight.

The funny thing is that I belong to this online knitting community where I can post all the details of my projects that my heart desires. Bonus other people can admire them there. So no wonder that the journal got left out. I'm keeping track of the data in three places. Yeah right I'm lucky if I can get data in one of the three. Between the three I may be able to document the whole story, if I try real hard.

Moral question of the day - Is it wrong for me to be checking out everybody's purse? I find myself purse watching, TV, at work, in church, shopping.... Is it wrong to be weighing the pros and cons of other people's hand bags?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Purse Problems

I've never considered myself a purse person. I had to lug around my Mom's purse as a kid and always told myself I would not have a big purse. That lasted 20 some odd years, till my lovely new sister in law sent me a purse as a thank you for helping out with her wedding.

I hate to admit this but I thought I would not really use it because of the before mentioned vow of non-bulkiness. I liked it I carried it around with my couple of items in it, and thought a purse will be handy when we travel because it is another carry on allowed by the airlines.

Then I started knitting. Now I usually have at least one project in the bag and possibly a knitting book or two. I would never have picked out my bag but now that I have it I love it! And sadly it shows on the bag.

It's a cloth bag and my handles are falling apart. I can not tell you how much this bums me out. I have thought of replacing the handles but that always looks wonky when you attach something new to something old.

Today I went purse shopping, and discovered another level of my own personal Hell. So if I'm not a purse person and I would not have picked out the bag that I love so much now, what qualifies me to pick out a new bag? What?

Add to this that I am very cheap about certain things and bags are one of those items. I want quality but low cost. I want big enough to carry knitting and a book but not the current fashion of suitcase big. I want something classic yet fun.

I know what I want but am not sure if I will like it when I see it. I want to my current bag to look new again, so I don't have to find a new one. But I want a different one now too. Do you think they would mind if I put all my stuff in a bag and carried it around the store to try it out? Maybe I just need a new knitting bag.

The search continues....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lesson Two

Well I think an addiction to the fiber arts has formed in my Padawan. She was laying on the pressure for lesson two today. And she bought yarn all on her own. I heard "The yarn was so pretty I just had to have it. I don't know what I'm going to do with it". Yep that pretty much makes you a yarnie right there.

We covered knitting in the round on double pointed needles (dpn), how to work a simple cable, and how to pick up dropped stitches. I think the dpns made her mind go into overtime. She is excellent at identifying mistakes and quick at learning how to fix them. Not many more lessons to go before she is beyond me.

I will say that I am still the sock master. So I got that going for me.

D's sweater is moving right along. I am totally digging the color, deep plum purple. Would it be wrong/boring for me to make sweaters in twos also. He likes the color of my red sweater and I like the color of his plum sweater. Do you think we would start to look to much alike if we started wearing matching sweaters? Darn I thought so too. Now I will just have to find another color to fall in love with. There was a deep rose color yarn the last time I went to the yarn store. Do you think he will let me have that color?

Gus is here beside me giving me bedroom eyes so I think it is time for some of his I need you time.
Moose out!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I have a Padawan

I am teaching someone to knit. D came up with renaming her my Padawan, which is an apprentice from the Star Wars movie series.

Sorry about the blurry picture, those hands must have been moving faster than I thought, or could focus. She is already exhibiting signs of a true yarn convert. Where do I get yarn, how do you make cables, what did I do here and when are you free for another lesson?

My proudest moment to date is that she brought knitting to work. I actually heard the phrase "It's in the car" come out of a formerly non-knitter's mouth. OK I will admit I teared up a bit at that one. I am so proud.

She is a visual person so she picked it up very quickly. Her work had very few mistakes. Yes I am a wee bit jealous.

So our next lesson will include how to pick up a dropped stitch, cables and how to pick out yarn for a project.

I'm trying very hard not to pass on any of my preferences. Well that is not totally true, I'm trying not to discourage any of her new-by urges. I talk about wool a lot but that does not mean she can't look at cotton. (Please not cotton)

I'm trying to let her make her own mistakes and choices. I think you learn more from seeing the consequences than just being told something without an explanation. And really why can't you choose what you want to do? Maybe you don't have the skills for that yet but maybe you do, who am I to say?

I'm just happy passing on the knitting love to someone else.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Moose and Squirrel - Official Announcement

OK I told my fellow car poolers for knitting today so I will also announce it here. D and I have renamed ourselves Squirrel and Moose.

Those of you that know me from childhood will give me a big duh on this one. For some reason that no one in my family can expain, my nickname is Moose. Now to my memory I've never had a big linebacker body type, I'm not that tall either. My husband would say that I have a nice "rack" but I certainly did not have those back then either.

I will admit to hiding or attempting to hide this nickname since I hit my teen years. Maybe I was afraid of going through high school hearing "rack" jokes. I've never heard moose used to describe anything petite or delicate. So as a result not that many people know of my old name. Well for a while now I've been wishing I could bring that connection with my past back. That is a bit difficult when the only person that knows of it here has been instructed very firmly to never call me that in public. I am proudly acknowledging I AM MOOSE. Sarah Palin if you try to hunt this moose it will not turnout well for you. It is not a threat I'm just saying no to moose hunting.

So the flip side to this story is Squirrel. Sadly I have no hidden nickname story for this one. D just likes squirrels. Anytime we're around them, I usually find squirrel pictures on my camera. I have squirrels from camping trips, squirrels in mid tail bob, I've even got English squirrels.

This one is from our first day in England. He calls Reagent's Park his home.

The squirrels in Hyde Park are much friendlier. This shot makes him look like he has no front legs, don't worry he had front legs, he just heard that the camera adds 10 pounds. This was our last day in England. You know what that means? I have bookend squirrel pictures from England. Told you he thinks squirrels are cute.

Sometimes he even dresses a bit like a squirrel, or a moose hunter. Either way I call him my Squirrel.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'm trying not to be catty

I realize I talk more about Gus than Jack here, even though I think of Gus as D's cat and Jack as my cat. It is just the things that Gus do are so very personal. I've never had a cat nag me like Gus. Or tell me it is time to go to bed like him. And I have never had a cat bring me yarn in the middle of the night like Gus does.

I really think he gets the French-Russian accent we have given him. Last night he went in to the yarn bag from Rhinebeck and brought me the Rambouillet yarn, get it? It is a yarn from French sheep. He cracks me up with the things he does.

Part of it is that he is such a standoffish cat till he needs you then HE NEEDS YOU! And let me tell you it is like when two men are caught in the woods and need to cuddle to survive. It never happened and we will never talk of this again. Except that I do, I tell everyone how cute he is when he's needy.

The other thing is that he is an excellent observer (when he's awake). He turns into the comfort cat on the drop of a hat. He always knows when something is wrong and is willing to stay with you till it is right again. He took on this role when we had to put Bitsy down. He took one look around the room and realized why Mom was crying and transformed into Comfort Cat. He's a very good cat even if he never wants to talk about it.

Jack on the other hand is my kitten. In some ways he never grew up and that is a good thing. He will be the perpetual younger brother. I never laugh as hard as I do when I watch him chase his tail. Yep that is right my cat likes to chase his tail. The truly funny thing is when he slows down and sits looking back over his shoulder and slowly flicks his tail. You can see the irritation with the tail start to rise in him. Stare, flick, stare, flick, Attack!

He got the nickname "Jackie Chan" when he was racing around the apartment and hit the patio door with all four feet while his body was parallel to the ground. It was like for an instant he was standing on the glass door. This led to the comment that he is like the real Jackie Chan he does his own stunts.

Jack is my heat seeking missile which also makes him a comfort cat at times. Jack likes to be warm. He will burrow under blanket and cuddle without shame. When I'm aching Jack usually knows just the right spot to cuddle up against to lull me to sleep.

Those are my boys, I would not know what to do without them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm not a great communicator

So what was up with my favorite color post? Sometimes I come up with a jumble of thoughts and hope that when I throw them all in the same box and shake it up, something meaningful will come out of it. Yep that did not happen last time.

I used to think that I was a good communicator, now I know that I am not. I used to think that I was a good joke teller till someone told me I am not. (I'm still mad about that one.) I've been told that I am funny but that does not mean that I can tell a joke. I'm one of those people that if I manage not to mangle the actual timeline of the joke, invariably forget the actual punch line.

OK confession time our cats have voices, I know most cats have voices but in this case I mean that it is not unusual for me to do the talking for the cats. Gus is a Russian-French accent and Jack is the male feline version of a Valley Girl. Gus' accent comes from the way he carries himself and how he looks at the world; stoic and haughty. Jack's voice has more to do with his actual voice and the way he sees the world. His meow is high and has an inflection that always makes it sound like he is asking a question.

Jack was adopted from the shelter before he could even remember being there, Gus remembers the good old days when it was just him and Dad in the bachelor pad. All the palmetto bugs and pizza crusts you could eat. I'm still not sure that was not the happiest time in his life.

I think he forgets how much D was gone and how bored he must have been. Mom is OK, and a great (Gus says adequate) chin scratcher, but his heart will always belong to Dad first, unless there is food. Wait it is food = #1 and Dad = #1a, a cat has to have his priorities you know.

Wait what was I saying? Communication, I'm still working on it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

My favorite color

So when people ask me I say my favorite color is green. What don't random people come up to you on the street and ask what your favorite color is? What I really mean is a shade of green, dark deep forrest/pine green. Makes my heart happy even thinking about it just now. The funny thing is I don't care that much for other shades of green. Many are to yellowish for my taste.

But if you look at the yarns I pick out many people would assume that I love red. Or maybe as a second guess blue. I don't tend to pick out all that much green. Now in my defense my first sweater is green, pine green. The majority of my socks are red or have red in them. Do you think it is because red is considered a warm color and subconsciously I want my little ice blocks to be warmer?

My fall back color tends to be grey. If I can not decide on color I usually end up getting charcoal grey. Makes for some dreary knitting in the winter. Cold and grey outside and warm and grey inside.

You know the end of the movie "The Holy Grail" when they ask the three questions that you must answer correctly in order to cross the bridge? I always laugh so hard when the guy gets tossed for guessing his wrong favorite color. Red no BLUE. How do you not know your own favorite color, and how did they know that was not his favorite?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Facing Fears

Well I did it. I sang in the church choir today!!!! I didn't have a panic attack or even throw up on anybody.

I could tell once it was done that I had been a bit nervous. I was extremely thankful it was over. Sadly I'm not sure I was focused on the rest of church as I should have been. The sermon was based on two women that gave all they had. I did catch that much.

You know I truly believe God has a sense of humor because before we left for church what movie was on TV this morning? Sister Act, You know the one where she teaches the nuns to sing well. I bet God had a chuckle while planning that one.

I might not have been in tune but man did I make a joyful noise! Our God is worthy of Praise!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Let the project wars begin

Yep my blistered hand is still healing. I would post a picture of the awesome blisters I have on my fingers but I don't know how squeamish you all are so I will choose to skip it at this time. I not in pain it just feels very awkward still, and I am oddly protective of that hand right now. Wonder why?

So my startitis has caused me to start actually casting on projects. I mean the top three projects that came to mind when the needles and yarn were in my hands. That is right three projects in two days, along with one of them still in the works.

I did manage to finish socks for D.

He says he likes them but we will judge that by how often I'm washing them. I subscribe to the theory that you always use what you like more. I know my favorite socks are always in the dirty laundry pile because as soon as they're dry they're on my feet.

Back to the project wars. I cast on my test knitting for my kilt hose from the Rambouillet yarn.

The yarn has some tightly spun/thin sections so I'm trying to figure out how that will work. Plus this is mostly test knitting now. I just want to find out how the yarn knits up and if it will really work for the project.

I started another sock. It is from the Decadent Fibers Savory Sock yarn. I just could not resist this yarn any longer. It kept calling to me, socks, socks I want to be socks. I think I'm going to do my basic sock pattern but put in cable panels down both sides of the top of the foot. Sort of like D's socks above but with a cable. Hopefully these will not take me as long, but with them calling to me all the time I will probably blow right through them. So that was the problem with D's socks they're like the person they're made for, not super chatty.

Oh and D's sweater attacked me too. It was cast on this morning. I'm grooving away. Who knew I would like knitting sweaters so much? I absolutely love the idea that in a month or so I can have a whole new sweater. Guess I'm not much of an instant gratification person, hmm? I'm trying out my new harmony needles from Knit Picks. I was waiting for them to arrive so I could start this project.

It is out of Cascade 220 "Galaxy" colorway. I am totally digging this yarn. I'm thinking this one will be done before Christmas. I'm still counting it as a Christmas present. Fair warning on that one, even if you wear it 2 or 3 times before Christmas D, I'm still wrapping it up and putting it under the tree, your surprise will be optional, your appreciation will not be optional.

I read through a pattern last night for mittens for me. I have the yarn and the needles, they're probably in a corner somewhere planning their attack on me. Seems like everything wants to be cast on. Plus I really want/need a pair of mittens.

Even Gus got in the knitting spirit today and tried to steal my yarn. What can I say everyone in the house is a yarn lover except D. He falls into the yarn wearer category, doesn't play with it as much as uses it.