Sunday, August 30, 2009

My weekend

This is the unusual harmony I walked in on this weekend. Granted they are sleeping instead of fighting but I think that is my point. Jack, black and white, usually pushes Gus, grey, out to get a warm spot but I think Gus was unwilling to give up the spot he had worked on all day.

I have new yarn!


The first is Berroco Ultra Alpaca in a heathered army green color. It called my name and I brought it home. The second is a new sock yarn I found last weekend but forgot to buy in all the new sweater yarn excitement. It is Wisdom yarns Poems sock yarn. It is sort of a plumish/grey color. It looks like it fades from one color to another instead of definite stripes. I will keep you posted as to how that one is working out since I have been dreaming of this coloring method of sock yarn for a while now. I hope it looks as good in reality as it does in my head now.

Next up is my current knitting project and how it rolls around the house with me. My new sweater in progress.


The yarn is my first foray into Cascade 220 the so called work horse yarn of many knitters. They claim its qualities to be: inexpensive, consistent quality, great colors and softness. I figure this sweater cost me around $50 to $60. Not bad when you figure in a month's worth of knitting entertainment for me, to boot.

Did you notice the sign of my husband's love for me in the second picture. My super bright knitting bag that he earned for me by riding 50 miles in the Diabetes Tour de Cure this last June. He was gracious enough to let me have it when I started eyeballing it and saying it would make a great everyday knitting bag. It is not something I would have thought of myself but once I picked it up I knew my yarn would love it. The only problem is that Jack thinks it makes an ideal napping surface. A smooth crinkle bag filled with insulating wool, why would that be such an attraction to a cat? Because it comes with its own side car of a knitter?

My Hubby, the sacrifices he makes for us. Although I do pay him back with tea and scones. And eventually another sweater for him to love. That is my current problem trying to choose a yarn for his sweater. We sat down tonight and discussed somethings to see if I am really understanding what he likes or just putting my own spin on things. I think if I can keep it in the family of colors he likes I will be OK. The hard thing for me was nailing down what he likes. I think it can be condensed down into; wine, pine and chocolate. If I can find a yarn in one of those colors it will be good.

I think I am figuring out some of the questions I need to ask in order to understand people better. Specific questions are good as long as you keep them to a minimum. What do you like about that color versus this color. I guess I learn by comparison. Why do you like this and not that? To me they are very similar but one could be just a touch on the pink side of the spectrum.

I try to ask myself the same type of questions at times. Usually when I find myself drawn to something out of the norm for me. I don't like orange and yellow, but I find myself drawn to a burnt orange color. So orange with a hint of dark brown is good for me. I still have not found a yellow that I can live with. These are the types of things I am learning to ask about if I want to eventually knit for other people. Because if I knit for others I am going to want them to like it and want to use it, not just bury it in the back of the closet.

And now I am off to see if I can entice a cat off a half finished sweater.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

School supplies - My obsession

My brain is definitely switching to fall thinking. Maybe it is my urge to knit wooly items or the school supplies on sale at all the stores.

Did I ever tell you of my love of school supplies? I buy something every year. I have a passion for Mead notebooks that I do not know how I acquired. I think there are 4 unused ones sitting around here, and I have not bought any in 2 years. One year I must have gotten high on paper fumes and bought half a dozen. There is just something about that brand that I love. I think it is the tear out perforated edge and the plastic tough will not rip cover. Something about them just makes me happy.

I also love a certain mechanical pencil that I buy only that type. It has a twist up eraser that I find most comforting. I hate the pencils that have a small "I only make a mistake once in a while" eraser. Lord knows I am not that perfect. Or worse they cover the eraser with a metal cap. Come on people the world is a crazy place mistakes are going to occur, own up to them and move on. Metal eraser covers are on my top ten useless/stupid items list. Why would someone waste time and thought on that?

I'm thinking this year's purchase is going to be a big one. I want a new backpack. D found my perfect bag and is using it for his actual school items. We used as our carry on when we went to England and I am totally in love with the bag. (Also my husband rocks in case you were wondering.) It is a year or so old so I am afraid that they have made changes to the design that I will not like. Darn you people that improve things all the time! Wait, except for the people that improve Mead notebooks, I love you guys.

My current hold up is price. I think that is another reason I love school supply time, I can get items I will use all year round for half the price. Makes my thrifty little heart sign with happiness. I think the back pack I am looking for is in the $40 to $50 price range. No matter how much I may love it or use it, my cheap little heart gasps at paying that much for a book bag, especially when I am no longer in school. So the book back stalking continues maybe I will be lucky enough to find it on sale some where.

Before I leave you I will tell you of our crazy sense of humor. One day I was out shopping in the school supplies and called D. "I'm in the school supplies and I need you to talk me down." He laughed hard at that one. Isn't it great when the one you love just "gets" you?

Monday, August 24, 2009


I am not what I would call a neat or tidy person. I have been known to leave dry clothes in the dry for a week. My car has receipts from a year or so ago in it. Vacuuming is not something that is on a daily or even weekly to do list.

I am the complete opposite at work. I can not stand papers that are not shuffled into a tidy card deck formation. Those off kilter paper corners that sometimes work their way out drive me crazy! I staple the papers together the very same way 99% of the time. I don't want to brag here but I can tell by the way the staple is oriented if I stapled it together. I like the look of a neat workspace. Oddly enough I can have papers strewn about while I am working on them but they must go into the folder a certain way.

Why am I so controlling about some things but not others? I ask myself this a lot. I did not even realize I had control issues till D pointed it out to me one day. I denied it till my brain caught up with my mouth and said Hey he's right.

So what do you do when you find out you're not the person you thought you were? Do you work hard to counteract your natural impulses or do you embrace who you really are? Me? I go with the controlling side. I am not neat or tidy maybe the little controlling bit that I do have is my way of cleaning up my personality flaw. What is so bad about liking the way papers stacked correctly look? As D says "If that is the worst that I do, it can't be that bad".

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My mojo - knitting

Well it seems that my mojo is back. I want to make sweaters. Do you think I might be an indicator for what type of winter we will have? You know how the timing of the changing of the leaves indicates what type of winter it will be? If I want to knit sweaters and knee high stockings, does that mean we will all be freezing our tushes off this winter? Or does that have more to do with my reading Russian lit?

Side note I did cook for D, but other than the tea and scones it was not my best effort. You will remember that means the end to "Crime and Punishment" did not live up to the hype. I am very proud to be able to say I have read that one. It will forever be a badge of honor for me. I can not say that I enjoyed it 100% but I am very glad to have that one under my belt. Oh and yeah I got some mystery ear candy to listen to in the car now.

I started knitting a new sweater for me last week. It is out of red heathers Cascade 220 yarn. I really broke out of my typical sweater color mold on this one. It is a nice deep red wine color. I was thinking of adding a cable or some such but I think I might let the color on this one take center stage.

D is just a bit jealous that I am knitting another one for me. The 30/2 sock pair ratio does not bother him but the 3/1 sweater ratio is bad. I keep telling him if he wants another one he needs to come to the store with me and pick out the color. I think he is on to me though, he knows there is no way that I will be in and out of a yarn store in 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes happens to be his shopping experience tolerance limit. He once got me on a roller coaster by telling me it was only a minute from start to finish, "You can do it for a minute". That was true for me and I think that is what he keeps telling himself while I am shopping, only 4 more minutes, only 3 more minutes.

My saving grace right now is that his sock pair ratio number will be increasing shortly to 3. So it is not like I am totally selfish just mostly selfish. He does say that he likes one of the pairs for cycling. I think he might just be telling me that to get the new pair. We do what we must where knitting is concerned in this house.

Well that is all I am willing to say about my knitting at this time, happy knitting to you all.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm so close I can taste it

A reading/listening list update.

I am on disc 16 of 16 in Crime and Punishment. I am currently in epilogue 2 of I don't know how many. Usually I can read the foreshadowing of a story. I am one of those people that tell you in the first 30 minutes of a movie who is the bad guy. I can't do it in real life but I can usually see where a writer is going. Thanks Mom you taught me that skill.

This book has me confounded. I have no clue how it will end. I have been told by two different people that it is a great story of redemption. I don't see it. I have 15 to 20 estimated minutes left on this last disc and it may be trying to kill me, because I don't know how it will end. Can you tell how frustrated I am? Maybe my first mistake was equating the word redemption with the idea that it would mean a happy ending. Maybe redemption means, in this case, taking one for the team. Maybe there is no happy ending to this book like I thought all along. If that is the case, D I am not cooking for you for a month! You're the one that got me into this book and you're the one that kept telling me not to abandon it. It better have a HUGE payout in the end or you will have to learn how to make soup again.

I am so totally invested in this story it is not funny. D likened it to biking up a really steep hill once. I want my view! After struggling through this one I better be able to see 3 states. OK I feel better now.

D and I have both been on a biking book binge lately. Mostly because I keep bringing them home from the library and placing them in front of him. He tore through Lance Armstrong's "It is not about the Bike". I had to put that one aside because he comes off very arrogant. Then again if I had to face what he faced and still have the record for most Tour wins I would be arrogant too. My problem is he is arrogant and very bitter in his youth. Maybe it is my small town conservative background but no 16 year old kid should have a Camaro. I will have to pull that one back out and give it a second chance. I know how it ends but I am afraid to read about all his chemo and surgeries. I feel like I am at the scene of an accident waiting for it to happen.

I am just finishing up "Just the Two of Us" by Melissa Norton. A couple take a 63 day bike trip across the US. They even rode through South Dakota and seemed to like it! She did refer to it as desolate. I take issue with that. It is not desolate but calm and not over run with people. While I find the writing just a bit sparse it is probably how I would write it too. D is dreaming of a cross country trip now. OK that is not fair when is he not dreaming about that?

I just started "23 days in July", all about Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France. You sensing a theme here too? I can't wait to start reading something light and bouncy.

Well that is what is on my nightstand and playing in the car. Think good thoughts about the end of Crime and Punishment for me will you? I will let you know if it was worth the battle or if D is making soup. Seriously think good thoughts.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The invasion has begun

Apparently I really needed a yarn fix so I shuffled myself to a local yarn store on Saturday. I've been getting twitchy as I said so I had lots to look for and at. I started off looking at sock yarn , because it will always be my first yarn love. They had a couple that I was really interested in. I drooled and petted for a time then asked for help with choosing a new sweater pattern.

The three sweaters I've knit have all been from the same pattern with some changes to each one. I believe in approaching knitting patterns the way I approach recipes. Follow the directions as listed in the pattern/recipe the first time. It gives you a basis for knowing what your working with and if you like it. Anything after that is free game, I can add or subtract pattern elements/spices or fruits as I wish because I know the general way it is made.

So I knit the first sweater the way the pattern was written only allowing for factors such as my particular measurements like arm length. The second time I knit it for D but changed all the edges to ribbing. The third time I kept the edges from D's sweater but added a cable panel down the front. I used the same brand and weight of yarn for all three but changed up the colors.

For my next sweater I wanted something a little more challenging but not off the scale. I'm not sure I got that but I did get something a little different. I did leap in to the realm of new yarn. I am trying out Cascade 220 yarn for the first time. I am also mixing up the color just a bit. I am so hoping I like it. Oh and for some reason I got the urge to start a wool sweater on the hottest day of the year so far. I think I just might be a tad wacky.

I bought something I hope to turn into a gift for a friend also. I don't generally knit for other people because I don't want to see that "Oh how long do I have to keep this before I can throw it out" look in their eyes. I know what I like, I like to knit, so therefore I knit for myself. You can tell how true that is based on my previous post of my knit socks versus D's knit socks ratio. I had what, 29 pairs to his 2 pair. Poor D.

I was disappointed that I could not find solid color sock yarns, or many of them for that matter. Considering that I've been knitting for 3-4 years now and I have 2 plain color sock pairs you would think that many people get wooed a way by all the multi colored yarns out there. Oddly enough my two plain socks are both dark grey. Apparently when I don't want multi color I don't want any color. So that means my cycling socks have been put on hold till I can decide what will work for me. I am fighting the urge to buy grey yarn. I'm mulling options right now, and I seem to be happy with that.

The second half of my yarn invasion will be coming in the mail. Sunday night I talked myself into ordering some yarn online I had been wanting to try. Resistance is futile. It is plain color not crazy hand painted stuff so I am calling it an experiment/test stage for the cycling socks. I think it is partly because I was so happy to decide on sweater yarn that I forgot to get the sock yarn I first looked at in the local store, so you see I had to get the yarn on Sunday night. Think D will buy that story? Ah he knows how conservative I am with our money, He won't worry about a few things of yarn that ultimately turn into clothing anyways. Love you D

Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm getting twitchy

The new knitting project bug has apparently bit me. This time I may not need my usual dose of Benadryl. I am dreaming of a new sweater, cycling socks and thinking that another company Christmas party may require a new shawl. The hard part now seems to be figuring out specifics for the first two projects and figuring out if the last project is even doable at this point in time. Well that last part is not true I know it is doable, but is it doable with the other two in addition and finishing the two I have on the needles now?

I am definitely looking for something new to be a small challenge to me. I want to do a sweater a different way than the three I've made so far. I want to play with a new type of yarn and color for it also. I want something new and wooly for when the weather turns, if it ever turns to summer weather in the first place.

The cycling socks by Nancy Bush should be easier. I know the pattern so that is set. I am having the hardest time choosing and finding the colors. Once I decided on green, I could not find the right greens. It has color work in it for me to practice and I realize I've never been a color coordinated person. I have all these cool colored socks now and I never seem to match my shirts. On the odd day that I do actually match I end up realizing it at noon and being completely surprised.

I am one of those weird people that don't want to use different brands of yarn together. I need to have Louet with Louet, and Cascade with Cascade. I can not fathom why you would mix Louet and Cascade together, they might be slightly different thicknesses, or wear differently. The stress.

So when I find a main color green that I like I can not find a corresponding secondary green from the same maker. I am starting to think maybe I am a little bit odd and other people are not like this. Is yarn just yarn?

Maybe I am just enjoying a dreaming and thinking stage to me knitting that I secretly do not want to give up. OK I will admit a part of me is really enjoying all the possibilities without any of the work.

So I guess what I am saying now is D watch out for some yarn buying. I think an invasion is being planned.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More of the Name Game

Hubby came in this morning after reading the last post and said we should think about what we would name a combined knitting/bike shop. Yeah I'm still working on that one too. Bikes for Ewe? Ewe on the Road?

I forgot to tell you what we call D's super cool new road bike, SOW. She was named that before he even got her. After he took a ride on a friend's new road bike, he came back and described it as Sex On Wheels. I'm Sorry Mom E. I should have warned you of questionable content before.

So today he came up with possible names for my road bike if I get one. KOW - Knitting On Wheels or YOW - Let's all say it together - Yarn On Wheels. I am leaning towards YOW, mostly because that is the sound I make when I get off the bike, YOW.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What's in a name?

When we lived in South Carolina I came to appreciate a certain custom. People name their beach houses and boats there. Well people probably do that in other places too, but that was the first time I had seen the tradition. Recently I've seen boats named Knot Working and Judges Decision. Interestingly enough Judges Decision is up for sale. Guess whoever got it did not really want it?

I love to think about names. I will admit I am one of the worst namers out there. Not that I have a bad name just that I do not give good names. My horse was named Two Star, because (wait for it) she had two white "stars" on her forehead. Did I ever tell you that I think way to literally? My sheep names were also bad, Fluffy, Fuzzy Face and Fifi. Yeah I'm not sure what happened with Fifi either, at least I was consistent with the F names.

The hubby and I have a new naming game "What I would name my yarn store if I had one". Many of the current yarn store names out there are cute but not necessarily cleaver. By clever I mean a new play on words, like "Lost in Ewe". One online store I go to is called The Loopy Ewe, cute but not clever. (But still the best online sock yarn store I've found)

I guess I went through this when I named the blog. Well that is not entirely true, Hubby named the blog. Hey when you're not good at something it is always best to get advice from someone you trust. I thought it was great because it combined two of my loves, tea (kettle) and knitting (yarn), three when you add in who came up with it (my Hubby).

Now if I could just get the cats to start naming themselves. Actually that is not a good idea, I don't want to call the vet and make appointments for Meow 2 and Meow 3. My cats do have different voices. Jack sounds like he is asking questions, Merow? And Gus is a real man he makes more of a grunt, Mah. Gus sounds like he is ordering you to do things for him, "Clean Mah pan" and "Get Mah food".

The funny thing is when I was growing up on the farm our vehicles had name. Well not really, we called them by what color they were. We had a green pickup named "Green" and a blue pickup named "Blue". That is hard for me to do now because I have a blackberry(purple) colored car. I refuse to call her "Purple". Don't know why, just can't do it.

So now you know to never ask me what I think about someone's name. I'm still looking for the perfect yarn store name.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

How to know if you're out of your league

The local bike shop puts on a beginners bike ride. We finally made the time to try it out. I grew up in the country so I am not yet comfortable riding in traffic, but I am better now and I thought what the heck.

Turns out I needed the 'before you even think about being a beginner' riding group. There were at least three clues I was out of my league before we even started.

1 Mine was the only non road bike there. I have been told road bikes take less effort to ride, so I'm already going to be working harder than anyone else.

2 I was the only one without a biking jersey. So great now I even look more like I'm not part of the crowd, like I should be a spectator. There were two jerseys modeled after Tour de France team jerseys. I get it I'm not part of the "in" crowd. At least I had bike shorts on.

3 They all had clip in shoes. These clip into the bike pedal and allow you to use the whole stroke, not just the down stroke. Yet more biking attire that proves how much of a 'dig it' I am not. Sigh.

So we start off and everyone is super polite and says after you. No one wanted to start after the leader so I think what the heck and start off after him. It is like when you were in school and no one wanted to be the first to give their oral report. Always volunteer to go first. You get bonus points for going first and they have no one to compare you to. You can not look that bad and by the time everyone else finishes they all forgot how you stumbled over the pronunciation of some silly word. What? It works try it the next time.

We go for about a couple of miles (give or take) and I'm still doing better than I thought I would. We're going through city streets and I have not balked at making a left turn yet. I am feeling confident with my new group status. That is right Miss Antisocial is part of a biking group.

The person leading the group drops back to check on how everyone is doing and says to me..."Just ride at your own pace". Dude I am.

Then a long slow hill hits me. Those kind of hills just take all the wind out of my sails. They kill me. I keep looking up thinking I am going to do this. I shift down a gear, same thought I am going to do this, shift down, I am going to do this, shift down, I don't want to do this any more, shift down, no thought just blood throbbing in my head, shift down, keep pedaling and wonder if people ever stroke out while on a bike.

I do make it to the top of the saddest little incline ever. You see I called it a hill but in reality it was a slight rise over a stretch of road.

So I start to think at this point maybe I am not a beginner after all. Maybe I am three steps before beginner. I look at the Hubby and say I don't think I can do this. He says how about down this hill? Yeah I can go down just don't ask me to go up. Guess what happens when you go down? That's right you have to go up. I start shifting down again and think pffffftt. I get off the bike and start walking up.

We get to the top of the hill (yeah that one was a hill) and start discussing options with the leader guy who has dropped back for me. He says something like there are escape routes all along the route we're on. I am looking for a hatch get me out, now. We were five miles into a 15 mile ride I know I don't have that in me. I send Hubby on his way to catch up to the group. I turn off to go make the 5 mile return trip back to the car.

Funny thing was it was not that bad. I never worried about what could happen. I didn't think that I would not make it. I did think at one point in time I need to brake, I'm going pretty fast and the cars next to me are also. But other than that the return ride was actually enjoyable.

Is it wrong that now I want a road bike also? I am definitely set on being the SAG car operator if Hubby does want to any type of cross country ride. I don't want to be the person looking for an escape hatch five miles into a 100 mile ride.

I even managed to get my bike into the car after the ride by myself. Now aren't you proud of me? I know I was. Oh yeah and what is a failed biker/successful knitter to do with her waiting for the rest of the group to arrive time? You guessed it.

I knit on a sock in the car. I think it was the only reason D agreed to finish the ride was because I told him I would be fine I had knitting in the car.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Hubby and I went for a ride tonight. He's right it blows off steam quite effectively. In a way I feel like we are newlyweds. No not in the gushy romantic way, in the way that we need to learn how to deal with each other that unfamiliar situation.

When riding on the road as a vehicle, NY state law says that bicycles are vehicles. This means you must follow the laws like a car. Let me tell you as a new rider I think the California rolling stop should be legal for vehicles who's engine is me. I am not what you may call high octane when it comes to acceleration on a bike.

Anyways it is a new situation for us to ride together on the road. Who rides on what side? How fast do we go? Where are we going? Can we stop for ice cream? By the way my answer to that last question is YES. At least we do not have to argue about which radio station to listen to.

It is odd because I feel I know this person so well but all the details are missing. That does make it a little different.

He is was raised in town so he is comfortable riding in the road, I was raised in the country so I am comfortable with zero traffic. Kind of hard to do in NY during the commute time. I don't rank as high as Joe Biden, they will not close down streets for me.

All in all it was a good ride, but I don't see us riding across the country like he does. I still think of myself as part of the SAG team, not the riding team. Maybe we can plan a cross state ride first. I hear tale of some yarn shops and wineries on the other end of the state. SAG crew does not have to ride behind you the whole time right? Maybe just a little detour for some merino wool?