Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
For me, I think Christmas will begin when my parents, brother and golden retriever Augie arrive Sunday. I can't wait to see them! I woke up at 6:30 this morning after only a couple hours of sleep, and I couldn't fall back asleep because I kept thinking of all the stuff I wanted to accomplish. So I have been dusting and cleaning and scrubbing the tub all morning. I even took the time to go through my filing cabinet and get a bunch of stuff out to shred. De-cluttering is the name of the game, baby. I want the apartment to be perfect when they arrive. I'm definitely going to need a nap today ... it's my day off, I deserve it!
I spent an hour yesterday wrapping presents ... still waiting on one box from Amazon with my boyfriend's big gift. I'm trying not to worry about it getting here on time - it said it would be here by Dec. 24, so que sera sera. I'm also crossing my fingers I got him the right edition of Blade Runner. We'll see on Christmas morning, eh?
I've got to run out to Virginia Beach for a last-minute gift for my mom so I won't mention it here. (I can't wait to give it to her, the inspiration struck me last night and I hope she likes it!) And I'm stopping at Goodwill with a bag of clothes and two bags of assorted Red Heart and others that I just know I won't use. Giving away yarn, can you believe it?! And I think I might pick up a gift card for my dad at Barnes & Noble too.
I suppose I should get moving ... the sooner I can get these errands done, the sooner I can come home and take a nap!
Monday, December 17, 2007
Here is my second-ever crocheted afghan. Yes the colors are really that bright. Red Heart Supersaver, baby.
Ta-da! It's me. And Jimmy. Let me tell you, taking pictures of TV is difficult. Random splotches appear when you use the flash, so I had to keep a steady hand and not use the flash.
Time to tackle that Monkey sock again. I tinked the other needle like I said I would, but I cannot figure out my mistake. I'm going to have to go stitch by stitch. Boooo. I give myself 10 minutes to get really angry at it and abandoning it again for my other sock-in-progress.
I missed work yesterday and spent all day sleeping, knitting and sitting on the couch watching TV. I caught "Drop Dead Gorgeous," several OnDemand episodes of "Sex and the City," and some show about a tribe in the jungle building a treehouse school and a movie I think I'm forgetting. TONS of TV.
But best of all ... I caught the documentary about my college newspaper on PBS! I didn't mention it on here earlier because I didn't know what to expect from it and if it was embarrassing, well, I didn't want everyone I know to watch it. It had its nationwide debut Tuesday but didn't air in Norfolk until last night. My senior year of college, this filmmaker came to our college paper and filmed hundreds of hours of footage. I wasn't a 'main character' (really, the copy desk and grammar fun don't make for exciting TV) but my roommate at the time was, so the cameras followed her quite a bit and even came to our apartment a few times.
I was in the background in quite a few scenes - oddly enough, sometimes wearing the same sweatshirt and shorts I was sporting yesterday for my day on the couch. And one of my crocheted afghans on the back of the couch is on screen just as much as me!! I might have to take a screen shot or two to post on Flickr. That feels rather egotistical but oh well. I need to document it for the eventual day when our DVR goes back to Cox and I can't watch the documentary again. =)
But all in all I enjoyed it. It gave an accurate view of the struggles of the paper that year. It's fair - sometimes it's cruel in the honest of what's said, but it's fair.
So back to knitting ... I have progress to show on the Monkey sock, as I turned the heel yesterday:
I hit a problem on the top of the foot, though - the second top-of-the-foot-needle has 15 stitches instead of 16. I am hoping that if I tink the first and compare it to the second, I will be able to find my mistake and just make a stitch in the appropriate spot instead of tinking the entire round. Ugh. I'm going to tackle this now and not put it off.
I think what I hate most about being sick is not being able to run. My long run on Thursday (a five-miler) was really great. The first few miles were super strong and I really enjoyed it. But I haven't run since - I skipped my two-miler Saturday and a three-miler today. It's cold and crisp outside, perfect for running all bundled up. But I'm sniffly and achy and it wouldn't be a good idea. That's what I keep telling myself. If I'm feeling up to it tomorrow, maybe I'll do a two-mile walk instead of a run. Then I'll try to tackle my six-miler on Thursday all recovered.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Getting a Christmas tree in Virginia will never get old. Or cold. You see, we got it one day this week when it was about 75 degrees out. We wore shorts and t-shirts and when we got home, we flung open the windows and back door to get a little more air moving. We named our tree Hercules (after the name on the fence at the store). He's a little crooked but that's OK. He's decorated and lovely.
I am sick right now. I think my fever is gone, but I have the full-blown sniffles and a cough. I hate it.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Tonight should be a semi-early night at work (that is, I'll be done by 10 or 10:30). Afterward I'm running to Wal-Mart for a few things - a tree stand, dog food and a retractable dog leash as a Christmas gift for my brother, which is at least getting out of the house for something that's not running or work. Ha.
On the upside, I'm knitting in any spare moments I get - mostly making progress on the Wildefoote sock. And there are some fun things to look forward to this week - we're getting our Christmas tree on Wednesday, and that night, I'm having a few friends over to watch the finale of "America's Next Top Model" (Team Jena all the way!).
Monday, December 3, 2007
It was a great weekend with family ... I got to see my grandma's apartment for the first time - she's been there since late 2005, after my pap died. It was really cute and she has pictures everywhere of family. It's a little studio apartment. And Saturday, my mom and I went out to Eat n' Park for breakfast with my granddad. He told us lots of funny stories about the college "ding-a-lings" (his word, not mine) that live a few houses down. He seemed to be in good health, too, which made me very happy. And Sunday was the baby shower ... my cousin looked great. She loved the hat and socks!
And of course there was time for knitting and shopping. All I did this weekend was buy yarn and knit:
That's Wildefoote Luxury Sock in Brown Sugar in a basic stockinette pattern. I'm loving the colors ... but not loving the splittiness. I've had to ladder down a couple times to pick up a strand that I missed. I don't want them to snag, you know? A sock that big normally takes me a week or two! I did that in a day and a half. I don't even know where I found the time to make that progress. Well I did get to knit at a play Saturday night. It was theater in the round, and my mom and I were in the very front row and the lights were very bright. I could watch the play and knit by touch. Very fun. It was called "A Tuna Christmas" and it stars two actors in about 20 roles (women and men alike). After intermission, they come out as these slightly skanky actresses who work at the local Tastee Creme, and they've just won an award, so they're coming through the front row thanking everyone for their applause. One of the actors stopped in front of me (sock in hand) and said "are you done knitting me that thong?" It was hilarious!
And I can't speak of knitting without expounding on our yarn shopping!! We went to two stores, Knit One in Squirrel Hill and Bloomin Yarns in McMurray. Knit One was nice - it was in this bright cheery room with exposed pipes and a nice little knitting area. Among their sock yarn offerings, they had Regia Kaffe Fassett, every Sockotta imaginable, some Koigu, Trekking, handpainted Trekking, and, what I ended up buying, Fleece Artist Merino Sock 2/6:
It is the softest yarn I have ever felt. I love the bit of pink you can see through. So much of what I buy is dark colors, I really like this pale yellow. More on the store: It was really busy, which is always nice to see, but it took foreeeevvveerrr to buy the yarn. There were two employees around and the woman at the register came across as condescending to other employee, who was a lot younger than her. Register Employee was asking Younger Employee to interrupt the woman she was with and make copies of a pattern for a customer. She didn't really explain what she wanted, so when Younger had questions, Register was really short with her - she was distracted by ringing people out, but she didn't fully explain her request - and kind of scoffing in apology to the rest of us in line, like 'Sorry Younger doesn't know what she's doing.' Then when I paid, she set my purchase on the counter - no bag - and turned to the customer in front of me (who spent $100 more than me) to talk about pattern errata. At that point I wasn't going to wait for a cute bag, I just picked up my stuff and walked out. That kind of stuff really rubs me the wrong way.
HOWEVER I will say that Bloomin Yarns in McMurray was one of the best yarn stores I've ever been to. It's in a little house on Route 19 - one I saw *every single time* I left work at TJ Maxx (my job in high school) but rarely noticed. There was so much yarn ... and the sock yarn was the best I've ever seen. Shibui Knits, Dream in Color Smooshy, Cherry Tree Hill, Schaefer Anne, Trekking, Lorna's Laces, Yarn Pirate and a whole spinning rack of (I'd conservatively guess) 40 colorways of Claudia Handpainted! I wanted to try some new stuff so I got some Schaefer Anne:
Holy yardage!! 560 yards. My big old feet are going to have a nice tall pair of socks for once.
And Yarn Pirate, of course:
It's also super generous with the yardage: 480.
I've been obsessed with Trekking 100 for a while - it is so gorgeous and rainbowy. When I saw it I literally gasped/screamed!
And finally (whew) - some Claudia's Handpainted in Purple Earth:
The owner, Michelle, was super nice. My mom was trying to remember what type of yarn she's been collecting for an afghan and knew there were pictures on Flickr. Michelle volunteered her computer at the register so she could find it! (Unfortunately it was Encore, which she didn't carry, but still - so nice of her!) My mom bought some yummy green Malabrigo (I'm going to teach her to knit!) and Michelle wound it into cakes and let me watch and ask inane questions about operating a swift and asking about the way different yarns are wrapped up. I will definitely be going back to Bloomin Yarns on my next trip to Pittsburgh.
I got back last night and am off work today ... trying not to think about how I'm working nine days straight ... so it's time to get off of Ravelry and listen to some good music and knit!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
As this relates to my knitting blog ... this means I have a half-completed monkey sock for someone I really don't want to see again. I think I'll keep on knitting and hope it fits me. I tried to make light of it, telling my roommate I'd regift it to her, but I don't think anyone wants them now! Ha.
I have to finish the toe of my second Steelers baby sock - the shower is Sunday in Pittsburgh. I think I'm going to sew it up right after I finish this blog.
Also, I've abandoned the idea of making socks for anyone but my mom before Christmas. Dad, roomie, brother - I'm sorry. You will get socks ... eventually. (At the moment, I'm actually relieved that my boyfriend hates to wear socks.) My new plan of action is to make hats. I bought some Patons Classic Merino and got to working on a basic 2x2 rib hat for my brother. I haven't gotten very far - maybe an inch into it. I'm hoping I make progress this weekend, though, perhaps when I'm chilling at the hotel with my mom Saturday night. We are spending most of Saturday tooling around Pittsburgh, checking out Knit One in Squirrel Hill and Bloomin' Yarns in McMurray (Oddly enough, it's across the street from my job at the Maxx in high school!) We are also going to see one of my favorite plays on Saturday night. My mom did some plays at this theater when I was in high school. It's a neat place.
I haven't hung out with my mom and gone out for the day in about two years. I can't believe it. It's unacceptable - but kind of hard to avoid, since we pretty much haven't lived in the same state (well, even the same house) since the summer after my freshman year of college.
I'm also going to dinner with Mimi (my mom's mom) and some family Friday night ... and I'm taking my Granddad (my dad's dad) out to breakfast on Saturday. I can't wait.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Running lately has been a struggle for me - I've been going through a lot of challenges lately, family issues and the like, and I've found it hard to lace up my sneaks for training runs. I almost skipped Thursday's Turkey Trot 10K I had signed up for, but the weather was just perfect - about 70 degrees and sunny, even though the forecast called for rain and temps in the high 50s. In fact, it ended up being almost too hot.
It was a tough run. It goes to show I haven't been training as much as a year ago, because my internal clock was all off and I thought I was about 20 minutes slower than I actually was. Around mile 5, a nearby runner checked her watch, and she said we were at at about 1 hour 15 minutes. I thought we were at 1 hour 30 minutes, I felt like I was so slow! It made me hustle through the last mile, as much as I could, and I ended up with a time of 1:29:00, about seven minutes slower than last year's Turkey Trot, but I was markedly faster than any of my training runs this month, I discovered, when I checked out my times on logyourrun.com. That was a thrill.
Anyway ... I have been feeling kind of demoralized what with personal issues and I've been doubting my goal to run the Shamrock Half Marathon in March. Throughout the 10K I knew I was not as strong as I was a year ago when training to run this same race. Not to mention, I'm conservative about money and I was griping internally about the $70 entry fee. So by mile 4 of this 6.2 mile race, I was pretty much sure there was no way I was going to sign up for this half marathon.
I met up with some running buddies at the finish line, and Bethany had won a raffle prize - a free entry to the very same race I have been hemming and hawing over. Except she can't use it because she's moving to Australia at the end of the year. So she gave it to me. I was just so taken aback at her generosity and I really feel like it was some weird nudge from a higher being or something to get me back on track, to push through these tough times, and so on. I totally pulled a 180, my morale is up again and I haven't run since the race. I really believe in fate working in mysterious ways.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I'm missing my family a lot right now ... I saw them briefly in June at a family party in Pittsburgh. I keep reminding myself that I'll get to see my mom in a week and a half when I roadtrip it to the burgh for my cousin's baby shower. And my parents (and, with the latest turn of events, possibly my brother, too) will be visiting after Christmas. I can't wait.
Even though I'm feeling down, I'm thankful for so much this year. My good job, my parents, theJoshes in my life (boyfriend and brother), my true friends. Oh yes and my yarn-investigating dog:
Friday, November 16, 2007
--called my credit card company about fraud on my account. Take that, lame person who used my credit card number to buy $93 worth of flowers in South Carolina and spent $20 on your pay-as-you-go phone. My credit-card company could not have been more helpful. Boo to your fraudulent charges! I honestly have no idea how someone got my number. The S.C. charge was about three weeks after I used my card ONCE in Charleston - to pay for the hotel. That doesn't mean the number was taken there. It's still scary, though. I'm glad it was resolved so quickly.
--took my dog with me to the bank drive-through window. I've always wanted to do this but never have because I didn't trust my dog out of her crate in the car - now I do, for short trips. The teller was nice and gave her dog treats. =)
--competed in the local WorldQuest competition, repping the newspaper with seven other journalists. Good food and some tough questions. But I came through with some big ones! I knew that EADS made a huge sale of aircraft to Libya, not Lebanon or Venezuela or ... some other controversial country. But I dropped the ball on the question about which foreign nation has the most companies working in Chesapeake. I *edited* this project, for chrissakes. It will haunt me for some time. We lost by two questions (argh!) and came in second in our division. Oh well. We got some nice steel insulated coffee mugs. And I ate some yummy meatballs and crab dip stuff.
--finished my first knitted hat! It's for baby Rookie (my cousin's pregnant and doesn't want to know whether it's a boy or a girl. They're calling it Rookie because they're big football fans.)
I'm also knitting wee black-and-gold socks. One just needs the toe kitchenered:
Like the matchbox for scale? Me too. Now I should go to sleep ... I pushed my long run back to tomorrow - I'm aiming for about 5.5!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Also, baby knitting has taken precedence, as my cousin's baby shower is in a few weeks and I'm making black-and-gold booties out of leftover Claudia's Handpainted Yarn. I cast on for a baby hat, too, just for some stockinette sanity knitting.
I think my problem is that I only like to knit when I've got a chunk of time set aside. I'm not a "work a row here and there" kind of knitter. How can I change that? I mean, I don't even know if I want to. Argh.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
8 a.m. Alarm goes off, dutifully climb out of bed to prepare for the week's long run.
8:10 a.m. Walk dog in cold weather, curse about not being in nice warm bed.
8:17 a.m. Eat toast with butter and jam. Yummy - but not helping the not-being-in-bed situation.
8:35 a.m. Tool around on internet, still in pajamas.
9:05 a.m. Decide sleep is needed before embarking on a drive to Mount Trashmore. Alarm is set for 10 a.m.
9:15 a.m. Decide 40 minutes of sleep isn't enough ... set alarm for 10:20 a.m.
10:20 a.m. Alarm goes off, reset it for 10:45.
And so on ...
I finally made it to Trashmore by 12:30. Ran/walked three laps of the lake (4.2 miles, woohoo!). It was a good run - I had a boost in the middle, and then on the last lap I motivated myself by thinking about the fun that was ahead:
"America's Next Top Model," my robe made out of minky fabric, and my second attempt at homemade wedding soup (motto: more spinach, fewer noodles). And, oh yes, knitting.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
I cast on Thursday night and, as of this morning, am nearly done with the second repeat. I modified the pattern to include no purls, a la this pair. It makes for a much faster pair of socks. I'm also making it a 10-row repeat instead of 11 (getting rid of the final row of all knitting stitches). It's a pretty fast knit, even for me. (I had to frog four rounds or so before I decided to do the all-knit variety ... picking up 64 stitches is pretty stressful.
I'm so addicted to the monkey that I'm going to take a really fast shower to squeeze in some more knitting time before work!
EDIT: I don't know why the photo is cropped so awkwardly. If you click on the photo, you can see a full-size version.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Aaaand I cast on for a pair of Monkeys! I'm using Thank Ewe sock yarn in Firedancer. They're for my brother's fiancee. I started with a stockinette pattern but lost all the stitches on one needle, so after frogging and much deliberation, I decided to go off the deep end and try Monkey. I'm not even in the actual pattern yet, just a few rounds into the cuff, but I'm loving it (k1tbl, p1) and think I'll use it on future stockinette socks. It just looks really smart and snappy. I'm hoping the pattern won't be too scary - I've read a lot of people who say Monkeys are really easy and fun, so maybe that will hold true for me, too. I've never done yarnovers, or ktbl, and never used a chart. By the end ... I should be a master, right?!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Laziness I had to face the facts - since I ran the Shamrock Half Marathon, my running has been practically nonexistent. I've been spending more time with my boyfriend, who, bless him, isn't the healthiest creature in the world. I sleep in more ... we go on dates to restaurants ... it is a vicious cycle when I am not as active as I was during training. I love the fact that we are what you would call a Serious Couple, but it has wreaked havoc on my running schedule. I thought I would want to run just to run, but that hasn't happened. I would take Gracie on long walks under the guise of a workout, but I realize that I used that as a crutch to avoid running - it was too hot, she couldn't keep up or she wanted to stop and smell things, etc.
Physically Selfishly, I hate seeing myself in pictures right now. I think my face looks more round. I think about how happy I was with the way I looked a year ago, and I just get depressed about how different I look now. I get the same (slightly disgusted) reaction I get when I look at pictures of my bloated self during my senior year of college, and it's certainly a motivator to go out and run. I have been down in the dumps a lot lately, and as superficial as it is, I know it's in part because of my body and how I'm disappointed in myself for not keeping off the 20-plus pounds I lost more than a year ago.
Mentally I don't know how to describe it, but running is a mental release. It's like charging my phone battery ... or that feeling of satisfaction when you slide the last piece in the puzzle. Once I get moving, after even just a third of a mile, I get in the best mood. Today, I just wanted to stay out there forever - I had a route all planned out (in fact, I usually leave it up on my computer screen in case for some reason I don't return, and then someone will know where to look for me. Crazy or smart? You decide.), but traffic was nuts on Brambleton Avenue and I couldn't cross it, so I diverted from my plan because I was itching to keep moving, I didn't want to lose my groove. I ran along Brambleton, heading opposite all the busy cars, and I sprinted at the end of my burst, and it was great. Before today, I hadn't really had that great burst of a good mood from running since the half marathon, and it was just so awesome. I really missed it.
I realize this will take away from my knitting time (not that I was super fast to begin with ... ) but I'm fine with that - in fact, I think knitting could be a reward for the running I plan on doing (I've been doing it 4x a week, and I plan on keeping it that way). I haven't committed financially, but I plan on doing that in a couple weeks. I plan on running the Turkey Trot (10K - that's 6.2 miles) on Thanksgiving, if my training keeps progressing as planned. I think I'm really going to stick with this, though - I even ran a few miles in the pouring down rain last Thursday and it was so great. I've come up with a training schedule that really flows with my work schedule - I plan on doing a 3-mile run every Saturday, a medium-ish run on Mondays, a 3-miler on Tuesdays, and my weekly long run on Thursdays (my day off work). That gives me my second day off to recuperate once I get up there in mileage. I know I will be slightly less motivated when it gets super cold, but I've already seen progress since the 5K a week and a half ago. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
It was Bethany's (second from left) first 5K! Girl is going to do Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, too. The weather was pretty nice - and it was way inspiring to see so many people there, and so many survivors in their pink T-shirts. I ran the first half-mile or mile and walked the rest with some co-workers.
After I caught up on sleep and did a little shopping with the boyfriend (nothing like waiting till the day of the wedding to buy a new dress shirt, dude), it was time for Judy's wedding! My roommate's boyfriend came in from New Jersey and of course we did a photo shoot at home (sadly, we didn't get the combination of our boyfriends. I think that would have been kind of funny.) We frequently take photos with Capt. Jack.
You can see we were drinking wine ... but in no way were we toasted like all the people at Town Point Park for the Virginia Wine Festival. We actually saw someone throwing up on our our way to catch the boat for the wedding. Gross.
Judy's wedding could not have been more perfect. For starters, the weather was gorgeous. And the time of departure on the American Rover?
The perfect sunset! The ceremony happened within 20 minutes of our departure, before it got too dark. It was really quick (I guess I'm just used to long Catholic masses). A former co-worker was the officiant and she gave a sweet speech. There was yummy food and drink, and lots of people to hang out with. It really felt like a party.
In more than a year of dating ... I've never seen him in a tie. I had to document it whenever I could. =) I'm really bummed I didn't get a picture of Judy in her gorgeous red dress. Here is her's and Jeffrey's first dance:
There was good music, and I especially liked the slow dances. Dancing on a boat = ultra romantic! After the cruise was over, we went back to Lori and JJ's and hung out till 1 a.m. I woke up sore (from the race and my high heels) and hungover but it was such a great day.
Friday, October 19, 2007
It's been a busy day off - I ended up staying with my cousins for about three hours this afternoon - but I did find time to knit a few rounds of the gusset on my mom's second sock while I was there. I made *two* trips to the grocery store (I sometimes go a week without a visit, so this is a big deal); I decided in between trips that I wanted to make Italian wedding soup instead of chicken noodle soup, so spinach and acini de pepe had to be purchased. I got the recipe from a co-worker who totally makes it like all the soup I miss so much from western Pennsylvania, all garlicky and spinachy and ridiculously tasty.
Oh and I saw "Helvetica" tonight. It was pretty cool - I loved some of the metaphors that type designers and others trotted out. I felt like it dragged in spots, though. I went with Josh and a couple friends from work ... it would figure that five minutes later, another designer, the editor of the paper and his wife walked in. We all sat together. We were a rowdy row, it was fun. Unfortunately I lost my debit card - I've never had that happen before.
With all my running around today, I wanted tomorrow to be a go-nowhere day. However, tomorrow kicks off the Norfolk Public Library's used book sale. I found some gems last year and I've been excited for future sales since. So tomorrow ... making wedding soup, knitting and buying books. Should be grand. =)
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Aaaand Sassenach featured them on WOYNW! I am thrilled. These socks have been around. The first one met the Harlot and toured D.C. and Charleston. And the second one might attend Judy's wedding on a ship Saturday (a former co-worker who knits will be there, and I want to show her my progress from garter stitch!).
I don't know whether I love the gusset or am slightly annoyed by it. On the upside, it feels like a shortcut to the foot, because by the time the gusset's done, you've only got a few inches of foot to go. Then again, it goes slower than the rest of the foot because there are more stitches ... I just can't commit to the gusset right now. I *do* know that my favorite part is the heel - it goes by so quickly yet looks really impressive. I was watching "Forrest Gump" at my friend's apartment in D.C. when I turned the first heel ... after the scene was over, I showed her roommate the heel and she was amazed! I'm hoping I can finish the pair this weekend. I got a couple placemats at Kohl's last week to make sock blockers from them.
Monday, October 15, 2007
I never was really interested in sewing much when I was younger. And truth be told, I'm still not very interested. But when you've got a dress with a ripped seam for a wedding that's five days away and Mom is hundreds of miles away, you've gotta do it yourself!
No before shots, but here's the after:
The actual sewing:
It's in the wash now. I have full confidence that my stitches will hold. Woo!
Sorry for the lack of knitting pictures ... as an update, I'm on the heel of Steelers sock No. 2. Hoping to turn it tonight. I've got a three-day weekend coming up and I've got lots of good things planned - seeing a documentary about fonts, running/walking the Race for the Cure, and Judy's and Jeffrey's wedding on a tall ship!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
That being said, it was a crazy day ... I was on the go from about 9 a.m. until about 8 p.m., it seemed like. I picked up a cookbook at AC Moore as a little present for being really good about spending money over the past two weeks. (I figure a $5 reward isn't too bad, eh?) It was called "Comfort Food" and had a gorgeous picture of macaroni and cheese on the cover. It required a trip to the grocery store, during which I had to call my mom to ask whether Roquefort was more like blue cheese or Swiss (I found it it was blue cheese, from a customer at the deli counter). Anyhow, it turned out really yummy, surprisingly smoky (from the Gruyere on top) :
It was really savory and smoky, with Gruyere cheese sprinkled on top. There's lots of leftovers, too. Score!
Back to the grind tomorrow. Only one day off work this week for me. On the upside:
1. It's a half-shift, not a whole one.
2. Im done with baby-sitting duty this week
3. I'm a day away from the end of dog-sitting duty (a week stretch!).
4. The weather has finally, finally, finally become more fall like. I had to wear a sweatshirt for a walk tonight. This weather thrills me to no end. I really want to make a cable scarf or something ... good thing I bought a cable needle today. =)
OK, my dog just woke herself up by sneezing (it was the cutest thing ever). I think it's time for me to go to bed, too.
Monday, October 8, 2007
(It's probably easier to see if you click on the photo.) I'm much better suited to the editing and production side of newspapers, but to get the chance to write about knitting was pretty great!
Friday, October 5, 2007
Even the toe look good:
That was a steep curve after my first toe. This time I knew I needed half of the total stitches on the needle for the top of the foot. All the decreases worked out this time, and kitchenering looked so much better. Yay!
I got about halfway on the cuff of the second sock but had to stop because 1408 was super creepy and I kept forgetting to knit. I'm glad I watched the horror movie about a hotel *after* my vacation, thanks.
It's Friday morning though and I am going to finish the second baby sock today and then tackle the toe of my mom's first sock!
Thursday, October 4, 2007
knitting a pair of baby socks this afternoon! Yep, that is my goal. I have some Caron Simply Soft in an awesome shade of cornflower blue. I'm going to knit my co-worker a pair of baby socks for her baby boy that's due in January. I will conquer the kitchener. If I mess up, it's only a wee sock and I've got lots of leftover yarn. It's better to mess up on $2 yarn than it is to mess up on special Steelers socks for my mum!
Ready set go.
I don't think it's wrong, because the point of the diet is not to spend *my* money - if someone else chooses to grace me with fibery goodness, well, then, I'm just lucky.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
And on a completely different subject ... there is this beautiful bush around the corner from my apartment building that I have been trying to figure out for the longest time. Every time I walk Gracie past it, three times a day, I think "hmm what is that bush?" It had green waxy leaves and, in spring, tons of beautiful-smelling white blooms. I decided arbitrarily that it was a magnolia but nope, Google Images proved me wrong. It was killing me! Tonight, I log into Facebook. They sell $1 "gifts" - today's is a camellia. I hadn't tried this flower name on Google before ... I type it in and what do I find but this. Success! That is the bush around the corner. I'm so happy I solved my little mystery.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I went to Aylin's Woolgatherer in Falls Church during my trip to see the Yarn Harlot. Very nice store - a bit hard to find (it's in a shopping center, but you have to walk around the side of a 7-Eleven, enter a side door and take the elevator/walk up to the third floor). I checked their Web site in advance so I knew what I was getting myself into, though. They were having a sale - 15 percent off all yarns except new arrivals - so I got a skein of Malabrigo:
I'd love to make Foliage from the new Knitty with it. It's so, so soft. I couldn't decide between all the gorgeous colors - I literally pulled out every skein and contemplated it. It took me a good 10 minutes to decide.
Aylin's had a nice selection - I wish I knew brands offhand but I'm bad with that kind of thing. They had a clearance room in the back and I found a random skein of Rowan Cotton Braid to match one I got in Scotland four years ago. It was more than half off! One quirky thing is that prices are not on the skeins, they're in a stack of papers hung every so often from shelves. I found the system was kind of nonsensical - it's listed alphabetically by yarn name rather than manufacturer (and then sub-alphabetized by yarn name), which I think would make more sense. So if you were deciding between Rowan Kidsilk Haze and Rowan Cocoon, they wouldn't be listed on the same page under "Rowan" - they'd be under "Kidsilk Haze" and "Cocoon," probably completely different pages. There was a sock yarn I picked up that didn't seem to have a yarn name, only the farm name, which confused me (and one of the workers came across kind of condescendingly when I asked for help because I was confused). Oh well. Maybe that's just the anal retentive copy editor in me, wanting to improve their organizational system.
I also got some Colinette Jitterbug. It was pretty picked over but I nabbed this gorgeous wine-colored yarn:
Then ... I went to a yarn store in D.C. and didn't buy anything! Shocking I know. Jamie and I went to Stitch DC in Georgetown on a mission to get her her started on knitting socks. This branch of Stitch DC (there are two others) was a tiny store in this pretty rowhouse on Wisconsin Avenue NW. As the employee led us to the sock yarn stash, she apologized for its spotty collection. She wasn't kidding. There was some OnLine (some kind of German yarn, I think that was its name), about four balls of Panda Cotton and not much else. It was a tiny store but they had a nice (pricey-looking) collection.
Then, in Charleston, I visited Knit. It's right off the main shopping street (King Street) and across the street from a really yummy pizza shop. Yum, pizza and yarn, my two vices. It's closed Sunday and Monday so I had to wait till our third day there to go. I was afraid they'd be picked over because they had a massive sale the week before. I couldn't have been more wrong. In fact, they had garbage bags and Ziploc bags all over the place, especially in the front room, which was the sock yarn room (yes they had a sock yarn room, people). I was knee deep in bags of yarn, it was pretty fun. They had a massive selection of Koigu (at least 30 colorways, six-10 skeins per colorway, at the minimum) so I had to get some:
They had a nice selection - some Austermann Step, Trekking, OnLine, lots of Tofutsies, and some Jitterbug. I got some Wildefoote:
It's so soft and silky. And Rio de la Plata that is just really bright and happy and fun:
As for non-sock yarn, they had at least one other room. Every Rowan you could imagine, Noro, some Noro-like variegated yarns, and a ton others. I kept trying to remember them all but it was kind of sensory overload. The people who worked there couldn't have been cooler - they apologized for the bags of yarn everywhere but they took it in stride, apparently they were in the middle of a big move after the sale. Josh came along for his first trip to a LYS. The store had three miniature schnauzers so he hung out with them, petting them, while I shopped. The dogs were really friendly and adorable (though the friendliness might have had something to do with the leftover pizza he had). Josh also gets mad brownie points for buying me all this gorgeous yarn in Charleston. He is the best.
Oh yes... before all my traveling there might have been a moment of sheer weakness and coincidence that I checked out Yarn Pirate's Etsy shop right after she uploaded a ton of overdyed skeins. I bought a skein of a Yarn Pirate overdyed BFL in Sally. It arrived yesterday and it is the yummiest fluffiest yarn I have ever seen. And the color is a deep variegated blue-ish purple with hints of burgundy. I can't wait to knit it up.
All that being said ... it's an understatement to say I've been on a stash enhancement binge. I did it all knowing it was my last hurrah. That's right I'm on a yarn diet again. I'm hoping it lasts until 2008. The only shopping I'll be doing is in my stash.
In actual knitting news ... this picture doesn't show it, but I'm almost to the toe decreases on my mom's first sock:
I'm starting to get nervous about the toe - I'm afraid my next attempt at kitchener will go wrong. Maybe I should research the three-needle bindoff. One positive, though ... I haven't mentioned this but at the Yarn Harlot reading in northern Virginia, I consulted fellow knitters and they helpfully pointed out where I went wrong on the toe of my first sock. I had the stitches divided 20/20/20, when it should have been 30/15/15, with the 30 going for the top of the foot. D'oh. I don't know that I care to rip it out and fix, though. I'm lazy like that.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
It couldn't have been a more perfect spot because we had restaurants within a half-block of us, and the main shopping street wasn't too far, either. Best of all, at the end of our street was Waterfront Park, which had about a bunch of swings and beautiful views.
We hung out there two nights after dinner just enjoying the sea breezes on the swings.
We took a few hours each day to check out the gorgeous old houses along the Battery.
This was my favorite:
It was just massive. Its roof reminded me of variegated yarn (of course):
There was lots of pretty wrought iron. There is one ironworker responsible for about 500 pieces around Charleston - I kept wondering if we were passing by his work.
Josh loved the laptop backpack I got him, I was so glad. He got me "The Office: Season 3," flowers (yet to be delivered!) and bought me yarn at a store in Charleston (yarn pics to come). Such awesome gifts!
Of course the food was amazing. We had great meals everywhere we went. We ate at the Southend Brewery and Smokehouse our first night because it was really close to our hotel. They had a great blonde ale called the Southend Blonde, and we ate smoked chicken wings. They were very different from typical wings but really tasty. It was in this cool building, too:
On our final night there, we went out to a really nice dinner. But first we had drinks at a rooftop bar across the street from our hotel (I wore my ridiculous high heels, I wasn't planning on walking very far, but that would soon change, haha.) The moon was full and we had gorgeous views of the harbor and all the rooftops around Charleston. I wish I had taken some pictures, but it was pretty dark out. Then we walked down Queen Street, this alley-type street with lots of art galleries. We had spotted a place with a great menu on Queen Street the night before but didn't take note of its location. Of course I walked about five blocks in my ridiculous shoes and kept saying "just one more block! Just one more!" We finally found it and we weren't disappointed.
They had lots of little nooks and crannies for dining spots, inside and out. We sat in the courtyard with little lights. And the food was sooooo good. I had (this is a direct quote from the menu) "Sautéed Rock Shrimp,Sea Scallops & Jumbo Lump Crab Meat with Shiitake Mushrooms, Baby Spinach and Sunburst Squash tossed in a Mozzarella Cream with Cilantro-Lime Pappardelle Pasta." It was delicious. Josh had a lemon herb chicken breast with basil pasta and feta cheese. We split a great bottle of wine, a Jekel Riesling. The service was a little slow - it was a Tuesday night and there weren't many tables, but that's no excuse. Anyhow, the food made up for it. I would definitely recommend the place if you want a really nice meal out. One downside of eating outside, my legs are all bit-up and itchy now but it was worth it.
OK that's all I've got on Charleston ... a post on the good stuff - recent stash enhancement - will come later but for now I've got to bake brownies for tonight!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
My friend Jamie, who lives in Md. but teaches in D.C., showed up after work! Girl drove through D.C. at rush hour to get there. What a champ. We got decent seats, about six rows back on an aisle. She went to Safeway to get sandwiches for dinner, I kept knitting and looking around in awe at all of the beautiful knitwear - and in amazement at the sight of 100+ knitters knitting at once.
Stephanie came out at 7:30 and spoke for at least an hour - it was probably more like 90 minutes. But first, she had to fix the mic stand.
She was so, so great. Her speech was hilarious - she talked about CHOKE - Cultural Humiliation of Knitters Everywhere (I believe that was the acronym), it's a scourge to knitters everywhere. God forbid you knit and are single - there is clearly no hope for you, your fate is sealed. That sort of thing.
At the end of the Q&A, I thought it was really great that she did "preboarding" (her words) for people with small children, or people who just had a really long trip ahead of them, no questions asked. I was No. 10 for the signing so I hustled upstairs quickly.
I was so nervous ... I really wanted to say at the minimum, your sock recipe was so great! It totally worked for me. Or, hey, I love "Knitting Rules" and I swear it opens itself to Page 136 all the time (because I'd hunch over it when trying to figure out the gusset).
Jamie was a peach and took lots of pictures:
The picture she took of me ended up on her blog - and I am tickled. I am also identified as Laverne, which I think is even more awesome.
This is my favorite picture of the evening. I got to hold the traveling sock! And the sock for my mom is now imbued with some Harlot knitting mojo.
I spent the day after the signing bopping around D.C. looking at the World War II Memorial and knitting on the National Mall. I also spent a few more hours in a Borders, knitting, because I clearly didn't do it enough the previous day.
I got all the way to the gusset by my trip's end:
Now I'm off on another adventure, to Charleston. Maybe I'll finish the sock by the end of the trip!