Friday, May 30, 2008

lace knitting

start of my first shawl

Well, I cast on my first lace shawl, knit about 20 rows and had to frog it because of a mistake. But man it was fun while it lasted! It's definitely going to be a project I must work on alone with no music, no TV, etc. till I get the hang of lace. I really enjoyed knitting with the Knitpicks Options needles.

Back to sock knitting, but just for a little. =)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A is for alphabetization

I have a random question ... does anyone else alphabetize things? My DVDs and books are alphabetized - well, except for my travel books, cookbooks and journalism books, those are on their own shelves. And knitting books are in my knitting corner, not on a shelf. My boyfriend teases me about my alphabetizing tendencies every time we pick out a movie to watch.

Today, while I was doing my big pre-weekend clean, I dusted them for the first time in too long, and I decided to move some books to make room for some that were not in the shelf. So it required moving an arms-length of books down, and down, and down, onto each of the next shelves. It was rather annoying, and for half a second, I thought I should just give up the alphabetizing. It's rather charming to have bookshelves that are scattered and in no order. But I've been alphabetizing since I was little (especially when I had dozens of "Babysitters Club" books), why stop now.

I've had a little cough the past two days, but that didn't stop me from my Wednesday clean. I cleaned out the coat closet (goodbye, hat I took from a bar in college) and got started on the laundry room. I found an entire bottle of detergent in there. Between that and emptying the various trash cans, I have three bags to take out to the garbage!

Last night I got home from work to find two boxes outside the door. My Knitpicks and Amazon orders! I am now the proud owner of an Options set. I can't wait to cast on ... something. Maybe a baby surprise jacket for a co-worker who's pregnant. "Knitting Workshop" was one of the books in my Amazon order.

Oh yeah - a question for Options owners. Can someone explain to me how the key tightens the needle? I screwed a needle on one of the cables and it felt pretty darn tight. I stuck the key in, and it just went all the way through the hole on the other side. I feel pretty dumb.

Monday, May 26, 2008

knitting update

It's been nearly a month since I posted knitting pics, so here's where I stand on my current WIPs:

three down, one to go ...

Three booties down, one to go! I am excited to be finished - and I've got at least six weeks to make the next one. Making four baby socks on size 0 (or smaller - not sure of the size) is taking forever when I want to be working on other things!

Next up is my Nutkin sock. I love it already, even though I'm only two repeats in:

Nutkin, two repeats in

I'm so pleased with it. The yarn is Yarn Pirate merino sock in Wildflowers. She makes gorgeous yarn, that's for sure.

Next up are the socks I'm going to call my Lost socks - basic stockinette socks that I knit during "Lost" (because it stresses me out and I knit faster - but can't concentrate on a pattern). And the name works because I'm lost on the leg. It. Is. Never. Ending.

the stockinette sock that never ends

I've probably got 20 rounds or so before the heel flap. Thank GOD!

I've been kind of a bummer mood lately. I've been having some pretty bad back pain lately. I sleep on my stomach with my arms crossed beneath my head, and normally, the dog sleeps between my knees, so I end up sleeping bow-legged and it's been throwing my back out of whack and I wake up in a lot of pain. I can't even run, it hurts so much. I have been taking the dog for walks when I've felt up to it, but eventually my back starts to hurt and I just want to lie down on my side, because sometimes that's the only position that feels OK. It shows me more than ever that running helps my mood - I feel down in the dumps when I don't get to run, and I just feel so much better when I get out, even if it's just 30-40 minutes.

If it doesn't feel much better in a few days, I might go to the doctor. For now, we're just kicking the dog off the bed and I'm popping Advil. Send me some good vibes that I get back to normal soon!

a meme

The rules: Posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer. Play nice, children.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago: I was 15 and finishing my freshman year of high school. I didn't have my job at TJ Maxx yet - or my license. I probably babysat and spent most of my time with my boyfriend, who was a year older and could drive us to the movies. I remember thinking that was pretty awesome.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today - in no particular order: Take the dog for a long-ish walk (not really running right now because I'm in the midst of some back pain ... argh), go to work, cast on for yet another baby sock. It's a holiday, I'm taking it easy!

3. Snacks I enjoy: Tortilla chips and salsa. Or queso. Popcorn fresh from my lovely air popper, thanks to one of the best Christmas gifts ever from my brother.

4. Places I've lived: Three towns in Pennsylvania (Turtle Creek, Eighty Four and State College); Manchester, England; Norfolk, Va.

5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Pay off my debts (and those of my parents and brother); go on a big trip with them, probably to Europe; buy homes in Norfolk, Pittsburgh, New York and somewhere beachy; and invest everything else.

6. Peeps I want to know more about: I'm tagging: Tiffany, Eileen, QuirkyKnitGirl, GaietyGirl.

Only tagging four, I'm lazy and want to go back to sleep to summon the energy for this dog walk.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

swing of things

Ahh, spring. It's been lovely here and there, so I've been taking advantage of the nice today. Monday I went for a great run and today went for a nice long dog walk. Yesterday was rainy and gross, though, so I cleaned the bathrooms and now they're sparkling.

Oh yeah and last week I picked more strawberries:

more strawberries

I'm so glad I went the week before - last week's selection was a little more picked over. We still found plenty, but it took longer to find them. We had lots to eat fresh ... but I set aside a bunch and made this:


Lots of jam! I gave four of the six containers to friends, froze one for future use and put one in the fridge for us. It is so very bright red and delicious!

I've got tomorrow and Friday off work ... I'm going to lunch with my aunt at my new favorite restaurant and then going to a catered dinner for work downtown at a place I've never been. Friday, Josh and I might go to a late-night screening of the new Indiana Jones movie. Mostly I'm awaiting the arrival of a KnitPicks package in the mail (I finally ordered the Options needles!!) and going to try to finish the 3rd and 4th baby booties for my co-worker. Fun fun!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm sorry for the lack of follow-up vacation post, I guess I've been suffering the post-roadtrip blues.

Without further ado ... more pics from Shenandoah! We entered the park at its southern entrance - this added about 50 miles to the trip, but we got to see more of the park that way. We stopped at a couple of scenic overlooks - but not many, because they happen every few miles.

the view at the first overlook

It got really foggy/cloudy the higher we drove into the park. The weather didn't help - it was supposed to be rather overcast all weekend. When we got to Skyland Lodge, we couldn't see where we were staying for at least a day - it was that foggy. We had a room with a view, and this was our view Friday night:

view from our balcony, Friday night

On Saturday morning we hiked to Dark Hollow Falls. You keep walking down, down, down alongside some pretty water ...

hike to Dark Hollow Falls

Until you reach this:

falls from above

A really big waterfall! About 70 feet or so. The weather was totally perfect - all misty and moody. I felt like we were in an enchanted forest.

forest in the fog

self-portrait in front of the falls

It was a killer walk back up hill, though. We must've stopped 10 times to have a little drink of water or just sit on a stump.

from whence we came

That afternoon we set out for a hike to the summit of Hawksbill Mountain, the tallest in the park. There were several routes to the top, we took the one that was supposed to be easiest. And it really wasn't too bad. And the view was great at the top.

rays of sunshine = pure luck

overlook from Hawksbill Mountain

at the summit

That night we watched the sunset from our very cold deck. Gorgeous!


We had another little hike on Sunday morning - mostly a walk, there were hills involved. Josh surfed the biggest stump we had ever seen:

Josh, surfing the really massive stump

By then, we were - or at least I was - sick of the food at the lodge's restaurant. Don't get me wrong, it was pretty good, but I wanted to eat elsewhere for the first time since Friday morning. So we took a road trip to Charlottesville where we couldn't hold out till dinner ... and stopped at a Five Guys Burgers and Fries for lunch instead. And we went to a LYS on the pedestrian-only main street in downtown Charlottesville. After my yarn binge at MS&W, I wasn't interested in the yarn. I bought some DPNs.

We had a leisurely drive back Monday (and it was snowing when we left - crazy!). Then Tuesday was a real snap back to reality. I watched my co-worker's three-month old son starting at 7:30 a.m. ... and drove him to work to drop him off, and then worked until midnight. Long long day but it was fun to take care of the cute baby. I had never driven with a baby in the car, so I was nervous about the car seat (but it was fine) and drove like a really old lady.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

the not-a-trip-recap post

I know, I know, no vacation post yet. Today was my first full day back and I woke up at 6:30 to babysit all day for a three-month-old, drive him to work to hand him off to his mom, and walk the 20 steps to *my* desk to work until midnight. I don't know how moms do this sort of thing. I'm zonked. So no recap post tonight. But here's a pic:

view from Hawksbill Mountain

Thursday, May 8, 2008



Pungo strawberries

I went to a pick-your-own place today with my friend Stephanie ... man what a great deal! I paid less than $5 for about three pounds of strawberries fresh off the plant. I rinsed them and cut the tops off and packed them up for tomorrow's trip. My boyfriend and I are staying in Shenandoah National Park for the weekend. It's supposed to rain (no fun) but I'm hoping we can go on some nice hikes (hey, it's under cover in the trees, right?). I'm bringing some knitting (I've got to make 2.5 more baby socks by Saturday the 17th) and some magazines (two Runner's World and Interweave Knits - my first in the subscription!). It should be nice and relaxing!

Monday, May 5, 2008

the shopping.

Wow did MS&W have a lot to offer! I barely made it through half of the booths but brought home all this:

Yarn Haul, MS&W

The first image is my shopping bag at the end of the day (artfully arranged to avoid a peek at my mom's present). I picked up three skeins of STR mediumweight - Cockamamie, Sapphire and Faulty Dyer. While in line to pay there, we overheard someone talking about really reasonably priced yarn in another booth, so Jamie did some reconnaissance work while I stayed in line. She confirmed the awesomeness, so I went over there and bought the off-white and pale blue Canopy yarn (middle row, right and bottom row, left) by the Fibre Company (Maine, I believe). It is so, so, soft. I'm hoping to make a baby sweater out of the white, and a pair of cozy socks out of the blue.

My next purchase was the massive hank (9 ounces, about 560 yards) of an alpaca/merino/silk blend (bottom row, middle) at Liberty Ridge Farms (N.Y.). What sold me on it was the smell. Jamie and I were oohing and aahing over all the combinations - the single ply varieties were especially soft, but I was worried it wouldn't hold up very well. She picked one up and smelled it ... oh my word, I've never smelled yarn that smelled so amazing. She said it smelled like a perfect sweater and she was so right. I'm hoping it could be a beautiful shawl...

I went to one of the bigger barns to find a birthday present for my mom and instead walked out of the Cloverhill Yarn Shop (Md.) with this electric blue sock yarn (middle image) by Wullenstudio (I couldn't even find it listed on Ravelry!). They had so many yarn brands I oohed and ahhed over - Chewy Spaghetti (I just love that name), Brooklyn Handspun, the Sweet Sheep, Woolgirl. I ended up going back to the Fibre Company to buy some of the $4.50/hank yarn in a beautiful shade of green for myself. And I managed to pick up a present for my mom (and it's not a sheep, like my dad joked). I can't wait to see what she thinks of it!

After all this yarn binging - I have to say, I'm so over yarn buying. I'm really excited about my stash and the many, many things I can make in the months to come. But no yarn buying for a long, looooong time.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

810 miles later ...

I'm home from my road trip! What a whirlwind it was. I love how it is when you see friends you haven't seen in a long time and your rapid-fire conversation picks up where you left two months ago (or even longer).

The first leg of my trip was to the Jersey shore ... I had a reunion with my old roommate and we celebrated with a trip to Chili's.

We hung out at her apartment and watched TV like nothing had changed. I did most of the listening in all talks about the break-up and gave her my $0.02 when I thought it was needed. We even did a mini photo shoot in her parking lot ...

roomies reunited part 1

I was off to D.C. 15 hours after I arrived in New Jersey. I restocked my Lush shampoo and conditioner and I went to Sephora and got my first-ever makeover, if you can even call it that. I got half a face of Bare Minerals (uhh yes, the makeup artist only did half. It was kind of awkward.) and loved the results, so I took the plunge and spent some serious $$ on makeup. I survived a hellaciously long what-should-have-been-20-minutes-but-was-an-hour-and-15-minutes drive across the beltway to my friend Jamie's apartment, where we put my new makeup to test and went for a long walk in the hot weather in the park next to her apartment:

a late-afternoon walk

The walk was lovely - just what we needed. (And the makeup survived unscathed - I didn't feel it sweat off, even though I know I was rather gross.)

We went to bed early, as Saturday was MS&W. We left for the 45-minute drive at 9 a.m., thinking we'd have some cushion time for traffic, as the fair opened at 10. Well, we hit traffic three miles away. This was the parking lot at 10:30 a.m. (when we finally arrived):

Maryland Sheep & Wool parking lot, 10:15 a.m.

Craziness. (The hazy sky belies what was to come. The sun came out and it hit about 70 degrees, so perfect.) I knew I was in for a madhouse at the first place we went - the booth that sold Socks that Rock. It was busy, but I easily found some yarn that I loved (well, I loved it all but didn't want to blow my budget at the first booth!) and got in the very loooong line to pay for my three skeins. We were in line to pay for about 45 minutes. Seriously. Jamie held my spot in line while I checked out a vendor we surreptitiously heard being promoted as having uber cheap prices (it was true - I bought yarn and returned to line).

I was really pleased, though - I was nervous for the vendor, because I thought that people in line could easily have walked off with the yarn without paying. The line stretched 20-25 feet away, around the corner from the checkout area. There was no one monitoring it, either. It's corny but I was really happy to see the honor system in full effect.

I was afraid there would be some nastiness - it was really, really crowded and rather warm, which could make for some tempers. But the only awkward moment I witnessed was a woman waltzing up to an open portapotty and ignoring our line of about 10 people - several people called her out on it (not me). And, um, I found myself in a precarious situation when I set my yarn down *on the checkout table to pay* and these two women saw my soon-to-be-purchased yarn and exclaimed "Oh my god, that is so BEAUTIFUL!" They picked it up and kept talking about it, and I was afraid they'd walk off with it, so I said very timidly, "um, I was just paying for that." It was rather awkward, and they played it off by asking me what I was going to make with it and I told them where it was in the booth (though I neglected to mention that there wasn't much left. All's fair in love and yarn shopping).

Oh and of course we saw sheep.

sweet sheep face

I love the sweet (blurry) face! I also got a video of this verrry outspoken sheep:

We spent about four hours there, but I could have easily spent more time (and money) there. We saw about half of the place but were just so very tired from it all. It was sensory overload. I didn't even make it to the Ravelry meetup, though I would have loved to. I would definitely go back - and now that I've been there once and know the lay of the land, I hope I can return. I'd love to go with my mom.

I'm at the point where I'm just too tired to blog about my purchases ... I went to bed the past few nights before midnight - which is a rare, rare thing for me. I plan on blogging tomorrow about my purchases. Here's a sneak peek:

my haul!