Thursday, March 31, 2005

An FO and 2 WIPs

Believe it or not, I actually have knitting photos tonight. Whoda thunk? :)

In prep for Flashing My Stash, I've taken oodles of photos tonight. To start off our show, I've got an FO, and two works-in-progress.

I finished the Opal 5001 socks on Sunday night, and happily wore them to work on Monday. They fit very well, and I'm really happy with them.

Yes, those are my feet.
Summary: Opal Brasil 5001 Cast on 90 stitches on size 0 needles. Knit until the cows come home. The amazing thing about these socks is that they're absolutely identical (well, okay, except for one small spot). I wasn't even trying to get them to match - it just turned out that way. Pretty cool.

My CIC stripey scarf has acquired a few more rows:

This scarf is slow going, but it's not really my primary project at the moment.

I've finally picked up the Rainbow Jacket again, and am chugging along at a steady pace.

I'm almost ready to start adding stitches for the body of the jacket. Then progress will really slow to a crawl. :)

Up next? Yarn Porn!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Leftover Pizza

I meant to post this about a week ago, but never quite got my hands on the computer for long enough. :)

Andrew and I are big fans of pizza. We eat it with regular frequency. When we first moved in here, Andrew suggested we leave the pizza box in the oven to retain heat, so if you wanted another slice later, it'd still be pretty hot. It's been a regular practice in our house since then.

Andrew and I ordered pizza on a Thursday night, and I never quite got around to finishing my leftovers. Last Saturday we decided to broil some fish for dinner. Yummy. We started preheating the oven, and after a few minutes noticed a faint odor in the kitchen. Smelled vaguely like something was burning. We assumed it was grease or whatever on the broiler pan and ignored it.

The smell increases.

We put the fish in the broiler and start the first 5 minutes of cooking. About 4 minutes into it, we both agree the smoke has gotten really bad, and that something must be wrong with the broiler. We turn it off.

The smell increases, as does the amount of smoke in the kitchen.

I notice smoke pouring our of the back of the stove, and tell Andrew. He opens up the oven, and what do we find? The pizza box. Naturally, by opening up the oven, we fed the smouldering box with lots of oxygen, so it really burst into flames.

By this point all three smoke alarms had gone off and were taken down. Now we open all the windows and doors (it's 40 outside), and try desperately to fan some of the smoke out the door. I go upstairs, and realize the smoke has completely filled the bedroom and library, and open the windows up there too. Meanwhile, we're both desperately hoping that none of our neighbors get freaked out and call the firedepartment.

We agree that trying to get the pizza box out of the oven is an excercise in foolishness, and leave it in there to burn out. In the meantime, we've taken the half-cooked fish out of the broiler, and it's sitting on top of the stove.

15 minutes later, this is what the oven looks like:


Where's the pizza you ask? Here:

The red arrows are pointing to what's left of my two slices of pepperoni/mushroom pizza. Yummy. Andrew says there's also a jalapeno in that picture somewhere, but I can't find it.

We eventually finished cooking dinner (it was still fairly edible), and, a week later, the smoke smell is mostly gone from the house. We haven't ordered pizza since then, though. :)

****
For a brief knitting update, I'm onto the instep of the second 5001 sock. It doesn't look too different from the other one, so I won't post a pic until it's done. I've also worked on the Rainbow Jacket a bit, but don't have anything too impressive to report.

Have a good (leftover pizza-free) weekend! Happy Easter to anyone who observes. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Not Quite

I was going to wait and do a real post tonight about how Andrew and I almost burned the house down, and knitting progress and the like, but then I ran across this:

you smell like butt
Congratulations. You are the "You smell like butt" bunny. You are brutally honest and always say what's on your mind.

which happy bunny are you? brought to you by Quizilla

The sad thing? Most of my friends would probably agree with the classification. At least I don't smell like butt, though. ;)

Friday, March 18, 2005

Hmm...

I wrote this great ranting post on Wednesday about the evilness of the Senate's approval of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Then Blogger ate my post. I've since concluded that Blogger must be run by Republicans. Okay, not really, but the thought made me feel better for a while.

Anyhoo, I finished the first of the Opal 5001 socks on Wednesday night:


I'm really pleased with the way it's turned out. I haven't started the second one yet (I worked on my striped CIC scarf last night), but I'm going to try and have the pair done by next weekend to give me good luck for my NCAA picks.

Speaking of my picks, you can see a screenshot of my bracket here. Andrew set up an online group with Yahoo that automatically keeps track of our points as each game ends. Right now I have 11 points, Matt has 13, and Andrew has 15. Andrew and I have a bet going; if he wins, I buy him a season of ER. If I win, he buys me a season of Buffy.

Speaking of Buffy... I find myself getting more and more hooked on the show, but I can't decide if I'm actually hooked on the show itself, or just on the doomed romance between Angel and Buffy. I watched two episodes last night (I'm on the second season). The first involved Xander falling for some re-embodied Incan mummy girl (he has terrible, terrible tase in women), and wasn't (in my opinion) all that good of an episode. The second one involved Buffy's inability to ask Angel on a date, thus leading her (eventually) to get drugged at a frat party where the brothers try to sacrifice her to some wierd worm/human/demon thing that's living in a well in the basement of their house (I knew there was a reason I didn't date frat guys). That one I liked. I think my favorite part was the scene where Willow is staring intently at the window that Angel is standing in front of (and not reflecting in), and then she suddenly blurts out "Angel, how do you shave?" Which, now that I think about it, is a really good question.

Okay, moving on with my life. My Sockapalooza pal left me a comment saying that she had gotten her socks, and that they fit well. (Feel that big sigh of relief?) I was very glad to hear that they arrived safely, and were the appropriate size. My socks still haven't appeared yet, but I'm hopeful for today or over the weekend.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Socks Away!

No pictures today, since I was too busy watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer last night. I have to say, this whole "TV shows on DVD" thing has really been my undoing over the last few months. I forsee the acquiring of many discs of Buffy in my future. (I can't believe I just said that in public.) In my defense, I'm also a Family Guy and Sex in the City fan. I'm not completely hopeless.

Okay, enough about me...

The Sockapalooza socks are away! I posted them this afternoon, and as my buddy is just up in Baltimore, I think she'll have them by Thursday at the latest. I put a little note in there, and tried to think of something funny and witty to say, but my wit always seems to fail me when I'm under pressure. Which probably says a lot about this blog.

In other news, the new Star Wars trailer is online, and free now (thank you, George. As if you didn't already have enough money...). As a Star Wars fan, I have already watched the trailer more than once, and anticipate watching it several more times between now and May 19. May 19, of course, being a vacation day from work, given that I couldn't possibly wait until 7:00 pm to see Star Wars. What did I say about not being completely hopeless? And yes, it is entirely possible that I will also take July 18th off from work so I can finish reading the newly-released Harry Potter. Depends on how verbose Ms. Rowling got in this one.

I did my bracket for the men's NCAA tournament. Not that I'm a basketball fan, or that I in any way want to encourage Andrew to watch more basketball, but since I have watched quite a bit of b-ball this season, and I enjoy a good puzzle-ish challenge, I thought I'd give this a whirl. I'll post a link to my bracket later, and keep a running commentary on my successes. I'm tempted to reward myself for getting sections right, but honestly - it's all dumb luck for me, so it wouldn't be quite fair.

Back to knitting! Today marks the 3-month anniversary of my Yarn Non-Buying Agreement. So far, I haven't died from withdrawl, although I have acquired a suspicious number of knitting books over the last few months. I chalk that up to the broadening that knitblogs have done to my horizons, not a displaced need for yarn. Besides, buying knitting books gives me new ways to use up yarn, so (in the words of my old roommate), it's all good. ;)

Oh, and for real knitting news, I have 1 1/2 inches to go on the foot of my first 5001 sock, then on to the toe. Barring disasters, I think it'll be done tomorrow night.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Slump? What Slump?

I debated about posting one last picture of my Sockapalooza socks before shipping them off. I have today off from work, and tried to take advantage of the natural light. I was moderately successful:

In one of those bizarre twists of photo-taking, my camera seemed to pick up more of the detail of the towel the socks are drying on than of the socks themselves. Hence the debate about posting the picture. Oh, and although the sock on the right looks smaller than the one on the left for some reason, I assure you they are indeed the same size.

Final summary of the Sockapalooza sock: Regia 4-ply in color #2139, a heathered dark berry-ish color. 88 sts cast on size 0 needles, at 11 sts per inch. Pattern is Kit Zerbe's Dimple pattern from www.knitnet.com.

Anyhoo, I seem to have recovered from my knitting slump. This is what I've been up to the last 2 days:


That's Opal Brasil 5001. It produces some groovy rainbow and fair isle stripes. Even better, it's all stockinette all the time, baby! This is the first pair of machine-dyed self-stripers I've knit in about 9 months, and it's actually kind of nice to go back to a bit of mindless - yet exciting looking - sock knitting.

I was thinking about it the other day, and I realized that since I started sock knitting 4 years ago, I've knit 43 pairs total, with 24 of those pairs being knit on size 0 needles, at the gauge of 10 1/2 - 11 stitches per inch. The majority of the rest were worsted-weight socks for CIC, although my first pair of socks were knit on size 3. Pair 2 was on size 1, pair 3 on size 0. I progressed down the scale pretty fast. :) Only one pair of my socks have ever grown holes; they were knit from a single-ply yarn on size 1 needles. I have, unfortunately, been unsuccessful in my attempts to darn them so they can be returned to the original recipient. Whoops. :)

Anyway, there was no point to all that, just something I was thinking about the other day.

The Rainbow Jacket has had zero attention since I frogged back to the cuff. I don't have the heart to ask how it's dealing with the neglect.

Part of Andrew's anniversary gift was ordered from Amazon.com, so I took advantage of it and ordered myself a two new knitting books (which I needed like another hole in my head):


I've been wanting to try mittens for a while now (having been inspired by the Yarn Harlot), and Scarf Style has gotten lots of rave reviews, so they both seemed like good choices. I'd also like to acquire Nancy Bush's Folk Knitting in Estonia at some point, but I've had difficulty finding it used or on Amazon. No hurry, though. Andrew also gave me a copy of Knit Lit Too for our anniversary, which I've been having a great time reading over the last few days. I'm really amazed at some of the stories in these books - it's amazing how much knitting has meant to some of the authors and the people in their lives. I feel privildged to belong to such a group of wonderful, thoughtful, and kind-hearted people.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Hot Off The Needles!

My Sockapalooza socks are done!



[Does the happy jig...]

Saturday, March 05, 2005

First, Some Snow


I just like this picture because the table looks like a big Hershey's Kiss. :)

I do actually have some knitting progress to report. I took yesterday off from work, and spent far too much time watching King Arthur, which I definitely suggest that everyone not rent. If it wasn't for the knitting, it would've been a wasted 2 1/2 hours.

This picture is actually a bit old. I've now finished the gusset, so I have about 4 inches to go until the toe. I'd like to be done in time for Alison's Tuesday Knitalong update, which I think I can do. Now all I need is a postcard from Charlottesville.

Since I somehow can't live without 3 projects going at once, I cast on this scarf:

I plan on donating this one to CIC when it's done. It's a basic 4-row rib stitch, from Knitting On The Edge.

Finally, I had a package waiting for me when I got home on Thursday evening:

Lauren, of Almost Felted, was knitting a scarf for her boyfriend's friend, only to have him decide (halfway into the project) that what he said he wanted (which she had dutifully knitted) wasn't what he really wanted, and now he wasn't so interested. So poor Lauren got stuck with 7 balls of yarn in colors that she wasn't too interested in, either. I've been wanting to try some of the KnitPicks yarn for a while (but can't, because of the yarn diet), so I offered to trade her some Filatura di Crosa Luna for her abandoned scarf. It's Andean Silk, an alpaca/merino/silk blend, which I think will make a great scarf for windy winter days, and I love the colors (the red is a nice tomato/brick shade), so I think we both came out of this trade happy. Thanks Lauren!

In other news, Andrew and I are celebrating our third anniversary today. I bought him a ring (at his request - he wanted some bling), after having him measure his ring size. He did the little thing with the piece of string and a ruler, and said he was a size 13. No problem. I go to the jewelry store, pick out a nice, manly ring, and ask them to size it up to a 12 1/2 (I was skeptical of the size 13 measurement). The jeweler assures me they can size it up again if it's still too small. I give it to Andrew today, he tries it on, and let's just say it was in no danger of being too small. That thing was hanging off of his finger. We went back to the jewelry store to have his finger measured under more accurate settings, and to have the ring re-sized. Turns out his finger is actually a size 9. Apparently Andrew has some difficulty measuring things in units smaller than square feet or megahertz. But I love him anyway. :)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Still Slumping, and The Legend of the VFS

The knitting slump seems to continue. I didn't knit at all last night. I really can't remember the last time I was healthy and didn't do something crafty all day (barring extenuating circumstances, of course). Although I don't usually knit during the summer (too hot for me), I do cross-stitch avidly, but there was none of that yesterday, either.

However, to keep my blog from becoming either totally boring, or totally whiney, I present you with pictures of My Very First Sweater:


(Click for a close-up if you're feeling brave.)

My VFS started off back in the Fall of 1999. I was taking a textiles class in college, and, having finally discovered that I was a left-handed knitter, decided my first major project should be a sweater. (This was after the standard scarf, of course.)

So I brought a sweater I liked into class, measured, knitted a swatch (at least, I think I did), and cast on. I should mention at this point that the yarn I bought was Paton's Decor, which is mostly acrylic. At the time, I didn't know better. I knitted away quite merrily on this sweater for a great deal of time. At what seemed like a good spot, I started decreasing for the neck edge. After lots more knitting, I had what was most definitely a V-neck sweater. That would be fine except that I look terrible in V-necks, and had most definitely set out to knit a crew neck.

I did some whining in class, and my teacher assured me that it would stretch out when I wore it, and the ribbing for the crew neck would round it out. Okay, okay. So I cast on for the back, and continued knitting away. I finished the back, and about 2/3rds of what would've been an ENORMOUS sleeve, and then life intervened so I put the sweater down.

About a year later, I taught myself to knit socks, and then I really forgot about the sweater. On ocassion I'd pick up the sweater, look at it's various parts, and then stick it back into my (ever-growing) stash. Finally, during my last semester of college, I decided it was high time to finish my VFS, and so I ordered a pattern book with some nice simple crew neck options (Paton's Back to Basics II). Backordering meant I got the book in April, just in time for final exams and packing to move out of the dorms.

It wasn't until 2003 that I actually picked the VFS up again with any seriousness. I realized that I really didn't like the yarn, having become a true yarn snob in the intervening years, but that I really needed to finish the VFS to feel like any sort of a successful knitter. It was just too much of a UFO hanging over my head. So I frogged everything I had knit, and then left the yarn to sit next to my bed for several months (eventually resulting in my spilling milk on it all one night).

I eventually cast on, and began working on my VFS again. Of course, I was maintaining my sock obsession on the side, so the VFS didn't get a huge ammount of attention. Finally, in early Fall of 2003, I finished the VFS, and seamed it together.

I was still knitting ignorant enough at that time to not really know about the benefits of blocking, or the proper way to effectively seam a sweater.

As soon as I finished seaming and weaving in my ends (or maybe I just knotted them off), I pulled the sweater on, and ran to the mirror.

I hated it. It had several inches too much ease (now that I know about ease), the shoulders puffed up in a most unbecoming way, and the color was all wrong for me.

I took off the VFS, took some pictures of it (since it was a FO, after all), folded it up, and hid it in the closet. I mentioned my failure to a few people, and even tried to give it away, but there were no takers. At a Stitch-and-Bitch night at school I even managed to get rid of all the extra yarn I had left over from the VFS, donating it to the group's common stash.

Finally, in May of 2004, my mother came to visit. She tried on the VFS and didn't mind the excess of ease (a little less on her than on me), or the uber-puffy shoulders. So now the VFS lives in Iowa with my mum. I've never asked her if she's worn it.

Since the VFS, I've knitted one other sweater, a child's cardigan (pictures of that some other time). I've got my fingers crossed that my next sweater venture (involving lots of cables and some very nice non-acrylic yarn) will turn out a little more favorably.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A Comment Apology

I would like to apologize to everyone who has left a comment on my blog that I haven't responded to (which, I think, would be all of you). It's only mostly my fault, I swear. :)

A while back I switched from the Blogspot comments (which I really didn't like) to HaloScan (which I really did like). I went with the free HaloScan membership, meaning I was never notified when a new comment was left. No biggie, I check my most recent post each day when I went to read the blogs on my sidebar. Sadly, it didn't occur to me that someone would leave a comment on an old post. Much to my horror, I discovered about a week ago, that there were comments on old posts that I had never read or responded to.

Back to HaloScan I went, and I donated $15 to upgrade to their "premium" membership, which includes an email whenever a new comment is left. I upgraded, did all my confirmation stuff, and it was smooth sailling from there. I was a little disappointed though, that in the last week there have been no new comments on my blog.

Uh, no. To my further horror, this morning I discovered three comments on my most recent post. Of course, I had received no emails letting me know about the new comments. I thought that maybe the notifications were landing up in my junk mail, so I left myself a test comment, and waited to see what would happen.

No email, that's what.

Back to HaloScan I went. I confirmed that I was, indeed, signed up for the premium membership. I read all kinds of help things and FAQ's. Nothing conclusive. Then I checked my account settings, thinking that maybe there was some freaky problem that allowed me to receive all emails from HaloScan, except the ones letting me know I had comments. There I found it.

It turns out that after you sign up for the premium membership, you then have to go in and actually activate the email-me-when-I-have-comments feature. I guess I missed that step last week. So now, Buddha willing, all should be well in my comment world.

Because of all this, I would like to apolgize to anyone who has left a comment on my blog. I do greatly appreciate all the kind words you've said, from compliments on my knitting, to sympathy for my knittng slump, to admiration of the lovely spring flowers (now burried under 6 inches of snow) here on campus. I, like most bloggers, love to receive comments and know that someone out there in cyberspace is actually reading my words and viewing my pictures. Please know that my lack of response isn't because I'm rude or don't care, but because I'm not thorough. So thank you all, and I promise I'll try to do better in the future.