Monday, February 25, 2008

WIP Update

I seem to be much better at starting projects than finishing them, lately. I think I've spent a reasonable amount of time knitting, but have only one completed project to show for it. So here's a rundown of the current works in progress:

The Obama-logo hat is starting to look hat-sized, although it has a long way to go before it gets its logo. Thanks to everything I've learned from the Hat Attack project, I know it needs to be about 8" long - which means I knit until it's just under 6", and then begin decreasing for the crown. This probably should be my first priority project, since it's still cold out and the primaries are still happening - although it's looking more and more likely that I'll be able to wear it through November!

When I said I wanted to have the toe socks done before Aaron came home, I wasn't anticipating this early visit. It's still likely that I'll have them done before he returns for good in the middle of March. The newest yarn he brought me isn't destined for a project yet - I'll see what comes up.

I need to get busy on either the toe socks or the Fiber Fish Mittens, because I'm going to need the Size 1 needles for all sorts of upcoming knitalongs and contests. In fact, the Year of the Rat socks are on hold because one of their Size 1 needles broke (Brittanys just don't work for me!), and I don't have any more spares. Fish #1 has a body now, and so I need to add the thumb/fin and weave in a whole bunch of ends. Entrelac goes pretty quickly when I'm actually working on it - I think because there's always a satisfying sense of having finished something - so I'll probably have these finished before winter's over.

I got in a little work on the Kauni Cardigan at this month's Nordic Knitting Club, so it's a couple of pattern repeats longer than it was. This is another pattern that gives a constant sense of accomplishment - I wonder if it would be even better with a colorway that changed more frequently? I found myself pulling the yarn out of the ball as I was knitting, asking "are we there yet?" of the next colors.

The cardigan was on hold for awhile, because Oscar chewed up the circular needle, and River Knits was all out of the size I needed, presumably by coincidence rather than the result of a VeryBadPlot. It wasn't enough that he got into the knitting bag (in the past, "out of sight, out of tiny little doggie mind" has worked to keep him away from needles) and pulled them out of the knitting. No, he had to rub it in by lying at my feet to do it - chewed through the cord and destroyed one of the needles in the fairly short time it took me to realize, "those aren't chewy-toy sounds!"

I have new incentive to finish this soon - the Yarn Harlot is coming to Indianapolis in April, and I'd really like to be able to show off a finished sweater! I hope it will be far too warm to actually wear the sweater, which means I have to finish it even faster if I'm to enjoy it.

My other Nordic project - the Sock Club socks - hasn't been out for awhile. I'll probably pay more attention to it once the toe socks are done, since I only have a few more pattern rows to go before there's a lot of solid-color knitting, which is good for carrying around. They may not be done before it's too warm to wear them - especially since I skipped this month's sock club due to Aaron's visit.

Incidentally, he thinks there may have been a plot: I'd mentioned that I wouldn't be at Sock Club, only to receive an e-mail from Elizabeth, asking if anyone could loan her a Barack Obama button. I have a few, so I was happy to give her one - and thought I should drop it by right away since I didn't know how soon she needed it. Since I'd be dropping by during Sock Club, I could take extra buttons with me, just in case anyone else asked for one. And as long as I was there, I could pick up a little something for my new Hat Attack package. Buying yarn was the last thing on my mind....or at least the third or fourth thing on my mind.

But I was there, and I knew I'd be needing some yarn for these upcoming challenges, and Elizabeth had recently mentioned that a new shipment of Jitterbug had come would've been silly not to check it out, right? Now I have a new skein of Jitterbug, and a couple balls of Melody for the Sock Knitters' Pentathlon. So did Elizabeth really need that button, or was she just trying to keep me from getting away?

Here's the bag I bought - NOT FOR ME - a bit overexposed because I wanted to show the cables on the hat. At least I've finished one project recently - my new Hat Attack weapon, all ready to be mailed off to IronJohn. I've added seven rows to the original pattern, and I like the fit much better. Perhaps I'll make one just for me as a way of reveling in still being alive. Or perhaps I shouldn't tempt fate, or start any more knitting projects.

I couldn't resist adding a few other deadly and dangerous things, just for fun. Mr. Yuk stickers are hard to get these days - I wound up having to buy them from eBay - but they seem to go with the general theme.

As it turns out, I may not be finished with trips to River Knits. I see there's a Jitterbug colorway called Salty Dog. I don't see how I can resist checking that out!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Oscar

Today we're celebrating Oscar's birthday! He's two years old, more or less - I've decided that his birthday is the 24th - the day we found him - and he was about six months old in August 2006. Last year I set his birthday in April, but then I learned that teeth are more reliable than testicles for determining a dog's age, so he suddenly became two months older.

He's modeling his birthday present - a t-shirt that says "100% Mutt." I wish we'd been able to get them for both dogs, since "what kind of dog is that?" seems to be the most common question I get when the VeryBadDogs go out. He doesn't seem to mind wearing the shirt much - I think it helps that I told him that it makes him look a bit dangerous - Mommy's fuzzy little bad-ass. I hope he doesn't decide he needs some tattoos to go with it.

I didn't hold a party or anything, but both dogs got Frosty Paws with their dinner. I sang "Happy Birthday" to Oscar first, but I think they were paying more attention to the Frosty Paws than to me.

I'm not always sure that Max is happy to have a little brother, but he's sure happy to have two sets of doggie celebrations and treats. He even let Oscar tear up the empty cups all by himself - I wonder if he knew it was a special day?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Second Time is Easier

I felt a bit bad about killing my first Hat Attack Victim, but somehow it's easier the second time around. All of a sudden it doesn't seem odd to spend a day frantically sending death to a total stranger. Is it because my new target, IronJohn04, lives far enough away that I'm not likely to run into him at the knitting shop? Or is it that knitting to kill turns out to be fun?

IronJohn's assassin, MopTopMary, sent her WIP off to me as she was dying from her own assassin's hat, so now it's my turn to pick up where she left off - at Row 20 of the pattern, to be exact.

She even took the time to include some goodies to thank me for finishing - useful things, tasty treats, and this fun paper art, including a non-lethal hat. In a delightful burst of knitting crueltykindness, she sent IronJohn a package of goodies, too - leaving him to fear he was dead much earlier than expected. I like her already!

I've made some progress on the new weapon, and expect to mail it out Monday morning. Once the cables are out of the way, it gets pretty easy - although I'm making it a bit longer so it will fit IronJohn. The poor guy lives in New England, so he needs warm stuff to wear!

Under normal circumstances, the hat would have gone out this morning - but Aaron came home for brief visit last night! He has a job interview this week, but since he's in the neighborhood - relatively speaking - I get to see him, too. He brought me this lovely yarn from a recent visit to Oldenburg, so it only seemed reasonable to put the knitting aside for a couple days and enjoy his company. I guess I'm not a terribly ruthless assassin, after all.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Yes, I Can

knit a hat. I think.

The Hat Attack project has rejuvinated my love of hat knitting - I suppose I'm somewhat inspired by the seemingly instant gratification of a simple pattern and a whole day devoted to knitting.

But any hat should knit up quickly enough. I need a new hat, and I've been wanting some sort of Barack Obama gear to wear every day. So, inspired by Carla's great hat, I've decided to put together my own. This project begins on a good note because the red and white yarns are from stash. I thought I'd be able to pull two blues from stash, too, but then finally remembered that I'd actually used that yarn on another project. So the stash is good for something.

Here's the beginning of the hat - I'm actually using six needles - which is the sort of set you get when you have a dog who eats needles. It works out nicely because there are five repeats of the brim pattern, which has turned into this from my original plan of having some sort of staggered garter stitch design.

So my plan is that the brim will fold up, and then I'll have a simple stockinette hat with the Obama logo. I've been debating how to do the logo part - I was really leaning toward intarsia in the round, but I think I'm going to go with duplicate stitch. It might not look quite as nice, but sooner or later it gets kind of weird to wear candidate apparel - especially if the candidate you want wins, I think - and I'd like to be able to wear this hat after November. So duplicate stitch for now, and then after Inauguration Day it can become a plain blue hat. Hmm...maybe it needs some white to make it look more springlike - perhaps I'll be adding some I-cord before this is over.

Yes, I can make a hat. I can make a hat, and ignore any concerns about gauge, and completely forego swatching, and fiddle around with the design as I go along, and still have something that I want to wear every day for months. I hope.

By the way, I realize that friends who want to know what I'm knitting, or what sort of bad things the dogs have done, may not be dying of curiousity about what I've had for lunch. But I can't resist the bento pictures, so I've created a new flickr pool so I can keep them off the blog. Two new bento boxes are on their way, so you'll have to venture over to flickr if you want to see the "little fishies happy together," or the Bullet Train cartoon character. (Ok, he may wind up here. I reserve the right to assert the coolness of public transportation anyplace.) I've also joined the Bento Boxes group in order to have an audience who shares my obsession. Some of my favorite bento makers are in that pool. Is it way too weird that I have favorite bento makers?

Friday, February 15, 2008


Ravelry just brings one fun thing after another! Boho Knitter Chick had the great idea of putting together a Valentine swap - basically just sharing around lists of people you'd send cards to, and get cards from. Since I'm never very good about sending out cards - and I'm better at it than a lot of people I know - my mailbox is usually pretty lonely. So I was glad to sign up.

And just look at all the lovely cards. When I'm home, I'll have to go through and list their senders, but for right now I'm just reveling in the sheer gloriousness of so many cards. There are so many that you can't even see the fishy card holder Aaron gave me. We never have that problem at Christmas, even if we include the cards from the insurance agent and the paper carrier.

Some were handmade, and some were commercial - all were very nice. Several people even included a little trinket - something I'll have to think about for the future.

Mine were handmade - much as I love buying trinkets, I couldn't resist the opportunity to take advantage of my wonderful models. So this is the final outcome of my earlier photo session. I think the cuteness of the VeryBadDogs makes up for all the trouble - which is usually what happens with dogs.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Books and Cookies

This is my second Valentine's Day alone in a row, and I have to say that it's not a lot of fun. Not that we ever made a big deal out of Valentine's Day, but it's nice to ignore all the commercial nonsense with someone you love.

Fortunately, Purdue provided lots of entertainment - and desserts - today. So I took the toe sock out to show it a good time, and to collect some goodies for me. (Incidentally, I'd hoped to have the toe socks finshed for Valentine's day, but have been too distracted by other projects. I'll try to have it finished before Aaron gets home - since it's always good to show that I really do enjoy using the yarn he brings me!)

Our first stop was at the "Cider Social," hosted by the university president, France Cordova. She just joined Purdue this summer and held a "Handshakes and Milkshakes" meet-n-greet, and seems to be planning to make these socials a regular event. I didn't wait in the very long line to talk to her, but it was a nice gathering with a large number of people, a fun band, and very good food. I'm still in awe that we managed to get such an outstanding person - background-wise she's probably the best president the university has ever had, with a bachelor's degree in English followed by a Ph.D. in physics (and all kinds of interesting stuff in between and after). Between needing one hand for the hot cider and another for the oatmeal cookies I didn't get any knitting done, but I still took the sock out to show it around a bit.

From there we headed one building over for the English Department's "Books and Coffee" lecture - more yummy cookies, courtesy of Purdue - and a lot of knitting time this time! It's a bit hard to see in the picture, but the sock has a heel now.

This week's book was The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, presented by Bich Minh Nguyen. Not only was her talk enjoyable, but she took my "hold the sock, please" request with good humor. I haven't read the book yet, but I have a copy on order from Amazon, and it appears to be very popular.

The talk turned out to be especially good for me - every week they raffle off some goodies, and for the first time ever, I won! So now I have a gift card from Barnes & Noble - maybe I'll use it for next week's book.

And then the sock and I headed find a package waiting for me. Aaron sent these beautiful roses, which started open and fill the room with fragrance just as soon as I got them into water. So I may be spending Valentine's Day with a sock and some dogs for company, but I'm not alone in spirit!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Handwashing Socks or Tonguewashing Socks?

I spent Sunday evening washing socks. It's definitely not at the top of my fun things to do list, but even by hand I can do laundry faster than I can knit.

In the process, I discovered that one of my sock yarns isn't colorfast. I'm blaming the Mountain Colors Bearfoot, since it's the one that gave me the blue feet.

I don't know if there's a more efficient way to do this. I suspect that the only thing I hate more than washing clothes by hand is washing dishes by hand - and that only wins because I have to do it more often. When I visit my family the socks can have a nice, leisurely bath in their washing machine, but I'm less inclined to trust the laundromats with my handknits. I just wish there was an easier way.....

But this is not what I had in mind. I don't know if Oscar thought he was helping, when he kept trying to lick the clean socks, or if he thought I was having so much fun that I really wanted to wash my socks again. When he wasn't trying to get directly involved in the washing process, he was trying to lap up water from the ones on the drying rack. I'm just glad he didn't manage to turn himself blue.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What a Croc.

I've been, somewhat reluctantly, taking the Pro-Crocs side in the love 'em or hate 'em debate that seems to surround these plastic shoes. Sure, they're ugly. And the nubbled footbeds collect water, so it's important to remember to leave them upside down if you've been wearing them in the snow. But they're cheap, they're comfortable, they're lightweight, and they'll stand up to water. They're even good for knitters - the open heels beautifully show off the intarsia work in the socks Amanda made for me when I wear them. They make a good set of kitchen clogs - my feet hurt a lot less after doing dishes if I remember to put on the Crocs first. When it's raining outside, or even dewey, I don't want to risk damage to my Birkenstocks when I'm taking the dogs out. Sometimes I'll even wear them in public, if it's really icky out. So I'm a Crocs owner, and a Crocs fan.

Or I was yesterday. Yesterday morning, anyway.

But yesterday evening I headed out to do errands and laundry. And it's been kind of wet, lately, so I wore the Crocs. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

We were still enjoying a pleasant day with temperatures in the 40s when I headed into the laundromat. By the time I was finished, the rain had started. So had the wind. Because it was cold and rainy, limiting my number of trips to the car seemed like a perfectly sensible thing to do. So I piled all my laundry up into a cart, and headed out to the parking lot.

Did I mention the wind? It was incredibly windy. I think we're supposed to have a high of 8 today, so that's a pretty serious front to blow in overnight. With a lot of wind.

So much wind that, as I was walking to the car, one of my Crocs blew off. And began to tumble across the parking lot, leaving me with no choice but to chase them. While wearing one shoe, and one wool sock that doesn't stand up to water. And while dragging a cart full of precariously-balanced totes of clean laundry. Through a parking lot that's shared with a handful of bars. "Lightweight" stopped being a selling point right about then, although I did recover the shoe.

I'm wearing Birkenstocks today.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Death by 1111101000 Stitches

My SuperWeapon is complete!

The Evil Knitting Plan to knit a Killer Hat went more-or-less according to plan. Oscar thoughtfully woke me up at 7:30, so there was plenty of time to grumble at the dogs and eat some breakfast before getting started.

But my project was almost sabotaged before it began. Look what I discovered when I opened my new packet of cable needles. Can you see the teeth marks? The marks that look as if they were made by dog teeth? Maybe belonging to a small brown dog?

I have no idea how either dog (and one is a more likely culprit than the other, but I wouldn't rule him out) managed to chew up the needles without damaging the package. Unless they sneak off to the Clover factory at night. Or maybe they convinced Elizabeth to let them in to River Knits some afternoon so she could have some "special stock" set aside for me. Neither theory is entirely implausible - I have spectacularly bad dogs.

Fortunately, the cable needles weren't damaged beyond use, and I cast on just before 9:00. It was slow going at first - the smaller needles I used for the first few rows are some plastic material - I think by Boye - and they gripped the yarn pretty firmly. At 9:51, I'd just finished Row 7 - the first round of cable twists.

Once I memorized how to do the cables, and figured out the pattern sequence, the hat moved along much more smoothly. By the time I took a lunch break at noon, I'd finished the entire cable part, and was getting very close to the crown.

Completing the whole thing took longer than it should have - a short lunch break with a frozen pizza turned into a couple hours of interruption (and a little bit of distraction - I was almost finished with The Omnivore's Dilemma). I wasn't able to resume knitting until well after 2:00, but I finished the whole thing - and even wove in the ends - before 4:00!

Even so, I decided not to make the trip to campus, since there was only a slim hope that the mail pickup hadn't happened yet. Today was a beautiful, sunny day, and since I'd neglected the dogs all morning for my knitting, it only seemed fair to let them outside for awhile.

That may not have been such a good idea. This is how Oscar decided to celebrate the outdoors today. I invite you to imagine how dirty a dog can get when he's buried himself butt-deep in compost, face-first.

Lest you think that he was the only bad dog, I'll mention that while Oscar was getting into the compost, Max was eating some dog food that had been... er... pre-eaten (and un-eaten) by the neighbor dog. I didn't think there was any need to get or share pictures of that.

But back to the main story of the day - the hat is finished! It's off to its target on Monday. And it has a name - the Binary Cable Hat. I'm not exactly looking forward to getting mine, but I think I'll be glad to have it.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Year of the Rat

Chinese New Year isn't a traditional holiday for me, but I'm paying some attention this year, because yesterday ushered in the Year of the Rat - and I'm a Rat. More specifically, I'm a Water Rat - the elements run on a five-year cycle, so the pairing will only occur every 60 years. I've met two older-generation Water Rats in my life; a friend's mother and a gentleman at the Indiana Historical Society.

So I'm doing a few things to celebrate my animal, if not my element just yet. I just learned that the second day of the New Year is considered to be all dogs' birthday, so you're supposed to be extra-nice to dogs today. I think I've got that one covered.

Then there's the food. Yesterday, I dropped by a celebration on campus, hosted by some of the Chinese student groups. There was a huge crowd, so I didn't get to take any sock pictures. But I did get to enjoy some nice snacks - I'm not exactly sure what any of these things are, but some of them were pretty tasty.

Dumplings are especially important to the celebration - a look back to a time when meat-filled dumplings were a real treat. Now they come pre-prepared and frozen in bags from the nearest Oriental grocery, but they're still quite a treat. Several kind people spent a lot of time over a hot stove, preparing pan after pan of dumplings for their friends and all the strangers who dropped in. I don't know what was in any of the dumplings I ate, but they were a delightful start to a new year. I think visiting an Oriental grocery is going to go on my list of planned celebratory activities.

And there's one activity that's good for celebrating any occasion - knitting! Today I cast on yet another new pair of socks - Lickety Split, from Knitty. The pattern comes with intarsia charts for all the zodiac symbols, so I can have Rat Socks. It also uses yarn that I already have - so that's a good practice to encourage in any New Year. The finicky bits are over for now - you make the 4-toe section and the big toe separately, the join them together - so now it's easy knitting until I'm ready for the heel and the intarsia.

That may be awhile, because tomorrow is the big day - the Hat Attack pattern is released at 9:00 AM! I have my yarn, my needles, my cable needles (which I removed from Oscar's hiding place), and my mailing envelope. I've stocked up on frozen meals so I won't have to cook tomorrow. I'm ready to send Green Fibery Death off just as quickly as possible.

Here is my plan:

8:00 - Wake up. (This part is easier than I like - Oscar wakes up at 8:00 every morning.)
Walk dogs, get dressed, eat breakfast, feed dogs. Begin stalking the Yahoo group.

9:00 - Download pattern. Begin knitting like crazy.

11:00 - Assuming I'm not done, ask myself, "do I have any realistic chance of finishing this by th time the Post Office closes at noon? If the answer is yes, keep knitting. If not, take a break.

11:59 - If I've knit like lightning, I'll be inside the post office mailing my package. I'll ask myself, "do I have any realistic chance of finishing this in time to get it over the campus post office before 4:00, if I hope their pickup is late?" The answer to this will determine how labor-intensive my lunch is. If it's "yes," I have the frozen things.

4:00 - This is, realistically, my last possible time to mail the thing out on Saturday, and even that's a stretch. I will stop knitting at this point, regardless of how much hat is finished.

Tomorrow is also laundry day. Even if I go do laundry after 4:00, I might let myself get away with knitting at the laundromat. But we'll see....I don't want to be too sore to finish the job on Sunday.

I expect the Hat Of Death will go in the mail on Monday morning. I've posted this friendly little greeting, courtesy of, so my target knows I'm thinking fondly of her.

Watch this spot to see how it all turns out!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Back to Bento

I still promise that I won't show every lunch I ever pack - at least not on this blog - but I've found a wonderful new website called Just Bento, so I'm trying to use it for inspiration (and recipes) to pack more healthful lunches.

This is a recent attempt. It's a 20-ounce Lock-n-Lock container, which means about 600ml. If you pack a box in the traditonal way, you'll have about as many calories as you do mililiters. I'm skewing towards the vegetables, which is good, but I don't think traditional bentos include dessert, so I'm not sure how much extra credit I get for the veggies.

Anyway, this bento is packed on a bed of spinach sauteed with vinegar and pepper. I'd intended that to be the main vegetable, but didn't appreciate how much the spinach would cook down, so I added a handful of frozen edamame to keep things green (and slipped in a few carrot sticks at the last minute). There's half a chicken sausage from Trader Joe's, and an onigiri - a rice ball - made from brown rice, so it's nice and nutritious. Dessert is in the two silicone baking cups - a serving of sutlac (Turkish rice pudding), and some frozen raspberries. These silicone baking cups are the best thing in the world when cooking for one, because they can go straight from the freezer to the oven or microwave, so I can prepare a single serving of something very easily.

In an attempt to keep up my enthusiasm, I've ordered an authentic bento box from ebay. I've promised myself that, if I walk 5000 steps a day all week, I can buy another one, and some accessories. (Yes, I'm counting - I'm wearing a pedometer. I'm using the M-Plan 10,000 steps site to track my progress. It's great - you can enter your total steps every day, and it gives you the equivalent in miles or minutes of exercise, keeps track of your weekly average, and creates a nifty graph to show your progress. I don't know why keeping score makes me more active, but it seems to work.)

And on a completely unrelated topic, I'm making progress on the Fiber Fish mitten. Since entrelac is completed in discrete chunks, it always seems to go quickly. I've nearly done as many rows as the pattern requires, although I think I'll have to add a couple more to make the mittens long enough.

It's a good thing I'm making progress, because it's cold and wet, and getting colder. All that snow from Monday? It was gone by the time I got home from work. Then it rained, yesterday and today, so even the areas that aren't flooded have pools of standing water everyplace. The dog park looks more like a dog lake, according to the pictures. So I think fish-shaped mittens are going to feel right at home.

I'm taking quite a sock break, between the fishie mittens and the Hat Of Doom. But that's OK, because, as of today, there's just one month to go until my sockday!!!!!!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Slush Day

We have a Slush Day today. It's a lot warmer than a snow day, but not nearly as pretty. That 7.5 inches of snow seems to be all trying to go away at once, so the air is full of something white and liquid. This is what the front yard looks like, and I can actually see fog rolling up the driveway out to the street. It's pretty serious fog, too.

So the warm weather doesn't mean it's a good day for working outside, since the entire yard is a snowy and muddy mess. But, the fog makes for a beautiful soft sunlight - a perfect day for a photo shoot, right?

I'd come up with a clever idea for valentines...since I have a handy supply of cute dogs, why not set up a cheerful Valentine backdrop and take pictures of the dogs? A little time with Photoshop, a little work with a color printer, and I'm done. It seemed like such an easy idea.

So first I broke out the colored paper, and cut out a whole bunch of hearts, which got dog-related candy heart sayings. I was so proud of myself - I used up stuff we had lying around, and didn't buy any more paper for this project. Everything seemed good.

But there's an old saying in show business - never work with animals or children. I think it applies here, too. First, I had way more help than I needed when trying to cut out festive Valentine bandannas for the dogs.

If Max had been the one doing this, I would have suspected deliberate sabotage in order to avoid wearing the bandannas. But I don't think Oscar's that clever.

Then, it turns out that dog toys which sit unnoticed for weeks are suddenly very interesting when someone's trying to take pictures of them. Max got in on this harassment effort, too, but fled before I could take his picture...he was probably afraid of the bandanna.

Then, it turned out that the dogs were only willing to pose one at a time on my carefully-arranged Valentine backdrop. And while "pose," to me, means "sit still and look cute," to dogs it means "run around and step on the hearts to see if you can crumple them up, and while you're at it, pull the blanket off the chair and start fights with each other." Bribery didn't even work to get them to sit quietly together.

At least not at first. Upping the bribery ante to whole dog biscuits - and perhaps having a longer attention span than the dogs - eventually won me a handful of photos. There were a lot more little hearts when I started, but I'm not sure I can afford to be picky. I suspect dealing with computer programs will turn out to be the easy part of this Valentine's Day project!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Four by Four

I'm stealing another posting from Amanda, since I don't have any exciting new knitting, and (I hope) the dogs haven't done anything spectacularly bad.

Four jobs I have had in my life:
  1. Shivers the Penguin, the Indianapolis Zoo mascot
  2. Intern for the Indiana House Republicans
  3. Factory worker for Whirlpool
  4. Teaching assistant
Four movies I could watch over and over (or have watched over and over):
  1. White Christmas
  2. Apollo 13
  3. The Flying Misfits
  4. Monsters, Inc.
  5. The Jerk, but not on purpose
Four places I have lived:
  1. Indianapolis, IN
  2. Jerusalem
  3. Washington, DC
  4. Lafayette, IN
Four TV shows I watch:
  1. My Name is Earl
  2. Monk
  3. Battlestar Galactica
  4. Num3ers
Four places I have been:
  1. Budapest
  2. Bogazkoy/Hattusa, Turkey
  3. London (both Ontario and England)
  4. Oldenburg, Germany
Four people who e-mail me regularly:
  1. Aaron
  2. Karen
  3. The Sock Day Club
  4. Nancy, my sister
Four of my favorite foods:
  1. Bread
  2. Grilled beef
  3. Noodles
  4. Apricots
Four places I would rather be right now:
  1. Stockholm
  2. Jerusalem
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Anyplace warm
Four friends I think will respond:
  1. Karen
  2. Some of the River Knits Folks
  3. Alsatia
  4. Kerry
Four things I'm looking forward to this year:
  1. Sock Madness
  2. Aaron's return home
  3. A return to Talladega?
  4. Summer

Saturday, February 02, 2008


If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, winter, have another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go, winter, and come not again.

I don't know what the local weather forecast is going to be. Our local groundhog didn't see a shadow, so that should promise an early spring. But it was definitely "fair and bright" today, if a sunny day counts as fair when 7 inches of snow are on the ground.

On this, the last of the Christmas holidays, I'm starting and finishing some things. My Christmas Socks had their debut today, since they weren't finished during Christmas. Now they'll probably be put away until next year - especially since Panda Wool turns out to not be the best choice for a wet, slushy, cold day. Wool really is better than anything else for keeping out the cold and the wet - even a little bit of nylon makes a huge difference, and I'm sure the bamboo didn't help. But they're pretty socks. I like them better when they're on - the Shimmer pattern stands out a lot more.

So now it's time to look ahead to a new project.... Death By Knitting! I've joined Hat Attack, an assassination-style game with hats as the weapon of choice, inspired by Sock Wars. So I'm planning to do in a victim I don't even know yet.

Even if I'm not the victor, I hope some good will come of my death. I desperately need a new hat.

See, I have this lovely hat, which Elizabeth made for me a couple of years ago. It's perfect for fall, so that's when I wear it (although it didn't come out much this year).

Then there's this one, which I made for myself - although the pattern was also a Secret Pal gift from Elizabeth. It can see me through Christmas, and is quite popular. Aaron really likes it, because it makes me easier to spot in a crowd.

But I've nothing for this time of year, when Christmas is past and winter is turning into spring. So I either walk around cold, or make do with a fleece hat - neither one of which is really acceptable for a knitter. My winter coat has this perfectly good hood, but I look awfully Hobbity if I wear it up.

So, my dear assassin, if you're reading this to gather intelligence for your evil plot to kill me, please know that I'd really like to be done in by a toasty hat that will see me through the inevitable Six More Weeks of Winter. Wool is a perfectly lovely fiber, and for a hat, it doesn't even have to be superwash. Something in winter or spring colors would be perfect. Don't you want me to die happy?

And for my victim-to-be, this is what I have in mind - Cascade 220 in a light green, which was as close as I could get to Mr. Yuk without going for something neon. If it makes you feel better, I've already suffered more than you will - I hate swatching!

Friday, February 01, 2008

7.2 Inches

Too bad that's not a measure of a day's knitting progress!

Nope, it's a snow day. A good day to stay inside and not do anything.

Except knit. My Soxie yarn has been patiently waiting since Tuesday, so a day at home is a good day to start turning it into fish - Fiber Fish, to be precise. This is a fun little pattern.

It starts with a handful of these little dominos...

....then they get joined together in a mitten cuff/fish tail. This knitting represents a phone call with Aaron, a Peachy Keen episode of Good Eats, and a repeat of Num3ers. How's that for productive?

I'm working on a few other things, too: I made some yummy Browned Butter Oatmeal Praline cookies, I'm putting together some valentines, and I'm reading a book about White Christmas for class. I could get to like this popular culture thing!

Progress towards that "clean apartment" goal? Not so good. But finishing knitting projects is sort of like putting things away, I think. And starting is sort of like finishing.