Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Catching up on knitting

Okay - I promised to tell you about the strange toilet seats I saw in Iowa. I know, toilet seats aren't a normal conversation but these were so strange I have to tell you about them. There were two sets. The first building was built in 1923 and I think the seats are originals. Like all public seats they had the opening in the front but the front sides went straight back and then the back became a full circle. The shape is kind of like a light bulb. They were odd but the ones in the second building were down right bizarre. Similar front but the back half was a metal curved rod - no seat. I only wish I had taken a picture of them. I doubt I'll ever see ones like this again. Okay - enough potty talk. What else did I promise to tell you about?

Oh yeah. The stuff I've been knitting.

First the latest finished socks.

These were the June Sock of the Month at Amazing Threads. The yarn is OnLine color 917. I made the top using size 2 needles and switched to the recommended size 1 for the foot. I figured this would give me a bit more ankle and thick leg room. The pattern is Country Girl Socks from Heart Strings Fiber Arts. One thing when I washed them for blocking (yes, they're still wet in the picture) they bled quite a bit. They also gained a lot of size, I think they'll still be my size but I'll know tomorrow after they dry completely.

Next the July Sock of the Month in progress.

It's a yarn I haven't heard of - Rio de la Plata. It's 100% Merino wool and soft. The colors were very interesting. My skein had 3 color blended - coral-bison-seaweed. Some of the other people in the group last Monday had skeins with 6 colors in them. The pattern was written by someone at Amazing Threads and has mock cables. When I finish the socks I'll give you full details. One thing I know is I'm making the leg shorter. Every time I make the recommended length I wish I had made them shorter. I'm just a short sock person.

The coral and lime green Sockotta socks from a few months ago have a new home. I gave them to my cousin's daughter for her 14th birthday next week. These colors were definitely made for her.

Last knit item - I'm in the middle of Elizabeth Zimmerman's baby surprise jacket.

Like I said last time, we're having an outbreak of babies at work. This one started looking a bit too "Christmasy" with the red and green so I'm adding more other colors. I'll be adding a light gold next stripe. I love knitting this because it's quick, has a novel look and you never know what it will look like until you fold it and seam the shoulders.

I'm adding a strange little picture.

It's a drain filter. You can pick it up at Wal-Mart or Target (I think). It saved me many times. It fits in the drain of the sink and catches a ton of cat hair, yarn fuzz, anything that ends up in the sink. You can also get bigger ones for showers and save yourself from a stubbed toe by the ones that stick up and save yourself from hair clogs by not using anything. If you look carefully you can see a pretty good size fuzz ball in the filter. That's how much it grabbed washing 2 pair of socks. Imagine how much goes down the drain in a month!

Bert, would you take care of your nose? It's dirty again!

Where? I don't see anything on my nose!

Bert, here - blow your nose and clean it. - Mom

I don't want to! - Bert

Bert...... be a good boy. - Mom

Okay. But I don't have to like it!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Iowa - hot and muggy

Andy enjoyed his first trip in 3 years. While we were at the new Copy Center he got to see an electronic paper cutter. Andy stayed behind the safety guard because this cutter can slice through 500 sheets of paper very easy. He didn't want to see if it could slice through him!

I got done early enough Friday to drive over to the Amana Colonies on my way home. People often think the Amish when they find of the Amanas but they are two different groups of people. The settlers of this area back about 150 years ago were from Germany and wanted to keep a simpler life. To this day they still have many of the original buildings.

They stopped communal dining in the 1930s but still maintain a close community life style. There's several villages divided around the area to support the farming life. They also have a Woolen Mill. Andy met a new friend at the woolen mill and this friend came home to stay with one of my friends that collects penguins. The warping reel behind them prepares the warp for the looms.

During the trip home an important thing happened. Laurie and I always had to celebrate when one of our cars hit a fun mileage mark. I car turned 24442 this week. It would have been cause for a supper out. Silly things like that pop up when you aren't expecting it.
Bert and Chief were very glad to see me home. When I'm gone 1 night they're okay - 2 nights they tend to get a bit dramatic when I get home.

MOM! Where were you? I was just getting ready to throw myself out the window I missed you so much!

I did get some knitting done while I was gone. I finished last month's sock of the month - I'll get pics next time. I also started another one of Elizabeth Zimmerman's surprise baby jackets because it seems everyone at work is expecting all of a sudden. The mystery shawl is coming along. And I started work on this month's sock of the month. Pics for all next time. I have to head out to take care of some things for my Mom.

If you're interested - the college I was at setting up the new copy center had the STRANGEST toilet seats I've ever seen. But - that story will have to wait until next time.... how's that for a cliffhanger!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Andy goes to Iowa

After leaving the Minneapolis area at 6:30 am this morning Andy and I drove for over 4 1/2 hours to get to our companie's office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I haven't been to this part of Iowa before and the difference between the US 35 drive and the drive to this area is amazing. Most of the ride down had things to look at - rivers, valleys, trees, small towns. The US 35 - straight down the center of the state - drive is one giant flat land. Andy was lucky to have this as his first trip to Iowa!

After a day at the new site we're opening, I made it to the hotel to relax for a few minutes and check emails before hunting up supper. While I checked emails - Andy checked the view.

Well, I've seen better. But I like this view better than the bookcase I've been living on for the past year!

After a wonderful supper at Applebee's (I tend to hit the same restaurant's at every town), we headed back to the hotel to watch TV, take care of a few problems from the emails I read earlier, and get out the knitting to relax for a bit. Andy was tired out after all the driving. There's 2 queen beds in the room so Andy gets his own.

Now, this is the kind of bed I could get used to!

If I finish early Friday I may head over to the Amana colonies on my way out of the area. I haven't been there for over 10 years and Andy wants to see them!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Am I packing too much?

Wed-Thur & Fri is my business trip to Iowa (again). That means 2 nights of hotel room living. So here I am tonight packing my evening survival supplies. I bought Harry Potter at WalMart this weekend and only read chapter 1 so far. I've managed to avoid people who have read it so I don't know what happens. So the book goes with.

I have the foot left it knit on my second OnLine socks from last month's Sock of the month so it will go with. Then last night was our July Sock of the Month so that will go with. I also have the last half of clue 4 for the Mystery Shawl to work on. It's small - it can come too. But what if I decided my fingers don't want to work on a small yarn project. Better bring the cotton vest I'm working on. What does this mean?
For 2 nights I will be bringing:

1. a 700 page book
2. 1/3 of a sock to complete
3. yarn of another pair of socks
4. the mystery shawl with 100 rows to work on
5. a mitered cotton vest with the sides and bands to complete
6. my computer for checking blogs, etc.
7. Andy Lumper who will want to see the town.

Am I crazy or am I packing too much?

(Of course, I'll manage to haul all the stuff for work but - who cares about that!)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Random Thoughts

1. Bloglines is absolutely whacko crazy lately. I check blogs only to find I haven't read about 200 posts. In the real world it was about 12 posts. Bloglines go fix yourself.

2. Driving to work Friday I saw one of my friend's fathers driving just ahead of me. I didn't see his face and I don't know what car he drives but I know for sure it was him. How? For the past 30+ years he has had the license plate "BOZO". Hard to miss!

3. I blew it Friday for the Coldwater sale. By the time I got there guinifer had bought all the good yarn. Knowing she was going to the sale and knowing she was just coming off the yarn diet, I should have know she would make mass quantities of yarn her own. Next time - I'll beat you guinifer - I'll get there before you! - Yes, I will....Bwa ha ha

4. My cousin and I got together for supper and floor viewing last night. She has to buy a new floor in place of her carpet in the family room because they found out her son is terribly allergic to dust mites. They had to redo his entire bedroom and are now redoing the kitchen floor that old and getting the carpet out of the family room at the same time. So - it turns out the guy that did my floor was one of the companies she had give her an estimate. We enjoyed a wonderful supper at Applebee's and headed over to my house to see the kitchen floor. They really did a good job.

5. Clue 4 came out Friday for the Mystery Shawl. I got about 40 rows knit so far but I didn't download the clue till yesterday morning and I had a few other things to get done. So - no new picture. Look at my last picture and add a few more rows. Maybe today I'll get some more done.

6. I'll be out of the office all next week. Monday & Tuesday at a new site downtown and Wed thru Fri in Iowa at a new site. Trying to explain what I do is kind of hard because I'm not in the normal job descriptions. My company is in the document management business. The part I'm in outsources. We manage the copy center, mail rooms, reception area, imaging centers, etc for other companies. My job is to implement new sites. I set write the procedure books, and a bunch of other stuff that's boring to people who don't have to deal with it. Our area is Minnesota and Iowa so I get to go down there when we have a new site to start up. Next week is a college copy center.

7. Bert survived his yarn eating episode just fine. The kitty litter showed evidence of the little bit of vegetable oil working fine and no other problems showed up.

8. Chief was a wonderful host last night for my cousin. He greeted her at the door and showed her to the living room. He even managed to show her how he can shake hands. She's the first person he's done this for. He has performance anxiety most of the time. Either that or he's a cat and refused to do tricks for the general public.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Yarnis Spitupicus

We finally got rain today. The weather man said yesterday if we didn't get rain in the next week the farmers would lose 10-20% of there crops. In the meantime, 150 miles south of us they got 5 inches. Go figure!
Random odd picture - In the process of pealing off the multiple layers of wallpaper in the bathroom I found the paper from my childhood. How funny is this! We were very much in style in the 50s.

Bert woke me up in time to see Deb on TV this morning, unfortunately. Fun to see the knitters, not so fun as to why I was up at 5:45 am. Bert has to check out everything. I have always joked I should have named him Dyson - he sucks up everything on the floor. If Chief leaves some of his hair on the floor - Bert will find it and WHOOSH! it's gone in his stomach. Last night he found a small ball of sock yarn. I started the second sock (lower left in pic) and pulled a bit of yarn from the skein to be able to match the starting colors. Bert found that bit and - you got it - WHOOSH! This morning at about 4:30 we got the usual Bert WAIL. Mom - I'm alone in the hall and no body loves me. But it was followed by kitty urping noises. In the bathroom was a 4 foot long strand of kitty spit yarn but no Bert. He was in the kitchen huddled in a corner with a 5 foot soggy strand coming out of his mouth. ICKY POOH - My poor baby! We got the yarn out of his mouth. I think we got it all but just in case I gave him a little bit of vegetable oil (which he sucked right up - WHOOSH!) and I'll be on poop patrol for a few days. We get to check his tummy and his poop for a while to be sure it all came out and nothing gets tied up inside.

On a happier note - Bert made friends with Andy. Andy has been up away from Bert's usual haunts. Andy is excited because he's going to go to Iowa with me next week on business. I haven't been to Cedar Rapids yet so will have to check out if there's any yarn shops in the area. I'll be down there Wed and Thurs nights and I'll be looking for something to do besides sitting in the hotel room!

(Oh - the title today is Bert's way to honor of Harry Potter coming out this week)

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Tale of Andy Lumper

Here's the answer to - "Do the cats shed?" I swept this area 3 days ago.
Target had some rubber floor maps on sale so I bought them to use for blocking sweaters, etc. Yesterday I tried putting a few of them together to see what they looked like and ran into the kitchen to take out the muffins. When I got back the mats were a bit busy.....
The Tale of Andy Lumper

Andy came from the wide prairies of South Dakota. He grew up where the deer and the antelope play. He grew up calling the buffalo his friends.
Andy is a man's man. He's a cowboy of the highest calling - to travel the world and bring comfort where it is needed.

I first met Andy in the fall of 2004. Laurie and I decided to drive across the prairie of South Dakota and visit the Black Hills area. When we got there the plan was to scope out the area and figure out what our schedule would be for the next few days. I also heard about a quilt shop in the hills we wanted to go looking for. (This was during my 'gotta make every quilt in sight' phase) As we came around a corner we spotted the quilt shop/Christmas shop up a bit on the hill and just past it was a wine shop. As I drove I babbled about where we could go. Not a real big surprise- one of the things that made Laurie and I such good friends was I liked to talk - she liked to listen. As we rounded the next bend and a lumber yard came into view I was babbling - "and we can go to the quilt shop and we can go to the wine shop and we can always go to the lumber yard."
"Andy Lumper?"
"Andy Lumper. You want to go see Andy Lumper?"
"Oh, Andy Lumper works at the lumber yard. What else does he do?"
Did I mention Laurie and I also have bizarre sense of humor? This conversation went on for about an hour. We decided Andy's whole life. He was a cowboy that lived in the area and worked in the lumber yard to help out a friend. Lived by the buffalo trail. Eventually we left that conversation and started a new equally strange one.
The next day we stopped at a gift shop near the buffalo trail to get some water and I spotted him. Andy was sitting there just waiting for me to bring him along on our adventure.
He joined us along with a dozen Custer National Park pens to give to our employees as gifts and bottled water. That afternoon Laurie got a phone call and there had been a death in the family so we had to go home early. Little did we know this would be our last trip together before she died.

Over the next year Andy lived at my desk at work. He and I had several conversations about Laurie and he watched me shed more than a few tears. Andy came to live at the house when I moved work locations. But time heals the sorrow and the joy and fun return. Andy helped me remember the fun we had on that trip and other trips. He reminded me of the silly stories Laurie and I told him in South Dakota and let me tell him about our childhood together. Andy has met Laurie's boys (the godkid and his bro).
Andy talked things over with Chief and they agree. .....Time to travel again. Andy says he will go where Laurie would have. I've promised to show him the Twin Cities this summer and he wants me to share his journeys with you.
Game on - it's time to play tourist in my own home town!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Mystery Continues

Well one of the Sock of the Month socks is done and the other started. Our next knitting night is July 23rd so I need to finish the 2nd sock next week. I figure if I don't finish them each month I'll end up with billions and billions of orphan socks. I'm like that. Do it now or it never gets done.

The Mystery Shawl 3 is still going well. Clue 3 is done. Clue 4 will be a larger clue and we'll get it Friday. I'm not doing the beads because I'm not a beads on clothing kind of person but I'm enjoying the shawl so far.

Chief says it's time for Bert's bath -

Enough is enough! I'm clean already! - Bert

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Dad

I just finished reading a book that frightened me at the beginning. It wasn't a mystery or horror story - it was my life in black and white. The main character is a 50 yo lady who has a mother in need of going to assisted living because of memory problems. Man that sounds familiar! The father's name was George. Dad, you hear that? She called Aunt Jean to talk about it all. Aunt Jeanne can I call you again to talk about this? Anyway - there were many things about the book not my life but there was enough the same that it was a bit odd to read. Some of the conversations were indentical to ones Mom and I have had. Spooky! The book was Susannah's Garden by Debbie Macomber. I've read her Knitting Book series and wanted to read this one before I read the next Blossom Street book which brings Susannah to the Knitting Book Series area.

This week was raspberry week. I love it. The back portion of my yard is filled with bright berries just begging to be turned into delight for the palate. Last weekend my friends and I loved raspberry muffins. This week I've had raspberry on rice pudding and raspberry pancakes. Yum. It's been a good week!

85 years ago George was born. He grew up in south Minneapolis and had a wonderful childhood. When the time came he joined the navy and defended our country against those that wanted to take away our rights. After the navy he married and eventually became my Dad. We had great times growing up. One Saturday a month was my time alone with Dad we would have adventures that were huge to a small girl. Sometimes we would go to the Osseo gravel pit and go agate hunting. We stop by the root beer stand and the bakery and get something for lunch that Mom wouldn't approve of. We took our agates and polished them and made jewelry out of some. Sometimes we'd go cross country skiing together, sometimes go out and practice archery. Whatever we did was just the two of us. My brother had his time alone with Dad and I don't know what they did. Probably baseball stuff but - that was their time and private. Dad always believed totally in me. He helped me start my shop when I decided to go into business on my own. He supported me when I decided the shop didn't work well enough to keep going. He taught me to be an independent person. Able to make household repairs on my own and stand on my own two feet. Now that he remembers very little and has to live in a Memory Care Home he still believes in me totally. How incredible is that! It's been 85 years of living and loving and I'm glad he and Mom adopted me so I could call him Dad! Happy Birthday Dad! I love you.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I'll never understand knitters - good thing I'm one of them

- OOHH! Pretty yarn what are you making?

- Socks. I knit socks all the time. I knit them when I’m waiting in line, I knit them when I’m riding the bus, I knit them when I’m on vacation, I knit them when I’m…

- I get it – you knit them. Why don’t you buy them like the rest of us?

- Because when you make them they’re stronger, more comfortable, softer, and prettier.

- How many have you made?

- Oh lots. I’ve made 856 pair this year alone.

- And you wear them all?

- Oh no. I try them on when I make them and take a picture for my blog. Then I put them in my sock collection. I have a very nice sock collection. It talks to me when I'm lonely. My yarn talks to me too.

- GEESH! I thought you said they were stronger and more comfortable.

- They are but if I wear them I can’t take them out and look at the collection all the time.

- I’ll never understand knitters!

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Joy of New Floors

I spent the day working from home while the new kitchen floor was installed. I am very happy. The new floor is definitely better than the old one (see yesterday's post).

While 3 guys were banging around the kitchen Chief hung out with me and my computer in the den and Bert did his usual hiding act. Bert is pretty much a chicken. At the first sound of someone coming to the house - he's out of here! The sofa and guest bed floors are very popular places for him at these times. About 1 hour after the guys left Bert reappeared. They both explored the new floors - declared it wonderful and decided to celebrate by taking a nap. Chief still thinks the knitting box is his bed - oh well....

Speaking of knitting. None was done today so here is a picture of some of my lonely knitting. You may notice a green cable something. You haven't seen this yet. It's the back of a cable sweater but I haven't worked on it since I started blogging so it's never been pictured before. Maybe sometime I'll get back to it.

Well, it's late time to "hit the hay".

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Floor is SO out of here!

It's been a hot weekend. We stayed indoors most of the weekend and the boys decided to do very cat-like things. Bert practised his circus act. He doesn't quite have the double flip worked out but he's getting there.
Chief found napping a good activity. He also found a wonderful box to cuddle into to. One problem - the box is my "finished knit but not blocked items" box. Under him is 3 pair of socks, 2 shawls, 5 blocks to send to the Greensburg project and a few other items I can't remember. Hope the Greensburg people like cat hair!

Mystery Shawl 3

I did get the next clue of the MS3 shawl Saturday morning because Friday was busy. Saturday afternoon before I headed out to meet friends and a little time this morning were spent knitting the next part. Now - I wait till next Friday to continue this project. By the way - did you hear - we "broke" Yahoo Friday morning with everyone trying to download the next clue. http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20070706/tc_pcworld/134237;_ylt=Ap0el

Friday my new floor arrived. It has to live in the house for a couple days to get used to the climate but - Monday I will no longer need to look at the old floor. It's been around for many years. I remember the floor from high school (i.e. - early 70s) The seams were not done right and within a year the one seam started popping up. Then a little later the other seam. Dad would re-glue it every of often but it was never great. Well, I decided one of the first things I would do when I bought the house was REPLACE THE FLOOR! You'll just have to wait until Monday night to see what the new one looks like. (It's SOOOOO pretty I can hardly wait!)

Also Friday some of us got together at a friends house to watch "The Last King of Scotland". None of us had gotten around to that one and I just got it from Netflix so - instant movie party. That lead into the Saturday night supper and movie party because the other movie I got this weekend was "The Good Shepherd". We all agree Last King was excellent and Good Shepherd was good but long and at time confusing. Everyone also said the raspberry muffins I made for Friday night were good. Hey- I had raspberries sitting in the garden and 1 hour before I had to get over to their house - what else do you do but run out, pick berries and make muffins.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Pursuit of Happiness

For Independence Day Bert wants to talk the pursuit of happiness (yarn and knitting) today and promises to show up in a few of the pictures (if you look close enough!)

Last time I said how I started the Mystery Shawl 3 using KnitPicks Shimmer. (Bert's trying to to sneak in again)
Well, after 50 rows I decided the colorway didn't show the lace as well as I wanted to so, I switched to KnitPicks Bare. I also decided to use sock/fingering weight instead of the lace weight and make it a little bit bigger than the original. So far it looks like I made the right choice.

In other knitting news I have several items I'm working on that I haven't posted pics of yet. So here we go...

The sock of the month sock if coming along. I'll be starting the toe in less than an inch.

I started a vest I found in the latest Knitters magazine. It was made out of a demin cotton. I had some Bernat cotton Twister (Natural) sitting around so decided to give it a try. The pattern has a mistake in it but the correction is on the website. I've got the back and one of the sides done.
And the left front is started. The should is on the right of the picture with the neckline on the top.The yarn I'm using is a little bigger than the pattern yarn and I'm using one size up needle from the pattern. I also made it 2 inches longer than the original. I'm big and tall and don't need a tight short vest!

When the KnitPicks Shimmer arrived the box contained a few other goodies. I got some Sura Dream to make scarves for Christmas presents. I also got some Gossamer lace weight I'll be finding something pretty to make from it one of these days. (Bert tried to sneak in the picture but I was too fast)