Tuesday, February 24, 2009

You want me to knit WHAT?!?

This weekend was busy.
We got snow - I got to shovel.
The MN Knitter's Guild had a tea - I got to knit with friends and eat little fancy sandwiches.
The Oscars were Sunday - I got to knit with friends and eat little fancy appetizers.
I definitely enjoyed the after shoveling activities more.

Oscars & the Mallow Throw

My core group of friends have been together since elementary school. We still get together very frequently. For the past over 30 years two of them have hosted the Oscar party and formerly Mallow Throw. Back when we were young and foolish we would all bring a bag of marshmallows to the party. The hosts would prep their house with a lot of plastic tarps to protect the floor and furniture.

When the show started the main rule was - if you thought the speech went on too long, or the dance number was stupid, or the person was wearing ugly clothes, or you just happened to be a little bit bored - you threw marshmallows at the TV (and frequently at the person across the room from you). By the end of the night the apartment was coated in mallow dust and I'd usually come home with white goo in parts of my body that shouldn't have white goo.

We've aged and matured. The topic of discussion this year was - "Hey Jill, did you think you could knit some marshmallows for next year?" R, the friend I sort of taught to crochet, thought he could take up crochet again to make some mallows. Maybe we haven't matured THAT much.

MN Knitter's Guild

So I finally decided I wanted to go to the MKG. They had a Sunday afternoon tea and I figured that would be a great way to go the first time. I got one of the ladies from my NW Burb knit group to come with me and off we went. When I got there people couldn't have been nicer. I saw a few people I recognized and then saw a couple of ladies that belonged to the same machine knitting group I went to back about 10+ years ago.

Next month is aran knitting. Should be fun.

Hairpin Lace

A friend posted a picture on Ravelry of a shawl. She wondering how it was knit. When I looked at it I knew right away it was hairpin lace - crochet. I had done a little of it back in college (you know - before home computers were invented). I told her what it was and the next weekend I found my hairpin lace fork. That started me off on a new adventure. I figured out the shawl and posted a picture of my ugly little sample with Chief. That was just the beginning.

Make that a VERY ugly sample. Anyway - I've been playing around with hairpin lace this week and came up with a few new patterns. I'm debating sending one of the in for magazine submission (after all I have a whole week before its due). Because of this I can't post pictures. If I don't send them in, I'll let you see what I've been playing with. Time will tell....

Monday, February 16, 2009

Guess I've read a few books

I pulled this off of Guinifer’s blog who stole it from Cursing Mama!
They say the average American has only read 6 of the following:

1) Bold the books you have already read
2) Italicize the books you intend to read
3) Notes in parentheses next to note-worthy titles.

1) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2) The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
3) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
4) Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
5) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
6) The Bible (yeah - the whole thing, twice)
7) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
8 ) Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell
9) His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
10) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
11) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
12) Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
13) Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
14) Complete Works of Shakespeare (some)
15) Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
16) The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
17) Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
18 ) Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
19) The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
20) Middlemarch by George Eliot
21) Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
22) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
23) Bleak House by Charles Dickens
24) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
25) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
26) Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
27) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 ) Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
29) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
30) The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
31) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
32) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
33) Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
34) Emma by Jane Austen
35) Persuasion by Jane Austen
36) The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis
37) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
38 ) Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres
39) Memories of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
40) Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
41) Animal Farm by George Orwell
42) The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
43) One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44) A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving
45) The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
46) Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
47) Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
48 ) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
49) Lord of the Flies by William Golding
50) Atonement by Ian McEwan
51) Life of Pi by Yann Martel
52) Dune by Frank Herbert
53) Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
54) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
55) A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
56) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57) A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
58 ) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
59) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
60) Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
62) Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
63) The Secret History by Donna Tartt
64) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
65) Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
66) On The Road by Jack Kerouac
67) Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
68 ) Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
69) Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
70) Moby Dick by Herman Melville
71) Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
72) Dracula by Bram Stoker
73) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
74) Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson
75) Ulysses by James Joyce
76) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
77) Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
78 ) Germinal by Emile Zola
79) Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
80) Possession by AS Byatt
81) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
82) Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
83) The Color Purple by Alice Walker
84) The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
85) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
86) A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
87) Charlotte's Web by EB White
88 ) The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
89) Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90) The Faraway Tree Collection by Enid Blyton
91) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
92) The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93) The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
94) Watership Down by Richard Adams
95) A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
96) A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
97) The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 ) Hamlet by William Shakespeare
99) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
100) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

I've read quite a few of the books but several of them have been so long ago that I can barely remember what they're about. Books are great. You get much more detail than movies and you get to use your imagination instead of relying of what some movie guy thinks the books should be like.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's More than just Sock Yarn

Like a lot of us I have sock yarn. More than I need. A lot more than I need. So - I decided to start hunting up projects to use the sock yarn. Projects that may actually be used or at least are good to have as gifts.

Project #1 - Knit Picks Essentials Gloves.
These are a basic glove pattern because the colorway is too busy to add cables and things that would take extra time to knit but get lost in the striping. Plain works for me. I started this glove yesterday and have worked on other things beside this glove. It's a quick knit. The yarn came from my cousin who winters in Tucson and surprise of surprises the Color is Tuscon Multi. Isn't she clever!
Project #2 -Opal Zirkus Socks
OK. So I didn't say I wouldn't knit ANY socks. Just start knitting some other projects beside socks. The yarn is Opal Zirkus color 2007. It's another busy striping yarn so I decided to start a pair of plain garter rib socks. These make a great knit for times when I don't want to have to pay attention to what I'm doing. The color is actually brighter than the picture shows.
Project #3 Mitered Squares that may actually become something someday.
I don't plan on making a mitered square afghan as it would take about a bazillion squares but I'm making squares out of my leftover yarn until I come up with something to do with them.

Meanwhile, while I'm knitting sock yarn stuff Chief has been busy discovering the serger cover. I often wonder why people bother to buy things for their kids and pets because the best toys are usually the wrapping and boxes things come in.

Well, it's time to get ready for another work week. Only 5 days till the weekend and counting!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Whose House is This?

Another name for this post is - I got nothing. Distract people with the Boys.

Before you start let me say I'm innocent. - Bert

Back the last week of January I bought toilet paper. What can I say, I have needs. I'm only human. But the thing about toilet paper is - it comes wrapped in plastic. I opened it up and put the rolls in the proper place in the bathroom. Chief helped.

MINE! Its plastic. Its mine. I will protect it forever and ever. - Chief

Time passed. Chief continues to protect the plastic wrapper. Normally I wouldn't bother to post about this but earlier this week I noticed something very sad about my hallway. I don't own the house anymore. It belongs to the Boys.

Sorry the picture labels aren't better. My photo program and I aren't getting along right now.

Since I pulled up the carpet in the hall the Boys have decided its a great place to play. Since no one ever sees it I just let their toys lay. Right now the hall has:

1. Old Christmas wrap. Bert likes to whip this around the house mostly in the hall.

2. The toilet paper wrap. Chief currently has the plastic molded to his body so he can lay in the middle of it and take naps.

3. An old shoe string. This shoe string is on its 4th owner. Jessie and Jamie (my former cats) used to drag it around my old house and when Chief joined the family he thought it was pretty cool and dragged it around. Now Bert hauls it around, including to bed at night sometimes. There's nothing better than waking up at 3AM with a kitty spit wet string across your face - good times.

4. The old plastic bag I posted about before Christmas currently under Chief. Yup, it's still with us. Chief chewed it for a while. He never actually chews it apart just kind of chews/licks it for a while then sleeps on it.

5. Chief's Nap Fleece. He likes to take naps in the hall so much that when I pulled the carpet I figured I should give him something else to nap on. When he's not napping on it Bert likes to use it to surf across the hall. He'll take a flying leap from the den (right side door), land on the fleece and slide across into the bedroom (left side door). Last night he did this little trick no less than 4 times in an hour.

Sadly the hall is cleaner than it frequently is. Bert likes to bring several of his toys (knit mice, etc) into the hall and leave them for me to find. Bet you wish you could spend time hanging out here! I really wish they'd learn to clean up after playtime but then - I haven't shown you all my toys (knitting stuff) in the den. Makes the hall look clean!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Where's Step 2?

I'm in a midwinter funk. I get all these great ideas for knitting projects or cleaning the house projects or (insert pie-in-the-sky idea here) and I don't seem to be able to get to step 2.

Step 1 - come up with great ideas
Step 2 - plan great idea

Then of course there's the other steps including getting supplies, starting, continuing, finishing. but you first have to get past step 2.

Current great ideas that have not gone anywhere -
1. Using some of my machine knitting methods to create new hand knitting techniques
2. Make new nightshirt (long t-shirt) to replace the one I'm wearing that is in total tatters because it's at least 15 years old and I've worn it WAY too long.
3. Organize studio area of basement to be able to actually use it as a studio.
4. Design stranded work cardigan to use Kuani rainbow that I bought last year.
5. Finish bathroom remodel (lights, paint, etc).
The list goes on.

In the mean time I have continues to work on the cable sweater; I've made a few sock yarn mitered squares that will eventually be - something; I've purchased cat food (you gotta take whatever goals you can some days!); and I've done the dishes. Guess I'll just have to be happy with an progress I make until I get out of the winter funk.

Tomorrow I do have to pretend to be a happy camper because I have an interview for a promotion. Don't get too excited the position doesn't exist yet, they're just interviewing in case it opens up. Sounds like a fun day (yeah, sure...).

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Vroom

Several years ago I got a Dirt Devil Ultra Handheld vacuum for Christmas. I'd occasionally pull it out and spot clean and area but never really used it to its fullest. This past holiday season before I had company over I realized how incredibly horrible the basement stairs looked. They were white and fuzzy instead of dark green. YUCK! I remembered the handheld and pulled it out to get at least some of the crud off the steps. WOW! About 4 minutes later I had spotless stairs. Barely a cat hair to be found. Color me impressed! So why am I writing about this that happened a long time ago?

My vacuum cleaner basically died. Cat hair is vicious on vacuums. It gets up in the hoses and builds up until the hose no longer functions. This last vacuum was a cheap one I had bought to keep at the shop back in the day, When my last one died I started using the cheap one to get me through until I got something else. The cheap one died this past month. I decided to get a dirt devil vacuum and started watching for sales. I just wanted a small vacuum because much of the house is hardwood floors and the living/dining room will be hardwood again once I pull the carpet. No need for a big vacuum, just one that would be good on area rugs and good with cat hair.

I hit paydirt. I got a Dirt Devil lightweight bagless - last years model - on clearance for - - -ready? - - -$25! I took it home practically running out of the store like the lady in the IKEA ad who thinks she got away with something. This little guy is wonderful. I ran it for about 2-3 minutes just to test it out and came up with almost a full container of cat hair from the living room. Guess my old vacuum was worse off than I realized. This new one doesn't have a light on the base, it doesn't have a really long cord, the base is a bit smaller but - I don't' need any of those things and hey - who can beat the price for something that totally sucks up all the cat hair. Life is good! (and clean!)