Friday, February 27, 2009

The Newest Sock

Here you go. Note the demon cat trying to take possession of the needles for his own nefarious purposes.

I love these colors. It's the Turquoise colorway. I love the almost wave-like ways some of the colors shift. I am doing an entirely stockinette foot. I think I'll do some sort of pattern on the cuff...perhaps just ribbing...perhaps something a little fancier.

Preparing For A Trip

So, I've been pondering for a while what knitting project(s) to take with me on this trip North. And the night before last I pulled out some of that Regia sock yarn designed by Kaffe Fasset. Such pretty colors. And last night I started a pair of socks out of it. (I read on Ravelry that the TSA is much more likely to let your knitting needles on the plane if there is knitting on them already. Though there really shouldn't be any problem -- the TSA pages say knitting needles are allowed. But I'm taking a self-addressed, stamped envelope with me, you betcha.)

I do love this toe-up sock pattern. You do this fun sort of cast on and increase-increase-increase for a little bit and, shazam, before you know it you have a hat for a hamster! Or a nose-cozy! Or, you know, the toe of a sock.

So that's one project. And really? We're only going to be away for a couple of days. I'm sure that one project would be enough. Especially considering that we'll possibly be visiting Webs. But I bet I take something else.

I could take the never-ending orange scarf. (I'm a little sick of orange now. But a woman in the office says that her mom loves orange. So I may be giving this to her and she can gift her mom with it.) I did see a nice hat pattern but I don't have the right sized needles for it. (Gasp. Amazement.)

I could take the pink heart socks that I've sort of put aside for some time but then I'd have to schlep along the book they're out of. (Sorry, ML. I will get back to them, I promise.)

I printed off a couple nice sock patterns from Ravelry...maybe I'll take one of them and some more sock yarn. But I only have one set of size 1 Addis, so until I finish the sock I just started...I couldn't start another one.

I could take along the yarn that I've been using to play around with the linen stitch. I have a rough idea for a cowl thumping around in my head...I could play with that some more.

Ah, decisions, decisions.

And I haven't even begun thinking about what books to take!!

Perhaps this evening I'll get a picture of the new sock on here. Perhaps. More likely I'll be blithering about what to take with me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ooooh, I'm A Weiner!

Some time ago I was the winner on Spare Room Knits' blog. The prize was a gift certificate to KnitPicks. It took me a while but I finally decided what to order and the other day it arrived.

I treated myself to two skeins of Essential in Hand-dyed Bordeaux and two skeins of Felici in Alexandrite. And two new Harmony needles, sized 7 and 8. I do so love getting packages in the mail and even more when they are (almost) free.

And I discovered that Hampshire, the college that Rachel wants to visit is just a hop-skip-and-jump from Webs. Webs!!! This could be an expensive yarn-shop tour. Uh, I mean, college tour.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's Been A Quiet Weekend...

We didn't have a lot to do this weekend, so it's mostly been spent reading and knitting and napping. I did get a Loopy Ewe order on Friday. I've taken a group portrait this time...I'm feeling lazy.

From left to right...

Perchance to Knit in Almost Spring, Bellamoden in Falling Leaves, a Noro sock yarn (S226), and Shibui Knits in Finch. I particularly love this last one.

Current Reading

I realized last night that I hadn't updated my book list, or talked about anything I've been reading for some time. actual current reading...the book I'm in the middle of right now is The Seance by John Harwood. I loved his first book -- The Ghost Writer -- and this one is shaping up to be just as spooky.

I'm also in the middle of Delilo's The Falling Man, which I'm not loving...just sort of plodding through...but also not giving up on.

And finally, I'm (again) in the middle of K.J. Parker's Devices and Desires, which is a dense and interesting science-fiction novel that I started ages ago. I still carry it back and forth to work with me...and maybe that's one problem. I have no time to read at work lunchtimes are shorter and I tend to spend them knitting...and I don't think of taking it out of my bag when I get home.

But I've read some other good'uns since I last updated my list there on the right. Some of the more notable ones:

Chalice - Robin McKinley
She writes lovely fantasy novels. Not a lot happens in this...or at least, not a lot of what one thinks of as fantasy novel tropes...but it is intensely romantic. Lovely.

Sing Them Home - Stephanie Kallos
A story of three grown siblings whose mother disappeared during a tornado. An immensely satisying read.

100 Cupboards - N.D. Wilson
Children's fantasy novel...very good. I'm looking forward to the second in the series.

Little Bee - Chris Cleave
Little Bee is young Nigerian illegal alien in Britain who has affected, and becomes part of, the lives of a British family who met her in Nigeria years some earlier. Beautifully written and heart-breaking.

Starcross - Philip Reeve
Mothstorm - Philip Reeve
Two more books in the Larklight series. Very amusing. Victorians in space with lots of tongue in cheek humor and great footnotes.

Black Flies - Shannon Burke
A novel about a paramedic's year in Harlem. Grimly fascinating. I started this last night and stayed up until 1:15 to finish it -- helped by the fact that there are no chapter breaks.

Off to update my list, now. Happy reading!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

No More Little Mister Second Sock!

It was hard to get this picture, what with Gizmo screaming "Get them off! Get them off! They're disturbing my nap!!"

"Put The Book Down And Go Outside And Play!"

So, the BBC asked people to name their favorite books and published a list of the Top 100 Reads.
The ones in red are the ones I've read. How about you?

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Oh Look, It's A Work Week

Well, I have to say that weekend sort of fizzled out. Saturday was okay. A little expensive as Rachel decided that she wanted to get some basic (but good) make-up and she got a haircut. Turns out that the haircut, which looked fine as we walked out of the salon, really isn't all that great. Is there anything more depressing then the feeling of knowing that you are stuck with a bad haircut for weeks to come? (And yes, I know there's plenty worse, in the overall scheme of with me here.)

On Sunday I feel as though we spent all day in the car. Rachel had her interview at 7:00 a.m., so we were in the car at 6:30 a.m. to get to Pikesville, sat in the car for a bit over an hour while she interviewed (it went well), sat in the car for two hours to Fredericksburg, sat in the car as we drove around to get her groceries, sat in the car for two hours home again. I was stiff.

Monday...well, it was just sort of bleh. I got the bathrooms cleaned. Did some (more) grocery shopping. Nothing fun.

And now we are expecting some snow tomorrow. I'm sure it won't amount to anything. It's been a rather disappointing winter, snow-wise. I do like a good snow day.

I am on the ribbing on Little Mr. Second Sock. Whiz bang!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Why It Would Be Good To Be A Butcher

Last week Mr. Pointy Sticks and I went up to Wegman's and we both had the urge for some good red meat. This is unusual for me as I'm not all that wild about beef...I keep thinking about the prions. But for some reason I was craving meat...rare meat. As I was looking through the cold case full of pre-sealed packs of meat, I found some nice looking little steaks labeled "Porterhouse." Now, a little voice in the back of my head did quietly raise the following question: "Don't Porterhouse steaks have bones?"

But there they were and they were affordable. Okay, I don't know if $7.99 a pound is truly affordable. But we eat red meat so rarely (Ha! Rarely!) that I thought I'd spring for them. I just thought, "Well hey, it's Wegmans. Perhaps they trimmed all the bones out for us."

Well, they were wonderful. Meltingly tender...exceedingly tasty...outstanding steaks.

So Rachel comes home for the weekend and says, "I'd really like a steak!"

"Oooh," sez I, "we'll go get some more Porterhouses from Weggies!"

So we got there this evening and I couldn't find them anywhere. I wander over to the butcher's counter to ask about them. And as I am standing there, I see in the case before me Porterhouse steaks. And, oddly enough, they all have bones....hmmm. And they are next to the filet mignons...which most decidedly do not have bones and which look...well...almost exactly like what we had earlier in the week. I told the butcher what I had bought and what I had paid for them and he paused for a minute and then grinned and said, "Well, you got a deal!"

And if I had recognized what I had in my hands when I bought them, I would have bought every one in the case!

As for today....well, since it's Rachel and since it was Valentine's Day (and since they were so darn good the first time), I sprang for the filets and they were incredible. But considerably more than $7.99 a pound, alas.

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Picture by Rachel.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Do It For Sam, Mate...

Jacqueline is raising money for the victims of the fires in Australia, asking people to donate to the Australian Red Cross. There are lovely prizes and I hope you'll still like me a little bit when I say that I thought briefly about not mentioning this here and thus, improving, very so slightly, my chance to win something. But no, I'm bigger (very so slightly) than that.

So go...donate. Do it for the people who have lost everything. Do it for Sam. Even if she was caught in a back-fire exercise... Do it for the prizes. Whatever. Just do it.

Now, This Is My Kind Of Friday!

What a nice Friday. I mean, how can you go wrong with the following elements all in place:

1) Leave work 4 hours early, with a three-day weekend in front of you.
2) Pick up your daughter at the train station for a weekend visit.
3) Run into The Black Sheep to pick up a special order and a little sumpin' sumpin'.
4) Come home to find a present in the mail.

We also managed to find a new Asus laptop for Rachel, whose laptop at school is making odd noises and apparently dying.

So, you wanna see the Black Sheep goodies? I thought you did!

This was the special order...Pagewood Farms Alyeska in Denim. You may remember way back when Rachel I went up the The Black Sheep one evening and got involved in helping them order yarn? Well, Rachel really liked this colorway when she saw it that night and I ordered a skein for her. (I think she is a little disappointed that this one is a green as it is. Seems to me that the sample we saw was much bluer...much more the color of faded jeans. But that's the chance you take with hand-dyes yarn and the reason, I suppose, some people don't like it.)

I knew that evening that I would never be able to choose from all the samples so I decided that I would just wait until the nine skeins that Tracy ordered were in and that I would choose one from that selection. Well, I should have know that it wouldn't be that simple.

I ended up with two...

Alyeska in Crayon. (The Alyeska yarn is merino and cashmere. Can you say "yummy?")

And this is Pagewood Farms Yukon in Bird of Paradise. Yukon is a merino/bamboo blend. Incredibly soft and with a suppleness that says "I'm gonna be all drapey and gorgeous." I think this one may have to be a little scarflet. Something like the ones that the Glampyre has been churning out. On the other hand, I don't have a lot of sock yarn in shades of it could still end up being socks....but I really think a scarf/shawlet is the way I'm going to go with this.

And what was the present in the mail? Well, my cousin and his family sent us our Christmas presents...I love it when Christmas stretches out like this. Rachel had gotten her present from them at school last week. And now it was our turn. Mr. Pointy Sticks got a Barnes and Noble gift card. And I got this:

You cannot believe how soft and scrumptious this alpaca yarn is. There's about 260 yards. Don't know what it's going to be yet, but oh my, is it nice!

And hey...I've actually been knitting on something other than Little Mister Second Sock.

I couldn't resist the siren song of another Noro two-stripe ribbed scarf. They are so addictive.

I just love Noro colors. Ahhhhhh, Noro.

I hope everyone reading this has just as nice a Friday and a super weekend. Perhaps Little Mr. Second Sock will show up tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Little Breath Of Spring

It was so nice and balmy this afternoon. The Front Porch of Photography was quite pleasant, so I took some pictures of a recent Webs box (or rather, its contents) and then sat for a bit, listening to the kids next door play basketball.

So...the Webs box....

Let me step back a couple of years. Maureen and I went down to Hampden to check out a little yarn store. I was on the search for some yarn in the red/orange/pink family to make a scarf for a Readerville friend. And we walked into this tiny (nice, but tiny) shop and they had a pile of scrumptious yarn by Dive' called Teseo. There was one colorway that was hot pink and red and orange and so-o-o-o-o-o pretty and soft and fluffy. But they only had one ball. Drat.

Well, ever since then, I've been on the look-out for Teseo yarn. And then...a week or so ago, I was looking in Webs Closeouts section and there was Teseo. Not the hot pink one that I had seen in Hampden but I did like these a lot....

This is Rose.

And this is Butter.

And, as long as I was going for the Teseo, I threw these in the box too.

Araucania Ranco Solid in a pretty blue and pretty green. Very spring-like, like the weather.

And Alpaca Sox in pretty pastels. And it looks sort of fuzzy and soft, doesn't it?

In fact, it was a pretty spring-y box, wasn't it?

Little Mr. Second Sock is coming along nicely after his setback earlier in the week. I'm about up to the half-way point. Soon, very soon, I'll be into the heel flap. Yay! It's going to be a handsome pair of socks, I think.

Monday, February 9, 2009

It's A Good Thing I #*(^%^ Like (&(@^%$ Knitting...

Little Mr. Second Sock, whose toe was started in my class on Saturday, grew to about 4 inches over the weekend. And then, late last night, as I was looking it over, I noticed an odd spot. "Hmmm," I thought to myself, "looks as though you missed a stitch or something. Better fix that this morning."

Came into work, examined the situation, realized that somehow I had created a stitch where one should not have been created. Undoing it just left a large ladder and too few stitches on my needle. Recreating it felt wrong.


Little Mr. Second Sock now looks like he did at the end of class on Saturday.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Sky

Pretty day today.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

So Long, Saturday!

I had my last to-up sock class today. It was a really fun class and I liked the women in it. I made them each a set of stitch-markers.

I made them to match their socks, more or less, and the grey button pearl ones were for Nancy, because she was a pearl of a teacher.

So, here was my sock at the beginning of class, waiting patiently for me to apply the sewn cast-off. Which was fun.

And here it is all finished up. Man, do my feet look huge, or what?

Everyone wanted me to try it on, so here's a modeled shot. One down and one to go.

And after three tries, I got the second one launched. It looks sort of like a tongue cozy in this shot. (Bleah...there's a gross idea.)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Whew, What A Week

What with the economic stimulus package and the children’s health insurance bills, and another bill about which we have serious privacy concerns, all hitting the ground running this week, we have been very, very busy at work. I’ve been going home and barely managing to get my chores and stuff done and then collapsing into a small puddle of tired.

And Rachel is working on her transfer application to Hampshire and we are trying to help where we can. (I’m sure she doesn’t feel as though we are helping…and, truth be told, I have been somewhat reluctant about this transfer. I mean, I know the “having her away from home” feeling is the same wherever she is…I mean, she’s not home. But somehow having her 7 hours away seems a lot more “away from home” than having her in Fredericksburg. And what if she ends up loving Massachusetts and settling there? Wah. (Mr. Pointy Sticks says that a couple of Massachusetts winters will cure her of any love of the state.))

But at least she is also considering looking at Haverford.

And I do have to admit the Hampshire menu that is posted looks pretty amazing.

I was chugging along on my sock last night, trying to get to the point where I would want to bind off the cuff, as that is what we’ll be doing in class tomorrow, when – zooop – one of the ends fell off the needle again. (I think I mentioned that this happened in class the first week.) So I guess I’d have to give these Kollage needles a negative review. It’s a pity, because I really like the needle part. Guess it’s back to Addis.

I’ve made a little something for the class…I can’t say yet what I’ve made because I know Nancy (the instructor) reads my blog occasionally. (Hi, Nancy!) But I’ll take pictures and post ‘em tomorrow evening probably.