Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Love Tuesdays

Maureen and I went up to The Black Sheep, as promised. And I was right...we didn't stay until 7.

We stayed until about 7:10. Ooops.

The ladies there agreed with me that I probably won't have enough yarn to finish my sock. So now what? Do I go ahead and try to finish it? Do I rip it out and try to think of things I can make with all my two-skeins-worth of Claudia's yarns? Do I scream and bang my head against the wall? What to do...what to do...

I think I will probably keep going. Mostly because that way I'll know for sure. So you may hear me screaming with frustration in a day or two.

Though it's not as though I don't have other yarn to use.

And there's good news! Rachel heard from Hampshire yesterday and she's been accepted and will be transferring up there in the fall. I'm happy for her. I think she'll love it there and do well. I just wish it weren't quite so far away. Ah well. There are side benefits...it's very close to Webs and I realized the other day that one of my college friends, who I knew lived in Massachusetts but who I thought was near Boston, actually lives in Amherst. So perhaps I'll be able to reconnect with Andy.

Oy...I'm sleepy. Quick call to the kid and then I'm off to bed!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Pointy Sticks!

Well, the sock is progressing but I am less and less sanguine about the outcome. I think the yarn is going to run out well before the cuff is long enough. Does this mean I'm a pessimist? But I guess I’ll keep chugging along, in hopes of a pleasant surprise. So perhaps I am an optimist? I guess if nothing else I could rip them back and rework them for someone with smaller feet than mine. Or I could also look for a coordinating color of yarn and do the heel, toe and cuff in a second color. So maybe I'm a pragmatist.

I think Maureen and I will be spending some time at The Black Sheep this evening. That should be fun. I want to show Nancy the neat gusset and heel turn from Nanner. And you never know what is going to wink at me as I enter the door.

I don’t think we’ll be staying until 7, though. I think Mr. Pointy Sticks might want to go out to dinner.

Monday, March 30, 2009

You Do The Math

I mentioned that I wasn't sure that one skein of Claudia's Handpainted was going to be enough yarn for a sock...I do, after all, wear size ten shoes. So here are the numbers.

There are supposed to be 50 grams of yarn in each skein. (I say "supposed to be" because the untouched skein only weighs in at 48 grams.) I estimate that I have knit a little more than a quarter of the sock...a little less than a third. I have 35 grams left on the skein I am using.

It's going to be tight.

The one reassuring thing is that on Ravelry all the Claudia Handpainted socks I see have been made out of two skeins...including a pair made for size ten feet.

Keep your fingures crossed for me.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nice Weekend

I finished, as I said yesterday, my Nanners and today I started...well, I started two things. I started a new pair of socks. I know! What a surprise!

They are some simple toe-up socks that I started driving over to Lolly and Barbara's for lunch. Sat around after lunch and chatted and knit. I didn't have much with me in the way of patterns so I just made up this garter rib pattern. The yarn is Claudia's Handpainted and is lovely and smooshy. Sorry I don't remember the colorway but I wound the yarn up for socks some time ago. (Well, before our trip to Massachusetts.) (Edit: On looking at some of the Claudia colorways, I believe this is one called Stormy Days.) It's a lovely blend of pinky-beiges and bluey-grays and sandy brown and cream and buttery pale yellow.

But I am a little worried. I seem to be eating up yarn awfully fast. I am wondering if I really should use three skeins of yarn for a pair. If so, that would really be a pity because I've bought a fair amount of Claudia's and I've always just bought two skeins.

The second thing I started is the little Elijah elephant. I have to do that home because it is stuffed as you knit, and I don't want to haul stuffing back and forth. And no picture because right now it looks like a gray flannel yarmulke for a really boring little gnome.

And the wedding! Ah, the wedding was wonderful. Beautiful bride, handsome groom, a simple and lovely ceremony. Lots of nice people there and great food.

I don't want to post a picture of the happy couple without permission, but here's proof that, yes, there was indeed a wedding.

And here's a shot of the flower arrangements -- there was one of these on each table. The bride's sister did all of them. They were so pretty. They weren't all pink but they were all lovely.

You know, I'm not a party person. My neighbor and friend Maureen invites us every year to parties but, bless her heart, she understands that neither I nor Mr. Pointy Sticks are good at being sociable. But last night was just so much fun. E. worked so hard on this wedding and it really paid off. Everything was lovely. And we were all able to have fun. I hope E. and C. had as much fun as the guests did. Many happy years to them!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Eagerly Waiting

We'll be leaving in about an hour, hour and a half, for my co-worker's wedding. I'm all showered and dressed up and all I have to do now is sit (enduring my panty-hose) and keep myself occupied. This might be a little difficult because I finished my Nanner socks.

'Scuse the pajama pants. I didn't see any point in getting my shower until closer to time to get dressed. Yes, it was a lazy day here at Chez Pointy-Sticks.

So the Nanners are done and now I need something else to work on. And I think it might be Elijah, for my other co-worker's son. I'm going to do a big one for the already-here child and a little one for the not-yet-born child. That'll give me something to work on while I wait to go to the wedding/party.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

On The Other Hand...

I do love knitting. The second Nanner sock is coming along...it's about halfway done. Well, maybe not quite. I'm into the gusset at any rate.

So that makes me happy.

Ya Know....

I hate exercise.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fatty Fattner

I had to go shopping today for an outfit for my co-worker's wedding. And I found something, so that's good. But man, I hate shopping and this time was especially bad. It's easy to lie to yourself about your weight when all you see is your reflection in your medicine cabinet mirror. But that full length mirror in the fitting room....yeouch.

And until about a year ago I was using my exercise bike faithfully...three times a week, 35-45 minutes a time. Sometimes longer. And then various things happened... we redid the house and the bike was in the garage for 6 months...and I twisted my knee...and inertia set in.

But I've got to get serious again. So I'm going to start recording my biking here on the blog. Maybe it'll keep me honest.

And help me lose a little weight.

Wish me luck.


I've been knitting like a fiend and here's Nanner Sock #1 as of yesterday evening.

I think I made this a leettle long in the foot. The toe starts with a fifteen stitch cast on and I think that's a little large, too. If I were to do it again, I think I might just start with 13 stitches. That doesn't seem like a lot but I think it might make the toe fit better. I like the pattern a lot. But it's rather twisty. I'm hoping it won't feel twisty on my foot.

And hey! Here it is this evening!

All done. And the second one is started!

Duncan is obviously very impressed.

Read a good book the other day. It's by Charlie Huston and is called The Mystic Art of Erasing All Signs of Death. It's a pretty vulgar book and pretty graphic, but also funny and, in an odd way, touching. The main character, Web, is a man who went through a pretty ghastly experience a year before the book opens and he's drifting. He drifts into working for a company who cleans up crime scenes...suicide scenes...all sorts of awful biohazard sort of scenes. And finally, he drifts into an attempted smuggling operation. And sometime during this drifting, Web starts to wake up and take charge of his life. It's rude and crass but also has some funny scenes. I can sort of see it as a Coen Brothers film. Anyway, if you're not too sensitive, give it a try. It's certainly a fast read.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursdays Aren't Bad Either!

So, the Nanner sock is coming along nicely.

I love the colors and the way that one little stitch of the color will show up between two stitches of another color... No striping or pooling here.

But I like the way it looks on the sole, too. Lookie here.

It really does look like a little mosaic.

What else? The Office is on later tonight...that makes it a good night.

And I got some books in the mail, including the newest Bill Slider mystery by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. I like these mysteries...British police procedural with a good bit of humor. And I love Atherton, Slider's second in command. So that was nice.

And tomorrow's Friday and that makes it best of all. I'm all about the weekend.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday's Are The Best!

The Loopy Ewe The Black Sheep (yeesh! I can't believe I got this wrong! How embarrassing! Thanks, Maureen, for pointing this out.) is open until 7 until Tuesdays...I may, just possibly, have mentioned this before. Say, on last Tuesday, perhaps. Anyway, I went up there again this evening and had the best time! I love sitting around chatting with the great women there. And I got a good bit of knitting done....because...I may have started another pair of socks this afternoon.

This is a pattern called Nanner, a free pattern from Wendy Knits. There was no picture, just a chart, but I really like it now that I've gotten a couple of the repeats done. It reminds me a little of Potamus. And I love this yarn! The colors are really pretty and shift nicely. I like it.

I also picked up yarn for another project. I decided what I want to make for my office-mate's new baby boy...due in August. I'm going to make Elijah.

Actually, I'm going to make two Elijahs. I'm going to make one in the Baby Cashmerino shown here for the new baby, and one in grey Ella Rae Amity for the big brother. I just love this little pattern...what a cute little heffalump. I hope he's not too difficult to knit up. I like the fact that he's got no seaming.

What else...?

Oh, I never posted about this....

This is a Buttony hat kit from Old Maiden Aunt. I saw it and really liked it...but thought that at 15 pounds it would be about $30. And then I went to the Google converter and found out it was only about $20...and there was a free shipping offer! So now I have a Buttony Hat kit. And even Gizmo seems impressed. (Perhaps he just likes the smell of Scotland.)

Speaking of poor old Giz...see the little white-ish divot on his side...back by his hip?

Last night I was sitting here at the computer and rolled backwards without checking and somehow rolled over him...or near enough to him to pull out a big chunk of fur. He went bolting up the stairs and wouldn't come near me for quite some time. Poor guy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Am I Just Easily Irked Because It's Friday?

I was pouring out my Cheerios to take to work with me this morning (yes, I am reverting to toddlerhood...I love eating Cheerios) and had to open a new box. I noticed something labeled "Donation Code" on the inside flap and investigated further. Apparently, if you go online and enter this lengthy code, General Mills will donate $1 (count it out...one whole dollar!) to some organization that will, I think, fund needy women's cholesterol checks. (Obviously I didn't read it all that closely...it was, after all, 6:25 in the a.m. Give me a break.)

Now, this is a noble thing to do. Way to go, General Mills. But hey...why depend on your consumers doing something? Why not just donate a million bucks, or whatever your budget can bear? You know that a lot of those boxes will be bought by people with no computers or people who won't take the time to enter the code. Are you trying to limit your pay-out? Trying to capture the personal information of the people who do bother to enter the code so that you can send them emails? What gives?

But here's an idea....

Just frigging donate the money if you think it's a good cause! Tell us about your donation on your box if you like...it might give people something interesting to read on the back of their cereal box in the morning.

Only not me...because of that whole 6:25 a.m. deal...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sending Ripples

Rachel and some other students, as part of a class on literary journals, has started an on-line journal. They are accepting submissions from anyone. They welcome submissions from anyone. They are pleading for submissions. So if you have anything you've written...something you might like to see in an on-line literary journal...send it in!


Local Warming

I forgot to mention, when I was writing about my nice Tuesday evening at The Black Sheep, that they have a charity project going. They are selling this Universal Yarn at a discount and you sign up to make some squares for an afghan. Once all the squares are done, they'll be sewn into afghans and given to someplace local like our House of Ruth or a homeless shelter.

Joyce has chosen the colors and we just select a skein and get going. I chose a dark lime green and between Tuesday and last night I got my three squares done. A checkerboard, a garter ridge and an eyelet. Quick and fun. So when I went in today to turn my squares in I picked up a second skein of the lighter lime green and I've started a stockinette square. I'll also be doing a seed stitch square and one in moss stitch. I was thinking that I might have enough left-overs of the two colors to make a striped square just for fun. And while I was in the shop.....I may have also picked up some Austermann Step....

Look how pretty...I love the little touches of blue in with the pinks and greys. It was flirting with me as I walked in the front door.

Oh, and the socks had an outing today. Mr. Left Sock seemed to enjoy the car ride.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Good And The Bad

Good and Finished:

I've finished the Kaffe Fasset socks.

Here they are, reposing gently on Gizmo.

The Bad Side:

It's ten o'clock. I don't really have time to put a lot of thought into what socks to knit next and I don't really have time to divide a skein of yarn. So I'm grabbing the KnitPicks Essential in Bordeaux that I got a couple of weeks ago. It's in two balls, so no dividing necessary. And I'll grab one of the patterns I have upstairs that I took on our Massachusetts trip.

Good and Finished:

The Black Tower by Louis Bayard. I loved his first book, Mr. Timothy, the eponymous character being Tiny Tim all growed up. Wasn't as wild about A Pale Blue Eye, his second book, set in West Point and with Poe as one of the characters. But I really liked this one.

The Bad Side:

It's ten o'clock. I don't have a lot of time to settle on a new book to read. Fortunately, I got the newest Laura Lippman yesterday and that's a pretty safe bet to be good.

Oh, and I got this in the mail today --

So, one pair of socks done, three potential pairs entering the house.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Really Should Get Out My Camera...

...but I'm lazy. My second Kaffe Fasset sock is almost done. I have about 2 inches of ribbing to do in the cuff. Pictures when they're finished.

Last night was fun, fun, fun. I went up to The Black Sheep about 5:00 and hung out until they closed the doors at 7:00. I got a fair amount done on my cuff but I would have done even more if I hadn't kept jumping up to check out all the new stuff.

And I ran into someone to whom I had been proselytizing about the store. Last Saturday I had to run Rachel up the Express Care (nothing serious) and as I was sitting and working on my sock, one of the nurses came out into the waiting area. She saw me knitting and came up and asked what I was doing... And she was so much fun to talk to! She got all excited...said she had knit but not for a while and that she really ought to take a class. We talked about liking instant (or at least relatively quick) gratification in our knitting projects. We agreed that Woolworks is snooty. I told her about The Black Sheep and she said she was going to go there as soon as possible and that maybe she'd see me there.

So I walk into the shop yesterday and say hi to Tracy and some of the other regulars and I hear Joyce say something like "Is this the Sarah you meant?" And there was my Express Care friend. (Her name is Judy.) She was getting yarn for an afghan that's made square-by-square. We agreed that it would have that necessary quick gratification factor and that it would be easy to tote one square around. It was fun to run into her again and I hope to see her again sometime.

So a good evening.

Monday, March 9, 2009

May I Toot A Horn?

Ahem...Rachel got on the Dean's List.

Brains and beauty.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

More Driving

The kidlet is back in Fredericksburg. The drive wasn't bad but man, I'm not ready for this warm weather. I'm a winter person and I don't do well in warm. Added to this is the fact that the passenger side widow is a little wonky...it'll go down just fine but is sometimes reluctant to go back up. Much like the economy, I guess. Anyway, it's amazing that, even with the driver's side window lowered a bit, the passenger side remains rather stagnant and hot. So that wasn't fun.

But I got a lot of my second sock done...I'm into the heel flap.

And now it's time for The Amazing Race. (Heh. I typed "The Amazing Rach." Yup, she's pretty amazing.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Maniacal Yarn Acquisition: The Latest Installment

So, would you like to see what I got at Webs?

Clockwise, starting at the top left:

Two skeins of Filatura Di Crosa Multicolor in yummy reds, pinks and oranges. I, a couple of years ago, made a yummy scarf out of this yarn in shades of blues and greens.

Dream in Color Smooshy in Lipstick Lava.

Kangaroo Dyer in Macaw.

Opal Hundertwasser in yellows and blues.

Two skeins of Prism Merino Mia in Freesia. (Or, as the label says, Freeisa...I think it's a typo.)

Two skeins of Regia Mosiak Color in pretty spring-like colors.

I also got some buttons.

Some of these were on sale....the dichroic glass ones and the red poppy, to be exact. The red poppy came in a sale bag with a bunch of other buttons that are nice but not necessarily photo-worthy.

I love these poppies.

Nice, huh?

Then, in the little yarn shop in Amherst, I pity-bought this:

Finally, I came home to find a box from The Loopy Ewe with the following:

From top to bottom:

Fannie's Fingering in Wildflowers II.

Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in Parrot.

Perchance to Knit's merino in Breezy.


I think I'd better keep knitting socks.


Optimism: The act of packing for a four-day trip by taking the first, half-finished, sock of a pair and yarn to complete that pair and make two additional pairs. Also packing two books that look good.

Reality: Coming home with one sock...finished, all but the cast off. Not opening either book.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Now, That's What I Call A Monday!

Hi, hi, hi! I'm back, I'm back! Didja miss me?

Well, I'm back anyway.

We went up to Massachusetts this weekend so that Rachel could take a closer look at Hampshire, a college that has attracted her attention. She's thinking about transferring there. It's a small college, very rural, and has a pretty (well, I'm assuming it's pretty...it was sort of hard to see this week) campus.

Let me start at the beginning. We flew up to Hartford CT on Sunday morning and got our rental car and made our way over the border and up to Hadley MA (very close to Amherst and pretty close to Northampton, too...keep the word "Northampton" in the back of your mind). Found our hotel and headed over to Hampshire College, where we found Rachel's friend with whom she was going to stay. We all went out to dinner and then dropped the two of them back on campus. And then proceeded to pretty much not see her for the next few days.

But Mr. Pointy Sticks and I had a great time. Despite the snow storm. "Snow storm?" you say. Well, yes, starting Sunday night the snow began. We had seen weather reports so it wasn't a huge surprise. When we finally got up Monday morning the snow seemed to have stopped. The roads were pretty snow-covered and there wasn't a lot of traffic but Mr. Pointy Sticks turned to me and said, "So, you want to go to Northampton this morning?" "Ooooh, yes," I said. Why so excited about Northampton? (I'm sure some of you have figured this out already.)

Because Northampton is the home to Nirvana....

Just look at this....

I mean....look at it! I sort of wanted to lie down on the floor and roll around in ecstasy for a while. I mean, look at these colors!

This is one little rack. I was wandering around in a daze. Fortunately, the store not only has a fantastic selection of yarn, it also has a comfortable waiting section for bored spouses. I bought an armful of yarn but had most of it sent home. (And it was waiting for me today when I got home. Pictures tomorrow!)

After Webs, we tried to find some used bookstores but one of the ones we found was closed because of the storm and the other one had no parking anywhere close...and the snow was really coming down, so we decided to head back to the hotel.

Here's one neat Addams family sort of house I snagged a picture of from inside the moving car. There were some amazingly lovely houses.

We did get to one used bookstore in Amherst. Mr. Pointy Sticks found a couple of books, but I don't think he was too impressed by it.

The next day, Tuesday, was bright and clear - though very, very cold. We went to the National Yiddish Book Center.

It's a beautiful building, designed to look like a shtetl, and contains some amazing and heart-breaking history. It's right on Hampshire's campus.

Another fun place on Hampshire's campus is the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, also on the Hampshire campus. I wish I could have taken pictures...but I got to see works by Kay Nielsen, Ernest Shepherd, Trina Schart Hyman, Rosemary Wells and so many others right up close. Incredible. It would be fantastic to have small children and live close enough to get there often.

We had a little snack in the cafe, where I took this picture of a piece of glass art.

And this shot of some flowers. Yes, they're cloth...but it was so nice to see something floral!

After the museum, we hunted for more used bookstores but weren't too successful. Did find a pokey little yarn shop and bought a skein of sock yarn. (Sort of felt as though I had to buy something.)

In the evening we liberated Rachel from the arms of Hampshire, got some dinner and retired to the hotel.

And this morning we headed out from Hadley and were soon once more in the Hartford airport. It has some nice touches...like these rocking chairs.

There are groups of them scattered along the window wall, where you can sit and rock and watch the planes come and go.

And then there was this neat advertising for the Traveler's Insurance company...

The pictures of the big red umbrellas are projected on the wall of the walkway out to the gates. But the neat thing? As you walk past and interrupt the beam of light, you also make the image fly apart. (The big red umbrella is made up of little red umbrellas.)

And as you walk on by, the images re-form.

Too cool.

Tomorrow, pictures of yarn! (Whoopie!)