26 February 2008

Poopy Socks FO

I finally finished these gawdawful socks last Saturday.

RR socks1 022308

Let me tell you, these were not fun to knit.

RR socks3 022308

I think the yarn just had some bad juju because this pair was the 6th pattern I tried. After ripping them out 5 times, I was more determined to be finished and rid of the yarn than I was frustrated with my inability to find the right pattern.

The colors are poo. I'm not sure why I even purchased this yarn. There are 2 brownish colors in it (one on the rusty side and one more a vomit-y brown), as well as a medium blue and a grassy green.

RR socks colors 022308

The color repeats were only 1-2 inches long, which made for strange pooling.

The stitch pattern is rotating ribs. It's just a 2x2 rib for 6 rounds, then shift the stitches one stitch to the left/right and repeat. I managed to be conscious enough when I started the second sock to make the rotation turn in the opposite direction from the first sock, which made for an interesting effect.

RR socks4 022308

I worked a short-row heel on these. I like the way they turned out.

RR socks heel 022308

I think I'll be using this heel on many toe-up socks in the future. It seems to fit my foot really well.

I also worked a rolled cuff, which I have never used before. I figured that since the fabric on these is practically bullet proof (owing to the size 0 needles I used), I didn't need ribbing to keep the socks up.

RR socks cat 022608
um, yeah, I couldn't get a cat-free shot

These babies are not going to fall down. Hell, they can practically stand up by themselves.

Overall, the socks themselves aren't bad. I'll still wear them, even though I loathe the pukey colors. I'm just really glad they're finished.

Pattern: Rotating Rib a la Yarn Harlot, toe-up, magic cast-on, magic loop, short-row heel, rolled cuff
Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Fun (can't say what the color number is as I long since threw away the ball band)
Needles: size 0, 32" Addi Turbo
Started: 12/16/08 (can't believe it was that long ago - thought I'd started them in January)
Finished: 2/23/08

Tomorrow I'll let you know what my next sock project is.

22 February 2008


Seems like ages since I finished the Charlotte's Web shawl. I had to come up with a creative blocking solution because I don't want to shell-out for a set of blocking wires.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a hardware store and looked for something suitable. They had actual welding wire, but it was too thick. What I settled on was this:

16 gauge wire

It's 16 gauge fencing wire. Thick enough to keep its shape, but thin enough to be easily bent into whatever shape I need.

Charlotte's Web 021308

Worked pretty well, huh? I couldn't get the wires perfectly straight, but the pins helped a little so that I could get a fairly straight edge.

Charlotte's Web6 021308

The bind-off edge was not as stretchy as I would have liked, which prevented me from being too severe with the blocking. I probably could have blocked it to be a bit larger if the bind-off had been stretchier.

Once again the wonders of lace are proven with this shawl. It was just a pile of colorful looped yarn before going into the sink for a soak. It's amazing that the pile turns into this:

Charlotte's Web3 021308

That has to be the best part of working on lace. So cool. And the fact that it stays in that shape after it drys is just amazing.

Charlotte's Web finished1 022208

Pattern: Charlotte's Web Shawl by Koigu Wool Designs
Yarn: 5 different skeins of Koigu
Needles: size 7, 24" bamboo circs.
Started: 1/15/08
Finished: 2/15/08
Modifications: I used needles one size larger than called for because I am a tight knitter and figured that going up a needle size would ensure that I wouldn't end up with a scarflet. Also, I didn't do the crocheted edging or fringe. I don't usually like fringe and I suck at crochet, so I just bound off as usual.

Charlotte's Web finished2 022208

I am VERY happy with this thing. I can't wait to wear it in Denver next week. It'll add just the right amount of color to my otherwise drab black and grey dressy work attire.

Charlotte's Web3 022208
note to self: make sure to switch camera off of nighttime setting before taking pictures in blinding-white snow.

19 February 2008

A bad man

I have to vent. This is going to be long.

Shane’s dad sent him a birthday card at work. On the inside he wrote: “I hope life is treating you good. Life is pretty short from not being a family togetherness [sic], but I guess that’s the way you want it to be. Anyway, you are being thought of on your birthday. Hope you have many more.”

A little background: Shane’s dad (Mr. R) and his mom were divorced when Shane was 11. His mother was blind from diabetes, and therefore could not work. Mr. R left Shane and his mom with barely enough child support to pay the bills. Shane’s older sister opted to live with Mr. R instead of staying and helping take care of their mother. The responsibility for taking care of his blind mother fell to Shane alone. Mr. R and the sister did not see or speak to Shane for 8+ years. His mother died from complications from diabetes when Shane was 19 or 20. He finally saw his father and sister again at his mother’s funeral.

For the next 15 or so years, Mr. R tried to repair the relationship with Shane that he had damaged. Shane forgave him, and they got along pretty well, even taking a few trips together. Mr. R was excited when Shane got married to his first wife, and when they had BB. There were more transgressions on the part of Mr. R, but nothing as significant as when he left Shane’s mom.

Cut to 2004. Shane and I started dating. He explained to me the difficult relationship he’d had with his father. But for me, family is family. It was important to me that Shane had a good relationship with his father because family is very important to me. I felt that if it was possible, then he should try to get along with Mr. R. After all, we planned on having kids and I want my children to know their grandfather.

In December of 2005, Mr. R’s mom died. Shane did not grow up around his grandmother; barely knew her. So he opted not to go to the funeral. I suppose he could have gone for the benefit of his father, but since his own mother’s death (he was the one who found her when she died, by the way) it upsets him to be around death and funerals and the like.

In the few months after his grandmother’s funeral, we didn’t hear from Mr. R at all. I didn’t think much about it because I was planning our wedding and was too busy to notice. He hadn’t RSVP’d, but then neither did my parents. I just didn’t think anything of it. Then the day before our wedding in April 2006, I asked Shane to call his dad and ask if he could watch BB during the wedding. BB wanted to be at the wedding, but we needed someone to sit with him and watch him until the wedding was over and we arrived at the reception. His dad’s response was no. He and his wife, Mrs. R, would not be at the wedding because they “had other things to do that day.”

That’s right. Shane’s dad and stepmom did not attend our wedding. Neither did his sister. The only family member that Shane had at the wedding was BB. I had people drive and fly in from all over the country, but his father who lives 10 minutes from here couldn’t be bothered.

That was it for me. I had heard the stories from Shane about the wrongs his father had done to him, but since it hadn’t involved me, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. No longer. What kind of piece of shit doesn’t attend his own son’s wedding? Shane was so hurt by that. This amazingly good-hearted man had been let down by his father in such a monumental way. It was an unforgivable act to me. I wanted nothing more to do with Mr. R.

Nearly a year went by before we heard from Mr. R again. He finally called Shane and asked to meet with him and talk. They met and Mr. R explained that the reason he had not attended the wedding was because he was hurt that Shane had not gone to his grandmother’s funeral (Shane maintains that Mr. R didn’t want Shane there for support – he was upset that Shane wasn’t there because of the way it made him look – he had to explain to everyone why his son wasn’t there). I was appalled. That was behavior I expect to see in a teenage girl, not a 60-something year old man.

Anyway, they patched things up and Mr. R started coming by the house on weekends that we had BB, to spend time with him. It should be noted that I never have forgiven Mr. R. For various reasons, I have never had the opportunity to tell Mr. R what I think of him. Wanting to avoid a fight that I was sure would upset Shane, I just made sure that I was never home when Mr. R came by. Life went on as usual for a while.

Then in May of last year, Shane’s oldest nephew graduated from high school. His sister sent us a graduation announcement, which really surprised me since I’m pretty sure they haven’t spoken to each other in a couple of years. I left it up to Shane to send his nephew a card and make a decision about whether or not we would attend the graduation party. Well, being a man, he forgot about the card, and we didn’t go to the party because we had other plans that weekend.

Apparently, that upset Mr. R. Again, he stopped contacting Shane. We hadn’t heard a word from him until Christmas, when he called and asked to see BB on Christmas Eve. Though our attendance at the graduation party had nothing to do with him, he decided it was his business to punish us for not attending. He even went so far as to circumvent Shane completely in trying to see BB and started picking him up from Shane’s ex’s house every so often. Since Christmas, Mr. R hasn't called.

So here’s where my vent comes in… The note in the birthday card he sent to Shane implies that we do not have contact with him because of some decision Shane has made. Bullshit! He is the reason. The ONLY reason. It angers me that he can treat Shane like shit and then blame it on him. What kind of parent… hell, what kind of ADULT… behaves like this? I saw the card (which he sent to Shane’s work because I’m sure he doesn’t even know our home address) and was instantly pissed. Shane just shook his head, “But he’s such a good father because he sent his son a birthday card” (said with much sarcasm). I’m tellin’ you, if I am ever in a room with Mr. R again, it will not be pretty. There will be yelling. There will be recriminations. There may even be throwing of punches. (Okay, not really, but that’s how much I hate him.)

It makes me sad deep in my soul that this man who I love so much has such a profoundly shitty father. Shane is quite possibly the most selfless, compassionate, and kind person I’ve ever known. He has an optimism that is rare. Despite his horrible childhood, he is a happy person who has not let his past cloud his life now. I wish that he had supportive and loving family. There are many reasons why I am happy that we found each other, but one of those reasons is that I knew my family would accept him and love him, and this most amazing man would finally have the family he deserved to have.

I wish there was an end to this. I wish I could just write off Mr. R and never think of or deal with him again. But what do we do when we have kids? I’ve told Shane that I will not have my children around such a horrible man. He agrees. But what happens if Mr. R insists on being in the lives of my children? I cannot stand the thought. If it were up to me, he’d never know when we have kids. But keeping that secret is impossible since he still sees BB now and again, and I can’t expect a kid to keep a secret from his grandfather. I guess we’ll leap off that bridge when we come to it. Oy.

14 February 2008

I luv my Valentine

We had a pretty good Valentine's here. Shane sent me a bouquet of red roses and a little stuffed animal to work yesterday. He was a little annoyed that the florist delivered them yesterday instead of today, but I was happy. Very cheesy, I know, but he loves Valentine's Day and loves to send me flowers. Who am I to argue? ;)

Tonight we tried to eat at one of the local Italian restaurants. Shane called last Friday and made a reservation. He even called this afternoon to confirm. But when we arrived, they took our name and told us that it would be an hour and 40 minute wait. Shane said that he had made reservations, but that didn't matter. A woman standing behind us said that they had done the same thing to her. They're just lucky that we were in a good mood. I cussed out loud a little and then we left. We ended up at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants and had a lovely meal together.

Shane and I decided not to give each other Christmas gifts at Christmas. Because of the other holiday expenses, we decided to wait until Valentine's to give each other gifts. So after dinner we had Christmas/Valentine's. I got him a PlayStation 3, which he's been hinting about since last summer. He got me an iPod Classic. I have an iPod now that I absolutely could not live without. But, it's 3 years old. It has a black and white screen - I can't even watch videos on it. I've been debating about getting a new one, but the old one works just fine. Leave it to Shane to spoil me. And get this: it has a 160GB memory. I didn't even know they made them that large. My old one has 40GB and I have it nearly filled. I'm so excited to get it working this weekend.

Valentine's 08

Oh, and BB won me a bear at the arcade yesterday. He's so sweet. The bear is modeling the 2nd baby hat, which I finished Tuesday night. One more to go and then I'll send them off to Hats for Alex.

11 February 2008

Blah, it's a Monday FO post

I realized over the weekend that I haven't posted any WiP pictures in a couple of weeks. And now one of those WiPs has become an FO.

Behold Ms. Charlotte in all her unblocked, a little blurry, and color-inacurate glory.

Charlotte's web 021208

I finished this a week and a half ago. It's been sitting around while I procrastinate on the crocheted edging. I don't like fringe, so I knew I wasn't going to do the fringe called for in the pattern. What else to do? After letting it marinate for a while, I decided I liked the cast-off edging as is. I did a pretty good and even job of it. So I'm not going to do any other edging. Which means that it's officially finished. Now all I have to do is block it. That requires blocking wires, which I don't have. I'm still thinking about an alternative. I'll post some modeled shots after blocking.

Yesterday, in my attempt to procrastinate on knitting Candy, I started and finished a baby hat for Hats for Alex, modeled here by Little Miss Gunky Eyes.

baby hat 021208

I'm really surprised she sat there so long with that thing on her head. I'll have to sleep with one eye open tonight, as I'm sure she'll exact her revenge one way or another.

05 February 2008

Happy Birthday Pee Wee!

Today my little brother turned 30. We had a Mardi Gras-themed party at mom and dad's.

Kevin & Riley 020508
proud daddy!

I gave him the Brother Socks (hence the name). He was pretty impressed. The other pairs I've given him were made with worsted weight on size 6s. These were more like what I've made for myself, with thinner yarn and much smaller needles. I don't think he knew that such tiny stitches could be made by hand. Just imagine his wonder when I showed him the sock I was working on - on size 0s.

This is the first time I've seen my dad hold a baby.

Dad & Riley 020508

Looks pretty natural. I guess all of us kids were babies at one time. Now we're all getting older.

Kevin turning 30 really makes me feel old. He'll always be Pee Wee to me - my baby brother. At times my best friend and my worst enemy. There is no one in this world who makes me angrier than he or makes me laugh as hard. Ours has always been a complicated relationship, but at the root there is love.

Happy Birthday Pee Wee!

04 February 2008

Mission Possible 2008

I very rarely buy yarn without a specific project in mind. Except for sock yarn – I don’t usually have a pattern picked out when I buy sock yarn, but I know that it will be used for socks. So imagine my excitement when I discovered the Mission Possible 2008 group on Ravelry! It’s a brilliant concept really: Go through your stash, WiPs, and UFOs and pick 12 projects that you must commit to finishing by 31 December 2008, or the yarn must be donated (to where, I don’t know, but I’m not worrying about that yet). Going through my stash made me really think about why I bought certain yarns in the first place. And I’m so excited to have the motivation to make the things that I intended to make when I made the purchases.

1) Lite Lopi: I bought this to make my dad an argyle vest. The intention was for the back to be a solid color and the front to have the argyle pattern. That was before I discovered that I hate intarsia. So I changed my mind and instead I want to make him a stranded colorwork vest. I will use only 2 colors, but the pattern will cover the whole front and back, pattern as yet to be determined. Of course, I have already knitted the back in the solid color, so I will have to frog that before I start. This will be my first foray into steeking, so I’m excited to get it started.

2) 3 colors of Cascade 220: This is for an afghan for my parents’ 40th anniversary, which was last October. Yeah. Didn’t happen. I started the Celtic Knot Afghan only to decide ¾ into the first panel that I didn’t like it. Instead, I am going to make the Flying Geese blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting. Since this is worked in blocks, it will be pretty easy to take this project along to knitting group or wherever else. The colors I have chosen are a dark turquoise, a lighter turquoise, and dark burgundy.

3) Louet Gems: Pictured here, these are for Endpaper Mitts. I am determined to have these to wear next winter (since I can’t see starting or finishing them before spring).

4) Claudia Hand Painted Fingering: I bought 2 coordinating skeins of this to make the Chevron Scarf. This is another one that I want to have finished by next winter (I’ll be so warm in December! Not so much now.)

5) Cascade 220 Quattro: I fell in love with the Five Alarm Bag from TinkkniT the first time I saw it. It’s big, and cabled, and felted. I’m not too thrilled with the handles pictured in the pattern, but that’s a minor detail that I can change. I have visions of making this with a cool fabric liner that has a divider so that my everyday purse-y stuff goes on one side and my knitting can go on the other. I really like the red in the pattern picture, but I didn’t want to make it look exactly like that (I like mixin’ it up, dontcha know?). Instead, I bought some Quattro that is red and pink (oooooo, creative). I’m curious to see if the pink even shows when it’s felted.

6) Lamb’s Pride Worsted: This is for Candy, which I am working on now and hope to have finished in the next couple of weeks. I think I will set myself a deadline of 17 February. That’s Shane’s birthday and we’ll be gathering at my parents’ house to watch the Daytona 500. I’d rather take something small to work on then instead of a sweater that is quickly becoming too big to carry around.

7) Rowan Felted Tweed: During the Yarn Barn annual sale, I bought 2 skeins of this to start the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. The stuff is too expensive, even on sale, for me to get an entire sweater’s worth at one time. I really wanted to do this in a pea or lime green, but Sis said it made me look sallow, so I chose a dark purple. Damn. I really liked the green.

8) Kidsilk Haze: During the 2006 Yarn Barn sale I bought 2 skeins of a color that I think is called Hurricane. It’s a deep midnight blue, almost black. As I was searching for a pattern that used only 2 skeins of this stuff, I found the Kiri Shawl. It uses 3, so I bought another skein at last year’s sale so I could make it. It looks like fairly easy lace. I’m excited to use this yarn. I’ve never used Kidsilk Haze before.

9) Switzer Land Farms alpaca: Several years ago, I bought enough of this yarn at the Estes Park Alpaca Market to make a sweater for myself. That’s before I realized that making a whole sweater for my large body with fingering weight yarn would take an age, and that alpaca is uberwarm and a whole sweater would be too hot even for the winters in Kansas. It’s been sitting in my stash ever since then without a purpose. Until I saw the Henry scarf pattern. This yarn and that pattern are going to go great together. It will be for my dad. This scarf will not even come close to making a dent in my stash of this yarn, but it’s a start.

10) Knit Picks Shadow: Knit Picks was having a discontinued color sale so I ordered 2 skeins of the Shadow laceweight in a pumpkin color. After doing some searching for just the right pattern, I realized that I would have more options if I had at least 1200 yds, so I ordered one more skein. I think this will become the Bee Fields Triangle Shawl from Knit Spot.

11) Bernat Satin concentric circles afghan kit: In 2005 (!) I ordered this kit from Mary Maxim. I love this afghan. I love the concentric circles, worked from the inside out with evenly spaced increases. The colors are the perfect complement to my living room décor. Working this thing? Torture. It started off okay. But after a while I realized that each round is bigger than the previous one (duh), and instead of plugging along, I would work for hours and only have a ½ inch of stockinette to show for it. Not to mention that the bigger it gets, the more unruly it is to maneuver. I abandoned it sometime in the summer of ’05. It’s been buried in a basket in the living room ever since. I think it’s off to the frog pond. I’m hoping that I can straighten out the kinks in this acrylic yarn, though I’m not holding my breath, and I’ll look for another, less frustrating afghan pattern to use with this yarn.

12) Patons SWS in Natural Earth: Michael’s was having a sale so I just had to have this yarn. I love the combination of the dusty pink, lime green, and tan. I bought enough to make myself a Lady Eleanor. Yay entrelac!

So there you have it - all of the projects I am determined to finish over the next 11 months. Of course there will be other projects that pop up, but I will do my best to keep these 12 in the back of mind to finish before 31 December.