31 January 2008

Mr. Cheese makes me laugh

I'm watching a rerun of Friends, one in which Joey and Chandler’s pet duck and pet chicken make an appearance…

Me: I want a duck and a chick.

Me: And a bunny.

Shane: Uh huh.

Me: I want a baby. [going along with the cute, cuddly little thing theme]

Shane (with goofy grin slowly spreading across his face): You do?

Me: Well, duh. You know I want a baby; we’ve been talking about it for at least a year. What do you think all of the fertility talk has been about? Why do you think I made an appointment with a new OB/GYN?

Shane: But you’ve never actually said you want a baby before.

Me: Sure I have.

Shane: No you haven’t. Awwww……

Me: Oh shut up.

Shane: This is a monumental occasion! [comes over to me to give me a kiss]

Me: Uh, yeah. Go away.

Am I married to the biggest cheeseball in the world or what?

28 January 2008

Time to give a little back

I've decided to do a bit of charity knitting this year. I haven't done much in the past due to time constraints, but over the last year, my knitting speed has increased, as has my knitting efficiency. I seem to be able to be relatively monogamous with my projects (at least, my polygamy only runs to 2 or 3 projects at once), which has given me more focus on my current projects, and the ability to finish them faster.

Anyway, being able to finish things faster means that I have more time to knit things for charity. I feel like I have been given a gift with knitting, and I want to be able to use that gift to give something back to the world. Sounds trite, I know, but it's late and I can't think of a better way of putting it.

There are 3 charities for which I will be doing knitting this year.

The first is Socks for Soldiers. Why? Well, mostly because I love sock knitting. Making socks for our soldiers means that my little sock obsession can benefit someone other than me and my family members. Though I personally do not know anyone who is deployed, I was raised in the military and understand how hard a life it can be for both the soldiers and their families. I can't imagine being without Shane for a year, with the possibility that he may not come home. If having a pair of handknit socks can make a soldier feel a little more connected to home, then knitting a pair of socks is the least I can do. I haven't started my first pair yet. I purchased the yarn from the group organizer, but I haven't started yet. I'm hoping to get the first pair underway in the next couple of weeks. My goal for the year is 2 regulation socks and 1 or 2 "leisure" pairs.

The second charity is Hats for Alex. When I first heard about this charity last year, the story really got to me. Recently, I became the managing editor for a scientific journal that deals with the research of birth defects and fetal/infant deaths, and I have read several articles concerning the deaths of children at the hands of adults in their lives. It just breaks my heart. What Pam is doing in organizing the donation of hats to newborns is a good thing. My goal this year is to knit 10 hats. I have just the right yarn in my stash for this.

And third is the Snuggles Project. Animals hold a special place in my heart, especially shelter animals (after all, my dear Evil One spent 6 months in our local Humane Society before I rescued her). I have the yarn in my stash - why not knit something cuddly for someone cuddly? My goal will be to knit 1, possibly 2 blankets for the Lawrence Humane Society.

So that's it - my little attempt at using my skills for the greater good (instead of the evil that I usually use them for - bwahahahahahaaaa).

24 January 2008

2 WiPs for ya

I have only 2 WiPs to show ya today, and they're not the same as last week.

Okay, one of them is the same, but look!

charlotte's web 012408

It's bigger! I know it doesn't look bigger, but it really is. I think I was halfway through the 2nd color last week. Now I am into the beginning of the 4th color. I don't want to jinx myself by saying this, but it's possible I could finish this thing by early next week, a whole month ahead of schedule. Woohoo!

The other WiP is the second of the Rotating Rib socks.

rotating rib 012408

The plan was to start on it after I finished the Charlotte's Web shawl, but I needed something simple for knitting group last week. I would have brought Candy, but it's getting a little large and unwieldy to carry around. So sock it was.

21 January 2008

Needles needles needles

Blogstalker assignment for last week was to post pictures of your needles. I voted for this as a topic because all of my needles are in one place and I knew they'd be easy to photograph.

So here we are:

needles 012108

This is one of the Bag Smith knitting bags. I received it as a gift the first Christmas after I started knitting. It used to hold yarn, but I grew out of it pretty quickly. It became my needle house soon after that.

Let's see what's in the bottom of the bag.

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There are probably 30+ circular needles and a dozen sets of DPNs in the needle roll.

My "in use" needles are in the basket.

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Can you tell I prefer circs? I have some straights, but they are unruly for the way I knit.

And besides being unruly, these are just plain strange:

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Knit Lites. They were a gift. While the idea of knitting in a darkened movie theater is somewhat appealing, I wouldn't want to be anyone sitting near me. How distracting would that be?

Great thing about getting out all my needles was that it made me finally finish entering them into my Ravelry notebook. Been meaning to do that for a while.

16 January 2008

Weekly progress

Since finishing the Brother socks, I've worked quite a bit on my other WiPs.

First up is Candy.

candy 011608

I added another inch-and-a-half of stockinette to the upper part of the body, including the bust darts and waist shaping (bust dart is on the right, waist shaping on the left). I have no idea if the bust darts are going to work the way I envision them, but they sure look cool anyway. I have another 4 inches of stockinette before I can start on the sleeves.

Also, I started the Charlotte's Web shawl. Woohoo! Koigu!

Charlotte's Web 011608

I'm going on a business trip at the end of February, and I thought this shawl would be the perfect thing to liven up my otherwise dark and dull business attire (black pants/grey sweater, grey pants/black blouse). So I have until the last week of February to finish. I think I can do it.

Still haven't started the second Rotating Rib sock. It'll have to wait until I'm finished with the shawl.

14 January 2008

Brother socks FO

I finished the world's most boring socks yesterday. The leg on that second sock was painful. I wasn't sure I could get through it without dying of boredom, but somehow I managed.

brother socks6011408

Plain stockinette anything is good to have on the needles for those times when you either cannot or do not want to pay attention to what you're doing. But I really prefer to have something more interesting to work on. I guess it's better than miles of ribbing, which would not only bore me, but would result in stabbing myself in the eye.

Look at that short row heel!
brother socks2 011408.
and that long piece of red fuzz!

I have only worked short row heels on 2 other pairs of socks and didn't like the way they turned out - the usual complaints about holes when picking up the wraps. In doing a search for short row tutorials, I stumbled across this one and it worked like a dream! It's a little hard to slip the double-wrapped stitches over, but the result is worth it.

As preferred, I worked these toe-up using Judy's Magic Cast-on.
brother socks3 011408

I switched to a larger needle for the cuff because I made these longer than I would normally, and I wanted to make sure that they fit my brother's calves. I used a sewn bind-off.
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And here's where I have to complain. I've used this bind-off a billion times, it seems, and I really hate the way it looks when the sock is not being worn. It's floopy and uneven and it offends my anal retentiveness. Isn't there a neater stretchy bind-off?

So, here are the deets, dudes.
Pattern: plain stockinette pattern of my own
Yarn: Cervinia Calzetteria in navy and charcoal
Needles: 32" size 2 Addis for all but the cuff; size 3 for the cuff
Started: 12/29/08
Finished: 1/13/08

My brother should be pleased. Hopefully these are thin enough that he can wear them to work. Previous pairs that I've made him were done with worsted weight and were too thick for everyday wear. He didn't realize that I could make them thinner until I showed him a pair of mine.

Despite the boredom, I did learn something while knitting these. I learned to knit without looking at what I'm doing. I've been able to do it for a few stitches before, but with this project, I was able to do row after row without looking. Yay for blind knitting!


The Brother socks being finished, it's a good time to mention a knitalong I joined: Sock a Month 5. The objective is simple: Knit one pair of socks a month for the next six months. The Brother socks are for January. Woohoo!

13 January 2008

More of my yarn haul

During my major splurge at Yarn Barn, I bought my first skeins of Louet Gems.

Louet 123107

I decided a couple of months ago that I have to have a pair of Endpaper Mitts. Gems seemed like the perfect yarn for that project (I just looked up the pattern again and Gems is what it calls for - go figure).

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I'll use the brown for the background color. The blue works really well with it. I love the combination of chocolate brown and sky blue.

10 January 2008

Bad habits

Since the Blogstalking assignment was my idea, I guess I should answer the question: What is your worst habit?

I have two bad habits.

The first is potentially deadly. I smoke. Yes, I'm one of the few morons left who still lights up. And yes, I know the danger. And yet I persist.

For me, smoking is not an addiction to nicotine. It's a habit. I was in college when I started smoking in earnest. A friend and I would get together late at night and sit in her car and smoke and jabber. Then when we were roommates, we would do the same, only on the back patio instead of her car. This routine of smoking at night carried over through the years after college, to today. I have two cigarettes a day - right before I go to bed. I have no desire to have one any other time of the day except in the 1/2 hour before I go to bed. It's weird, I know, but that's the reason I say my smoking is a habit. It's associated with a certain routine. I know I could go without a cigarette and not go too crazy; I tested myself a couple of months ago and I skipped a night without any problems or cravings. My goal was to quit by my 30th birthday. Well, I'm 33 now. Still haven't quit. This is the year, though. I'll have to quit if I want to get pregnant. Bummer.

My other bad habit, and secret shame, is this:


This isn't a very good picture, but what it is showing is that I pick at my thumbs. It started as nail biting when I was a kid. Eventually I became a vain teenager and stopped the nail chewing, replacing it with picking at my cuticles, on all my fingers. My thumbs get the worse treatment. Not only do I pick at the cuticles, but the skin all the way down to the first knuckle (which you can see in the picture as the pink portion of my upper thumb), on the front and back of the thumb. It's a nervous habit. I don't even realize I'm doing it most of the time. Any time I have tried to quit, the nervous energy came out in other ways, from chewing my lip to twiddling my hair (which I still do anyway). I'm kind of obsessive about the way my hands look, so it's ironic that I have this destructive and nasty habit.

So, you think I'm gross now don't you? You'd be right :)

09 January 2008

I been a-knittin'

Some progress has been made:

brother sock 010808
sorry for the overexposed pic

I have the first Brother sock done and this is the second one. I started the heel about 1/2 an hour ago.

Candy 010808

I picked up the stitches and started working on the upper half of Candy. The pattern calls for only one increase round after picking up the stitches, but this busty gal needs a little more room up top. I am going to increase under the arms every right side row 10 or so times. I am also adding bust darts in front. I've never done anything like that before, so I'm hoping it works okay. So far it looks good.

I finished the first Rotating Rib sock but I haven't cast on for the second one yet. I want to finish the Brother socks first.


Got to see the baby last Sunday.



04 January 2008

Mmmmmm Koigu

Yarn Barn's annual pre-inventory sale, the week after Christmas, gave me a perfect opportunity to buy yarn for all the projects I've had in mind for a while. I've been waiting for this sale for months so that I could finally buy some yarn for projects just for me. Me. ME!

So, here's some yarn pr0n for ya!

A project that I've had my eye on for a few months is the Charlotte's Web shawl. I wasn't that jazzed about it the first time I saw a picture of it, but after seeing a few more finished ones, I decided I had to have one. The fact that it uses Koigu is a bonus.

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The colors are of course fabulous.

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getting the hang of the new camera. hee hee!

I had the skeins all spread out on the floor of the shop so that I could better envision how they would look together. I lined them up, replaced one with another, then another, then another. I thought for a moment that I may have looked like a nut case. But really, it's a yarn shop. I'm sure they are used to weird knitter behavior around the yarn. I finally settled on this combination.

koigu5 123107

They're subtle without being washed out. I like that I have blues, reds, purples, greens, and pinks all represented. There's even a little yellow in there somewhere, but not a whole lot (yellow and me do not get along well). I'm very excited to start working on this shawl.

I tried getting the pattern at Yarn Barn while I was there, but they didn't have any in stock. I'm not patient enough to wait until they received another shipment, so I searched for an online shop from which I could order it. It took a bit of searching - many shops sell kits but not the pattern by itself. I finally found a copy that was even on sale. I ordered it so quickly that I didn't even pay attention to the shipping cost. Turns out that I paid more for shipping than for the pattern. Oh well. At least I have it now.

02 January 2008

In the land of socks

It's all socks, all the time around here.

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I finished the knitting on the first Rotating Rib sock on Saturday. I still need to bind off, then I can move onto the second sock.

Then we have Kevin's birthday socks.

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I started this sock on Sunday, and have blown through the foot, heel and 1/3 of the leg. Knitting on size 2s is sooooooooooo much faster than 0s. Duh. Good thing, too, because these socks are boring the hell out of me. They're plain stockinette and a total yawner. Maybe I'll be able to finish this one this weekend and can start on the second one. These are turning out to be lightning fast for this uber-slow knitter.

No progress on Candy, so no pictures. I'm trying not to admit to myself that I'm not good with sweater knitting. Someday I'll get back to Candy and actually finish it. Sure. Denial is a very comfy place.

01 January 2008

Welcome, Riley Jane

Meet the newest member of my family, Riley Jane.

taken by sis Wendy a few hours after the birth

She was born to my brother Kevin and his wife Christy last night. She was a little less than 8 lbs and 21 inches.

Riley 010108
taken by me today (she didn't like the flash)

She is so pretty. You know how some babies are just not that cute until a couple of weeks after they're born? Not this one. She is so precious. So alert. Such big blue eyes. I shall call her Sug (as in sugar).

Riley is a first for our family - first grandchild. BB gave everyone a chance to get used to the idea of having kids around, but he's my stepson, so not a blood relative. Riley's birth marks the beginning of a new era for us. Kevin, at nearly 30, is the youngest of the three of us kids, and the first to have a child. This family of adult children has now been infiltrated by babies. Hopefully, we'll be blessed with a few more grandchildren in the family over the next few years.

I am proud Aunt Bevy.


Let’s review my goal list from 2007. How’d I do?

1) Lose weight. Uh, yeah. Didn’t happen. I think I weigh the same I did this time last year. At least I didn’t gain anymore. And this year, I don’t care what I weigh. I’m just not going to stress over it anymore. For this time in my life, being thin and gorgeous is not important. I’ll worry about my weight again after we have kids.

2) Stick to the budget I created for our household. I completely forgot about the budget for a few months in the middle of the year. Then I had a horrible freak out in August and we went back on the budget. Then off it again. Then back on it. We’ve been taking a break from it during the holidays, but I am committed to being diligent about our spending in the new year. So, this goal is being carried over to 2008.

3) Knit from my stash until 1 April. This goal was actually met. I think I purchased one skein of cheap acrylic yarn from Hobby Lobby in March, for a wedding present project, but other than that, I didn’t buy anymore yarn. Go me! We won’t discuss the remainder of the year.

4) Do not start any new projects for the month of January. Another goal met! And, actually, I have become a more monogamous knitter over the last 6 months. I have realized that projects are finished faster when I concentrate all my time on one thing rather than dividing my time among 6 different projects. My goal for 2008 will be to have no more than 3 projects on the needles at one time. I currently have 1 sweater and 2 pairs of socks in progress. Three is a nice comfortable number for me.

5) Read the newspaper every day. Not only have I not accomplished this goal, but I have finally accepted the fact that I never read the paper, so I am cancelling my subscription. I like getting the Sunday paper for the coupons and sale flyers, but paying for a subscription just to get some coupons is not worth the money. Shane said he’d get me a Sunday paper from the machine on the corner whenever I want one.

6) Recycle. Hmmm. Does intention count? I have a bin in the garage for bottles, and a bin under the sink for cans. They’re both full. Neither has been emptied for 6 months. So I guess I failed on this goal. I’ll try to get into a routine with the recycling in 2008.

What do I want to add to the goals for 2008?

1) Find a new doctor for female things and discuss what I need to do to before trying to get pregnant. I have a couple of health issues that I need to resolve, or at least alter the way I’m dealing with them, before I can go about trying to have a child.

2) Find a therapist and start regular counseling. Yep, I’m a nut case. Time to start dealing with my crazy in a healthy way rather than eating my mental stress and pretending it doesn’t exist.

3) Get this f*cking house ready to sell and don’t let myself or Shane get lazy about it anymore. If we are to have a child this year, we must buy a bigger house, or the baby will have to sleep in the car. If Shane and I were not the world’s biggest procrastinators, we would be in a new house already. No more excuses. This house goes on the market by mid-May. Period.

As for knitting goals, I really only have one: Knit more socks for myself. Next winter, I want to completely do away with wearing store-bought socks. I have only 4 pairs of hand-knitted socks, which is not nearly enough.


Looking back over the last year, not a whole lot happened. I worked. Shane worked. We went on vacation in September. We spent every other weekend with BB. I knitted a lot. Life for us in 2007 was pretty stable. Nothing exciting—good or bad. I guess I can be thankful for the mundane.