Look at what arrived in the mail for me yesterday! This is the blue Project Spectrum postcard from my pal. Isn’t it fantastic? This is so much more than a postcard – its art and I love it. My apologies to Lois, who made it, because comparatively speaking my postcard was not nearly as fab. I’m so not worthy of this but I’ll take it and appreciate it.
Today my thumbs are sore from assembling and dis-assembling Ik*a furniture most of last night. One of the new pieces is a loft bed (so cool!) that just refused to go together properly. Not only was it horrible to put together but I had to re-do the floor plan to accommodate it. The way I was going to do it would’ve put the ladder right under the ceiling fixture. How many times do you think Stink would’ve bumped her head? Yikes! That would truly have sucked!
I’m happy to say that when I went to bed last night the bed was assembled and most of the big stuff was back in the room. The tile project was grouted too. Tonight we’ll just be reloading the room and trying to restore order in the Drama Queen’s room before they get home tomorrow. It’s going to be a huge push to get it all done.
I need to get to bed as early as possible tonight because I’m still battling a sinus thing and we get to pick the girls up at the bus tomorrow morning at 10am. How early do you think I’ll be there? 7, 8, 9… I may just pitch a tent in the parking lot tonight! I can’t wait to see them. This week without them went fast. It’s probably because the renovation kept us so busy.
Jun 30, 2006
Look at what arrived in the mail for me yesterday! This is the blue Project Spectrum postcard from my pal. Isn’t it fantastic? This is so much more than a postcard – its art and I love it. My apologies to Lois, who made it, because comparatively speaking my postcard was not nearly as fab. I’m so not worthy of this but I’ll take it and appreciate it.
Posted by hillary at 10:05 AM
Jun 29, 2006
Late last night I did battle with Stinkerbelle’s new loft bed from Ik*a. I pushed and I pulled and finally the pieces lined up just right and I screwed them in place. Moments later, as I listened to Letterman being introduced as a “purveyor of inexpensive Swedish furniture”, I realized that I’d installed the section backwards. Oh the irony!
It’s all good though. Really! As the project progresses I am growing more and more excited. By tomorrow night I’ll be a mess. I just can’t wait for Stink to see her new room. Hell! What am I saying? I can’t wait to have my girls home period!
Speaking of my girls and irony… I was looking at the Drama Queen’s room last night and thinking about what a horrid mess it is. Before she left for camp we harassed her for weeks about cleaning up her room - and she did. She hauled a ton of stuff out of there in garbage pails. It was hard for her because she’s a pack rat and everything has deep meaning. The irony is that the hideous mess in there right now was caused by DH and I. We had to put the stuff from Stink’s room somewhere! Right?
Perhaps I can make it up to DQ by doing some serious work on her U-Neck Top. It would be great if she was able to try it on before I deliver her to her other camp in North Carolina a week from Sunday. Finishing the sweater would be nice for many reasons - mostly because I’d like to finish something more than socks this summer.
Posted by hillary at 2:32 PM
Jun 28, 2006
I’m a little aggravated this morning. Work sucks and I’ve got mysterious sinus issues. That’s not a good combination.
On the positive side, the bedroom renovation is going really well. I’m totally excited because I started the tile project last night and I think it’s going to be great. After G did a super job of putting up the chair rails I installed the new lighting and did a lot of touch up on the paint. I also had a flash of inspiration yesterday on the way home and I figured out a design detail that has been bothering me. Tonight I may start building the furniture. Woohoo! I can’t wait to see how it all fits in the room – or if it fits!
The camp where my girls are this week posted some pictures of them. It’s nice to see that the lousy weather hasn’t prevented the Drama Queen from doing lots of horseback riding. She looks satisfied. Stinkerbelle is another story. In some pictures she’s smiling and happy – in others she looks very displeased. It could be worse. She could be sad or homesick instead of just ticked off. I’d like to think that any unhappiness she may feel is weather related. Since the sun has made an appearance this morning she ought to be happy again. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I also heard this morning that my pal for the postcard swap received the postcard I sent so I can show it to you now. Do you like it? I dug out the Color Aid paper that I used in undergrad, some scrap booking supplies, and added some ribbon to create a design that I liked. I love the idea of making the postcards but I find them, and anything else I do for others, a little stressful. I always worry that they won’t like it.
Posted by hillary at 12:05 PM
Jun 27, 2006
As I wrote this post I couldn’t get this title to an old Depeche Mode song out of my head. I totally expected to be a basket case this week, and I may have a meltdown yet, but at this point I really am enjoying the silence. There is no fighting or drama in our house with the girls away. I think that one reason I’m doing ok is that I’m pretty sure that, aside from the rain, they’re doing well too.
I was not doing well when we dropped the girls off at the bus on Sunday. I was a weepy, emotional, mess. I watched Stinkerbelle sleep on Saturday night and pondered the color of her hair, the softness of her cheek and the way her chest rises and falls as she sleeps. I worried about whether or not she’d lose it and cry when we put her on the bus. I tried to think of comforting things to say to ease the departure for her. I imagined her waving madly at the window of the bus as I blew kisses back at her. I should’ve known better.
We arrived at the bus stop and checked both of the girls in. Stink made a few new friends before she even got on the bus and couldn’t wait to get on the road. (She also noted that the bus was air conditioned and the parking lot was not – ever the princess.) She waved briefly just to satisfy the lame-o adults in her life and went back to chatting with buddies on the bus. As I watched the bus leave the parking lot I cried. My baby truly is just as strong and independent as I hoped she was.
B and I bought chair rail and lighting last night which we hope to install this evening. Upon returning home we dove into the painting and now that’s mostly done except for a little touch up and detail work. Sadly, painting doesn’t make for really good teaser pictures but tonight we’ll start the crafty stuff. I hope to have good shots of that for tomorrow.
I’ll also be knitting a little tonight. Felicia (who has developed a stash) and her man G are coming over for dinner and project assistance. While my DH and G are installing the chair rails I’ll be checking Felicia’s cables. I’d show you pictures of what I’m working on right now but it’s really just the same old thing. My second Trek sock is moving along quickly as are M.M. Cozy and the U-neck Top.
I’ve signed up for the Sandy’s Saturday Sky. I missed last week but I look forward to future posts. Let’s hope that the weather clears and that future skies are more pleasant that the one that I see right now.
Posted by hillary at 1:40 PM
Jun 26, 2006
We sat through both of the Drama Queen’s recitals on Saturday night and marveled at the high degree of tackiness present in the costumes. (Stinkerbelle commented on the cheese factor in many of them) I suspect that there are many parents of young dancers out there who can relate to this. They charge you a ridiculous amount of money for “recital fees” and when the costume finally arrives it’s hideous and shoddily constructed. Cheap fabrics, unfinished edges, and garish colors just make me want to cringe. This is one of the 2 costumes she wore this year. Believe it or not, this one is a huge improvement over the other. I’m way too embarrassed to share it the metallic turquoise monstrosity with the short, pouffy skirt.
DQ danced well and, more importantly, she felt like a star for the night.
While we waited for the recital to begin I managed to finish the first Trekking sock. I’m still not sure that I’m in love with the pattern that I chose for the foot but I like the sock over all. It fits well and looks reasonably good. The rest of the weekend was so busy that I didn’t get to cast on for the second sock until this morning during the commute from hell. Here is the short version of my 2 and a half hour commute.
• Went to leave for work and noted that both sets of keys to by car were missing. They were both with DH on the way to the airport to drop my M-I-L off. Damn!
• Walked to bus stop and as I stepped on the bus I realized that my Smartcard and work ID were in the other purse at home. Damn again!
• Rode to Pentagon on stuffy, crowded, bus. Ride that normally takes about 35 minutes took well over an hour. Triple damn!
• Waited about 45 minutes on steamy, crowded platform for a train with room to squeeze on. Three trains go by with no room to pick up passengers. Finally got on and had to listen to loudmouth out-of-towner yell about how crowded the train is. Shut up!
• Changed trains and waited again for a train. Ugh!
All of this was caused by the torrential rains that have been falling for the past few days. It has washed out streets near my home and flooded underground Metro stations. Sadly there is no end in sight. They are currently forecasting rain for the rest of the week. Huge amounts of it. Ther is also this lovely little warning:
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
1109 AM EDT MON JUN 26 2006
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A
* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND
PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND
ARLINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA
CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA
CITY OF FAIRFAX IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA
CITY OF FALLS CHURCH IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA
FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA
• UNTIL 500 PM EDT
Perhaps this is a good time to mention that DQ and Stinkerbelle are at resident camp this week, sleeping in platform tents in the great outdoors. How many loads of laundry will it take to get the mud out of their stuff?
In the interest of ending on a positive note I’ll offer this pile of lovely blue tile as teaser. It’s part of the planned renovation of Stink’s room which got underway yesterday and is proceeding on schedule. Trip number two to H*me D*p*t is tonight unless the car is washed away by the deluge before then.
Posted by hillary at 12:33 PM
Jun 23, 2006
Aside from the dance recitals and the house guest, this weekend is also notable for the fact that on Sunday morning my girls will leave for a week at Girl Scout camp. This will be the 4th year for the Drama Queen and I get highly emotional every time I see the bus leave – and cheer the loudest of anyone upon its return. This year is different though, because Stinkerbelle is getting on the bus too. I’m tearing up as I write this because I just can’t even imagine a whole week without my baby. She’s excited and nervous (me too!) and confident that she’s the bravest kid around because none of her friends felt ready to go yet.
Thankfully, I’ll be way too busy to miss them too much. (Yeah right!) As soon as we return from the bus we will start a total, top to bottom renovation of Stink’s room. DH and I did a similar thing for DQ a few years ago. New furniture and accessories have been purchased, paint has been chosen, volunteers enlisted, and craft projects planned. I’m really excited about this! The best part is that Stink has no clue at all.
The current theme in her room is butterflies and my super-hero loving, star wars watching, skateboard riding, Tae Kwon Do doing child is just not a butterfly kid. She has asked many times over the past few (3 or 4) years if I would please get rid of the butterflies. (One of them even “magically” released itself from her ceiling) Finally her wish will be granted and she has no idea of the huge plans afoot.
demandedrequested proof of knitting. Here it is! This picture shows the first Trek sock and the front of DQ’s U-Neck top. I’ve been deliberately going slowly with the sock – trying to make my 2 balls of Trekking last through the summer. I’ve stalled enough now and I’m fairly certain that I’ll finish the first sock tomorrow at the recital – and start the second. Also pictured is the front of the U-Neck Top. I’d be really happy if I could at least get to the neck by Sunday night. Progress is a beautiful thing!
I saw this over at Cursing Mama and I decided that it was about time I found put how weird I really am. I know what my sibs think, my buddies, my kids… what’s the real story? As it turns out, I’m not so weird after all.
You Are 30% Weird
Not enough to scare other people...
But sometimes you scare yourself.
Posted by hillary at 1:31 PM
Jun 22, 2006
Yesterday I only worked half a day so I got to spend the afternoon with my girls. We celebrated the first day of summer and the first full day of vacation with a little shopping and a lot of relaxing by the pool. The air was warm, the sky was blue and water was nice and refreshing. I read, knit and visited all afternoon. It was grand!
In other news, my mother-in-law arrives today for a long weekend. For those of you keeping score, last weekend DH’s dad and his wife were here, this weekend is his mom. She’ll be here to watch the Drama Queen’s dance recitals (yes we have to attend 2 – back to back) and tell me all the things I’m doing wrong. I'm sure it'll all be great fun!
Posted by hillary at 2:46 PM
Jun 21, 2006
As promised, I have actual knitting content today. After
days weeks of hideous neglect, I turned once again to M.M Cozy on Monday night. I realized right away what had been putting me off – lack of charts. This is a huge surprise to me because in the past I refused to consider doing patterns because they required chart reading. I even declined to buy magazines because they had too many charts in them.
I can recall a job in customer service that I had a long time ago that required me to look at a computer screen and use the information within it to explain complicated issues to people. The first time I saw it I couldn’t even decipher where the relevant data in one field ended and another began. It was all a sea of symbols and spaces randomly placed just to make me crazy. (It was also in DOS which was ugly to say the least.) Months later I had a moment to look at the same screen and reflect on my first impression of it. I couldn’t imagine what I had been thinking. It all made perfect sense!
My relationship with charts has been much the same. As a new knitter I found it hard to imagine a time when charts would ever make sense. The symbols and the way a chart was read just boggled my mind. How did you know what the symbols meant? Would there ever be a time when I didn’t need the answer key right there to translate? (No!) What did you do on the wrong side?
I’ve had to use charts for a few recent patterns – just small ones mind you. The little ones weren’t so scary after all so I moved on to bigger ones. Each time I attempted a project with charts, I did so with the assurance of accompanying instructions written out for me. I could ignore the charts entirely if I wanted to! I wasn’t forced to slavishly follow the chart but… I found that gradually I was abandoning the written for the symbolic.
Today I’m taking part in the Amazing Lace and working on Cozy. It’s a very simple pattern but I haven’t found a groove yet. I also haven’t committed it to memory. What’s the hold up? No charts! My mind seems to have gotten used to them to the point where written instructions have become impediments that slow me down. Imagine that! So Monday night I whipped out my copy of Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book to consult the section on symbols and a new graph paper notebook bought expressly for this purpose and charted the pattern. It’s not perfect but it makes sense to me and now M.M. Cozy is cruising along. How about that?
It's hard to see it in the picture but there’s a chart under there at the top of the page.
Posted by hillary at 9:12 AM
Jun 20, 2006
Today is the last day of school for my girls. I’m happy because they’re ending the school year well. They are both excellent students who are working so hard and it shows. I am incredibly proud of Stinkerbelle and the Drama Queen!
Last week I posted my adventures at the fair and they included a picture of my girls standing next to an x-tremely tall fireman holding my current lace project. You can see the picture here. A few people have commented on how tall he is and, while I find this very funny, I feel he need to clarify a bit. The Drama Queen is nearly 5 feet tall which would make the fireman about 8-9 feet tall. Highly unnatural! He’s on stilts everyone! For those of you don’t know me in person I suppose that the mistake is understandable because you don’t know that DQ is very tall for her age … but my Dad! My brother! I’m totally amused by this.
I have been knitting a lot this week but sadly I have no pictures to show for it. Hopefully I'll remedy that situation and demonstrate some progress tomorrow. The U-Neck Top and M.M. Cozy have both grown a bit and the Trekking sock is nearly complete.
Posted by hillary at 2:23 PM
Jun 19, 2006
The plumber was supposed to come “after 2pm” on Friday – and he did. Waaaayyy after 2. My husband came home early and waited … and waited … and waited. Finally, my in-laws arrived and, upon hearing that the plumber could show up as late as 9pm we decided to go to dinner. Can you see where this is going? If you guessed that the plumber called and said that he was 10 minutes away right after I ordered my dinner you’d be correct. I went home and paid a ridiculous amount of money to have the plumber do a repair that, as it turns out, I’m sure I could’ve done myself. Next time I will attempt a diagnosis before calling the plumber. The rest of the family returned home with my dinner just as the plumber was finishing. Did I mention the nearly full glass of wine that I ordered with dinner and never got to drink?
Let’s just say that that dinner was far from the only part of this weekend that could’ve benefited greatly from some alcoholic enhancement. On the positive side, we got a lot done and my in-laws went home early on Sunday.
Sunday afternoon was much better. My dad came over and we all went to the pool for some sun, swimming and relaxation. The knitting came too but I was way too relaxed to accomplish much. I was also at a point in my projects that required thought and the heat made that difficult. After the pool we went home for poker, more relaxation and a BBQ. It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
I finally settled down last night with my knitting once again and DH asked what happened to my Amazing Lace. Huh? I guess that’s a sure sign of neglect. While on the subject of neglected projects I ought to mention that the project favored with the most attention this weekend was Lindsey’s U-Neck Top. You haven’t seen that one in a while – right? Anyway, I’m into the boring stockinette portion of the front and I’m hoping to get through it quickly. I’d really like it if my child got to wear the sweater this summer and I’m itching to make summery tops for other young-un’s I know too. I’d better get moving though because we’re nearing the end of June. Yikes!
Posted by hillary at 12:50 PM
Jun 16, 2006
This was the view that my Trekking sock and I enjoyed at lunch today. I sat outside in the sun and enjoyed a salad and iced tea with a side of very sweeeet Porsche. The sky was blue and the humidity wasn’t stifling and I had a really good book to read – Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs. Perfect! I’ve read all of his other books and I loved them. They really appeal to my slightly off sense of humor although I’m sure that they’re not for everyone. He was on Bob Edwards (I heart Bob) yesterday too and I caught part of the interview on XM on my way to work this morning. It was a great way to start the day.
Starting the day so positively is a good thing since DH is currently home waiting for the plumber to come and tell us why there is a babbling brook under the vanity in our bathroom. Oh – and how much it’ll cost us.
Did I mention that the in-laws arrived today? My father-in-law and his wife are here for this weekend and next weekend is my mother-in-law’s visit. Lucky me! They’re not really that bad but I am still thankful that I have plenty of yarn and alcohol to get me through it.
Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!
Posted by hillary at 3:58 PM
Jun 15, 2006
I saw this meme today at Cara’s and I’m almost afraid to post it but curiosity has gotten the best of me.
Please leave a one-word comment that you think best describes me — it can only be one word long. Then copy and paste this into your blog so that I may leave a word about you. (Please note that I can’t visit “anonymous” commenters so please add your blog info if you’ve got one.)
This is one of the many purchases I made this past Sunday at Ik*a. It’s my new yarn containment device. As you can see by the 2 baskets in front of it, it doesn’t quite hold everything but it’s a real improvement. On the top shelf is my sock yarn. Then come the magazine shelf, the book shelf, some of the most recent additions to my collection of cotton, WIP, and all the way at the bottom are my new spinning supplies. What you can’t see in the picture are the stack of binders filled with patterns that is sitting on the floor, the other basket, shopping bag and the cabinet filled with yet more yarn. As I sat and pondered it the other night DH said to me “don’t tell me you think you need another one.” I do but not now. For now I’m happy because we can once again see the coffee table and the floor of the living room. It’s a start. Right?
I’ll show you some of the other stuff soon but its part of a huge and exciting project. All I can say is that we’re pulling a little While You Were Out on Stinkerbelle. She has no clue and I like it that way.
Posted by hillary at 3:09 PM
Jun 14, 2006
Check this out! Melissa’s son is a finalist in a Cutest Toddler contest here. Go on over and vote for Garrison! How can you resist those beautiful blue eyes? There’s a button too if you want one. You can see it in my sidebar and swipe it if you’d like. If you need an added incentive there’s a contest involved. After you vote go over and leave a comment for Melissa. When the voting ends she’s going to pick a random name to win a Knitpicks gift certificate. How cool is that? You know you want it - so vote early and vote often!
I got some fantastic stuff from my Dye-o-Rama pal. She made both of the fabric boxes in this picture and the cranes. Stinkerbelle tried to swipe one but they’re mine. See the potpourri? Its lavender, red roses and lemongrass and it smells wonderful. My girls both noted the postcard because it reminds them of one of the best family vacations we ever took. We drove down Lombard Street and it was so crazy. I fell in love with San Francisco to the point that the Drama Queen felt it necessary to remind me – repeatedly – that we were not moving there. I would go back in a heartbeat!
Here, in all its glory, is the yarn along with more of the contents from the box. Brenda (who is sadly blogless for now), my Dye pal extraordinaire, named it Blue Hawaii and it’s in exactly my colors. I'm giving you all a close up of the yarn by itself so that you can appreciate the colors better. She also sent a little fiber, some instructions and other goodies to encourage me to try spinning. The small box from the first picture held gaskets and cup holders (not pictured) to make a CD spindle. What fun!
The Dye-o-Rama was my first swap and I was very nervous about it for so many reasons. Would my pal like what I sent her? Would I like what my pal sent me? Would I be able to get me act together in time or be late as usual? What if I felted the yarn? I guess you could say I’m a worrier but this has been nothing but a wonderful experience. I’m so happy I participated!
Posted by hillary at 10:46 AM
Jun 13, 2006
Spending Saturday at the fair from morning ‘till night would have been quite enough excitement for a weekend but, being social butterflies, the Drama Queen and I spent Sunday trekking about. We started by joining her Junior Girl Scout Troop on their end of year activity – canoeing on the Rhode River about one mile from the Chesapeake Bay. I love canoeing so I
invited myself begged to come along volunteered to go with them.
Here I am in the canoe. I don’t often share pictures of myself but the dorky life jacket hid a few chins and made this picture passable. Our group was split among 3 canoes so I was in a canoe with 2 of Lindsey’s friends because, in true preteen fashion, my child can’t get far enough away from me. Neither of them had a lot of canoeing skill but after struggling for a little while we got our act together and paddled to the little island in the lake.
The weather on Sunday was gorgeous but windy. There were many people out in their boats and the wind combined with the constant motorboat traffic made for very choppy water. I brought the knitting in the canoe with the intention of knitting out on the lake but the water was too rough. It was all we could do at times not to tip over. You can see how rough the water was better in this picture which was taken from the shore of the little island.
There wasn’t much to see on the island but there were a few trees and lots of driftwood. A few other boats had beached there and dogs played in the waves as they crashed on the beach.
As you can see, the sock is growing steadily despite a few froggings. It’s actually grown a bit since this very bad picture was taken and I’m working on its secret feature. Getting the secret to detail to work right is the cause of some of the frogging. I am loving this yarn and the way that the colors change. You never know what’s going to come next.
After the canoe trip we trekked to Ik*a and, as anyone who’s been there knows, you can get so lost there. The place is huge! The other danger of shopping there is that you may buy stuff that doesn’t actually fit in the car. Thankfully, we got the furniture (quite a lot) and us all back in the car afterward. It wasn’t comfortable but it worked. I’ll show you some of what I got over the next few days and weeks. Can you say yarn containment device? The highlights of the day were this sky which we saw on the way home (so dramatic!) and seeing my buddy Felicia whip out a sock to work on as we waited in line to pay for our stuff. I wish I had a picture of that! What better sign that she’s been bitten by the knit bug?
A package from my Dye-o-Rama buddy arrived yesterday but the pictures I took sucked so I’ll re-do them and post about that later today or tomorrow. Believe me – they’re worth the wait!
Posted by hillary at 10:34 AM
Jun 12, 2006
This weekend we went to Celebrate Fairfax. M.M.Cozy has been feeling a bit neglected lately so we brought her along. Like myself, she was feeling a little vertically challenged until she found this extremely tall fireman who agreed to pose with her. My kids got in the picture for a little perspective. The smile you see was unwavering and he never asked if I was nuts. My daughters were quick to inform him that it was one of “Mommy’s crazy knitting things.
The day was gorgeous and sunny but windy. It was perfect ! We saw this in the X-Treme Zone at the fair. M.M.Cozy was way to chicken to try this one. “Go!” She told my kids. “It’s not really for me but you’ll love it.” The Drama Queen (on the left in back) and Stinkerbelle were more than up for the challenge.
The laser show was also a little too much for the tender disposition of M.M.Cozy. “It’s a little loud” she said. Well, Stink and I thoroughly enjoyed the show without her. Let her be a stick in the mud.
As we left the laser show M.M.Cozy saw the ride she wanted to go on and couldn’t be deterred. Was it the Tornado – nope, too twirly. Could it be the Bobsleds – too fast. What about the Crazy Mouse – “are you kidding” she said, “that looks dangerous!” What caught the eye of our own extremely wimpy lace? The ferris wheel of course! Here is a picture of her taking in the sights from the very top of the wheel. It was quite a sight. Fortunately, teenage girls in the gondola with Stink, the lace, and I were too busy giggling and taking pictures of each other with a camera phone to notice the weird lady taking pictures of the knitting. Unfortunately, as we sat in our gondola at the very top of the wheel, Stink realized that she's afraid of heights. Oooops!
Sadly, after all the excitement of the day, M.M. Cozy was too tired to watch Sugar Ray perform. She missed an extremely great show!
Posted by hillary at 11:54 AM
Jun 9, 2006
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt quite this relieved to return home. The business side of my trip to New Jersey was just fine. It was productive and successful. The rest of it sucked ass! In the interest of not scaring any readers off with a tirade I’ll present the highlights of the trip in a little shorthand.
• Flight to NJ – hideously delayed. I got on a 3pm flight that didn’t get in till nearly 8pm. Yep – 8!
• Car rental – boring car, no satellite radio, missing the GPS it was supposed to have.
• Directions to hotel – dismal. Did I get lost? ... Did I ever!
• Hotel – look up seedy in the dictionary and they’ll show you this hotel. Curl up in bed and pray for morning.
• Dinner at 9pm – greasy pizza. The pancake house closed at 9 – who knew!
• Car return – as I drove into the lot and saw the sign warning of “severe tire damage” if you back up I thought - why would you back up? Maybe I'd back up if I realized at just that moment that I forgot to fill the tank. No I didn’t back up – I gritted my teeth and paid $30 for a quarter tank of gas.
• Flight home – I had a 7 pm flight but a little after 8:45 pm the captain announced that we were STILL not cleared for take off due to bad weather etc. and that if we didn’t leave soon we wouldn’t be able to land in DC due to the airport’s curfew. We took off at 9:15 and I slept in my own bed last night.
The good news is that I was well prepared for the trip and I made a lot of progress on both pairs of socks during the flights and I read half of the Yarn Harlot’s secret life of a knitter. When I got home last night I found both of my girls snuggled up together keeping my spot on the bed warm for me. Is there anything better than that?
Here is a picture that I’ve been saving all week. It’s the stuff I sent to my Dye-o-rama pal Jenny from Vertigo Wool. She asked for green and, since it’s my favorite color, I got a little carried away and made stitch markers and got her a bookmark too – the hidden end is a “J”. I was afraid that if I posted it she’d know it was hers immediately and the secret would be spoiled. The package arrived yesterday and she likes it so I’m happy.
There were things that arrived at my house while I was away that made me equally happy. My name finally came up in the que at the library to borrow the new book, Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs and my dh picked it up for me. I can’t wait to read it. He’s not for everyone but I’ve loved all of his other books and I’m sure that this one will be fantastic too. Madame Bovary can wait just a little longer.
The other thing that arrived in my absence was the long-awaited yarn for my Seraphim Shawl. I’ve already got M.M. Cozy on the needles but surely there is always room for one more project. I really don’t want to show you the yarn until I know it’s going to knit up the way I want it to. I’ll make the sacrifice and cast on this weekend.
Posted by hillary at 3:32 PM
Jun 7, 2006
Today is a super crazy day for me so this is just a quick post. I started the day by taking the Drama Queen to get her cast off. The kind people at the reception desk there notified me that they used up the last referral in the file for this visit and I’d need another when we come back. As if! I’m hoping that are no more broken bones in my household
for at least a few years ever. Anyway, I dropped her off at school just in time for Field Day. She is wisely going to refrain from the tug-o-war so that she doesn’t re-break the thumb. Smart kid!
I fly up to New Jersey in a few hours to do training up there and I don’t get home until late tomorrow night. As I packed last night my thoughtful daughters inquired if I had brought enough yarn with me for the trip. Why, yes, of course. M.M. Cozy is with me as are both of my current sock projects. They know me so well.
This past weekend I went searching for yarn to start some Blue Project Spectrum June projects. I found so much that I decided to put it all together for a posting. Some of it has been in the stash for a really long time (that’s my excuse for the fun fur) and there are an alarming number of un-banded balls. Ooops! There are a few things that I really like and I’ll highlight them for you.
In the top left is a seemingly unending cone of Elann Den-M-Nit. I love this stuff and I’ve made a few things from it but as you can see there’s still plenty there. I’ll make a top for Stink from this soon I hope. The black hole immediately to it’s right is the really dark indigo Den-M-Nit – there’s a Debbie Bliss wrap/blanket out there that I had in mind when I bought this. I’ll still make it someday.
In the middle is a ball that ought to be familiar because it’s the Trekking XXL color 108 that’s currently on my needles. In the top right corner is STR in a Lapis(?) I think. It’s kind of hovering over 2 balls of Noro Silk Garden. In the bottom right corner is part of my stash of Berrocco cotton twist in an unknown color.
Finally, up in the top left, next to the cone o’ denim is the Spirit Trail sock yarn that is destined to become a pair of Kristi’s spearfish socks after the current 2 pairs are done. With the mix of blue and purple it will be the perfect transition between June & July.
I have plenty of other blue things to show you but some of it requires window washing so it may be a while.
Posted by hillary at 12:33 PM
Jun 6, 2006
I knit on the Metro every morning because that’s when I can get a seat. It’s much easier to knit sitting down – right? I rarely get a seat on the return so usually I read on the way home. Every once in a while, when I feel more daring or really need a knit fix, (stress – ya know?) I knit as I stand all the way home. The one constant in all of this is that, with the exception of a few people who ask what I’m knitting, people usually leave me alone. I’m not antisocial or anything, I’m just focused on what I’m doing.
Last night I was cursed with a chatty fellow commuter. He stood next to me most of the way home. It went something like this:
Chatty: What are you knitting?
Me: A sock.
C: Looks hard. I guess that’s why they have knitting machines.
M: Um, maybe. It's actually very relaxing.
C: I could never do that - all those little stitches.
C: I guess you really couldn’t do it the other way. I mean you couldn’t make a sock starting with the open end – right?
M: You can do it either way. It’s just a matter of preference.
C: I see women knitting on the Metro every day but they don’t have to look at what they’re doing.
M: I’m afraid I’d miss stitches if I didn’t look.
C: But they’re really fast too.
On and on it went. Until this:
C: Sorry if I’m bothering you.
M: No, not at all. It’s fine.
C: I don’t want to distract you…
That last bit was where I realized that I’d somehow added a stitch and I’d need to tink back a bit to correct the error. I tried to downplay it but I was irritated. I’m sure that I wouldn’t have made such a dumb error if he wasn’t chatting away. The guy got off at the very next stop as I tried to figure out what had gone wrong. I wound up tinking 2 rounds at home last night.
Sadly, as I mentioned yesterday, that isn’t the only mishap that I’ve had recently. This is M.M. Cozy, my Amazing Lace teammate. I started her on Friday night and after 3 repeats I realized that I’d gone wrong somewhere and frogged the whole thing. I restarted it on Sunday and I’m back to the same point but with one important difference – I’m using lifelines now.
I’m using Morehouse Merino lace weight to knit M.M. Cozy and it’s been interesting. I put it on my swift to turn it into a ball and that took forever because the yarn broke twice and got a little tangled. It was very frustrating. Now, as I knit with it, the extreme thinness in some places is freaking me out. I’m so afraid it’ll break again. Have any of you used this before? Is lace weight yarn always like this?
Posted by hillary at 8:48 AM
Jun 5, 2006
This weekend was good and productive but it went by way to quickly. There were errands to run and events to attend so the DH and I spent most of the time going in opposite directions. That’s why he got to take the Drama Queen and her friend to the Cardboard Boat Regatta yesterday while I attended the end of year party for Stinkerbelle’s Brownie Troop. Here’s a shot of Lindsey and a few friends in the boat they built. As you can see, it stayed afloat. Sadly, I heard that the team’s rowing was lacking and they didn’t win. Better luck next year!
I did a lot of knitting this weekend too. This is the Trekking sock that I started on Saturday. After I took this picture I realized that I wasn’t terribly happy with the shape of the toe so I frogged it and started over. It was pretty painless though because, as promised, I used the Turkish cast on to start it and I really love this technique. Does anyone know a downside to it? I’m sure that there must be because it’s so sweeeeeet! If there was no flaw then everyone would do it all the time. I started again twice since I took this picture yesterday afternoon and now I’m happy with the toe shape. I wouldn’t have this problem with the toe if I was using a pattern but, after reading what the Harlot had to say about socks in Knitting Rules, something clicked and I feel ok about striking off on my own so I'm totally winginig it for the first time.
I haven’t completely abandoned patterns though and I cast on a pair of Elfine’s Socks. Did you catch that? I cast on both at once for these using the Turkish method that is described here. I’m not big on the Magic Loop so I did my usual 2 circs and I’m loving it so far. I envisioned the 2 yarn balls getting hopelessly tangled but it’s all good so far.
There was other knitting (and frogging) this weekend but I’ll save that for tomorrow.
Posted by hillary at 10:21 AM
Jun 2, 2006
How about starting June, the Project Spectrum month of BLUE off with a quiz?
You Are Indigo
Of all the shades of blue, you are the most funky, unique, and independent.
Expressing yourself and taking a leap of faith has always been easy for you.
I do like Indigo but I’m not sure how accurate the description is.
I finished my Green Embossed Leaves socks last night while I watched the Spelling Bee. Shut up! It was sooo not dorky. The spelling bee was actually pretty cool and I was happy that a girl won. Chick power! Even cooler – my daughters were totally into it.
I’d do the usual project wrap up but I’ve done the pattern before and used the yarn before. There was really nothing new here – I just like them. Speaking of liking them, the 8 in the title refers to the number of socks that I’ve made this year. Considering that I’d never made even one pair of socks before January, I think this is amazing. What surprises me is that I’m not over the sock thing yet. I’m actually pretty sure that I’m going to cast on for at least TWO (possibly THREE) pairs this weekend. My Trek socks will get started for sure but that’s a summer long project and I’ll work on them mostly when I’m traveling and … trekking. I’ve also been dying to try doing 2 socks at once with a Turkish cast on ever since I first saw this but I’m not sure that this will make a great traveling companion. It sounds better for TV knitting. I’ll probably still need a third sock to stuff in my pocketbook for commuter knitting. I just can’t stop knitting socks!
With all of the sock knitting going on it’s a wonder that there’s time for anything else but there is. I’ll definitely start M.M.Cozy tonight and I started the front of the U-Neck Top during lunch today. I also want to try to create something to start as soon as Lindsey’s top is done for Stink and my niece. All my girls need cute summer tops.
Posted by hillary at 1:00 PM
Jun 1, 2006
I was hoping to be able to finish my green Embossed Leaves socks last night since it was the end of Project Spectrum’s Green month but that was a little bit od wishful thinking on my part. Oh well. I turned the heel on the second sock and the gussets are nearly finished. I’ll finish tonight instead.
The Trek Along starts today and I’m pretty excited about it. I can Trek on the upcoming Girl Scout canoe trip, at the Fairfax Fair and certainly I’ll have to Trek at Biltmore (yep, I'm going to Asheville, NC in a few weeks). Won’t that be awesome? Our summer plans don’t include a big trip yet but when I figure that out I’ll include some time to Trek. The yarn is ready and waiting at home and I’m still stuck for a pattern. There are many that I’d like to try but they’re all fussy patterns and I’m afraid they’d fight with the yarn. I pulled out my copy of Knitting on the Road last night (another reason the Green EL socks didn’t get finished) and there are some good possibilities in there. I’ll figure it out tonight once my needles are empty again.
I made some stitch markers for my Dye-o-rama pal the other night so I ought to be able to send out the package this weekend. Hooray for that.
Since I have nothing really exciting to show today on the knitting front, here’s a picture of one of my Stella D’Oro Lilies. They’re planted in the bed across the front of my house and around my mailbox. They’re supposed to bloom all summer long but I’ve never had success at keeping them going. They start with a bang and wind down fast. Any ideas on that?
Posted by hillary at 1:33 PM