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I wasn't born with wings, so I'm trying to make my own
Wednesday, February 26, 2003  

Today was a day off for me, so lots of fiber stuff has been going on since my last entry. First of all, last night after blogging I finished the Navajo three ply skein of the silk yarn I'm working on. As I suspected, the color is much brighter and I like it much better than the two ply in that respect. Also, it's thicker than the two ply (duh) and I also like that about it. The two ply is about 74 wpi and the three ply is about 60 wpi. But, I don't want an obviously striped scarf. I'd like the color changes to be subtle. So, I'll have to knit a swatch and see what I think. But here's the skein:

As you can you see, it's much brighter than the two ply. I really like it, so I'm hoping it doesn't stripe too much when knit. I guess I'll see. It's already washed, so I can start knitting a swatch as soon as I finish knitting the two ply swatch. Speaking of which, here's what I had done on the two ply swatch by the time I went to bed yesterday:

I'm really not happy with it. I think you can tell there's a pattern, but it's hard to tell what pattern. It looks nothing like the pattern in the book. So, I decided I needed to go down a needle size if I wanted to stick with this pattern. But then I couldn't decide if I wanted to stick with this pattern. And I couldn't decide whether to rip back, to save the yarn, or leave it because I hate ripping and I hate dealing with kinky yarn (heehee). So, I kept waffling back and forth because all my options had their merits, and I just couldn't decide. So I flipped a coin. The coin said rip, so I ripped. The coin said stick with this pattern, so I stuck with this pattern. So I'm starting over. I know it's not a very educated way to make my knitting decisions, but I would have never done anything if I didn't decide. I've only got a couple rows done on my second try, but hopefully I'll get some more done tomorrow.

Today I spent most of my knitting time on Mark's first fuzzy foot. And the result speaks for itself. I've really happy with it (but the ends were a real pain!)

Mark is really happy with it, so now it's on to the second one, then time to felt! I guess that will be it for today. I'm very tired and I need to get to bed so that I'm not a zombie at work tomorrow. Hope you had a great day today! Mine was pretty darn good :-)

Tuesday, February 25, 2003  

Wow, posts two days in a row. Don't die of shock! Since I worked today, there's not tons of fiber news, but there's always some! The biggest news is that I heard from a friend of a friend etc. that the college I graduated from got all new looms for their fiber studio, so they're selling off the old ones. I've used all of those looms and I know all their little quirks, so this might be a great opportunity for me to get a loom I'm familiar with at a good price. They had some 36" four and eight harnesses, which is exactly the width I'd like right now. I'd love to get and eight harness for more pattern possibilities in the future, but I'd be happy with a four harness. And all this is of course contingent on price and availabilty. I don't know when they put them on sale, the best of the bunch may have already been snatched up for all I know. I'm waiting to hear back from the fiber arts instructor now, I just hope she gets back to me soon. In other fiber news, I got a little more done on Mark's fuzzy foot, but not much. I also got my mini-skein of the two ply silk washed and started spinning the three ply. The two ply came out to be 74 wpi, which is quite thin, which I both like and dislike. Knitting that thin makes me feel quite accomplished, but takes fricking forever! I've already started the swatch for the two ply, I'm making a 3" x 7" (hopefully, if I have enough yarn) and I'll make it into an amulet bag later. I'm using the Vine Lace pattern from B.W.'s first treasury (pg 218). It's a nice, simple four row pattern that goes pretty quickly. I only have a couple of repeats done so far, but it's coming along. I'm thinking that I'll line the bag with white silk to show off the pattern and colors and to hold in whatever I put in my bag. I have to come up with an idea of what to make out of the three ply. I like to have useful swatches. I'm have to make yet another one once I decide on the number of plies, final use and pattern. Phew! There'll be a whole lot of swatching going on :-) And now I'll go do some more! Have a great night everyone!

Monday, February 24, 2003  

You want pictures? Oh, I got pictures. You want an entry? I got your entry right here. *heehee*

I really have to start writing my entries every day, as opposed to this sporadic schedule, because now that it’s been a few days I have about fifty bazillion pictures to show off. It’s not ALL my fault, because blogger was being wonky and not taking pictures on Thursday, but it’s pretty much my fault :-) So, if anyone has been waiting anxiously for my next post, sorry it took me so long, and here it is (though I doubt anyone was out there biting their nails over it!)

So, first things first. The fuzzy feet! Like I said on Thursday, I’m in love with my reworked version. It fits so well, and it’s so snuggly and nice! I just wish I had enough yarn to make another one. As it is, I’m limping around with just the one on! I’ll order the yarn to finish my pair soon, but I’m just trying to think if there’s anything I want to get along with it because I hate to just order one ball of yarn and pay all that postage. But, Woodland Wool Works just came out with their spinning catalog and there are a few things I’d like from it, so maybe I’ll order some spinning stuff to come with the yarn. Anyway, here are the pictures of my fuzzy foot. First the pictures of the big one and little one before felting:

And here’s a picture of my mom wearing each one, so you can see the post-felting differences:

I must have had the exact right number of stitches in the smaller one, because the Multi-fizz striped on the cuff of the smaller one. I think that is just TOO COOL! Like I said, I’m really happy with the smaller one! I’m now working on Mark’s pair of fuzzy feet, but I haven’t even finished the first one yet. I’m working on the gussets at the moment, then onto the foot and the toe and voila! finished with number one. I’m going to felt both of Mark’s at the same time, so I’m hoping that I’ll have them done by the weekend. After that it will be time for Mom’s pair, which is going to be the same size as mine, only purple instead of blue. And then finally my knitted bag. And after that, who knows? Anyway, here’s a picture of Mark’s fuzzy foot in progress. I really like this color combo. I’m also going to include a little double charcoal stripe further down on the foot.

When I’m not working on my fuzzy feet, I’ve been working on Mom’s sock. I’m past the heel, but it’s going to end up taking longer than I thought because she wants a leg instead of just an ankle sock. I’ll be working in 2x2 ribbing until about half-way to the knee, or until I run out of yarn, whichever comes first. I’m REALLY happy with the way this sock is turning out, which is much better than my first one. It’s a perfect fit. Perfect length, perfect heel width, perfect everything! And even more important Mom’s happy with it and thinks it’s nice and comfy. I can’t wait to finish the pair for her so she can start wearing them. I’ll probably work exclusively on them after Mark’s fuzzy feet are done and before I start hers. Of course, the fuzzy feet go so fast and if I did those first, she’d end up with something I knitted for her a lot faster than if I try to finish the socks first. Decisions, decisions. Oh, well, at least I have until the end of Mark’s fuzzy feet to decide! I’m also really wanting to start my cotton chenille face cloths, so we’ll see what wins my attention. Anyway, here’s a picture of Mom wearing her sock :-)

In other fibery news, I’ve been working on my silk spinning whenever I haven’t felt like knitting. This is silk from The Silk Worker, a.k.a. Carol. I am in love with her stuff! So in love with it, that I’m bidding on more today on ebay! Very bad girl I am! So bad in fact that I won’t admit how many of her lovely silks I’ve bought. Let’s just say more than I probably should. The colorway I’m spinning now was a birthday present from Mark and Carol named it box office. I’m more inclined to call it black opal. It’s actually a blue base, but so are most black opals. Here’s the roving, laid out all neat and tidy.

And here are my little piles of silk, after splitting the roving:

And here’s what I’ve spun so far:

Aren’t the colors luscious and to die for? I love the color changes and the places where the colors blend and the occasional bright popping pink in among the blues. I’m spinning this lace weight, and I plan on knitting it into a lace scarf. I still need to pick a pattern, but before that I have to pick a ply! I can’t decide whether to Navajo ply the yarn to preserve the color sequence or to two-ply the yarn so that I get a more subtle, blended yarn. I don’t really want a stripey scarf, but I think the two ply won’t show the colors to their best advantage. I already made a little 50 yard mini-skein, and made it a two ply yarn, and the colors don’t pop as much as they do on the bobbin. Here’s a picture of it. It’s not the greatest and the colors do actually show better in real life than in the picture, but it’s still duller than I’d like:

I still have to wash the skein and knit up a swatch from the two ply, then spin some Navajo three ply and wash and knit that before I make my final decision. I’m just stuck between showing off the color and not having stripes! Any ideas, please let me know! For now, I’m just really in love with silk in general and this colorway in particular, so I’ll just keep spinning and smiling and waiting for spring! But winter’s not all bad, either. It snowed so much overnight that I felt justified in calling in to work today. I feel a little guilty now because they’ve finally cleared off the streets, but I haven’t missed a day since I started there over five months ago, so I don’t feel TOO bad. My replacement has missed two days and came in late once since he came on board a month and a half ago, so I’m still doing much better than him! And the roads were REALLY bad when I got up. So there :-) So, I’m off to work on more fibery stuff and enjoy the rest of my day off. Hope everyone is safe and warm. Hopefully I’ll have another update tomorrow!

Thursday, February 20, 2003  

Well, since you couldn’t hear me screaming last night, you probably already assumed that the fuzzy footing went ok. And you’d be right. It got off to a bit of a rocky start, but the felting was successful and I now have a fuzzy foot that fits perfectly. Of course, I don’t have the yarn to make the second one, so I’ll have to order some more to complete my set. *Sigh* At least I redesigned it well. I reduced the cuff to 24 stitches and the body to 36 stitches, instead of 44 all the way through. I reduced the cuff so much because it won’t felt where it’s paired up with the Multi-fizz and the body was just too much for me! All in all, I’m happy and now I feel fine working on Mom’s and Mark’s. Mom wants ones the exact same size as my smaller one and Mark wants his to be the size of the first one I made, just a bit longer. Mom’s will be purple with the same Multi-Fizz and Mark’s will be emerald with charcoal cuffs. Then I may make one more pair of turquoise with lime cuffs. I’m not sure who those will be for, but I’m sure I will think of someone. I just really like that color combo, and I have the yarn, so I might as well! Anyway, tonight for my knitting night with Mom, I worked on her sock and finally made it to the heel. The heel ought to go pretty quickly, then I’m on the home stretch to the ankle. Once again I’ll be making ankle socks with a short ribbed cuff. I’ll be going down to the size ones or maybe even zero’s to make a snug ribbing. On my last sock, the ribbing was loose when I made it on the same size needle. I don’t want that to happen again, so I’ll just scale down. I think I’ll have extra yarn too, so I’ll have to figure out something to do with it. I wonder if I’d have enough to make a washcloth. Hmmmmm. I’ll have to see. Anyway, I finally am having some success with fuzzy feet, so hip hip hooray. I think I deserve a cookie for that! Good night all, have a great day tomorrow!

P.S. I wanted to include pictures, but blogger is being wonky. Hopefully I'll be able to post all my pictures tomorrow. I'll cross my fingers!

Tuesday, February 18, 2003  

Gather ‘round if you’d like to hear the tale of the Fuzzy Feet. Long ago and far away (a.k.a. a few weeks ago at my mom’s house :-) I decided that I wanted to take part in the Fuzzy Feet Felt along started by Kate. I thought the fuzzy feet were very cute, and I needed something to keep my feet warm, and since socks were taking me so long (twelve days a piece so far) I figured Fuzzy Feet would be the solution. So, I try to find Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted around here. There’s none to be found, so I decide to try Woodland Wool Works, since I’ve heard such great things about them. Since I hated to pay shipping on one or two balls of yarn, I decide to see if there’s anything else I want from them. I’ve been thinking about making a knitted, felted bag for my knitting and they had a very cute pattern for one on the page with the Lamb’s Pride. It’s called My Constant Companion, and it calls for five balls of yarn. And then I have what I think is a very clever idea for my bag and fuzzy feet. I’ll make the bag black and buy a bunch of colors to use for all the accent pieces, then needle felt little designs on the bag, then make my fuzzy feet out of the extra yarn. So this plan brings me up to a total of nine balls of yarn, which is quite a dent in my tiny yarn budget. But, it’s a bag and two to three pairs of fuzzy feet, so I think it’s a pretty good value. So, I order the yarn February 1st, thinking that while I won’t be able to start with everyone else on the 4th, I can at least begin the same week. WRONG! I wait for the yarn… and wait... and wait… and wait some more! I finally call on the seventh, figuring that UPS is supposed to take three to five business days to arrive, so it ought to be there. So I call them to check on my order… and they can’t find it. They put me on hold, just in time to avoid me going into a screaming rage (I had a really bad day at work, and I was looking forward to getting my yarn to work on it that weekend, and that was just about the last straw. But I kept my cool… barely) Anyway, they came back and apparently they had me in their system in two separate places and the first woman pulled up the one that didn’t have my order. So, they told me that the yarn was on the way and was last seen in Illinois (UPS tracking… valuable and frustrating. It was so close, but still so far!). So, the yarn doesn’t arrive until the 11th! I’m sorry, maybe I’ve become one of those instant gratification Americans, but ten days seems too long to wait to get a package from Oregon. I’ve gotten packages from England quicker than that. One part was that I ordered it on Saturday, and they didn’t ship it until Tuesday. That’s four days later! I understand they couldn’t do it Sunday, but you’d think that they could at least do it Monday. (You’re probably rolling your eyes at me, but I was very excited to get this yarn, and I was having a rough time at work. The only thing getting me through the day was the thought of coming home to embryonic fuzzy feet!) So, I get the yarn… at long last. I had my Multi-fizz from my naughty trip to the yarn store, so I start swatching about the second I open the box. I do the swatch size, twelve stitches and eighteen rows. I measure. And my swatch, which is apparently supposed to be 4x4” is actually 3x3.25.” Arg! I had special ordered the 10.5 double points, and I had no 11’s, so I was screwed. First of all, I spent seven bucks on needles I didn’t even need, which can be a big deal when you’re on a budget, and I couldn’t start my fuzzy feet because I wasn’t getting the right gauge. And my LYS was already closed for the night when I finished my swatch. GRRRR. So, fast forward to Wednesday, my day off. I of course head straight for my LYS after my job interview. I drag Mark along with the promise of a trip to our favorite bakery around the corner. While I’m there, I check out more Multi-Fizz because the one I bought last week seems kind of dark for the blue I’m using, and I want something brighter. So, I get my 11 dps and some rainbow pastel Multi-Fizz, which I think goes better with the blue I’m using. The needles are $11, so now I’ve spent $18 trying to get the right needles for this project (sigh). And I’m still not getting the right gauge, but it’s a lot closer and felting is pretty forgiving, so I decide the 11’s are it. We hit the bakery and head home. All I have time for that day is to swatch. When I’m over at my mom’s house that night, I felt the swatches with the laundry I’m doing. After they’re all felted, I see that the part with the Multi-Fizz didn’t shrink AT ALL, so I decide to make a smaller cuff on the fuzzy feet so that they’ll be snug. By the time I get home and get the laundry put away, I’m too tired to do anything but read a bit and go to bed. So, Thursday I finally start the Fuzzy Feet officially! You’d think that would be the end of my tail of woe, but it’s not, oh no, it’s not. After work Thursday I come home and start my fuzzy feet. By the time I go to bed they look like this:

This is the cuff and the heel flap. I had to tear out the cuff and start over three times to get it to fit right. The next day I work on the fuzzy foot and it’s done by the time I go back to my mom’s, so I go ahead and felt the first one because I’m too impatient to wait and felt them as a pair. Here it is pre-felting:

This is Friday night (Valentine’s Day, when my honey was at work :-( Well, I throw it in with a pair of jeans and a flannel shirt my dad needs washed. Both are dark blue and my fuzzy foot is lighter blue, but I think nothing of it. So, I throw it in and go upstairs for ten minutes. I go back down, and it’s barely felted at all. Ten more minutes… barely felted. Ten MORE minutes. It’s gone from 12.5 to 10.5, so I think good, it’s almost there. But it’s kind of tall. But I think, hey maybe it will shrink some more “around.” So, ten more minutes, come down, still the same size. I kind of tug it length wise to see if will “flatten” some. I get it to a “height” I like and measure it again. It’s once again 12” long! It had barely felted at all! Thirty more minutes later, I’m ticked off and tired of going up and down a flight of stairs every ten minutes for no reason. So, I decide to pull it out. And then I notice the blotches. The jeans and shirt had shed fuzz and it had felted into the Fuzzy Feet. So now my f.f. has irregular dark blue splotches on the light blue background. Much screaming occurred at this point. So, discouraged, but not defeated, I figure heat will shrink them! So, I head upstairs, put it on my foot and start to blow dry it, figuring the heat will shrink it down to fit me perfectly, and I can stop when it’s a comfortable fit. I try this for awhile and nada. So, I say f*** it and throw it in the dryer with the pants and shirt. Half and hour later, I pull it out and it hasn’t shrunk a millimeter! Double, triple, quadruple AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGG! So, I pull and prod and get it too a good length, but it’s more than two inches too big “around.” At this point, I never wanted to hear the words “fuzzy” or “feet” ever again! But I took a few days and got back in the saddle last night. I redesigned the pattern to be much smaller “around” and I already finished the first one in the new size. I’ll be washing it tomorrow to see if I got the size right. Cross your fingers! If this one doesn’t work, you will hear it… as a matter of fact, if you live in North America, you may ACTUALLY hear it… my screaming, that is. Without a doubt, this has been the most frustrating project I’ve encountered in a LONG time. From getting the yarn, to the gauge, to the felting, it seems as though NOTHING has gone right. If it has gone wrong again, I’ll cry UNCLE, as I’m obviously not meant to have fuzzy feet! Well, if you made it this far, you’re a brave soul. Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 17, 2003  

Get out the ruler and smack my hand, because I've been a bad, bad blogger! I honestly, fully intended to post about the fuzzy feet on Friday and I even started the post in my mind, and then Friday I was working on the fuzzy feet and something very, very frustrating happened with them. I still don't even want to go into it. I'm trying to work up the gumption to write about my fuzzy feet disaster. Truly, the project has been one disaster after the other. It has been the most frustrating project I think I've ever worked on for "pleasure" (and there's been no pleasure from this project, it's been a giant pain in my rump, start to finish! So, hopefully tomorrow I'll be a good girl and give you the long run down of my fuzzy feet frustrations, but for tonight I'm tired and cranky and still not over the disappointment of fuzzy feet, so I'm off for some spinning and some sleep!

Thursday, February 13, 2003  

Whew, what a week this has been! I hate how long it’s taken me to get to blogging, but things have been so crazy busy for me. And really, it hasn’t actually been that busy, but I don’t feel like I’ve stopped moving long enough to blog since my last entry. It’s all because of my job interview yesterday. But now that’s over and I now have a four day weekend! Yippee. And this one is going to be a good one. Mark is not allowed to be a butt and ruin it! He even took Saturday and Sunday off to make up for being forced to work Valentine’s Day. So we’re going to have a great weekend if it kills us, darnit! Okay, on to knitting news. I have so much going on that I don’t know if I’ll get it all in. So, I’ll go in chapters and if I tire out before I get to the end, there will be another big entry tomorrow! First matter of business:

The shawl!

Look ma, no needles!

That’s right, folks, it’s done! I finished it Sunday night and I stayed up past my “bedtime” to finish binding it off. I am so happy with it. Only about half of the ends are sewn in, so that’s one of my tasks for the weekend. Once the ends are done, I’m going to wash and block that sucker and that’s all she wrote. This shawl only took me three weeks and one day and for me that is QUICK. I really hustled to get this done because I was trying to finish it before I ran out of steam. I’m very much a “starting things” person, rather than a finishing things person. I love planning and dreaming about a project, but once I really get into the nitty-gritty of a project, I tire of it pretty quickly. So, finishing this all in one go is a pretty amazing feat for me. Maybe I’m turning over a new leaf! Who knows. But right now, I’m not sure how I want to wash it. It’s acrylic, so I suppose I could just throw it in the washing machine, but that worries me, even though it’s not wool. But I also don’t want to wash it by hand because I never feel like anything I wash by hand gets really, thoroughly rinsed, no matter how many times I rinse it. So, I still have to ponder that. If you have any thoughts, please let me know. I’m always open for suggestions. So, that’s the shawl :-) Yea! I’m very, very happy with it. And that’s all I have to say about that. That brings me to…

The socks!

After the shawl was done, I had planned on starting my fuzzy feet, but the yarn had not yet arrived, so I started a pair of socks for my mom with the cotton yarn I showed off in my last entry. I cannot emphasize how much I love this yarn. I love the colors (notice how it semi-matches my blog colors?) and I love the texture. It’s cotton and elastic and when it’s relaxed it has this great nubbly feel. It also makes a really thick, comfy fabric. I’m definitely thinking of making myself a pair just like it. I’m not into the matching mom-and-daughter clothes kind of thing (as a matter of fact, if we’re going out I’ll change if we’re even wearing the same color shirt!) but these socks are too nice not to eventually make myself a pair. They’ll be nice for summer when I wear my clogs to work. But a pair for myself can wait a long time because I don’t wear socks that often and there are a lot of other things I want to do first. I just definitely want to work with this yarn again. For those who weren’t paying attention the first time around (don’t worry, there won’t be a pop quiz) the yarn is Cascade fixation. And here’s a picture of the socks in progress if you’re interested:

Even though I’ve FINALLY received my yarn for the fuzzy feet, I’m not going to abandon the socks, I’m just going to work on them when I need breaks from fuzzy feet and I’m going to use them as my take to work project.

Everyday life stuff!

For those of you that care, here’s an update on the job situation. Most of this week was pretty miserable. My original supervisor, the only person I’ve really liked working with, has been in a horrible mood this week, so that’s make work even more miserable than usual. I’m really looking forward to getting out of there. So, I went to my job interview on Wednesday (looking quite snazzy, if I do say so myself) and it went pretty well. The job I was responding too was a position for a legal typist, which sounds like a pretty low-stress job. I go in, they hand me a stack of stuff to type, I do it and I leave. A big part of me wants a job like that, with low responsibility and almost no concentration required. But on the other hand, I’m worried that a job like this would eventually become boring and wouldn’t fulfill me. The interviewer was very positive told me she’d get back to me. Normally, this would worry me, but the law firm is using a recruiting agency and the recruiter has to pass on her recommendation to the law firm. So, she tells them about me, they decide if they want me, they call her, and then she calls me. So, I won’t worry if it takes a couple of days. Middlemen always add time. I have a really good feeling about the whole thing, especially considering that the recruiter emailed me today to let me know that there’s an opening for a paralegal, which takes more brains and also pays more. At first I was thinking I wanted the brainless job, but I’m really warming up to the idea of being a paralegal. I’m really interested in the law, and this would be a little fun for me, researching the precedents, etc. So, I told her that I’d also like to be considered for the position of paralegal and now I’m waiting to hear back about two options. I’m actually really excited about the paralegal position, but the more excited I get, the more I worry they won’t want to hire me and then I’ll be crushed. I don’t want that to happen! Wah! Now I’m nervous. Poop. Well, hopefully I’ll hear back soon and I can either be crushed or have an exciting new job. I’ll let you know which one happens. And for tomorrow’s installment… all about fuzzy feet (oooh, aaah). Have a great night everyone!

Saturday, February 08, 2003  

Okay, I’m wising up this time. I wrote a long, lovely entry yesterday and then blogger goes and eats it for dinner :-( So, tonight I’m writing a long, lovely entry as a Word document, then I’ll cut and paste it into blogger and if it eats my post for dinner I’ll just cut and paste again until it’s up! Haha! I have outsmarted an inanimate object! (hey, I’ll take a victory wherever I can get it!) Anyway, I’m FINALLY back to working on my shawl. Forty hours was way to long to go without working on it! Okay, it doesn’t sound that long, but it was! I’m into the ninth repeat of the lace, so the end is in sight. I just have to finish this repeat of the lace and then the border and it’s a shawl! It’s still not going to be as big as the dimensions in the book, but it’s a reasonable size and I’m just flat out ready to be done with it. There are so many other projects flitting around in my head that I am helpless to their siren song. Fortunately and unfortunately, the yarn I ordered a week ago for my fuzzy feet and my bag still aren’t here yet. Fortunately, because that means I’ll finish the shawl without having to mightily resist the fuzzy feet. Unfortunately because I want to start my fuzzy feet!!!!!! I can’t wait! I can’t believe so many people are done and I haven’t even received the yarn :-( I feel very left out. But it’s my own darn fault. Hopefully it will get here Monday or Tuesday and I’ll be able to start the second I bind off the shawl. I love the shawl, I really do, I just expected to bind off twenty rows ago and when there are over 350 stitches a row, twenty rows is a LONG time ago. Over seven THOUSAND stitches ago, as a matter of fact! So I’m sure you understand my frustration. But it will be a beautiful shawl and I’ll be glad for the extra length, I’m sure. But I’m being oh so naughty in the yarn department. Not only did I order a bunch of Lamb’s Pride Worsted, enough for a big knitting bag and a few pairs of fuzzy feet, I’ve also made two stops at the LYS in the past week. I already mentioned the sock yarn I bought during the first trip. It’s cotton and it’s going to be a pair of socks for my mom. Well, I haven’t posted a picture yet, so here it is, along with the swatch I made today while waiting at the salon (the shawl was too big to take along for salon knitting).

I LOVE this yarn. I cannot go on enough about this yarn. It has a great feel, the colors are fabulous, and it makes wonderful thick socks. My mom loves it! I think I’ll cast on soon and make them my take-to-work project for getting in a few rows during lunch. And then my mom can finally have something that I knit for her! This yarn is just too yummy! My other recent trip to the LYS was yesterday, when I went to get a replacement for the needle that failed me (the LYS owner replaced it for free because she is a true yarn goddess) While I was there, I of course couldn’t resist a little browsing. And I ended up getting these:

The first is some multi-fizz for the edges of a pair of fuzzy feet. I just love the way the ones with the fuzzy cuffs look, so I thought the pair I make for myself should have some fizz. The other is some Rowan fine cotton chenille that I’m going to use to make some luxurious face cloths for myself. I didn’t even notice when I brought my purchases to the register that they matched. The cotton chenille perfectly matches the blue in the multi-fizz. I only noticed because the owner commented how well I had coordinated them and she thought I was going to pair them to make a scarf. Of course, now I want to go back and buy another ball of each so that I can make a scarf! Dang her! I may do a little test swatch before I rush off, plastic in hand, but I think it would make a cute scarf. We’ll see.

In spinning news, I received these lovelies in the mail:

These pictures turned out much better than my first attempts at photographing silk. These are two more colorways from the silkworker. One is called embers, the other is called nosegay (can you guess which is which? :-) I love them both and now I have to decide which to spin first. Ah, decisions, decisions! I wish all my decisions were this fun to contemplate! But they’re not :-( Too bad, huh? Anyway, it’s getting late and there’s some more knitting I want to do, so I’ll try for some more updates tomorrow. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Friday, February 07, 2003  

Okay, now blogger ate two of my posts. This is really starting to tick me off. If my earlier posts somehow magically reappear, sorry for this one.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003  

Notice anything unusual in this picture?

No? How about now?

Until a few minutes ago, the ends in the red circles were connected. That's right, I sit down to knit a bit before bed and go to push my stitches towards the end and the needle pops off of the cord! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I'm so upset! I just wanted to sit down, knit, and relax. Now I won't be able to work on my shawl until Friday when I get out to the LYS for another needle! ARG! There go my hopes of having this thing done by Saturday. And if I had just gotten the guage right I'd be done by now and wouldn't have this problem. You can't possibly imagine how distressing this is to me. It sucks big time! I've only had this needle for two and a half weeks, and I haven't abused it or anything! I have straight needles in the same size, but there's no way that this whole shawl would fit on straight needles. ARG! I cannot communicate in words how awful this is for me. And there's no time before bed to start a whole new project to have something to work on tomorrow. ARGGGGGGGG!


Okay, knitting stuff first, everything else after :-) I've been working my way through the Wool Peddler's shawl and I'm a quarter of the way through the eighth repeat of the lace. Only the rest of the eighth, the full ninth and the eight row border to go! Whoopeeeeee! Here's what it's looking like so far

I blocked it out with a few pins so you could get a good look at the lace. I'm really happy with how it's turning out. I'm mad with myself about getting my yarn sizes mixed up and having to do more repeats of the lace, because I could be done by now, but I still think it's a beautiful pattern and I also think that I've done really well with it (if I do say so myself. I'm a good knitter... and humble too! Just kidding!) Anyway, once this is all done, it's time for fuzzy feet! That's assuming I have the yarn by then, of course. I know myself well enough to know that I NEED to finish this shawl before I start another project or I'll lose my passion for it and it may be quite awhile before I come back to it. And I definitely don't want to stop with the end so close. I'm not a big one for finishing projects. I'm much more of a starter than a finisher. But I've been doing pretty well lately. I finished a hat for my boyfriend (I even spun the yarn for it myself!) And more importantly I finished it on time. It was to be a Christmas present and I'm notorious for my late handmade Christmas presents, so he was REALLY surprised, even though he knew about the hat. I also finished my first sock (but have hardly any progress on the second, since I started the shawl). And now the shawl is reaching completion. Maybe I'm a changed woman! Anyway, when the shawl is done it's on to at least one pair of fuzzy feet, then the bag "My Constant Companion" so that I have something I made myself to carry my knitting in. And after that, who knows? I want a pair of socks for myself, and I've bought sock yarn for Mark and my mom, so I want to make their socks too. I bought Mom's last Thursday when we were yarn hunting. She isn't a big fan of wool, so I got her so Cascade Fixation. It's a really pretty color way of white, lime green, turquoise, and purple. Very springy. And I hear that this yarn makes nice, thick socks. But, I also really want to make a sweater. I feel like I've learned so much from each project I've done lately that if I make a sweater I think I'll be able to start designing some nice things for myself. I don't understand yet how sweater shaping works because I haven't done one yet and really experienced the process, but I think one will be enough. I'm a difficult size and shape. The biggest clothes in "normal" stores are too small for me, but the smallest clothes in "plus size" shops are too big for me. So, being able to make my own sweaters would be fabulous. Anyway, there are a lot of ideas purcolating, I'm sure one will start screaming for my attention before I get done with everything I have planned. Actually, the kimono shawl from Folk Shawls is starting to call my name, so maybe it will be that. I got three small cones of Zephyr for Christmas, so I'm thinking of making one of those into the kimono. Or maybe I'll make it from that silver 30/2 silk yarn. Hmmmmm.

Anyway, in non-knitting news, I got a call back for an interview from one of the companies I sent my resume to. My interview isn't until next Wednesday, so I have a whole week to be nervous. It's for an administrative position with a downtown law firm, so I'm debating over whether I should wear slacks or a skirt. I'm much more comfortable in slacks, but maybe a skirt would be more professional. Before I decide, I'll go look at skirts and see if there's anything that strikes me, because believe it or not, I currently dont' have any skirts. I'm really excited about this job, it sounds great on a lot of fronts (one of the big plusses is that it's not a temp job, so I feel like it will be more secure. Of course, with the job market, who knows?) One of the major down sides for me about it right now is that it's full time. Right now I only work 28 hours a week and I still feel crunched for time. What will I do when I work 40? And I'll hardly ever see Mark. I'll work week days and he works nights and weekends. We'll see each other three nights a week and weekend mornings only. That may sound to heaven to some people, like my cousin who goes to school five hours away from her boyfriend and sees him every other week, but it seems like so little. And I don't want to ask if I could work a weekend day instead of a week day and have that time with him, because I've gotten used to spending the weekend nights and afternoons with my mom, and working on the weekend would cut into my time with her. I know that having a full time job will have its benefits (literally - I'll have benefits! Health, paid vacation, holidays, sick time, etc) And making more money would be nice. My car will be ten years old next year, I know I'll have to start looking for a new car sometime. I won't be able to afford another car on what I get paid now. And I can save for a house and the shop. And I always expected to work full time. But now that it's here it just seems like so much! I know that after the transition period, I'll probably be okay, but it still seems like so much of my time. It's just something I'll have to really think about. I'll have a lot of questions for them. You'll probably be reading a lot about this the next week. I'm very nervous, and talking it out helps. But, I'll try to keep the knitting news towards the beginning of the posts and you can skip the work stuff if you want. That way everybody wins. Have a great night everyone, and hopefully I'll be closer to the end of the shawl tomorrow.

Monday, February 03, 2003  

I need to figure out a way to do what I want when I want and still get paid! If I figure it out, I'll let you know. Dragging myself off to work this morning was brutal. Mark was still in bed, it was in the fifties, and my shawl was calling my name! It turned out to be a grey day, but home would have still been better than work! And even after I got home, I only got three rows done on the shawl. I'm into the seventh repeat now, so not so much more to go. I really wish that I hadn't flubbed the yarn size because I'd only have seven rows to go if I had done things correctly, but now I have thirty one more! And at 350 stitches a row, that's nothing to sneeze at! I'll be up over four hundred stitches by the time I'm done. Yikes! This shawl moves in the opposite direction of my attention span. I wish I had started with the tremendous long rows and lace and ended with the short rows of garter stitch. Because at this point, I could really go for some short rows of garter stitch. But of course if I did it bottom up, fixing my gauge problem would have been a lot tougher. So, alls well that ends well. I hate how I do that. I'm sitting here bitching about something that saved my bacon. It is the way it is, and the way it needs to be. And I should just shut my mouth about it. Ok, shutting my mouth now :-) I'm off to pack some lunch for tomorrow. Wish me a happy Tuesday! We're back into the thirties again. Bummer.

Sunday, February 02, 2003  

Wow, what a way to end the weekend! I had such a great day! I wish this had been the first day of my long weekend instead of the last. But, I'll take what I can get :-) Of course, with the end of the weekend being so marvelous, it makes me want to go back to work tomorrow even less. But I have to make the money, I guess. Mark had the day off of work today, which is a rare treat, so I tried to get over my anger at him enough to enjoy the day together. I ended up staying up late knitting last night, so I was up when he got home from work, so we went to bed at the same time and laid awake talking about silly things for awhile, which is always fun. It's one of the things I like best about living together, but we rarely get to do it since we have such different schedules and almost never go to bed at the same time. So, I got to sleep pretty late last night, but I finished the fifth repeat and started on the sixth in the lace on my shawl. I measured again and I'm thinking I'm definitely going to have to do nine repeats of the lace. I'm not thrilled about it, but I don't want to go to all the trouble of making a shawl just to have it be too short. Hopefully I'll have it just about finished by the time my stuff for my fuzzy feet and knitter's bag get here. Otherwise, it may become an unfinished object instead of a work in progress, and I definitely don't want that to happen! Anyway, so I was up late last night, but woke up pretty early this morning feeling well rested. So, we got up and it was beautiful out! Sunshine, sunshine, sunshine! And it even got up near fifty! I opened the windows and soaked it up. I'm not sure if Phil saw his shadow, but if today is any indication he didn't! I need spring, and today was a boost to my spirit. Most of the snow melted today and hopefully it will begin to warm up. I normally love winter and snow, but this winter was so bitterly cold and grey, I'm just ready for it to be over! Last year we didn't really get a spring, we got a warm up in early February, everything started to bloom, then winter came back, killed everything, then we had one week of spring and then we were into the 80's and summer. I'm really hoping that doesn't happen again! The normal progression of seasons would be just fine with me! Anyway, so after wandering around for awhile after getting up and checking my email and my daily reads, we decided to make something to eat. Today turned out to be filled with culinary delights! Recently someone posted on their blog about the Cream of Wheat that was made in their work cafeteria (I wish I could remember who it was, sorry!) and it sounded so good! I've never had Cream of Wheat, so I decided that I would get some when I was at the market. So, I got some yesterday and decided to try it today. We had already decided to make omlettes, so I made myself a small bowl of cream of wheat as a side dish instead of toast. And I loved it! Yum was it good. I put in dried apples, pecans, and brown sugar and it was soooooooOOOOOOooooooOOOOOOoooo good! The omlettes were also good :-) We put bell pepper, onion and canadian bacon in those, but the star was definitely the Cream of Wheat for me! I love trying new things, especially when I cook them myself. And it's even better when they end up being good! So, after brunch (because it was almost noon by the time we finished cleaning up) I hit the shower, the I knit while we watched some shows I had taped. I love CSI! CSI Miami is pretty good, but I love the original the best. (CSI was one of the shows we watched, obviously :-) After that I had to run errands because the sales guy convinced my mom to get me a better printer than the one I asked for, but the only reason it was better was that it had a feature I can't even use. So, I returned that and came back and now I'm all set up with a printer. I'm very happy about this because I'm really missed my old printer the last month. But this one can print photos on photo paper, so I'll be using it a lot with my digital camera. *Happy printer dance* Then, later on the culinary scene, for dinner I made shrimp fra diavolo. Again, a slam dunk. We just finished cleaning all the dishes (and believe me, there were ALOT, but it was worth it) and my stomach is still thanking me! We also had a marvelous bruschetta that Mark made and some salad. Here's the recipe I concocted if anyone is interested:

Jenni's Shrimp Fra Diavolo (three generous portions)

2 fresh tomatoes, diced
1 - 28 oz can peeled tomatoes (crush them yourself or buy crushed - if you're a wimp :-)
8 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (this was enough to make my mouth tingle pleasantly, but you may want more or less)
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled
pasta of your choice, cooked (I use fettucine)

Place both kind of tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes in saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a half hour. While sauce simmers, cook pasta. Two to four minutes before sauce is done, toss in raw peeled shrimp and allow shrimp to cook all the way through. When shrimp are done, spoon sauce over pasta and serve... and enjoy!

Well, I'm off to get some more knitting before it's time to get ready for work and then bed. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Saturday, February 01, 2003  

My post today was going to be a bit of a rant about how badly my four day weekend is turning out, but it certainly seems insignificant in light of the news we got this morning about the Columbia. Life has been really kicking me in the pants lately, but at least everyone I love is alive and well tonight. If there's any small consolation to have at a time like this, it's that it reminds us of our blessings. Hug the people you love while you can. When I feel like I've reached the absolute limit with someone I love and I want to walk away, I often think of a passage I read in a Patricia Cornwall book. Someone important in the main character's life had died, and she's remembering how he used to drive her crazy with her untidieness, but now that he's gone, she'd bear any amount of mess to see him again. The reason I'm having such a miserable weekend is Mark, but at least he's alive, and he's here and that means there's another chance for us to be happy together. And today's disaster reminds me of that blessing. It's cold comfort to those who've lost their family members, and my heart goes out to them, but it's a small light in the darkness. With that said, I'll try to post some of the happier goings on in my life.

This was the scene at my parents' house on Thursday:

Yes, I'm now 23, but who says you can't have a SpongeBob party at that age? And here is a close up of the cake:

The past few years I've gotten fancy-schmancy expensive cakes with white chocolate frosting and raspberry puree filling or fondant and ganache, but every now and then, ya just gotta have the grocery store, cartoon character, whipped cream frosting cake (or at least I know I do!) The last culinary faux pas I committed for a birthday cake was a cake made to look like cookie monster's head, with mounds of bright blue icing and cookies where the mouth would be. Fancy-schmancy has its time and place, but so does SpongeBob! And this year was the time, my parents' house was the place! There were only three of us there for the party (dumb Mark) but we still had a good time. And look at this little goody that appeared in the pile of presents:

One of my great passions outside of fibers is vintage jewelry and this little gem is just the sort of thing I love. It was a tie pin in its former life, but was made into a sweet little pendant by my goddess of vintage jewelry, Gabrielle. She is the sweetest girl and works at a FABULOUS antique/vintage fine jewelry store and is a talented designer. And she knows my taste VERY well. She is the terrible jewelry temptress, and she is who I'm sending Mark to when it's time for that very special piece of jewelry. I know Gabby will help him pick the perfect piece, and then I can still be surprised, yet be assured that I'll love the ring I'll wear for the rest of my life. Also in the present pile was a printer that is very good for printing photos, so I'll have that set up soon and can finally print the pictures I've been taking since I got my camera for Christmas. Yea!

And in fibery news (for those of you who have made it this far LOL) I'm on the last row of the fifth repeat of lace on my shawl. So, if I had done things correctly, I'd nearly be done. But did I do things correctly? NoooOOOOOooooOOOO! Of course not :-) I thought that my yarn had fewer stitches to the inch than the yarn used by the book. So, my shawl would end up bigger than the books, which was ok by me. BUT I reversed the numbers in my head, so actually, my yarn was smaller and therefor my shawl is smaller than that in the book, which is not ok by me. So, I'll probably have to do a few extra lace rows. The book calls for six, I'll probably do eight, MAYBE nine. I have to measure. I'm probably up to about 58-60" across the top, and the shawl in the book was 74" so I have a bit to go. But, three more lace repeats and then the border ought to get me a lot closer to where I want to be, so that's good. Anyway, I finally managed to get what I think is a good picture of the lace pattern and you can see more than just the lace repeats. I'm learning that the flash takes away a lot of detail from my pictures, so I'm leaving it off most of the time, which saves batteries and gives better pictures, so hip hip hooray all around :-)

I had really hoped to have the shawl done by today, but it's not so oh well. I'll just keep chugging along. I hope to have it done soon, though, because today I ordered my Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted so that I could join in the felting fun of the Fuzzy Feet Felt Along. I won't be able to start on February 4th, but I'll get to at least start in the same week. I also ordered the pattern for "my constant companion" a felted bag that I'll use for my knitting bag and all the yarn I need for that. I had what I think is a very clever idea. I ordered the yarn for the bag in deep charcoal (I wanted onyx, but they were out and I couldn't wait for them to get more in!) and it calls for an accent color. There are two handles, a strip around the top, and a pocket all done in the accent color. Well, I ordered five accent colors and I'm going to do each accent piece in a different color, then needle felt bits of yarn to the bag after it's felted in crazy patterns like spirals, squiggles, curly-q's and stars. Then, I'm going to make my fuzzy feet out of the left over accent colors. I'm feeling in a very Caribbean type mood, so I got limeade, emerald fantasy, aztec turqoise, bright blue, and supreme purple. I'm also going to needle felt tiny dots of white roving on the bag. I am VERY excited about this project. And for my first pair of fuzzy feet (because I'm pretty sure I'll have enough extra accent colors to make two or three pairs) I think I'll make turquoise with limeade cuffs. And after that maybe emerald with supreme purple cuffs. And I'll needle felt little patterns on the fuzzy feet! And I'll... Ok going into project overload... must shut down system before overheats... goodniiiiii... clunk

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