Thursday, May 31, 2007

Next Week? This Week!

This past Wednesday daycare was closed, so the Munch and I were home all day. We first did breakfast at (where else?) Panera Bread Company & then headed over to the Verizon store to replace my busted cell phone. After that we had a fantastic time in Target & picked up some very necessary things like drinking glasses.......................

(This is the 'before' shot - I forgot to take a picture of the 'after' shot, but just imagine a full dozen more drinking glasses - 6 large, 6 small - added in here!)

........and some not so necessary items:

I have to rather shamedly admit that I'd never before really heard of the 'Dragonology' chronicles before - but grabbed this quite quickly irregardless. I'm a total sucker for anything related to dragons, as is Peggers. A few yawning chapters into the book last night proved that it is so far quite entertaining. The puzzle/wooden construction set was just too cool to pass up and at something like $4 was a seriously cheap form of entertainment with a really cool end-product to boot.

Here it is, proudly displayed on my new bookshelf. I'm thinking of staining the entire thing a nice deep mahogany sort of colour. We spoke about painting it with a very sheer wash of colours like the package showed, but I'm thinking that the anatomy of the skeletal structure will be better emphasized by a single shade.

Speaking of which - here are a few New Bookshelf shots for everyone to peek at...

And just for comparison's sake here is a VERY old shot of that same corner about 2 years ago before I painted over the awful deep-green fake wood paneling that was there when we moved in, and before we took the french doors off of the doorway (they're LOVELY, I know, but they really block off very necessary corners of the room!) The space we have gotten back in that back corner area is just too lovely for words. I meant to haul several boxes of books out of the attic yesterday and bring them down to the bookshelf for unloading, but alas, didn't have the time. Never fear, though, the empty shelves left on the bookshelf will get filled up all too quickly, I'm sure! We're hoping to borrow an air compressor sometime in the month of June to finish the trim work on the new bookshelves, after which I shall finish painting the edges of the bracket trim and then the entire bookshelf will be Officially Finished.

Hey - can anyone guess what this is?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Buggy Florida Progress Report

We have returned!

Florida was lovely. Well, somewhat lovely, as there was this utterly bizarre infestation of something called "love bugs" or "lover bugs" that were literally EVERYWHERE. (And the images in the pics I link to here are nothing even remotely clos
e to the nastiness that we saw!!!) They were mashed all over the cars like sprinkles on a super-fancy cupcake......clustered in huge mounds at the bases of picnic tables and wadded in big lumps all around the spokes of our beach umbrellas. Every morning Mom would wake up and go to the front door of their rental place and see that overnight the Icky Bugs (as I have officially renamed them) had broken into the place and had advanced all the way past the dining area and had made it halfway into the living room.

It was that bad - apparently the worst that any local h
ad ever seen before - bar none. And our luck? They're normally not out & swarming until June/July - but our luck, there came out early this year!!!

So other than the Icky Bugs we had a very nice time. I got to see my wonderful grandmother again (and at 85 years old, every visit with her is a very important & treasured one) and even better she got to spend time with the Munchkin - as I've said before, someone she's not seen since he was a mere 6 weeks old. The two of them were quite taken with each other........

Which was - of course - heartwarming and absolutely wonderful for me to see. Munch and my four younger siblings (ages 4-9) also got along fabulously as well, minus the normal small child squabbles and pushings and arguments over whose toy was whose.

Our days were filled with beach & sand (and bugs) and walks and swimming pool trips - plus a trip to the aquarium for all and a trip to a state park for Mom & the four little ones while the Munch took a much-needed 2 1/2 hour nap one afternoon back in our room. After dinner was over & we had gone back to our room and the Munch was safely bathed, pj'd, and put to sleep (how those little guys can SQUIRM, huh?)

I got in some very relaxing & therapeutic knitting time. Despite the very very annoying and pretty much constant ads for some stupid sort of "meet interesting singles over the phone" scam, I had a wonderful knitting time every evening with some inexpensive yet entirely drinkable merlot (in a coffee cup - my apartment setup was minus any wine glasses), a bag of microwave popcorn, my new comfy pj's, and.................

Ms. Carrie Bradshaw, a.k.a. Sarah Jessica Parker and friends in SATC...

It was really funny to watch the normal broadcast TV version of SATC as I have the 'original' version on DVD. To see how they had changed it so that it was a bit tamer & less provocative was incredibly the episode that I got to see was FANTASTIC - the one where Carrie & Mr. Big break up for the first time. I love Mr. Big. Good thing he's a television persona and not a real person, or else I could have ended up with a stalking charge on my up-until-now empty police record......................

During those evenings I was able to chip away at Icarus such that now I am on row 19 of the fourth chart (note to everyone who is keeping score - that is about where Sandy was last Thursday!!! She's well finished now with the entire thing and has a lovely picture on her blog of it blocking........I can hardly wait to see a pic of the finished product in place - especially with that incredible shawl pin she just got!) and the end is approaching with joyful.............well, I can't say that it's approaching with any rapidity, but at least the end is approaching joyfully. I still like this knit, but it's a wee bit long - and a crap one to choose if you've got any sort of a deadline attached to it. So for those who are looking to do a shawl, keep that in mind - the Shetland Triangle is much MUCH faster and a totally mindless knit & pattern repeat every single row while Icarus is more demanding and requires you to actually pay attention once you get to the bottom of it.... Still, because of that increased demand in attention and (dare I say it?) skill, I think the payoff is going to be that much better.......... I showed the shawl-in-progress to Grams and while you guys know that unblocked knitted lace looks like a total "bucket of boiled sh*t" (a phrase that apparently Rabbitch coined in slightly different form) she was nonetheless thrilled with the ongoing progress. Said that she could certainly use it, as the constant AC of Florida just freezes her to the bone, that the colour is just perfect, and that it's so beautiful and soft that she'll treasure it forever. She also said how amazed she was that I could knit something so detailed and intricate.....................this from a woman who knows how to tat lace. Right. Because knitting is so much more detailed and intricate compared to something like this.

So that's good news on the Icarus - I'm trying very very hard to get this finished, as it's such a big project that I feel a bit weighted by it at the moment - plus now that I've shown it to Grams I really really want to get it to her. Especially before the truly cruel heat of summer kicks in and the AC's all over the state of Florida go into overdrive & correspondingly freeze my Grams to a human popsicle.

I brought Jay's Screw-y sock along for the plane ride (a query to the security guy at the airport brought the wonderful news that knitting needles have never EVER been officially banned from carry-on luggage!!!) and for my knitting times when all 5 of the kids were present. While I had to rip out about 2 inches of the cuff because I had managed to screw up the incredibly simple pattern, I nonetheless got that much back during the vacation itself and then in the airport was about at the 5" cuff mark and quite pleased with myself

when something unexpected happened on the last flight home yesterday during liftoff:

He's actually sleeping in both of these pictures.
How anyone can sleep like that for more than a second or two is beyond me.

So between a full hour and half flight where I didn't have to "Play Playdough" or read 'One Fish Two Fish' and a small wait at the airport I not only finished the entire cuff but also the heel flap and turned the heel of the sock. I'm particularly proud of this last accomplishment, as I turned the heel without reading directions on how to do it first. Before I've always very carefully read the Harlot's directions on how to do this, but apparently three is my magic number - for on my 4th heel-flap heel I had it memorized and could do it properly on my own. Then last night I picked up stiches for the gusset and started decreasing back down for the foot. I'm a bit worried that I'm going to run out of yarn (a bit of a puzzle for me, as I had two small balls of yarn and knit the first sock from the smaller ball & had plenty that time around! Maybe a yarn-wound-tightly versus yarn-wound-loosely issue???) but still I'm making visible progress which is just lovely. This is why I think it's absolutely crucial to knit a sock or something similar while you're also knitting a huge project like a shawl or a sweater. They really do help to balance each other out.

So look for more progress pictures scattered throughout the week - tomorrow I'm home w/ Munch as daycare is closed, which means a lovely whopping knitting chunk during his nap (gotta' love those 2 hour naps!) plus some sporadic knitting time in the evenings. I'm thinking the sock will be finished this week as long as I don't run out of yarn (!) and that Icarus will be finished sometime next week.

Ooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! I forgot!!!!!!!!!!

CAR KNITTING!!!!!!!!!!!!

My ducks, we're heading up to Northern VA this weekend to celebrate my Dad's 60th birthday - and in keeping with tradition Peggers will be driving for the majority of the trip as he usually does which will leave me free to knit! So yipee! We might see some major major Icarus progress this week after all!!!

p.s. To those of you who like Jessie's yarn so much, check out her post where she details what her recent customers - myself included! - have been doing lately with her fiber offerings!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On a Lack of Willpower

Really, now, is anyone surprised?

I've done shockingly little work on Icarus. Why, you might ask? Indeed, as I had previously forecasted, my Sockpal yarn arrived Monday afternoon once I was home, and as soon as I ripped open the package from Jessie I was Completely And Totally S-U-N-K.

I stayed up Monday night until 2 AM fiddling with gauge swatches (washed & dried with the greatest of ease - came out even softer after than it did before!) trying to figure out how to make everything match up. For example, these were some of the facts on which I was cogitating:

* the pattern is for a 19.5" sock. I want to knit a 16" sock.

* the pattern starts out at the thigh with a 12" diameter. My Pal's calves are 16".

* if I up the number of beginning stitches accordingly, you all know that I have no idea how to decrease them properly so that it doesn't look like a dog's dinner in the end, right?

So what I decided was that - like Emily - I was not doing this sock toe up. While Wendy can do so with the Greatest of Ease I need to try out a toe-up on a very basic sock - not on something like this. Happily I know exactly what yarn I'm going to use for such a thing when I finally get the chance. So while I'm being a chicken, at least I'm only being a chicken temporarily which makes me feel a bit less ashamed to admit it publicly.

I also decided that rather than add in extra stitches, I'm going to try a technique I first heard mentioned on Cast-On - - while I got gauge with size 2 needles, I'm going to knit the first several inches of the sock on size 3s - automatically making the sock bigger than it is 'supposed' to be. Then after a few repeats of the lace panel I'll switch down to size 2 needles and will be back on track while not having to do any fudgy maths work. Apparently this is what someone did in a Knitty pattern and it was all the buzz for a bit. So far it is working swimmingly......................

Here you can see the lovely shade of the SockPal Pink that Jessie created for me and my Pal - even sprinkled amongst the peonies - for like I said earlier - it is a lovely sort of peony pink, isn't it??

Accordingly, I am three and a half lace panel repeats into the sock. I am only on Row 8 of the fourth chart for Icarus. I took a look at the chart and realize that not only was it 25 or so rows, but that as after that there were a good 5 or 6 written-out rows to knit PLUS the final cast-off - - and that I just wasn't going to make it. And that I could stress over it or I could just face facts and ease up considerably and keep enjoying my knitting and alternate Icarus with the SP socks. So now this is my deal - for every lace panel repeat I do, I have to do a full pattern row and a purl-ish back row on Icarus. That way everything stays balanced.

So I am content. I will doubtless not win the race between Sandy and myself, but I am content.

The Munchkin and I leave for Florida tomorrow AM at a disgustingly early hour (makes for a lovely arrival time of 11;30 AM, tho'!) and I will not be bringing my SP socks, as they take a bit of attention. Instead I will be bringing Icarus and Jay's screw-y socks - one knit that I have not yet posted much about. As the pair will almost certainly be finished once I'm back, I'll post about them then. Also I figure I'll be able to get a decent amount done on Icarus, as the Munch goes to bed around 9 PM every night and I'll be sitting w/ him in a studio apartment as he sleeps every night with nothing but quiet knitting time in front of me. I'm bringing my iPod with me loaded with a few new Librivox tales for company! While I will probably not post while gone, you'll most certainly see a few headless shots of various family members of mine posing on the beach once I return...

Monday, May 21, 2007

A lack of knitting progress (and of knitting photos)

I worked on Icarus Friday afternoon - but then real life intruded on my fantasy knitting world:

** Friday night was our 5th anniversary dinner night (anniversary was actually Thursday, but as [free] babysitting was available Friday, who were we to squabble?)

** Saturday & Sunday were totally (and I mean TOTALLY) dedicated to installing a mildly complex bit of L-shaped built-in bookshelves with in in-laws at the house for babysitting/toddler diverting and expert consultant purposes. To say that this weekend was as stressful as I've ever seen is putting it mildly - between absolutely stunning toddler temper tantrums, sibling spats, parental tension, a burned-out air compressor [BUGGER on that one - only 1/3 into installing the final trim pieces with the attached nail gun and we would have been completely finished!!!], and some pretty serious stress coming at Peggers from work via 4-5 phone calls every day over both days - not only was there no real knitting (well, I got in several rounds of a sock while we were at the baseball game Saturday night) but there was general exhaustion and mental fatigue everywhere you looked. So it's probably good that I didn't touch Icarus, as I would have just messed it up and had to have frogged back way to much to even think about!

However the bookshelf is done - missing trim on 3 of the 5 shelves, but still, it's done and books and bookends are in place. Pictures to come soon. Probably far too many pictures of it to come soon. ;) It looks - if I can say for our modest carpentry skills - absolutely fantastic. It is also, in a house filled with one philosophy major & one librarian and one budding 2-year old bibliophile - extremely needed.

And knitting on Icarus with Kim is on tap for this afternoon. So Sandy?

And even better, Jessie said that she sent my Sockpal yarn on Thursday (sigh - a good omen, as that was my anniversary!) so it should hopefully be here.........this afternoon or tomorrow. Which means that I'll have to have a serious conversation with myself over swatching w/ the yarn versus working on Icarus!

I have a feeling that I'm going to lose that argument.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

End of the Week Update

Exciting news! Lots of exciting news!

Icarus: I am half a row away from finishing Chart #3 on Icarus - and baby, I'm roaring towards Chart #4! Unfortunately said chart is a whopping 25 rows (doesn't sound like much, I know, but I'm somewhere around 450 or 500 stitches at this point, I think, so it's actually a LOOONNNNG row every row, every time!) Still - I'm getting closer! My deadline is Memorial Day Weekend, and I'm having serious doubts that I'll make it, but still - I'll see my dearest Grams that weekend regardless and will certainly bring my knitting with me, so at least she'll see what will be coming to her sometime in the month of June......... My friend Sandy is also knitting Icarus, and is a chart or so behind me with a similar deadline. I feel like dropping her a virtual challenge to RACE! and see who can get done first. What do you think, Sandy, are you up for a little friendly competition among knitting librarians???? ;)

Sockpalooza socks: after several lovely e-mail discussions with Jessie she and I settled on a set of colours for my sockpal socks, and today I got the glorious news that the yarn was dyed and dried and ready to be shipped out. Here it is in all it's pink glory:

It's PINK, isn't it? It's beautiful - reminds me of the shades that a really lovely peony flower petal go through on their way from tip to center....................and as peonies are my Absolute Favorite Flower I think that's a very very cool thing indeed. I love how there are little tiny subtle bits of the lighter pink that show through every here and there - I think it's going to give the socks that lovely little edge that they'll need to go from being Nice Socks to Super Special Socks.

You can bet that as soon as I got her message in my inbox I ran RIGHT out and wrote/mailed the check to her ASAP!!!!!

Also in related Sockpal news, I'm a fairly regular reader of Wendy's blog - she is Queen of the Socks, let me tell you! - and was really interested when I saw her post the other day about toe-up socks done with a gusset and heel flap. Cuz you know that I want these Sockpalooza socks to be HIGH socks - and what better way than to do that toe-up? Plus that totally eliminates all the worries of staring the socks 1/3 of the way into the pattern and then adjusting for the heel accordingly - - and gives me a good sense of how much to increase the socks to make sure that they fit my SockPal's legs by the time they reach their final tip-top measurement! Jessie did the above skein in a full 7 ounces of fiber - which comes out to a staggering 760 yards (bargain-conscious folks take note of this : a veritable TON of custom-dyed merino/bamboo/tencel sockyarn and all for just $30 including extra-speedy shipping!!!!!!) - so I should have plenty to make the socks nice & long - but doing toe-up just seems to make sense, you know?

But how exactly do you DO that - translate a cuff-down into a toe-up? I'd wondered about it before, but never had the courage to try it - so when today I read Wendy's latest post about doing just that - a cuff-down pattern knit toe-up I screwed up all my lurker courage and actually posted that question to her on her blog. And do you know a mere hour or so later I had a message in my inbox from Wendy herself giving me the basic specs and advice on how to do it?????


So between her two original toe-up gusset sock patterns (for both fingeringweight & sportweight yarns - is she good or WHAT?) and her personal advice to me I'm totally committed to giving this a try. I'll probably sneak the yarn into work and use a Very Accurate scale in the biology department to make sure that I divide the 7 oz. into two even balls, but in the future for this exact sort of thing I might see about getting my own scale a-la Grumperina.................

To round out this post I take great pride in showing how last weekend went - not only did I get my Panera breakfast fix twice in one weekend (ahhhh....I splurged and had a chocolate croissant Sunday for breakfast!) but I was also gifted with THE most adorable pair of pj's ever. Peggers chose as my Mama's Day gift not only a pair of pj's for me (via a setup called 'pajama-gram') but also went whole-hog and ordered a matching set for Munchkin. Here we are looking like total dorks, posing as Peggers told us to:

I always always always forget to even explain or address this, but in case anyone caught sight of this pic & was wondered - my BRIGHT RED right arm is due to a stunningly large birthmark - specifically a port wine stain that made my life a living HELL in the elementary school years but around high school turned into a Very Cool sort of thing to have and in college became a total non-issue........ I actually remember a few years ago reading out loud one of those absurd Cosmo or other girlie magazine quizzes to Peggers about compatibility or something - and the quiz asked "if you were to put just your right hand out with a hundred other peoples right hand, could your husband/boyfriend figure out which one was yours and why?" and just SNORTED in response. ;)

....and here is a lovely little picture of the Munchkin and I snuggling in our matching pj's on his Big Boy Bed, which currently is made up with some very sporting monkey sheets.........

Happy belated Mama's Day, and Happy Weekend to Everyone as well! Here's to springtime knitting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Running Around

Today is a Running Around kind of day. This morning after dropping off my son at daycare I picked up our cleaning woman & we went back home to clean the house for an hour & a half. Sounds very la-di-da, doesn't it? What if I tell you that our official Cleaning Woman is 15 years old, the oldest daughter of our home-daycare provider & that she did the vaccuuming and dusting while I did the bathroom cleaning, the floor washing, the sweeping & the taking-out-the-garbage -ing?

Yeah, not so glamorous. But damn, my ducks, if my house isn't CLEAN - and as we've arranged to try this out every Friday for a month or two it's going to stay that way for at least a little bit. What a lovely thing to wake up to on a Saturday morning after a hard week's work!

Once at work I worked for 2 hours on the desk, then went for a 45 minute walk in 81 degree heat (ah, thank you back-up deodorant stashed in my desk!) , then drove home to get the dog, then to the vet's, then back home to drop off the dog, then back to work. (It takes 1 hour do do this, unfortunately.) And now I'm here at work for all of 45 minutes before I go to meet Kim for our twice-weekly knitting meeting.

Yes, indeed, you all SHOULD feel sorry for me! LOL.

Happily my weekend will be much calmer - tomorrow AM I'm springing for breakfast at our favorite place - Panera Bread Company - after which we are going to load up our trailer with two loads of compost (one for friends who are trailer-less and one for me) and then I head off to work (ahem, to KNIT) for 4 hours in a peaceful, air-conditioned library. After that, who knows? Fun and revelry with The Munchkin and Peggers. Sunday - on Momma's Day - I'm going to ask for yet another Panera breakfast (hey, a girl has her preferences!) and then we spread out the compost on the garden & cut some oak plywood for the built-in bookshelves we're going to install the weekend after next. All Glamor All The Time - that's the motto here at Chez Pointy Sticks!!!

I have been having some absolutely FANTASTIC e-mail exchanges lately that I just have to clue you in on. First, from my To:Sockpal (i.e. the one that I am mailing socks TO) - she is a sassy & hysterical thing, and I adore reading her blog and we've had these e-mails exchanges that just crack me up. I can't say too much about her for fear that I'll totally give it away, but she's also in the field of education which is fun, and has the mouth of a sailor, which I totally adore as well. She loves the colour pink and does NOT like any shades of yellow, which totally threw me for a bit, as I'm definitely NOT a pink sort of girl, but I did some scouting and looking and have come up with some majorly beautiful options for her socks (and again, I'm knitting these in a slightly shorter version, in case you don't remember...).....................which leads me to my second set of e-mails that I've been loving lately.

Jessie (as in Jessie from 'What Housework?') was a top choice of mine all along to do the hand-dying for this yarn, as I've already scored - what - about 5 or 6 skeins of Gryphon's sockyarn and while I just LOVE it I figured I really should branch out & not be a greedy pig and take all of her stash. (Altho' reading her most recent post it appears that as she has a whopping 25 pounds of un-dyed sock yarn there might actually be more than enough for everyone to get some at the moment!) So I shot Jessie a heads-up e-mail some time back to see if this prospect would be okay with her, and sure enough - she was up for the challenge. Of course, with such an amazingly beautiful yarn studio just opening up for her to work in, I don't blame her at being interested in an excuse to play around in there!!!! So yesterday Jessie and I had this huge e-mail exchange about colour and fiber and suchlike - and the upshot of it was that I finally settled on this luxurious sounding merino/bamboo/nylon blend that she just got in (sooo soft and perfect for spoiling my sock pal!) in a host of subtle pinks. These are the pictures that I e-mailed Jessie to give her the gist of what I was talking about/thinking of:

(The beaded Tilli Thomas skein is probably my favorite, but the coiled Pink Posies is also lovely, and the Handmaiden Rose is beautiful too, and I also love the shocking silkiness of the hot pink T. Thomas as well.....all beautiful shades!)

Despite the fact that I'm not a pink girl I'm seriously getting wired-ly excited about these. There's something about the ultra-feminine shades that I think we're going to end up with here, with just that tiny wee bit of sassy sexiness mixed in (not to mention the fishnet-stocking-seam invoking lace windows that go right up the back of the leg!) plus the soft and silky yarn that is - hopefully - going to make these socks true winners. I figure heck, anyone who works in the educational field (and people, let me tell you without going into surprise-revealing-detail that this woman isn't just an educator, she's an Educator!) needs some pure luxury every now and then......

Even better is the fact that I've started Chart #2 on my Icarus, which means that the end is officially Within Sight, so despite the fact that the rows just keep getting looooonger and loooonger every time, I'm excited and having a lot of fun with that particular knit. Plus knowing that some huge bundles (I asked Jessie to make about 700 yards of this for me, as my Pal has muscular calves & I'm making these almost-knee high & lord knows I don't want to run out!!!) of pink and silky goodness are making their way towards me in the next few weeks gives me extra incentive to finish the shawl ASAP!

And now - finally - my final e-mail happiness lately. Have you seen in the comments section the messages from my From:Sockpal? (I.e. the one who is making me [!!!] a pair of socks?) I had guessed this at an earlier comment of hers, but with her last post she cinched it - she's Foreign!

Do you guys know how much I **adore** foreign??? I have briefly lived in New Zealand, and I lived for a longer time in Botswana, Africa, and I used to live very close to the US/Canadian border and as such have a total love of All Things Canadian - so my suspicion that my From:Sockpal is from Canada (she mentions crossing the border with studied casualness - ooh! aahhh!!!) is just absolutely making my day. Nay - making my week! Not only is she foreign (ah - another person who sticks a "U" in the word 'colour'!) but she's also working really hard to produce a pair of sock that I'll like - how could she not be my new Bestest Pal as a result? Plus she's also in the educational field - what are the odds that both of my pals and myself all do the same thing, huh??????

That's it for me for now - off to meet with Kim to knit Icarus myself and to peek at her Gryphon Traveler sock (it's a thing of beauty!!!) and drink coffee. I will leave you with one last picture - I'm not nearly good enough to do an Eye Candy Friday every week, but this picture was taken 2 weeks ago with that end in mind, so here it finally is - a tree peony blossom from my back yard. Tree peonies typically take 5 years to bloom once they're planted, and the blooms are very ephemeral, but oh! Aren't they worth the wait and their limited delight??????

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wool. Sheep. Sheep. Wool.

And alpacas!

Their frizzy little haircuts just kill me, they're **that** cute.

I'm still here - just trying to catch up with life & work after last week kicked me square in the butt. You know how it is - as soon as the weather warms up & all sorts of fun extracurricular activites start to rear their enticing heads life comes around & swats you one!

To recap:

Monday - grade roughly 75 research projects, providing individual feedback for 5 full steps per project. NOT FUN.

Tuesday - arrive at work at noon to be asked by Dean to call & check 5 references for our #1 job candidate. NOT FUN.

Wednesday - watch your 2-year old son go in for minor (outpatient) surgery that nonetheless requires general anesthesia, and which because of the "no food or drink after midnight" thing meant that when he woke up around 1 AM that night and couldn't nurse (he's a late weaning child) he REFUSED TO GO BACK TO SLEEP. NOT FUN.

Thursday - work 4 hours of reference desk. Straight. NOT FUN.

Friday - Conference 30 minutes away that starts at 8:30 AM - realize that you have only 20 minutes to get back to demo that begins at 1 PM - miss demo - make it back just in time to attend Honors Convocation dressed in stiflingly hot faculty regalia. NOT FUN.

Thank goodness Saturday was Sheep & Wool! Kim and I both went, and were lucky enough to score a seat on a bus arranged by a (somewhat) LYS, which made the trip that much more enjoyable for us. Particularly the fact that because we were on a bus we had kick-ass parking options and got to avoid the insane field that was a parking lot for the rest of the folks.
I was relatively restrained in my purchases - there is just SO MUCH to look at. It's not overwhelming (at least it wasn't to me) as much as it was just a blur that I had to keep walking past so that I wasn't mown down by the rabid fiber fans all around me. If I had about 5 days I probably could have fought my way into each & every booth that was there and fondled and cooed and coveted and purchased properly. At least five. Maybe six.

I did learn something about myself at Sheep & Wool though - I'm a major, and I mean a major fiber sniffer. Not necessarily fleece, but anything that was already spun I took a mighty sniff of. And me? I do love the smell of wool.

Happily enough, despite the fact that Blue Moon wasn't listed on the vendor list (and Kim was majorly crestfallen as her one & only hope for S&W was to buy a skein of Socks That Rock) we quickly stumbled upon the most insanely long line - and as I brazenly asked a woman standing there what the line was for, realized that while the Blue Moon folks might not be there themselves, a vendor selling STR was indeed present & majorly accounted for! So Kim and I valiantly fought our way up to the booth, fondled, chose, put back, chose again, put back, picked again, etc. until we each had what we wanted. And then we stood in line for 45 minutes to pay.
This was my view in line for a veerrryyyy long time.

FORTY-FIVE MINUTES. Ducks, that is a very long time to wait in line for sock yarn - particularly sock yarn that you can buy online. ( I heard one woman scornfully say as she shoved past me......) The wait did have an upside, though, as it gave me ample time to reprogram my digital camera to stop beeping so annoyingly and to stay set on the settings that I prefer - so time well spent, all in all, I'd say. Plus hey - it's all part of the festival experience, right? I purchased one skein of STR in .....uh, something Canyon. Red Rocks Canyon? I honestly didn't care what the name was, I was so so so so in love with the way the terracotta went to red to brown, and the way the red went into that amazing dusty sage-y green. These are going to be a blissfully basic pair of socks for ME. I think I'll divide the skein & do toe-up to use up every single fluff of fiber in them. I don't even care if that means that one will be a few rounds longer than the other. Nope, I don't care at all.

After that was finished, happiness reigned among our little group, as we had Nothing Else Official on our list of things to purchase - which meant that we could roam at will. Here is a little photo montage of what I saw that I thought was interesting enough to photograph...

I have no idea if these wheels are any good, but they're just so SMALL and cute I had to take a picture.

Many of the vendors are very very good at arranging their stuff in such a way that it really catches your eye. I thought this booth did a particularly good job of it.

(left) Yoiks! Big Horns!

(Right) Spinning a Rabbit. (Gryphon apparently does this, if anyone wants details)

Speaking of Gryphon, this is a picture of Gryphon being silly. ;) Here she is, looking totally like an Anguished Mommy because Lia, who had been sitting in her lap not 5 minutes before the picture was taken did a characteristic baby 'wiggle and lean' and by the time Gryphon was able to reach down and stop Lia's lean towards the ground (I'm guessing 1.5 seconds at the most) Lia had grazed her head against the ground. Lia loudly protested the fact that gravity worked and that she had landed on her cute little baby noggin, and Gryphon promptly decided that she was the Worst Mother On The Face of the Earth. See? This is a picture of Gryphon being silly.

And here is a picture of Lia who, once her cries were soothed by Her Absolute Mostest Favorite Mommy, promptly forgot all about it.

See? Not a care in the world!

The Anguished Gryphon and the Happy Lia pictures were taken at Gryphon's Knitblogger meetup, which was loads of fun. I got to meet several nice people including Stephanie, Mary, Mel (who I shall talk about in more detail in just a second) and Theresa whose pigtail'd hairstyle I immediately wanted to copy. I was particularly thrilled that Mel came over and sat down next to me, as I had seen her wandering around earlier in the day and had TOTALLY fallen in love with the sweater she was wearing. In fact as she started to walk past our little knitblogger group I shamelessly said (mind you, to a large group of women who I had never ever met before!) "THERE! The redhead in the cream sweater! Does anyone know what sweater that is????" and so imagine my amazement and delight when Mel walked right over to us and sat down next to me so that I could ask her myself! Happily enough Mel offered to lend me the sweater pattern when she gets it back from the person she's currently lent it to - it's in a magazine called Sandra - one that's totally new to me & that I must obviously immediately look into!

15 minutes before I climbed onto my bus for the ride home I bought 2 huge skeins of alpaca for a steal - 665 yds for $20 each. I haven't photographed them yet, but I will soon. They're destined to become shrugs for me - nice little light yet WARM cozy pieces that are much needed in my frigid workspace!

I will leave you with what was potentially one of my favorite sights at the whole festival - never say that we fiber folks don't really LOVE our animals..............right?

(Somehow, this seemed almost wrong, given the setting. I'm a carnivore and all, but somehow, I dunno' this seemed almost wrong..........)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Knitting during meetings & suchlike

This post coming to you from the beautiful conference center of the 2007 MLA (Maryland Library Association) meeting.

I am knitter - hear me roar! More specifically, hear me roar that during the first half of this morning's presentation titled "Blogs and Podcasting for Everyone" I finished my last Chart 1 repeat of Icarus. I now need to do a few more rows before I can move over to Chart 2 (and that is - unfortunately - no little thing to say as I'm up to - what - 375 stitches or so per row now?) - but man o man - the second chart is in sight, and I can hardly wait!

No pictures, because my cell phone camera isnt' fantastic & who needs a blurry picture of what is still at this point a silky blue blob?

But I am close - so close that I can almost taste it.

Now I'm off in search of coffee before the 2nd half of the presentation kicks in (the podcasting portion) and after that I am going to play hooky from the beginning portion of a demo this afternoon for a wee bit to sneak in some lunch w/ Peggers as I am a mere 15 minutes from his workplace and the man's offered to buy me lunch!

How could a girl resist a free lunch?

Happily, though, the demo that is slated later this afternoon is as knitting-friendly as this morning's presentation is, which means by the end of the day I'll be that much closer to starting Chart 2 than I currently am. Hip hip hooray for meetings and presentations and demos!

Booo booo booo to Honors Convocations when I'm not allowed to knit!

(That travesty happens today at 3:30. Boo! Hiss!)

Pictures & info about my Gryphon Traveler sock to come next week, plus pictures of Icarus into Chart 2, plus a final synopsis of my Green Tea Raglan sweater as well - my month from hell is wrapping up (my month bled into about 6 weeks instead of the more standard 4!) and I'm starting to emerge!!!!

Plus - Maryland Sheep & Wool is this weekend and baby I'll be there - Kim and I are catching a knitting bus up and we're planning on meeting up w/ Gryphon and her MD knitting bloggers group at 1 - hopefully I'll see some other folks there for a fun get together!