Friday, March 31, 2006

FLASHIN' MY STASH

Ok peeps. No April foolin' here. I found it necessary to set up a new blog just to accomodate my stash pics. I must warn you ahead of time: If you are easily offended or highly sensitive do not click below. Again, that's not a joke. I don't mean to offend you, just merely entertain you with my stash.

With this in mind, click on!



Enjoy!!!!


P.S. To my Cheapfree SP--the odds and ends you sent me don't appear in here because, well they don't fit in the mesh beach bag I keep my yarn in and in the excitment of flashing, I forgot to include them! Eep!

Ding! Ding! Ding!

I finally GET it! Picking up the stitches on a heel of a sock that is! Boy I'm a doof! Here's what I was doing--since I couldn't figure out how to get the "feed" yarn (um, what do you call the yarn that isn't knitted yet?) from one side of the heel flap to the other, what I was doing was merely slipping my needles through the slipped stitches. Well no freaking wonder I was getting perverse laddering on the seam! I didn't realize you knit the feed yarn to the other side of the flap! DUH! I'm just a few stripes from hitting the heel on my second German sock. I can't wait to properly pick up the stitches.

Ah, and tomorrow is Flash Your Stash. Hee hee, I can't wait. I'll probably post my stash link early tomorrow morning since the rest of the day is going to be pretty busy. A warning in advance, since my stash is pretty meager compared to some of my knitting colleagues, I had to get a little, um, creative. Turtlegirl will know what I'm talking about. Hee hee. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

G is for...

Great Blue Heron


100_0825

It's definately spring. According to my "Birds of Michigan" handbook, these guys only are here in the summer. The loction of this photo is the Tollgate Wetlands. It's this small slice of land wedged between a neighborhood and a golf course. There's a walking trail that circles the "swamp" and there are three different sections of water separated by marshy grasses and small trees. There's an island (where I believe the herons nest) in the middle of the largest body of water. It's all manmade, but it's quite a nice thing to have in my neighborhood. Since I work so close to home, I've been taking lunch time walks around the loop. When I'm going through tough times, I enjoy the peacefulness of this place--it gives me some quiet time to think. Not to mention that these birds give me goosebumps each time I see them. Even though the three great blue herons that live in this swamp have been here the whole five years we've lived in Michigan, they still manage to take my breath away.

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Mark this place and these birds down as one of the few things I'll miss about Michigan when we move to Texas.

On Die deutsche Socke (the German sock) front---things are progressing well. I've yet to start my toe decreases, but I'm a few inches away from it. I'm still getting slight laddering from where I'm "picking up the stitches" on the heel flap. I put that in quotations because I still don't think I'm doing it right. Anyone know where to find a good picture of picking up stitches? I might have to hit that knitting how-to website (can't remember the right name right now) at work next week (connection here at home sucks for the videos).

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Case of the Blahs

No real knitting news to report. After the nip strip tank was completed, I started my German Socks on my new Brittany size US 2 dpns. So far just two stripes of color on the first sock. I had to frog it when I realized the end I was using of the ball would have put the stripes so that they didn't correspond with the German flag color sequence. They're going to be just simple ribbed cuffs (as much as I hear people bitch about K2, P2 ribbing, I kind of like it!) I want to get the heel construction down pat before I invest any more time in fancier cuffs.

As for the rest of life. Well it's not going to well now. I don't really want to get into it here. There's a lot of heavy issues and a lot of background that would take too long to spell out on here. I want to reach out for help, but right now, I don't know anyone to reach out to! Figures huh?!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Being a Grownup Sucks

The first reason it sucks: Because you can knit a cute little nip strip tank top, put it on and realize that you look fat in it. Yeah it fits ok, and it's not like I did a bad job knitting it, it's just that it's got horizontal "stripes" and my upper arms are ginormous (and pale.)

The second reason it sucks: Your husband's grad student health insurance sucks so damn hard its not even funny. You take your kid in for a well child check up (well because he'll be in kindergarden...next year, and he's going to be 5 and 5 means more immunizations). Not to mention the daycare you take him to requires it (but why am I working again when I work basically to pay for daycare?!). And then you get the bill in the mail. $375. That's right. $126 for a doctor to look at my kid for 5 minutes and tell me he was ok. And the rest was immunizations. What's the best part of that? Know how they make the MMR shot (Measels, Mumps & Rubella)? Well apparently even though that's ONE prick of the needle they charge you THREE times for each disease you're getting vaccinated for. I should have know. The nurse asked me if Chickering (that's right Chickering--stay away from Chickering health insurance they SUCK) covered immunizations. Well they did last year. Apparently not this year because according to the statement my kid is too old to have "well child exams and immunizations" covered anymore. What the fuck???? I'm telling myself that $375 is better than a kid that's dead of the measels, but that's really hard.

Third reason: The $375 bill is harder to swallow when you realize your stupid husband didn't go after the health insurance company for double billing us. Technically his lab is supposed to pay for HIS health insurance and we pay for Chunky's. Well when I got the renewal in the mail I thought it was for Chunky, so I paid it. Only to have Chunky's renewal come a few days later. The Mad Scientist started to pursue the payment and make sure we got reimbursed and his lab covered his portion. But he never followed up. Great huh? I guess it's my own fault for not being the shitty wife that nags her husband about stuff like that.

Grr. The worst part is, yes, we're moving to San Antonio, but he won't set a date to defend his damned thesis yet. It's pissing me off. Now with this lovely $375 looming over our heads, I'm thinking I'm going to have to delay quitting by a week. Damnit.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

So the playdate with Platinum Blonde went well. Chunky behaved himself nicely I guess and had a really good time. He didn't want to leave when I picked him up at 5:00 p.m. How cute!

So while the Chunky was away, the Bezzie did play:

100_0819

These are like my first "luxury" needles--Brittany 5 inch size US 2 douple pointed needles. I wanted some size 2 wood dpns for German sock knitting. Apparently this is a hard order to fill. First I tried Joann, they had dick for needles, but I thought I'd try them first since I had my 40% off coupon in my purse. So then I literally went across the parking lot to Michaels. Woah, they totally cleared out their stock of dpns. Maybe there's a sock knitters convention in town but they had SHIT. I was floored. I swear I could have remembered seeing Clover bamboo dpns in all sizes there. I guess I was wrong. So I went to Rae's Yarn Boutique which is located in a strip mall close to the shopping center where Joann and Michaels reside. BINGO! They had a great supply of all sizes of dpns! Hooray for local shops! (Ok, ok, I know I should patronize her shop more, but its so hard when it's such a small store and I feel obligated to buy something everytime I'm there! I just can't afford that!)

So once my nip strip tank top is completed I'll be breaking these babies in!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Nip Strip Tank

Well hopefully not nips with this tank top! This is the back of the tank top.

100_0817

I think the nipple strip will work out ok. In fact I hereby dub it the "nip strip tank" (I can do that right? Rename a pattern that I've altered? Hee hee!) It was pretty quick and easy. Makes me think, hey, I could do a sweater someday! I think my major hang up was shaping the neck. But it turned out ok. I'll cast on for the front tonight.

Speaking of showing things off--I'm done flashing my stash. This project has shown me that I don't have much of a stash. I've been browsing pics of what people did last year. Yipes. I thought I was bad, but apparently I'm not! Well I guess I didn't include the six balls of German Nation sock yarn, but the rest of my yarn fits (tightly) into one of those mesh beach bags.

So...I had to get a little creative fleshing out my stash. I think people will enjoy it. I can't wait to share!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I'm A Doofus

Being it's the Thursday that we go grocery shopping (we go every other Thursday), me, Chunky, and The Mad Scientist hopped into the Beluga (my Buick--see post below!) to head to the local Kroger to score some food. I set my keys and my small wallet/purse on the trunk while I buckled Chunky into his carseat. I thought "I'll put my keys next to my wallet because then I won't forget my wallet on the trunk and drive off."

WRONG

I drove off with my purse on the trunk!!! After getting to Kroger I realized what I had done. Cursing the whole way back home, we back-tracked. We searched the parking lot. I talked to the apartment manager who we waved to in the parking lot as she was walking into the building as we were driving off--she didn't find it. The Mad Scientist peeked into the dumpsters. Me and Chunky set off on foot to backtrack the route we had taken. Nothing.

When we got back from backtracking on foot, The Mad Scientist hopped into his car and took off to backtrack by car. Me and Chunky went inside so I could start calling the bank and Mastercard to cancel my credit card. I had to make a point to tell Chunky that the words that mommy was saying were not appropriate for little kids and they should never be repeated.

Right after I got off the phone with "Justin" at Mastercard, the phone rang again. I didn't recognize the caller id and figured it was another battered woman looking for a place to stay (our phone number is one digit off the local women's shelter hotline and office phone numbers so we get calls all times of day from poor abused women and there must be a full moon because there have been a lot of them calling lately) . But I picked it up anyway---it was a little girl who said she had found my wallet on the street that intersects with the road we live on!! She put her mom on the line and mom gave me directions to their house.

I told Chunky to grab his coat and I went diving for the closet. In the closet I keep our emergency supplies. After the Ginormous Blackout of 2003 (I think some of you might remember that) I started collecting supplies--beans, rice, a couple gallons of water, a handcrank radio/flashlight, first aid supplies, oatmeal, etc. I also kept a wad of cash in there. During the blackout it just so happened that Chunky was out of diapers. Um, yes, try searching the city for a store that has power and working ATM. Needless to say I grabbed a $50 from the emergency wad of cash and me and Chunky were on our way. We met up with The Mad Scientist who had just returned from his backtracking by car.

I've never hugged a stranger before, but I hugged that woman!!! I'm not sure how she found my phone number, but gracias to whatever being(s) is above us, next to us, and/or under us!!!!! I had my phone number unlisted three years ago when a crazy emotional divorce client of mine kept calling my house one evening and my phone number isn't printed on any of my checks. So I don't know what she did. Maybe she had a four year old phone book?

So alls well that ends well. I'm the luckiest unlucky woman I know today!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Thank Heaven for Big Boys

The Mad Scientist is finally back! He was back on Friday and Saturday of last weekend, but then he left for Colorado for an old-interview-turned-"vacation." He got back yesterday afternoon.

While he was gone I started this:
100_0811
It's a drop stitch tank top from I believe the latest issue of Knit Simple. You're supposed to make it out of that yicky Lion Brand ribbony yarn crap (Lion Brand Incredible--Incredibly ugly if you ask me), but I figured if I'm going to go ghetto, I'll do it comfortably. So what you see there is Carons Simply Soft. (Hm, a pattern from Knit Simple in Simply Soft. That was unconsciously clever of me).

I showed it to The Mad Scientist last night and asked him what he wouldt think of it as a tank top.

Him: "Uh, don't you think its going to show your nipples? Isn't that kind of skanky?"

Me: "Oh don't worry about that, I'm going to make the non see through rows longer when I get that high."

Him: "Well then, that would be quiet sexy."

Skanky to sexy in under 10 seconds!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Thank Heaven For Little Boys

Ok, I guess the song is really thank heaven for little *girls* but I'll take what I can get.

Yesterday me and Chunky went to check out a new flea market in town. Meh, it was ok. Not as many fleas as I would have liked. I realized that since we were on that side of town there was a yarn store I hadn't checked out before--Yarn For Ewe
It was 3:30 p.m. and the shop closed at 4:00 p.m. so I couldn't get my proper yarn oggling groove on. As we're working our way through the tiny, and very small store, I turn my back on Chunky and hear a crash. Somehow he had managed to collapse a shelf of mohair causing like 30 balls to hit the floor! Poor kid was mortified! I snap at him, unneedlessly I realize now as the shelf was poorly constructed (picture one of those particle board bookcases with the tiny little pegs supporting one shelf) and all he did was bump into it. So after I managed to reconstruct the shelf and we put all the mohair (now I have even more reason to hate mohair) I feel obligated to buy something. Sigh. I hate small stores where they watch you like a hawk. So I had to buy this:
100_0807
(blurry I know but it gives you a better indication of the color since there's no flash)
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(a less-blurry picture w/flash)

Yup. My first Lorna's Laces. I've heard people swear by all types of their yarn. It was $9 a skein. For some reason that seemed reasonable to me. I think it was the mohair madness I had just endured.

Now here's a question for any random mothers that might be reading this that is totally off the knitting topic. Chunky's been singled out by a girl who used to be in his class (he turned 4 and got "promoted" to the Preschool II room) for a playdate. Apparently this little girl has been going on and on about how much she misses Chunky so much that her mom left me a note in his folder this afternoon asking if he could come over and play.

I'm new to this playdate thing. How does it work? Do I have to stay at the little girl's house while they play? How long should it last? It seems like free babysitting to me if I drop him off and I don't want to come off as a mooch. However I like this little girl's mom and we've talked on field trips before--but I find it really hard to relate to some of these mom's of his friends. They're all at different stages in their lives. They had their careers and then their babies. I had Chunky relatively young and me and the Mad Scientist are just now venturing out into the "real world" with him graduating from grad school shortly. Plus I find it's really hard to talk to people once they find out I was born and raised in Alaska. I'm not a freak. And yes, it is a far away place, but it's not so far that you have to ask a million stupid questions about it. So needless to say I'm a little more worried about my role in this playdate than Chunky's!!!!!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

F is For...

Forest

forest
Yes, a stock photo today! What can I say, I know I'm not going to have time for a decent "F" in the next few weeks.

This is a picture of the path we had to take to our campsite when we were camping "up north" back in 2004. It was a lot of fun (except when The Mad Scientist's bosses decided to hide behind a bush in the dark and jump out and scare me as I was walking to the bathrooms--quite embarrasing because I screamed like a girly-girl and I was singing the Oscar Meyer Weiner Song at the time to ward off bears). Chunky loved sleeping in a tent. Unfortunately we haven't been camping since. I love camping. We camped all the time when I was a kid. When you grow up in Alaska and there's six kids in your family, you can't afford expensive vacations. So we would all pile into the 1969 Thunderbird trailer (made to sleep 4 but we squeeze 8 people in there!) and camp all over AK.

Yesterday was The Mad Scientist's birthday. I bought him these:
mats

I got these back when there was a chance of him getting a job at the University of Colorado (the trip he's on right now, except he cancelled the interview--gotta love nonrefundable tickets). He said he'd have to take his "Colorado State University Alumni" windowsticker off his car if he got a job at CU as he'd be parking his car on "enemy" territory. I thought the mats would be a good way for him to "represent" while also staying incognito. But since he'll be at UTSA, it won't matter!

And in knitting news, I finished my first set of socks!
socks

They're not that great, but hey, they were really a first try. I've learned a lot. And the second sock, although it still has flaws, it's still better than the first one. This means I AM learning!

For now I'm a little sock burned out. So last night I cast on a drop-stitch tank top. I had wanted to make the drop stitch one-piece sweater in the winter 2005 issue of IK, however why bother since we'll be in San Antonio where it's about 65-70 degrees this time of year?!

I actually checked my gague on this one (hee hee, shhhh, I NEVER check my gague!) and I had one stitch too many. I figure meh, what the hell, it's just one stitch. But the front is coming out pretty damn wide. I'll keep going, and maybe decrease it a smidge a few inches up. We'll see. I am totally in love with the drop stitch though! It looks great! The pattern calls for that weird Lion Brand ribbon yarn, but I'm doing it with Caron Simply Soft in this pretty seafoam green color. I'll post progress pics later this week.

Friday, March 10, 2006

All's Well That Ends Well

Well, "allegedly" became "actually" last night. The Mad Scientist landed in the Motor City at a little after 2:00 a.m. yesterday.

Lansing is a two hour drive away from Detroit (approximately). However it was raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock last night. I don't drive well in the dark as it is, but add rain and I was truly driving like a grandma! I think that's the worst rainstorm I have ever driven in. There was so much standing water on the damn interstate that I found myself starting to hydroplane. I love my car though. It's a 2000 Buick Century--The Mad Scientist calls it the Beluga Whale--but lemme tell you that old Beluga swam to the airport great last night.

Course we didn't get back to Lansing until about 4:15 a.m. last "night." So I slept until 8:00 a.m. because me and Chunky had to go up and go to school so we could go to the:
circus

YAY! The circus! It was actually a lot of fun! A little longer than I expected (2 hours) but it kept my attention as well as the kids'. Me and Chunky drove his newest friend--we'll call her "Summer" (she's got one of those quasi-hippy names) and I gotta say I was impressed. I've been on many field trips with Chunky's class and I always seem to get the shittiest most ill-behaved rudest kid to drive to wherever we're going. Summer was a delight. She was well behaved, listened to my instructions when we were navigating the Breslin Center and parking lots, and she could hold an intelligent conversation. I told The Mad Scientist that she was like the female version of Chunky. Now I know why Chunky has such an infatuation with her.

Tomorrow is The Mad Scientist's birthday--which should be fun. We're getting a babysitter for Chunky and going out to dinner and to check out a friend's new pool hall she and her husband just opened.

Ok, just because this is a knitting blog, I leave you with a picture of my newest acquisition of yarn that I promised earlier in the week I would post pics of:
germany socks
My six balls of Regia Nation sock yarn in Germany's flag's colors. Hee hee. I'm still working on the second sock of my rainbow-y ones (see posts below). I'm getting a tad better, but I think I need lessons on how to pick up the heel stitches. I keep getting serious ladders. Hopefully I'll have my technique down by the time it's time to start knitting these babies up!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I'm Sock Challenged

Things were looking good for my first "real" sock. Until I hit the toe decreases. Jesus Haploid Christ--from far away the socks look okay:

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Until you get closer:

top

And then even closer:

toe

I get those damn humpy things again. Grr. I think the problem is the K2Tog. Those seem to be giving me the humpy ridges. I think on the next sock what I'll do is just stick to SSKs on the decreases.

So what I have learned sofar about knitting socks:

1. Next time, knit a few rows after the ribbing so the ribbing doesn't go straight to the heel.
2. Be more cautious when picking up stitches on the heel as to prevent a ladder effect on the heel seam.
3. It's ok to knit a little bit longer ankle (I was afraid I'd run out of yarn--I had ample yarn left in the ball when I was done).
4. Try just SSK instead of K2Tog to prevent humpiness.
5. Stick with one pattern instead of Frankensteining a variety of patterns together.
6. Mom was right, horizontal strips DO make you look fat. (God, my ankles aren't that stumpy looking--I swear!!!).

Saturday, March 04, 2006

E is For...

Empty

So The Mad Scientist left today. His plane left an hour ago for San Diego for the annual Society of Toxicologists meeting (SOT). Chunky and I drove him to Detroit. Sigh. I don't mind being alone for nearly a week, and I know in his line of work, travel is not out of the ordinary, but I already miss him. I think I miss him most at night--just having him sleeping on his side of the bed is comforting. So I give you:

Empty

Empty. For empty bed.

Empty actually takes on another meaning for this trip too. I had 3/4 of a tank of gas going to Detroit, but by the time me and Chunky got back into Lansing, I was on fumes. Right as I pulled into the gas station the Empty Tank light came on and started beeping. Ever since I've learned to drive I've never pushed it that far before. Ha ha! Reminds me of that Seinfeld where Kramer and that car salesman take that Saab for a test drive to see how far they can go with the needle on "E".

And in case you're wondering no, we don't make the bed. Why? Because we don't share a large blanket. I've discovered there's more marital bliss if we both have our own quilts/comforters. Back when we dated we tried sharing but one of us always ended up as the blanket hog and the other froze. Plus he was raised on comforters (ew) and I'm a quilt snob, I won't stoop to an impersonal comforter. Ha!

Friday, March 03, 2006

I Have To Admit It's Getting Better

At socks that is. I think I finally found a pattern I freaking like. Everyone says how "easy" socks are, but they require a lot of math--adding, subtracting and division--all the reasons I went into a liberal arts degree program in college. Guh.

Here's my first attempt at a sock using the Basic Sock Pattern from "Learn To Knit Socks" by Edie Eckman and some cheapo Red Heart sportweight baby yarn:

1st Sock

(Springs was on my normal backdrop blanket and looked too comfy to kick off just for a sock picture).

And here's my latest sock using some "real" sock yarn I bought off ebay and a Frankenstein of various sock patterns I found on the web:

2ndsock

Looking better huh? However, check this out:

ladder!

Not the best quality picture but what a lovely ladder. Sigh. I might darn it up once the whole thing is finished. I guess it could be worse huh? That first sock is horrendous! Too short, who knows what the hell I did when I picked up the stitches from the heel, and when I turned the heel, oh my! It created this humpy-seam thing that you can't see in that picture.

Maybe by the time my Regia Nation sock yarn in the German colors comes in, (I checked the tracking on my package--it was in Minnesota on Wednesday...it's gotta be getting close) I'll be more proficient in socks.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Eff-You-Gee

Put 'em together and what do you get? FUG!


Ha ha, it's so refreshing to "meet" other people (even if it is only in cyberspace) as nuts as I am. Most people around here think I'm just that--nuts. No imaginations whatsoever. So when Penny Karma and Domestic Overlord of the knittyboard decided to do a "fug" yankee swap--how could I resist. At first I didn't think I'd have anything to submit (how pompous of me to think that I had no fug I had knitted!) But then I remembered this gem:

f-u-g

Aye camion! What the fuck was I thinking? I think I thought I would actually use this thing (and shhh...if you can keep a secret--I did use this purse once going to work but all my shit kept falling out of it all day.) It's been sitting at the top of a shelf abiding by the out-of-sight-out of mind rule. The First Annual Fug Off brought it back to the surface. I'm sure it's not the fugliest of fug, but it's definately worthy of the fug title I'd like to think. I can't wait to see the muppetastic stuff other people submit. (I'm trying to bring muppetastic into my everyday vocabulary.)