Monday, August 28, 2006

Zipping It.

Sigh. I think I'm going to shut up until I have something interesting to say. A self-induced vow of silence. I don't know if it's the phase of the moon, the alignment of the stars, the impending alleged seasonal change, or the fact I'm in this gigantic depressing dry brown ant infested state that's putting me in a funk. But I think I'm going to take a little vacation from blogging here and other typographical ramblings I partake in to see if that helps.

So, I'm shutting up.........................................



NOW!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Los Pies

I'm hoping for an international foot fetish stalking with that title.

Ok, first up, Stephanie, look away. Seriously, I know you have foot issues, so click away now! Don't say I didn't warn you!

The blogstalking assignment this week was picked by my spawn. When asked if he had a camera and could take a picture of anything in the world what would he take a picture of, Chunky replied, "My feet."

So without further rambling, here's my feet:

100_1644

I won't apologize for my feet. They're ugly. They're blistered (as evidenced by the Batman bandaid there) , calloused, scarred and not really that pretty. But I like them. They've got character. They're not soft and pretty by any means.

Heel shot!

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I love this angle:

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Symmetrical toes!

And finally, what would a foot entry be without a picture of the weirdo who thought up this week's topic?

chunkyfeet!

(That's peach juice--not drool!)

Friday, August 25, 2006

I'm not feeling the love.

Back in um, January? November? (I probably deleted the blog post due to prying eyes.) I bought a drop spindle. I "spun" the sample roving it came with (merino). Wow. No sparks. And the final product sucked. Hard. No worries, every first try at anything sucks. I put the spindle away.

About a month ago, I decided to order some Blue Face Leicester/Alpaca blend from the Yarn Tree with some random money I had in Paypal from the sale of miscellaneous junk over ebay that I didn't want to haul to Texas. Sumptious stuff. It was soft, alpaca and sheep smelly--plain delicious.

I spun a nice little skanklet (skein + hanklet) with it. And another, and another. Whee. They were getting better. But then last night I spun this:

blech

Blah. I think my fling is over. The sex was good for a while, but it's getting routine and boring now. I'm not discouraged by this latest spinnage. I just think it's a reflection of my mood towards spindling right now--I'm not interested.

Don't get me wrong, when I defect to Canada and start my self-sufficient potato farm/commune, this skill will come in handy, but right now I'm just asking myself "why?" What am I going to do with dozens of little skanklets of this or that fiber lying around?

All you can really do is this:

godawful swatches

Oh yeah. It's so over.

Anyone want a few ounces of corridale and BFL/alpaca?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

O is For

Oregano

Oregano

These little buggers survived being knocked over twice by Squeaky and a trip in the back of a moving truck to Texas. Now that they're outside free from feline hitwomen they've taken off. So delicious too! I cut up a few shoots and sprinkled them on our pizza last night.

I also finished some boring socks.

sockotta

They're Plymouth Sockotta. I'm in love with cotton sock yarn. These were knit on my lunch hours outside in the park they have on campus. Yes, they're boring. Very boring in fact. So boring that some days I started to doze off knitting them. Oh well. Despite their dullness, they're my best socks to date. Finally by the fifth pair and I think I've got the heel and toe mastered. I did the inside-out three needle bind off on this pair. Screw kirchner stitching. This is much easier and much sturdier feeling. Contrary to popular belief, there's no annoying toe seam from this method. At least for me!

My next lunch sock project will be the infamous Jaywalkers from some wool Opal. I don't think I'm going to continue the pattern down onto the foot though. So I guess it will be akin to crossing the street a few feet away from the crosswalk, but not actually in it.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Will She Float Or Will She Sink Now? And Why My Mom Rocks.

First up! Will it float?

Well faithful peeps--Chunky came home with the answers!

he

Today was the first day of the "no more summer screwing off" curriculum and they started doing real lesson plans. So yes dear peeps, because I pay $117/week to send Chunky to Pre K, I'll let his findings take center stage:

homework

A boat: Floats
A pinecone: Floats
A playdough boat: Floats
A paperclip: Well it looks like he didn't have time to document this one, but he informs me that it sinks.

I cracked up when he brought this home! The moral? A bunch of grown women are blogging pre kindergarden assignments! Ha ha!

Now onto why my mom rocks.

When we moved, I came across two milk crates of The Mad Scientist's t-shirts from what I have dubbed his "Glory Days." During his Glory Days (i.e. high school), The Mad Scientist ran track and cross country. He amassed a collection of race t-shirts from both school meets and races around Anchorage. He told me to toss them, but then I remembered how back in the day my mom would make commissioned t-shirt quilts for people.

So I mailed them all to her, annotated the ones he really loved (the t-shirt with the running class of 1996 roster on it) and told her to go to town. Here's what she came up with:

100_1615

She just tied it. I didn't want her to get too fancy on his butt. Besides, The Mad Scientist didn't grow up around quilts like I did--tied quilts impress him. Hee hee.

However, she did quilt in his initials:

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And the years he ran on the teams:

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Cool huh? But it gets better! She surprised me with this:

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An awesome ladybug quilted wallhanging!

When I flipped it over I found the inscription:

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My mom has quite the fabric stash and has a little sewing room in the basement of the house I grew up in that is probably equivalent to the size of a decent sized bathroom in most houses. It's stuffed to the gills with fabric. Knitters with large stashes you can relate right? There's just enough room in there for her to sew comfortably. There's not much room for a second person in there.

Anyway, after Saddam Hussein was captured in his spider hole, my dad took to calling mom's sewing room "the spider hole." The name stuck and now she's thinking about starting a business called Spider Hole Quilts. I introduced her to Etsy and I think she ought to go for it.

And yes, I realize that the little bug she drew a picture of on there only has six legs, I'll pretend it's a ladybug to go with the ladybug theme!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

¡Broma o Regalo!

I used to know the little chant that kids in Mexico say when they do their version of trick or treating. It was like four lines long and quite a mouthful. Alas, I have forgotten it.

Where the hell am I going with this? I joined the Day of the Dead Knitalong and finished my first doll (and probably last--Springs barfed on the pattern and I don't have a printer anymore) a few nights ago.

Yeah I got bored last night and had to pose him all cutesy:

con sarape y luz

Pretty rough. But like I said earlier, that's partly what drove me to this KAL. I love the folk arty look of Day of the Dead paraphernalia.

Here he is in the dark. Oooo! Spooky!

sin serape y luz

The KAL was using a doll pattern out of the summer issue of Knit 1. Since I didn't have that magazine and well, I thumbed through the mag earlier this summer and didn't see much else I liked (and I'm not buying a $6 magazine for one pattern), I used the Bad JuJu doll pattern from The Anticraft. You're also supposed to make them to honor someone. I figured I'd pick my most recently dead relative.

This doll is based on the one time I met The Mad Scientist's grandpa. It was shortly after we were married and he dragged me to his family reunion up in Montana where his grandpa and grandma lived on this pretty large plot of land with this kick-ass garden and cherry orchard. One afternoon we were all sitting on his back porch chit chatting or something while the nieces and nephews ran around in the back yard. I can't remember who spotted it first, but a baby bird had fallen from a birdhouse on a pole he had mounted near the perimeter of his yard. Apparently the ants had started to attack the baby bird (DAMN ANTS! I HATE THEM! But that's a different entry!). The kids debated whether they should touch the bird because of that old wives' tale that states if you touch a baby bird, the mother will smell the human on it and quit feeding it.

The Mad Scientist's grandpa took charge and gently picked up the bird in his gnarled hands and tossed it towards the birdhouse. Sure enough the little bird flew! And his mom accepted him back into the birdhouse! I guess since I only ever met him once that's the one thing about him that I remember the most.

He died after a year and a half (or so) battle with colon cancer on July 12. (Apparently that's a long time to last with colon cancer if you're not actively treating it like he decided to do). He was 89.

What's kind of weird, is right around the time he was on his deathbed, or shoot, even really close to the day he died (The Mad Scientist didn't get the email about his death until a week after the fact), I was on the phone with The Mad Scientist. He was outside talking to us and encountered a baby bird that had fallen from his nest in the lamp above the backdoor to our old apartment complex. When I hung up with him that night, he was going to try to pick up the bird and get him back to his nest.

Cosmic.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Larger Picture

Oh the suspense! Surrrre. Like I said yesterday, I think Libi guessed most of these (or came the closest)!

Here's #1:

topper

Our wedding cake topper. Of course I made it. My Old Man joked that it looked like something they'd have at a funeral on top of a casket. Ha!

#2:

paddywhacker

My Chinese Paddywhacker. Actually I'm not sure what it's officially called. My mother had a friend living in China during the last Year of the Boar. Knowing my affinity for all things pig, she brought this back. Apparently it's used to make a rice mold--I think??? I want to say they make these rice cakey molded things on New Year's Eve. I honestly don't know.

#3:

bank

Continuing with the pig theme here--number three was the cork to my piggy bank. A close high school gave me this for my sixteenth birthday. Shortly thereafter we parted ways (she got married and graduated from high school--at 16!). It's actually just a clay pot tipped on its side with a pig face made near the opening and some stubby little legs attached.

And finally, #4:

fan

Most of you got this right. It's the mini fan in Chunky's room. I've had this since I was 19 and used to work the basement of an office of a military office in Alaska. They don't have A/C in Alaska. This thing has the dust of four states on it now! There's no way to pull it apart to clean.

Now I'm off to research IRAs. I got the paperwork in the mail for my old work 401K today. It has become blantantly clear I know jack about investing money fpr retirement. Why bother? Social Security is projected (at this point in time anyway) to dry up a year before I'm old enough to qualify. I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact I'll be flipping burgers at McDonalds or tearing tickets at a movie theater when I'm 65.

In the meantime what the hell's the difference between a traditional IRA and an individual IRA? For once I think this is something I'm going to have to actually interact with people to figure out how to do and won't be able to do it all over the internet.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Third Grade Served Me Well

I learned how to kiddie weave in third grade. Why is this relevant? I finished my muñeca for the Day of the Dead Knitalong last night. I figured he needed a little mini-serape to complete him. It seemed more fitting to weave him one, so I broke out the cardboard and crappy yarn.

blurry and away

A closer shot:

closeup

I'm digging this knitalong because the little day of the dead dolls can be pretty rough/folk arty. So my pathetic excuse for weaving and the embroidering on my doll can be overlooked! I'll post pictures of him this weekend once I get his finishing touches finalized.

Tomorrow I'll post full pictures of the wannabe macros I took earlier this week. I think Libi came the closest. And I was right to disqualify T.! Beeyotch guessed all of them right even though we haven't lived together for seven years!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sweat Socks

I'm such a freaking sheep! I'll follow what anyone's doing! I think it was Poops that started the blossoming of drink cozies. I know Turtlegirl did one for her nalgene water bottle.

So seeing as I get pretty sweaty walking to work (that's right people it's 80 degrees here at 7:00 a.m.) from BFE where I am assigned to park my car--I realized I was spending $1 in the vending machine for a bottle of water every morning. But to bring my own water, would mean it would get all sweaty in my bag. What to do?

Problem solved! I made my waterbottle a sweat sock!

100_1565

Absorbs the sweat off my bottle like a dream!

And what's a sweatsock without some stinky feet?

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Dangit.

Sigh. I think I deleted Lupe and Shawnee. Bummer.

But on the plus side, I guess this gives me a reason to shoot a new Yarno.

Hmm. I'm off to let some ideas simmer.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Guessing Game

Ok blogstalkers, invited and otherwise, it's your chance to figure out what these pictures are! Since I don't have a macro option on my camera, you're getting probably a bigger picture than what you'll see on other blogstalking participant's blogs.

Oh and T., yeah you're not allowed to guess since believe it or not, I owned all of these things when I was still living at home! (Maybe I'm a packrat?)

#1:
Que es esto?

#2:
Ohyouonlywishthefilenamegaveitaway

#3:
whatevercoulditbe?

#4:
thinkharddammnit!

No prize for the winner who comes the closest, just fame and glory. What else does a person need?

I'll post full pictures and rambling comments to explain them later on this week.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Vulture Yarn Scores

I heard through the grapevine that Wild String, an online yarn store, was going out of business. I clicked on over there Wednesday or Thursday and scored some yarn.

I opted for parcel post, the cheapest slowest shipping and yet the package arrived today!

package

She sent it priority mail with delivery confirmation. It's a shame she's going out of business, I wish I had discovered this store sooner!

Anyway--in that picture you can see 4 balls of America's Alpaca Classic Alpaca (Color: 1800):

alpaca

And one skein of Southwest Trading Company Bamboo (Color: Serendipity):

bamboo

Yeah, not the greatest close ups, but in the amateur yarn porn business we gotta keep it real.

I must have gotten the last ball of Serendipity because at $5 a ball (normally $13.50) I tried to increase the number and my shopping cart wouldn't let me. This entire haul? $22 including S&H. If I had just ordered the Bamboo it would have cost me that much alone. Now, what does one do with 250 yards of bamboo? I bought it mainly for the curiosity factor--I've never knit with it before.

I've got plans for the alpaca. I'd like to try to make Knucks. After seeing them on Stacie's blog, I'm really digging them. Allegedly it gets "cold" around here. 50 degrees in winter would warrant a fingerless glove right?

I'm going to have to go through my ever-growing stash and start assigning some patterns to what I've got on hand. I've got so many beautiful yarns I'm ruminating about. Including the gorgeous handspun llama Sarah sent me. I'm dying to knit with that--but I've got to just find the right pattern, the one that "fits" it!

Chunky and I ventured out to the ghetto mall today. More like this was a mall that had a Hobby Lobby and a Joann Fabrics. The Hobby Lobby was most impressive. They had a whole aisle of fake fruit! Chunky really loves fake fruit for some reason and as long as I let him go through that aisle, he's pretty well behaved the rest of the time we're there. Their yarn selection isn't as great as Lansing was. Ah well.

The Joann's sucked big green pickles. But I think that's more because I was spoiled shopping at a Joann Etc. super store in Lansing. But it reminded me of a sweet little Joann store in Alaska that's located in a very similar ghetto mall where small airplanes have been known to land in the parking lot and gang shootings aren't as uncommon as you think they would be in Alaska.

Alright, off to put Chunky to bed!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

N is For & My Dinner Last Night

N is for New

I realized I had no where to put my cool stitchmarkers I've recently acquired from my bestest CASPs (Sherry and my Dear Knitting Pig). When I was in the shower (I come up with my best ideas in the shower) I remembered that I had this tin pen box that The Mad Scientist had brought home a few years ago from his annual International Toxicology Festival. It's a weeklong conference they hold every year and they have what The Mad Scientist has dubbed "Swag Day." On Swag Day, all of the pharmaceutical and research companies hand out company swag. Pens, totebags, laser pointers, foam Viagra shaped stress balls, etc. One year he came home with a stuffed pig wearing a company t-shirt. Ends up that company does a majority of their research using pigs as test subjects. Chunky loves that little pig. If only he knew!

Anyway, back to N! I took some scrapbookpaper I had lying around, glued it to the pen box and shellacked the hell out of it. I also did the same thing to an old seed bead container. Now I have something to put my yarn needles into and toss into my purse. Totally new containers!

Ta da!

closed


open

I'll also kill the blogstalking bird with this stone and show you what I had for dinner last night:

dinner, woo.

Mmm. One and a half baked chicken tenders and raw broccoli. What can I say? Chunky hates cooked broccoli. He'll only eat it raw. Which is fine, I think it contains more vitamins and nutrients uncooked anyway. With The Mad Scientist gone and temperatures still in the 100s, I'm a pretty uninspired summer cook.

Finally I leave you with an obligatory Chunky picture. I was on the phone tonight with The Mad Scientist and Chunky came out of his bedroom wearing this ensemble:

Chunky

It's Tex Coolshades Ramfan Dark Invader! (He calls Darth Vader "Dark Invader") What a dork! But I love him, so I guess I'll keep him. Hee hee!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bitchin' Mittens and a Salute

I never put a button up on my sidebar, but I joined this great KAL called Bitchin' Mittens. The rules? Well there really aren't any rules, you just knit a pair of mittens. I've never knit mittens so I figured what the hey, I'll give it a whirl.

I give to you my Bitchin' Mittens:

MI Mitts

I call them “I Left My Heart In Lansing.”

Here’s the quick back story for peeps just now tuning in. My husband is a Ph.D student at Michigan State University. His defense date is his white whale. Every time it looks like it’s coming close, it slips away. He’s already got a post-doctoral position lined up at the University of Texas San Antonio. I quit my job in early May thinking Moby would be captured the end of June. Moby got away again.

I couldn’t remain unemployed in Lansing and couldn’t find employment there (who’s going to hire someone for a few months?) and all the temp work I checked into was non-existent. If you live in Michigan, you know how crummy the job market is there right now.

So I found a job, and me and my four year old son packed up and moved to San Antonio while husband finishes up his whaling trip. Hopefully in a few months he’ll be down here with us with a Ph.D. and a load of muktuk.

If you’ve ever lived in Michigan, you’ll know exactly what these mittens represent. For you non-Michiganders here’s the explanation. Michigan is shaped like a pair of two mittens. People use their hands as visual maps when you ask where they’re from/where a certain city is, etc.

“You see here? Saginaw is located right about here between the thumb and that crease right there.”

I thought it was completely clever the first time someone did this to me. But then I realized shortly thereafter that everyone did this.

So for this project, I sewed beads onto major cities that seem easily recognizable (at least to me). And of course, Lansing is represented by the heart. The mittens are connected by the Mackinaw Bridge. Sadly the six years we lived in Michigan, we never made it to see the bridge or the UP (Upper Peninsula). I guess being born in Alaska you don’t get too excited about remoteness and lush greenery.

The mittens are made from a recycled superwash wool sweater dyed with Koolaid.

Why orange mittens? Why not? Can I get away with saying they’re the same color of a sunset over Lake Huron?

I didn’t follow any pattern, I just forged ahead and knit them. I’m actually quite proud of how they pretty much match up. Can I get away with saying that they’re supposed to represent a map and not supposed to match completely?

They’ve got an element of absurdity to them now that we’re in Texas. I showed them to my son, Chunky, before I sewed the beads and bridge on and he informed me matter of factly that I didn’t need mittens in Texas!

So that, my peeps, is the story of my Bitchin’ Mittens entitled “I Left My Heart In Lansing.”

Shifting gears, I received the invitation for the "Back To School" dinner for the department I work at. Everyone at work has been talking about this thing. About how excited they are to meet Chunky. In small letters next to the sentence "Casual attire--outdoor dinning" it says: Adults Only, Please.

So I just want to give a shoutout to all single moms out there. You don't truly appreciate how sucky your social life can be when you're raising your kid alone. Well ok, maybe it wouldn't be so sucky if I wasn't new in town and didn't know anyone.

Oh well, it's not my fault that they don't allow children. They'll just be denied the sparkling conversation Chunky can provide. Sucks to be them.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Two Updates in One Day?

Yup. That's right. I've been sans computer for less than a week, so I feel like a junkie on a high right now. I even got the highspeed internet to work. Holy crap! It's so fast! I feel like I've traded in my Model T for a stock car!

However, with my internet being down I did finish and start some new things.

On Friday I finished my Soleil while watching Brokeback Mountain:

soleil

I messed up the crocheted edging because I was so involved in the movie. What can I say? Man on man love is distracting for your first time crocheting. I have to admit I actually cried when I saw that movie (I think because The Mad Scientist isn't around and I don't have to worry about being mocked?). But the weird thing is, I cried when they were showing the scenery scenes as well. I know they didn't film that in Wyoming (I've been to Wyoming, it really didn't look anything like that!), but it reminded me a lot of home. Must be close to a full moon or something.

Here I am in all my stumpy torsoed square headed glory modeling it:

good lord

I had some issues with rolling at the bottom. I was able to block out most of the roll and by the end of the day Monday when I actually wore it the roll had started to come back just a little. Oh and you'll notice I didn't do the v-neck like the pattern originally called for. I started free-knitting it when I got to the neck/armholes. I didn't understand the directions as printed and quite honestly I like a scoop neck more than a v-neck anyway!

Third time was a charm with the Texas Trio of Thrifty Tank Tops. And I am now a Sinfonia convert! That stuff was wonderful!! 100% mercerized cotton heaven!

Next up, I started a log cabin block:

log cabin

It's only half done in this picture, but I had to capture it in the early evening sun. I'll be doing a jajillion blocks like this and sewing them together as a nice little afghan for our new bed. I'm working with TLC Cotton Plus. My CASP must have known I have a thing for that yarn. Now if only I could find it at the dollar store like she did!

And finally, after seeing these pop up on blogs everywhere, I had to make a Dream Swatch from The Garter Belt:

dream swatch

Check out that stockinette. Does it look twisted to you? I knit it exactly the way I always knit--through the back loop. Now why when I knit in the round does it turn out twisted, but when I knit like that flat it looks normal? Huh.

It's too short to be a scarf, but it's oh so beautiful. I made it out of that skein of Berocco Cotton Twist I picked up at the Yarn Barn when I came down to interview here. I might have to stop by there again soon. But I just shelled out a pretty penny for this computer, so maybe not.

Ok, enough verbal diarrhea for one day. Tomorrow I'll be showing off my Bitchin' Mittens. I finished those too, but they deserve their own post.

Dude, I'm getting a Dell!

So I ordered a low-grade-more-high-tech-than-Windows-98-but-not-too-expensive Dell on Friday.

The best part? I forgot that Dell is based out of Austin, TX. Hee hee! God willing I'll be hooked up and ready to go tonight!

Friday, August 04, 2006

No Glove No Love

I guess I should have seen it coming. But quite honestly, buying virus protection for the fossil computer slipped my mind. And it's quite hard to find a decent virus protection program for dialup. Half the time you can't download security patches and live updates.

I turned on the fossil last night only to have it tell me "Cannot read C drive." Ah, lovely!

But this is why we have a rainy day fund, and today and tomorrow are tax-free days, so I'm going to see if those cover computer purchases. I don't need anything fancy and I've got all the periphrials (screen, keyboard, speakers, mouse, etc) already. So all I have to purchase is a new hard drive.

Why not just go get the old computer de-virused? Um, yeah, there's stuff on that computer that might hurt my presidential campaign someday. Plus the computer is Windows 98. It would probably cost more to repair the thing than it's worth. It's time to upgrade.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Dear Texas: Kiss My Alaskan Ass

As most of you know, someone stole my bumper stickers last night (Chunky calls them sticker bumps!)

They took my "Alaska Girls Kick Ass" sticker and my "I Support The Guy In China Making these Idiotic Magnets" sticker (and it has a picture of one of those yellow ribbons.) Don't get me wrong, I support the troops, but does it really help a soldier much when you shell out a $1.50 at Walmart to buy a Made In China "Support Our Troops" magnet to stick on your SUV? No. Do something more supportive with that $1.50. Send them a postcard...something!

But as The Mad Scientist told me, I still kick ass, and although you can take the girl out of Alaska, you can't take Alaska out of the girl. Aww...he's so sweet.

Moving onto better, happier things, I must share with you the supreme spoilage of my kick ass (yeah, I might just overuse that term in this entry) CASP!

Check this out!

table

That's the contents of two packages from my dear Knitting Pig. (Minus the Amish pig basket in the middle there--my mother in law gave that to me) It was two packages due to the fact she had the first one ready right as we were leaving Lansing.

Here's some of my favorite stuff she sent me, she's obviously crafty:

stitchmarkers oh my!

Some beautiful stitchmarkers and a bracelet (for my belated birthday). Not the best picture, but I was totally excited. And is it strange if you want to start using stitchmarkers even though your pattern doesn't need them? They're just so pretty I can't wait to use them!!!

Next up is a needle roll she made me out of this cute green elephant fabric and she included some size 13 circulars with a note that they've been through 4 swaps and if I can use them do it, otherwise keep them going. I've got a pair of 13 circulars, and honestly even if I didn't, I'd have to keep the chain alive!!!

needles and needlecase

And finally, she honed in on my penchant for pigs and knitted me this washcloth:

pig cloth

The color is nowhere near that color in the picture--it's more of a piggy-pink. But I couldn't get the pig stitch definition to "pop" when I had the flash on.

I've decorated my kitchen in a pig theme and this guy is NOT going to be used for dishes--he's going on display!

The pictures here are just a small fraction of cool stuff she sent me!! I still can't get over it! She's crafty, creative, watches Sesame Street, lives in Ohio (I think), and totally made my day/week/month!!!

Knitting Pig, you kick ass!