Wednesday, May 31, 2006

New stash storage

First thing's first: as promised, my stash at the moment. It's all in ziploc bags! And I can SEE everything; if I need something, I don't have to go digging through half a dozen LYS bags to find it.

What's where? The bin on the top left has odds and ends and leftovers; next to it on the right are the yarns I have enough for a largish project (and a couple of WIPs); the center left has my dyeing experiments (and a bag of Wool in the Woods that I thought could go with my dyed stuff for inspiration); center right are yarns that I have enough of to do something small, plus my fabric stash; bottom left bin has other crafting supplies (mostly cross-stitch and oil painting related); and the bottom right is my iron and a towel for blocking purposes.

The cloth-covered bins came from Ikea. They're part of the "Komplement" closet fixtures line, and they're fairly sturdy. They're the 11 3/4" x 13 3/4" size, and I got them thinking, "I wonder if these will fit in the cubes on the wire thing." (I hadn't measured, and figured that if they didn't fit, I'd find somewhere else to use them.) Turns out that they fit PERFECTLY. Consider this a PSA to anyone who's looking for storage boxes to put in one of those sets of wire cubes.


Wow, just saw an ad for How to Get the Guy on ABC. Whoopee, another reality show. Anyway, they proclaim that the hosts are "two love experts"... but the female half of their hosting duo is Teresa Strasser, who hosted While You Were Out on TLC. She's a "love expert" now? Is this like when Jacqui Malouf from Hot Off The Grill turned up on Things I Hate About You on Bravo as a "relationship expert"?

Monday, May 29, 2006

My Memorial Day weekend

Well, I had a productive weekend. Not productive knitting-wise, but productive otherwise.

On Friday, I decided to go to Ikea. I've been wanting to replace my DVD shelves or my crappy wire cube bookshelves for a while now, and this was Ikea's Summer Sale weekend. I got a pair of about 3' high bookshelves, and various other things from the bins they have throughout the store. I was glad that I went during the day, because it wasn't crazy-crowded... until I got to the checkout. For whatever reason, no matter how busy Ikea is, they will ONLY open 4 registers of the 20+ registers that they have. The lines end up stretching back almost to the warehouse, but NO, let's not open more registers. The line for the self-checkout wasn't bad, so I decided to do that since I had fewer than 10 items. Unfortunately, everyone in front of me was a moron and kept getting error messages that the poor self-checkout overseer employee had to take care of (she looked ready to murder this one couple). Their self-checkouts are a bit fiddly, but they're really not that difficult... I went with the scan-"skip bagging" method, and didn't break the machine at all. :)

The woman behind me in line, incidentally, didn't understand that "10 items or less" applied to her. She had something like 30 items, and the checkout girl was so fed up with people at this point that she watched until the woman had scanned 10 items and told her, "You've scanned your 10, you have to cash out now." Bitchy as hell, but I was laughing inside.

I spent all day Saturday at work, where I was recruited to help open tomorrow, because there'll be a huge backlog from 2 days being closed. I got a couple of rows of my mitered square Manos bag done on break, and I didn't smack the man who asked me if I was "tall enough" to work there, ha ha. I think that says a lot about me.

Saturday night was spent assembling bookshelves and relocating books. The pathetic thing (besides me spending a Saturday night assembling Ikea furniture) is that almost all of my books fit on one shelving unit. Obviously, I need more books.

Yesterday, I put together bookshelf #2, finished moving my books around, and started moving my stash to the wire cube thing. The wire cubes didn't work for books, but they're fantastic for stash storage. That's right, my stash no longer lives on the floor in a corner of my bedroom! All of my yarn is organized, and it's all in plastic bags to keep critters away (since now it's near a window that isn't exactly critter-proof). It looks more like an official stash now.

There was also a lot of general cleaning going on... Compared to my normal weekend routine of "Sleep; watch Food Network; eat", it was a weirdly busy weekend. I'm stoked to have actual stash storage, though. (As soon as my camera batteries charge up, I'll be sharing pictures. That's just how dorky I am).

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Cache Coeur Bergamo

Cache Coeur Bergamo

Pattern: Cache Coeur Bergamo, from Weekend Knitting
Yarn: Rowan Cotton Tape, "Electric", 6 balls
Needles: Size 10 for body, size 9 for border

Since I didn't use Bergamo yarn, is mine technically a "Cache Coeur Cotton Tape"?

Finished yesterday afternoon. I had all of the knitting done on Tuesday night, and then spent yesterday weaving in the ends and adjusting the armholes. The instructions for the armholes are exactly the same for all sizes, which... huh? You bind off 12 stitches with a three-needle bindoff to create the side seam, regardless of the size you're making. As such, the armholes come out HUGE, which then makes the tops of the sleeves stick out at a fairly unattractive angle. I seamed an extra 2" on the bottom of each armhole, and that took care of it.

The only other "modification" I made was that I worked the border around the opening in the round.

Cache Coeur Bergamo, border

The border... the border took a while. It came out great, and it's a nice added detail, but it was time-consuming. 240 stitches (this is for the small size), each of which get wrapped 4 times, so there are basically 960 stitches on the needles at one point. It makes for some very crowded needles and some really tight stitches that don't want to slide anywhere without some force. I ended up working that row of the border with the "sock on 2 circulars" method, because there was no way all of the stitches would have fit on one needle. And of course, I got to the last set of stitches and found that I was one stitch short, but there was NO WAY I was frogging, and I couldn't find a dropped stitch. So, one of my sets of crossed stitches only has 7 stitches, not 8, but you can't see it unless you're really looking for it.

Up next: finishing one of my other 4 projects. Probably Mon Petit Chou, since I'm in a knitalong for that and I feel bad that I haven't touched it in a few days.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Penultimate Cache Coeur update (I hope)

Cache Coeur news: I have two correctly seamed shoulders, two side bands picked up and seamed to create the side seams and armholes, and I've picked up the 240 stitches around the opening for the border. I got a lot of that done while watching 10.5 Apocalypse. I love bad TV disaster movies to begin with, and this particular one has Carlos Bernard in it... I'm still mad that they killed him off of 24. The scene towards the end of last season, when Mandy was holding him hostage and he was shirtless for no real reason? That was AWESOME. (Hang on, I'm having a shallow moment...)

Great. Now I have the word "shirtless" on my blog. I bet I'll get some fantastic search hits from that. I already had someone searching for "lolita jen", which... ew (thanks, Lolita Legs socks from Knitty, for that one). I hope whomever it was got a kick out of finding a geeky 20-something's knitting blog. I'm sure that was EXACTLY what they were hoping to find. Good news: there's porn here. Bad news: it's all yarn porn.

Anyway, I'm hoping that my next Cache Coeur update goes something like, "I'm done!" It depends how long this border takes. Every stitch gets wrapped 4 times to create elongated stitches, and then you cross the long stitches over each other in groups of 4. It looks neat, but it's time-consuming.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

My latest LYS trip

Well, I just got back from Stitch DC. I can't share pictures of my purchases, because everything I got is for my SP! I had fun finding stuff for her.

I went to the Capitol Hill location today. It seemed like they didn't have as many different yarns as they used to. One of my favorite things to drool over is the Manos wool, but they no longer have it at that location. That wasn't the only yarn that seemed to be missing (and the shelves were full, so it wasn't just that they were out of stock of a lot of things). I wonder if they're trying to vary their stock between the three stores; the last time I was at the Chevy Chase store, they had tons of Manos, tons of Blue Sky cotton... If they have started only carrying certain yarns in one location, I'll be cranky.

One new thing that they had was qiviut yarn. It was very soft... but at $70 for about 240 yards of slightly-thicker-than-laceweight, I did NOT bring any home with me. I liked the stuff, but I definitely wasn't head-over-heels "I HAVE TO HAVE THIS" in love with it. Seriously, $70 for a ball of yarn smaller than my fist? That's insane. However, I got some good stuff for my SP. :)

On the Metro to and fro, I worked on my good ol' Manos mitered square bag. Right now, it's the only portable project I have. My other projects are either at a seaming stage, at a pain-in-the-ass cast-on stage, on a stitch holder because I needed the needle for a more pressing project, or something I don't really want to work on in public. I knew I wanted something to work on during the ride, and I hadn't touched this bag in months, so out it came. I got about half a square done on the Metro. The ride, by the way, seemed to take no time at all, and the station announcements were clear and understandable. It was like Bizarro Day.

Take two on the shoulder seams for my Cache Coeur will be happening later. At least we know I'll be paying close attention to left vs. right... :)

Why I shouldn't seam when slightly distracted

I'm through with both the front pieces and the back of my Cache Coeur. The next step is to Kitchener stitch the shoulder seams, which I did during Monk this evening. I got done with the one seam, held it up... it was a lovely seam, except that I had sewn the left front piece to the right side (and by "right side", I don't mean "correct side").


At this point, I had a good laugh and smacked myself. My theory on knitting projects is that any easy project will have at least one thing go wrong to make up for the lack of difficulty. Knitting karma, if you will.

So, the seam has been ripped out, and I'll have another go at it tomorrow (because right now, it's bedtime).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Some more handdyed stuff

Well, I tried more dyeing, and it's a lot of fun to use dye that isn't Kool-Aid. Suddenly, there are WAY more colors available.

This particular skein was one that I had dyed before, with Kool-Aid. It was originally kettle-dyed in a minty green color (a combo of a packet each of lemonade and something blue). I was going to dye sections of it in a light purple, blue, different green, and leave about 1/4 of it in the original green. However, the dye was WAY more concentrated than I gave it credit for, so I got jewel toned purple, blue, and different green. At that point, the minty green looked weird with the other colors, so I dyed that section brown.

I love how it turned out. I'm much more into jewel tones than pastels, so this a much more "me" color scheme than the one I had in my head. I need to dye another skein to match, and then I can make some socks.

And I got my Knittyboard SP match this morning! Woohoo!

ETA: It's been pointed out that I didn't mention what I used to dye the yarn: good ol' Wilton's icing dye. :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Nothing about knitting

Ok, if you know me, you know I don't get political or issue-driven very often. Bearing that in mind, here's some info from

Network Neutrality — or "Net Neutrality" for short — is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet.

Net Neutrality ensures that all users can access the content or run the applications and devices of their choice. With Net Neutrality, the network's only job is to move data — not choose which data to privilege with higher quality service.

The nation's largest telephone and cable companies — including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner — want to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow and which won't load at all.

They want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. They want to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video — while slowing down or blocking their competitors.

These companies have a new vision for the Internet. Instead of an even playing field, they want to reserve express lanes for their own content and services — or those from big corporations that can afford the steep tolls — and leave the rest of us on a winding dirt road.

On the Internet, consumers are in ultimate control — deciding between content, applications and services available anywhere, no matter who owns the network. There's no middleman. But without Net Neutrality, the Internet will look more like cable TV. Network owners will decide which channels, content and applications are available; consumers will have to choose from their menu.

The Internet has always been driven by innovation. Web sites and services succeeded or failed on their own merit. Without Net Neutrality, decisions now made collectively by millions of users will be made in corporate boardrooms. The choice we face now is whether we can choose the content and services we want, or whether the broadband barons will choose for us.

I've seen this brought up today on a number of the food blogs that I read, and thought I'd pass it on. If you want to help support Net Neutrality, head on over to Save The Internet and sign the petition (which automatically sends an e-mail or web post to your senator and representatives).

Monday, May 15, 2006

Only 1 more week of 24? :(

I got back today from a weekend trip up to NJ. It was very last minute -- I didn't know I was going until Friday night, and I drove up on Saturday.

Yesterday, my parents and I went to the Mother's Day brunch at my grandmother's retirement complex. I love the bizarre assortment of food you can get away with at brunch. I had a waffle and some bacon and hash browns... and roast beef with wine sauce. And I actually WORE MY CLAPOTIS for the first time ever! Not as a wrap, just as a scarf, but it still counts.

Last night my parents and I went down the shore for dinner at Henny's, which is a restaurant in Stone Harbor where (I think) I had my first "dining out" experience at the ripe old age of 6 months. The place has been there forever (my dad used to go there when HE was a kid). If it hadn't been 50 degrees out when we were done with dinner, we probably would have stopped off at Springer's for ice cream. (The lines for this place are usually halfway down the block. If you're ever anywhere remotely near Stone Harbor NJ, go to Springer's. There isn't a bad flavor in the lot.)

Knitting-wise, I finished the Petticoat sock I was working on, and got about a third of the way through the left front of my Cache Coeur. Tonight during Prison Break and 24, I got started on the back of the Mon Petit Chou hipsters. I can't believe next week is the season finale of 24... And I can't believe that Kiefer pronounced "nuclear" correctly in tonight's episode! I almost fell off the couch.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Lots of knitting news!

It's been a very busy, very productive 48 hours, knitting-wise.

I went to the Annapolis knitting group yesterday. I hadn't even sat down yet when one of the women, Marsha, said, "Oh good, you're here. I have something for you." She then pulled out a bag full of Wool in the Woods single skeins, in mostly blues and purples and greens. We've all decided that she's the yarn fairy. I may have stopped breathing for a few seconds when I saw this stuff.

So... pictures of everything!

Wool in the Woods, new stash additions

Wool in the Woods Sprout

Wool in the Woods Southern Rose

Wool in the Woods Seeds-n-Such
Wool in the Woods Feelin Fuzzy

Wool in the Woods Double Kiss

Wool in the Woods Cottage

But wait, it's not all "me getting gorgeous free yarn". As of yesterday morning, I had finished the back of my Cache Coeur:
Cache Coeur Bergamo, back

As of this morning, I had the back and right front completed:
Cache Coeur Bergamo, right front

That's right, I started and finished the right front yesterday. I started it at Barnes & Noble (around 1:30), and finished it last night around 7:30... If I haven't said it yet, I love this pattern.

I got home last night, and was still in a knitting mood... so I stayed up until I finished the front of the Mon Petit Chou hipsters.

I got a LOT done yesterday. :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sometimes, I love product tie-ins

So, at Giant yesterday, I found myself staring at a display of white chocolate Pirates of the Caribbean "Pirate Pearls" M&M's. And like I wasn't already going to buy some, they have little pirate designs on them: skulls and cannons and boats... Obviously, if you're someone who doesn't like white chocolate, they're gross. If you're me, they're pretty tasty.

They should have white chocolate M&M's all the time.

Knitting stuff is coming along. I got a good amount done on Mon Petit Chou during NCIS, House, and SVU last night. Right now, I'm on row 50 of the front of the hipsters... I've only had to seriously rip back once (knock on wood: I've caught most of my mistakes on the same row, but I had one missed YO that I didn't catch for three rows). Most of the lace pattern is an 8-stitch repeat that's easy to remember, so it's going well.

The back of my Cache Coeur is done. I have to do the 2 front sections and the picked-up border (and the seaming), but considering how quickly the back went, the rest of it shouldn't take too long either. Weeks, not months (it would be less time if I didn't have 5 different projects and a newly-discovered attraction to spinning). And spinning... drafting correctly makes a huge difference.

Dharma Brand Generic T-Shirt. Hee.

Monday, May 08, 2006

My first handspun!

First spinning attempt - swatch
Well, last night I was sitting there staring at my roving, then staring at my new drop spindle, then staring at the roving some more... after doing that for a little while, I decided to figure out how to use the spindle. I found a couple of online tutorials, prepped about 8" of my bundle of roving, and got started trying to spin. I got so enthralled that I missed all of my usual Sunday night TV shows. When I got done, I had a few yards of spun yarn. I soaked it and let it dry overnight to set the twist, and this morning I had this. Actual yarn! Enough to make a swatch!

Now that I have a better idea of how to use the drop spindle, I feel pretty good about trying to spin the rest of this roving. I've been doing more today, and am improving at keeping it closer to a uniform thickness. The "thick" parts of the thick-thin were very puffy on the test spinning (as you can probably see), but they're much less noticeable on what I've spun today.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Maryland Sheep & Wool

Well, I have survived my first Sheep & Wool. I went yesterday, and although it was a long and somewhat tiring day, it was also a great time.

First off, it's HUGE. And somehow, even though there were tons of people there, there were only a couple of times when I felt uncomfortably crowded. I loved that some of the vendors had animals with them -- sheep, goats, rabbits, alpacas, even llamas. There was so much yarn to pet and look at, and so much food to eat (I was close to getting a fried twinkie, but I just couldn't do it)...

Some aimless wandering at first, but I came to a stop at the Wool in the Woods stall. I poked around and got this:

Double Kiss

2 skeins of Double Kiss in what I think is "Raspberry Fizz". It's a rayon mini-boucle that I've used before, and it drapes really nicely. Most of the WITW yarns that I've seen in the yarn stores are variegated, so when I saw this particular color, I had to buy it.

Next up at The Fold, I found an obnoxious pink and turquoise bundle of roving that made me laugh... And then I decided that I loved it and had to bring it home with me, even though I have never spun in my life:

Roving Roving closeup
4.6 oz of merino roving from Gypsy Girl Creations, appropriately named "Cotton Candy".

I also found this drop spindle at Millpoint Emporium to go along with my new roving:

Drop Spindle
All of their drop spindles were nice, but I liked this one the best. The whorl is Brazilian cherry. Without knowing the first thing about spinning, I think it has a nice weight to it, and feels balanced. Now I just have to learn how to use it. :)

I thought I was done for the day, but then I saw the sock yarns at Ellen's Half Pint Farm:

Merino/SilkMerino/Silk closeup

I absolutely loved the colors. It's 50% merino/50% silk, so I may or may not use it for socks -- I'm not sure how well the yarn would hold up with that much wear.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It's about time.

I knew there was a reason I decided not to get the remastered re-edited "George Lucas's Crushing Hatred for his Fans" edition of the Star Wars trilogy...

From "Original Unaltered Trilogy on DVD"

If they had just done this in the first place, they might not have alienated every Star Wars fan over the age of 12. Notice how they're not releasing the originals by themselves; they're just "bonus material" on another release of the remastered versions. *rolls eyes*

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Is today "Idiot Driver Day"?

I didn't really feel like going out today, but I was in danger of running out of toilet paper (one of three grocery items that I will make a trip for if I'm out, no matter what). So, I headed out and encountered the following morons:

1. As I got into my car in the parking lot, I saw a car sitting in front of one of the buildings near mine (about 4 doors away). As I pulled out of my parking space, it was still just sitting there. You can imagine my surprise when it came tearing around me on the road out of the parking lot (which, yes, only has one lane each way).

2. A guy in a pick-up truck made a right turn 10 feet in front of me, when he could have waited 2 seconds and would have had no traffic coming at all.

3. I was getting ready to make a right turn into the gas station for a car wash (I had prepaid for one a couple of weeks ago, and my code expires tomorrow). Opposing traffic had a green left-turn arrow, and a UPS truck was making the left, so I was waiting for him to turn before I turned. Then, an ambulance shows up behind me, lights on, sirens wailing. And the UPS truck just STOPS right in front of me, so that I can't get out of the way of the ambulance. I swear, the UPS driver just stared at the ambulance for about 10 seconds, and then very slowly finished his turn.

4. I managed to get to the store unscathed. This jackass in a parking spot on the end of one of the aisles decided to back out of his spot... directly into the main traffic lane in front of the store (cutting about 5 feet in front of my car). It gets better. He pulled over so close to the store that it looked like he was probably picking somebody up, and he stopped for a second, so I tried to go around him. At this point, he pulls back out into the flow of traffic, and I had to quickly turn down one of the aisles to avoid him sideswiping my car.

This all happened in about 10 minutes. I'm just glad that I've made it home safely in time for the funniest episode of TNG ever: "Night Terrors". I have Gatorade, I have Pepto-Bismol, I have more soup than I know what to do with... I'm all set for more TV and knitting this evening.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Mon Petit Chou started

Well, after thinking that maybe I'd hold off until after I finished my Cache Coeur, I cast on for the Mon Petit Chou this afternoon. I was trying to take it easy today, so knitting was a good activity. I spent Sunday violently ill from food poisoning. I'm feeling much better today, but still didn't feel like doing much of anything. So, I watched TV and got a decent amount of knitting done.

Thus, I'm 20 rows into my newly-started Mon Petit Chou. The Cascade Fixation is fun yarn, and I'd love to try some socks with it sometime. I'm having to knit LOOSELY, which is new and different for me. It's very stretchy and springy, and took a couple of rows to get used to. The lace pattern is showing up nicely, and isn't anywhere near as complicated as it looks on the page. I even worked on it during Prison Break and 24, and didn't have to rip anything back.

(Speaking of 24: Between "Miles, you little asskisser" and Chloe tasering the annoying drunk guy at the hotel, I thought tonight's episode was darn funny.)