Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Spiders On Drugs

From my youngest for the WTF department!

Lazy Days of Summer!

I've been bad! With all this time on my hands, I haven't gotten squat done--AND--I haven't blogged! Let's see since last I posted:

What Goes Up Must Come Down!

Mikey went to the vet on Friday for a blood test and his sugar level was actually too low! It was 45 and normal should be about 150 - 250. So the vet dropped his insulin from 7 cc's to 4 cc's! This is good. So I took him back yesterday and his sugar was still somewhat low at 111. So he was dropped to 3 cc's! There's actually hope that he may end up coming off of insulin eventually. On a sad note--while at the vet yesterday--there was an emergency situation. Animal control was called because someone saw two black labs in their fenced yard with heat stroke. It was in the 90's and the humidity was quite oppressive. One of the dogs had to be brought in on a stretcher. The vets tried everything but that one died. The owners weren't home and a message was left for them. PLEASE! If you have animals, do NOT keep them outside in this heat or in a closed car!

Mikey shows his approval!

In spite of this God awful heat, there are some things I love about summer. Here are two:

Raspberries! 12 ounces of them from BJ's! I get so tired of paying huge amounts of money for itty bitty amounts of out of season berries! Unfortunately these aren't organic, but I guess I can't have everything!

Cherries! This bag was full the day before this photo was taken and these are now gone!

Knitting news! Fifi is now in progress! I really like this pattern. It is full of cables and they give instructions for doing the cables without a cable needle. At first I used a cable needle and it was taking forever so I gave it a try! I really like it! It is much quicker to not have to pick up and put down a cable needle over and over! I will soon get to the place where I have to try on the sweater and make some sizing decisions. I really fall between the two smallest sizes. This sweater is made with negative ease. The finished sizes are 29 and 33 inches. I need this sweater to be at 31 which is midway between so I will try it on when I get to the place where the sleeve stitches are removed from the body and the front and back are joined in the smallest size. If it fits, then I'll go with the smallest size. If not then I'll go further. That's what I love about top down sweaters. You can fit as you go so you end up not frogging! How could anyone not love that!

See what I mean about all the cables?

I also ordered the yarn for the second SKC KAL. The pattern calls for Classic Elite Playful Weekend with is a very pricey silk ribbon. It is a bulky weight though the pattern has it knit on size 8 needles at 4.25 spi. I ended up finding Noro Hana Silk at a fabulous price at Stash, a yarn store in the UK. The prices were significanly lower than anywhere in the US (including Ebay) and the skeins are actually bigger! I decided on a color called Vivid Red! Should prove to be a bitchin' top!

My Secret Pal revealed herself to me with her last package! Her name is Valerie and she her blog is Knitting in Pink . Check it out as she also has an online store for sock knitting yarn and stuff!

Here are the goodies she sent me:

A card; a little memo book--great for knitting bag notes; and some lovely stitch markers!

Here's a closeup of the stitch markers! They are silver and fresh water pearls! Aren't they lovely? I like them because they are dainty and lightweight so I now have pretty markers to use with more delicate knitting projects!

A lovely citrus scented candle and some handmade soap!

Last, but certainly not least--a skein of Artyarns Silk Rhapsody in a fabulous colourway of golds and reds! Lookls like a winter lace scarf, if you ask me!

Thanks again Valerie for all the goodies! You have been a fantastic Secret Pal!

And now, from the Kitty Cam:

Greg--a beautiful black blob! The only contrast is his eyes when they are open or his tongue when he yawns!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Another one of those quizzes!

Funny--I had a Myers Briggs personality profile done professionally some years ago which had the same results! If nothing else, at least I'm consistent in my inconsistency!

You Are An ENFP

The Inspirer

You love being around people, and you are deeply committed to your friends.
You are also unconventional, irreverent, and unimpressed by authority and rules.
Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives.
You use lots of colorful language and expressions. You're quite the storyteller!

In love, you are quite the charmer. And you are definitely willing to risk your heart.
You often don't follow through with your flirting or professed feelings. And you do break a lot of hearts.

At work, you are driven but not a workaholic. You just always seem to enjoy what you do.
You would make an excellent entrepreneur, politician, or journalist.

How you see yourself: compassionate, unselfish, and understanding

When other people don't get you, they see you as: gushy, emotional, and unfocused

Birthday Meme

Pheelya has tagged me for the birthday meme! Here goes!
Here are the rules: You go to Wikipedia and type in your birthday (only the month and day). Then you write down 3 events, 2 births, 1 holiday, and then you tag 5 friends.

So here goes:

April 8

3 Events

1513 - Explorer Juan Ponce de León declares Florida a territory of Spain .

1867 - The first World's Fair is inaugurated in Paris.

1974 - Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves breaks baseball great's Babe Ruth's record by hitting his 715th home run.

2 Births

1912 - Sonja Henie, Norwegian figure skater and actress (d. 1969)

1963 - Julian Lennon, English musician and singer

1 Holiday

Buddha's Birthday in Japan

I have tagged: Plain Jane, J Mac, Tracey, Tamma, and Zarzuela.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Patience is a virtue!

One, I might add, that I don't possess! It was obvious that the winning project for the next SKC KAL would be Fifi. I decided to swatch my Rowan Calmer to get ready. I think I have found the ideal cotton yarn. After knitting with the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece which I didn't love, this stuff is like Heaven! It feels like the finest merino wool! It has a rather unique construction which gives it incredible stretch! It doesn't split like the Brown Sheep did and it feels wonderful in the hands!

Even better is the fact that this yarn knitted exactly to gauge! Now the problem for me will be what size to knit. The finished bust measurements are 29.5" for XS and 33.5" for S. This sweater is to be knit with negative ease. When I knit Sahara, I knit it to a finished measurement of 31" to fit my 34.5" bust and it was perfect. As luck would have it, my ideal finished measurement is right in the middle of these two sizes! I'll have to figure this one out because of the stitch pattern but I will make it work.

It turns out that the SKC has decided to make this another double KAL. The other project will be Annie Modesitt's Red Carpet Convertible. This is actually a free pattern but Annie is requesting a donation. Her husband Gerry has been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and will be undergoing bone marrow transplants and other major medical procedures. Please consider helping Annie out. She has designed some fabulous patterns such as the Backyard Leaves scarf and the Ribbed Silk Corset Pullover. Her new book of Romantic Hand Knits will be coming out this summer. I hope to make the Red Carpet Convertible as a top. I'm debating on the yarn. I'm thinking about using Artyarns Silk Ribbon in color 105. My second choice is color 137. I'm just not sure about the variegated colourway. I think this yarn would be a gorgeous substitution for the yarn used in the pattern.

Meanwhile, I was busy planning a couple of other summer projects. I found a discontinued yarn that I love! It's called Patina by Classic Elite and it is 70% Cotton and 30% Silk. The color is Mango. I purchased this yarn for Sizzle. In this color that top will definitely live up to its name!

Another summer project that I want to make is Coachella from the new Knitty. The recommended yarn is called Suede by Berroco. It is 100% nylon so that just doesn't appeal to me at all. So I went to the LYS to take a look. There were two possibilities: Berroco Bonsai, a bamboo tape and Wick, a blend of soy silk and polypropylene. I really like the look of the Bonsai, but it had no stretch. With this top, drape is more important then stretch, except for the fact that once again I am between two sizes. The Wick reminds me of Rowan Calmer. It feels almost the same and has a lot of stretch, so I figure that I can make the smaller size.

I had somewhat of a health scare this week. I had a couple of colorless moles appear on my chest where I've had a lot of sun damage. My primary doc thought one was skin cancer and the other precancerous so he sent me to a dermatologist. Fortunately she thought they were both precancerous and just zapped them with liquid nitrogen to freeze them off. Just hearing the word "Cancer" can be scary, but my doc told me that 50% of fair skinned people my age will get skin cancer. The sobering thing is that he said the sun damage done to cause skin cancer was done by the time I was 20! I mentioned to Ems that I might have skin cancer and she freaked out. She thought I was way too nonchalant about it. She said that she wasn't ready to deal with my mortality. She likes to think that I'll always be around. It's nice that my kids feel that way!

On a cheerier note: I wore some kitty shoes today! You can see why I love them!

Kitty Cam:
Samantha has a new friend!

And she seems annoyed that I've intruded upon their time together!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Not that any fathers are reading this blog! I have no knitting news today. I haven't touched the Lily of the Valley Shawl since I was swamped with closing down school! Now I have to really organize myself. I'm much better at managing my time when I am working. I think being that busy just forces me to manage better. I should be busy all summer as I have a crapload of things that I need to do around here. It's easy to procrastinate though, so often I just don't end up getting everything done. The diet officially starts tomorrow! The goal is to lose 15 pounds --hopefully by Aug. 4 which is my class reunion. If I lose 10 pounds by the time I go to New England then I will treat myself to a pair of premium designer jeans. For those who read Grumperina's blog, you may remember her post about True Jeans, a company that specializes in custom fitting jeans. Well, you get a discount if you sign up to be a fit tester. It turns out this company is in Woburn, MA which is where I happen to stay when I'm in MA. So I'm going to sign up! Remember--it's all about making your ass look good when it comes to jeans and my ass hopes to be siginificanly smaller by the end of July!

It's supposed to be in the 90's today with an air quality of code orange. Sounds like a good day to stay inside and knit! We are having a cookout for Father's Day and Ems and KC are coming over. I spurged and bought 5 gorgeous filet mignon steaks and I made some Three Potato Salad last night. I developed a recipe for it sometime ago which includes mango chutney. Good stuff! Marinated asparagus and grilled videlia onions with sherry and parmesan will complete the fare. I may have to go pick up some Ben & Jerry's for dessert. Given the meal, I think some Chubby Hubby might be the perfect flavor!

I finially got my hanging baskets done. I had all the flowers lined up on my front steps, waiting to be planted. They were starting to look pretty sorry, but they have perked up nicely. DH and I went to Lowe's last night and got some more for the pedastal planters along with the paint for the dining room. I got the porch and deck cleaned off so they are ready to be inhabited when Bird has his "Beerbeques."

I am anxiously awaiting the vote for the next Sexy Knitter's Club KAL. I really hope it is Fifi which I really love! I've already bought the yarn and pattern for it! I'll wait until the voting is over to start any new sweaters. Meanwhile I'll work on the shawl, finish the 2nd Pop Up Paw, and possibly start and pair of socks.

WoW! I was just flipping channels and found "Psycho." Fortunately it's the original one. I won't watch the remake. In fact they should have some sort of law that prohibits remaking any Hitchcock films. There's no way to improve on his artistry as a director. Hollywood needs to learn to leave well enough alone!

I guess I should go get dressed. I will post photos of the Lily of the Valley Shawl when I get one repeat of the lace done!

Kitty Cam:
This one comes from Ems

Mokey is still trying to decide if the new Roomba is friend or foe!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A New Contest

These blog contests are so much fun! Cass is having a contest on her blog! The prize is some bamboo yarn and other goodies! Drop by and leave her a comment!

Really! We need to come up with a new word for "blog contest."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

FO #2!

Wow! I can't believe that I have finished two, count 'em two, sweaters in the last month! Rusted Root is done! Finito! I wore it to work today!
Here's what it looked like two nights ago:

I used my new lace wires to make sure that the lace panel was straight.

Here's the typical self portrait of me in the sweater:

And here I am at work in Pheelya's media center!

Pattern: Rusted Root by Zephyr Style, Size Small
Yarn: under 3 skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Sedona Red
Needles: 24' and 32" Knit Picks Options size 6 and size 4; 12" inch Addi Turbos size 4 for sleeve ribbing.
Time to complete: Just under 3 weeks

I'm waiting for the next Sexy Knitter's Club KAL to start another sweater. I started my Lily of the Valley Shawl last night. I have to say that this type of lace knitting is an entirely different animal! I am using Jaeggerspun Superfine Merino which has 630 yards in a 50 gm. ball. This is some thin yarn! I splurged and bought a pair of the Addi Turbo Lace needles in size 6 for this shawl! VaVaVoom! I love these things! They are even more pointy than the Knit Picks! This pattern has a wierd little stitch called a "nupp" in which you K,YO,K,YO,K in one stitch then purl all 5 of those stitches together the next row! That's a toughie! It will be beautiful though. I've decided that my goal is to knit one, possibly two repeats of the lace pattern, which has 28 rows, per week. The entire shawl has 10 repeats of the pattern then the edging is knit on. I can easily finish it before the end of the summer at that rate!

School ends for the kids tomorrow! If I had a video camera handy, you would see me jump for joy!

Kitty Cam:
Mikey waits on the towel rack for me to get dressed in the morning. I love to see him like this because you can really see him in all his polydactyl glory!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Pheelya's Birthday Contest!

So my buddy Pheelya is having a contest for her birthday on her blog. To enter--click on the hot link and leave her a comment. You MUST say that you read about the contest on MY blog! The prize involves some stash and knowing Pheelya--it's premium stuff!

You must leave a comment on Pheelya's blog at the above link, telling her your favorite project or --get this--alcoholic beverage--preferably something new and exciting. In your comment, you must tell Pheelya from whose blog you learned about the contest. You must then put the info on YOUR blog with a link to the contest!

Be creative with your suggestions in your comments. We are taking Pheelya out to happy hour for her birthday on Friday where she will test drive the suggestions--though not behind a steering wheel!

Maybe I'll bring a video camera along! Yeah! That's it! A video camera! Oh--And we won't allow her near her computer after happy hour!

Kitty Cam:
This one is from Ems. Mokey still loves his hoodie and wears it to lounge in!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Totally done!

Well I wet blocked Sahara. I was pleasantly surprised by the end result. Initially, the sleeves were a little tight and a little too short. I placed the sweater in a basin of water and let it completely absorb the water for about a half hour. I then spun the water out in the washer and stretched it out on my blocking board, stretching the sleeves to the measurements I wanted. The yarn feels lighter and smoother--less dense. It is extremely silky and the sweater fits perfectly! I can't begin to describe how luscious it feels on the skin. I will definitely use this yarn again if I can find it!

I think this sweater really requires more boobage! Maybe in my next life I can do it justice!

I just found out about a new yarn source! The Yarn and Fiber Company is an online store which has competitive prices and offers free shipping! Gotta love that! They also take Paypal! Gotta love that too! I was just looking at some Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace yarn which is $52 in my LYS. It is 46.80 at the Yarn and Fiber Company and they have the color I want! I'll have to give them a try!

School is coming to an end! Eight days left! Things are getting a little crazy, but I look forward to those not so lazy days of summer!

Kitty Cam:
Bar is enjoying the sunny day from the inside looking out!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Lazy Weekend!

I decided that I needed to get my planters on the deck in order this weekend so I headed out to Lowes and Behnke's for some flowers. While I was walking around Lowes, my phone rang and it was Pheelya! She ended up meeting me and going to Behnke's with me. I got a lot of herbs and flowers and she got 4 hanging fuschia plants. My car was packed! We ended up at Starbucks then I went home to get to work! It was good to get my herbs as I was hating having to buy them everytime I needed to cook!

Fortunately I got them in just in the nick of time since it has rained all day today. I have more planters of herbs that can't be seen in the photo.

Notice the empty hanging baskets. Soon they will be overflowing with these:

Before going out yesterday, I picked up the mail and found my new Jordana Paige Knitting bag that I had gotten off of Ebay!

This bag is fabulous! It has all kinds of little compartments and it holds a lot!

Of course Mikey prefered the box!

Kitty Cam: What is it about kitties and hiding?
Who's that hiding behind the pillow sham?

It's Harley!

Greg's usual hiding spot:

Harley's night hiding place:

I always seem to find my bath towel on the floor in the morning! Now I know who's responsible!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Out with the old, In with the new . . .

Projects, that is. I've been feverishly working on my latest project this week.

This is Rusted Root by Zephyr Style. I really like the pattern. It's well designed and easy to knit on autopilot. The only thing I really have to pay attention to is the lace section. The yarn is Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Sedona Red. I love the color but I doubt I will use this yarn again. It looks nice, but I'm finding it to be a pain. It splits and I have to watch carefully or I end up with little threads from splitting the loops. The other problem is that there were tangles in the skein. It is wound as a center pull skein and I pulled out a huge tangled knot. I fiddled with it for about 15 minutes and gave up, cutting the thread and just getting rid of the knot. This happened again toward the end of the skein. There was also a knot where the yarn was actually pieced. I haven't had that happen before either. I would have liked to use Premier by Classic Elite of Touche by Berroco, but neither one came in a similar color! I am rushing to finish it so that I can start my lace shawl.

Here's a lovely photo of DH in the National Memorial Day Parade in DC.

My guy is the fifer! WoW! I've always liked guys in bands, but this isn't exactly what I had envisioned!

I am currently looking for some coral colored silk yarn to make Sizzle by Wendy Barnard. I don't know what it is about these low cut sweaters, but I really like them! I have found some Debbie Bliss Pure Silk on Ebay. I'll have to check the color out as it may be too pink and we cannot have that!

Kitty Cam:

So this is what I found when I stepped out of the shower this morning--the twins anxiously waiting for breakfast!