Sick Day

Remember when you were in college and you stayed out too late partying and woke up with a hangover and stayed in bed until 2pm and called it a sick day? Ok, so I never stayed out too late partying (although I did sometimes stay out late dancing and I sometimes stayed up too late studying) and never had a hangover. And today isn't one of those kind of days anyway. It isn't even an "it's too beautiful to go outside so call in sick and play hookey" kind of days. (Have you checked the weather lately? It is dismal out there.) Today I woke up feeling like a drum corps was holding practice in my skull. This, combined with yesterday's onslaught of sinus issues (congestion, running, sneezing, general ickiness) and the lack of a good night's sleep completely wiped me out.

Sick Day.

This is the first sick day I have taken since starting the new job in April. Four months (more or less) of sick-free days (more or less). (I was not allowed any sick time my first 3 months on the job. No vacation time either. If I needed some time off it was without pay. I don't think so! There were a few times I went in totally contagious and spreading around the germy love. Hey, it isn't my fault that the rules are stupid.)

I really do try not to take sick time for no good reason. If I have a headache, or even some serious cramps (which I know you really wanted to know) I will suck it up. Take one for the team. Be miserable for the sake of progress. But not this time.

I think my philosophy is changing. I used to feel guilty about getting sick. Like it was my own personal fault that I had a less than perfect immune system that could fight off anything that came my way. I thought it branded me as an imperfect employee. But I have come to realize that the only thing it makes me is human. And if I need to take a day off then that's ok. I do a lot for the people I work with/for. I am a valuable employee. Stellar even.

I'll be in tomorrow.

Mary thinks sick days are for weenies. Mary also thinks clean laundary is deposited on the couch expressly for her to lay on:

This was after she dug a tunnel through the pile 'o clothes.

Gratuitous plant shots anyone? Remember those oxalis from a few days ago?

The blossoms have opened.

I love my new camera.


Icarus is Done!

But not blocked yet, so no photo. The last four rows plus the bind off kicked my butt. Seriously. There are 637 stitches in row 3 of the border. Gah.

I promised myself I wouldn't start any new projects until I had finished a few of the old ones first. This is why:

Big pile of knitting.

Clockwise from the top left: Tubey in a maroon chenile, Mason-Dixon dishcloth, Icarus Shawl, Absorba, Trellis Scarf, Mystery Stole 2, zippered cardi from Vogue, Prairie Tunic, and Welt Fantastic Sock (middle). This does not count one secret project that I can't show yet and several sad projects from a time gone by which will inevitably get ripped. The stories behind the piles:

I started Tubey back when Tubey was, well, popular, and everyone was doing it. (If everyone jumped off a bridge would you? Apparently yes.) Then I moved across the country, and then across town, and then got a new job...

I have no excuse for the Mason-Dixon dishcloth. I have a problem. It is called knitting ADD. I cannot help it. (The pattern is called Butterfly Stitch from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary).

Icarus Shawl will continue to be considered unfinished until it is blocked!

I also have no excuse for Absorba (from Mason-Dixon Knitting) except that I need a little carpet for next to my bed. And I just got 2 cones of Sugar & Cream worsted (closest I could get to Peaches & Cream). It will be a rug, yes it will. I am knitting it doubled on size 10 straights until I run out of room on the needles from the number of stitches. At this point I will cry or call it done, because I am not buying another size 10 needle!

Trellis Scarf is from IK Spring 2006 in a lovely (tiny) deep purple mohair. You may have noticed, however, that it is not currently on any needles. I lent them (size 4 bamboo) to my roommate for the Mystery Stole 2 Knitalong. She is on row 5 of the gauge swatch. I won't be getting back to that one any time soon. (Sorry M!)

The blue cardi is from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2005 where it is called "Zippered Cardigan". I just love their names (sigh!). The back is done and one of the fronts. Of course I changed the panel on the front to cables. Ask me if I know what size needle I used. Or if I know how to sew in a zipper. The yarn is Araucania Nature Wool, which makes everything right in the world.

Prairie Tunic, also from IK Spring 2006. The sad thing about this piece is that it is finished - except that the front triangles are all messed up. I didn't see the errata note on the website until it was too late. I have even made the twisted cord (which came out quite well, if I do say so myself. It is so close that I will have to rip back to fix it and make it perfect. One of these days.

Finally, the Welt Fantastic Socks are from Sensational Knitted Socks. I am 1 1/2 socks done, but the sock was put on hold beause I needed the needles for something else.Oh how I love a good sock.

My new project moratorium became immediately problematic for my knitting ADD and I cast on for the Shetland Tea Shawl from A Gathering of Lace. I mostly just wanted to see if I could do it and see what that yarn would look like knitted up. I have never knitted lace in the round before, or with reclaimed yarn (although I have reclaimed yarn from several sweaters to date).

The yarn! It is 100% silk reclaimed from a short-sleeved top found at a thrift store for about $5. 100% silk! I thought the weight was maybe DK from just looking at the stitches, but unfortunately the singles weren't actually plied and came apart when I unraveled it... I have come to understand that this is somewhat common with machine-made sweaters. At any rate, the "yarn" separated into 1 separate strands of very fine pink silk.

I normally am not a pink person, but look at it! It is silk! It has so much luster, I love it.

One other problem is that I don't actually know how much I have. Could be problematic. I don't have a yarn scale, or any other scale, and my initial attempt to wind it around a box to measure it resulted in yarn vomit (I was also trying to separate the plies at the same time. Big mistake.)

You can see from the overexposed photo below that the points where I changed needle sizes (especially from 1 to 3) are obvious. I had to cast onto some ridiculously small needles (like size 00 maybe?), otherwise the yarn just slid right off the second I tried to manipulate it in any way. Every few rows I went up a size. The pattern specifies size 3's, but who knows how close this yarn is to that which is specified (Morehouse Lace, 1oz = 230 yds). There is also some laddering going on, and I can't very easily manipulate such a small number of stitches on a circular needle. Clearly I need some size 3 wooden dpns, or some even smaller size. I do like the way the stitches looked at size 1. Any opinions?

Kinda looks likes a spider's web.

By the way, look what the new camera can do!
Oxalis getting ready to bloom.

I still haven't figured out how to get the best photos from indoor shots, but wow, look at what the macro lens could do on the porch!

Hang in there secret lace swap pal - I haven't forgotten you!


Singing the Praises of Canon. And FedEx.


When I first set up this blog I had intended to post something every single day, because as everybody knows, you are not dedicated to serious journaling unless it is an unpleasant, excrutiating experience. Well, as has happened with every other attempt at journaling I have undertaken in the past, this was not to be. Not only did I not post every day, an entire week has gone by with narry a word. More than a week in fact! Ah, well, we are not perfect, are we?

Exciting news: I have purchased a new camera! It is the stupendous Canon PowerShot SD700 IS. It was delivered to me today, on a Saturday, to my utmost surprise (and delight). Now, it is unfortunate that I cannot show you a photo here of the darling little thing, but alas, one cannot take a self portrait of a camera without using a mirror and I am somewhat opposed to that idea. Besides, any mirror photo I take of it cannot do it justice. It is the cutest camera I have ever owned. Ok, so the last camera that I owned was that behemoth Kodak DC290, but still. The Canon is just 2 1/4" tall, 3 1/2" wide and 1" deep (with the lense retracted)! I can tell I am going to love this camera already, and plan to take it with me everywhere. It is sad really, that the old Kodak was so big. My sister and I went to Hawai'i and I didn't even bring it because of the weight and size. I missed a ton of fabulous photo opportunities. Ah, well.

I found another photo of the Sixth Sense Socks on my computer whilst rearranging photo files in anticipation of the Canon's arrival. This was an in-progress shot, but shows the stitch pattern nicely, as well as the hemmed cuff:

If you think it looks on the rather small size it is - I had to block the hell out of it to get it to fit my foot. I think the needles I used were a tad too small, and possibly a few too stitches cast on. But, they fit for now, and I'll see if I can't stretch them out permanently.

Icarus shawl is almost done. It is so close I can feel it! I finished the last chart a few nights ago and flipped back to the previous page to see about finishing only to realize that there are four more rows plus the BO row to go. Sigh. That's about 2 more hours of work at my present knitting pace (480+ stitches per row are a lot of stitches.) It might be done tomorrow?

Progress is being made on my package for my lace swap pal. A pattern has been found (I love it) and yarn as well, if only in theory. Now I just have to get out to the shop to pick it up! Other items for the package are still being considered. The deadline for mailing is September 1st, and I think I will need all that time to get everything in order. Sorry secret pal!

I have also been doing a little crocheting lately. You probably don't know that I was a crocheter first and a knitter second. Well, actually, I learned both at the same time, from my maternal grandmother, when I was around 5 or 6, but for some reason I took to crocheting. All you knitters out there can stop laughing now. I have made some pretty nice crocheted afghans, and not the granny square variety either. (Although I have made a few of those as well... they can be very pleasing in their simplicity.) Why are some knitters so anti-crochet? Some are even... dare I say it... afraid of it! It is an easy and fun craft once you get the hang of it. Only one live stitch at a time to mess up! (The flip side of that of course, is that if you screw up you must rip back to the point of the infraction, or be able to live with the mistake. This can be quite depressing with very large projects and a mistake quite a ways back...)

Anyway, I crocheted exclusively for many years, and only started knitting again maybe in college? I don't know exactly when. At any rate, all that crocheting has given me an appreciation for tiny stitches (frequently to my downfall - it takes me forever to finish anything!) I also can crochet very quickly, much more quickly than knit. If only crochet made more garment-friendly material...

A secret crocheted item for a secret pal...

Another secret crochet item for a non-crocheter...yet.

These little gems were done with size 10 crochet cotton on a size 7 hook - pretty large stuff if you ask me, but that's all I have left from my formerly huge stash of crochet cotton. I definately need to buy me some finer gauge stuff to really get back into it!

More tomorrow, complete with photos taken with the new camera!


Mi mi mi mi mi!

So, after some internet research (after all, what is the internet good for if not to find out stuff?) I have decided that maybe Mary is not a Norwegian Forest Cat after all, but is instead a Maine Coon. (Yes, I am obsessed.) This is mainly (ha ha) because her fur is silky, so silky in fact that we refer to her as being "soft like a bunny". And look! I found a photo of her twin on the Cat Fanciers website.

I am not sure if she has a square jaw of a MC or an equilateral triangular face of a NFC. It doesn't really matter, since she is not a "real" one of either of these... she came from a shelter and doesn't have any papers. What is real, anyway? (Now we're wandering into existentialism...) The important thing is that she is cute.

You may be wondering why her name is Meow Meow if she talks like a monkey. She actually talks like a lot of things, including (predictibly) a cat (meow), a bird (chirp, trill), and the aforementioned monkey (oh oh ee ee). Usually what she is saying translates into "(insert verb here) me!" As in:

Pet me!

Feed me!

Play with me!

Why aren't you paying any attention to me!

Note that the "me" is emphisized. Always.

In knitting news, I have finished 3 more rows on the Icarus Shawl, and have 13 more to go. At approximately 30 minutes per row while watching television, and over 300 stitches per row, there are far too many stitches left. Hopefully it will be finished by the end of August.

Icarus Shawl in a pile. I told you it was boring.

I wanted to have finished ages ago, because I am currently participating in the Mystery Stole 2 Knitalong. Or rather, I am currently not participating in it. I knit about 30 rows on the Knitalong stole and then felt guilty and put it aside in favor of Icarus. One lace pettern at a time please. Except that I haven't been working on it either! All of the clues have been released for MS2 and some folks are finished already. (It is a really beautiful pattern, by the way, written by the lovely and talented Melanie at Pink Lemon Twist.) And I am about 1% finished.

The Mystery Stole languishes in a bowl. Don't you love me?


It will be beautiful, and it will be finished soon, I just have to keep the faith. It also took me about 15 shots to get just 1 halfway-decent photo. (Read: in-focus) I guess it is time to retire the ol' Kodak DC290. Now stop laughing. Just because that model came out in 1999 and Kodak no longer offers technical support for it does not mean it was not a good camera. In its time. (Wow! 2.1 megapixels! Only 1.2 lbs, sans batteries!) Until I can figure out what I want, however, you will be subjected to many off-color, out-of-focus, best-I-can-do photos. Please accept my apologies in advance.

I am also participating in the Whose Lace is this Anyway? swap, which I will get around to putting a button on my side when I get around to it (and figure it out, ha), so soon, hopefully, I will have a new skein of laceweight to make something delightful out of! Must get cracking. I am currently finding out some information about my swap partner, who is sadly blogless, so that I may find something suitably and similarly delightful for her...


Blog Lite

Submitted for your approval:

Sixth Sense Socks from the Six Sock Knitalong a few months back. Knitted with the same stuff as the Harebell Lace socks from the previous day, but I actually don't have any of the info on them, like needle size or gauge or stitches cast on... I don't have any on-the-foot shots either, so this is going to be a rather boring post, knitting photo-wise.

I am almost (14 rows to go) done with the Icarus Shawl from the Summer 2006 IK. I am knitting it in Knitpicks Shadow in the color of Sunset. Only 14 more rows! Except each row has about 300 stitches and takes me about 20 minutes to knit. Ugh. I don't have any photos of it, but it just looks like a big red blob right now anyway. Soon.

In lieu of other knitting content I would like to present Mary:

Also known as Meow Meow. Notice that Mary seems to have been perusing the latest issue of Interweave Knits (which, by the way, has so many patterns that I like!) before being distracted by something, um, up. (She has such good taste in reading material.)

Mary is a rescue cat from Hesperia, California. She is about 4 years old and is an Domestic medium-hair tortoiseshell, although I have had several people tell me (including a bona fide Norwegian!) that she looks very much like a Norwegian Forest Cat. I wish! (And so does she, by the way!) She has super long guard hairs on her ears, really furry toes, fluffy tail, pretty full ruff, and is soft like a bunny. Oh, and she talks like a monkey.

Leaving you with the view from my living room:


Jumping on the Bandwagon

After much hemming and hawing I have decided to jump on that oh-so-trendy bandwagon (at least for now) that is blogging. Cool, fun, interesting blogging.

Knit blogging.

A possible contradiction to be sure, after all, how can one consider the "coolness" of knitting and blogging in the same breath? Just visit Crazy Aunt Purl or See Eunny Knit if you don't believe me. And prepare to be greatly amused and inspired, respectively.

So in the spirit of my very first post I present to you my Harebell Lace socks from Sensational Knitted Socks:

Please excuse the bad photos, I am my own photographer and have an old camera.
Very old. Older than dirt. The resulting photos are very frequently very blurry. Anyway.

Knitted with Merinomix 50 Madil (50% fine merino/50% pac dralon) 3 skeins, 136yds/skein, using 5 US size 00 needles. My gauge was 9 stitches and 11 rows per inch and I cast on 66 stitches for a US size 8 woman's shoe. I call them M's Thank You Socks because I made them for my best friend and roommate as a thank you for putting me up and driving me to the train station at 5:30 in the morning every day for a month. (That takes a really good friend, let me tell you - even I didn't want to get up that early...) They look a little big on me because I have a slightly smaller foot than she does. I am
so pleased with the way these turned out - just check out the (blurry) detail:

Did I mention I like knitting socks?