Thursday, October 28, 2004

Love those Boston Idiots

I'm gonna tell you a story
I'm gonna tell you about my town
I'm gonna tell you a big bad story, baby
Aww, it's all about my town

Yeah, down by the river
Down by the banks of the river Charles (aw, that's what's happenin' baby)
That's where you'll find me
Along with lovers, fuggers, and thieves (aw, but they're cool people)
Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you're my home (oh, you're the Number One place)
Frustrated women (I mean they're frustrated)
Have to be in by twelve o'clock (oh, that's a shame)
But I'm wishin' and a-hopin, oh
That just once those doors weren't locked (I like to save time for
my baby to walk around)
Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you're my home (oh, yeah)

Because I love that dirty water
Oh, oh, Boston, you're my home (oh, yeah)

Well, I love that dirty water (I love it, baby)
I love that dirty water (I love Baw-stun)
I love that dirty water (Have you heard about the Strangler?)
I love that dirty water (I'm the man, I'm the man)
I love that dirty water (Owww!)
I love that dirty water (Come on, come on) [fade]

-Song: Dirty Water by the Sandells

What an exciting night. Others will tell the story better than me, so I’ll leave it to them. The perspective of victory in our house is different among each of us. For me it represents fair play, community, faith, and good clean fun. In an election year with promises, confrontations, lies, and war this is a welcome intersection of joy and faith. I’m not sure that it represents anything particularly American, just human. To see people hugging and crying and screaming in the streets – it’s hard not to be joyous. There is nothing holding anyone back, not race, politics, or money. Bostonians have carried this weight for so many years it is tied into the psychology of the city. As I’ve said in other posts, I’m not sure you can understand it until you live here (at least I didn’t, and I’m not even a huge sports fan). It’s one of the biggest (if not the biggest) sports cities in the nation. We have four professional teams in each of the major leagues. People are crazy about it. Games are packed during the regular season. Red Sox fans have been loyal and undying. For God's Sake it’s been 86 years!! As my coworkers 14-year old son said, “This is the best day of my life; but think about how happy all the old people must be.”
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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Joined the Club

Okay I'm in serious need of some knitting guru help. I am a moron. This is not new news. However, I can add another reason for this esteemed quality to my list. I failed to purchase enough yarn for Sister's Banff, A LOT less yarn. The pattern requires something like 700 yards. How many did I get? 524 yards. Moron. To my credit...the yardage on label is off on the Araucania Nature Wool Chunky. However, it’s not ~175 yards off. The most embarassing part? I actually brought a calculator with me to the store!

I had such a difficult time imagining that I actually did this that I spent part of the evening digging through my growing pile o' yarn thinking that I must have lost it. Then I remembered...there is proof in the pudding. The pudding is my blog and the proof is this picture:

Remember the Columbus Day Windsor Button Sale and this stash? Count the pinky skeins. Count them again. Get out your calculator. Punch in the number you count, the multiplication button, and then the yardage (131). What do you get? 524. Moron.

This morning I made the call. I am now one of those, "I didn't purchase enough yarn" callers. Windsor Button has come to the partial rescue of my moron soul. They have two skeins of the same dye lot. This is barely enough if the yardage was right and if I wasn't using A LOT of yarn on just one sleeve.

Pray tell, what do I do now? I know that I can get the same color different lot at another LYS. Should I get those skeins too? The skeins are hand-dyed…does this make a difference? How do I integrate them into the sweater? Do I just give up? Do I forage ahead and hope for the best? I think I could alter the neck if needed. I'm just about done with one sleeve at this point, a sleeve that took a long time to knit because I had to frog just about every hour. I abhor the thought of ripping the whole thing out and choosing a different yarn (frankly, I can't afford it either).

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Tuesday, October 26, 2004


And my toes are cold damnmit!

I have a horrible habit of taking off my shoes and leaving them all over the house. I admit this. All former roommates have received fair warning. I usually am good about kicking them to the curb and not leaving them in the MIDDLE of the room. However, my husband does not agree. I swear he hides them. I can never find any shoes. Every morning is a mad dash for my shoes. He recently disclosed one of the jails in which he keeps them - under the coffee table. Our coffee table is as big as a coffin. It's ridiculously huge, so huge that our family room is mostly couch and then all coffee table. It can hide a lot of shoes.

I looked there. No slippers. Who ate my slippers?

I had to compromise....

Did yah notice I couldn't even find a matching pair?!
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Monday, October 25, 2004

Humble Pie

Stumble out of bed. Trip over dog. Brush hair, brush teeth. Make sure toothpaste doesn't end up on hair brush. Make Coffee. Deodorant. Sweater. Jeans. Socks. Shoes. Keys. Where are the damn keys? Hat. Scarf. Knitting. I could work on this. Or this. Or that. Okay this secret present. Outside. Damn it's dark out. Walk to train. Hmm, feeling awake now. No bus in site. Keep walking. Morning is brisk. No, Metro, thank you. Smile. Big clock tells me I'm late. Run to turnstile. Slam into turnstile. This, thing, won't budge, owww. What the hell? I don't have time for this. Damn T. Stop to realize that indeed, you have to pay for entrance into the train. Hold sore hip, backup and dig through bag for Monthly Pass. Easily slide through turnstile. Sit on train and humbly accept that it's Monday Again.

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Friday, October 22, 2004

Please bear Witness...

The notebook

I made the stitch gauge on the swatch after blocking. It grew a stitch and a row, which means I didn't make row gauge. I'm only off by a bit there and I'm not going to worry about it. This gauge will be mine, I will create a sweater that fits. Oh yes, I will.

I cast on last night and the 1st sleeve of Banff is on its way. I learned how to purl two together through the backloop (p2tog tbl in my pattern). I first looked in by books...the drawings suck (I NEED a visual, words don't cut it). I then went to google. The
first thing I found was awesome and I "got it" right away. Wendy Knits just so happens to have a picture of purling through the back loop on today's entry. Kismet!

I'm a bit loose on this kind of decrease and I'm not sure that it's perfectly right. I get a bar over the stitches on the Right Side of the sleeve. I don't like that there is no bar on the right hand side at the decreases. (Right Side (RS), right hand side...get it? No wonder patterns are so hard to understand sometimes!). I wish I could put up a picture for approval. No camera right now. I'm going to check out the Banff along peeps to see what I can find. **Update: During lunch time knitting I realized that the bar is on the Wrong Side of the sleeve. This is good. It'll be hidden when it's all said and done.**

Go Sox!
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Thursday, October 21, 2004

All swatched up and ready to play

Husband Robby woke up this morning and said, "I think I have a sports hangover." We're exhausted, but pretty excited. This is a fun time of the year. It's even more fun to feel the energy and spirit in Boston. Cars honking in the street, people screaming. I can't imagine what it must be like for the long time fans. I never really understood this Red Sox thing until last year. I don't know what it is. But the chip is big and the sholders are strong. I wonder if the city will deflate a bit now? A week to go.

Speaking of which. We've still got one more team to pull for. The Astros are playing Game 7 tonight. Rob is a long time fan. While packing the house to move last year we came across his "baseball" notebook from when he was a kid. He cut out headlines from newspapers, drew the players, etc. It's all things Astros. They've never been to the playoffs, never been to a World Series. Go Astros!

On to knitting....

I've begun the Christmas Knitting in earnest. This is my first Knittable Christmas. I didn't learn until January of this year. I've got a secret birthday/holiday present on the needles right now. I'm way short on yarn....I'll be doing a bit of improvising. I'll fill you in later.

I swatched for another birthday/holiday present. It's for my sister. I think I can blab about because I'm pretty sure she hasn't found me here yet. In a few months she's be the proud owner of Banff. The pattern can be found on Knitty, although I'm using the Knit Wit version. It may have been reworked a bit, I'm not sure. I'm substituting the pattern yarn with Araucania Nature Wool that was purchased at Windsor Button's Columbus Day sale. (I didn't buy it here, but you can check out the yarn. The closest color is #4, the skeins I have are MUCH lighter.) The color is awesome. I stood in that store for a least an hour with four different colors in my hand. I chose a pinky/salmon color. I made the right choice. It's hand dyed and the subtle color change is pretty cool on the swatch. I haven't taken pictures yet...this weekend in the daylight.

I'll have you know that I'm taking this swatching process very seriously. Robby's Big Sack is too small for him and my shapely tank had to have the crap blocked out of it. The madness has to stop. I'm going to get this right if it kills me. I cracked the binding on a new journal last night and wrote down the needle size, the pattern gauge, and my pre-blocked swatch gauge (measured three times). I then dunked the swatch and left it to dry over night. Pre-dunk I had a few too many stitches per inch (my row gauge was right on). The swatch loosened up quite a bit after washing. I haven't measured yet but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'm nervous about yardage and don't want to "waste" any more yarn.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Sell it Baby.

This is going to be a quickie. Life is interrupting today. Blech. Stupid Life.

Okay. This question was posed to me: If you had to recommend 5 titles (of books) to SELL to someone what would they be?

Now this is a different question than: What are five books you would recommend? Selling books isn't easy, mostly because you're dealing with a stranger. The easiest thing to do is find out what they have liked in the past. It's also good to try and get some clue about a persons political/social inclination. No sex books for the nuns, 'kay? You also want to do a good job. You want them back. You want them to validate your weird sense of humor and bizarre taste in books. You should aim for something a little off the beaten track. Anyone can pick up books like, The Lovely Bones without a personal recommendation - it was all over the media.

Two books that fit the example of books that I would recommend but wouldn't necessarily sell to a total stranger: Blindness by Jose Saramago and/or The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell. These are fabulous books. However, they're not for everyone. If you're up for the emotional commitment of either - you should read them. You also should be a little open minded when reading The Sparrow there is some "questionable content" there.

This is a working list but I think these are a few contemporary novels that I would list:

1. The Bone People by Keri Hulme
2. Waiting by Ha Jin
3. The Magician's Assistant
by Ann Patchett
4. Wicked: The Life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory MacGuire
5. The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel
6. Feast of Love by Charles Baxter
7. American Pastoral by Phillip Roth

Okay, so that's seven. Some may be eliminated after I think about it a bit more.

How about you, which novels would you list?

Off to battle delinquent plumbers, leaky faucets, and dead cars. L-O-V-E.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Reading? Sexy?

Hey check this shit out!

T-shirt with girl that says...Reading is Sexy.

So fun.

I'm a big nerd....

Shirt found via Mighty Goods...great find!

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Now with More Chocolate

I did some work on my side bar. I am now the proud owner of a Bookish Girl Button!

You can be too. Just save it on your own server, 'kay? Links are also updated. Yes, I know I have a
bloglines problem. I will go to every depth to procrastinate. In fact, as a freshman in college my roommate Emily (of yesterday's Birthday Fame) and I made a list of ways to procrastinate. Procrastinating procrastinating. Is that a disease?

Another finished object for you:

This is the seventh of eight. Yes, you read that right; I knit seven of these suckers. Way back when I was a naive and optimistic knitter I decided that I wanted to knit gifts for my bridesmaids. Well, I had an obscene number of bridesmaids. Our wedding was pretty casual. However, our wedding party was huge. It was awesome. All of my roommates from college surrounded me, along with my long time girl friends (first attached to one another when we were 12)! They Rock.

as if you haven't had enough of the wedding pictures....but ain't they beautiful?!

Anyway, my point is... the task proved more difficult than I had expected. I finished 6 of the 7 before the wedding. Two received yarn for a gift! As of last week, I've only got one to go!

Project Details

The pattern is free and can be seen
here. It's straightforward and easy. The Deco Ribbon is fun to knit with. The colors are great. I used the following (2 of each): Strawberry, Orange Crush, Lemonade, and Key Lime. While it was fun, I'm a wee bit sick of it. Go figure, seven bags and counting will do that do you.

Modifications: For the handle I choose to do a long cast and then immediately cast off. I hate I-cords. I just don't have the patience for pulling the stitches tight, and I ALWAYS get ladders. If I knit these again (which I won't because it would drive me to insanity) I would give the bags liners. The seed stitch is relatively dense but it's not dense enough to balance the elastic nature of the Deco Ribbon.

And now... just for
Jackie... this blog has added Chocolate:

These are Molly Pops. Has anyone been acquainted with a Molly Pop?

Chewy Molasses Peppermint Nougat on a stick covered with our rich Chocolate

They are awesome, truly incredible. The creator,
Oliver's, is located near my Grandma's house. These were my uncle's favorite treat. Growing up I always managed to snag one from him. Well, the heavens shine above me. There now an Oliver's near my parents’ house! Guess where I'm going over Thanksgiving? If you'd like to experience the pleasure, they can be ordered online.

ps - I'm not going to say this too loud...but did anyone else notice that when I added the "stupid Red Sox link" to my sidebar, they won? Reverse psychology...the link isn't going anywhere.

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Monday, October 18, 2004

Happy Birthday Em!

(this is one of the few digital photos I have of us!)

Today is my friend Emily's Birthday! Happy Birthday Emmy. She has survived 10 years of my friendship. Wow. Ten years. We were roommates all through college. Placed together randomly and now still best friends. She was in my wedding and was able to create the most beautiful hairdo ever - on the fly. She is unfailing in her loyalty, support, and commitment to me and all of those around here. I love her dearly and wish her the best day ever!

Watch out for monkeys Em, don't let them ever take the wheel!

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Shape the Shapely

Believe it or not, I have managed to get through 28 1/2 years without painting a single wall. I don't know how I've done it. Especially since my parents were big fans of slave labor in the form of their children. God Bless them. Robby painted most of our condo as his wedding present to me (awww). We were (are) broke and this was something that he could do with minimal caashee. It was the best present ever. Especially considering some of the colors I choose...Red, red, red in the kitchen. Painting white walls red sucks. There are no two ways about it.

He got pretty far in the process. The only rooms remaining pre-wedding were our bedroom, office, and half of the bathroom. My job was to finish the bathroom. I almost accomplished that this weekend. One coat to go and we will have a FINISHED ROOM IN OUR HOUSE. Unheard of. A few things I learned about painting.

1. Don't wear your favorite velour puma sweat pants. They will get paint of them.
2. Tie your hair back in a ponytail. If you don't it will fall into the paint bucket.
3. Painting around and behind a toilet is not the most fun thing in the world.
4. Someone watching you paint behind a toilet will inevitably lead to hysterical laughter.
5. Wear a bandana around your hair. It will get paint on it.
6. Use your own paintbrush. You will get paint all over it.
7. I am one messy ass painter and should not quit my day job.

On to knitting news.....

So, Ms. Shapely tank is finito! Yippy! Thanks to the wonders of blocking it fits, like a glove. I actually like it! This is the first thing that I've knit for myself. As I was blocking I realized I made the wrong size. I failed to let my brain fully process the words...finished size XX". Don't know what kind of brain fart that was, but it was messy. Check out the difference. The left is blocked, the right is pre-block.

Pretty cool huh?

This is her all finished up. I call this pose my "Something sneaking is going on" pose. This is the face I had on in my pre-name change license. At least I got a few laughs out of it.

Shapely eh? This tank has shortrows at the bottom and up top. I still am not convinced that the ones up top are completely necessary. However, to really judge I'd have to make one without them. The short rows at the bottom give you this:

I finally figured out how to pick up the shortrow stitches invisibly. See...

Project Specs:

The pattern is free and available
here. It was fun to knit once I acquired all the necessary skills. Picking up stitches was a two try effort. As was knitting through the short row stitches invisibly. I love this yarn. I used South West Trading Company's Beyond. This is the second yarn I've used from the Company. The first was Bamboo. I will definitely find more projects for each of these. I knit this pattern exactly as specified. No changes. If I did it again, I would eliminate the shaping on the bottom. I prefer a straight edge along my waist.

I downloaded pictures from the reading last week. They're blurry! I'll spare you. Sorry about that.

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Thursday, October 14, 2004

If You Dare

Check out our wicked cool Halloween Invites. Robby designed these and we finally got them in the mail. We glued these back to back onto a piece of black card stock. I think they turned out really well.

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Like Jo Knits I've been wanting to make a yarn swift for sometime. I'm an engineer's daughter. What can I say? Any of them out there will tell you that their blood won't allow them to consider paying SO MUCH MONEY for something that you could easily make. Or maybe not so easily make. Or maybe something that will take over your life and you will spend hours and hours perfecting the perfect angle at which the different slats of wood meet. I haven't gone there yet. But this is what I picture when I consider the prospect of embarking on this journey of invention with my Dad.

Engineer's daughters also know that you MUST budget at least an extra 3 hours onto any project, because it always takes that much longer to get perfection beyond any normal persons idea of perfection. However, engineer's daughters will also tell you that they have never gone without, because all of those "If only this stupid thing would blankedee, blank" statements were always answered with - "We can make that stupid thing go blankedee, blank." And that is the coolest thing ever.

Immediately after reading Jo Knits post I came across these instructions: Homemade Yarn Swift (via Boston's Stitch 'n Bitch Yahoo Group.) It's kismet!

Guess what I'm going to build while home during Thanksgiving Weekend?

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Sleepy Head.

I went to the signing last night. Amy is sweet and it was fun to hear about the book's birthing process. At first glance I wasn't sure there was much in there that I was interested in. Amy went through each pattern and talked a bit about each. Now, I think that there are a bunch in there I'd like to try. Many of the patterns that are in there are from Knitty. However, most have been reworked. I took a few pictures; I'll try to post them tonight.

We worked on our Halloween invites last night. We're Late. We're always Late. I'm slowly getting used to life with a Southern Man. They're awesome though (Southern Men and the invites). It will be great to get them in the mail and get on to the next stage of party planning - The Food!

Oh, go check out this
free toy a la Knit Wit. Erika Mulherin does some pretty cool illustrations.. I have it up on my desktop and it makes me want to go knit.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Red Sox Win, Man Sees UFO. Coincidence? I think not.

Editor's Note: Robby had a strange experience on Friday. This is his story:

By Wendy’s Husband

Okay, here’s what happened (forget that I had another really long, stressful day that involved several near mishaps in this insane Boston traffic. Forget that I’m the second most paranoid conspiracy theorist I know. Forget that I’m a life-long insomniac and have constant hallucinations during the day from sleep deprivation. Forget that I’m researching all those UFOs (which are oh so very carefully) described in the Bible. Forget all that). I popped open an ice-cold Bud (in a can!) and Vladimir Guerrero smacked a big, fat grand slam and tied the game 6 – 6. I felt the collective stomach of all the folks at Fenway Park drop through the bleachers all the way out here in the ghetto. I looked at my beer. “Son of a crack,” I said.

Did my opening a beer just as Guerrero’s bat made contact with the ball jinx the Sox? I sulked. I tried to distract myself. “Don’t watch,” I said. I fed Kumar and Futureman. I fed Gabby and Rya. I started fishing through the dirty clothes hamper for my lucky sock hat and then it hit me. If it worked once… maybe it would work again. I waited and waited and waited. I tried to pick just the right moment. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. I was dying of thirst. I looked at the “born on” date: SEPTEMBER 14. “That’s fresh,” I thought. I popped it open and WHACK! David Ortiz smacked a 2-run shot in the bottom of the 10th. Fin! Sweep! Series over! I looked at my beer. “Right on,” I said.

Gabby and I celebrated by working on our Halloween party invitations and chasing tennis balls from the living room into the kitchen and back. Rya celebrated by licking up the beer I had spilled on the coffee table. Usually she does this herself. (She’ll knock over a beer or glass of wine with her tail and then look at you as if to say, “Sorry… it was an accident. Well, here, I’ll just lick it up. No worries.” She’s the lickinest dog in the universe. She has several nicknames: Lickie, Lickie Lake, TJ Lickers. This week I made up a song that goes “Oh Lickie you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Lickie… hey Lickie.”)

Finally it was time to go pick the Bookish Girl up from the bookstore (I get to vacuum and shake out the rug). But just as I was getting ready to leave I heard this crazy wub-wub-wub-wub-wub-wub-wub-wub-wub sound coming from outside. Gabby ran to the office window to look out. “What the hell?” I thought. It wasn’t a helicopter, quite, but similar. I honest-to-God had this thought as I walked down the steps: What if there’s a UFO out here?

I stepped off the porch and onto the sidewalk and that’s when I saw it. It scared the hell out of me at first. It was the size of a small building, but rounder. And all lit up. It roared like the sea. It hovered directly above the housing project across the street. For a second I thought maybe the aliens were going to beam up the dudes that mugged me last winter and beat the hell out of them (or at least give them the anal probe). I squinted into the darkness and put my hand up to block out the street light.

There was writing on the side of the UFO but I couldn’t quite make it out. At first I thought it said: BEER. But then I realized I was just having one of those Homer Simpson-esque moments, some kind of mental Freudian slip. I stepped closer. The air hissed and cracked and buzzed like a Poulan. Finally I could see the writing clearly. The UFO had the word HOOD written on the side in great big letters. HOOD. I said the word over and over to myself. “Hood. Hood.” What the hell could it mean? Then I remembered a verse from the book of Ezekiel that says “above the heads of the creatures there was something that looked like a dome made of dazzling crystal and the word HOOD glowed hence.”

“Holy Christ,” I thought. Was this the end of the world? If I had hair it would have been standing straight up. I stood paralyzed and watched the UFO until it drifted slowly away. I couldn’t wait to tell the Bookish Girl. Would she even believe me? I climbed in the car and raced toward the bookstore. What would I say? How would I tell her? And then in one of those rare moments that can only be described as an epiphany, it occurred to me that I could save the world by rushing home and popping open another Bud. “Honey, you’ll never believe what happened,” I said bursting into the bookstore. “What?” she said. “I’ll tell you as soon as we get home,” I said. “We’ve got to hurry.”

Editor's Note: Needless to say, we've got a whole case of Budweiser in the fridge
ready for tonight.
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One is the loneliest Number

Windsor Button had a Columbus Day Sale yesterday, 20% off.

Yeah Windsor Button!

Lookeee at all the goodies. A treat for me, something for the sister, something for a new munchkin in incubation and something for Gus (
cutie newborn pic of the little man.)

Three hours later and this is what I have.

Isn't it the cutest thing you've ever seen? They're UGG booties from a
Knitty Gritty episode. Check out the pattern here. They use Berroco Suede and Berroco Plush. They have a cool "suede" texture to them. It was super easy to knit and if you're patient any level of knitter could do it. Attaching the fuzz was the most difficult part. I chose to use the Plush yarn to pick up stitches along the sides and over the front. I then weaved another strand through these stitches. I switched the two suede colors by accident. The darker should be the sole. Oh well, I think it turned out pretty good! I’ll get started on to the second one soon.

Check out
KatyKnits version. She did hers in one color of Suede. They are just as cute and if you don’t already have suede in your stash I am pretty sure you could get one pair out of one ball. Too cute!

Don't forget! Amy Singer is at Circles tonight signing her book Knit Wit. It is a potluck. I'll be there with bells on!
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Monday, October 11, 2004

Man-a-Long Baby!

My first adult sized sweater. Yippy, dancing in the streets. Glory Be. How much fun is it? And how cute. The Pattern is the Big Sack Sweater from Stitch ‘n Bitch. The designer is Jenna Wilson.

Project Notes:

Yarn: Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair. I like this yarn a lot. It’s soft and easy to knit with. There are some things I did not like about it. It is weak, this goes against the
Knitters Review opinion. It broke very easily. Especially when seaming. It would just pull apart as I tugged at it to tighten up my mattress stitch. VERY FRUSTRATING. Otherwise, it’s a lot of fun. I mentioned this before, I am afraid that it won’t hold up to the wear of time. Stay tuned.

Pattern: 1 - The construction of this sweater is pretty straight forward. I did have some problems with the raglan shaping when I first tried it. That was user error. I was knitting at a different gauge than the pattern and I tried to make up for it during the raglan decreases on the front panel. Not possible. 2 - I added about 4” to the length of the front and back – it’s still pretty short. I can’t imagine what it would be like at the intended length. 3 - I also shortened the sleeves by 4”.

As far as I can tell there weren’t many issues with the pattern. However, because it was easy to understand…I didn’t pay too much attention.
Click here for the errata.

There is a pretty large issue with the sizing. The arms are not wide enough to accommodate a male’s physique. I knit at size large intending to get a small for my lovely husband. Everything worked out according to the patterns schematic. I blocked and seamed. It’s super tight on him around his shoulders and upper arms. He refuses to take the thing off, he loves it. But that is because I made it and he is a good husband. I think it makes him look a bit odd. It fits me perfectly. Hmmmm.

Mistakes: I decided to include these so that I’m aware if I tackle it again and also because I’m a semi-beginner knitter I have this odd perception that the masters out there don’t make and don’t tolerate mistakes. I am usually pretty anal and glaring issues were corrected. Some things I left – 1. A raglan decrease on the sleeve one stitch too close to the end of the row. I put this on the back – you can’t tell in the sea of stockinette. 2 – Missed a cable. It was at the top of the neck. I didn’t realize until I had already bound off the neck. In the end, I like it better. It really sets off the neck nicely. 3 – The roll neck isn’t long enough. It doesn’t roll as dramatically as the sleeves and bottom. 4 – Seaming. Man there was a lot of seaming. It took and entire afternoon of football to seam this bastard. Some of my seams aren’t that great…but you know what, it’s a hand-knit sweater. It should look that way.
There were other mistakes. But you get my drift. It’s not perfect but yet it looks pretty damn awesome. This was completed as part of the Man-a-Long. We’ll take a full spread of pictures with the goal of kicking some butt in that portion of the competition.

I do have a question... the back seems to be shorter than the front. The back is not shorter. I blocked both sides to the exact same length. Is this something that I did when seaming it? Is there some trick to preventing this? Store bought sweaters don’t have this issue?! Any thoughts? I know you’re out there. I need wisdom people!

Rya loves the sweater (disclaimer: Rob is the family photographer, he is at work. I'm lucky this is even in focus)

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Friday, October 08, 2004

So many books to read, so little time

Finished Hoot today. So good. A fun book, quick read and truly entertaining. I would highly recommend it for kids and adults. It even has an environmental slant to it!

Picked up
Child of My Heart by Alice McDermott tonight. I love Charming Billy and am really looking forward to this book.

I may delete my virtual nightstand. Our bookshelves at home are filled with books I haven't read. I really just need to choose books and read them as the mood strikes me. Of course the exception to that rule would have to be bookclub books.

I'm working on the decreases for the raglan sleeve of the Big Sack Sweater. This is the final piece. Tune in Monday for the finished sweater (knock on wood!) I hope it fits.
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Thursday, October 07, 2004

Two Hours

I forgot to bring my knitting with me yesterday! Yikes. That's the worst. The last time I forgot it I truly regretted it. I ended up sitting in my car at the airport for TWO HOURS waiting for husband Rob to get into the airport and get off his plane. The fact that I was able to sit in one spot for TWO HOURS without the poooolice asking me to move along is pretty huge. It was a TWO HOUR time period with nothing but me and NPR. I didn't have a book, knitting, or even a graham cracker to nibble on. It was horrible. I almost went crazy. The rest of the day I griped how I had TWO HOURS to get something done and I wasted it. Man, I gotta get a grip and learn to relax.

No knitting content to speak of. I did pick up the Shapely Tank this past weekend. It's just waiting to be seamed, all done otherwise. First glimpse tells me it's going to be small...small, not huge like I thought? Anyone know of a teenage girl not afraid to wear a hand knit tank? The final block and seaming may help me out a bit. I'm not holding my breath though.

To continue with the Introductions...

This is Gabby. She is 10(?), but Rob won't let me tell her that. She is the silent matriarch of the family. Rya (our other sweet love) will go to great lengths not to disturb her. She is easily brought to action with the word snack and walk. In fact, she will hug you (for real) for a snack. Gabby also goes by....Gabbiligoo, Gawby, Goo-Goo, and Gabalicious. Ain't she a sweet face?

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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Hoot Hoot

I finished reading The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and my friend Erin's manuscript yesterday. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh was okay. I think that it was incredibly well written. Michael Chabon is talented. I didn't really like the characters and this makes it hard to love the book. There are plenty of other books where the characters are flawed and unlikable but somewhere you usually find some characteristic that endears you to them (The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch is one that immediately comes to mind.) This doesn't happen here. The story follows a young adult boy through his summer in Pittsburgh. He's tormented by familial history and has picked up a new set of friends. Each of these people is rich in character, a few are likeable, but overall I can't quite figure out how they mesh together. I think Chabon plays with characters a bit, trying to bring out qualities in each that somehow mirror the protagonist. I'm not quite sure he pulls it off here and well as he does in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Each of these characters challenges Art, the protagonist, but not in a way that is clear. All in all, a good read but I don't know if I'd recommend it. If you're a Chabon fan, it's worth picking up.

Here's an interview with Chabon on

Erin's manuscript is impressive, her first novel. She's got a talent for writing in a clear and concise manner. I'm looking forward to talking with you about it all Erin!

I needed a quick read before my bookclub meets next week to pick our next selection. Hoot
by Carl Hiaasen has been in the bookcase for awhile. It's a book geared toward the 10-12 age range. Just about exactly what I can handle right now. I haven't read Hiaasen and this may be a good start.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

A Finished Object!

This is the first project that I knit - ever.

Seems kind of crazy that this was the first. I had lots of help. I took my first knitting class in January. After knitting the first horrendous swatch (which I have since learned that every knitter has this first horrendous swatch) I knit this. By the way, I still have that swatch. I keep it around to inspire confidence in my progress!

Like I said, I had lots of help. My teacher was awesome and we worked through the pattern together as I knit. Actually, she had the pattern in her head…she communicated it to me as I went. It was a great first project. Challenging enough to keep me interested (I bore easily) yet easy enough not to overwhelm me. I learned to decrease, increase, rib, pick up stitches, seam, buttonhole, etc etc. Not bad.

This sweater was just about finished when I presented it to Allie (little Allie with big ol’ Gus in her tum-tum) in April.

All I had to do to finish was to weave in the ends and put on the buttons. Buttons, blech. I took up knitting because I hated to sew. The seams were bad enough…but buttons.
I picked out these cuties at Jo-Ann’s. The idea of buttoning these on a wiggly, screeching little ball of joy was even too much for me. I decided to sew in simple white buttons along the inside and use those as the functional buttons, the others could be for decoration.

This is Gus at our wedding.

As you can see he is alive and well, no longer in the tummy. Forcing me to get a move on. The sweater was made for next fall. I’m hoping he’ll get some use out of it this year.

And so, last night at long last I sewed the buttons, all ten of them. I did screw up though (what’s a project without a screw up). I put the buttons on the wrong side. They would be correct if the hand-shaped ones were used. But they are not. Therefore Gus’ sweater will button like a girl’s. Like my husband said, he’ll never know the difference, he’ll never be buttoning it. Well put. I wonder if anyone will judge his sex by the way his buttons button? An interesting experiment.

Details, Details, Details. I seamed the shoulders with a three-needle bind off, the rest mattress stitch. For some reason I had a lot of ends. I actually used these to reinforce the seams. I figured since they were there they could carry their weight. I think I did a great job – see!

The yarn is fun and cute and it’s washable! The color here is pretty dead on. Despite the nighttime photo shoot. Anything else you want to know? I will get this off to Gus this week. Hopefully his parents will take lots of photos to share. He’s so handsome!

In the meantime, here’s the only model I could find in the house. I knew there was a legitimate reason why I still had a teddy bear!

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Monday, October 04, 2004

Don't forget - it's all about Poland

picture from

Did you forget about Poland? If so, shame on you. You'll have the village idiot at your throat in no time. It seems the Polish want out. And they want it fast. So much for Poland. Link to the IHT found via Taegan Goddard's Political Wire.

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Sometimes people suck.

Have you seen this Rant on craigslist yet? Makes me want to head over to Somerville just to irritate the likes of this guy.

I quote..."Café lovers! Don't let this happen to you! Please, guard the couches with your lives and stop the Ball Square Knitting Club before it’s too late!"

Hmmm, I would argue that his stupid keyboard typing is just as distracting as any old knitting needles. Sometimes people suck.
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Friday, October 01, 2004


The country of the day - Poland. It's all about Poland. Don't forget Poland.

I'm sickers. Blech. The only good part of that means that I get to stay home on my couch all day. I'm obsessed with
bloglines and may not be able to escape its hidden grasp on my neck. I'm reaching 100 and still adding. If this continues I may have to not only join a 12 step program for knitting in public but also, as Kerstin pointed out in the comments, blogging. Or rather, for me, blog surfing. Therapy would involve lots of laying around, some drinks and decadent food, and of course, fiber. Lots of fiber. Ahhh, not the fiber that sends you to the bathroom but that that can be twisted and wrapped around needles to create wonderful garments of color and style. Ahhh, my kind of therapy. Anyone want to join me today?
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