Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I wove in the button band ends. Can't find 'em.

I'm leaving it, finishing the collar, and if I hate it, I hate it. I learned a lot.

Please tell me this doesn't look too terrible. I can live with the collar.


The mistake

Here's my newest sock project. These are the Tesselating Lace Socks from Knitting the Light Fantastic. (Scroll down to the red socks. Isn't she a great knitter? And I think she's a vet, too.) I'm doing a test knit for the pattern, but I think she is planning on making it available eventually. The yarn is Mama-E's sock yarn in Testudo, named after her college mascot, who is a Diamondback Terrapin. :) It's her Project Spectrum yarn for July/August.

The yarn is lovely. It's soft and scrunchy, and because these socks will be taller, I started out knitting them on a 2.75mm needle. After one pattern repeat I changed to a 2.5mm. The pattern is easy and intuitive, and y'all will love it when it comes out.

For now, it's my consolation! And whoa, somebody needs some self-tanner!

Tesselating Lace Socks

Labels: , ,

Y'all know I am just like that.


Let's pause and reflect for a moment on my gargantuan project-of-late, the gorgeous (I mean the PATTERN, mine is a little more homely) Twist Cardigan.

(happy music begins)

I knitted allll the pieces.
I seamed it together, sometimes with frightening abandon.
I picked up the right number of stitches for the button bands, and knitted 'em right up.
I picked up for the collar.
I sewed on three buttons.
I knitted some of the collar.
I tried it on.

(record comes to screeching, needle-torturing halt)

I don't know how to break this to you. Or even to myself. I was writing weepy emails to Betty last night and didn't even know what I was talking about. (Sorry, Betty!)

The problem, or what I am really talking about is a particular form of knitting sickness we all get commonly summarized as "denial." I love every stinking thing about this sweater. After I knitted the buttonhole band, I thought something didn't look quite right, but I plowed ahead.

After I picked up for the collar, I thought something didn't look quite right, but I plowed ahead. My first sweater! Surely trusting the instructions would make it all right.

I have reached the point where I can no longer deny it. The buttonholes are not hitting the vertical center of the band. I did follow the pattern, but they are too far from the edge of the sweater (as you look at it, they are too far right).

A pause, while we get some context...for the last 12 years of my life I've been a working designer, and my sense of measurement is keen. Typically if I am centering something on a page, I'll eyeball it and then go back and check it mathematically. More often than not I'm less than .0625" off. Teeny-teeny-tiny. Things that are off center even this much have the ability to send me right over the edge. (Yes, I know this means I need to get a life.)

And here I am with my buttonholes about a quarter-inch off. People, I am telling you there is no amount of "it'll block out" that can fix it. It's a cotton-microfiber blend that is not going to budge when it's blocked.

In addition to that, I don't like the loose stitches on the edge of the collar. I can see the solution.

I need to rip the collar and button bands, pick up the collar and knit it first, then pick up button bands including the edge of the collar so the edges of the collar are included in the button bands. I may do this in ribbing, or I may follow the lead of my other two similar cardigans and knit it bottom up in stockinette (instead of side-out in ribbing). No more cables on the collar - I don't like them. It's going to be stockinette, and the front cables are going solo. I can see exactly what is to be done, and exactly how to do it.

Five inches of stockinette for the collar. More button bands, maybe in stockinette.

As you may have guessed, Twist is in time out.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Ever so nice

Tonight I walked over to an Italian restaurant in my neighborhood for some tasty lasagna, salad and bread. The weather was exceptional for July. Normally it's hotter than the devil in an overcoat, but tonight? 88 with the sun setting. Perfection.

I'm trying to have a Godfather week and finish up some projects - namely, my Twist cardigan. I have 8 repeats of the collar finished, and by my reckoning it will take 12 to get it looking right.

For now, here's some gratuitous kittyness:



Sunday, July 29, 2007


Sorry about the radio silence. I was very, very focused!

By this morning I had my heel knit, and at 7pm CDT I rolled over the cobblestones on the Champs Elyseés at last:


My apartment is dirty, my sheets are still in the dryer, the carpet needs vacuuming and I haven't had a bath today, but my goodness me, I have my Sockapalooza socks finished.

Pattern: Chausettes L'Anniversaire (Anniversary Socks) by Nancy Bush
Pattern Source: Favorite Socks
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, Aqua, about 1.5 skeins
Yarn Source: Haus of Yarn, Nashville
Needle: 2.5mm INOX Express

Thoughts: This was a very easy pattern to master. It was interesting enough to keep me on my toes (so interesting that I had to put it aside during mountain stages because I couldn't watch the crowds and the race and knit at the same time). I never like the photos that appear with Nancy Bush patterns, but by the time I finished the cuff I knew this one was going to be special. It was an exactly right confluence of yarn, needles, pattern and knitter.

Modifications: I worked the LC2 stitches on all odd-numbered rounds. The pattern doesn't say this. Apparently there are errata, but I still haven't found them.

I didn't work an eye of partridge heel flap - I found it too short and stiff in these needles with this yarn. I did a modified version of the LC2 pattern from the cuff: over 32 stitches, sl1, *LC2, k2 across. For the reverse, sl1, purl to end. I turned the heel starting with a WS row, as is my usual habit of late - I don't like the little wing-things you get when you start on a RS row and I am NOT cutting the yarn at a heel.

Everything else, I worked as written. The socks are a total of 12 lace repeats long. They will stretch up farther on my pal than they do on me, if she wants.

I can't say they were easy - they were quite a challenge with a wrist brace and a huge freelance job thrown into the mix...but they do the trick!

Please, please, join the knitalong next year if you like cycling! This was SO much fun and Deb and Meg did a super job of explaining cycling, explaining le Tour and keeping track of everyone!

Je t'aime, Paris. Je t'aime, monsieur du maillot jaune (No spoilers from me!).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Morrrre Progress.

I am halfway through the heel flap on my sock, the weather stinks so no pictures (it's muggy and dark), Fee is stressed out and running from everything, and Grady is in love with a skein of Plymouth Suri Merino because of Betty's dog, Homer.

Grady apparently likes dogs. A lot. I brought the Furminator over to Betty's one night so she could try it on Homer. Up till then, Grady did not like the Furminator. After Homer? He was all over the brush like flies at a picnic. It's become a running joke between GB and I lately. So I am theorizing that Grady likes the yarn Betty and I traded because it may possibly have a trace of Homer in it.

He doesn't really get along with Fee, so maybe it is his way of telling me he wants a dog. Or at least a dog buddy to hang out with. (Grady fetches too, so it's possible he thinks he IS a dog.) I think I am getting one of those Feliway air fresheners, and maybe they will sweeten up.

New "heads of state"

I keep using Phil and Paulisms because it cuts the edge off the depression a little.

So Vino/Astana are out, Cofidis is out, and now Michael Rasmussen has been fired by Rabobank (his team) at the request of the team owner. Cyclists have to submit in writing where they will be and when during certain times of the year. Rasmussen's wife is from Mexico, and apparently he filed saying he was there but actually went to Italy. They assume guilt in such a situation, and he's been tanked.

So now we have new heads of state who are presumably innocent. I'd like to see Levi Leipheimer win something, and Alberto Contador is just fabulous. Who can take the last four stages in the GC? I don't honestly know. Cadel Evans, maybe. Let's hope the doping tree is done shaking for one Tour!

I have four repeats of sock 2 done. Nearly to the heel, which I can probably knit tonight, and then it always seems like the sock just takes over and zooms to the finish after I get done decreasing gussets. I'll be working on it a lot this weekend. Due date is imminent! Let's hope I don't make any mistakes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007



Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cracked - a rant

Because y'all asked...

Cyclist Alexandre Vinokourov withdrew from the Tour today after failing a drug test. He was found guilty of blood doping. Very odd kind of doping, but it makes sense - you inject someone else's blood into your body and the addition of more red blood cells makes your oxygen uptake greater, thereby giving you a physical advantage.

What do I think about it? It's cheating.

It's wrong and Vino should be banned from cycling and stripped of his two stage wins this week, fined appropriately and remembered as a guy who tried to win by cheating.

What do I think about Astana withdrawing? It's a shame for Andreas Kloden. He was looking good and sitting pretty high in the GC.

What I really think about Vino is that CS Lewis was right when he talked about selfishness being the form of pride that tends to most overtake humans. I think it's sad for Vino (that he got to the point where he felt that was an option) and sad for cycling.

What do I think about Michael V*ck? Absolutely detestable behavior, IF TRUE, and he'll be a distraction to the NFL and the team until it's proven one way or the other. I heard on local sports radio that federal indictments are usually rock-solid, so it doesn't look good for him. Soaking a dog with water and electrocuting it makes me so angry I can't actually form a complete sentence. And when you purposefully do that to the dog who turns out to be a sweet dog and not mean enough for your fights? It's pathetic. Absolutely unconscionable and pathetic.

What I really think, though, is that until certain athletes decide that impressing their fans and teammates is more important than proving to some people back home that they haven't sold out, this kind of thing will not go away.

Which also makes me sad. It seems Vino has cracked, but not in the way we thought he would. And he hurt a lot of people in the process. We'll see what happens with Vi*k.

Dancing on the pedals

That is the term for a rider who is standing up to pedal so he can rest certain muscles. And hopefully build momentum. That is what I am doing right now with my second sock.

There is nothing in sports I love more than the mountain stages in the Tour de France. I have a hard time knitting while I'm watching them, because I want to see every crazy, every bit of jostling for position and all of the challenges and breakaways. Did y'all see those crazy mooners last night? How about Mr Diablo, the old guy who dresses up like a devil every year and chases them with a pitchfork? He was there last night! (We haven't seen any more B*rat, to my knowledge.)

I did get a repeat of my anniversaire sock leg done, and worked some on a secret project I haven't been keeping up with very well. And my Twist collar is about 3" long, and I have three buttons (of eight) sewn on. And somehow though I love the smell my perfume seems really strong today, which means that I am less congested and cold-y than I was, and I am feeling better.

(I wear some kind of Bath & Body Works perfume I bought last year, créme brulee I think, and I liked it so much I went on eBay and bought two more bottles when they discontinued it. In the summer it's light and yummy. In the winter I wear Ch*nel C*co Madem*iselle.)

I fell asleep just at the end of the stage last night - my goal was to pause the dvr, snooze a bit and watch the finish, but I fell asleep for good. So I haven't seen it all, but tonight I'll catch up and then tomorrow is the Col d'Aubisque, which is going to be sheer madness.

Get your suitcases full of courage, boys - you'll need it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ok, so

I stayed up too late working on l'anniversaire (such an addictive pattern) and I may have a touch of a cold from waiting in the doctor's office so long last week for my wrist. But my wrist is better, I have a whole bag of cold-eeze and some Airborne, and I think I can make it. I only have 7 days - I better! (6, actually.)

So I don't actually have any pictures, but I'm still chugging away on my Tour de France knitalong project. This past week has been tight. I had some freelance projects going, I had to go to an out-of-town wedding on Saturday, I had to find an outfit for the wedding which would allow me to move around and style photos while remaining perfectly dressed up (that was Thursday), I have a deadline at work, and ... a stuffy nose. Nothing like getting down to business, right? My goal today is to remember to buy dishwashing detergent so I can have some clean dishes again. (I remembered toilet paper yesterday, also a crisis, but sadly forgot the Cascade.)

Sometimes I get like this - forgetful, overworked and tired - but it's no big deal. In a day or two I'll have pulled my kitchen together, turned the heel of le sock, and wrapped up my deadline. Crazybusy doesn't bother me as long as I have a plan. What bothers me is no plan, because then I get overwhelmed and give up.

Speaking of giving up, why haven't I heard from Kelly? Kelly, do you want the Billy Bag? Let me know, and if not I'll draw another number. Send me an email as soon as you can. :) Thanks! (Retro, Spunky!)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hello, Sunday!

Despite the fact that there are certain rules about underwear-clothing colors and the whole no stockings-with-open-toed shoes thing I wish I could talk about, I will instead say that I'm woefully behind on my Tour watching AND knitting, and I'm in danger of being dropped by the group.

Imagine, y'all, a three-week. 2700-kilometer bike race, and you come in second by TWO MINUTES. Days and days of pounding across country, up and down mountains, through rain, dangerous cobblestones, drunken fans, Borat appearances, media circuses and utter crazies, eating 10,000 calories per day, living, eating and sleeping cycling, feeling agony after agony,

and losing by a minute or so. If only, right? If only you'd pushed a tiny bit harder, if you'd only been better hydrated, slept better, ate more, ate less, coasted less.

I am still riding the exercise bike, and today when I got off I experienced something I have never felt before. My entire backside was numb, as in, asleep. I staggered back to my apartment a bit inelegantly, trying very hard not to hold my bum in both hands as I marveled over how it was waking up, and I guess this is what they mean by saddle-sore. Thankfully it abated, and stretches have never felt so good.

So, um, it's a slow news day at Chez I-cord. I will have some pictures tomorrow, of something.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Biggest Snoozer

Much as I like to joke about Grady being a fat boy, you can see how he's slimmed down considerably over the past four years. Here's a picture of him in his chubbier days:

Schmade in his chubbier days

He's not the biggest loser in this house, though, he's the biggest snoozer.

Sock cuff #2 is nearly done! Boo-hoo for David Zabriskie. :(

Also, I would like everyone to see one of my Grady outtakes from 1999. Grady's modeling skillz have improved as much as my photography, don't you think?

My photo skillz have improved

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


More Grady and Fee. He's reclining, she's resisting the impulse to teach me a lesson.



Because I am geeky like that

I would like y'all to know that I am one of 3 (three) people who bought and downloaded an album of Strauss waltzes from the iTunes Music Store, and that I have been listening to the Artist's Life waltz over and over again as I walk over to the exercise bike. So, 10-minute walk there? Check. 10-minute walk home? Check. Geeky, but it works for me.

The other point of total geekiness is my new book, "Isaac's Storm," written by Erik Larson, who also wrote "The Devil in the White City" which kept me very entertained a couple of years ago. That book is about the Chicago World's Fair of 18-mmhm (terrible memory) and the first serial killer in America, who was rocking some terribly creepy pre-Nazi prototypes of ovens and killing women who boarded with him at his gigantic house in Chicago. It's an odd premise, but a very good book.

This book, however, is about the September 8, 1900 hurricane that wiped out Galveston, TX. Isaac (Cline) was the weatherman, and he went on to the weather station in New Orleans and got involved in the kerfluffle about whether or not to blow up the levee at St Bernard's Parish and flood the area south of New Orleans to relieve the city from threat during the Mississippi flood of 1927. Cline was a voice of reason, and the Galveston hurricane explains much of his caution - but I won't give it away. Meantime I am learning all manner of geekery about hurricanes, history and...well, y'all know. I am a second-generation weather fan, and I've ridden out several tropical storms and Hurricane Jeanne. So I can't get enough.

Anyway, what are you reading and listening to? Nosey parkers want to know! (Knitting later.)

Retro, spunky!

Y'all, I had SO MUCH FUN reading your comments about me and the bag and sometimes trying very hard to figure out which was meant for which. Thank you to everybody who left a comment.

The winner by random-number drawing is Kelly with "Retro, Spunky!" and I think there was only one Kelly, so...Kelly! Please email me with your address! (Look in the sidebar.) Blogger comments still don't work to force email. I know I should hook the Haloscan up, but I didn't want to lose everything I ever had for a comment previously. That looks like my only option though.

Hope everybody has a lovely lovely Wednesday! I worked on sock 2 last night, but had to frog back since I messed up my row count. It's so much trouble to figure out where I was at I'm probably better off frogging that last 5 or 6 rows and starting over. Sigh.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Total, utter cuteness

1:45 left!

Check THESE out.

I will be making fourteen of them. :)


Last call for the contest! I'm closing it down at midnight CDT today.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Good news

Out of a bit of sheer panic coupled with the advice of my chiropractor, I spent a rather lonely two and a half hours today getting an x-ray of my right hand (the wait was long) and not only did I get to see how a digital x-ray machine works, I got to see all the bones in my right hand and found out I do not have a scaphoid fracture (at least so far, sometimes they show up later) although I do have some pain in the ... anatomical skullbox? Snuffbox? Shoebox?

The other news is that I have a rather stiff splint for 5 days, which is by far better than those available at the drugstore, and I was tested extensively for carpal tunnel syndrome because of my occupation, and I do not have it. (Thank you Lord!) If my wrist is not better in a week (no pain without Advil) then I have to see an orthopedist. But I've seen him before, and he's nice.

X-rays are cool. Check out these pictures! Who would have thought flowers would look so cool?

Contest ends tomorrow night at midnight! Only two-word comments will be entered, so choose wisely!


Sock pictures - post-stage. No photo-finish pictures. My ankle isn't this chubby; I just couldn't get a flattering angle.


(Bonus shot at Flickr, just click this one.)

But the sock? She is lovely. So far I have made lace socks, but not lacy socks. These are lacy. These are delish. This one isn't blocked yet, but I feel quite sure there will be some evening of stitches.

Jammies from Old Navy. (Y'all, these are my most favorite pajama pants ever.) And yes, I need to paint my toenails.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

We have a sock!

Today's Tour de France stage was grueling, and my sock made me pay for every single inch of progress. Here's what I did today:

1. 3 loads of laundry
2. Rode 30 minutes at 15mph on exercise bike
3. Made bed
4. Fed cats
5. Found 16 images for freelance gig and finished two others
6. Cooked two meals for self
7. Went to grocery store
8. Went to used sporting-goods store

9. Finished sock #1 for sockapalooza pal

I'm pretty tired. But I had to post, because of the knitalong.

Tomorrow is a rest day. I will be resting, working some more on the freelance, and catching up on Ice Road Truckers.

Hope your Monday is happy! (PS: update on the hand: at the advice of the team doctor (hehe) I stopped icing my hand; it's likely a sprain, and I'll be watching it carefully over the next couple days. My heart went out to Michael Rogers tonight, who has a dislocated shoulder and abandoned the race, especially since Arroyo not only took a header over the same guard rail, he landed in a tree - and rode away unscathed. And I hope O'Grady is all right. Good Lord, which bones DIDN'T the man break???)


Holy cow, that's the number of visitors I've had since 19 March 2006, when I started keeping track. Y'all amaze me! Thank you for paying attention to my cats, knitting, and crazy.

Don't forget about the contest! I had a dream that people were leaving comments with more than two words, and I was all anxious. But it looks like everyone is playing the game, and I am having large amounts of fun reading through them and trying to figure out which is which (that's easier on some than others!).

So, here is the link for it if you haven't played yet!

I'm off to watch the first of the monster mountain stages and ice my hand. Hope y'all have a happy Sunday.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I have been knitting, just not a lot, because of this:

My wrist

See the black-and-blue spot under my thumb, on my wrist? That is the culprit! I've been alternating ice and heat and taking advil and wearing a brace for computer work. I have no idea what I did to myself, though. I know it sounds odd, originally I thought I slept on it wrong. Then I thought that it must have been something I did in cleaning out the closet. But I do have a vague memory of hitting it palm-first against something about a week ago, but I can't remember why or exactly what happened. I just remember shaking it out and thinking "ow." Let's please say a prayer I didn't inadvertently break my scaphoid bone. Apparently you can have a scaphoid fracture and almost no symptoms for a week to two weeks after. And depending on the place of the break, not getting it taken care of can mean arthritis. And getting it taken care of can mean an over-the-elbow cast.

I just sent the pic to my mom (she's a nurse). She told me to go to the doctor. Sigh. Ok, maybe I will.

Here's a picture of the sock:

Anniversary sock

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A confession, and another giveaway

Apologies right up front to Kelley, who I feel sure is going to hate me.

I never did buy a Matt & Nat bag. I wanted to, but in the end I could not make up my mind about which one to buy. So I didn't buy anything.

Then I got an email from Billy Bag, I'm crazy about those bags but there's no way I'll ever spend $500+ on a leather handbag.

(Their summer stuff is half off.)

The whole thing was even starting to seem reasonable when I realized that not only do they not have the bag I really want in stock, the shipping was going to be $50.

(Dealbreaker, huh.)

So then I was picking around looking for a possible second choice, and I liked this one the best: Lauren small. But in brown.

But...it was still a lot of money. So I decided to cruise past Marshall's tonight on the way home. You know, just looking! (Who am I kidding?)

And there, all alone, forgotten, abandoned, hanging on a hook with a lot of showy red faux-croco bags and even looking a bit homely was this gorgeous bag. But in brown.

A Hobo bag. Ok, I have to be honest, I literally winced as I turned the tag over. Because this bag is absolutely lovely in every possible way. Tiffany blue lining. Choice of two handles. Super soft. Very, unbelievably close to the Billy Bag I liked.

It said $99. And I went over to the nice blonde lady who was stocking the bags and asked her if she'd seen any more. Nope. Would they be on clearance, then? (Still wincing.)

She told me to ask at customer service, I did, long story short...$80. $255 marked down to $80. (I understand it is probably unforgivably frivolous to some of you that I would spend that on a bag, but I would like to submit into evidence exhibit B, which is an Old Navy bag I just bought - and carry - for $8.99. And also, I have ice cream sandwich on my face.)

(Y'all, I have learned something about myself. Unless I got rich, I wouldn't actually spend $255 on a bag. But to know that I got a deal on one? I feel like I have the best secret.)

And I confess I have coveted Kelley's red Hobo wallet, and Kelley, I hope you don't hate me for buying the last bag.

In the grand spirit of decluttering: Would y'all like another contest?

This one is for a Billy Bag. It's lovely but I have owned it nearly a year and never been tempted to carry it. It's brand-new, never used, was given to me. More or less £75 retail (about $150). It's chic (I'm not). It takes a certain personality to carry and orange and brown bag. (It's also from last season, but it's not out of style and very striking, honest.) It has a lovely orange lining and this cool Art Nouveau print and It has brass feet on the bottom, an inside zip compartment, inside zip pocket, cell phone pocket, and another pocket...maybe I don't want to give it away! But here it is...



Leave a comment IN THIS POST by midnight Tuesday July 17 and I'll have a drawing and give away the bag. Your comment should be ONE word that describes the Billy Bag, and ONE word that describes me (Orange. Crazy.) That's it, you have to follow the rules, and anybody who leaves more than 2 words as a comment will not be entered.

On Wednesday I'll do a random-number drawing, and send it off to a happy owner. Don't enter if you don't want it. I want the bag to go to a happy home; it's a good one!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Thank you all for the nice comments on my kitties. The camera is a Fuji FinePix F20 - best point-and-shoot there is. I'm going to find a way to post the photo tips I wrote for Ravelry, here. Or in pdf form. But really, the secret is a good camera and patience. Just take a lot of shots.

I've sprained my right wrist. This is probably a result of the closet-cleaning extravaganza on Sunday. As a result I am on the ice-heat-rest-brace train. It and my right forearm are a little swelled up as well. Bah. Thankfully I knit Continental-style and I probably won't need to rest from knitting. But I may take a day or two off just to be sure it's all right.

That's all the news. Go visit Laurie and give her some love today.

Two cats

Two cats, one of whom appears to be out for blood. Grady is my blanket - he lays on my feet at night - and Fee is my alarm clock, chirping and squawking at 6am everyday.

Green eyes


I should have named him Rocky.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The sock

Today, le chaussette d'anniversaire is exhausted. She has been riding for two days, through the streets of London, through northern Belgium with a crosswind, fighting crashes, rain, long, long stretches of flat road, and the humiliation of Robbie McEwen's sprinting ability. Already she is tired of eating 10,000 calories per day. Always the sock can feel the voiture balai breathing down her neck. She does not want to ride home in disgrace.

But the sock, she has a heel. She has gussets. She has part of a foot. For now, she needs to sleep.

The sock is tired, but she is also happy.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Progress on Many Fronts

Progress, on many fronts:

My project for the Tour de France knitalong is the Anniversary Socks from Favorite Socks. Thursday I knit the heel flap as written and turned the heel. I thought it looked a bit short; by Friday morning I knew it was true and would never fit around a regular foot. Riiiiip.

I decided to make up my own heel using the cable motif from the rest of the sock. On RS rows I worked (over 32 sts): sl1 pwise, *LC2, k2, rep to end, end LC2, k1. On WS rows: sl1 pwise, purl to end.

I also turned the heel in my new favorite way. I start on a purl row so I don't get those weird little corners you get when you begin a heel on the knit side.

So here's the progress:


As you can see, I stand by my earlier assertion that the pics along with Nancy's patterns do not do them justice.

I was out of town Friday and Saturday (both fun trips!) and today I tackled the front closet and my bedroom closet. I got rid of about 50# of magazines from the front closet and I have room for shoes and other stuff now. Not perfect, but a lot better.

Then I went to Spr*nt, exchanged my K*tana for an LG Fus*c phone (I am rockin' the pink faceplate, y'all) - the features on the Katana weren't what I personally wanted - and then...T*rget.

Anybody who knows me has heard me say I have a $50 minimum at this store. Today was no exception! For my bedroom closet I bought a 4-drawer Sterilite cart and 2 45-qt drawers. Also 4 flat stacking boxes, approximately 18 x 24. I went all through my closet and got everything out of cardboard boxes and transferred to the stacking boxes, put away the stuff that was out into the drawers, put most of my cds into one of the drawer (sadly, not all but it works), and generally cleaned things up. My clothes need a little attention - laundry and hanging up, mostly. I rolled up the towels and stacked them. The only regret I have is that I didn't find one of those Space Bag cubes there. (Maybe another time.) The result is a much cleaner closet and a happier Jen.

On the negative side, I made progress in learning that black pepper isn't so good on popcorn. (Lately I've been making it with a dab of olive oil, browned butter and parmesan. Pepper didn't work.) Progress nevertheless!

I am watching le Tour (congrats to Fabian Cancellara!) and I just made up my bed with clean sheets. I feel like I had a good weekend.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

It is a sad testimony to my cooking abilities that I do not actually know the proper and safe way to thaw out ground beef from the freezer. What's even worse is that I didn't realize that I didn't know until I realized it had been sitting out on the counter for a couple hours. (Note to self: must learn!)

I am one of those people who doesn't shop very well in advance - it's quicker and easier to stop off at the market on my way home than to plan a gigantic shop and carry it out.

Yesterday I was a bit MIA because I spent too much time reading a blog called Psychology of Clutter. I picked up the link through Bellamoden and it's like I've been waiting for it all my life. I know I am one of those clutter-and-junk people, but I don't exactly know what to do about it. One of the most liberating things was to find out that something isn't clutter just because it's sitting out. Clutter is stuff you don't use, and yet hang on to. Typically so that the stuff that isn't clutter has nowhere to go - and piles up everywhere.

My closet is a federal disaster zone, and I think I saw a couple of raccoons in there the other day. My bathroom, office, yarn stash and parts of my kitchen aren't cluttered; my bookshelf is. My office at work is neat as a pin.

So I'm working through all that.

Apart from a nice meal out at Opryland and some very strange entertainment by a costumed "jazz" band, we didn't do much for the Fourth. I saw fireworks over my neighborhood as I drove home...oh, and then there was this:


That is a stingray, from one of those Aquarium-restaurant...aquariums. In the center was a big shallow concrete pond that looked like a skating rink for stingray - they just kept going around and around in circles, and seemed friendly enough except for the scars on their backs, and their teeth are pretty frightening when you give them something to eat. We didn't see the signs about how to properly feed them by holding the little shrimp in your knuckles, so we sort of tossed it at them whenever they slid up the edge looking for food. There are also giant fish tanks full of tropical fish, pirahna and other exotic-looking critters. I think it was about $4 a person. It would be a really fun place to take kids.

This particular stingray was just a baby, maybe fifteen inches across. You can see on his back edge there's a red scar. Wonder what that's from..."Excuse me, pardon me, OW, Morton! What are you doing? I said 'excuse me,' will you please control that tail, goodness sake."

I'm off work and going to Chattanooga today for some shopping. Have a great Friday! I joined the Tour de France knitalong - you should too! (I have to name-drop them like crazy, they are offering prizes for mentions!)

Tomorrow: more pictures and a story about the car wash...


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I can think of too many titles for this post

Like possibly, "Oops, I did it again":

Start of Anniversary Sock

I think it goes without saying that this time around I am not feeling the love about Monkey. So I put sock 1 on hiatus while I decided to play around with this pattern, which is the Anniversary Sock from Favorite Socks. (Still working the sockapalooza angle.) I cast on for it last night, and have about 4 inches of sock completed. (I am farther than this, I've finished another chart repeat of the yarnovers.)

Another possible title for this post is, "Why does Nancy Bush always have such crap photos of her socks in the books?" I mean, y'all, I am a card-carrying Nancy Bush fanatic. I ***love*** her sock patterns. I ***adore*** her technical knowledge. But if I ever, ever get excited about one of her patterns it is usually because I saw where somebody else took a chance and knitted them and has gorgeous pictures. Because her books just don't. I do not like the idea of sock pictures posed on sock blockers. Socks are three-dimensional, and should be modeled that way!

I am sorry lately for all the cat-picture-on-the-porch offerings, which are slim pickings, but Grady looked so cool tonight I had to take his picture. Maybe you can see a little of his personality because there are two. (Catonality? Felinality?)



Happy Independence Day, y'all. Call me crazy but I love this country and I am durn proud of it, politics and all. Because I am free to be a card-carrying Jesus freak, Nancy Bush fanatic, artist, mouthy chick, sort-of-libertarian. Nobody tells me what to wear, and nobody is going to sell me off to a husband. I am glad we can all be our crazy selves, with the right to vote, to speak, to pray. There are people in the world who believe I should be put to death for saying those things, and I have one thing to say to that:

God Bless America.


Monday, July 02, 2007

I love this thing

A quick sketch done with my new toy at work - a W*com Intu*us3 tablet. Somebody's got a new ride.



Y'all know there are several knitting axioms, or perhaps they are only aphorisms, which are so unbelievably, humiliatingly, undeniably true that you feel like a fool for succumbing to their leering charm yet again, and wonder how you managed to fall for it when you should know better.

To wit:
1. As soon as I feel I have mastered a lace pattern, I will make a mistake.
2. As soon as I rationalize a mistake I have made as not very important, I will make another, larger mistake. Through a Herculean force of will I will then deny any mistakes whatever, until I made a mistake so blatant that even a person who has never knitted before or seen a knitted stitch will be able to point it out, and will probably say "What was she thinking?"
3. As soon as I feel I *must* rip out the knitting, I'll decide to go all the way back to the first place I made a mistake.
4. Usually that will be on a row I cannot identify, so I'll end up after much gnashing of teeth either throwing it across the room or ripping it back entirely.
5. Making a statement like "I will not buy yarn until July 31st" virtually guarantees that for the next 30 days I will see nothing but patterns I want to knit, stash sales, yarn discounts and other temptations everywhere I look online.
6. Approximately twelve hours and fifteen minutes after making a statement like "I will not buy yarn until July 31st" I will decide that now is the time to start a stranded fair-isle bag because it only takes 4 balls of yarn and including shipping that is $25.
7. I will fight, uselessly, against the urge to buy it. Finally, miserable and ashamed, I'll dial up the website in the dark of night and decide to tell no one.
8. No matter how hard I try to knit on a deadline, there will always come a point where I'm frustrated, ready to cry and praying for nothing less than a knitting miracle to help me out of my self-imposed situation.
9. If I set something knitted down anywhere in the house, a cat will come running and plunk down right on top of it, and when he gets up, he'll probably snag it.
10. I'll never be able to decently weave in an end.

I'm not going to talk about what project all this had to do with, but it starts with "side" and ends with "winder." I can't get the hand of the double garter rib, I messed up the increases for the toe...pfft. I know this is not *really* a bad day or anything but I think I am going to thread a lifeline through it and rip. I'm tired of it.

32 days left for sockapalooza. I better get knitting.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Happy News!

Remember Deerie, who was sort of hanging out behind the apartment and occasionally chasing that guy walking his dog?

Turns out this is why:

Deerie had twins!

If you click it you can see there are two. One is going behind the hedges. The picture is not the best because she is moving. I gave her an ear of corn today, she can probably use it.

Today I knit the buttonhole band on Twist, and purchased some buttons for it. More than ever I am reminded that this sweater was a trial run - because I wanted $20 worth of buttons but made myself go with something a bit plainer, but just as nice. Because I think I spent about $36 on the yarn. It's already showing - pilling a lot - but I have learned a lot of lessons and found things about the pattern I'd change next time anyway.

I have to knit the collar and sew on the buttons, and then it's finished. Hopefully by next weekend I'll be done, but at the moment I can barely stand to look at it.

Schmade says, "I'll say."

LOL Grady