Thursday, August 31, 2006

SP Update

So, my spoilee, Gina of Knitting Gems, has received her last package from me, visited my blog, and left a message, so now I'll show you what was in that last package, because I really like it!

Noro and Needles It's a skein of Noro Silk Garden in the most gorgeous pinks and purples, and a set of US 10.5 needles, with a (fake) chocolate chip on top. Like me, pink and chocolate are among Gina's favorite things. I had to convince myself not to keep this package for myself -- I just love the colors in the SilkGarden, which I've never used, and I thought the needles were so cute. Yes, just what I need - collectible needles, because I need to collect more stuff!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Cats on a Suitcase

(Doesn't that sound more amusing than snakes on a plane?)

But first -- look what came in the mail today!

Sock bag

It's a sock bag! I love it! It occurs to me that it could double as a warshrag bag, too. Thanks, Secret Pal! Who are you????

Now, back to our regularly scheduled post...... If you were to walk into my bedroom, you would say, "She's been home for a week - why's her luggage still lying in the middle of the floor?" In my defense, I want to point out that the suitcases are empty -- usually.

Simon in paisley bag

Simon loves to get into the carry-on bag. Right before I took this one, he was hunched down, and completely invisible -- except for his tail sticking straight out of the bag!

He also likes to lounge on the big red suitcase. Harley will come and sniff around, but she's clearly confused by his interest.

Simon on the red suitcase

So you can see why the luggage is still there -- the bedroom is big, so why not make the cat happy?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Wad of Seraphim

I can't believe I haven't posted since last Monday. Well, actually, I can -- last week was wildly busy at work, what with the return of Nursing, Allied Health, and Grad Students (Medical and Dental came back in July). I know I didn't knit at all between Tuesday evening and Saturday afternoon.

In what little knitting time I've had, I've been plugging along on Seraphim. I'm up to row 27 in Chart 2. I've only got 36 rows to go. Of course, the row length increases by 4 stitches every other row. If my math is correct, I currently have 382 stitches on my needles. So that means I'll eventually have 454 stitches. Considering that you start by casting on 5, that's really pretty amazing! Although I'm the world's slowest knitter, I feel like I've really gotten into the rhythm of the pattern, and I'm totally enjoying it.

Here's a picture, looking a little like a bucket of boiled ass (to quote the ever-hilarious Rabbitch).

A wad of Seraphim

Here it is with a few pattern repeats spread out over my iBook screen. Pretty, if I say so myself! I'm knitting it out of elann's Peruvian Baby Silk (80% baby alpaca and 20% silk), which is a very pretty, soft, easy-to-knit yarn that I will most definitely use again.


And, finally, today was Kim's last Sunday S'n'B before she moves to Virginia. We're all getting together one more time for dinner, but we'll miss Kim so much -- our group wouldn't exist without her!

Sunday SnB
Kim's the one on the far left -- the blonde in the black top.
Good-bye and good luck, Kim! Thanks for everything you've done for us!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Illinois Stash Enhancement

There was knitting and, more importantly, yarn shopping while I was in Illinois. Springfield has two yarn shops, but before I hit either of them, I went to Champaign to visit a friend. While there, I dropped by the LYS, Needleworks. It's a good thing I don't still live in Champaign, or I would be broke. I love this shop! It began 20 years ago as a needlepoint/cross-stitch shop. Sharon, the owner, only added knitting a few years ago, but now most of the store is devoted to yarn. It's actually 4 'storefronts'--3 downstairs and 1 upstairs--in a strip mall. Her selection was great and I bought all of this, plus one last gift for my Secret Pal (who I don't think has figured out who I am, but -- just in case!)

Champaign stash

Starting from the left, there's a big ball of Merino Lace from Skacel, in a lovely pale, pale pink -- 1375 yards! (It came with a free Evelyn Clark pattern, too.) Then we have 6 skeins of Koigu -- two skeins of KPPPM in a variegated pink (colorway P207152), two skeins of KPM in an almost solid coral-y pink (colorway 2232), and two skeins of KPPPM in P802 -- greens and browns. I think the almost solid pink would look great as heels and toes on socks made from the variegated pink, although I bought enough to make an entire pair, just in case I change my mind.

While Sharon wound the Merino Lace for me, I sat at their table and knitted with some really nice people -- it was such a great atmosphere! In addition to the big table, they also have a 'couch and comfy chair' area upstairs. One of the part-time staff, Nancy, sat with us, and offered advice as needed. Like I said, it's a good thing I don't live there!

After such a nice haul there, I almost forgot to go by the two stores in Springfield -- but luckily, I remembered! They're smaller and very different from each other. Nancy's Knitworks is a little smaller, but has a very nice selection. Nancy wasn't there when I went by (although she usually is), but her son was running the store. I picked up some gift-related yarn there, too, plus this (sorry for the glare):

Lace kit

It's a little merino lace kit (100m) in shades from mulberry to deep purple, complete with a pair of 3.75mm needles, and 3 scarf patterns. Lest it seem like I've got an obsession with merino lace, this was half price!

Then I made my way around the corner (about a mile, probably) to Nitwits. While Nancy's is very organized, Nitwits is a little more haphazard although I believe they have more yarn. They also have a nice button collection (as does Needleworks). By then, I was kind of shopped out, so I just bought some needles -- DPNs in size 6 and 7.

However -- the stash enhancement wasn't quite over! When I got back to San Antonio Saturday night, this was waiting for me:

Scout's Illini yarn

It's a skein of the Illini sock yarn from Scout's shop. Go there now -- her stuff is gorgeous! My pictures a little blurry, but this is a variegated skein in orange and blue -- University of Illinois colors. She makes an Illini self-striping yarn, too. And she does custom-dying, too.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

One Last "Home" Post

I got back to San Antonio late last night, but have one last post about "home." The next post will show the stash enhancement that occurred while I was in Illinois.

Friday night, Mom, my brother, niece, and I went to D'Arcy's Pint for dinner.
Ken and Sarah

Here's a somewhat better picture (I wish I knew how to do that 'click and the photo changes' trick!)
Ken and Sarah

Mom, being the healthy eater she is, had a salad. I, however, had what you go to D'Arcy's for -- a horseshoe! Or, more specifically, a ponyshoe, which is the smaller size.

I took a picture of my dinner, but it didn't turn out very well, so let me explain what a horseshoe is. It's a uniquely central-Illinois dish, invented in Springfield, and not commonly available more than about 50 miles beyond Springfield. Take a slice of toast. Top it with your favorite meat -- a hamburger patty is traditional, although I usually get ham. This time, I got something else very central-Illinois -- a slice of breaded pork tenderloin. On top of the meat goes a mound of french fries. Traditionally, the fries should be in a semicircle around the toast and meat, in a horseshoe shape (ah-ha, you say!). Then, over the whole thing, goes cheese sauce. Yum!! Can't you just feel your arteries hardening? The first time people hear about horseshoes, they frequently turn up their noses, but if they taste one, they change their minds.

D'Arcy's routinely wins the award for best horseshoes in town, but until recently my favorite place for them was the Barrelhead. Unfortunately, the Barrelhead was a casualty (scroll down to the interview with Tracy Suter) of one of the tornadoes that swept through Springfield last spring. BTW, that cooler mentioned in the interview still stands on the Barrelhead's lot, although the rest of the building is gone.

And finally, here are some photos of my mom's pets:

Sabrina, the indoor-outdoor cat

Schuster, Sabrina's daughter, napping on the china cabinet

Blackie, the dog

And finally, a teeny little video of Sparky the Cockatiel. All you have to do is whistle, and Sparky starts to dance -- unless, of course, you're trying to record it, which is why this is only about 5 seconds long!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Saturday Sky (a little early)

I know it won't be Saturday for another hour or so, but since these photos were actually taken on Wednesday, I don't think that matters!

When I tell people that I grew up in Illinois, they often say, "Oh, I love Chicago!" I love Chicago, too, but it's not where I grew up. I grew up in a town of 800 people, and although we lived "in town," many of my relatives were farmers.

Here's what Illinois looks like to me (a couple of these were taken through the windshield of a pickup truck, which is very appropriate):

Illinois sky

Illinois sky


More here.
(someone let me know if that works -- I'm still learning my way around Flickr.)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Warshrag #4

I've finished warshrag #4, and it's already in the towel basket in Mom's kitchen. It stopped briefly on the piano to pose.

warshrag #4

This is first one I've made out of variegated yarn. It's Peaches'n'Cream in the Potpourri colorway, with Ecru for the background. This is very pretty, but I think I like the solid colors better, because you can see the pattern more clearly. Interestingly, the back of the variegated piece is less obviously "back-like" -- the front and back look more alike.

Here's the back of warshrag #4, lounging over the back of a rocking chair.

back of warshrag #4

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Butter Cow and Other State Fair Adventures

As promised, the Butter Cow, an Illinois State Fair tradition since 1922.
butter cow

Notice not just the cow, but the calf, the kitten (touching noses with the calf), the tree, the birdies, the bird and worm on the ground, and even the cow pie behind the cow are made of Prairie Farms butter. Mom mentioned that the cow's udder is missing a couple teats, but other than that, it's amazingly life-like.

We also saw yarn on the hoof.....

and made into prize winning items.

Kool-Aid dyinglace

The shawl on the left was knit with Kool-Aid dyed yarn. And I'm fairly certain the doily on the right is crocheted, but the Fair lumps knitting and crochet into one category.

We also watched a draft horse and mule competition...
Murphy's Mules

saw prize-winning gladioli....
Mom and gladiola
That's my Mom!

visited with some cattle....

discovered a profession that probably deserves more pay....
Horse dentist
That says "equine dentistry."

and ran into Elvis Himselvis several times, including once while he was buying something-on-a-stick!
Elvis Himselvis

What's better than something-on-a-stick? Anything deep-fried!
Fried What

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Saturday Sky at Mom's house

Saturday Sky at Mom's house

Next time -- the Butter Cow and other highlights from the Illinois State Fair.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Well, okay!

You say you're looking for knitting content? Perhaps photos with that snazzy new camera? Well, you're in the wrong place.

My first day of vacation has been spent doing very little. Supposedly, I've been working on a project for work that needs to get done, but really I've been reading blogs and in general wasting time!

I found this Life Path Number thing on Marguerite's blog. (If you're not familiar with Marguerite, who should go visit her -- she knits some great stuff!) I'm kind of a sucker for this sort of thing, although I usually look at them and say, "oh, that's not me!"

This one's a little different -- this might be me!

Your Life Path Number is 4

Your purpose in life is to build your vision.

You are practical and responsible. You work hard, knowing that there are no shortcuts in life.
You work for a better life for yourself and those you love, but you are not an idealist.
Trustworthy and honest, you also demonstrate great courage. People can count on you.

In love, you are a loyal and committed partner. You are the ideal spouse.

You don't give up easily, and sometimes you can be too stubborn and unwilling to change.
You also can be too conservative at times. You sometime miss out on good opportunities.
Also remember that not everyone can work as hard as you, as disappointing as that is!
What Is Your Life Path Number?

Building a vision -- hmmm, I'm not really sure I have a "vision." But the rest of it:
  • Practical, responsible, hard-working -- check! (Today not withstanding.)
  • Trustworth, honest, dependable -- yep!
  • Stubborn -- who, me???
  • Too conservative -- my first thought was "not me!" However, this might be true about my work life, although I think it's linked to the hard-working, dependable part.
  • And finally -- that last line? "Not everyone can work as hard as you, as disappointing as that is!" Whoa! That's is totally, completely, absolutely me -- and there are a few of my co-workers who would be happy to tell you how much of a bitch I am, because I expect way too much from them.
But what does this all have to do with the number 4? Maybe I should have it tattooed somewhere....

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Adventures in Airline Travel

I had a 7:10 flight this morning, approximately 5 hours after the terror alert was raised to orange. It was not the best flight (actually, pair of flights) I've ever had. Here are some highlights:

  • No liquids, gels, lotions, pastes, creams in carry-on luggage. This would include the Purell and Body Shop almond hand cream that I forgot were in my bag. Luckily, they were warning people about this at the luggage drop-off, so I had shoved my make-up bag into my checked luggage, so only the hand cream and Purell were confiscated. I also moved my sock on 5 dpns to my checked luggage, since they're kind of scary looking.
  • Security moving very, very slowly, while they confiscated Purell, Body Shop hand cream, and lots of deodorant (no, not mine, but that seemed to what was filling up the bins).
  • All carry-on luggage being hand-checked again as we boarded. Yes, every last piece. We stook politely in a single-file line while this did this. This only happened on my first flight, out of San Antonio, not the second one out of Houston.
  • The luggage hand-checking causing my flight to Houston to be 15 minutes late, causing me to miss, apparently by seconds, my connecting flight to St. Louis. They couldn't have waited five minutes? It's not like they didn't know where I was! And weirdly, my luggage made it. It apparently walked faster than I did.
  • After finally getting on a plane (one of those Embraer that seat about 50 -- I really don't like those!), spilling half a cup of airline-supplied coffee on my lap, my iPod, and the latest issue of Vogue Knitting. Luckily, we all survivied, although the stain on my jeans was attractive.
But I made it, and Mom, my brother, and niece were all waiting for me, with my luggage, which they had found in the airport. (I have fairly distinctive luggage.) And now I'm in a small city in central Illinois (hint: state capitol) which has not one, but two nice yarn shops. It rained this morning, and it's nice and cool this evening. The high tomorrow is supposed to be 83. So I guess all that hassle was worth it to get here!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My New Camera

simon in his chair

Oh, please! Did you really think the first photo would not be Simon? The good news is that this camera has a 'kids and pets' setting, so I might be able to get better pictures of Harley scuttling away from me and the evil camera.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

New Toy

new camera
New Camera
by Old Camera

I dashed home after work to pick up my knitting bag before I went to Tuesday night knitting at B&N, and look what was waiting on my doorstep, a day earlier than expected -- my new camera!

I had $60 worth of Amazon gift certificates, so I put them toward a Canon PowerShot A620. This was a hard decision for me -- I really wanted a teeny, tiny camera, but this one was $75 cheaper than a similar Elph, whose main attraction was its teeny-tininess. But Consumer Reports -- and a little common sense -- convinced me that this camera, even if it does weigh a whole 12 ounces (compared to 6 ounces for the Elph) was the better buy. And now I need to stop talking about this decision, because I still want a little bitty camera.....

So, I haven't figured out anything beyond how to put in batteries and the memory card, and how to turn it on. Maybe there will be a picture of a WIP tomorrow night.

I couldn't spend the evening figuring it out, though, because I was off to knitting, where we had quite a crowd. Frequently it's only Susan, Kim, Mary, and me on Tuesdays, but tonight there were (I think) 9 of us, plus Eileen's knitter-friendly husband and baby. Eileen also brought a friend, whose name I think was Emily (is that right?). We liked her, even if I can't remember her name! I guess we were a little noisy while wielding our pointy sticks, because we seemed to scare away most of the guys looking at the sports magazines (and whatever you'd call Maxim and FHM) at the rack next to us. Maybe the fact that we had a guy in a kilt in our group sent them over to the next rack to take a look at Vogue Knitting. (Maybe!)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Saturday Sky and UFOs

No, no, no UFOs in my Saturday sky. UFOs as in UnFinished Objects -- Scout has challenged us to show ours. So, first -- here's the sky:

Sky:  8/5/06
Are you getting the idea that South Texas summer skies are pretty boring?
Blue, with a few clouds that don't mean rain.

Unfinished Objects, part IAnd now the UFOs. These are what I consider true WIPs (and I'd like to thank my stylist, Simon, for helping me arrange these so artfully). These will get done, and probably soon. There the Seraphim Shawl, from Elann's Peruvian Collection Baby Silk, at the top (still looking like boiled ass, but it will be beautiful when done), the garter stitch ribbon yarn on giant needles shawl (I really hate those giant needles, but this is for a friend), a warshrag for my mom (there will be another with the green and cream reversed, too), the Lorna's Laces Lucky Stripe sock in the Welt Fantastic pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks, and down there in front, circled in red to keep it from blending in with the rug, Trek's Grown Up Wonky Lace sock, in pale pink Cascade Fixation.

Unfinished Objects, Part II
And these are the UFOs that are currently in time-out. I could say that the cat was provided for scale, but in reality, he just wouldn't stop trying to help be my photo stylist!

At the top , we have a large felted market bag, yarn and pattern both by KnitPicks. This one got thrown into time-out when I ran out of the purple yarn, despite having ordered the amount KnitPicks told me to (hint: that little calculator KnitPicks has on their patterns seems to lie -- it gave the same skeinage for all three sizes of this bag). I ordered more yarn, but never picked it back up when the yarn finally arrived. Below that is the bubble-gum pink mohair cabled shawl. The pattern is from the Winter 2002 Knitter's. I have a weakness for pink, and cables, and mohair (I love me some fuzzy yarn!), but this is really too warm to work on except in mid-winter. It's also much larger than it looks here -- about half of it is folded under. And at the bottom is my variation on the Chevron scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I'm making it a little wider and quite a bit shorter, with a purl row thrown in at random to the feather and fan pattern, from some wonderful Brooks Farm Duet. I love this scarf -- this is the second one I've made from the pattern -- and I'm not sure why it's in time-out. I need to get it done before that 2-day cold snap we'll have in January!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I had a long, crappy day at work--really crappy. I finally got home around 8:00. I had been waiting since Sunday for Stephanie's post on Austin and I was so excited to see that she had posted. And I was even more excited after I scrolled down and saw myself! I haven't ever posted a picture of myself on my own blog, and here I am on the Yarn Harlot's! What's funny is that she had written down my name (she was keeping a numbered list as she took pictures), but not my blog address. However, I had commented a couple times about coming up from San Antonio for her visit, and she'd replied to one of them, so I guess I was easy to track down.

Oh - and scroll down a little farther in the post to see another San Antonian -- David, of Utilikilt fame! There are also pictures of (non-San Antonians) Caro, and Christine, and Julia's leg. But where are Susan and Ken?

And doesn't Stephanie look cute in that cowboy hat?