29 September 2007
clessidra has been getting lots of attention lately due to its status as Most Portable Project On The Needles. i'm almost to the heel. whoo-hoo! it's all easy sailing after the heel (it is normally anyway, but these are knee socks. the heel feels like a much bigger mile marker than normal). but then it occurred to me that i ought to cast on for thuja and take them to work, since they're for someone else and have more of a deadline attached. so either i'll wait till i actually finish the first clessidra......or i might be impatient and swatch for thuja this weekend.
hmmm......except i really need to finish a handtowel for chuck's mom. as long as i keep moving on things i feel like i have my project schizophrenia under control. as long as chuck and i watch a movie tonight i can work on the towel, but it's too boring to work on unless i'm distracted by something else. for the other set i'm definitely doing a different pattern. don't ask how i'll make it through the second moss grid towel though.
a few squares got done this week for the shelter blankets. today i finished one that's really a test of a pattern for sara's tie. it was promised to her, oh, at least a year ago. now it's one step closer, although with everything else i've got now i don't think i'll cast on for it any time soon. sorry sara :(
28 September 2007
chuck went out of town to a little place called galena. it's west of fairbanks, which means there aren't any roads going out there. yeah, most of the state is actually like that. so anyway, he left thursday afternoon and got back tonight. i was happy to have him back.
i had asked him out on a date before he left (we make a half-hearted attempt to have a date night every week). so we went out to dinner at the cookie jar, a good home-style food place. they just also happen to sell yummy chocolate confections, which you're always too stuffed to want to buy after dinner. anyway, while i'm paying (cuz i asked him out - although he had the cash so i took it from him to pay the cashier - lol) chuck's looking at these little chocolate bars that say thank you. and he says,
"these are cool, i'll buy them for the tellers."
because he's the VIP bank manager and can do stuff like that. in fact he does it all the time. we're out somewhere and see something really cool, and he says "oh, i'll get them for the tellers." not for me, his good wifey, standing there with him, saying how cool they are. no. he gets them for the tellers (it's cool he gets them stuff, but why do i get dissed? i'm the wifey here). so, mostly joking, i tell him all that, dramatic hand gestures included (i think i did a good job - cept i can never keep from laughing at the end of a fake tirade).
and he just gets this look, and i have the feeling he's got a really good answer for me for a change. he says,
"oh yeah? i never get you anything?"
and goes to the back of the jeep, digs in his suitcase and pulls out a paper bag with a box in it. by now i'm really laughing, cuz it was all a joke anyway, but he's got me. he got me this:
wasn't that sweet of him? it's officially a porridge pot (sounds all goldiloks and the 3 bears doesn't it?). i love the old school porcelain look of it, with the painting that actually is ugly if you look at it alone, but somehow is cool with the whole old school feel of the design. chuck said he wasn't sure how to give it to me, but since i was teasing him about not buying me anything, it gave him a good lead in.
so sometimes putting your foot in your mouth can earn you a present :)
24 September 2007
alas, i had a church meeting for our fun groups, amongst which was the ill-fated knitting group. chuck's daughter kim went with me for that. we had a guest spinner too, which i was very excited and cautious about. i've kept a sort of deliberate distance from spinning, because i think it would be loads of fun, and consume even more of my fun time. if i could make yarn exactly how i wanted, the right thickness, color, ply. oh, the possibilities! and it would take even longer to make a sweater. *sigh*
i got to talk to more people about the knitting group, what their skill levels were and what they wanted to learn. it was loads of fun, and i felt like i got a better idea of how to get the group going. right now the relief society has a project going for a women's shelter. it started with quilts and collecting toys etc, but they realized we could knit or crochet squares too and make something out of that. squares are a good way to learn new techniques or try a stitch pattern cuz they're small and don't take lots of time or yarn. so i'm trying to get people going on that, and that way we can avoid the perils of boring garter stitch scarves.
and hey, it got me away from the testosterone. i came home to loads of split wood, nicely stacked.
until last night anyway.
me and chuck, in the living room, talking to pops and andy online (yay!!), hear a loud rumble. now, september does seem to be blow everything up month for the army, but they're usually not on the range sundays. chuck goes out side to check, and look:
somebody would have failed gail robbins' wood stacking course. i thought it was kind of funny. at least both stacks didn't fall down. yet.
and since we had an abundance of firewood, we started a fire saturday. not that i would call myself a pyro, but i do love a good fire. chuck always has me start them cuz i'm better at it than he is. i sort of thought everyone could start a good fire but i guess not.
once the fire was going we discovered why dwayne didn't use the fireplace much. first of all, the knucklehead put the draft inside the doors, so you have to open the doors to open the draft, and by then there's smoke in the house (ruins the whole point). the doors themselves are on a track of very thin sheet metal stuff that's too weak to keep the doors steady. which means they don't close very easily. and, oh yeah, they're not airtight either, so smoke kinda trickles out. and the baby draft on the bottom outside of the door frame is too small to have any effect. so it'll be good for fun fires, but not so much for warmth so i don't have a huge oil bill by march. bummer. but it was nice to have a fire.
23 September 2007
chuck noticed i was checking that page and asked what it was all about. i tried to explain the wonder, the brilliant genius of ravelry, everything in one spot. i showed him the screenshots. he wasn't impressed. he thinks i'm crazy. wait til i get in. then he'll see crazy
22 September 2007
well, the hard frost changed that. the borage crumbled, the potato plants were flat, and almost all the plants had black green leaves. the mint and lupines didn't seem to mind though. my verbenas, that grew so well, were struck down. i had hoped to save them through the winter but i guess we'll have to start over with them in the spring. *sigh*
chuck was ecstatic because he's been dying to dig the potatoes up and see how big they grew. since we lost a month getting dirt in, we didn't know how anything would produce. next year we should have a good showing with everything, since they seemed to like the dirt and how we treated them. and the potatoes? they were good size. we had the whole size range, some pretty big ones, and ones you'd buy in the store, plus some teeny tiny ones a bit bigger than a marble. good for soups i guess. they look so funny. we got about 10 pounds all together. not bad for our first year.
18 September 2007
14 September 2007
we went to this puerto rican restaurant and ordered breakfast empañadas, which for some reason were served with american saltine crackers. while we were waiting for our order, the son of the owner started harassing us for being the only white people in there. everyone had looked at us strange when we came in, and he was asking us why we were there and what we wanted. all we could do was say that we liked the food, and it was a good place to hang out. that wasn't good enough, and he was pressing us for more, when i looked around and realized there were other white people in there. there was 4 of them at this big table, really white people in suits and stuff. one guy resembled george bush, and there was this chubby lady with short curly hair and a crown. they were a weird group and i was wondering why the owner's son didn't go ask them what they were doing here instead of bothering us. . . . . . . .
right about then, the phone rang and woke me up this morning. crazy huh. where do things like that come from? i bet my mom wouldn't mind if it were real though.
13 September 2007
whoever they are, they're right. i can see the sky through the birch already. the air is crisp, we've had autumn rain (it smells different from summer rain, colder somehow), the birch are bright gold, and we had homemade applesauce with NY apples (expressed to one of chuck's tellers). not much missing from a traditional fall, except all the other colors and a couple extra months to enjoy it.
the chimney sweep dude came today. luckily didn't find anything horribly wrong with the chimney. you never know with dwayne. he was a really nice guy. and, oddly enough, was born in springfield (indian orchard, in a poor project (do those exist in indian orchard?), for those of you who know where that is). that was the cool random moment for the day.
i scattered our poppy seeds today. there's got to be millions in each seed head. if we don't get loads of flowers there's something wrong.
last night we had stepbrats over for dinner. chuck's daughter bridget is going to australia for the winter, because she can (and yes, i'm jealous), so the idea was a goodbye dinner. except bridget had to work. oops. that's chuck's planning for you. but kim and austin came over anyway, and chris with isaac and renee. a nice relaxing night (with apple crisp for dessert - we had a LOT of apples). isaac turns 7 today, so we're having a last minute party tonight (called us at 3.30 or so today). that's even better than chuck's planning. so as soon as chuck gets home we have to run into town and see if we can find a present for him. we've already talked about it, and want one of those model/toys of the human body that shows you how it all fits together and works. gross but fun, right up isaac's alley.
yesterday i went through all the shoe stores in town looking for something to wear with slacks while i
boss kids around substitute teach. that was depressing on several counts.
- first, cuz i have to substitute teach. there's some good reasons for it: good pay, flexible schedule that lets me take weeks off for thanksgiving and christmas trips, and most important, they hired me. the one good reason not to do it: i hate it.
- i hate shopping and avoid it unless strictly necessary, because my style is rarely in style and
- i have big feet so if i do by some miracle find shoes i like, another, bigger miracle is required to find ones that fit
i did find some acceptable shoes that i could still walk normally in and climb trees with and run in and kick bratty kids if i had to, but not in my size. *sigh* but we're going to the temple in anchorage this weekend, so we'll cross our fingers and look there since they have more than 5 stores.
substitute teaching i'm just being very firm with myself and trying to brainwash myself into thinking i'll like it, or at the very least not be bored out of my mind. it's not really working, but who knows? i'll just think about bills and my holiday trips to cheer myself up.
the christmas present yarn hasn't come yet. every day it's a struggle to not start something new. i think i have startitis. there's sock yarn in the stash crying out to be knit, and what makes them hard to ignore is they're matched to patterns already. all i have to do is cast on. torture. i'm slowly working on the math for the faroese shawl, but.........what can i say it's math. i avoid it more than shopping. so today i almost finished a project. just have to bind off and weave in some ends. somehow finishing under duress isn't very satisfying. this weekend on the road i will try to devote myself to chuck's sweater. i'll try.
maybe. during the utter boredom of the silk cami stockinette, i made this for some instant gratification.
the pattern, building blocks, is in socks, socks, socks. you knit a straight bit, knit a bit on the side and then fold it up and sew the seams to make this:
pretty cool huh? super easy but brilliant. unfortunately i made it for the process, to see how it worked. so it's been over a month and all i've got is one slipper, cuz now i know how it works, right? so i might take that with me too, since it's such a fast knit. i knit it a bit bigger than the pattern, cuz they had one size to fit a woman's small or kids' large. with my huge feet, that didn't sound very promising. and the original has 3 colors, but i was using up yarn (yay for stash reducing!) so i just did 2 colors. it fits pretty good, just a tad loose, but they're sposed to be slippers so what the heck. i think if i used 3 colors it would have more definition and structure, but that's ok. i'm happy with them. it. i need to make another one.
chuck just came home with roses and chocolate for me. i must have been a good girl today. yay!!
P.S. it's dark chocolate too.
11 September 2007
the hoses and deck table came inside today. i had an ulterior motive for the table though, it's actually in-the-house-inside. that's where all the transplanted herbys are going. some of them are already inside, but once i get the rest in pots (tomorrow, after i buy a couple pots) they'll need lots more room. i got the nasty spider mites (there were a couple aphids hiding out, but really they were mites) off my roses too. yay!
me and chuck saw the movie stardust and were a little disappointed. since chuck read the book too, he noticed lots of changes they made. it was fun to not be the only one saying indignantly, that wasn't in the book! it was a good movie, but the changes they made really affected the mood of the book. some of the moral choices the characters consciously made were just chance in the movie, and the main characters slept together, and the conclusion wound up with a fight rather than the consequences of their choices wrapping up. seeing the underlying message hollywood sends by skewing things always interests me. in this case, the moral fairy tale tone ended up more physical and happenstance. too bad, and not as charming as the book.
there were some intriguing previews though, for the golden compass, which comes out in dec. can't wait, although i quake in fear as always to see how they bungle the story. and a takeoff from susan cooper's the dark is rising books, which they're calling the seeker. the film is updated from the books (they came out in the 70s), which is interesting in itself. hopefully they do a good job of it, cuz there's a few books in the series. that's the best thing about harry potter, i have to say. while harry potter is ok reading, with a fascinating world but a rather shallow storyline, its popularity has really opened the way for other children's fantasy. there's so many more young fantasy books, and more movies being made. i like it. since i never stopped reading kids fantasy i guess - it's really just like "adult" fantasy except the main characters are kids. at least the good kids fantasy is.
as far as knitting goes......i've been doing more math than knitting, and more other things to avoid doing math. i'll have to sit myself down one of these days and be firm with myself. one of these days.
10 September 2007
04 September 2007
we still have a pile of leftover dirt so i've been filling in dwayne holes in the yard. he drove machinery everywhere so there's ruts in weird places. not to mention the crappy job he did scraping the topsoil anyway.
the silly cherry tomatoes still have tons of blooms on them. can't they tell by the chill in the air they'll be dead soon? i can, but i'll take the tomatoes while they last. my lilacs seem very happy in their new dirt. despite being chewed on by the moose, they've got some new shoots going. i just hope they last the winter.
i'm getting ready to bring some of my herbs in, and noting what did well where. and i'm an awful archaeology dork, i actually made a map. it was a struggle to not do it to scale. good habits die hard i guess. chuck laughed at me for that too. i did bring in my minirose plant already, but it had some illegal aliens hiding out on it. it's got aphid (? i think? maybe?) larvae making little cobwebby cocoons. yuck. i didn't see any on it when it was outside, and i was checking for them. they're the same bugs that got all over our english cucumber plant and killed it, so i'll wait to spray them to death till after chuck gets home (he didn't get to see them). they're bad, they suck all the juice out of leaves and they turn yellow and die. luckily most buggies can be gotten rid of with a simple dishsoap and water spray. i don't get much fancier than that. i just hope they don't affect the other 2 rosebuds.
and i was so proud of myself this morning - i finished the silk cami! well, the main part, it still needs the ends woven in and an edging put on it. the pattern said to try it on and make sure the straps were ok etc. so i did. and was immediately horribly disappointed in myself. it's way too big. i told chuck at lunch but didn't show him yet. most patterns don't include how tight or loose fitting they are (called ease, so if i say that instead you better know what it is), but this one didn't look tight. so i went for my actual bust measurement. maybe i was too worried baout it being tight. it sure ain't. i'll have to rip out a bit (i don't know how much yet) and do some decreases so it doesn't look like a sack. the bottom bit fit good but i guess the no-shaping was a bad idea. after i figured out how off it was, and roughly what i need to do to fix it, i put it down. i'd be happy to not see it again for a month. and there's no way i'm waiting till i tweak it to start another project. i've been such a good girl working on that boring stockinette, barely working on chuck's sweater, and i'm so buying yarn for other projects.
in fact, i already have my stash built up at knitpicks. there's some cotten/linen yarn for some handtowels for chuck's mom (christmas present), and some sock yarn for somebody else (i'm starting to think i knit too many surprises for people). i'm itching to make myself a pair of knee socks. the pattern's all picked out, clessidra, but i haven't found the color i'm looking for yet and haven't decided if i want to compromise. i'm wanting a dark grey, charcoaly color, and knitpicks doesn't have it. the knee socks are for church, so they should be able to match lots of stuff, but i'm wanting to make 3-4 pair of them. so the color shouldn't be that critical. but...i want the grey.
i was looking at this pattern i want to do, with this yarn i have stashed, but the yarn i have is way smaller. augh. that means math. once i contemplated changing the pattern for the yarn, i took a good look at it and realized i didn't know if i liked the lace pattern on it anyway. what i'm really after is the general garment design, so i may just chart that out and then find a pattern i like to plug in there. i'll have to keep thinking about it. (the idea was that i could start that right now without having to wait for yarn to come in - guess that won't work)
oh, and i finished the last 2 circle opens books sometime over the weekend i think. i forget. but that brings me to the book i wanted to read in the first place. yay! except i have a sneaking suspicion that there aren't any published after that. since there's 4 main characters, each with their own book, i'd think tamora pierce would keep on that way. which means i'll have to wait for books. *sigh*
sometimes i think i could start every paragraph with oh, and.... but speaking of chuck's family we just got tickets to go visit them at thanksgiving. that should be interesting to meet them all. but the very very best part is we're not telling them about it. hehehe. i love stuff like that. and they don't go online, otherwise i wouldn't say a word. chuck and me were talking about how to spring it on them. we fly into little rock 3 hours away, so we figure we can call about 10 min from the house and as we pull in say well, i'm tired of talking on the phone, want to let me in? wouldn't that be funny?
i'm off to take a shower and figure out exactly what plants are coming in and what size pot they need. and maybe knit. a little. but not on that silk camisole. it's not my friend anymore.
01 September 2007
the coming chill has me thinking about sock knitting again. and those two pairs i totally jacked up and have to start over. *sigh* my dream is to have enough handknitted socks for a whole week, plus one to wear on wash day. 8 pair. doesn't sound too hard..........if i only knit one project at a time maybe. plus i'm wanting a few pair of knee socks to wear to church, since i never disgrace myself by wearing the abominable nylons. the only thing keeping me from my sock dreams is that silk cami. i promised myself to finish that before i start anything else. why do i do that to myself? oh yeah, so i won't have 5 projects going at the same time.
i just finished cold fire, and am going to be a good wifey and balance the checkbook, pay bills, start laundry and do dishes before heading outside to pick a couple zucchini. yay!! although now we run into the problem of what to do with loads of zucchini if chuck won't eat them. hmmm.......maybe send him out for burgers while i have stirfry! that might make both of us happy.
i might wander through our woods a bit too. night temps have been in the low 40s, and once the frost hits i can go gather rosehips. there's loads of them in the woods but i thought i'd scout out the best spots. it's a good excuse anyway. and once chuck gets home we might actually cut firewood. we want to use our fireplace this winter (it's getting cleaned in a couple weeks) but that'll be hard to do without firewood. another thing i have to do before we get an actual frost is transplant some of my herbys into pots. night before last was cold in our bedroom (all freaking night) so last night we put the winter blanket on. i love my IKEA blanket! it was bloody cold when i got up, and when i checked our thermostat the temp was at the very bottom where the numbers don't even go. so i turned it up to 60. made a huge difference.
but anyway. talking about winter preps doesn't exactly go with my title does it? well, i have some pretty pics of our morning glorys that finally bloomed and my lovely minirose chuck bought me last summer. it has the prettiest mixed colors on its blossoms. since it comes inside for winter, it blooms rather erratically, and it always makes me happy to see it blossoming.
wasn't that a lucky shot with the bee? enjoy!
well, they came back again while we were gone fishing. the jerks. they didn't actually get in the garden though. they got on the deck instead (well, the calf did anyway).
it took us a minute or two to figure out, cuz we have neighborhood cats that jump into our flowerbed too. these prints were a bit too big, and not the irght shape. the big tipoff was the barely visible dirt prints on the deck in the shape of moose hooves. i've been amazed all summer at the things the moose think worth going after. there's flowers and human-edible herbs all around the deck. they don't touch those. what did it go up on the deck for?
chuck's hanging basket. if you remember earlier pics (over at the boogeyman's hideout), there used to be long hanging green viney things. the moose ate em. they also chomped the tops of my new raspberry bushes, our strawberry plants, and my poor lilacs. to get to the lilacs they had to stomp through the pretty beds we just barely got in. the jerks. am i saying that too much? plus they stripped leaves off several branches of the crabapple (?) tree.
at least they leave something behind i guess.
in other, unrelated news, the knitting has been going very slowly lately. there's just so much to do in summertime, while it's light and warm. it seems a crime to be inside. i have knit outside a few times, but still. it seems a waste to sit and do stuff when you know that's what you'll do all winter too. i think the fact fact that most knitted items are best worn in winter makes them seem a little les urgent in summer too. but anyway.
i've got the silk cami on its last legs. the plain stockinette body was a little too mindless at times, and i couldn't force myself to work on it as much as i should have. but the back's bound off, and i'm decreasing the fronts so it's very close now. and then i can go buy yarn for my christmas surprises. yay! (i will of course have to sneak it by the checkbook)
chuck's irish moss sweater is coming along pretty well. i spent about 2 hours making readable graphs for the cables. some charts are not very readable, the lines all merge together when you glance at it. and then others give a clear enough view of what's happening that chuck knows where the cable's going. that's the kind i like, where i can take it all in at a glance. but some people don't use that style, so i make my own. *sigh* if only i could find an excel program with the symbols, then i could do it on the computer.......although i don't know if that would necessarily be faster. all i know is it doesn't look like chuck'll get his sweater in time for fall.
and off and on between the boredom of other projects, i'm working on the mystery gift. the graphics are the most time consuming. brilliant of me to combine my first colorwork project with designing my first colorwork project too. i'll still need to knit swatches to make sure they look proper and combine well, but the swatches will be almost the size of the finished product (hint: it's a scarf). *another sigh* since i'm so excited about my ideas, i want them to be oh so perfect, and don't want to chance messing it up by not doing swatches, but.....do i want to waste the knitting time? decisions, decisions. i'll likely go with the swatches first since i don't trust my color planning abilities yet. but wouldn't it be nice to skip that?