Monday, October 31, 2005

Trick or treat

Having no kids of my own, I get a kick out of seeing all the kids dressed up for Halloween. I love to dress up and hand out candy. (For the record, I was a hippy this year. Peace out man). Some of these parents come up with such creative and original costumes for their little ones. This year we went through all of our candy in an hour and ten minutes! A new record. Over 200 kids, most of which aren't even from this neighborhood. We live in a fairly small town. Parents from the smaller neighborhoods on the outskirts drive their kids in to trick or treat. Most kids are accompanied by their parents (which I think is a good thing). The down side is the teenagers. I've got nothing against the older kids trick or treating if they at least make an effort (you know, wear a costume, be polite). It's all about having fun, right? But tonight, we had a group of 15-16 year olds, no costumes and smoking cigarettes come to the door. At the risk of getting egg-ed I told them that trick or treating and cigarettes don't mix, maybe they were getting too old to be doing this. They just looked at me like they had no clue what I was talking about. I gave them each a piece of candy (though it griped me to do it) and shut the door. They hung out on my porch for several minutes before moving on. I'm sure they were memorizing my address so they know where to throw the eggs. Maybe I'll just skip it altogether next year.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Well, tomorrow it's back to work. At least with turning the clocks back last night we gained an extra hour of vacation time. Although I didn't manage to finish the charm quilt, I did get a lot of knitting done this week. I had hoped to post some pictures, but Blogger's picture upload isn't working.

Mom and I had a good time in Lancaster yesterday. The Old Country Store's quilt museum is now free and we enjoyed looking at the quilts on display. This year's display is all recent quilts, but the majority were still of traditional patterns. As usual when I see a bunch of lovely quilts, I was inspired to sew again and purchased a pile of fabric. We ended up at 3 different fabric shops (this area of Lancaster is LOADED with fabric buying opportunities!) Most being amish or mennonite, no websites to post.

Off to get some rest. Hopefully pictures tomorrow.

Friday, October 28, 2005

My week so far

Vacation has been quite enjoyable. Total relaxation. Knitting up a storm.

Here's Kitty Pi all finished...
Turned out smaller than I hoped. I used leftover Malabrigo rather than the bulky Kureon called for in the pattern. Should have increased my rounds to make up for the difference. The cats seem very interested in it. I put it on Quinn's favorite chair (my sewing room chair) and she curled right up on it. Yeah, ON it. It's too small to get IN it. She didn't seem to mind though.

Very little progress on the sock... Still working on the heel flap. Very slow going. Looks like me and sock have a long road ahead of us. I'm using heel stitch and find I have to watch my hands or I drop stitches. I lose interest in this very fast. So I started this...

The fact that it is so flipping cold already has forced me to dig out the hot water bottle to keep my feet warm. I'm knitting a cover out of Takhi Bunny which is so soft and cuddly. Making up the pattern as I go.

Here's a picture of the afghan I was telling you about.

See how obvious the seam lines are? Not sure what I'm going to do with it. At the very least, I should undo the seams and redo them. But that sounds way too much like work to me.

The charm quilt on Tuesday when I finally got around to working on it. I got about 4 more rows tied. As you can see, there's a long way to go. It's now neatly folded in the corner with my sewing box, waiting for another day. I'm having to work on the floor and my knees and back aren't liking that at all. I can tie one row, then have to stop for awhile. Hope to get some more tied tomorrow and Sunday.

Tomorrow mom and I are going to Lancaster county to the quilt shops. We are deeply disappointed that our favorite candle shop, Old Candle Shed, is closed while they relocate. We make a pilgrimage there every year to stock up on candles for winter. Guess we'll just have to look somewhere else.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Cue the GoGos

That's right, baby, I'm on VACATION! Nine (yes I count the weekends at either end) whole, glorious days away from the office. Hubby and I are notoriously low-key and hate to travel. My plans mostly consist of watching piles of movies and knitting and quilting until my arms fall off. So far we are off to a great start. Friday night we braved the rain and went to Green Dragon (a local flea market). It's a bit of a drive, but we try to get there once a year or so. Many of the vendors were closed so we didn't find much to buy. I bought some scents for making soap, but that's about it. Saturday we hit a local antique mall, there aren't many left around here any more. I scored a couple of sets of knitting needles for $.50 a set! I wasn't able to find the needles I need for dad's hat so I placed an order with Knitting Warehouse. Should have them by weeks end.

Yesterday and today I spent knitting an afghan on my knitting machine. Managed to break a needle in the process but was able to replace it with one from the end. I'm not thrilled with the afghan. It's made of TLC Essentials in ivory and dark green. It felt horrid while knitting, but softened up nicely after washing. It's a bit thing though. I even went down 2 keyplate sizes from the recommended size and it's still thin. I think I may line it if I find fabric I like.

I'm back to hand knitting now. I'm working diligently on the cat bad since the temperature has really dropped. They are calling for lows in the 30's later this week. Tomorrow's high is only supposed to be upper 40's.

Tomorrow I'm getting a perm (always schedule some pampering on vacation!) I intend to spend the rest of the day finishing my "Grannie's Charm Quilt". This is a quilt I started some years ago in memory of my Grannie Kleibrink who died in 2000. Each square is a different fabric (hence a charm quilt). I had originally intended to hand quilt it, but it proved to daunting a task. I started tieing it last year, but had to put it away after only finishing a few rows and haven't gotten back to it since. I'm going to get it finished this week. After that, I'm really hoping my needles come so I can work on the hat. I swatched the Merino Style the other day and can not wait to get knitting with it. Another winner from Knit Picks.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Back in the swing of things

Life feels like it's almost getting back to normal after the last month's turmoil. The only hurdle left is finishing up the big computer project at work. It has been fraught with delay after delay but finally got underway on Thursday. Hopefully it will be wrapped up by Wednesday so I can have my vacation without that hanging over my head. Keep your fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, I finished the sewing up on Dark Earth yesterday. I wasted no time getting it on and wore it to the movies today. It is so snuggly soft. It's unfathomable to me that it can actually be 100% wool. I grew up believing I couldn't wear wool. Turns out I just never found the RIGHT wool. Malabrigo is my hero. Happy dance, happy dance. I'm using the leftovers to knit Kitty Pi for the cats. Quinn kept curling up on the sweater while I was seaming it and wouldn't leave my lap today while I had it on. They'll love the bed I'm sure.

I gave up on the Encore DK for Present #2. But I found some Bernat DenimStyle left in my stash from a shrug/bed jacket I made this summer and it's just the ticket. I'm better than half way done and looking good. I ordered the yarn for P3 (dad's hat). Ended up going with KnitPicks Merino Style and this pattern. Should arrive by vacation.

Saw Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit today with the family. For those unfamiliar with W&G movies, they are claymation movies based on the lives of Wallace, a middle aged British man with an inclination to design bizarre inventions to do everyday tasks and his long suffering canine companion Gromit (who invariably saves the day when Wallace's plans go awry). This is the first feature length W&G movie, preceded by 3 shorts (Grand Day Out, Wrong Pants & A Close Shave). The films are charming and funny and this one is no exception. Oh yeah, and Gromit knits! There's a scene where Gromit is waiting in the truck for Wallace to return. After a few moments of waiting, as any bored knitter would do, he pulls out his knitting and starts clicking away. Go see it. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Still Christmas knitting

I've been doing some heavy duty knitting of late. Christmas Present #1 is finished and FABULOUS! I don't know how I'm going to give that one away. Guess I'll have to knit one for myself. Rented a bunch of movies over the weekend and did little else than watch movies and knit. Finished the second sleeve on the Dark Earth sweater. Hope to have it seamed up in the next day or two. I started work on Present #2 out of the Encore Dk yarn. After several hours of knitting, I decided I hated the way it was turning out and frogged it. The yarn is a slightly different gauge than the pattern I'm working and I my adjustments resulted in the thing being too big. Plus I'm just not that crazy about the yarn. It's an acrylic/wool blend and feels pretty soft in the ball. But knit up, it's feeling sort of scratchy. I think all this merino and alpaca I've been knitting lately has spoiled me. I'm in the process of getting together another KnitPicks order to get more Andean Treasure (and a bunch of other yarn, of course!) Not sure what will become of the Encore. Maybe I'll knit up a swatch and wash it, see if that helps.

As of right now, I only have 3 WIPS. Hard to believe, I know. There's the sock, the shawl and the afghan (which hasn't seen the light of day since last winter!) Which one will be the winner until the KnitPicks yarn arrives? Or maybe I'll take a break and try to catch up on my reading. Decisions, decisions!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Complete at last

With the addition of this...

I finally have the a complete Harry Potter Library.

When I first got hooked on Harry, I had gotten the paperback
set. Then I discovered that these books are most definitely keepers and needed to be in the nicest editions I could find. Sorcerer's Stone was the hardest to come by at a decent price. I really lucked out on this one. I'm thinking I should re-read Goblet of Fire before the movie comes out next month. But first, I must finish Yarn Harlot (a riot! Buy it, read it, love it.)

Poor Dark Earth sweater still awaits it's last arm...

I've really gotten into knitting Christmas presents of late, so it's not getting much attention. I am such a slow knitter, I labor under the assumption I won't be able to finish all the holiday knitting I want to do by Christmas (that and my short attention span for sticking to projects, which has me more worried!) However, Present #1 is progressing very nicely and will be finished by tomorrow with any luck. I'm sorry it's finished though because I simply ADORE the Andean Treasure yarn. I must get more and think of something to do with it.

Here are my current stash acquisitions:

That's the Sock Landscapes from Knit Picks and some Encore DK for Christmas Present #2. My sweetie and I were at the yarn shop on Saturday. I fondled the lovely local merino, handpainted sock yarn, but made myself walk away. No more sock yarn until I finish at least one sock! Nothing has been knit on poor sock in a week or so. It waits patiently for me, in it's little bag beside my knitting chair. Since the Christmas knitting is going so well, maybe I'll take a break before starting #2 and at least try to make it to the heel on sock.

I still need yarn for Present #3. It's a watch cap for dad (remember he doesn't do the whole blog thing, safe to talk about this one.) I'm thinking of going with this yarn in Navy or Forest. Anyone tried it? I've shopped with Webs before but have never tried their Valley yarns. Merino/alpaca blend sounds scrumptious and nice and warm for a hat. I might order some of the bulky Berkshire to make these slippers for me. Suggestions welcome.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Another good-bye

The good news regarding my grandfather was short lived. Early this morning, he passed away. At 89, he lived a long full life. Now he's home with grannie (who had passed some 5 years ago). Being so far away in Texas, I don't have as many memories of my papa as I had of my grandma Miller who recently passed on. But here are some of the memories I do have.

When my sister and I were little, my parents would take us to Texas each year to visit my grandparents. We usually drove (a 3 day drive) and stayed for at least a week (often longer). Grannie & papa lived on a ranch. He raised cattle. He always wore bib-overalls. He would sometimes take my sister and I (and any of the cousins who were there at the time too) out to feed the cattle. I remember the hay barns stacked high with bales of hay. Climbing half way up before realizing the rafters were filled with spiders the size of my hand (I'm not shitting you, Texas has some knarely spiders). To this day I am PETRIFIED of ANY spider thanks to those mutant, humungo Texas spiders. I remember once there was a tarantula, big and black and hairy, in the yard where us kids were playing. We all ran in screaming our heads off. Papa casually strolled out, stomped it, and (this still gives me chills) picked it up and threw it in the neighboring corn field. It was at least 5 or 6 inches across. The man should have a medal of bravery for facing down that monster. Apart from the spiders, the ranch was the coolest place to spend time when I was a kid. We got to ride in the tractors, swim in a creek that ran right through the property. Papa would give us big tractor tire innertubes to float around on. I just remembered a time there was a scorpion in the kitchen. It's amazing how something so small can elicit so much fear. He rescued us from that monster too. He used to let us ride in the back of the pick-up truck, down an old dirt road we kids affectionately dubbed "roller-coaster alley" that led to a hay field. Now we all know how dangerous riding in the back of open pickup trucks is, but back then, it was a blast to have your teeth rattled loose down that bumpy road. He never let us leave without spending money for the Stuckey's on the trip home. (You all know about Stuckey's right? Home of the Pecan Log, Mexican Jumping beans, some of the worlds best milkshakes and every imaginable souvenir? If you've never been to one, stop in one when you have the chance.) He was kind and gentle. I can't really remember him ever being angry (although I'm sure he was). He was always interested in what you had to tell him. I only wish we had lived closer so I could have known him better.