Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Let This Be a Warning to You

What is the worst way to spend a holiday morning in Southern California? It's really simple. Just join a few tens of thousands of complete strangers and elbow your way into Disneyland. Ugh! We don't go to the land of The Mouse very often, but Young Man enjoys it, so off we go. Wonderful Husband scored free tickets with the catch that they expired on the 31st. We knew it would be bad, but we never really imagined that it could be this bad.

We arrived at the park just after it opened and it was already pretty crowed. We headed immediately for our main target, Space Mountain. I cleverly got FastPass tickets while my guys waited in the main line. After waiting nearly an hour, we were informed that the ride was down and we had the option of waiting for another hour (maybe more) or walking away. We chose to walk.

We hiked across the park to go to Pirates of the Carribean, but it was closed. Hmmmmm. Then we headed to Haunted Mansion. Can you guess its status? Yes, it was closed. Even with the crowds already hitting the majorly annoying level, many of the food vendors weren't even open. We were assessing our remaining options when Haunted Mansion opened and I got into the line. Due to a combination of miscommunications assisted by a dead cell phone battery, the guys never met up with me and I went through the mansion alone. In hindsight, this turned out to be not such a bad thing. Disneyland decorates the Haunted Mansion for the holidays in the manner of Nightmare Before Christmas. Young Man has watched some of this movie, but isn't really into it. Some of the decorations were dippy and others were really scary. I didn't mind, but I don't think Young Man would have liked it.

When I exited the mansion, I was greeted by my somewhat grumpy guys who had now been in the park for two hours without getting on a single ride. Young Man had a frozen sorbet that was so cold that he couldn't eat it. The vendor even cautioned him not to lick it because his tongue would freeze to it! C'mon, this isn't the happiest place on Earth!

A hike back to Space Mountain told us that the ride was back up and we had 15 minutes until our FastPasses were good. We melted enough of the sorbet so that Young Man could get some of it and went into the mountain. The reworked Space Mountain rocks! It's short (too short after the wait), but wonderfully intense. Things were looking up.

Foolishly, we pushed our luck and attempted to go to It's a Small World. I have never seen a line that long for that ride. We ditched this idea and headed out. Downtown Disney didn't even attract us for lunch. Young Man was terribly disappointed to have spent a total of five hours on Disney property to only get one ride. The Parents were glad that we didn't pay for the tickets. $10 US for parking was more than enough for that experience!

Even in the less than pleasant overall experience, there were a few shining moments. We went to the park "in disguise" by all wearing North Dakota State University sweatshirts. Several people commented and one cheered as she was a fellow NDSU graduate. Most people were nice. A lot were clueless (stopping in the middle of the crowd is NOT a good idea), but none that we encountered were truly mean.

After Space Mountain, the highlight for me was that I finished the last couple of inches on the leg of my first Child's First Sock (shell pattern) from Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks. Standing in line is good for something. The Guys practiced their sign language.

We will go back to the park again, but we will not do it during the holidays. Our favorite Disneyland day has been the day after Labor Day. It may be hot, but the crowds are gone. So, if you go to the land of Disney during the holidays, don't say I didn't warn you and don't forget your sock knitting!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Christmas Recap

Well, did we all make it? Are we happy about it? First, the recap and the scoring:
  1. Parrot Socks for neighbor - done
  2. Skinny Scarf for co-worker - done
  3. Amble Socks for sister - done
  4. Kiri Shawl for fabulous 3rd Grade Teacher - done
  5. Aran Sandal Socks for Mom - done
  6. Multidirectional Scarf for sister - done
  7. Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers for sister - done
  8. Live Dangerously No-Swatch Hat - done
  9. Fuzzy Feet slippers for Mom - done, but changed to give to neighbor's mother
  10. Surprise gift for secret gift exchange - yarn and needles ready to go
  11. Frou-frou scarf for co-worker - done in 3 hours on Wednesday night (two skeins of Fancy Fur and a drop-stitch pattern)

Not only did the all but one item on the list get finished and delivered on time (thank you, UPS), but I added more to the list:

  1. One felted gift bag thanks to Susan
  2. Seven mini-socks for ornaments
  3. Two Fellowship Brooches made from polymer clay for Young Man's best friend and her brother

Today I started one of the two Knit for the Cure scarves that I plan to donate in January. The first one is a terribly simple one made from Trendsetter Blossom and Fun Fur. I know, but it is cute and very soft. It is also perfect for knitting while getting my hair done. Next will be the surprise and I'm really looking forward to it. The wool and the pattern both are wonderful.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the scarf and armwarmers for my sister and the Aran Sandal socks for my mother. I have asked begged my sister to do her best to take pictures. The Aran socks are beastly difficult to photograph because of the dark blue wool. I do have a few pictures of the most recent efforts.

First off, Fuzzy Feet the Second went very well. This time I used Brown Sheep Co. Lambs Pride (as recommended in the pattern) and the mohair makes them beautifully fuzzy. I made the rolled edge a little longer so I did have to dip into the second skein. Then I used some of the same yarn for the felted gift bag.

Next up are the mini-socks for this year's gift ornaments. I used Brown Sheep Co. Wildfoote in Ragtime. This is the same yarn that I used for my recent mosaic socks. I also plan to use this for Jaywalkers.

Finally, we have a return to one of my other creative endeavors. Years ago, I saw a polymer rendition of the Fellowship Brooch given to the Fellowship of the Ring with their Elvish cloaks. Young Man's best friend's brother is reading Lord of the Rings and his mother is making both children cloaks. This was the perfect opportunity for me to drag out my supplies and have some fun.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Living On the Edge With Hats

I live dangerously. Oh, so dangerously. I knit, I measured, I ended up with a dangerous hat. Why is it that when Wendy makes a mistake into a hat, it turns into a cute Rasta hat? When I make a mistake that began and ended as a hat, it looks like something that Patty Hearst wore in the 70s.

Ah, well, I had much better success with the eight (count 'em, EIGHT) hats that I made for the school program. Four cute mob hats that photograph well and four wonderful tricorn hats that don't photograph at all (even when they are modeled by my favorite model). That's what I get for using black felt.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Weekend Fun?

The lacrosse scrimmage was great fun even if we did end up going up against those extraordinarily tall 4th (?) graders from Irvine for one half. Young Man took it much better than he did last time. I had enough knitting time in to nearly finish the Live Dangerously hat. I finished it at home and, well, I certainly lived dangerously. It is large. Extremely large. I may just try to slightly felt it when I felt Fuzzy Feat, the Second. I measured my stitches, honest, I did!

In other good news, the four mob caps are finished and I nearly have the pattern ready to go for the tricorn hats. Good stuff.

Finally, some quizzy stuff thanks to Lilac Wine.


While you might be a defendant's best friend, you aren't exactly polite to others. You have
seven separate grounds on which to dismiss a plaintiff's case. You are a bit paranoid, since if you fail to raise your 12(b)(2,3,4, or 7) in a motion or a pleading with one of the other 12(b) defenses or a 12(e) motion, you waive those objections for the rest of trial. Some might say that 12(b) is the biggest bully of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but hey, somebody needs to keep the peace. You might not be the most popular guy in the office, but you're probably the most important.

Which Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, December 09, 2005

What? Still No Pictures?

I know, I must be saving it all for one gigantic photo free-for-all. The armwarmers and matching scarf are finished. I just want to do a quick wash and block to see if the Noro Kureyon can be coaxed to be slightly less scratchy. The hat is closer to finished (it would have been even closer if I hadn't done almost as much tinking last night as knitting).

Of course, all of this is taking another break while I spend a crazy weekend sewing hats for the school program on Thursday night. The music teacher told me two weeks ago that she needed some mob hats, but didn't say how many or whether she needed anything else. She finally got back to me on Monday that she would like four mob caps and four tricorn hats. Eeeep! I have patterns and materials and can now sew like a madwoman in between everything else that needs to be done (lacrosse scrimmage, Chronicles of Narnia viewing, you know, the usual). Yes, I am fully aware that pulling off the impossible again just encourages her to procrastinate on her costume decisions. I just keep telling myself that it will all be worth it on Thursday when the kids look so darn cute.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Lost In Yarn...

Too much knitting here for posting. Since most of the gifts from Chez Engineer must travel many miles after they are entrusted to the folks with the Big Brown Trucks, holiday deadlines come early. This year, the knitting bug has resulted in a wild furry of flying needles and yarn bits. Let me esplain - no, there is too much - let me sum up.... (with apologies to S. Morgenstern and Mandy Patinkin)
  1. Parrot Socks for neighbor - done
  2. Skinny Scarf for co-worker - done
  3. Amble Socks for sister - done
  4. Kiri Shawl for fabulous 3rd Grade Teacher - done
  5. Aran Sandal Socks for Mom - done (they are wonderful, pictures soon, I promise)
  6. Multidirectional Scarf for sister - 75-80% done (need remaining yarn from project 7 to finish)
  7. Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers for sister (or niece, we'll see) - 60% done
  8. Live Dangerously No-Swatch Hat for ??? (maybe SIL) - 75% done (with Patron's 100% wool purchased at Michael's - I was so shocked to see it there that I had to buy it)
  9. Fuzzy Feet slippers for Mom - have yarn, haven't cast on
  10. Surprise gift for secret gift exchange - have yarn half wound; haven't cast on
  11. Frou-frou scarf for co-worker - have yarn; haven't cast on

So, it's a race down to the wire (as usual). Of course, in the middle of all that I also finished the baby quilt and first pair of Fuzzy Feet slippers. The armwarmers are going really quickly. I knit the first one today and am cruising on the second. I want the remaining yarn (Noro Kureyon, Color 40) to make the Multidirectional Scarf longer. I like long scarves and I think my sister does as well. It gets cold up in Northern Minnesota (it was -6°F when I spoke with her last night, brrrrrrr). These two projects started out as stashbusters since I had leftover from a felted bag made in the spring. Of course, I needed more to do the armwarmers, and you know what happened then...

I'm pretty happy with the projects that are coming off my needles. It amazes me to see how much improved my knitting has become over this one year. I already have several challenges lined up for 2006. This was aided by two bag sales at local yarn shops. Eeek! I don't think I'll post photos of the damage done to the yarn budget. Let's just say that I really shouldn't buy more yarn for a good long time. Shall we take bets on how long I will hold out?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Okay, I know that Thanksgiving was yesterday, but I can give thanks on more than one day. Today I give thanks for a family that loves me and friends who don't think that I'm totally crazy (or if they do, they hide it well). It was a quiet day here. We were all set for our tradition of breakfast out followed by an early trip to the mall to see Santa. Then, Young Man announced that he was tired and wanted to go home instead of the mall! We aren't quite sure if any meaning should be inferred from this other than that he is fighting a bit of a cold and really wanted to see some Scooby Doo videos and play with his new Legos. He still seemed quite interested in seeing the Jolly Bearded One when we had discussed this earlier. Dad was relieved because he is sure that he has a nasal infection and he really didn't want to tramp through the mall.

Instead of our traditional making fun of shoppers, we stayed home most of the day. I finished the shocking baby quilt. The addition of a purple border helped a lot.

The afternoon included an errand that took me all the way back to the home of the Thanksgiving Day hosts to retrieve my bag. Said bag held my camera, phone, wallet, and knitting. Eeep! Yes, Mom's Aran Sandal Socks were left alone for the night! To console myself, I started on a Multidirectional Scarf in Noro Kureyon (Color 40). The good news was that the drive down to retrieve the bag put me very close to a yarn shop where I picked up some supplies for a Wonderful Wallaby for Young Man. I did a Homespun sweater for him earlier this year, but it is almost too small and, well, it is Homespun!

In other news, we have achieved Fuzzyfeet! They aren't quite as fuzzy as I had expected. This pair was made using almost exactly one skein of Cascade 220. I may try another yarn for the next pair. Then again, I have a second skein of this yarn so I may just do another pair anyway.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Did I Say, "Persimmons"?

Yes, here is a G-rated recipe for Persimmon Cookies. Two persimmons gave their lives for this recipe, but it was well worth the sacrifice.

First, two persimmons were plucked from the tree and left to ripen until they were almost impossible to move. The stems were trimed out and we were ready to go! Note that these are Hachiya persimmons. They are larger than the Fuyu variety, but not as sweet.

Next, the pulp was squeezed from from the fruit. This is the scene that nearly changed our G rating.
One cup of persimmon pulp was ready for the rest of the ingredients.

The pulp was mixed with 1 cup sugar, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 egg, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It would have been a good idea to chop up the larger bits of pulp, but I didn't do this. You could add a cup of raisins or even a cup of chocolate chips (Young Man likes this option), but I didn't do this either.

Next the batter was dropped by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. I used baking parchment, but a greased cookie sheet would have worked just as well. The cookies spread out quite a bit so I left at least an inch between them. After baking at 350 degrees F for 13 minutes, we had a nice batch (3 dozen total) of yummy, moist cookies.
In other news, the Fuzzyfeet are coming together quickly (even if they do look Hagrid-sized at this point).

Saturday, November 19, 2005

So, What Is Up?

Mars! That's what's up. Young Man and a friend had a fantastic opportunity to see Mars at our local science museum last weekend. The line for the telescopes was long, but the view was cool. In a very efficient use of experience, Young Man used the event as the conclusion of his first full-page composition. Ignoring the half-page run-on sentence, it was a very nice piece of work.

Knitting took a backseat to quilting last weekend. I whipped up a quick baby quilt top on Saturday. It is very loud. Extremely loud. See, I don't really do pastels and I'm not fond of pink even if the gift is for a girl. I did purple and green. Bright purple, lime green, and yellow. The border and backing will go on this weekend. The hope is that solid purple all the way around will tone it down just a little bit. The baby shower is in one week. No problem.

Some knitting did go on. After three tries, I finally finished the first sock of the Aran Sandal Sock pattern from Socks, Socks, Socks. This is the November/December pick for the Socks3kal. I think they are for my mother. I'm still not sure if the cuffs will work for her. These are knit out of KFI Cashmereno (discontinued).

In a fit of insanity, I cast on for a pair of Fuzzyfeet. These may or may not be ready in time for Saturday's baby shower. If they don't make it, I'll include them in the package when I mail the quilt to the new mother. It just doesn't seem fair to expect her to lug a quilt home on the plane!

Next up? Persimmon cookies, anyone?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Weekend Quiz Time

Who has the time to come up with these things, anyway?

More on persimmons: It's always hard to describe a taste, but the best description of persimmon taste is possibly a cross between a melon and a plum. It's very subtle. The fruit also has to be left to ripen until it is almost mush. Otherwise, it takes way too much sugar to make it worthwhile.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Post 'N Run

It's been a difficult week at Chez Engineer. Young Man had a nasty stomach bug last week and then he showed that he has learned well. He shared with Mom and Dad. Both parents spent Monday night splitting time between bathrooms and crash sites (one bed, one floor) and then most of Tuesday sleeping off the bug. This caused an early exit from jury duty for me (trust me, I would have preferred to be in court) and a some time off from work for both of us. All adults are recovering and left marvelling at the ability of children to heal so much more quickly than the grownups.

I was even too sick to knit! Today I picked up needles again and finished off the Mosaic socks from the 6SoxKAL. These were a fun knit and turned out very nicely, if I do say so myself. The yarn is Regia Stretch in forest green and Wildfoote in Ragtime. I used US2 and US3 needles.

I had planned to bake and photograph a batch of Persimmon Cookies or Persimmon Pudding, but my insides aren't up to it yet. For those who were wondering, the fruit is soft and pulpy and mixes well with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice to make delicious cookies and other baked goods.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Pondering the Season

When I was a growing up in Central Minnesota, the onset of autumn was my favorite time of year. Those first days with the slightest nip in the air meant an end to the oppressive heat and humidity of summer. They also foreshadowed cold, swirling snow, but that was far enough in the future that I wouldn’t worry about it. Instead, I enjoyed the return of sweater weather and the colorful leaves. Since we were out on a farm, we never worried about raking leaves. Returning to school also meant fewer chores. Undoubtedly, my family has less generous memories of autumn. Preparing a farm for winter is never fun, but I was spared much of that. I was much more focused on the future and lazy days to be spent curled in a corner with my beloved books.

After college, I made the big move to California. It must be noted that I probably did not give the decision to move the attention it deserved. California always seemed to be the ultimate destination. Who could complain about a location with no snow? As always, benefits come at a cost. It was several years before I realized that the cost I had incurred was the loss of my beloved autumn. It was several more years before I realized that autumn does show itself in Southern California. Subtlety is not something one expects from this region, but a Southern California autumn is undeniably subtle. Some trees change colors, but the spectacular reds and oranges are few and far between. One neighbor used to have several Liquid Amber trees in his backyard. They were a reliable indicator of autumn. Since they also had the undesirable habit of shedding their leaves in our backyard, I was not sorry to see them go.

The main indicator that we now have of autumn is our Persimmon tree. Some years we only see a few, lonely fruit on the branches. Other years we are taunted by many fruit only to see them pecked away by birds. This year, we have a tremendous harvest and few birds taking the best fruit from us. Our Persimmon tree stands in our front yard. It is not an especially lovely tree. Truthfully, it is a gangly specimen that loses most of its leaves well before harvest time. Fruit that is not picked quickly enough drops onto the ground creating a very messy, orange splotch. However, years like this redeem the tree. We picked several of the fruit just before Halloween to ensure that our visiting ghouls and goblins were not injured by walking into the branches pulled low by the heavy globes. We also picked the fruit that were threatening the roof with orange splats. Still, the tree was full of gorgeous, deep orange fruit for Halloween. It has even earned the nickname of The Pumpkin Tree.

Now, I present, autumn, Southern California style.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

More Quizzy Stuff

This time thanks goes to Sheelzebub. No surprises here.

You are a

Social Liberal
(66% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(26% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test
Weekend Quizzy Time

You are Kermit the Frog.
You are reliable, responsible and caring. And you
have a habit of waving your arms about

"Hi ho!" "Yaaay!" and
"How Green Was My Mother"

"Surfin' the Webfoot: A Frog's Guide to the

Sitting in the swamp playing banjo.

"Hmm, my banjo is wet."

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, October 31, 2005

All Socks, All the Time!

It was a quiet day spent at jury service. At the very end of the day I was seated on a jury so I will have a new experience starting tomorrow. Of course, I cannot divulge any particulars, so I'll just focus on what I do when I'm not in the courtroom.

Most importantly, I spent my time while handing out goodies to the ghouls and goblins by finishing my Socktoberfest socks! Yay! Once again, I squeak in under the wire. The infamous Parrot Socks are finished. They are still really wild, but I think they suit the intended recipient. I'm too late for the prizes, but I have finished socks.

Next up is another progress picture of my Mosaic socks. This one is a bit more true to the colors. I need another skein of the forest green Regia Stretch to do the second sock.

Finally, we have the sum total of my knitting while at the courthouse. I did the tubular cast on and first row of the Aran socks from Socks, Socks, Socks that is the November sock for the Socks3KAL. I'm using the KFI Cashmereno that Grumperina raves about. We'll see.

Jury Duty Time

The courthouse has wi-fi! So, how do I spend my time? By finding a quizzy time waster, of course.

You are Jacques Lacan! Arguably the most important
psychoanalyst since Freud, you never wrote
anything down, and the only works of yours are
transcriptions of your lectures. You are
notoriously difficult to understand, but at
least you didn't talk about the penis as much
as other psychoanalysts. You died in 1981.

What 20th Century Theorist are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I Have Fans?????

No way! Well, I must serve my public..... As requested, I have pictures, lots of pictures!

First off are two pictures of the finished Clapotis. I used Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Blueberry Hill and US6 needles. I modified the pattern by adding two extra increase repeats and six (maybe seven) extra straight repeats. Were I to do it over again in this yarn, I would add one or two increase repeats (to make it wider) and maybe skip one straight repeat (to make it a little shorter). The weight is just right for my weather and it is nice and long so I can drape it around my neck (and then drop over from heat exhaustion).

Grumperina has nothing on me. I hate having my picture taken. Of course, the ridiculously oversized polo doesn't help. At least the overcast day showed off the colors pretty well.

Next up is the glamour shot of the blocked and beautiful Kiri. I'm really proud of this one. It will make a lovely gift for a lovely teacher. This was knit exactly following the pattern using Kidsilk Spray.

Since last I posted, I started two new projects. I cast on for a different Kid Merino scarf. This one is certainly easier than the Madeira Lace scarf, but is rather boring. The color is also an icy blue and I'm not sure it will suit the intended recipient. To console myself, I cast on for the latest pair of socks in the 6SoxKAL and my second entry in Lolly's Socktoberfest. Here we go with Mosaic. I'm using a very dark green that doesn't photograph well (Regia Stretch) and some Wildfoote in Ragtime. This is a pretty good shot of the Wildfoote color. The green is actually darker. Because I only have one skein of the green (slightly less than one skein, to be precise), I think I will continue with the varigated for the foot. For this sock, I learned the tubular cast-on and it seems very nice. I used US2 needles for the ribbing and switched to US3 for the pattern. I'm going down to either US2 or US1 for the foot. We'll see.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Another One Finished!

Clapotis is complete! The final product isn't quite what I expected, but it is lovely. Were I to do it over again, I would probably have made it a little wider, but a little shorter. Pictures to come.

Now I need another project or two! I finished both Clapotis and Kiri without starting something new. The parrot socks are coming along nicely. I think more socks are in order now that I squeaked into Lolly's Socktoberfest. Yes, more socks.... Mmmmm. I have a copy of Knitting Vintage Socks that is just itching to be used.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Silly L.A. Moment

So last night we were watching Desperate Housewives (shut up, you were, too) and there was Teri Hatcher running through a park searching for Zach. It was the same park where Knit in the City was held on Saturday! I don't usually get all goofy over stuff like this. Okay, so I do chuckle every time I see Harrison Ford running through the "Bogota Airport" in Clear and Present Danger, knowing full well that it is really John Wayne Airport. Even after 20 years in Southern California, I still find it amusing to see places I know on screen.

Oh, and one last Knit in the City comment to the organizers: If you are going to post directions on your website, please make sure that they are correct. There is NO Colorado Blvd exit from the 210 West. Nope, none. Luckily, I checked my trusty Thomas Guide before leaving and I got a heads up phone call from Zona.

Okay, return to your regularly scheduled day.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Knit in the City

Home again after an exhausting afternoon. We sat, we knit, we conquered. Well, we did sit and knit. I was a bad, bad blogger. I didn't take a single picture. Not one. I didn't even take a picture of the way-out knitting going on with 8 foot dpns. Really! Not only did I not take a picture of the All Things String gang, I didn't take a picture of Wendy from Knit and Tonic. I also didn't go over and introduce myself because that just seemed so lame. So instead of looking lame, I looked like a stalker. Wendy, if you read this, that redhead in the green t-shirt who kept looking at your group when she wasn't knitting wildly on her wild, parrot sock is not a stalker. Nuts, maybe, but not a stalker. My reluctance was pretty crazy when you consider that knitters are, on average, really, really nice. I do a lot of different arts and crafts and I've known some downright nasty, snobbish stitchers (you know who you are). Very little of that shows up during knitting gatherings. It is refreshing. Maybe I'll get up my nerve some other time.

As for the event, well, it wasn't quite what I expected. It was small and the vendors were not allowed to sell yarn. You read that right, no yarn was sold! Ack! A few enterprising booths had kits for sale and there were books, but we could only look and drool at the yarn. It was torture!

I felt so sorry for the crepe cart. They must not have known what they were getting into when they signed up. Here was a park full of knitters deprived of yarn shopping and there was only one food vendor with whom to console ourselves. The poor creperie was mobbed. They did have Nutella so all was made better. Seriously, if you are in Pasadena after 26 October, you really should stop in at The Crepe Vine Bistro and Wine Bar. These folks made great crepes and they hung in there in the sun with the long lines of desperate knitters.

So, I have no pictures from Pasadena, but I will close today's post with Kiri, pinned out in all her glory.

Do you see them? Points! I have points!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Silly Friday Quiz Time

No, Kiri is not yet blocked. Yes, I am still going to Knit for the Cure.

Thanks (I think) to Chappysmom for this one.

QBASIC screenshot
You are 'programming in QBASIC'. This programming
language (of which the acronym stands for
'Quick Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic
Instruction Code'), which is so primitive that
it cannot easily be used for any purpose
involving the Internet nor even sound, was
current more than a decade ago.

You are independent, in a good way. When something
which you need cannot be found, you make it
yourself. In writing and in talking with
people, you value clarity and precision; your
friends may not realize how important that is.
When necessary, you are prepared to be a
mediator in conflicts between your friends.
You are very rational, and you think of things
in terms of logic and common sense.
Unfortunately, your emotionally unstable
friends may be put off by your devotion to
logic; they may even accuse you of pedantry and
insensitivity. Your problem is that
programming in QBASIC has been obsolete for a
long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

In Which We Ponder

The question of the day is, "What is worse than frogging Kidsilk when in the midst of a project?" Meditate on this while we continue.

It has been a quiet week at the home of the engineers. Young Man has just finished his first book of the school year (Nancy Drew and The Hidden Staircase) and came home with a 100% on his most recent spelling test. He is having a fabulous time at school and is loving having neighborhood friends waiting for him to play when he arrives home.

I managed to make it to the weekly All Things String gathering at a local Starbucks this evening. It was great to be back with the gang after several weeks (okay, closer to two months) of missed opportunities. Clapotis got to mingle with friends. I think I might be ready to start the decreases, but maybe I need just one more straight repeat.... The parrot socks are looking better. They are still wild, but they seem less hideous than before.

One fit of temporary insanity did overtake me on Tuesday when I dove headlong into Tess of the d'Urbervilles even though I recognize that there is absolutely no way that it will be finished by noon on Wednesday for book club.

I strongly suspect that hiding from the present via a literary journey into the past was a direct result of learning the answer to today's question. Of course, the answer is that what is worse than frogging Kidsilk in the middle of a project is frogging Kidsilk after it has been soaked for blocking. On Sunday, I launched into blocking Kiri and it all was going well until I realized that my "fairly loose" cast off was nothing of the sort. Not only was I not going to see any points on the edge, I wasn't even going to see an edge. The tight border simply could not stretch enough to be pinned flat. Kiri was given a short time out and then I tinked the cast off, cut off the yarn used for the cast off, and gave it another go. The edge now looks like it may even produce points! Tomorrow night will be the second soaking and pinning after which all will be revealed.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Kiri and Herbie All In One Day

She is having her soak and will be stretched and pinned in just a few minutes. She is already gorgeous!

All in all, it was a very good day. Young Man had a great time at the auto show. It was family day so all children had free admission and the first 100 children received a flyer good for a free copy of the Herbie Fully Loaded DVD. Young Man was thrilled!

Saturday, October 08, 2005


I just learned that I won first prize in Quiddity's sock picture contest! I can hardly wait to get my hands on that Lorna's Laces sock yarn. Mmmmmmmm. Thank you for a fun contest and thank you very much for the yarn!

In other news, I haven't had time for blogging because I've been working diligently on Kiri. I only have four rows and then the bind off! This is really an easy lace project and the Kidsilk Spray is fantastic. It is far easier to use than the other laceweight that I tried previously. When next I post, I should have a finished picture of Kiri! Well, maybe an unblocked picture. Hopefully, I'll have time to block her tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow morning will be taken up with a trip to the California International Auto Show. Young Man is looking forward to seeing the "real" Herbie and I'm looking forward to trying on some cars. The party van has cost us many pennies this year and every new rattle makes me nervous.

Next weekend will be Knit for the Cure in Pasadena. Who's in?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Eight Years

It's been an incredible ride and I am looking forward to what comes next. Eight years ago I was in the middle of the most physically demanding day of my life. At the very end, just a few minutes before midnight, it was all worth it when I saw this sweet face. Happy Birthday, Young Man. You amaze me every day.

I'm glad you and your class enjoyed the birthday ghosts.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Because I Have No Shame

Okay, I freely admit that I am a sucker for contests. I also have become a sock knitter. Who knew? Quiddity has a sock picture contest. Here are mine. Admittedly, my collection does not even begin to rival hers. One must remember that I have only been knitting since January and my first pair of socks were produced in April of this year. I did pad the total a bit as not all of these are for my feet, but these are all of the socks that I have ever knit. The two pair on the left belong to Young Man. The solid color green pair in the middle is destined for my sister.

I also give you 18 birthday ghost brownies. Why ghosts? You would have to ask Young Man. If you do figure out why he wanted ghost brownies for his birthday treat at school, you should win some award. The intricacies of the nearly eight-year-old mind are beyond my intellect. Come back later for a picture of the ghosts in their "sheets."

Sunday, October 02, 2005


You are Mohair
You are Mohair.
You are a warm and fuzzy type who works well with
others, doing your share without being too
weighty. You can be stubborn and absolutely
refuse to change your position once it is set,
but that's okay since you are good at covering
up your mistakes.

What kind of yarn are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm....

First is a quizzical hmmmm. I don't know, I just don't know. This is the first half of the first Parrot sock. I have heard that other Opal knitters are having problems with the patterning of this yarn. The ribbing had me almost ready to frog, but the leg seems better. I think I will stick these out. It is difficult now that the new 6 Sox pattern is up. I have that yarn picked out (from stash, even) and really want to cast on.

Next up is a more interesting hmmmm. Here is my first progress shot of Kiri. I have finished 8 repeats of the lace pattern and one ball of Kidsilk Spray. Part of me wants to take a break because it isn't so challenging now that I have the pattern memorized. The reasonable part of me says to keep going now that I have the momentum. The plan is to give this to the wonderful teacher of Young Man's third grade class.

Finally, we have the hmmm of satisfaction as I continue on Claptotis. I believe I am in the 14th repeat of the straight section. I think I will go for 16 repeats. We'll see. It may need more as I do not want it to be too short. There is some pooling going on, but it seems to be working out nicely.

Friday, September 30, 2005

It's Friday!

You Belong in Paris

Stylish and a little sassy, you were meant for Paris.

The art, the fashion, the wine, the men!

Whether you're enjoying the cafe life or a beautiful park...

You'll love living in the most chic place on earth

What City Do You Belong in? Take This Quiz :-)

Find the Love of Your Life
(and More Love Quizzes) at Your New Romance.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

A Tale of Silky Woe

Once upon a time there was a knitter. She was fairly new to the craft, but she had taken to it well. One fine day she wandered into her local yarn shop to find a hank of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool out of which to make Branching Out. They didn't have any greens, but they did have a lovely purply-blue so the knitter purchased two hanks and walked out happy with her find. Two repeats into her knitting she discovered that she had made a dreadful error. Leaves should not be purply-blue. It just isn't right. The knitter, now on vacation and over a thousand miles from home, found another wonderful yarn shop that had just the right shade of green Silky Wool. The knitter rejoiced and finished Branching Out with only one glaring (but not terrible) error.

Now the knitter was faced with two lonely hanks of Silky Wool without projects. After some thought, the knitter decided to make Clapotis out of this lovely fiber. The problem, of course, was that two hanks was not nearly enough. So the knitter, now back home, went back to her local yarn shop and dug through the bins until she found more Silky Wool in the same dye lot. She rejoiced and purchased two more hanks. Then the knitter did a very silly thing. She cast on for Clapotis out of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino. While the Blueberry Hill colorway is making a lovely Clapotis, the knitter is no longer sure that she wants to knit another one out of Silky Wool what with all the delightful patterns available to her needles.

More thought was given to the plight of the four lonely hanks of Silky Wool. The knitter had in her possession a copy of Folk Shawls and desperately wanted to make a Highland Triangle Shawl. This seemed to be a good application for Silky Wool! The problem, of course, was that four hanks was not nearly enough. The knitter made her way yet again to her local yarn shop. She searched through the bins where the Silky Wool should be. She searched two bins out from where the Silky Wool should be. She found Silky Wool in natural, brown, black, and pink, but no purply-blue. The knitter was despondent. Luckily, the local yarn shop had many other fibers to make the knitter feel better. She found a delightful ball of Rowan Calmer in a positively happy purple. Then she found three balls of Rowan Kidsilk Spray in lavender/magenta that will make the perfect Kiri shawl to reward the teacher of the knitter's son for her trials.

Still, the knitter really, really wanted just two more hanks of the perfect Silky Wool. She thought to herself that she could make one more try. This time she searched three bins from where the Silky Wool should be and there, back in the corner, hiding under some tweed, she spotted it! Yes, there were four more hanks of that gorgeous purply-blue Silky Wool in the same dye lot! This time the knitter purchased three hanks. As a reward for her stubborn pursuit and insanity persistence, the knitter gave herself a copy of Fiber Trends' Flower Basket Shawl pattern. Now, should the Silky Wool become the Highland Shawl or the Flower Basket Shawl? Time will tell, but the knitter now has enough for either pattern.

Postscript: Please do not tell the knitter that the pattern for Kiri clearly describes it as a "fern" motif. The knitter has convinced herself that Kiri is more of a feather motif and will look delightful in lavender/magenta. The pattern is not, not, NOT going to look like leaves.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Moving to the Bookshelf

Last night I knit a few rows on Clapotis and then moved on to reading. I finished two books in one night! The first was a very enjoyable, quick read. I tried to pace myself through Stephanie's Yarn Harlot, but I couldn't stop myself from finishing. I laughed, I cried, I related.

The other book to move onto the bookshelf has graced my nightstand for several months. I finally turned the last page on David McCullough's biography of John Adams. If you have not read this book, I strongly recommend it. No, really, you need to read this book! I spent my years of US history buying the standard line that Thomas Jefferson was the greatest mind of the revolution. This book tossed my assumptions quite rudely on their heads. Jefferson was still a great man, but he was also filled with faults. The true framer of the revolution was John Adams. I am sure I would have had many disagreements with Mr. Adams should we have met, but I also think we would have agreed on far more issues. The book itself seems daunting, but it is engagingly written and sucks you in to the life and adventures of one of our greatest founding fathers. There is also a fair amount included about Abigail Adams. Truthfully, I have to say that she is even more amazing than her husband. The thought that a woman who had never been more than a few miles from home would pick up and sail to Europe at a time when there was more than a fair chance of being lost at sea astounds me. Abigail truly kept John grounded and made him a much better man because of her abilities.

Next up is hard to guess. John Adams will be a hard act to follow. I've decided to give up on the Bush horror story (American Dynasty) as it is just too poorly written and scary. Since much of my reading is accomplished just before bedtime, I don't want to promote nightmares. I'm skipping the next book for my book club, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, since I'm running out of time and I haven't even purchased it. Maybe I should just move directly to November's book, A Room with a View. So many wonderful choices!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sky for Sandy

I'm game, but our view of the sky from home is so frequently boring that I didn't have any good pictures of it. Of course, if I had been quicker with the camera Monday evening, I would have proof that we do, occasionally, have excitement in our view. Since I was too slow to capture either the gorgeous double rainbow or some lightening, I will need to content myself with a memory of this summer's vacation in Minnesota. We vacation at a lake resort each summer and are usually treated to at least one good thunderstorm. Here is the evidence of one such storm. I do hope that Sandy likes it.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Reveling in My Weakness

I wasn't going to go yarn shopping this month. Really. I figured that I had donated my yarn budget to the Red Cross and that was that. Then a really nice enabler person mentioned a combination yarn and quilt shop. Then that shop was having a second birthday sale. Of course I also had to go show Ursula my Petticoat socks. It was all downhill from there. On the other hand, I am very happy. First stop shows two of the Opal Rainforest yarns (Parrot and Tiger) along with a skein of Trekking XXL. I have been wondering what all the fuss is about this Trekking yarn and 15% off makes for a perfect opportunity. I also snapped up an early purchase for next year with the new Knitting calendar.

Next up is a Clapotis progress report. I have finished eight repeats on the straight section. I think I will end up with 16 of those before I start decreasing.

Finally, can you see how happy my sock is? It is nearly quivering with excitement. Yes, I have a copy of the new Yarn Harlot book. It's real and it's really in Southern California. Congratulations, Stephanie!