Sunday, January 29, 2006

My first finished KNIT object!

Yup, that's right folks, I have actually finished my very first knit dishcloth. Hurray! It is a basketweave pattern in blue cotton. When I first started crocheting, I called my first two dishclothes goofy names (Symphony in Yellow and Fiddler's Green, I think), so I have dubbed this one Basketweave in Blue. Very original, I know. I am pretty pleased with how it came out. It is by no means perfect, but good enough to wash dishes with! My lessons learned from this, are that 1) tension is much harder to maintain in knitting than crocheting, 2) remember to bind off IN PATTERN (I forgot and just knit. Oops!) and 3) well, I haven't really figured this out yet... but I did notice that my sides are very ragged. I am not sure if this is just a newbie issue that will improve with time, or if I am actually doing something wrong. I guess I will see on the next project. On the next project (which will probably be another dishcloth... easy and cheap!), I need to really focus on carrying my yarn correctly. About half-way through B in B, I decided to try knitting Continental style. I actually did manage it for about two stitches, but they were so loose that I frogged them and went back to the "non-style" I had been using. Whether I use English or Continental, I need to master it ASAP, because the "non-style" is a pain in the pootie! :-)

I know I very rarely mention non-craft or book things here, but I have a cd recommendation. I got Beck's "Sea Changes" for Christmas (yes, it has been out for several years, but I am a bit slow on these things) and I LOVE it. Some of the most beautiful, melancholy, heartfelt music I have heard in a long time. Very unlike other Beck music, so even if you are not a fan, it is worth a listen.

Also, you may have noticed that "A Widow For One Year" has been lingering in my Current Reads for awhile now. Sigh. That's because I have moved on to other books which aren't a big pile of.... well... steaming crap. One of my fave books ever is Irving's "The World According to Garp" so I had high hopes for this book. But it is so childishly obsessed with sex that the plot, what little of it there is, is all but lost. All the keen irony and strange humor that mark that book is missing. I will probably finish it eventually, but not until the pile of good books on my to read list has been depleted. :-(

Well, on that cheery note, I am off! Hope everybody had a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tag... you know what to do

First off, apologies for the extreme messiness of the last post. Messiness? What do you mean? Well... the misspellings, the jumbled pictures, the strange spacings... my little editor’s soul cried out in horror the next day when I looked at it with fresh eyes. I would like to claim that I was drunk or delirious when I posted it, but really, I think I was just tired and cranky.

So, I had an extremely yarn-filled night last night. Directly after work I had my two-hour Knit I class at Joann’s. This session was not quite as helpful to me as the first, probably because I had been practicing during the week and it was basically a refresher. Still fun, though. Then, I went straight from knitting to crocheting, as last night was Sit n Stitch! So I spent the next two hours happily sipping raspberry french soda and working on my Zen and the Art of Stashdiving scarf from last month’s CrochetMe. I am making this as a “thank you for letting me stay with you for a week” gift, for my pal in Ireland who I will be visiting in three weeks (Hurray!). Anywho. When I finally got home at about 10:15, my husband was like, “You just spent 4 hours knitting and crocheting. You are insane.” Too true. :-)

Finally, Sue over at Good Yarns tagged me for this meme, so here it is:

Answer the four questions below and then name four taggees.

Four jobs you have held:
1. Waitress (at Big Boy!)
2. Staff Writer
3. Research Associate
4. Medical Editor

Four places you have lived:
1. Ortonville, MI
2. Grand Blanc, MI
3. Denver, CO
4. Ann Arbor, MI

Four vacations you have taken:
1. Dublin, Ireland (my upcoming trip in Feb. will be my fourth visit)
2. Caribbean cruise (twice)
3. Cape Cod, MA
4. A week-long drive along western Michigan’s shore last September. Beautiful!

Four vehicles you have owned:
1. ’89 Dodge Omni
2. ’99 Ford Contour
That’s it, actually!

Four bloggers you want to tag: (G'on, don't be shy!)
1. Kimberly
2. Jennifer
3. Natalie
4. Vik

Sunday, January 22, 2006


First off, the lovely granny square I received in the square swap at Crochetville.

Thanks, Lene! Next, the hat that I made and sent for the hat swap; it is a little blurry, but I was in a rush getting it packed up to send! Plus, it is being blocked, oh-so-cleverly, on a canister in the kitchen. It is Wool of the Andes, and the pattern is a modified version of the Extreme Earflaps pattern in IW Knits. Obviously, I did not add the flaps.
Third up in the picture parade (below) is my belated joining of the “where do you crochet” picture-meme that has been going around blogland. This is my living room sofa (Yes, it is purple. I LOVE it. No dissing the purple!). Notice it is close to natural light and a lamp. Smart of me… and not to mention, right in front of the tv! That bright orange blob on the floor is my WIP bag. Finally, the last photo is my stash/pattern pile. It does not seem that impressive (I have seen pics of rooms full of yarn, so I know), but please bare in mind that I have only been hoarding yarn since August!

I didn’t get a whole lot of crocheting done this weekend; maybe 10 inches of a scarf, at best. The hubby and I went out for dinner with friends on Friday (The wife of this couple was 9 months pregant and due TODAY. We told her she was not allowed to go into labor at dinner. She very nicely agreed not to.). Saturday was mostly spent cleaning/grocery shopping, etc. and today I had a friend over for a little wedding scrapbooking. However, I did finally spend one of my Borders gift cards and bought The Crochet Bible, Cool Crochet (awesome sweater patterns!), and Stitch n Bitch. I have been oohing and aahing over the lovely pics all weekend!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

No fun with captions today!

Because, as you may have noticed, this is an all text post. Yikes! Don’t run away ~ keep reading! I promise it will be interesting. Ok, maybe not fascinating, nail-biting-intense interesting, but moderately ok. Okay, it will only be interesting if you are insane like me and are completely obsessed with all things yarn-related. Jeez!

So. Item number one, on the yarn-craziness list. I was unexpectedly in CT over the weekend for my husband’s grandmother’s funeral. It was a very stressful and sad time, as you all can imagine, but the super thing that happened was that on Saturday afternoon we had a bit of spare time. My hubby’s aunt is a bit of a crocheter and remembered that I was, so she insisted that we visit their LYS, Hither & Yarn. It was adorable and stocked to the brim with cool yarn. I decided that I would buy yarn to commemorate my trip... so picked up two skeins of New England Sheep Farm’s wool and wool/angora mix. One is in a blue colorway and the other in a light pink/green/cream mix. Both are lovely. I have earmarked them to make scarves for my Irish pal that I will be staying with next month when we visit. I can’t wait to use it.

Item number two. I took my first Knit class at Joann’s last night. It was actually less of a class and more of a tutorial, as there was only one other student present! Which was fine by me, because the teacher (who was great) sat right between us and watched and was able to spot mistakes before we got too far along. I learned to cast on, knit, purl, and even do a little cabling. It was fun and I actually didn’t have any problems with it (Hurray! Because, truthfully, I was terrified! Knitting seemed so completely alien, like speaking Swahili or something.) The part of the class that WAS a little irritating, was that besides paying for the class, Joann’s required that you buy the Lion Brand Knit Kit... which was $24 for two balls of yarn and one set of needles. And the yarn only came in one ugly color. growl. Oh well, I am just counting it as an extension of my Christmas present from my hubby (who signed me up for the class) and letting it go. So, I was hugely excited about knitting and came home last night and immediately cast on for a dishcloth. If it turns out, I will post a pic (Maybe even with a caption. I love my captions.)!

Item number three (and four and five). I am 99.9% finished with my hat for the hat swap. Just one little finishing touch needs to be added, which I will do tonight. I started my second snowflake and it is much prettier than the first. And I am seriously considering crocheting myself this sweater. Yes, I know it is a sweater dress, but I plan on stopping at the waist. What do you all think? And do you have any yarn recommendations? I need a worsted weight wool... I am thinking Cascade?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Hatty goodness!

Check out the awesome hat I received on Thursday from my partner for the hat swap at Crochetville! I think it was made using this pattern. Pretty cool, eh?

I have lots of yarn and crochet and book nonsense to blog about, but I am tired (had a flight that left CT at 6:00 a.m. – that is early people!) so it will all have to wait for another time. Until then, you can all wonder why I look so dorky in the pictures. My leading theory? Mmm…. It’s my husband’s fault?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Tale of Two Snowflakes

Our story begins with Snowflake A (aka the 1980s leaflet snowflake, discussed in the last post). Snowflake A was Jen’s first attempt at thread crochet. And though it was slowgoing and the flake was a little boring, it was pretty. Jen liked Snowflake A. So, anticipating an easy finish, she sat down to work on Snowflake A this evening. And bang! Within 20 minutes, she was on the homestretch. Just one more section ~ wait a minute. What the heck? The pattern alternated big and small points… and somehow Jen ended up with two big points in a row! How could this happen? Jen carefully rechecked the pattern. Could it be in Round 2 she goofed? She decided to frog the pretty Snowflake A and re-crochet Rounds 2 and 3. But. The thread knotted. And twisted. And became such a mess that Jen couldn’t even pull out her work. So, in desperation, the scissors came out. Snip, snip. There went beautiful Snowflake A. Now quite irritable (to put it mildly) Jen decided SHE WOULD COMPLETE ONE SNOWFLAKE TONIGHT. Dang nabbit. Enter Snowflake B. Easy pattern. Boring flake. But it only took 20 minutes to finish! And that’s what Jen needed to prop up her teetering snowflake confidence. So, here is unblocked, unstarched, un-beautiful Snowflake B:

And now Jen is going to think summer thoughts and forget that snowflakes even exist!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

FOs, but no pics

Why the lack of pictures, you may ask? Well, my first FO is the January square for the Granny Square Swap at Crochetville. I don’t think the recipient reads my blog, but I would hate to ruin the surprise in the off chance that she does! I did enjoy crocheting the square, though. This was my first GS, ever! And actually, I started with this pattern but it didn’t look right. I was pretty sure I had followed the pattern correctly, and rather than frogging it and redoing it, just to discover that the pattern was wrong (which would have been super annoying), I just frogged it and started a new pattern. This one turned out great and I was very happy!

My second FO from the weekend was another baby hat, following this pattern. You may remember that I crocheted this back in October. I used a different yarn this time, but really, it is just a plain old baby hat! Not that exciting! So just picture the same hat, but in a baby sport weight yarn. :-)

I am also participating in the Hat Swap at Crochetville right now. I started it last night, using stash-reducing Wool of the Andes in some very fun colors. Again, I won’t say more in case my swap pal reads this! Other ongoing projects include my socks (which I haven’t touched since before Christmas! Yikes!), my first snowflake, and my afghan. I had been using an old Leisure Arts leaflet from my mom (published in 1980-something) for the flake. And then I went and bought the 99 Snowflakes at Joann’s and it so much cooler!!! Unfortunately, it sorta drained my enthusiasm for the older, uglier flake that I am working on!

Is tonight! I can’t wait! A whole evening of stitchery talk and fun! Check out Jennifer’s new blog, by the way. She is one of the S-n-S members and a very talented crocheter!

Wanted: Sun!
Finally, because Michigan in the winter is very dreary, and because my husband and I are rapidly approaching our one-year anniversary (Feb. 26th), here is a picture of the two of us in sun-drenched Cozumel last February on our honeymoon. Ahhhh....

Thursday, January 05, 2006


As my crocheting content is still a bit light (i.e., non-existent!) here is a little Meme I saw on Sara’s blog instead. Enjoy!

The "Seven" Meme
A. Seven things to do before I die
1. Own a house
2. Pay off all consumer debt (ok, so I hope that 1 and 2 happen much, much sooner than before I die!)
3. Publish a piece of fiction
4. Write a piece of fiction!
5. Travel to a place that alters how I live, think, or view the world (i.e., NOT a beach trip or a Western European “Almost America” trip)
6. Finish becoming a vegetarian (I’m about 75% there!)
7. Be happy with how I look

B. Seven things I cannot do
1. Whistle
2. Sing
3. Tolerate close-minded people (does that make me close-minded?)
4. Speak a language besides English
5. Roll my tongue
6. Go underwater without plugging my nose
7. Understand hunting

C. Seven things that attract me to ...
1. My husband: He always makes me laugh
2. The Simpsons: They always make me laugh
3. Peanut butter: It tastes as good as it smells
4. Autumn: It just plain smells good!
5. Crocheting: Creating something from nothing
6. A good book: Losing yourself for a bit is a good thing
7. Michigan: Home is where the family lives.

D. Seven things I say most often
1. Meph. (General feeling of malaise, disgust, or indifference)
2. D’oh!
3. Yes, I have two last names. It’s called hyphenation. Many women in this day and age chose to do so when they get married. Please don’t call me Mrs. [insert hubby’s last name].
4. It’s your turn to drive.
5. Please.
6. Thank you (What can I say? I’m polite.)
7. Apostrophes are not optional.

E. Seven books (or series or genres or topics) that I love
1. Possession by A.S. Byatt
2. Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
3. Harry Potter (of course)
4. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
5. Madeline L’Engle’s books featuring the Austin family
6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
7. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King

F. Seven movies I watch over and over again (or would if I had time)
1. Clue
2. Braveheart
3. Labyrinth (Come on! David Bowie as the Goblin King! You can’t pass up on that!)
4. A Hard Day’s Night (Mmm.... young Sir Paul...)
5. Spinal Tap
6. The original Star Wars trilogy
7. MST3K (any and all of them)

G. Seven people I want to join in, too.
I am copping out on this, and just saying: if you wanna do it, do it!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I can balance a ball on my nose, too

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Yup, that about sums up how I have been feeling this last week. The first and third images are all but gone, but I still have a booming, ringing cough that can be heard at least 12 miles away. My family affectionately calls it “the seal bark.” I call it evil.

Anywho, so that is my main reason for the complete lack of posting and commenting. Also, because of images one, two, and three, I have been really sluggish and haven’t really crocheted anything worth looking at! So here are a few of my half-started WIPS (in a very blurry picture. Oops!) :

From R-L. One half-finished sock. Two and a half squares to my block afghan. The first three rounds of a granny square (possibly for a swap…), and some thread to try out snowflakes with. Have yet to do that last one, though!

Also, thanks to everyone for their very helpful suggestions on my pending book buying spree! I will let you know as soon as I get my greedy little mitts on the books! And, thanks for the kind words on my blog’s new look. I agree with Dawn; the scrolling bars were AWFUL! Much better now.

Finally, though I was too tired and cranky to crochet, I did finish one of my Christmas books:

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It was a fun book. It reminded me of The Name of the Rose, The Codex, or The Da Vinci Code… that nice subgenre of “history/literature mystery.” The writing was a bit clunky at times (and a little un-PC; it was written in the 80s and some of the descriptions of Arabs were a little cringe-enducing), but overall it was a fast-paced mystery with a good “kicker” of an ending.

Well peeps, my warm spot on the couch is calling me. Or is that my cough, echoing throughout the house…? :-)