Sunday, January 27, 2008

Red Letter (yarn) Day!

I am very excited.

Yesterday I received both my last shipment of the Sumptuous Sock Club yarn, and my First shipment of Blue Moon's Rockin' Sock Club yarn!!!! WHEE!

The SSC yarn is 100% Mongolian cashmere, 400 yd, 2 oz, fingering weight, 2-ply. It is dyed in yummy raspberry sherbet tones, almost a solid dye, but not quite - the colorway is called "First Kiss" (aww). SO SOFT!! And, as a surprise, the organizer put together a pattern for the yarn. It's super cute and girly - it has little knit roses you can make and attach to the top of the sock's leg. My only criticism of this sock club is that there were no patterns sent with the yarn. I understand that if you are a smaller business, you might not have time to fish out designers, but maybe you could contract with one, say, Cookie A, and tell her, "Hey - I want to buy 500 of your "Red Thread Sock" pattern and distribute it with my sock club yarn. Is that ok?" Although I do understand the desire to have an "exclusive" pattern come to you with your yarn. And it's not like there aren't plenty of free patterns online - I have a bookshelf stuffed with them! Speaking of Cookie A, I've been lusting after that Red Thread pattern for a while. That one and the ShiBui Knits "Transitions" glove pattern.

The RSC yarn is Blue Moon's signature Socks That Rock Lightweight yarn, 360 yd, 4.5 oz, fingering weight yarn. It is space dyed (? I think that's the right term) in tones that range from brick red to cherry red to pale pink. The colorway is called "Dragon Dance", and they created it in honor of Chinese New Year. The pattern is pretty interesting, too - I don't have it in front of me, but the designer worked with the striping of the colorway to come up with something interesting. I think I might challenge myself to knit the pattern with the yarn that comes with it, if only to learn new skills and have different socks than I would have picked - isn't that the point? :)

Anyway.. I am VERY excited to receive these yarns! Once my camera's batteries are recharged, I'm posting spoilers (with a Very Visible "Spoiler Alert" heading to warn anyone who might read this and not want to see their yarn before it arrives...)

A-Sailin' We Will Go!

I just went sailing for the first time today! Of course, my camera batteries were dead, so I can't prove it, but hopefully we'll go again soon.

My friends Ryan and Tori invited me. Ryan and his friend Colin took a sailing class through one of the yacht clubs here in Seattle, so now they have the ability to rent sailboats through this club. We took out maybe a 30 foot boat today (?) - it seated 5 on the aft deck somewhat comfortably. The sailors were Ryan, Colin, Tori, Greg, and me - so a chunk of the Microsoft / Amazon crew. The boat was older, but it had a cabin down below, and plenty of sitting room around the sides and up front. It was a gorgeous day, but MAN I have never been colder in my life!!!!!! I was in thermals + t-shirt + fleece + ski jacket + jeans + wool socks + hiking boots + wool/polarfleece hat with earflaps + scarf + winter gloves.... and I was STILL freezing. I had to ride about the last hour + down in the cabin where it was somewhat warmer. I just couldn't take it. But the sun was shining, and the water and wind were just right. We were probably out for 3 1/2 hours total. As I walked to the car, my feet were buzzing because somehow they had fallen asleep... they finally came to once I got home and sat in the warmth for a few minutes.

I was also glad to find out that I don't get seasick on a small boat. :) YAY! ( I didn't think I would - I've been on Mark's motorized boat several times, and been fine. Plus kayaks...)

Friday, January 25, 2008

I Want to Knit Three Things At Once

Except I'm not an octopus and don't have 4 extra appendages handy. Plus...that's a lot of stitch-counting!

Tonight, I finally finished the toe on the first of Daniel's socks. Now, to do the afterthought heel. The one thing I found weird was that the decreases weren't exactly letting the sock lie flat. I hope I didn't do something weird like twist it - I simply rotated how I was doing the decreases... I just rotated Cat Bordhi's instructions for the toe decreases by 90 degrees (because of how the sock was set up on my needles). HMMMM...?? Anyway, a picture is below:

I also finally found where the Fiber Gallery is located. It's on 70th and Greenwood, and hilariously JUST UP THE STREET from all the Phinny Ridge things I like, such as Red Mill Burgers, and (more importantly) the Frock Shop. Really. I can't believe I've never seen it before. I went in after stalking the place (a.k.a. waiting for it to open), and right in front of my eyes were baskets full of the new Noro sock yarn. I couldn't resist - 5 lb-reward-yarn be damned! This was even in a colorway I'd be ogling for a while (plum / olive tones):

I haven't decided what to do with it yet, but the lady at the store said she was able to knit THREE socks out of one ball, so I could potentially do two knee-high stockings (?)

I also picked up a copy of "Selbuvotter", the two-color mitten book by Terri Shea. Amazon never has a copy in stock when I look, and it was the same price as buying it online at Knitpicks or something, so I supported my LYS and bought it at the Fiber Gallery. Terri Shea seems to live in the Seattle area, which is pretty neat, too. And she haunts the Weaving Works - maybe I'll get to see her one day! :)

The second WIP is my Ms. Marigold vest, from ZephyrStyle. I'm almost finished with my first ball of yarn - which is pretty exciting, because I don't tend to do projects that require more than one ball of yarn. But now that I am getting more confident in my skills, that may change. I know, it looks like a weird red blob right now. Trust me, it's a top-down vest. :-)

Lastly is a reincarnated Nakiska. I got pissed after the last time I knit it and it wouldn't even go over my head. However, I refused to waste a skein of alpaca / silk yarn that felt so lovely. So, I set it aside for a few months. Finally, after receiving my KnitPick's Options set (nickel plated needles) in the mail a week or so ago, I decided to increase needle size and attempt my first-ever Magic Loop cast-on. Surprise - I love Magic Loop! (Thousands of opining knitters can't be wrong....) I found a great tutorial online just by Googling "Magic Loop Method", and clicking on the first reasonable looking link.

This headband is a relatively quick knit. I think it's only like 50 rounds, max, or something like that. The places I get slowed down are the cabling rows and the seed stitch (so... beginning, middle, and end. ;-) )

Since Daniel has been out of town, I've taken advantage of the free time and updated my Ravelry queue, Flickr account, and Facebook / Myspace pages. And did I mention I've been knitting? :)

Tomorrow I'd like to work on installing my TV wall-mount. I have had the mount for a couple of weeks now, and I just borrowed a corded drill from my friend Tori, so I am hoping that this can happen soon. I measured the mid-point of the mounting area earlier, but I think I need to buy better molly-bolts and stuff from Home Despot than were provided in the mounting kit... although, well...I mean... do I trust them?

Eye Candy Friday

I decided to try and take more pictures of random stuff, and this morning I had a chance to take a photo of the sunrise. I'm glad that I got to sleep in till 7:30, and still had a chance to catch the sun rising over the hills of Seattle:

And, at around 5 PM, I noticed that the sky was darkening, so I thought "Hey... sunset picture!". I took this one with the flash off, so it's a little grainy - I am thinking of getting one of those "grippy" tripod things that look like an alien, for taking better shots in situations where I'm not using my flash and the shutter seems to stay open longer...

I'm amazed at the very similar color values and hues that were in these pictures, actually. I might crop the sunset picture so you just see the black outlines of things like the crane, but none of the annoying lights below.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Books!

Look what I just got in the mail!

My latest installment from Amazon.
I haven't really delved into them, except for cursory flip-throughs. I read the technique in the sock book, which appears to be Magic Loop-ish, but I will probably need to practice it. She uses big yarns sometimes, though, which is .. okay, I guess... but ... I dunno. I'm used to sock yarns. We'll see. I'll have to buy some KnitPicks 40 or 60" needles in sock sizes now (darn ;-) ).
I started reading the Naughty Needles book. It's cute, to say the least. I like most of the patterns I've encountered so far - I'm still in the "sweet" area of the book. The Baby Blue-Ball Gag sounds hysterical, and I told Daniel he could start pickin' patterns out ;-) ... I want to make the corset top and gloves in there, for sure...
And, after a cursory glance through Debbie Stoller's latest SnB book, I think something I definitely want to make are the "wrap-up" scarves. When you wear them, they look like double-crocheted scarves in solid colors with random stripes, but when you roll them up and look at the spiralled side, you get an image - they have one of a yellow smiley face and one of a sushi roll - it's actually a really clever idea! I wonder what others will come up with, once they've seen that technique! (oo, and I could use Cascade 220 or Lamb's Pride Worsted for that...)

A Visit to the Frog Pond

As you can categorize something on Ravelry, "RRR"..... I had to rip out this sock today.

Look how big it is on my foot! And that was just before I was going to start the toe! I kept trying to convince myself that, No, Cotton Shrinks, and Nooooo lace just stretches but when it washes it will be fine, buuuut in my heart I knew the truth:

To The Frog Pond, Ladies and Gentlemen!!!!

In the spirit of my environmentalism, I would like to note that many knitters Recycle, Reduce, Reuse... when they frog. You Recycle the Yarn. You Reuse it (and the needles, and possibly the pattern, if it hasn't pissed you off too much). And you..Reduce... somehow... uhm... by not buying factory made socks? Hah!

Anyway, here is a pic of the freshly wound yarn cake from the Former Sock:

I'll get back to it. I think in the meantime I might try a hand at Nakiska again.

And a final picture for this post, my current WIP, Ms. Marigold. She's a-comin', if slowly... I guess I haven't been giving myself a lot of time to knit lately. Plus, I've not been on the ferry too much lately, either. Mr. Daniel has been taking a lot of ferry time on his end, to which I am thankful - I love being able to see him more often, now that his schedule is allowing it. I know it may not last, but I will make the most of it while he is able to come over during the week!

Organized Home

I would like to share my recent organizing adventures. Some may find them boring, but I know that at least my sister and I find it exhilirating to get rid of old things and make room for new! :)

The first item in my condo I tackled was my bookshelf. It was getting out of hand. Books were piled on top of other books, and the order was just getting destroyed. Here is the "before" picture I took for posterity:

I got rid of about a box and a half of books, between things I admitted to myself that I'd never read, things that I'd already read and didn't want to re-read, and general textbooks that I wouldn't ever need again (Intro to Linguistics? History of Rock & Roll?). I gave my friend Randy the books, since he sells books for a living on He says he gave me "the gift of space". :) Anyway, here is the bookshelf, after the transformation:

Look at how everything's leaning in order to stay upright! Yeah!


My next area to tackle were the "cubey" cabinets on either side of my bed. (This is really sad, but I just looked, and discovered that 5 out of 7 plastic storage boxes I have are full of either yarn or spinning fiber..) Nonetheless. I concentrated on cleaning out boxes of magazine clippings I'd been collecting for over a decade. (I sound so old!) I did a "random search and destroy" with the clippings - I randomly rifled through each box containing magazine clippings. If something I touched caught my interest, I kept it. If it didn't, out it went to the recycling bin. I did save the lists of stores in different cities, however. Anyway, I managed to get rid of a whole shelf and a half of clippings, which makes a big difference to me in a space as small as this! See the beauty below:

The last area I approached was the corner where my old TV used to be. I used to have a cabinet over in the corner, inside of which I hid my technology (laptop, DVD player, printer/ scanner / fax machine, computer CDs, and wireless modem). Since I bought the new TV, I got rid of the old TV and the cabinet, and now had an entirely new problem: the box the TV came in. I don't want to get rid of it, because it will be very helpful the day I want to move into a bigger place - styrofoam packaging made for a specific product is pretty hard to improve upon in terms of secure packing of the original item. Anyway, I managed to fit the few pieces of framed art I wanted to keep into the TV box, and put it in the corner, behind my inflatable kayak, and next to my printer and some other miscellaneous stuff:

The final love will hopefully be happening this weekend. I received a wall mount for my new TV in the mail recently. I haven't opened it yet to check it out, but I should do so today. I want to invite my friends Adam and Liz over for an evening, so Adam can help Daniel install the TV mount, and I figure I can make dinner, or at least snacks and then take everyone out to dinner. Anyway, once that is done, I will be so happy, because I will not only have my other "side chair" back, but I will have the TV off the floor and out of the way.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Knitting + Resolutions = Whee!

Before I split to pick up Daniel and go to pilates class, I wanted to post quickly. Pictures to follow at a later time.

I decided to reward myself for every 5 lb lost (I have 15 to go) with a special skein of yarn. Behold! I have found Reward #1. The Tsock Tsarina's Vintage sock kit. A pair of socks with grapes knit into the instep, and leaves appliqued onto the socks. Oh. My God. How cute is that?! I discovered it on the Yarn Harlot's blog today.

I also decided that I have to make a visit to the Frog Pond. Sadness. My little socklets I was knitting? TOO BIG. Like... way too big. Like... my feet would have to be Daniel's size to fit in these things. I don't know what happened, but somewhere along the way I ended up knitting the number of stitches for the Large sock size. ?!!!? I wear a 7.5 shoe! Plus, the lace pattern did indeed provide some stretch. I might be able to get away with just ripping it back to the heel, though... I'll have to see how good my frogging skills are. :-) I was so close to being done, too!! I was ready to set up for the toe!! And that freakin' cabled heel was so time intensive! ARgh. Oh well. No matter. I shall let it lie for a few weeks while I do something else.

Like finish the Luv Gun. Possibly in time for Valentine's Day (?).

And Daniel's socks.

And. And. And.

Oh! And I just bought some new books, which came to me yesterday. Melissa Morgan-Oakes' "2 At a Time Socks", Debbie Stoller's "Son of Stitch 'N Bitch", and Nikol Lohr's "Naughty Needles". patternlicious. ;-)

Wedding Tour 08

I managed to side-step three weddings last year. This year, I am not so fortunate...I mean... (hah).

Let me back up. I love that my friends are getting hitched. Fully support that. However, I don't generally enjoy travelling for a long weekend somewhere remote to spend that time by myself, since the wedding party is undoubtedly busy with other obligations than spending time with Little Ol' Me. However, I'd also like to add that I was very honored that my last three wedded-friends asked me to their weddings. They included: Leslie and Ron, and Erin and Daniel.

So, this year I congratulate three sets of friends:

John and Olivia

Priscila and Nick

and Daniel's brother, Joe. I haven't met Joe, but I'll be at his wedding with Daniel. An excellent chance to meet the rest of the Berglund Clan.

I am really looking forward to Priscila and Olivia's weddings. I haven't seen Priscila in years, and she has been a close friend since junior high, and I know John and Olivia's wedding will be a blast - basically a big party with all our friends from college! :) (And hopefully Daniel will be able to accompany me to one or both of those events!)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Resolutions All 'Round

I generally don't fall into the trap of making New Year's Resolutions. Most people don't keep them, and while they are a nice sentiment, they usually fall out of favor with the first big shopping spree/party/bakery opening/car repair bill of the new year (depending on whatever it was that you resolved to do). I prefer to resolve myself to do something without waiting for a specific time, e.g. "I'll do it tomorrow." Tomorrow will never arrive, and whatever it was will never get done.

That being said, I do have some habits that I am going to integrate into my life:

- Lose another 15 lb over the course of 2008

- Put $500 / month into a savings account, as a "car payment". That way, when 2009 hits, I'll be either ready to cash out on a nice Honda Accord, or I'll be a few thousand away from a luxury car (G35 coupe?)

- Eat, cook and then eat, or give away the vegetables in my CSA box before they go bad.

Now, for the Yarn Resolutions:

- Finish Daniel's socks (I had him try the tube on, and it fit his foot circumference really well, thank god)

- Finish the Ms. Marigold vest

- Finish the lace socklets

- Finish the Luv Gun

- Keep the WIP's to 3 or less at any one time

- Find a good YO stitch pattern to knit and use up my giant pile of chenille tape yarn that I unravelled from the crocheted blanket gone awry. That will clear up a LOT of stash room, actually.

- Make my Clessidras in the KnitPicks pumpkin yarn

- Make my mom the Dog's Paw shawl from a back issue of Spin-Off, once I get my hands on a drum carder (c'mon, Louet-Lady-from-Ravelry!)

- Make the Viking / Brunhilde hat set for my friends Kris & Randy

- find a good flip-top mitten pattern for my mom

- a pair of Fetchings for Mom, and a pair of Dashings for Dad

Glass Spinning Wheel

I tried to upload pictures from this artist's website, but Blogspot didn't seem to like that.

He made a fully functioning spinning wheel out of glass, as well as some other incredible glass sculptures:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Eve

Yesterday, Daniel and I drove down to my friend Jeanelle's apartment. She lives in the apartment building where I used to live, and she has a great view of the Space Needle. We partied till after New Year's, when we made a relatively quick escape. I was glad we discovered that 4th Ave. was really the only poor choice in exiting Belltown.

Here is a group shot. L-R: Randy, Kris, Jeanelle's friend Barbara, Jeanelle, Jeanelle's friends Julie (?) and Michael, me, and Daniel:

Here is a lovely ? picture of me and Daniel:

And here I am in my new sweater with my friend Glen from pilates:

Finally, here is a shot of the fireworks coming off of the Space Needle.

Christmas at Home

I got to go home from 20 Dec - 30 Dec 2007. It was really nice to get to see my parents and the rest of my family - my mom's cousins and my grandpa. It was actually relatively warm for the first couple of days of my stay.

Here is a picture of my dad and I on Christmas morning:

And here is my dad practicing on his harpsichord. He actually built the thing from a kit when he was in Panama (according to the stories they tell me.) My mom finally relented and moved the mail inbox from the top of the thing so he could open it up and let it resonate.

Here is a picture of my dad and me on Christmas eve, after we got back from playing at the mass. It was nice to get to play with him, and I was lucky and got to sit between him and the principal violinist of the local symphony, who happens to be the husband of the church organist. I'm not religious, but it was nice to be there and provide music for an appreciative audience.

I had planned to wear a pink button down shirt, but he said the dress was black and white, so I borrowed a white silk shirt from my mom. Ah well.

Here is a picture of my mom and me on Xmas morning :-)

And here I am puttin' some love on the dog, Pia:

My sister showed up the day after Christmas (well, we picked her up at the Houston airport), and we began our shopping orgy. My parents told us that their gift to us would be to take us shopping, and we cleaned them out - perhaps a bit too much. I feel a little guilty, but at least they can take comfort in that they don't have to support any of us kids anymore. :-D Heck, I got some nice stuff:

- a new red wool Calvin Klein peacoat

- a nice cabled Calvin Klein sweater

- some nice workout clothes, a couple of fleeces

- two dresses (one was 50 cents at the thrift store)

- a pair of pants and a pair of jeans

- new socks

I was very pleased. And we got most of the haul on fat sale at Ross / Marshalls type stores. The CK sweater was the only thing I bought in a retail store - and it was half off.