Friday, April 30, 2010
I spent a good part of yesterday dealing with the scum-sucking pig who's been stealing our wifi signal, our LOCKED wifi signal. I haven't bothered to see what sites this asshat's been visiting, and I probably won't--the gross-out factor is potentially high, given that this moron wasn't just surfing. S/he was obviously downloading or streaming something HUGE. If it's nasty, I don't want to know. All I know is, I'm pissed.
I had to rename the network, change the password, then tinker with every wifi device we have so those devices could use the network again. It is a monumental pain in the ass, let me tell you, all because somebody decided it was O.K. to use what I pay for, and oh by the way, make it almost unusable for me. I couldn't even get Ravelry to load. That is crossing the line, big-time!
But as with most things like this, I learned a lot. I learned how to protect my network better, and how to find out who is on my network. The next thing I want to learn is how to give any unauthorized people on my network the worst case of diarrhea they will ever have. If it could happen when they're sitting in their brand new car, so much the better. I'm kidding. Sort of.
Check out this video clip of somebody calling in to The Tech Guy to complain that she isn't able to steal her neighbor's wifi signal after a year and a half. If anybody needs a serious case of the runs, it's this idiot.
On to more pleasant things. Knitting Pattern Central listed my Garden Patch Hats and Sandia Crest sock patterns and oh my goodness, they have been downloaded a whole bunch of times! This makes me do the happy dance and I hope people enjoy the patterns as much as I've enjoyed creating them. Come back and visit--I'll make cookies and cosmos.
I'm getting so excited for tomorrow. Here's another hint: Cat Bordhi. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll find out tomorrow. Otherwise, check the blog on Sunday. I'm also trying to figure out what my next RAOK will be. It's all about seeing the opportunity and jumping on it. Can't wait!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
When the universe grabs you by the hair and yanks your head back, you need to pay attention. There are usually warning signs before it happens, but every time it does, I'm all, "what? me? are you kidding?"
Every spring, my allergy-induced asthma kicks my butt if I get even the tiniest cold. I'm supposed to start a course of Advair the instant I get any sort of respiratory episode. Did I do it this year? Of course not.
I've had trouble with my painful shoulders since last fall. Two rounds of cortisone injections haven't cured me. I'm supposed to be doing physical therapy twice a week. Have I gone for the last two weeks? Hell no!
Today I woke up tired and got even more tired as the day progressed. So what did I do? Lace knitting. Tell me you can't see this one coming. I make the same mistake--I miss a YO--two right side rows IN A ROW. I kid you not. I can hear myself telling my brain, "don't forget the YOs," after the first time I forgot. I tink back, fix it, then continue on, knowing it's probably not in my best interest to keep knitting; I should just get to a good stopping point and set the Brandywine shawl aside until I'm closer to something that resembles consciousness. So of course I decide to knit another couple of rows. AND I FORGET ANOTHER YO. Lesson learned? Even my own brain doesn't listen to me.
I put the knitting away and I'm drinking a glass of wine. Even I can't screw that up. Right? Anybody?
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Today wasn't a total loss. I did a RAOK at Starbucks this afternoon. I love doing that. I remember how cool it was when somebody did it for me. Person, whoever you are, have a great day!
My *&$^ing vacuum cleaner has been slowly but surely doing less and less of what it's designed to do--get the dirt and pet hair out of the carpets and off the floors. I wish I could tell you how many different vacuum cleaners we've owned over the years, but I've lost count. DH has a thing about vacuum cleaners--they can't be too noisy or too hard to maneuver or too any of a hundred different other things. Me? I just want the damn things to suck.
Did you know that in my particular vacuum cleaner--a Dyson--there are parts you have to take off and wash? Seriously. So I washed those parts and if, after they are dry and re-installed, (cross your fingers I can put them back where they came from) this vacuum doesn't suck any better than it did before, guess who's buying herself a new vacuum cleaner for her birthday?
I am all about the sexy gifts. Seriously. One year I asked Santa for a cordless drill. I LOVE power tools and my dream tool, besides Brad Pitt, is this bad boy:
Be afraid, crappy vacuum cleaner, be VERY afraid.
Monday, April 26, 2010
It's one week until my birthday and I'm going to start celebrating now, just in case I get hit by a bus before the actual day. With my luck, you never know.
I'm pretty loosey-goosey with planning stuff--I still haven't decided where to have my birthday dinner. Not that it matters all that much. The place just needs to have really good wine and food, in that order of priority. I might also treat myself to a mani/pedi so my hands and feet won't look like crap for at least one day of the year. On Saturday I have something very special planned, and it's knitting related. Here's a hint--it doesn't need a litter box. I'll be blogging about it.
There are a few things I absolutely WILL do, however, and I want those things to be about giving back, because as much as I whine and bitch, I am a lucky, lucky person. I'm starting the week by offering my new sock pattern for free. I have downloaded so many free patterns over the years and I want to return the favor. Just click on the link on the right side of this page.
The next time I'm in the drive-through at Starbucks, I'm going to buy the coffee for the person behind me. I love doing that. Imagine how happy it makes somebody. Doesn't matter that I probably won't even know who they are. Somehow, that makes it even better. I'm going to make random acts of niceness a not so random occurrence.
This week I'm going to make another donation to Ravelry. I am still astounded at the things this site does FOR FREE, and I can't imagine all the work involved. Every week I figure out something new, and it seems like every week they add something. They have done so much for my knitting life, I can't even put it into words. When something has the power to shut me up, you know it's an amazing thing.
Knit-wise, I'm finishing up a couple of pairs of baby socks for someone on our HOA board. DH asked if I'd do something for her and I'm glad to. I know those of us who live with HOAs like to complain about them, but HOA boards do a whole lot of work and don't get enough credit for it, and I'm not just saying that because DH is on our board and I want him to get me a really nice birthday present--he already did.
I have a few other things up my sleeve, and hopefully I'll get some good photos that I can post here. Have a fantastic week everybody, and get ready to party!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I'm a glutton for punishment--if it will drive me crazy, make me look idiotic, or give me a stomach ache, I want to do it over and over again, until I get it right. It's been about three months since I started this blog, and I've enjoyed it immensely, stomach aches and all. As a thank-you for reading, here's the pattern for Sandia Crest. Just click on the link in the sidebar or go directly to the pattern by clicking here. If you like my patterns, follow my blog and you'll always know when I offer a new one. Thanks!
The list of blogs I follow is fairly long--about 80 at this point. Some are humorous, many are instructional, and a few are always inspirational. Getting Purly With It, comes to mind. Nancy, from San Francisco, is on a mission to share her love of knitting with the world and has generously offered many of her patterns for free. Thanks, Nancy. You make me want to push the envelope.
There's another fiber blog that has touched me deeply, and not just with its beautiful knitting. Kate Davies, of Edinburgh, Scotland, is a talented young knitter and writer, and she recently suffered a stroke. If you haven't visited needled, I urge you to. Her knitting is amazing and her writing shines with a beautiful spirit.
That's the great thing about the web--we can share our gifts with people all over the world, right from our keyboards, without ever leaving home, or even getting dressed! What could be better? I just wish they'd stop giving me funny looks at the grocery store. Have a fabulous week everybody.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Let's get all nasty and talk about swatches. You know what I mean--that thing you're supposed to do before you cast on for your actual knitted item. Yes, I know a lot of people consider swatches to be a waste of time, sort of like shaving your legs when you know you're going to be wearing pants. What difference does it make? Who's going to know? But is NOT doing a swatch really worth the agony of knitting for hours and hours, only to find that the sweater/sock/hat you're knitting will fit a two year old but not you?
I'm about to release a sock pattern and a few nights ago, a clever person on Ravelry suggested it might be nice done in a cotton yarn. I've fiddled with a couple of different cotton and cotton-blend yarns, only one of which is not making me want to rip my hair out. It's Cascade Cotton Rich DK. Yes, DK. The original pattern is written for worsted weight yarn, but I had a strange feeling the Cascade just might work. I have spent a couple of hours on a swatch, using the same size needles I did with the Cascade 220 Superwash, and danged if I'm not getting gauge.
I suspected the DK might work because of a something I know about me and cotton yarns--my gauge changes when I knit with cotton. I'm thinking the fact that most cotton and cotton-blend yarns don't have the same kind of "bounce" that wool has causes me to knit differently. Here are a few other things I know about my own personal gauge:
- It differs when I knit in the round vs. flat knitting.
- If I'm feeling tense, my gauge gets smaller. (I avoid knitting for several hours after I've taken DD driving, sort of like when you don't swim for two hours after eating.)
- A glass of wine negates #2.
- If I pick up a UFO that's been marinating for a few months, my gauge will be different, but only if it's not something that I really, really like. Never fails.
- I have a theory that the lack of humidity here in Colorado affects the gauge of certain yarns, but I could just be full of that other S word.
Yes, in most instances gauge, like size, matters. Here's a linky with some great information about gauge: what it is, why it's important, and how to understand what it's telling you. Well done, Mary Smith. Now get busy swatching!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Last night, I decided to knit one more pair of Sandia Crest before I release the pattern. A very nice person on Ravelry suggested they would be great in a cotton yarn, so I made some calls and a very helpful woman at the Recycled Lamb told me about a new yarn from Brown Sheep, Cotton Fleece. It's 80/20 cotton/merino, with 215 yards per skein. That's pretty close yardage-wise to the original yarn I chose for Sandia Crest, so I dropped by there. Since we are about to be hammered with yet another snowstorm, I figured I'd better stock up--me with my pitifully tiny stash.
I just finished a swatch, and I'm pretty sure the Cotton Fleece is going to be just fine. I will have a finished pair of socks before you can say "let's run to the liquor store before the storm hits." Thanks, Recycled Lamb, for the recommendation.
I also want to give a shout-out to another one of my favorite yarn shops, one I don't get to visit very often--The Knitting Studio and Yarn Shop, in Montpelier, Vermont. Their website says they are "Vermont's friendliest yarn shop," and I believe they are. They got so friendly with me that I gladly left a boatload of money with them last time I was there. In exchange, I got some FABULOUS yarn. I can't wait to visit them again. Nothing but love for you guys! But how about a discount if I get to four figures? Kidding, husband, just kidding.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Yes, I know. The cliquey Mean Girls who are regulars at your shop love you so much they'd spend their mortgage money to keep you afloat, and you don't really need MY money, but you should know I'm willing to buy generic wine if it means more money for yarn. Yep, even the boxed stuff.
I'm not a regular at your shop, mainly because it's a hour's round trip for me, but I have crawled 'through five hundred yards of sh*t smelling foulness you can't even imagine' for yarn. (The person who wrote The Shawshank Redemption totally stole that line from me.**) In all seriousness, or as close as a smart-ass like me can get, don't LYSO read Ravelry or knitting blogs? I'm not the first, and I won't be the last to comment on this issue.
A little friendliness goes a long way and asking for it isn't quite the same as asking for one of your kidneys, or a loan, or a date with your spouse. So if you're tempted to leave a snarky comment about me putting on my big girl panties and just getting over it, Jelli, just effing get over it, sorry. Ain't going to happen. I want you to succeed. I want my local yarn shops to thrive and prosper and be there when I want, NEED, yarn. This post isn't meant to be spiteful. O.K. fine. Spiteful to the Mean Girls, but not the yarn shop owners. O.K. FINE. (Snarkiness removed. Aren't you just dying to know what it was?!) As I've told you before, I can be a tad bit bitchy at times. No, really. It's true.
Let me end with a shout-out to the Local Yarn Shop Owners who embrace ALL their customers and are friendly even if they've never laid eyes on the person before. You've figured out that making people feel comfortable and appreciated sells yarn. You rock.
** I lied. I didn't write that line.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Looks like spring is finally here, and none too soon. I was getting just a little sick of seeing nothing but white and brown landscape, so sick of it I ripped back a brown shawl and recast it in a nice turquoise colorway. I used the same colorway for a pair of socks I started yesterday, when I got jacked up on Albuterol and couldn't sleep.
Side Effects of Albuterol - for the Consumer
Dizziness; headache; nausea; nervousness; sinus inflammation; sore or dry throat; tremor; trouble sleeping; vomiting.
The Knit Fairy must have paid me a visit during the night, because when I staggered out of bed this morning I took a look at the sock embryos and guess what--they don't suck. Or at least, I don't hate them the way I did when I went to bed, so I'm going to continue on and see what happens. I need a pair of finished socks by the last day of the month so I'll let these hatch and see if they turn out to be swans or ugly ducklings. I have another sock pattern I'm dying to knit, but my brain is in a pollen-induced haze so I'll leave them until I'm feeling a bit more competent. I hope the yarn doesn't rot while I'm waiting for that to happen.
Friday, April 16, 2010
I am so bad. Bought another lens for my camera, but in my defense this is a portrait lens, important for shooting stills of yarn, and for upcoming grandchild portraits. That makes it sound so much less selfish, doesn't it? I love the softly blurred background and foreground. Here's another shot with the focus on the knitted hem. Notice the difference.
This UFO is the Cottage Garden sweater I started a loooong time ago, before news of the grandbaby. I rescued it from the pile so I would have something to take to knit night at the Recycled Lamb. Seems more polite to be working with yarn I actually purchased there, since Cheryl is nice enough to offer buck a slice pizza and all. I'm crossing my fingers nothing gets in the way of me going. Friday nights always seem to be chaos around my house.
I was hoping to get some decent photos of the park behind our house, but it's overcast today and the light is so flat, I'm not going to bother. The ducklings and goslings should be appearing soon, however, so hopefully the light will get better after the weekend. They're forecasting rain until Monday. I'm really anxious to give my telephoto lens a test-drive. I'm thinking about a new career as a spy or a private detective, now that I have photography skills. O.K., half-assed photography skills. But even Jared Flood wasn't born with a Hasselblad in his hands.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
This might look like a mountain of laundry, but to a knitter like me... it's a mountain of laundry. Who am I kidding? It took me all day to get through this--three baskets heaped with clothes and towels, most of which came from DD's bedroom floor. Seriously. Which reminds me--I need to make an appointment with the optometrist for her. Something is seriously wrong with her eyes. Anytime she looks at an item of clothing, it has to go on the floor into the hamper. Apparently, something with her vision makes clean laundry instantly dirty and unwearable, even if that laundry is fresh from the washer and dryer, never having been worn since the last time it was picked up from the floor of her room, where it was deposited because she looked at it. Feel like you need a drink now? Me too. I figure she's got the cleanest clothes of any kid in the entire school. Everything gets washed dozens of times before she actually wears it.
I did manage a bit of knitting in between washing, drying, and folding. Check out my progress on the Brandywine shawl.
Here's a close up:
I tried to get all fancy-schmanzy with my new camera and take a photo of the laundry that blurred the back of the heap, just to make it look bigger. Didn't work, but it does justify the photography class I signed up for, so I didn't delete it.
A few people have expressed interest in getting a new camera of their own. The Sony alpha 230 I bought is pretty much an entry level DSLR, but it's a big step up from my Crappy Camera. In case you're wondering what the difference is between my old camera and my new one, here's a linky. I'm not exactly Anne Geddes, and this explains it better than I can.
I also made a meatloaf--cooking, laundry and a little bit of knitting, all in the same day! Don't buy any green bananas, people, because the end is near. But I'll have clean clothes, meatloaf sandwiches, and a very pretty shawl. Photos on Flickr.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Speaking of photos, here's a few shots of one of my (many) UFOs. This is the Ribby Cardi, which I blogged about here. I'm pretty sure I got the pattern free, for test knitting a hat, but since I have CRS**, it's possible I bought it. Love Bonne's designs enough to pay for them. This is high praise from someone who checks the "free" button on the Ravelry pattern search 99.9% of the time. But I don't mind paying good money for a design from someone who puts out really great work. They deserve the money. And it makes me appreciate all the more how tough it is to write a really good pattern. I've been around the knitting block for a while now, but I still appreciate a clear, concise, and accurate pattern.
I have high hopes for this yarn--it feels really nice for an acrylic blend. We'll see how it holds up to washing. Since I plan on this being a weekend, knock around kind of sweater, it should see lots of wear. Crossing my fingers it doesn't have a pill problem.
The shots were taken with my brand new Sony dSLR camera. I seriously love this thing. Even though the subject matter isn't exactly riveting, these photos are so much better than anything I took with my old camera, and they were taken with a kit lens, nothing fancy, and with the built-in flash. Obviously, I need to buy an external flash of some sort, but so far, I'd say the camera is a winner.
Can't wait for my photography class next month! I want to be a much better photographer by July 19th. That's when my very first grandchild is due. I promise I won't drive you nuts with a gazillion baby photos. It will be hard, but I promise.
**Can't Remember Sh*t (or Can't Remember Stuff if you're not a potty mouth)
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Feast your eyes on my new dSLR camera, the Sony ∝230. It's an entry level digital single lens reflex camera, which means next week I'll complain that it's not sophisticated enough for my newly acquired level of photography expertise. Kidding, honey. I have a lot to learn about harnessing the power of this bad boy--putting the strap on made my forehead sweat. But I've signed up for a dSLR class and--if there are any males reading this you might want to sit down right about now--I am reading the instruction manual.
Yes, I do know that manuals are for wimps, but I also know that a certain person in my household will soon be counting on me to answer his questions about digital cameras because--let me say it again--I read the instructions. That's the way I roll. We will discuss my consultation fees at the appropriate time. Right after I pick out a macro lens, external flash, filters, and a remote commander.
Here's a linky to this camera on Costco, and I'll leave you with some yarn porn. More to come.
Friday, April 9, 2010
This is Brandywine, re-started with the BMFA STR turquoise colorway. Much better for spring knitting. Yes, I know it's a shawl and sooner or later we'll have 90-plus degree days here in Denver, but until then we could also have crap knows how many snowstorms. I intend to be prepared.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Here's a linky, if you haven't read her post from yesterday.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I pretty much cancelled everything that would require me to get out of my pajamas and leave the house today, since this cold has turned me into a mouth-breathing cranky-pants. (Spirit, United, and Frontier Airlines can vouch for this. Ask them about my snarky emails and faxes.) Hopefully, this downtime will mean I finish the second pair of Sandia Crest socks. I'm thisclose. Here's a side-by-side comparison of the original pair with the right twist, and the second pair with the left twist. I got the idea to try a right and left twist for a single pair--mirror image them, if you will. Obviously, it isn't working out.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I don't know what it is about warm, damp climates, but every time I return from one I bring back zits. I'm talking huge buggers, zits so big they have their own zip code. I got back from the Caribbean cruise with one on my forehead, right between my eyes. The darn thing is so big I have to count it on the census form we got in the mail, the second one. The government must have heard about the zit from customs and decided they'd better send me another form. It might be a good time to consider bangs.
I'm feeling just the tiniest bit guilty about yesterday's post. You see, I might have been a little deceptive. The switcheroo bag woman was NOT wearing parachute pants, but she IS AssHat for not apologizing for taking my bag, so I'm fairly certain she is the type of person who wears parachute pants. I really should have gone through her bag while I had the chance, so I could confirm my suspicions. And I don't wear butt floss. Yes, I am partial to Hanky Panky underwear, but not the stuff you end up digging out of your butt cleavage all day long. TMI? Yes, but at least I have a clear conscience now.
As promised, here's a couple of photos of the cotton tank I finished while on vacation. It's the Essential Tank from Custom Knits, by Wendy Bernard. I changed the rib pattern in the front to a pattern stitch from Nicky Epstein's Knitting on the Edge--the right twist rib. I am in love with that pattern stitch but I seriously need to move on. Too much of a good thing, etc., etc. The yarn is Cascade Cotton Rich DK. Cross your fingers that it blocks out the way I'm hoping. The hem is just a little too rollie-pollie for my tastes and I don't want to do a finished hem. On the other hand, I don't need the darn thing rolling up to my armpits either. Also, I have good news concerning cameras, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.
*Linky to the cartoon Funny stuff!
Monday, April 5, 2010
I don't know about you, but when I get home from traveling, I like to have my own suitcase of dirty clothes, not someone's from Iowa. Nothing against people from Iowa, but apparently, at least some of them can't read those big-ass signs above the luggage carousels, the ones that say 'Many bags look alike. Please make sure you have YOUR bag.' But wait. It gets better.
Shortly after DD has a mini breakdown because somebody has taken MY bag, we find the switcheroo bag which conveniently has a cell phone number and address. (Word to your mother. If you put ALL your personal information on your bag tag, it makes it easier for sane and crazy people alike to find you. Guess which one I am?)
By this time, we are at the absolute end of the customs line. No problem, since this gives us plenty of time to call the cell phone number from the switcheroo bag owner, who just happens to be standing right next to DH when he calls her. No kidding. Now, I'm not all that familiar with Iowan idioms, so maybe they have different ways of saying Thank You. Here's a couple we heard when we informed them that they had my bag instead of their own. "Mom, I told you that isn't your bag!" And my favorite, "Ha ha ha, I guess they shop at Costco too!" Really. Maybe the severe rise in my blood pressure made me go temporarily deaf and I didn't hear the woman say, "Oh my gosh! I'm really sorry I didn't check the bag tag, and I'm so glad YOU did. Thank you so much for taking the time to find me and saving me the trouble of having to put your bag on a plane to Denver, after I got home and found YOUR thong underwear instead of my parachute pants!" I never said I wasn't a bitch. I did, however neglect to say, "You're welcome." Here's the way I say it in Colorado: "I hope that smell emanating from your crotch isn't anything serious. Have a nice day!"
Thanks to Bernard and my own pillow, my neck and upper back are feeling much better. I can also still fit into my clothes, so I'm pretty sure I managed not to gain any weight while on the cruise. Gotta call this one good, trip-wise.
While on the ship I did do some knitting. I finished a cotton pullover and made good progress on a pair of socks, but I haven't taken any photos of those yet. I didn't knit as much as I planned, but did finish a book. Here's a few pictures from Key West. More from the rest of the trip to follow.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
For five nights, I slept on pillows that weren't quite right--one was too thin and two were too thick. The result was one monster headache this morning. I'm pretty sure it was my first migraine in about ten years. Yeah for me!
Fotunately, I found Bernard at the Miami airport. He gives chair massages across from the H concourse. I paid for a 20 minute massage, but my neck and upper back were in such bad shape, he gave me twice as long. Bernard was so gentle and kind and strong, all at the same time. And hot. If all the men in Lebanon are this smokin' I'm moving. If you are ever in the Miami airport with a headache, or just feel like being pummeled by a gorgeous Lebanese guy, look him up. Tip well. He's worth every cent.
Maybe now I'll feel like knitting on the plane, instead of barfing. I'm sure the person seated next to me will appreciate it at least as much as I will. Photos to follow.
Sent from my iPhone
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I found a local flea market that had several vendors with lots of crocheted things--bags, tops, toys, and hats. It was mostly rough cotton that I think had some other fiber in it, maybe hemp. Not really anything you'd want next to your skin, but good workmanship. I didn't see any knitting.
The trouble with these driveby cruise stops is that you don't have enough time to really get to know the area, but you can get an idea of whether or not you'd like to come back for a longer stay. I think I would like to see more of the Caymans. People are very nice here and it's a diverse population.
This is our last stop before we head back. Tomorrow, we will be at sea the whole day. I love the sea days--I find a quiet sunny spot to knit and read the day away. It's all I could want. The food is very good and our table companions are friendly and interesting. Maybe some day
I'll get to take a knitting cruise. THAT would be fabulous!
I'll post photos when I get home on Saturday. It's been relaxing but I'm always glad to get home.