28 August 2007

That's a Back?

Yes, that is what the back of the Celtic Icon looks like. While it does look a little like a sweater for a Sandhill crane, it helps to know that the top part there will be turned into a hood when all is said and done.

We had a little homegrown entertainment last night. Since it was a school night ( I still love those words... school night) Daughter needed to take a shower. For reasons that I still don't fully understand she decided that the bathtub in her bathroom was not sufficient. She decided that the only place in our home that she could get clean was in the grownups' shower (we have no tub in our bathroom.) I didn't see what harm could come from letting her, so in she went. About 15 minutes later Dracula Son came upstairs to tell me that it was "leaking like crazy" in the basement. After alerting Husband to the potential catastrophe I went downstairs to see what the problem was. Had last week's rainwater somehow come in? Was there a problem with the washing machine or hot water heater? Nope. In the laundry room it appeared to be raining. Water raining down from above. What's above the laundry room you ask? The bathrooms, I answer. First I looked in the kids bathroom. Nothing there. Then I went in my bathroom. Daughter was sitting on the floor in my shower enjoying a bath. A bath? Yes a bath. She had placed a washcloth over the drain so that the water could accumulate and she could have a bath. In my shower. Which she needed to use because she didn't want to use her BATHTUB. She may have learned her lesson though; she was required to finish bathing in the kitchen sink.

24 August 2007

So it Rained a Little

You might not have heard, but it rained in Chicago yesterday. It rained a lot. There were a couple of suspected tornadoes, too.

This is what my back yard looked like at about 7:00 last night. I assure you that I don't usually have a swimming pool.

This is the new shed. As you can see, we came very close to discovering whether it floats or not last night.

This is the baseball field/playground across the street. Not too far away from the baseball field on the other side is where our (usually) little neighborhood pond is. People go over there to feed the ducks, maybe do a little fishing. That's where I think he came from...

You need to click on that picture and look closely at the tape measure. This was no little fishy. This was a keeper you could be proud of.

We were lucky in that we didn't lose our power at all and the basement stayed dry. Thank you little sump pump for all your hard work, and I hope you're ready for the next batch of storms coming through this afternoon.

23 August 2007

They're Baaaack

I'm sure mothers everywhere will understand why I did the happy dance yesterday. There she went, at 8:15 onto the big, yellow, happy, bus. It was quiet in the house for 6 whole hours. I cleaned up the living room and IT STAYED CLEAN! I knit for a whole hour and no one came in wanting to play. I know that I should feel at least a little down that my baby is away from home for so long, but I couldn't shake the Alleluia chorus in my head. I should note that the graduate was home, but his summer hasn't ended yet and he's living on vampire time, so you have to go out of your way to interact with him.

As I mentioned a few days ago I picked up Cat Bordhi's new book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters, while I was at Stitches. The basic idea is that instead of making the insole shaping on the sides of your feet, you can really put them anywhere. We are instructed to make two little socks as our first projects so that we can learn her way of writing the patterns. The pair on the left are called the Little Sky Socks, and the pair on the right are Little Coriolis. There are some very cool socks in the book, so I'm now deciding how best to use my Socks that Rock. I'm also wishing, for the first time ever, that I had the colorway that's in the book for at least one pair.

20 August 2007

Regularly Scheduled Programming

Life after Stitches is something of a letdown. No one goes walking past wearing a nifty costume, there are no beautiful displays of yarn to ooh and aah over, and there are no guys in green shirts who come in after everyone is done and clean the place up. Life would be better if it were Stitches all the time.

I've made some good progress on the Celtic Icon. The back is nearly finished, although after it's done you keep working the cable panel for another 18 inches to make the central piece of the hood. I will admit to a bout of idiocy a little earlier in the back. After the Great Cat Yark Incident I made a copy of the pattern and put it in a page protector. (Do you see the door slamming shut on an empty barn like I do?) I made sure to carefully highlight all of the relevant number for making my size. When I got to the increases I then totally ignored the hot pink numbers and just went with the first one I came to. Luckily I discovered my mistake after only about 30 rows. *sigh*

I am not anticipating a lot of knitting time in the next day or two.
The shed has been sitting empty for nearly 2 weeks so this past weekend Hubby decided it was time to start moving things. He spent all day Saturday working in the garage and carting things around back, then yesterday he left for a week in Washington state. The garage now looks like this ->. Since it's supposed to continue raining for the rest of the week, it would be nice if we could get one of the cars back into the garage. I see much cleaning in the future unless I can manage to track down those guys in the green shirts.

18 August 2007

Stitches Report, Part 3

I took a couple of pictures at the market, but you just can't really capture what it's really like. Everywhere you look are wool, books, patterns, garments, buttons, and people.

At the Woolstock Yarn Shop I picked up a bag of Noro Kureon and a ball of Night Lights, which is a glow in the dark yarn. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with that but it seems to be calling my daughter's name.

I then moved on to Just Our Yarn where they had a beautiful shawl displayed. It's called the Maple Tree shawl and it's made with Almaza yarn (which is 100% tencel) and beads. If my brain hadn't been in a melted condition I would have taken a photo. You'll just have to wait and see how mine turns out.

My last purchase was a book called Cast On, Bets Off. It's a knitting mystery and since I am a sucker for both, it was an easy call.

I'll leave with this photo, which shows some lovely ladies who were sitting on the floor just outside of the marketplace. I'm sure they were planning their next knitting adventures. Say hello to Mel, Ami, and Mea.

17 August 2007

Stitches Report, Part 2

Where I begin to describe the wonder that is Stitches Midwest.

So that's most of what I picked up at Stitches. The first place that I stopped was at Sutters Gold 'n Fleece. This is always one of my first stops because the woman who runs the store is the sister of one of my guild mates and I always buy something from her in the spirit of friendship. It's also good that her husband Joe makes swifts. They are very cool and come in a couple of varieties. There's the umbrella which does NOT need to be clamped to the table, and the traveling version which looks like this: That's Joe giving a demonstration. He sold out of his whole stock of travelers on Saturday and was taking orders by the time I got to his booth. Luckily he had one umbrella left and I snagged it.

After visiting Sutter's I then proceeded on to The Fold. Their booth was FULL of Socks that Rock yarn. I nearly hyperventilated just looking at them. I came home with 3 skeins and Cat Bordhi's new book, which is very cool. I've already made the two "starter socks" and I'm ready to move on to some real socks for myself and my daughter.

After The Fold I don't really remember the order of where I went. If you've never experienced something like Stitches I can't really convey to you how overwhelming it is. In the years that I've taken classes I've used a good strategy for keeping my brain from melting. On Thursday night the people who have registered for classes are allowed to go into the market (no general admission people.) I usually go that night and just walk around, not buying anything. If you go in knowing that you'll do your shopping the next day it's much easier to control yourself. At least that's what I like to tell myself. This year, however, I was not a registered student so I couldn't use my cool strategy. I just wandered around spending money like a mad woman.

The last place I'll mention today is the Interlacements booth. This is one of my standards and I always end up getting something. This year I got some Dyer's Choice which is a wool/angora rabbit blend in a nice mossy green colorway. I also picked up a bag of closeout yarn in an Autumn colorway. (God save me from the discount tables, I can't control myself near them.) I also joined the Interactive Sock Gang. I chose to go with Gang 1 which is the size that uses US#3&4 needles rather than 1&2. This is what put the biggest dent in the old credit card, but I say it's worth it!

Tune in next time when I finish showing off my loot.

14 August 2007

Stitches Report, Part 1

There are several reasons why I have been absent lately, the most important of which is that I've been to Stitches Midwest. If you've never been, I can only say that it is awesome. (Dad hates that word, but in this case it's the truth.) There are four days of classes, lessons, fashion shows, and ... The Market. In years past I have attended everything that I could cram into the weekend. This year I had decided ahead of time that I was just going to shop at the market and skip the rest of the proceedings. Then fate stepped in. At our last guild meeting the woman who runs Athena asked if anyone would like to volunteer to help direct people to where they need to be, make sure the coffee breaks run smoothly, etc. I volunteered, and boy was I glad I did. Here's how things went:

This is what I saw as I was pulling up to the convention center. Notice the long line of people waiting to get in. Knitters are SO cool, right? Now once I got inside I was assigned the job of directing the people coming in from the parking garage walkway to wherever they needed to be. Some people were checking in for classes that they had registered for, some people were just there for shopping, and some people

were obviously there for some other reason. It turns out our convention was on the second floor of the convention center, while the Wizard World convention was on the first floor. On Saturday they had their costume contest and I saw a great many unusual people passing by me. I entertained myself by playing "Which convention is he/she going to?" You'd be surprised how many I got wrong. It was also interesting to note the reactions of people as they came up the ramp and saw all of the Stitches signs (the Wizard World people had no signs on the second floor, which seems like a bad idea to me since that's where all of the people coming from the parking garage came in.) Some were interested, some looked kind of confused, many parents tried to panic their children (are you ready to go to the knitting convention?) and some smarties made rather condescending remarks about knitting in general. I was tempted to ask these last how many people they would be able to keep warm in the cold Chicago winter with their comic books, but I was able to resist. After my shift was over and I went to shop in the market I saw several people wearing Wizard World badges shopping as well. I think there's room in the world for knitters and wizards to get along, right?
Coming up tomorow, my marketpalce loot. Stay tuned.

10 August 2007

It's a Little Einstein

Sally's right, you do feel like a genius when you get done with one of these sweaters. You knit this <-, make two folds and sew 2 seams and come up with this ->. A couple of buttons, a quick block, and another one ready for the donate pile. I've also got another pattern repeat done on the Celtic Icon, but it's not impressive enough to take pictures of.

Yesterday was shed day, and I have to say that these guys are not like the cable guy. They told me that they would be there between 8 and 10. My husband poked me at 7:45 and said, "I'm leaving and the shed guys are here." Great. I should confess that I'm not at my best first thing in the morning, especially Thursdays which are my sleep-in-a-little-then-do-mountains-of-laundry days. Luckily I didn't have to interact with them, but it's still a little weird taking a shower when you know there are strange men in the back yard. They did a good job though, from a pile of assorted shed bits to finished shed in about 4 hours. Now I just have to think of some clever way to get some of the ugly off of it. I'm thinking lots of trellises and trumpet vines. If that won't work maybe I'll smuggle in some Kudzu, cause that shed is not pretty.

08 August 2007

Back in the Saddle Again

Back to the Future, Back to School, No Turning Back, The Empire Strikes Back, etc. So I'm working on the back of the Celtic Icon sweater. At some point last week I was thinking, "If I work on it every day I can have it done in time for Stitches." I'm not sure what kind of nerve gas had seeped into my house that day, but I can assure you that it is all gone now. If this were a drab stockinette stitch sweater, or something with a simple pattern I might have been right. This sweater, however, has cables with a 28 row repeat. Cables slow me down. When I get to a cable I put whatever I need to on the cable needle, work the next stitch(es), put the stitches from the cable needle back on the left needle and then knit them. I am not dexterous enough to knit (or purl) off of the cable needle. So while I love the way this sweater is turning out, it is not going to be a speed project for me. I'll have lots of time to enjoy the process of making all of those little crossed stitches turn into a really cool pattern.

Do you remember how I spent last Wednesday? In the category of, "Things that Make You Want to Cause Physical Harm to Your Child" I present the work of my daughter's day today:

07 August 2007

Why So Much?

So I've been plugging along on the Einstein coat. It's one of those projects where you just follow the instructions because what you're making doesn't really look like anything until you sew the seams up.

We went shopping yesterday to get my son some new school clothes. He's a big guy and the only places that sell his size are the Big & Tall kind of stores. Now I know that being larger means that they have to use more square inches of fabric, but I don't think that really makes up for the fact that his clothes are ridiculously expensive. We got a few shirts and a couple of pairs of pants and it cost more than I spend on clothes for myself in a year. (And no, I'm not counting the cost of wool in there because it isn't clothes when I buy it :-) Today we will outfit the no longer broken girl. Hopefully we can pull this off for less than a mortgage payment.

P.S. I Kinneared my daughter at lunch, but she knew what I was up to.

03 August 2007

Move Along Please, Nothing to See Here

No really, there's nothing to see. I've been cleaning like a madwoman, and I'm still not getting anywhere. We're having a storage shed installed next week so Hubby has been a little edgy and preocupied, so if he sees me sitting down doing something "unproductive" he gets crabby. It's 93F outside and my kids are snarky cause there's "nothing to do," so I have accomplished little in the way of knitting.
I did manage to start another mindless knitting project last night just before bedtime. I'm making a small Einstein jacket from Sally Melville's The Knit Stitch. I'm making it out of some Jo-Ann Belleza Collection Dolcetto yarn that I got for half price when our local Jo-Ann went out of business. It's interresting stuff, a wool, nylon, cotton blend that is barely spun. It's almost like knitting with roving. I haven't decided yet whether I like it or not, but this is another for the donate pile, so it will be up to someone else to enjoy it in the end.

01 August 2007

A Fun Way to Spend the Day

Alas, it is hard to find time to knit when you are busy turning this <- to this ->. I'm not entirely sure how the no longer broken girl managed to get into her bed. I wouldn't normally clean her room for her, but last night Daddy told her that she would not be able to watch any TV or play any computer games until her room was clean. He then left for work early this morning leaving we-all-know-who to deal with the enforcement of his proclamation. The little beauty didn't get off scott free though. I gave her the option of either cleaning or reading. Not being stupid, she chose the reading option.
Even though I did not have time to work on it today, I do have my effort from last night to show. Yes, I'm forging ahead with the Celtic Icon, even though there are some sleeve length issues. After mulling it over I have decided to wait and see just how bad they are when sewn in. If they are truly too long I'm going to *take a deep breath* cut off some of the sleeve length and knit the 2 row seed stitch border. I've actually performed a similar maneuver when my darling daughter cut into the ribbing of a sweater several years ago. Hopefully this sweater was designed for a T-rex and the sleeves will actually fit me just right. I'm such a dreamer.