30 August 2008

Stitches Report, Part 2

The Loot

This is what I came home with from Stitches. I would like to say that there were actually 2 things that I was looking for that I didn't find, so it could have been worse. I'll start on the left and work my way to the right.

First, from Daughter's favorite booth, I got some Suri Alpaca and a pattern for a lace top. I started it yesterday, and after spending a little more time than should have been necessary figuring out the pattern, I've got the first repeat of the lace done.

Next there's some Tofutsies and the socks that are nearly done.

From Woolstock I got a pattern for a shawl I can make with some Noro I got last year, as well as a bag of Ella Rae for myself, and a bag of Katia Nordic Print for Daughter.

From Webs, I got two bags of Geode wool. When I was checking out there was one man putting the items into bags and telling the other man what was being purchased so he could write up the sales slips. Everyone got a chuckle out of it when the bagger told the slipper that I got two bags of "Gee Oh Dee" yarn. (Correct pronunciation is Gee Ode for those not familiar.)

The more astute among you may notice that there is a shawl kit in there that's very familiar to one I bought last year. (It's from Just Our Yarn.) I ended up participating in an online knitters' tea swap in the spring, and while I was able to get all of the non-knitting gifts together, I didn't get the yarn in time. My person's blog made it quite clear that she was very into lace shawls, so last year's kit flew to Georgia. I've replaced it with a blue one, which will probably suit me better as I am most often wearing jeans during shawl weather anyway.

There are a couple of other skeins of sock yarn which can be blamed on the Yarn Harlot. She uses a lot of Trekking, so when I saw a skein I had to try it out for myself, and I also got a skein of Knitters Without Borders from the Blue Moon Socks that Rock collection. The Harlot started KWB to encourage knitters to donate to the Doctors Without Borders program.

Daughter was oohing and ahhing over some knit necklaces at Bagsmith's table on Friday afternoon, so I bought one for her on Saturday afternoon and made it for her on Saturday night. It's a very quick knit.

Last, I think, was the stuff from Yarn Place. I got a skein of Graceful Lace Yarn, and two bags of Bel Canto DK.

After this trip, I shouldn't need to buy anything for quite a while. Although, there were those two things that I was looking for that I didn't find...

25 August 2008

Stitches Report, Part 1

All told, the Fibreholic and I spent 2 pretty full days at Stitches Midwest. Day 1 was Friday, during which we went through the market (buying almost nothing I might add) and Janet took a class on Estonian Patent stitches. When I went back to pick her up, I brought Daughter with me. She had a grand time looking at everything,

hiding from me behind walls of wool

and generally entertaining everyone there with her unceasing chatter.

Day 2 found the Fibreholic and I both taking a class on knitting math, which was wonderful as I now know how to figure out increase and decrease math. It was taught by the lovely Edie Eckman who very graciously held my sock.

Edie has a new book out with 144 crochet motifs which is very cool, but which I did not purchase because I do not crochet. During the break in the middle of class, I noticed this when I went out in the hall:

That is a very small portion of the crowd waiting to get into the market when the doors opened.

After class we went to the market ourselves, and this time we did some damage to the credit cards. Shortly after we started shopping I learned that we weren't supposed to take any pictures while we were in the market, but I'll show you this one anyway. This was the feeding frenzy around one vendor's 50%-or-more-off bin.

After several hours of shopping (the fruits of which I will show you tomorrow) we went to the student banquet, which is the show where they invite the students to model their own creations. The food was really good

and we all got at least one gift to bring home. I walked away with a Trendsetter Yarns woven fabric mesh scarf kit. It was a great experience, as it always is, and I'm glad that Knitters decided to hold it in the convention center that is a 10 minute drive from my house.

22 August 2008

Stitches Time

It's the Stitches Midwest time of year again. Knitters from all over the globe have descended on the Chicago area to attend. I know this for a fact, because a very nice Canadian Lady showed up at my house yesterday for that very reason. Well, OK, she didn't show up at my doorstep, I went to the airport to pick her up, but you get the idea. She told me many months ago that the only time she had been in Chicago was when she had a connecting flight out of O'Hare, so all she had seen was miles of airport concourse. I'm not a Chicago native, but I'm pretty sure there are better ways to experience this city than wandering around the airport.

Instead of wandering the corridors of our huge air facility, I signed us up for a Segue tour of Chicago. We arrived at the showroom and found these waiting for us:

After a safety video which was clearly intended to avoid lawsuits and NOT to make the customers comfortable with riding these things, we pushed them across the street to the park and got our "On the Job Training."

That's one of the three Kathys in our group of 7, along with Alex our very energetic tour guide. It was clear that Alex enjoyed his job, although he was much more into the playing on the Segue part, and not quite as much on the historical facts piece of the job.

We got to see Buckingham Fountain (if you've ever watched Married, With Children, you've see this in the opening credits.

We went out around the planetarium and saw the skyline:

That's Henry, by the way, who's a bit of a mad man on a Segue.

Then we headed for Grant Park:

Alex told us that Grant park (and everything east of Michigan Avenue) was actually created after the Great Chicago Fire. There was so much debris that they didn't know what to do with it, so they pushed the whole lot of it into the lakeshore, then covered it up with dirt. They apparently were not quite as ecologically friendly back then.

We ended up at the Art Institute.

And naturally when we were done we had Alex hold our socks:

It was a very fun experience, we got to see a lot of the waterfront area (although we didn't make it to the Bean, which we were hoping to do) and we learned a thing or two about Chicago.

But today, my friends, we shop.

18 August 2008

Is That How It's Supposed To Be?

The computer has been reinstalled, the files restored, and now the new camera will finally talk to it. I haven't discovered what it is that I've lost forever, but I'm sure it will become obvious to me soon.

One of the nice things about this camera is that it has a much better macro setting than the old one. See?

I wouldn't have been able to get that close with the old camera.

While the computer was being redone I received a package in the mail and this is what was inside:

It's the latest sock from the Tsock Flock club. So far all we've received is a teensy little skein of sock yarn, and enough instructions to make the toes. We'll be getting more yarn and more instructions later. Intrigued, I cast on and started, and got this far before I started asking myself questions:

I fear that I have gone wrong already. Admittedly this is only the work of 30 minutes, so it won't kill me to have to redo it, but I'm pretty sure I'm going down the wrong path. She says in the directions that you can either use 2 circular needles, or 5 double pointed needles. That's fine, I like DPNs better, so that's what I'm using. The problem comes in around row 13, where I'm instructed to do something till I get to the "end of needle." At the time, I blindly followed directions, and did something till I got to the end of the needle, then repeated it on all 4 needles. I think this was probably not right. If I'm making toes here, then they are going to have a very boxy shape, and some strange and potentially uncomfortable stripes on the tops and bottoms of my feet. If the instructions are for people using ony 2 circular needles, then they'll end up with nicely shaped toes and some swell stripes up the sides of their feet. The problem here is that since I don't have any idea what I'm making (other than the fact that it's for a sock club) so I'm not sure if this is just some clever new thing, or just a screw up on my part. I'm 90% sure it's a screw up, but you never can tell.

But it's OK, because my new camera is cool.

13 August 2008

Punishment for Upgrading

I'm not sure why I thought this wouldn't happen. You rarely hear stories about how upgrading something goes smoothly and painlessly. Yet I was sure that buying a new camera would be a simple thing, especially since it's made by the same people who made my old camera.

For the last several years I have had a trusty digital camera. A nice little Canon PowerShot S 500. I would have been happy to keep on using my trusty little camera, except that it's showing signs of imminent demise. The video screen on the camera shows things in shades of purple, the zoom lever sticks, and if you look at the pictures I posted about my summer vacation you'll notice that the ones at the bottom have a pinkish stripe at the top (or right-hand edge if they're up and downers.) So we went to Best Buy to look at some of the new models, and I found one I liked. The PowerShot SD790 IS. We came home and I looked up as many reviews of it as I could, and it seems like people really like this little camera. So I clicked on over to Amazon and purchased one.

Yesterday the box came, and the first disappointment (although it was expected) was that they've changed the battery design, so none of the 3 batteries I have for Old Camera will work with New Camera. So I plugged the charger in and waited the 2 hours it takes to charge a battery. I also bought a bigger memory card than the one that came standard, so i plugged that in and went to clicking. The display was a little grainy, but it was 8:30 at night in a pretty dark house, so I wasn't too concerned. I took some pictures of Husband vacuuming up cobwebs in the basement, and they turned out very nicely. Then I decided to download the pictures to my computer.

I installed the software from the CD that came with the camera, plugged in the camera, and... nothing. The screen on the camera went blank (like it's supposed to) but nothing happened on the computer. I tried using the new cable, using the old cable, uninstalling the software and reinstalling the software, but I couldn't make the computer and camera talk to each other. I called Hubby. He spent 2 hours removing things, deleting things, taking things out of the registry, reinstalling things, and he got to the same point I did: the camera will not talk to the computer. The last thing Husband said as we quit for the night was, "You might have to let me reinstall your computer." These words cause me great fear, and it took a long time to fall asleep.

This morning I called Canon support and talked to James. He's a very nice man who spent an hour with me trying to get the camera and the computer to talk to each other. His final opinion was that there is a problem on the Microsoft side of the fence that is keeping my computer from communicating with its new friend. He said I could use plan B, which would be taking the memory card out of the camera and putting it into the computer and getting the photos that way, or I could go with Husband's plan.

So this afternoon I will try to locate all of the things on my computer that I do not want to lose forever and back them up. I will forget something, I always do when this process occurs. It will take several days for me to get things all back to the way I like them, and there will be no photos today. This is the best rendition of what I look like right now that I can come up with:

12 August 2008

Why I Live in Chicago

After visiting the U.P. I routinely ask myself the same question when I get home: Why do I live in Chicago? I was born in one of the most beautiful places in the country, lived there for 25 years, then moved on to the big city. At the time it made sense: I have a degree in Business Computer Information Systems, and jobs in that particular field are few and far between in that part of the country. After finally getting an offer to do what I (thought I) wanted to do, it didn't take me long to accept. When you're 24, moving from the country to the city sounds like fun.

Once I got here I discovered that the city wasn't really all that appealing to me, although I did fine the world's finest Hubby here. We both came to Chicago from other parts of the country because of our jobs. Over the course of time we have both decided (I think) that we're not really all that fond of the city life. (Hubby is slightly more pro city, as he fears that he wouldn't be able to play tennis if he were out in the wilderness.) The problem, then, becomes, well if we were to go somewhere else, where would we go? Bringing me to exhibit A:

If you click on the map and make it bigger, you'll see why we're never going to move. We would both like to be nearer to our families, and they both live in beautiful parts of the country. Wildly separate, no-where-near-each-other parts of the country. It takes us 5 hours to drive to Brother's in Detroit (when the traffic in northern Indiana isn't horrible, which it usually is,) 7 hours to drive to my parents' in Marquette, and a day in airports to get to Hubby's family in Kansas or Colorado. If we moved to be near any one set of relatives, it would make it very hard to visit the other set. Also, Husband grew up in New Mexico, so going farther north is not on his agenda.

So, since I think I'm stuck here in the Chicago suburbs for a while, I am attempting to make things as similar to the U.P. as I can. I purchased an mp3 of the sounds of water lapping on a rocky beach, I plugged in a new air freshener that's supposed to smell like sun and sand, and Sunday night we had a campfire.

I'll let you know if it works.

06 August 2008

Aaaaaand She's Back

Let me just say, holy crud, what a summer this has been. There's been good, bad, and ugly, and there's been a LOT of it. I have been to Wisconsin, Texas, Detroit, and the U.P. I've had house guests, extra children, and insects. I have helped drywall a garage, snorkeled in the Gulf of Mexico, helped pull down a tree, taught a week of VBS, and completely cleaned and organized the playroom. I have visited with Brother, all the In-Laws, Mom & Dad, Cousins, and Aunts & and Uncle. I have been introduced to a horrible, terrible, time sucking computer game. I have had precious little free time for knitting.

But now that the summer is entering its "wind down" phase, I think I might be able to reclaim my life a little. I'll start by showing you some of the highlights of the summer.

Camping at Rock Cut park in Illinois:

South Padre Island:

Amtraking to Detroit:

The beginning of the Great 8 Hour Playroom Cleanup, in which I take every toy of Daughter's, pile it up in one giant pile, then start sorting and throwing.

Cat helps with laundry:

Family Cabin on Dead River Basin (my favorite place in the whole world):

Son helping Dad with landscape project:

The Black Rocks at Marquette's Presque Isle:

Family Shooting Day:

and last but not least, the only knitting I've finished this summer:

Hope you've all had a great summer.