Nothing says “dork” like trying to take a self-portrait

La’s having a contest – post pictures of the cute little feet in your life (furbaby or otherwise) over the next week and you could win some La-made stitchmarkers. (Here’s my entry, La!)

Reading Update
Delete All Suspects by Donna Andrews. This mystery series feature artificial intelligence Turing Hopper, who helps a human private investigator solve crimes. I guess this would be classified as a “techno-cozy” mystery – really, mystery niches are amazing, aren’t they?!
Murder with Puffins and Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon by Donna Andrews. These were the first Meg Langslow mysteries I’d read and I enjoyed them much more than I expected – they’re very silly and feel a bit like reading a comedic melodrama. Definitely a nice break from 24! Anyway, Meg works as a blacksmith, making ornamental items – what was I just saying about mystery niches?!? And yes, the titles are all bird-themed, although none of the characters is an ornithologist.

Refined Raglan Photos
Ok, bowing to peer pressure, here you go – me modeling the refined raglan. Don’t I look thrilled? If you’ve been reading for ages and ages, you might notice that this sweater looks awfully similar to something… (You will need to click on the picture to see the cable detail.)

In an attempt to make pictures of a black sweater more interesting, here’s Mayhem! (My baby is all grown up! *sniff*)

“Did you see it?! I was just sitting there in the previous photo, minding my own business when I was rudely snatched up!” -M

And Chaos!

“Why is that thing clicking and beeping and flashing at us?! Obviously we’re running out of time and we’re all going to die!!” -C

Refinanced raglan

At last! The refined raglan is finished. I really like how this turned out – I’m wearing it right now!

I did make a few modifications to the pattern:

  • I knit the body and sleeves longer.
  • I changed the sleeves to be standard tapered sleeves, not bell sleeves. Bell sleeves drive me nuts. 🙂
  • I shortened the funnel neck. I look like a dork in a funnel neck – it only took me three tries to realize that and change the neck.
  • I added a few short rows to the upper back so that the front of the sweater wouldn’t give me that slightly strangled feeling. I should’ve added a few more short rows.
  • I used a three-needle bind-off to fasten down the neck instead of sewing it down later.

I can see myself adding some cables to the raglan shaping in future projects. Here’s a little cabley detail:

Chaos and May eagerly awaited blocking. (Please excuse the blurry shot.)

“I can just tell something’s going to happen!” -M
“Hopefully something good involving tuna.” -C

“Big kitty, I don’t know why you ran away when the iron came out! It isn’t very scary to me.” -M

“And see? With me here, Mom doesn’t even need the iron.” -M

Let it FO! Let it FO! Let it FO!

Limedragon is having a contest – give Trekking XXL color #76 a better name and you could win a skein of sock yarn! Submit your suggestions by midnight CST on February 28.

Guess how many books Chappysmom has read since January 1, 1996, and you could win some Koigu. Leave a comment with your guess by February 28.

We had a little snow over the weekend… This picture doesn’t show the final accumulation. See the Beetle? By the time the snow stopped falling, that Beetle had snow nearly to the top of its tires!

I did finish two projects over the weekend, although I didn’t finish my refined raglan (after I redid the neckline for the third time, we needed some time apart…). I finished the stripey gift socks, made from Cascade’s new Sassy Stripes yarn, using the stitch pattern from Kristi’s Gentleman’s Socks. I’ll definitely use that stitch pattern again.

“Hello! I’m lying here, May. Quit walking across me!!” -C

“Mmmm…. socks….” -M

(Although it may occasionally look like May is nearly Chaos’ size, that’s all illusion. She’s about 8 lbs; he’s about 15 lbs and looking trim! Yesterday, I noticed that one of his paws can entirely cover her eyes, nose, and mouth. Alas, I did not get a picture.)

I also finished my Project Spectrum socks. The stripes matched up pretty well between socks, until I bound off the second sock… See the little white blop? Grrr…

I decided I had to fix that, so I gathered my tools.

Voila!

Much better. (My toe-up bind off always looks wonky until the socks are washed.)

“This cat bed certainly lacks in cushiness, Mom. Why did you put those boards in it? Do you think I need more back support when I sleep?” -M

*yawn*

The online knitting magazine For the Love of Yarn is having a contest – leave a short comment about who taught you to knit and you could win a Yarn Safaris sock knitting kit.

Have you checked out Good Yarn Karma yet? It’s an intriguing idea to move along some yarn or fiber that just isn’t working for you and perhaps find new inspiration in someone else’s unloved yarn or fiber.

Vicki Knitorious is going to be in the Twin Cities this weekend! If you’re in the area and you’re interested in getting together with Vicki, Deb, Jeanne, and I to knit and chat Sunday afternoon, please let me know.
Update: We’ll be meeting at D’Amico & Sons at 2210 Hennepin Avenue South at about 4 pm on Sunday, February 25. We should be easy to spot – I look exactly like my little icon in my sidebar (although the cats won’t be with me!).
Update the Second 2/24/07: CANCELED! Vicki had car trouble, plus the weather is crappy. She will reschedule. We will not be meeting at D’Amico on Sunday.

Thank you all so much for your supportive comments yesterday! I don’t have much to say today other than TGIF – it’s one of those sleepy mornings and I’m already thinking I need a second soy mocha. 🙂 Hopefully by Monday I’ll have an FO or two to show you – I have less than an inch left on the second Project Spectrum sock and maybe 20 rounds left until I finish the neck of the refined raglan.

Here’s a picture of Chaos and May checking out the snow a few weeks ago. Suddenly it’s much warmer here (+50°F on Wednesday) and most of the snow in this picture is gone – although it sounds like we could get more snow later today and over the weekend.

“I know you think that white stuff looks like birds falling out of the sky, May, but trust me, it isn’t.” -C

“You’ve got to come down sometime, May – and then look out! Bwah-ha-ha!” -C

The muffin incident

Shall we start with some foreshadowing? Last week, Leah was nearly run down by an impatient driver in a Whole Foods parking lot; the driver then proceeded to scream at her. In her post, she commented “it amazes me how horrible we can treat each other just because we are strangers.”

*insert ominous music*

A few days ago, I stopped in my neigborhood co-op on my way home from work and was delighted to discover that it was gluten-free cherry almond muffin day and there were muffins remaining. (The muffin schedule varies monthly and seasonally. There’s a gluten-free muffin every day, but usually they are long gone by the time I get to the co-op. It’s been at least six months since gluten-free cherry almond muffins were on the schedule.) I carefully placed the last five muffins in a bakery bag (the muffins freeze really well).

This guy walked up to me and asked if I planned on taking all of the gluten-free muffins. Um, yes, since I just put them into the bag… He freaked out and called me a jerk, then a bitch, then an asshole, then started saying things like “You look like a nice person, but you’re obviously a nasty bitch!” WTF?! He continued stomping around and shooting me nasty glances and saying crap like that as I took my cart and walked down the next aisle. A few minutes later, I happened to look up as I was getting something out of the freezer and he was standing at the end of the aisle, flipping me off and yelling, “Bitch!!!!” I flipped him off in return, grabbed the last few things I needed, and got in a checkout line.

I was really quite freaked out by then and kept darting nervous glances around as I paid for my groceries and headed out of the store. I would not have been at all surprised if the guy had darted out, pushed me down, and taken my bag of muffins! Fortunately, that did not happen – I got in my car, drove home, froze the muffins, and sat down to write Tuesday’s list of things that make me happy. Like Leah, I had a strong urge to “accentuate the positive” and not dwell on the incident.

I’m writing about it now because I can see the utter surreality of the situation. Since the muffin incident, I have been observing people more closely, seeing how easily we lash out when angry or impatient instead of dealing with it, or excusing ourselves, or apologizing, or just being kind to the people around us. I can see where I do the same thing sometimes (although certainly not to the degree of the muffin man), and I’m resolving to be more patient and more aware of others.

Related to being aware of others and accentuating the positive, I knitted a few pieces for the Blanket of Hope that Rebekah’s putting together from some yarn I dyed last summer. Hopefully Rebekah will be able to use these for fill-in bits throughout the blanket.

Besides knitting, some other positives…

*purrrrrrrrr* -C & M

Ahoy, Mayhem!

On Mondays, Maryse has started listing three things she feels positively about. I think that’s a great idea and will probably try that randomly – plus it reminds me of the beginning of Amélie. Let’s see if I can come up with some now…

  1. Pulling tags off of a purchase and having them come off all in a single piece, no sticky goo or corners left behind.
  2. Chaos knowing where SRM is, because he’ll do the sweetest, most kittenish things. Yesterday evening, he carefully pushed SRM under the bathroom door so I wouldn’t be lonely in the bathroom by myself. And maybe so I would open the door and play fetch, too.
  3. Making and drinking a perfect cup of soy hot chocolate. (My recipe? Silk Enhanced soymilk, cut with a few splashes of water, three teaspoons of Ghiradelli sweet ground chocolate, and a dash of Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa.)

“Arrrrr, mateys! I’ve been practicing and I’m all ready for International Talk Like a Pirate Day!” -M*

*Why, yes, I might be messing with you, Deb! 😉

Deconstructing

Jennifer is celebrating her second blogiversary with an Oscars contest. Send her an email with your guesses by midnight PST on February 24 and the person with the most correct guesses will receive a fibery prize!

JennyRaye bought some gorgeous yarn for a shawl and is looking for pattern ideas. Submit you suggestion by midnight EST on February 24 and you could win some yarn.

Reading Update
Take the Cannoli: Stories from the New World by Sarah Vowell. I’ve read and enjoyed all of Vowell’s books. My favorite essays from this collection were “Thanks for the Memorex” (about mix tapes) and “Drive Through Please” (about Ira Glass trying to teach her to drive). This was my second TBR Challenge book, so I’m staying on track.
No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog
by Margaret Mason. I’d recommend this book if it wasn’t $19.99 for a very slim volume… Even the Amazon.com $13.59 seems a bit steep for what you get (bless the library). Instead, I’ll direct you to Tink’s list of post ideas. (And note that if you photograph your lunch real pretty and write it up in an interesting way, people will care what you had for lunch – it’s all about the presentation…)

Frogging Update
After contemplating all the wonderful responses to my question about whether the mobius cat bed should stay or go, I pulled it out and looked at it Saturday morning. May joined me.

“It looks a little lumpy to me, Mom.” -M

I pulled it off the needle… Check out how big it is – my foot is a womens’ size 11 (European 42)!

Still plenty off knitting to do to fill in that big hole… Not to mention the joy of felting such a monster. Ripping it out and knitting two felted square cat beds instead definitely held more appeal, so…

Flushed with my success, I pulled out another unfortunate UFO. This tank was too bulky. It ended up too short, so I added the frilly bit on the bottom and then put it aside when I finally recognized it wasn’t something I would wear.

“Haven’t I seen this before?” -C

“Y’know, I think that yarn would make a really cute baby sweater for May to model…” -C

Oh, wouldn’t it just! So…

It’s amazing how much lighter I felt after ripping out those two stagnant projects! In the past three weeks, I’ve ripped out three of the six projects pictured in my first UFO post way back when. Of the remaining projects, I probably will eventually weave in the ends of the otherwise finished washcloth. That single sock for my dad? For now, it will stay a single sock – I’m not sure it’s worth ripping out, since I wove in the ends and washed it (once upon a time). And the black tank top with the tourniquet armhole edging? Hopefully I’ll pull that out and fix the edging before the weather gets warm again, because it is a really great tank top otherwise.

Now the real question is – would I have done all of this if I’d joined one of the UFO resurrection challenges??

A day in my life

Heather’s giving away several copies of a Project Spectrum blue/white/grey mix cd she made. Leave her a comment about what you’re working on for Project Spectrum and you will be entered in a drawing! Comments must be left by February 19, noon MST.

Thanks for all the input on the mobius cat bed yesterday! Although the “keep it” contingent was quite eloquent, I think I’m going to rip it out – if nothing else, I don’t have a lot of free space in my condo and it’s supposed to be a pretty large item even after felting.

Last week I mentioned that Elisa was having a contest – she wanted to see what our typical days were like. Yesterday I finally remembered to take out my camera throughout the day!

I get up at an unspecified time – I’m not quite sure, since I engage in alarm clock trickery (set it quite a bit fast, hit snooze quite a few times). I shower, dress, feed the cats, feed myself, make a mocha in a go-cup, and am in the car driving to work by 6:15 am. It’s dark. And everyone drives very fast. I didn’t take any pictures.

I get to work by 6:30. I’m one of the first people there, so it’s nice and quiet as I ease into my day, sipping my mocha and publishing my blog entry (prepared the night before). Here are some highlights from my cube, starting with my cabinet covered with Frigits:

My bulletin board – you can read it if you click on it!

A few toys… Hey, I work in IT. I have to have toys in my cube.

My work computer, with another Kenshin background.

I pretty much sit at that computer all day long. Sometimes people come over and talk to me. Sometimes I get up and use the facilities. Often I go run errands over lunch. Yesterday was an errand day. I started at my beloved thrift store – picked up some fun buttons and a black hoodie (to wear when walking around the lakes in the spring).

Then I returned a big stack of library books, but didn’t find anything to check out.

Next I went to the post office to mail a few mysterious packages. There wasn’t a line. I’m still in shock about that – good thing I documented it.

Finally, I stopped and picked up a salad…

and another soy mocha (there is a barista – she’s just tiny!).

Back to my cube – ate my salad, drank my mocha, worked. I usually leave at 3:30 pm, but yesterday I left around 4 pm, since I did take sort of a long lunch. I drive home on side streets – the freeway is already pokey.

One more errand – I needed cat food. Fortunately, my neighborhood pet food store did not have a cage of rescue kittens this time (see, for example, Mayhem).

This is what greets me when I get home and open the door:

“I’m dying! I’m dying! I’m dying! I’m dying!” -C

So I feed the cats and do other exciting things like clean the litterbox (not documented – aren’t you glad?!). I turn on my laptop and answer email, edit photos, and work on the next day’s blog entry.

Last night I straightened out the poor sweater I’m trying to dry…

“A new place to nap and play, play and nap! So very cushy… is there some silk in this, Mom? Maybe a spot of cashmere?” -M

Finally, I had some supper (popcorn and a soy hot chocolate) and settled in with my knitting to watch the premiere of Season 6.

Bedtime varies from 9:30 pm (best) to 11:30 pm (not so good), depending on how sucked into 24 I get. Since I’m out of DVDs after the Season 6 premiere until the rest of the season comes out on DVD, I’ll hopefully get more regular sleep again soon!

Should it stay or should it go?

A long, long time ago (May 7, 2005, to be precise), I started to knit a mobius cat bed for Chaos. Here’s a picture of Chaos with it from December, 2005 (no knitting progress has been made since then):

“I wonder if I can gnaw off this little plastic doohickey? Mom probably won’t notice. I love plastic doohickeys!” -C

What do you think? Do you think these cats really need another cat bed? Here’s May on her cat bed (what some of you might incorrectly call a loveseat)*:

“Like, duh. This is a cat bed!” -M

And Chaos on his cat bed (what some of you might incorrectly call a chair):

“….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….” -C

Let’s take a closer look – do either of these cats look deprived of a cat bed to you?!

“Mmmm… maybe Mom will screw up and not hide her yarn from me when she goes to bed.” -M

“…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….” -C

So, what do you think? Finish the giant mobius cat bed (directions involve blocking it on a bike inner tube! 😮 ) or rip it out and make some other felted thing from the yarn (Woolpak in forest green, plum, and black)? You can probably tell I’m not feeling the love for this project anymore!

*The camo blanket is a poncho liner left over from my National Guard days…