Sunday, August 31, 2008


There are issues. Sigh. But I'm wearing her today anyway. Will do a complete FO post later.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

is yarn hoarding instinctive preparation for winter?

Someone take away my credit card. I was just innocently browsing KnitPicks and noticed that the sock DPN set I've been eyeing (6 sets of sock-sized DPNs--a must have, since I currently have only 2 sets, and they're always tied up in hibernating, half-finished socks) was on super sale--only $19.99! But it seemed silly not to purchase at least $50 worth of items to get the free shipping. So, yep, I bought even more yarn. Out. of. control.

Finished one sleeve on Josephine. Just need to do sleeve #2, neck trim and seam her up--hopefully all today!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

in the bag

Still playing the waiting game on more yarn here. I'm so anxious, even though I really have no plans for the yarn. How silly.

Here's how my market bag turned out:

Sorry, I know white on white--under electric light, no less--doesn't provide the best contrast.
I decided to brighten it up a bit with some red along the top. The top seemed a little flimsy though, so to make the handles sturdier I double stranded them. I didn't expect it to turn out quite so . . . peppermint-y. But there you have it. Ultimately the additional color/mottled effect on the straps isn't really my style, but hopefully my swap recipient will like it. I will finally get her package out tomorrow, so I can turn my full attention to the Falling for Ewe Autumn yarn swap. I got my swappee's name today--and oddly, I had a sneaking suspicion that she would be my assignment, I'm not sure why.

In other news, I had a bizarre day at work, due to a confusing half English, half Spanish conversation with our computer guy, who came over to my desk to tell me he was told to move my computer--"porque no estas portandote bien";"because you're not behaving yourself." I thought that was a joke, so I chuckled and said I preferred to stay put. But no--while completely unrelated to my behavior in any way, he said he was in fact told to move my machine. The hell? I trekked off to find my boss, who of c ourse wasn't in her office, and then spent an hour wondering on what planet it is ok to decide to move my desk without even telling me. She finally returned, and yes, it turns out I am moving--she had been in meetings all day, with no chance to talk to me, and actually didn't expect them to move on it so quickly, given the speed with which things usually get done. Apparently due to the high performing economy, some cuts are being made in the office, and my formerly-pregnant-co-worker-who's-moving-back-to-Spain's position isn't going to be filled, leaving her former desk unoccupied. So instead of sharing my cube with an intern, I'll now be sharing with one of my team members, which makes sense--I just didn't need to find out about it through the computer guy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

back to school shopping, knitter style

Thank you all for your kind reassurances regarding my depraved yarn buying downward spiral. Now for some show and tell. While I'm waiting patiently for my Beaverslide Dry Goods and destash Lime and Violet yarns, I'll show off my Chicago purchases:

Koigu Premium Merino (for some socks for J, albeit small ones, since I only bought 2 skeins; I guess we'll see if he likes anklets):

Some warm snuggly Ultra Alpaca Light, for what I don't know:

And my beloved Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend. Love love LOVE this:

I also got my latest installment from the All Raveled Up sock club, this gorgeous mix called Rainy Day:

Now, with all this yarn, I should probably try knitting something! Still plugging away at Josephine, hoping to have her done in time to wear for LABOR DAY (yes, summer top number 2, barely squeaking in before summer ends). Windowpanes still on hold. I finished up the bag, at least, and will have to snap a picture of the angel package before I ship it out (still on the lookout for a few trinkets to include). I decided to add a little color to the bag, and I'm undecided about how it looks. You can pass judgment on my next post.

Oh, and some photos from Chicago. Loved it!

Monday, August 25, 2008

somebody stop me!

I'm back from Chicago and I bought MORE yarn! I took a (somewhat lengthy) detour to Loopy Yarns and picked up some Ultra Alpaca, some Koigu and some Malabrigo. Pictures soon, I promise. This yarn purchasing must stop!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

gotta brand new bag

I need more yarn like I need a hole in the head, so of course, beginning the downward spiral with the yarn from Beaverslide Dry Goods, I promptly bought even more yarn—the problem with yarn purchases is their addictive quality. I start with one small purchase, and suddenly I’m snapping up every yarn I come across, most of them for no good reason and with no purpose in mind. I found someone destashing on Ravelry and picked up 2 skeins of Lime and Violet Sasquatch sock yarn. One is gorgeous green mix that will be for me, me, me; the other is a brightly colored mix I might pass on to a swap recipient.

I’ve been ignoring Josephine in favor of knitting up a few quick items for a swap—I volunteered to be a swap angel. Here’s a quick glimpse at the main item, a smaller version of the Fantasy Naturale Market Bag.

I’m trying to complete it with just one skein of Sugar and Cream, so I’ve downsized it a bit. It’s knitting up very quickly, so hopefully I can finish up and get the package in the mail Monday.

One of these reasons I hestitate to host a swap is that I don’t think I could deal with the flakes nearly as well as most hostesses seem to. We’re all (presumably) responsible adults; and as such, if we find ourselves unable to fulfill our commitments, shouldn’t we do the responsible, courteous thing and just say so? Instead, time and again we hear stories of swappers who suddenly up and disappear, refuse to answer emails, PMs, etc., and leave their swappees in the lurch, without so much as an apology. I can’t stand it. We all know life happens—things come up, or money disappears and we can’t follow through. No one will demonize you for that. But we will certainly call you out for being rude and thoughtless if you can’t take the 2 seconds necessary to send your swap organizer an explanation.

We’re off to Chicago for a long weekend. If anyone has a yarn store or anything else to recommend, leave a comment!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

in which i've accomplished nothing . . .

Things I am not blogging about but should be: a finished Josephine.

Yep, that's right, still not done. My very good reason/lame excuse for this delay is that I forgot to bring the back with me to the beach, and since it's fairly important that the back and front match up, I couldn't get very far without it. I just passed the split for the neck:

You can see I've now reached a point where I have to have two balls of yarn attached, which is annoying and tangle-y, and very not portable (Could I simply have started knitting from the opposite end of the same ball of yarn? Maybe, but I'm not that bright).

I actually returned from the beach on Wednesday, but made a very misguided promise to my sister that I would watch her new dog while she's at the beach. Moby and I have been inseparable since Wednesday night--not voluntarily, mind you--which hasn't left much time for knitting. You can read all about my dog adventure here.

But, I do want to show off some of the pretty, pretty pictures my new camera has produced, so let's venture once again into the world of gardening!

Here's yesterday's harvest:

That's 3 tomatoes (I picked a 4th the previous day), 4 jalapeño peppers, 2 tomatillos, and a big bunch of basil, my third of the year. Sadly, we came home to find one tomato had already fallen off the vine and was bug eaten, but I've got at least 12 more out there, a few that are ripening, and some still green (I'm ready for fried green tomatoes!). I have at least 4 more peppers coming, and about a zillion tomatillos (although, I swear I just saw a squirrel hop off with one; hopefully my eyes are playing tricks on me). I'll chop these peppers and tomatillos up and put them in some guacamole, I think. I used the basil to make this delicious Lemony Zuccihini and Basil Quinoa Pilaf (sans chicken), and here are 2 tomatoes I sliced up for (veggie) burgers:

There's something so satisfying about growing your own food. Once we move to a bigger house, I hope to have room to grow zucchini, as well as sugar snap peas, which I love. Too bad you can't grow your own yarn, but I think alpaca farming is just a bit beyond my reach.

Ah, I also managed to be swindled into ordering some yarn by brooklyn tweed's latest post, in which he mentions yet again the wonder that is Beaverslide Dry Goods. I ordered 2 different shades of the worsted weight, one for possibly the Wheat Ear Cable Yoke sweater, and another for a boy sweater, maybe Beau. Can't wait to try it out!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Falling for Ewe yarn swap questionnaire

1. Do you knit or crochet? How long have you been at your craft? i knit, and have been doing so for about a year and a half. sadly, i cannot crochet to save my life.

2. Do you spin? What type of spinning do you do? no, at this point i don't have a lot of interest in spinning. it seems quite labor intensive, and there are so many yarn options out there, i see no need to become a spinner at this point.

3. Are there any other crafts that you participate in? i occasionally (ok, very occasionally) scrapbook, and i used to draw and paint before i became a gainfully employed adult with no free time.

4. What are your favorite yarns/fibers? i love alpaca and alpaca/silk or wool/silk blends; really, just about anything natural. I don't really have any specific favorites, i'll try anything once!

5. What are your LEAST favorite yarns/fibers? i don't particularly like synthetics (don't mind a little nylon in a sock yarn, of course), novelty yarns, mohair, or anything that sheds a lot!

6. Are there any types/brands of yarn that you are dying to work with but haven't gotten a chance? At this point I still haven't tried most of the "popular" yarns like malabrigo, socks that rock, noro, etc., and I hope to work my way through all of them eventually. I really want to try elsebeth lavold's hempathy, not sure why though! maybe i just like that name.

7. What are your favorite types of projects to knit/crochet? i like my knitting to be functional and wearable, so i prefer to work on clothing in wearable colors (ie, variegated yarns are pretty, but i don't find them very wearable on anything but socks). i do a lot of tops/sweaters and enjoy socks, even though they take me forever. i really haven't mastered colorwork yet, but i dabble here and there. I don't do a lot of baby stuff because I don't know many babies. I expect that will change soon, given my age--I did really enjoy knitting the infamous February Baby Sweater.

8. What are you currently working on? Anything you plan to start this autumn? i currently have 2 pair of half-done socks on the needles, and am also working on the Josephine Top. I plan to start a couple sweaters this autumn, including the Tangled Yoke Cardigan, and I adore this vest.

9. What is your favorite FO? (Please, post a picture if you would like.) Currently it's my Lotus Blossom Tank, which turned out quite well, despite many yarn shortage-related stops and starts.

10. What is your oldest UFO? i think it's a hat, which i started for my husband last winter. i just need to add earflaps, but by the time i got to that part, it was already april, so i put it on hold.

11. Are their any knitting/crochet techniques that you would like to learn? steeking, which terrifies me but seems quite useful.

12. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? i try to be! i wear a 7 1/2.

13. Do you have a yarn winder and/or a swift? no, it's a serious oversight on my part, one that will hopefully be remedied during this year's holiday season.

14. Where/how to you keep you needles/hooks? my knit picks options set is pretty well organized in a nifty little binder. the rest . . . well, i have a bag. and i kinda throw them in there.

15. Do you collect anything? beatles LPs, currency and souvenirs (alcohol!) from countries i visit, and matryoshka (russian nesting dolls). Oh, and yarn, of course. :)

16. What is your favorite type of music? Are you MP3 ready? i have quite eclectic taste in music, i think, i like just about anything except country (and i even have a few exceptions--garth brooks and johnny cash are OK with me!). my ipod features artists like bing crosby, miles davis, amy winehouse, the killers, the beatles, and juanes. quite a mix!

17. Do you like sweets? What are your favorites? are there people who don't like sweets? i don't want to meet them! i'm a fan of chocolate, of course, and any baked goods. I'm a big ice cream fan, but that seems like a poor item to try to send through the mail . . . i hate everything flavored orange (skittles, starburst, orange-tinged chocolate, etc.)

18. What is your living situation like? Any pets? Children? husband and i own a townhome that we share with 3 cats. i have a dog nephew who lives fairly close by too, i can't wait to knit him a sweater (he's a chihuahua mix).

19. Are you allergic to anything? not as far as i know

20. Do you have an online wish list (Amazon, Etsy, Loopy Ewe, etc.)? Please include links for your swap pal.
i have a few items on my loopy ewe and jimmy beans wool wishlists (to see the jbw one, put in my email, that's kristen dot jancuk at gmail dot com).

21. Are you having a birthday during this swap? i am! October 15. sadly, i am spending it in Peru (which i know sounds exciting, but it's a work trip)

22. What is your Ravelry ID? angel101580

Friday, August 8, 2008

'ta luego

Yes, it's true, I'm off again. Time for family vacation round 2: 5 days at the beach with my parents.

As trashy as it has become, I still love Ocean City, MD; it's full of characters, I know it almost as well as I know my hometown, delicious fattening foods (Fisher's, Thrasher's, Dumser's, Dough Roller . . . ), and of course, the beach. Josephine is coming with me, and if she's not done by the time I leave, well, I might just throw her into the ocean and let the jellyfish have her. (Note, I have no fear of the ocean, sharks, etc., but am quite concerned about jellyfish; I tend to freak out while swimming, thinking one is touching me, and then realize it's just my hair swirling around me. Maybe I need a haircut.)

In other exciting news, I finally got a NEW CAMERA! Just to give you a vague idea of the actual age of the ancient artifact I was using to take pictures, it's only 3.2 megapixels. I don't even think you can buy that size anymore. Our new Canon Powershot is 8mx and has all kinds of other fancy features and settings and confusing options, so I promise to take lots of pictures with it and show them off when I return.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Agony of Da Feet

I spoke (or blogged, I suppose) too soon. It turns out I am having problems with the Windowpane pattern. I just started working on the gusset, and realized as I was knitting across the top of the foot that the colors weren't lining up. Apparently, although I thought I understood what "pick up the 17th stitch in the last sole stitch so the colors line up" (paraphrasing, as I don't have the pattern here with me) meant, I actually didn't. As far as I can tell, the only way to fix this is to rip back and redo all that stitch picking up. I haven't knit far beyond that, so it's not much to undo, but given my oft-cited tendency to drop stitches when I rip out rows, I really really don't want to. Sigh. It looks like these socks are on hold, and I certainly won't be finishing them within the alloted KAL time. Boo. Sadly, I considered just giving up entirely, but I spent quite a bit of money on the Lorna's Laces (and I do like the way they look). So for now, it's just a hiatus (of undetermined length).

I expect several readers are in the midst of Secret Pal eleventy bajillion or whatever number they're on--I somehow always miss the Secret Pal sign up, and spend the next few months overcome by random waves of jealousy whenever I see someone post a Secret Pal questionnaire on his/her blog. But, as luck would have it, I was browsing groups on Ravelry yesterday (un-joining a few I wasn't particularly active in and joining a few others) and I came across the Secret Pal-esque Falling for Ewe Autumn Yarn Swap, featuring packages of yarn-y goodness in September, October and November. Can't wait to get started! Hopefully this will brighten up my fall, which isn't looking too great at this point--the business trip to Peru that I was initially excited about has been pushed back to October, and I'm quite bummed about it. October is my favorite month, so I don't want to miss almost 2 weeks of it, not to mention I'll now be spending my birthday in Lima. Grump.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

post All-Star break slump

The Orioles seem to be gradually pulling themselves out of theirs, but mine continues. Very little progress on either the Windowpane socks or Josephine. I had every intention of knitting on the 3 hour drive to and from Deep Creek, but once in the car, I just had no desire to actually do it (I also had to keep an eye out for bears, as Josh and my sister saw one once on the drive from Bucknell to Baltimore, and I missed it; bears spotted by Kristen to date: 0). I knit a few rows one evening while we sat around and chatted, but otherwise, vacation knitting was a bust. This is all I've got done of the front (needless to say, I was unable to wear Josephine for our bbq yesterday):

And I've made even less progress on the Windowpanes; I'm actually not having any problems with the pattern (as far as I know!), but I find colorwork so labor intensive that every time I sit down to knit, I only go one or two rounds before I need a break.

I really need to find some motivation somewhere to finish these, so I can get started on some fall weather projects--how can it be August already? I've recently fallen in love with this vest, but fortunately I don't have the yarn for it, so it can't really distract me from my other projects.