Thursday, December 2, 2010

Theme Knitting: Amigurumi

When worlds collide, awesomeness ensues.

I'm of course talking about my favorite online store - Think Geek - and my favorite hobby - knitting.  Think Geek has come out with a knitting kit - for a knitted NINJA!  It's an amigurumi ninja knitting kit, complete with yarn, felting, needles, thread and stuffing!!!  

For those who don't know, Amigurumi is defined by wikipedia as: 
the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll. Amigurumi are typically animals, but can include artistic renderings or inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features.
Does not produce dark matter.
I haven't quite attempted amigurumi quite yet.  The closest thing I've done is the Crochet Coral Reef program (which landed me in the Smithsonian, in case you haven't heard! :) )  I do have a couple amigurumi projects in my ravelry queue, including Lief and Astrid from this season's Twist Collective, and Nibbler from Futurama.

No formaldehyde necessary.
There are whole pattern books dedicated to amigurumi.  People will knit or crochet anything in amigurumi - animals, landmarks, pop culture items, food.  One of my personal favorites is the amigurumi knitted dissected frog entitled "Biology 101."  The person who designed this must be brilliant.  This kind of pattern requires knitting math (not always easy, especially when it comes to symmetry and gauge), an artistic eye, and a knowledge of anatomy/biology. 
I have this pattern if you want some!
Another good use for amigurumi is making "food."  One book has a whole bevy of fruits and vegetables that can be knitted or crocheted.  I've seen cupcakes, cakes, salads, fish, meat, and even sushi!  It's great for kids who like to make believe - especially playing "store" or in a playskool "kitchen."  They're easily washable, soft, and made in the USA (or wherever you are) so you don't have to worry about Chinese plastic! 

In other knitting news, I finished both the blankets for Amy and Emily and have sent them on their way.  Right now, I'm making a Snapdragon Tam to go with the flip-top mittens I made a couple weeks ago.  I'm also making an "Emily" capelet by Ysolda Teague for my grandmother. I figured it would be apropos as I'm named Emily Elizabeth after her. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ohhhhhhh, freak out!

Le freak, c'est chic.

Ok, I admit it, I've been freaking out a little bit, which is kind of why I haven't published a blog post in almost a month. It's been absolutely crazy around here.  We lost the recompete for the project I'm on, I was preparing to roll off, then I got rolled over to be a sub on the new contract, all of my old contract colleagues rolled off, new contract folks have been rolling on, the contract wasn't in place, but then it was.  Then clients rolled off and new ones are coming on.  It's stressful, especially since my project has such a steep learning curve. Quite a few people are speaking without having observed enough.

I have been knitting, though!  And spinning!  I haven't finished a lot of my knitting because a lot of the things I've been working on are larger projects with long repeats. I'm almost done with Amy's blanket, but will be moving right along to Emily's.  I've got a couple of commissions coming down the pike, including some for my friend Stacey's daughter, Kerah.  I was able to quickly hammer out some fingerless gloves for Abbe (recipient of the pink socks).  I had made a similar pair for myself with some leftover grey simply soft and I love them.  They're comfy and airy while still being warm.  I made these out of some leftover Berocco Vintage that I had used to make Kerah a pair of legwarmers.

I finally gave my mom the socks I made her for her birthday.  She loves them and has said she wants to put them in a frame.  I told her that she better wear them and that I could always make her a new pair.

Oh, and last but not least, I'm in the freaking Smithsonian!!!!  My favorite piece is up front, when you first walk up, and I found two of my other pieces on the front side as well.  All in all, I found 5 of my 11 pieces.  I need to go back and look again to see if I can find the rest.  Jennifer said they used all of the pieces in the reef.

I'm going to leave you with one of my favorite de-motivational posters, very pertinent to what I've been dealing with lately:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You spin me right round and babypalooza 2010

Ok, first off, I take responsibility for the awfulness of that title.  It's just too early to come up with something wittier than a 1985 one hit wonder.
But it does fit the post.  I had my second, and final, spin class last night and guess what!?!?!  I made yarn!!!!  It's really pretty and I think I can actually use it. :)  I got some "barber pole" sections, and they look really cool.  I made about 29 yards, so have to spin a bunch more before I can actually make something more than a bookmark, but that's fine.  Now that I've got the hang of this spinning thing, I think I'll alternate it with my knitting.  I'm not anywhere near buying a wheel yet, but spinning is definitely something I want to continue to improve.

In other news, last Wednesday I received two baby shower invitations for the same day.  One is in Alexandria for my best friend Amy, the other is in Katonah, New York for my best friend, Emily.  Unfortunately, my superwoman underwear doesn't allow me to be in two places at once, and since my company party is that evening, I'll be attending Amy's shower.  Of course, this means I am attempting to knit TWO baby blankets in the next month.  I could've done it last year when I was unemployed, but with a full time job and a few jam packed weekends, I don't know if I'll be able to get them done in time.  Luckily, I'm using the same pattern for both, one in dark blue, one in dark green.

I've also been working on these snapdragon flip-top mittens. I've gotten one done and am partway through the cuff of the second.  The cuff pattern is a little challenging, but as long as I keep to the instructions, it's fine.  I need to put buttons on them to keep the flip top in place.  Believe it or not, this is the first time I've ever done I-cord (the i stands for "idiot" really....look it up).  As the name suggests, it was ridiculously easy.

Anyway, off to work for another intriguing week of use case reviews.  I know you're jealous.  You can admit it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Finishing is Fun!

It's really been a busy couple weeks.  Work has been insane - use case reviews continue as I'm executing transition plans as our contract is coming to an end. I really like my team, we all get along really well, but they're going to drive me to drink!

Stressed nerves does lead to good knitting, though!  I've been able to finish quite a few projects in the past couple weeks.

I finished the hat and armwarmers for Stacy in a really nice deep red.  I put them through the wash over the weekend and they came out so incredibly soft.  I've kind of become a snob about natural fibers in the past year, but even I can't deny the awesomeness of Caron Simply Soft.  I need to bring them to work so I can put them in the mail on a lunch break.

Another finished project is my Bad Wolf Cowl (the pattern is Tilting TARDIS Cowl), a great, fingering weight cowl in a pattern inspired by Doctor Who's TARDIS.*  I used Shepherd's Wool in a dark blue, which came out beautifully.  I've worn it to work and have gotten a few compliments on it.

I started, and finished, a really fun hat for my colleague, Peter.  He had seen someone in a hat with a mustache knit into it.  We looked at Ravelry together and he spotted the "bearded toque."  Ready for a challenge (new cast on, strange shaping), I tackled it with gusto, once again employing Caron Simply Soft (so easy to maintain and takes abuse well).  I decided to use little buttons to hold on the mustaches instead of snaps.  I made him two mustaches, a regular straight across one and a fu manchu handlebar one.  He LOVES it and it looks great on him.  Of course, now he's leaving the company, but at least he has something to remember me by!

I also started and finished a hat for my neighbor, Nicole, at her request. She wanted something super warm in black/grey with ear flaps that would fit her small head but large forehead (her words, not mine).  I found a great pattern for a fair isle Norwegian star hat on rav.  Knowing how soft and warm alpaca is, I decided to go with Cascade Pure Alpaca this time.  It has renewed my obsession with this awesome fiber.  I LOVE alpaca.  It is the easiest, softest yarn ever.  The fibers in it are kind of short, which gives it a fuzziness without being itchy.  It came out REALLY well and she loves it.  It fits perfectly and will keep her head nice and warm.  I have enough yarn to make the negative of the one I made her, so I may have to make one for myself (or perhaps a certain Viking friend of mine).

I'm still working on my World Champion sweater, stockinetting through the first arm.  I'm about halfway up the forearm, hating stockinette and wishing evil on my large German curvaceous boobieness.  

Not being one to languish in the routine, I've also decided to learn a whole new craft/skill.  I'm learning how to spin yarn.  I'm using a drop spindle and some great Miss Babs BFL roving in a purple/blue colorway called "ice princess."  It's hard, but I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.  I'm sad that I'm wasting a lot of the gorgeous fiber because of my ineptitude, but hopefully I'll be able to get a hat's worth out of it.  It's all about tension, just like knitting and crocheting.  My first yarn is going to be lumpy/bumpy, but that's what makes it special.  As Kel at fibre space says: "It's longer than it is wide, so it's yarn!"

*TARDIS stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space - it's the Doctor's space-ship time machine and it's in the shape of a blue British police box.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The plot thickens...

The title of this post doesn't have to do with any particular event, but a bunch of events in general.

The weekend of the 11th was tons of fun.  I drove down to Virginia Beach where we celebrated Trish's 40th birthday with a super fun barbecue.  A bunch of her neighborhood friends came over and I was finally able to put some faces with names.  She recently reconnected with a college friend (and my fellow bridesmaid at Trish's wedding), Joanne, and we were so happy that she was able to come celebrate.  She hadn't changed much, but obviously I had. The last time she saw me, I was 14!!!!  With braces!  My cousin Sharon came with her husband and three kids.  The kids had an absolute blast.  Anne, her oldest, decided she LOVED the hot tub.  We couldn't get her out of it!  Ally liked the pool and the dogs while baby Joseph just liked hanging out with all of us, nibbling on everything he could find.  My Aunt Bev and Uncle Joe were able to come down, which made us all very happy.  Aunt Bev had had a really rough summer, and I think she's starting to feel better mentally.  She's able to get out and drive by herself, which will help her morale, I'm sure.  She even went to Busch Gardens on Sunday (not by herself, but with a few of her grandkids).  Trish seemed to have an absolute blast, but the highlight of the evening was the pinata.  DJ got one in the shape of a "40" and filled it not with candy, but with alcohol bottles.  It was awesome!  Such a great idea.
Before I headed down there, I finished my mom's socks!  They came out beautifully and I can't wait to give them to her.

Last week at work was pretty much status quo, though it was interrupted by a migraine on Tuesday.  Unfortunately, it was the last week for my favorite client, Leslie, as she's moving on to a front office job at USCIS (good part is she's still in DC!).  Her replacement is someone I've worked with since March, but she has become a little bit of a micromanager since taking on the role of team lead.  She's kind of stressing me out, so I'm finding new ways to cope.  Hopefully she'll realize that things will get done without her hovering over everything - and that it has to be done regardless of her being in another meeting.

This weekend was very busy.  On Friday evening, I joined my knitting friends at fibre space to meet and greet Miss Babs, an indy dyer who supplies the shop.  She's so sweet and her color combinations are to dye for!  I got more than a sweater quantity of her worsted weight in a blue colorway named "Regent."  I also got a skein of sock yarn called "Moo & Ewe" - a mix of Milk Fibre and Merino wool.  It's so silky and yummy, they're going to be luxurious socks!!!

On Saturday, I volunteered in a disaster response drill at Reagan National Airport, playing the part of a family member of a plane crash victim.  It was very interesting and I got some good insight into how the Airlines, MWAA and emergency response work together in the wake of a crash.  The best part were the Red Cross therapy dogs.  They were participating in the drill, too.  Stormy and Titus are GORGEOUS golden retrievers there to lend a caring paw.  During the debrief, Titus fell asleep against my leg.

I didn't realize before, but A-Rod is
pulling a Michael Jackson at 3rd base.
Saturday evening was the Yankes v. Orioles game at Camden Yards.  IT was a beautiful evening at a beautiful ballpark.  The Yankees played a good game, winning 11-3 and getting CC Sabathia his 20th win of the season (the first pitcher to do so this season). 

Sunday was the Virginia German Shepherd Rescue.  I decided at the last minute to not go.  I, for once, listened to my body, which told me that I needed sleep and relaxation a whole lot more than I needed to drive to Reston with my crazy dog.  I made the right decision and slept most of the midday.  I was able to make some headway on my Bad Wolf Cowl, a neckwarmer with a pattern based on Doctor Who's TARDIS.  It's a fairly quick project with fingering weight wool.  I bought Shepherds Wool for it, totally forgetting that I had a luxurious skein of alpaca at home in the same color.  Oh well.  MIght just have to make 2 and give the Shepherds Wool one away.

I have been commissioned to make an earflap hat for my neighbor, Nicole.  I found a great pattern and am going to use my favorite - alpaca for it.  I can't wait.  I'll get started on that after I finish the hat and mitts for Stacey.  I'm cruising through those pretty quickly, so Nicole's hat should be ready by the time she gets home from Oktoberfest.

So that's the rundown.  I'll post more about knitting later, just needed to have the brain dump.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fins to the Left, Fins to the Right

I hope everyone has had a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend.  Earl brought through a nice cold front that made the weekend very pleasant and beautiful.

Fins up!
Trish, DJ and the kids came up to Stafford and I drove down so we could go to the Jimmy Buffett concert on Saturday night.  I had trouble finding someone to take the fourth ticket, so my mom wound up going with us.  We had a good time, though I think I'll try to get a group of friends together next time.  I definitely want to tailgate next year, especially if it's a nice day.  Plus, we got there late this year and parked as far as we possibly could from the pavilion while still being on its grounds.  That was a hell of a hike.  I think we all had a great time. (You can't see it in the picture, but my earrings say "Fins to the left" and "Fins to the right" and have little sharks on them.)

We also got together with my grandparents for lunch yesterday to celebrate Trish's 40th birthday.  DJ is hosting a part next weekend, but I don't know if I'll be able to go.  It all depends on what Rikku's situation is (if she can come with or if I can find a sitter).  I am going to try to go as I've already ensured Trish that I will spend the whole weekend pointing and laughing at her.  Still in my 20's and she's turning 40!

The pair
Detailed view
Despite my original plans, I wound up staying in Stafford last night, but was able to finish up my Merlot Vine Socks using the Miss Babs yarn I bought last year when she came to visit fibre space.  It's absolutely beautiful yarn and a great pattern for it.  I've pretty much decided that I prefer top down to toe up.  It's easier to get a stretchy cuff with top down, despite the toe-up bind offs that people claim are "super stretchy."  I might wind up getting some thin elastic and winding it through the top of these - I think it's the only way to make sure they stay up. 

To cap off the weekend, I've got some grocery shopping to do and a Yankees-Orioles game to watch. :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Are YOU prepared?

Working for a homeland security consulting firm, especially one that has worked on the Spanish site and the site, I wouldn't be a good employee if I didn't remind everyone that September is Emergency Preparedness Month.  The kerfuffle over Hurricane Earl and today's earthquake in New Zealand are reminders that we need to have things in place so that we can respond to emergencies quickly and safely.  I have an emergency "go-kit" for myself and for Rikku.  Mine has protein bars, water, toiletries, first aid kit, all sorts of stuff.  Rikku's has food, water, toys, bowls, leashes, first aid kit, and all sorts of stuff.  I know that if something happens - flood, snow, hurricane, etc - Rikku and I will survive for at least three days, probably more in Rikku's case as she's a great little huntress.


I just got back from vacation in Hatteras, NC on Tuesday, the day before my parents were evacuated from the beach house.  It was a nice little break, complete with the Carriers for a couple days.  I was able to get some sun, and got to stop by Knitting Addiction in Kill Devil Hills on my way home.  My knitting bag came with me and got to see some familiar friends on the way. 
I decided to give a home to some Sockotta, Blue Heron and Sea Star Handpaint sock yarn. 

I was able to start an entrelac hat while I was down there, made with Neighborhood Fiber Company cashmere blend yarn from the fibre girl club.  It came out pretty well, even though it's bright.  If you see a girl in a bright blue, purple and red entrelac hat, it's me!

I was also able to get some headway on my Merlot Vine socks.  They're coming out pretty well and the yarn is striping beautifully.  

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Me, myself and I

Happy weekend!  I hope everyone's had a great day.  I decided to have a date weekend with myself.  And boy, did I need it.

On Friday evening, I had dinner at Los Tios in Del Ray. I strapped on my Sketchers Shape Ups, hooked up Rikku, and walked on up the street.  There was a perfect table open, next to the wall, on the end of the patio area, where I could put Rikku on the other side of the fence and know that she wouldn't get in anyone's way.  It was, as always, very yummy (although not quite as yummy as Mi Casita, but those are big tacos to fill).  A very large white Sangria and two cheese one beef enchiladas later, it was time to get the home part of the weekend started.

On Saturday, I didn't do a whole lot.  Rikku and I were able to sleep in, play with some friends outside, take a nap, do some cleaning, watch some netflix, and finish a sock for my mommy.  She's getting the Lizzy socks for her birthday.  I thought about going to Baileys to watch the Yankees game, but decided against it when I figured out that I just wanted to hang out.

Today (Sunday) I really stepped up the date weekend.  I took myself to lunch at Chilis, I went and saw The Other Guys, then went grocery shopping.  I'm home now to just chillax with the puppy dog and my knitting.

The Other Guys was really funny.  I loved when they described Derek Jeter as the "biracial angel."  So true.  I also loved how Derek Jeter called Mark Wahlberg a dick.  LOL.  Will Farrell was awesome as always.  If I ever met him, I don't think I'd be able to tell if he's being funny or serious.  Everyone in the movie had great comedic timing.  I am going to have to get the DVD when it comes out, because I know they cut out at least one of Derek Jeter's scenes (pic on the right).  He got all dressed up as a homeless guy, and they didn't show it. What they did show during the credits were all the statistics about the big bailed-out firms and their performance over the past 10 years.  Incredible.   I think my dad will like that part.

Back to work tomorrow.  Weekends are always too short.  Hopefully we'll get some real work done this week.  It's my last full week, then I work three days the next then I'm on vacation!  Hooray OBX!  12-South, baby!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Bordering on Blog Delinquency

Been a while.  Things have been kind of crazy at work and I've not been doing much except for sleeping and knitting in the evenings.  The sad thing is, we've been doing a lot of busy work, so it's not like we have any real sense of accomplishment for all of the hours we've been putting in.  Hopefully that will change soon - we've actually got a legitimate schedule that we can plan to...FINALLY!  We've got realistic milestones!  thanks mostly to our newest teammate, an adorable Brit name Damon.  I'm especially glad he's working on the schedule, because that means I get to hear him say "shhed-ule" all the time.  Adorable.

In knitting news, I finished a great pair of pink socks for my friend Abbe.  They turned out beautifully.  I think they're my best yet.  I put them in the mail to her today.  I hope she enjoys them.  

I've got two more pairs of socks queued up.  One is a pair of navy blue ones for my mom in a pattern called "Lizzy."  It's got a diamond pattern going around the top, near the cuff, then ridges running down the length with more diamond patterns across the foot.  I saw my friend, Rosemary, making a pair a couple weeks ago and I knew my mom would love them.
The other pair is going to be my first attempt at "toe-up."  It's got some funky techniques to it, such as short rows and stitch wrapping, so I'll need support.  Good thing I'm attending the fibre space "Sock-in" tomorrow evening!  It's a lock-in from 7pm to 1am with sales on sock yarns, instruction/help on patterns, and the Indiana Jones movies.  I'm excited.  

Tomorrow during the day is my company's summer celebration.  We're having a picnic at the marinas on Washington Island.  I'm looking forward to it.  I'm going to set up a table where the kids can paint dog bowls and bandannas for the Search Dog Foundation dogs.  We're going to have a beautiful day, too!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Face + Palm, cont'd.

Upon my arrival to work this morning, I remembered what the biggest facepalm of last week was:

So, I'm in that meeting, where I accidentally hang up the conference phone.  While I'm in there, my client leaves something at my desk.  I come out of the meeting to find on my desk chair:
A printout. 
A printout of an email. 
A printout of an email she had just sent. 
A printout of an email she had just sent on which I was included. 
A printout of an email she had just sent on which I was included with a post-it saying "Please go on sharepoint and double-check my work."

And she is "trying to go paperless."  *facepalm!*  I'm just surprised it hadn't been stamped five times.

I can totally visualize how it went down, too.  She probably walked up to my desk, ready to ask me to go online.  When she saw I wasn't there, she walked all the way back to her desk (she would've had to have exited my cube area and badged herself back in across the hall), printed off the email, stapled the pages together - oh yes, it was a 2 page email a one page with 5 lines on the second page email, NOT printed front/back - wrote out the sticky, walked back to my desk (badging herself in again), and left the email just-so on my chair.

And, as a reminder, we're on the "Transformation" program, where we're trying to turn the paper immigration process into an electronic one.  I mentioned in a meeting one time that we should start transforming within the Transformation program and almost got boo-ed out of the room by gov't folks. *facepalm*

And I wonder why I have an eye-twitch.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Face + Palm =

What a week.  

First, let's remember two great men:
Bob Sheppard was the iconic Voice of Yankee Stadium. His voice was, and will continue to be, uncomperable.  I'm very happy that Derek Jeter will use the recorded introduction every time he comes to plate.  Just thinking about it gives me chills.  I wonder if they'll also immortalize the "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Yankee Stadium," too.
George Steinbrenner may not have been the most popular man in the world, but he was a brilliant businessman.  I'm happy that when he passed away, the Yankees were on top and were the defending world champs.  I'm also very happy to hear about all of the stories that have started to emerge of his generosity.  A few people have come forward to share their stories of his donations - including a woman in Long Island who was critically injured as a child.  Mr. Steinbrenner stepped in and paid for her care, including an operation to insert a plate into her head.  He did so under one condition - that she never tell anyone about his gift. She kept the secret until last week.  Apparently he had similar agreements with the mayor's office in New York City surrounding many donations to the city's programs.

Ok, moving on.  Again, what a week.  It had been filled with many "facepalm" moments, but they've all run together.  I guess the biggest one was when I was in a conference call with a few Booz Allen folks and I went to unmute the phone to say something, and I hung it up.  Of course, this comes after all of the instruction and supervising I've given to my clients around hitting the right button.  I was so embarassed, but it was pretty funny.  

Another facepalm happened when I got home yesterday evening.  I fell asleep within half an hour of getting home, slept until about 7:15 or so, even though I was supposed to be at fibre space at 7 for the birthday week sales preview.  Thankfully, it was more of an open house event, so people rolled in before me and after me.  Phew!

As far as knitting goes, I blocked out the sweater and gave it to Lynn.  I hope the baby enjoys it.  It turned out really cute.  I also finished my Sunday Swing socks.  They turned out really soft.  I started on socks for Abbe - a pattern called "Fawkes" in pink Sweet Georgia Tough Love sock yarn.  I also started on the gossamer triangular shawl.  I bought the pattern and the yarn during my trip to Key West. I thought I had the requisite size 15 needles, but had pretty much all sizes except for 15.  Luckily, I was able to pick some up at the shop yesterday evening.  It's a fairly simple pattern and it's going pretty quickly.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sweater for a bay-beh

I've been dying to make this sweater since I saw my kneep, Amanda, make one a few months ago.  I decided to make it for my colleague and friend, Lynn, when I found out she's due to have a baby boy in September.  I put the finishing touches on it last night and it's ready to go.  I'm still going to make a few more panels for the front so Lynn can switch them out. I'm not overly happy with how the seaming turned out, but I don't think it'll matter in the end.  I'm wondering if I can blow it up and make one that's my size.  Lord knows I need the interchangeable panel.

After I finished sewing on the last button, I had to run as to not be late for the Cupcake and Cotton yarn tasting.  We tasted some yummy cupcakes from Lavender Moon including: flourless chocolate, peach mint, key lime and lemon vanilla.  Surprisingly, the lemon vanilla was my favorite, followed closely by the chocolate.  Key lime was delicious, as expected.  Wasn't a big fan of the peach mint, mostly because I couldn't really taste either flavor.  As for the cotton, we "tasted" Spud and Chloe Outer, Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille, Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy, Cascade Sierra, O Woll Balance, Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed and Sublime Cotton Kapok.  I love Cascade Sierra - it's what I used for my sister's wrappy cardigan.  I loved the Kapok, too.  It's cable spun and very soft.  Now I have to find a project for it!!!

While I was at the shop, I picked up my July fibre girl stash kit.  It's great!  It's full of Blue Sky Alpaca Royal, a yummy squishy alpaca yarn, in a blue-violet color.  The special gift is some yummy-smelling coffee that also makes the yarn smell delicious.  The pattern is for fingerless mitts, but I might try to figure out another pattern.  I've got a ton of fingerless mitts. :)

Anyway, this weekend is going to be pretty low-key.  I have no plans except for Buzz tomorrow morning.  The rain this morning is relaxing.  I'm watching Pushing Daisies on Netflix, but I'll probably head back to bed for some hardcore napping! :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth and Promotion news

I'm writing this from sunny Virginia Beach, where I just pissed off my nephew by telling him we couldn't go to Wal-Mart right now.  Unfortunately, he doesn't understand that you can't ask someone to drive you somewhere while she's in the middle of sipping a margarita - especially on July 4 in checkpoint-ville.  Oh well, he'll learn.

I'm definitely sunburnt, having spent a lot of the day yesterday and today outside.  Yesterday, I was in the pool most of the morning, took a nap in the afternoon, then went to Harbor Park for a Tides game and fireworks.  I got to see my friend, Tina, while she was working at the souvenir stand in the park.  The Tides won with a walk-off double by Nolan Reimold.  The fireworks were beautiful, we definitely got our money's worth, and, of course, spent more money on food and stuff than on our tickets.

We had a lazy morning today, while Elizabeth made pancakes and DJ made bacon and *gag*scrapple*gag*.  We went to the beach for about three hours this afternoon.  It was a beautiful day, hot in the sun and cool in the shade.

Tomorrow I'll head home and give Elizabeth a ride up to Stafford so she can spend a week with them.  She gets stuck in the back seat with Rikku because of the airbag, but I don't think she'll mind.

Rikku has been loving the pool, and I think she's gotten Newton to go in more often than he usually does.  It's hard to keep Rikku out and she's worn down all of her nails running on the concrete pool deck.  Poor puppy.  She is definitely resting well, though!

I finished one of my Sunday Swing socks yesterday.  I'm anxious to get home to block it with my new sock blockers.  The other one is on the needles and is a few stitches into the first pattern repeat.  I had to take it easy with the knitting the past couple days because I had slept on my arm weird at one point and my hand and forearm were aching a lot.

I need to do some work on the baby sweater for Lynn.  I can't wait to see what it's like when I'm done!!!!

7/11/10 ETA: PS: My friend, Greer, pointed out that I had forgotten to include the promotion news!  I have been promoted to Senior Associate at Arc Aspicio as of July 1.  It came with a nice pay raise and, as yet, not much change in responsibility. :)  It's great to work for a company that recognizes employees for working their tails off!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Best team ever

Now for the non-knitting part of my blog title.

I got my Yankees Universe Membership Kit today and it's pretty awesome.  It has a hat, a porcelain travel mug, a bumper sticker, my membership card, a DVD of the series, a little portable speaker and a USB stick with tons of cool stuff loaded on it - all bearing the NY, of course.  Seeing the material on the stick brought back the feelings I had last November 4th: pride, excitement, chills.  I can't wait for this coming October!  So far, the Yankees are still pretty dominant, having reclaimed the narrow lead over the AL East.  Tampa Bay and Boston are close behind...only half a game behind, in fact!  I'm not nervous at this point, though.  The Yankees usually pick up even more steam after the All Star Break.  I'm excited that my mom bought Yankees/O's tickets for my dad for Fathers' Day.  We'll see them play during the September race to the playoffs.

As far as knitting, I started the Presto-Change-o Cardigan/baby sweater for my colleague.  I really hope she likes it.  It's knitting up fast.

And now, since a picture speaks 1000 words, her are a couple thousand words for you.

Yogi, Jill Biden and Michelle Obama.
Love a man who takes his parents on his celebratory parade.
Nick Swisher gets a pie in the face after a walk-off.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Crocheting Coral

I'm really getting into this crochet coral thing.  It's such a good way to use up some of the "dregs" of yarn I have left over from other projects.  I've already finished off three colors of remnants!

The best part about the creations is that there is no pattern.  It's all simple single crochet with some increasing.  That's IT!!!!  I have to pace myself, though. I have until August to do all these crochet pieces, and I have a bunch of knitting to do as well, so I need to find a good balance.

Smithsonian, here I come!

My favorite:

My Next favorite (so far):

Monday, June 14, 2010

OT: Dreams are funny things (with an appearance by Crochet)

I had the craziest dreams over the weekend.

On Saturday night, I dreamt that my sister's dog had died in December and no one told me.  They instead had a weird looking red and verdigris colored lab mix named "Copper."  I was so angry that no one had told me and that I had to find out six months later through a friend of the family.  While I was still in the dream, I knew it was just a dream but couldn't wake up.  I was so upset.  I kept telling myself that it wasn't real and that Newton was just fine and got the confirmation from both my sister and my mom later in the day.
I'm thinking the dream was set up by at least one of the more recent Doctor Who episodes I had seen entitled "Amy's Choice."  In it, the Doctor, Amy and Amy's fiance keep going back and forth between dream states and Amy has to decide which one she wants to preserve.  Don't know where the Newton part came in, but the dream is still shaking me up.  The only good part about it was when I got so angry, I started throwing food at people.  I remember picking up a whole bunch of melon balls and flinging them at my cousin.

The dream I had last night was not as dramatic, but still unsettling.  I've been saying for a while that I'm happy with being single, that I have my friends, and my dog, and my family, and my hobbies.  Having a man in my life would just be an added bonus.  I guess subconsciously I'm not ok with it.  I dreamt that I was dating someone and we were happy.  We were being all cuddly and cute outside an ice cream shop in some city somewhere.  Suddenly a girl who looks like Sofia Vergara (Gloria from Modern Family) fell off her bike in the parking lot.  My guy (don't remember his name) loaded her into his mini (!?) and yelled out the window that he was taking her to the hospital.  I grabbed all our bags - apparently we had gone shopping - and went to chase after him, but he and the chick were nowhere to be found.  I woke up feeling profoundly heartbroken and hurt...and very alone.  UGH.  I HATE feeling like that.

Anyway, if I could've, I'd have just taken a mental health day and stayed home working on my current knitting projects and the crochet coral reef.  I went to a seminar and workshop about the Crochet Coral Reef Project yesterday afternoon.  It's a really cool community art project where fiber artists work on hyperbolic crochet pieces and donate them to the collection, which creates a fiber replica of a coral reef.  The DC community version is being worked on now and will appear in the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum from October 16, 2010 - April 17, 2011.  The best part is that only basic crochet skills are required, other than that, anything goes!  It's a quick and easy way to use up some of my scrap yarns and leftovers from other projects.

I finished the entrelac scarf for Valli and the Oceane (picture) for my Aunt, so those are two big projects that are out of my way.  Of course, I'm about to start on a Presto Change-o for my colleage who's having a baby in September.  I just cast on knitty's Sunday Swing socks in Sweet Georgia Tough Love and have a request for some kind of pink socks for my friend, Abbe, as well as blue socks for my mom.  Busy busy busy.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hand-knitted socks will change your life....

I can't remember which of my friends said this to me, but she was definitely right.  Hand-knitted socks are changing my life.  I've been bitten by the sock bug.  There are many reasons why I now thing that sock knitting is the best kind of knitting you can do.

1. Sock yarn
Sock yarn is awesome.  It's a yarn enigma.  It's fine and thin and seemingly dainty; but it's really strong, soft and - best of all - machine washable!!!!! (mostly)  An average skein has well over 400 yards of yarn - for those of you watching at home, that's over FOUR football fields.  The colors are divine.  People get really creative with sock yarn colors - you can find them in pretty much any sports team's colors, any seasonal color, basically any color combination you want.  Socks are what variegated yarns were made for (in my opinion) because they stripe so well.  Solids are awesome as socks as well - especially for ones to wear to work.

2. (almost) Instant Gratification
Socks knit up so fast.  I can turn out a pair in about two weeks - one if it's an easy and/or repetitive pattern.  So much better than doing 15 inches of stockinette over 300 stitches for a sweater!  Or making yet another hat that nobody will wear.  Remember my sister's wrappy cardigan - it took me over six months to finish it!!! SIX MONTHS!  I've been working on my world champ sweater since January.  I know that when I'm done with it, I'll never want to see it again.

3. Maddd Skilllz
Socks incorporate a myriad of knitting techniques.  I've only done cuff-down, so I haven't experienced short rows yet, but just in the pairs of socks I've done so far, I've had to do: knitting in the round, rib, lace, increasing, decreasing, slipping and picking up stitches, turning a heel and grafting using kitchener stitch.  It's a little overwhelming at first, but once I understood that everything had its time and that socks are broken into sections, it was a lot more manageable.  Also, sock projects are incredibly portable.  I can throw my sock project bag into my purse and pull it out anywhere, anytime!

4. The incredulity of your friends
So, this mostly applies to your non-knitting friends, but every once in a while, there will be a knitter who marvels at your ability to turn a heel, kitchener stitch a toe, or to actually finish more than one sock in a pair.  My  mom and grandma have been knitting for years and they don't have confidence in themselves to try knitting socks.  To my non-knitting friends, I usually get a "but did....what?"  I've already got orders from friends and family for their own pairs of socks. :D

5. Functionality
Lastly, my favorite thing about socks:  they will actually get worn!!!!  They're functional.  Usually when I make someone a blanket or scarf or something, they only get worn/used a few months of the year, and only for special occasions, or they go into a hope chest.  Socks get worn

So yes, this post does make me clinically insane, but I just wanted to share my newly formed love-affair with all things socks.  If you want me to make you a pair, just let me know!!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

That was a waste of a Sunday Evening, and 6 seasons

Lost sucked. Plain and simple.  I learned that if I dig myself into a hole, the way to get out of it is to make people believe that it doesn't matter how or why I've dug it.  Still doesn't get around the fact that there's still a big fucking hole to be dealt with!  I've got a bunch more to say about it, but I promised myself I wouldn't waste anymore time on the show.

Since it's only been a day since my last post, not a whole lot more as far as knitting goes. I'm almost halfway through the entrelac scarf and finished the first inch of the first dragon breath sock.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Happy Lost Finale day, everyone!  Who knows how it's going to end.  I've kind of given up trying to deconstruct everything, but I do have some questions that I'd like to see answered.  For instance:
  1. Why did the smoke monster come out of the cave when MIB went in?
  2. Why is Desmond so damn important?
  3. What's the deal with Widmore and why was he so keen to get back to the island?
  4. It's all been Vincent's crazy dog dream from the sedatives and pressure changes in cargo, right?
  5. What's Josh Holloway's phone number?
They just showed my favorite exchange:
Sawyer: What's your problem Jumbo-tron?
Hurley: Shut up, redneck man!
Sawyer: Touché

I have to figure out what I'm going to knit throughout the finale.  It can't be anything too hard b/c I'm going to need to pay attention.  I've gotten through the pattern part of the Ruby Red sweater, and I've got about 6 more inches of stockinette to go, so that might be a good choice.  The entrelac scarf (pictured) is pretty easy, too, especially since it's stockinette, only working with 8 stitches at a time.  This afternoon, I cast some socks in yummy Malabrigo Sock in Violet Grape - a deep deep purple.  They're going to be awesome, but will probably require too much concentration.

I've also got to figure out what I'm going to do with my latest Stash Club kit.  It's a bunch of mini skeins of Neighborhood Fiber Company Capital Luxury Worsted - a merino, cashmere, nylon blend. Basically it's one big colorway called "Political Spectrum" with 5 skeins in different shades of blue, purple and red.  I don't know if I'll use the patterns that were included, but I definitely can't wait to use the yarn.  I met Karida, the dyer, at Stitch and Pitch at Nats Park on Friday evening.  She's pretty cool.  One of these days I'll invest in some Penthouse Lace of hers for something totally yummy.

In other news, the collection of yarn for the troops overseas is going exceptionally well.  The outpouring has been absolutely amazing.  They've already received one of the boxes I've sent, I sent another on Thursday, and I've got enough for two more boxes sitting in my living room.  It's phenomenal.  Thank you to everyone who has donated.   I received this from SSgt Sholl yesterday.  Very touching.
Hey Emily!

Thank you so much for your donations, I have already made 2 hats, 2 scarves, and a set of mittens from all the fun yarn! I even have a guy knitting a scarf for his wife, lol. It is greatly appreciated. We have been pretty busy as well, they shut off our communication with the US every time there is a US casualty, so sad. Pray for their safety. I pray while I knit, “A prayer in every stitch” I like to say.  Thank all of your donators for us, it is greatly appreciated and really helps to keep the stress levels low.

Thank you so much for all of the support and the incredible amount of motivation! It is greatly appreciated!