Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sock knitting and head colds

So, Christine from the Pointy Sticks Podcast (which is excellent!) is having a podcasitversary contest for some fun prizes, and asked for people to leave her a comment about sock knitting. So, of course, I did. And I'll repeat my feelings about socks here. I do like the sock knitting quite a lot, mostly because socks are a nice, portable project, but also because I love to wear the handknit socks. I'm not a fast sock knitter, so I don't really knit them for other people, but someday I'll be faster at it, and also more generous about it. I can only do the top-down, heel-flap socks. I simply can't figure out short row heels to save my life. I do intend to learn the magic loop method very soon. And my current sock status is... I finished one Monkey sock, and started a second, but it doesn't fit me at all. I worked it on too small a needle, and too tightly, and also the heel flap's not deep enough. So my dilemna is, should I continue with the second sock and find someone to give them to, or should I rip out the first and start over. I am so not inclined to do that at this point, so maybe I'll find someone to try out the first sock and if I find a good fit (Cinderella?), I'll do the second sock. Meanwhile, I have some lovely J-Knits sock yarn that I'd like to wind up and start a new pair, magic loop style. I've been wanting to try something from Sensational Knitted Socks, so I think that's what I'll do. Tomorrow I'll get out the ball winder and swift and wind some yarn!

I'm working on the icord trim for my Samus cardigan. Then I just need a trip to a fabric store to find a zipper and ribbon and then I'll be able to wrap this baby up. I LOVE this sweater. And it seems to fit me quite well, except I think the sleeves are a little too big/baggy. But I can live with that. I can't wait to be able to wear it out in public.

And as for the head cold....I am feeling so incredibly crappy today. This cold hit me so hard and fast. I could not sleep last night, in spite of my nyquil capsules. I just couldn't breathe. And the sudafeds are not helping a bit. And of course the new forumula is just not as effective as the real stuff. Damn those stupid meth addicts for ruining sudafed for us sickies. Looks like I'm gonna need a couple days of work (boo hoo), but I hope it clears up before the weekend.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Weekend Roundup

I had a super relaxing weekend, hanging out with family. Went to hear some music at an Irish pub, took a little road trip to Hopland, and even went to church. I think this was our first return to church in over a year. For a variety of reasons we had been taking a break from it. The service was excellent. There was a really great guest minister, Chris Michaels, from Kansas City. What a great speaker. He also has a book, which I'm thinking I should read.

So last night we watched Jesus Camp, a documentary about evangelical Christian children learning to be soldiers in God's army. Fascinating. I found it pretty troubling, but I'm sure others will have a very different take on the movie. It was a very well done film though, and I highly recommend it.

As for knitting... I finished the body and sleves of the Samus cardigan. The pieces are blocking now. So tonight I can sew it all together and then begin the icord edging. The thing is, I've never really learned to sew my knitting well, so I better do some studying up on that today before I begin.

Friday, January 26, 2007

100 things about me

Well, almost 100...

1. I was born on February 19, 1968 in Hayward, CA.
2. I was named after my grandmothers, Cecily and Ann, and St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music.
3. I have blue eyes, and freckles.
4. I grew up in Castro Valley and Hayward.
5. I have a B.A. in Psychology from U.C. Santa Cruz.
6. I loved being in college.
7. I hated being in high school. I felt like a social outcast.
8. I have 2 brothers.
9. One is 16 months older than me, the other is 16 months younger.
10. I am very happily married to the man of my dreams, Pete.
11. We were married on June 19, 1999 in Healdsburg, CA. It was an amazing day.
12. We honeymooned in Fiji. It was, predictably, very romantic.
13. I have two stepdaughters who are 23 & 27.
14. I have no children of my own. Lately I feel sad about that.
15. I have an incredibly boring government job.
16. I would love to have a job that had more meaning to me, but I don’t know what that is yet.
17. I am envious of people who have careers that they love, or even care about.
18. I am struggling with turning 39. This is unusual for me.
19. I normally love birthdays.
20. I feel like I should accomplish a lot more before I turn 40.
21. My dad died in 1995. I was 27.
22. I still miss him so much it makes me cry.
23. My mom is an amazing, strong woman – a nurse, an activist, a super compassionate person.
24. I hate caraway seeds, green olives and dill pickles.
25. I love pizza, tri-tip, chocolate, and sweet pickles.
26. I was a vegetarian for many years.
27. Now I love meat.
28. When I was 14 I broke my collarbone by falling out of a window onto my bedroom floor.
29. I live on a breathtakingly beautiful semi-rural property.
30. I love to be at home.
31. I walk 3-5 miles most days.
32. I prefer walking to driving most of the time.
33. I carpool with my husband to work most days.
34. I drive a 1993 Geo Prism, but not often. It is more than adequate to meet my driving needs.
35. I am obsessed with knitting.
36. My mom's mom, Grandma Lennon taught me to knit when I was a child.
37. A few years ago I re-learned by reading various knitting web sites.
38. My favorite TV shows are: The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The Office and Grey’s Anatomy.
39. My husband reads to me in bed every night while I knit.
40. I have almost completely stopped reading since I started knitting.
41. I do listen to books on my ipod and books read to me by my husband.
42. I went to Catholic schools from 2nd grade through high school.
43. My parents were devoted Catholics.
44. My father was even a priest before getting married.
45. The Catholic/Christian beliefs didn’t really take with me.
46. I attended the Center for Spiritual Living for a few years, but have lately been “taking a break”.
47. I don’t know that I believe in God. But I am not ready to rule out the possibility either.
48. I think I would like to be a writer, or an artist, but I don’t have much confidence in my abilities or potential.
49. I was overweight for most of my life and still struggle with my weight.
50. I believe in Weight Watchers. It works for me.
51. I have two charmingly neurotic dogs.
52. My younger brother and his wife live in Venezuela.
53. We visit them there in 2005. It was a fabulous adventure.
54. I love to travel.
55. I want to go to Europe with Pete – to Ireland, Italy and France.
56. There are a million places I want to go to Pete – both near and far.
57. One of my very favorite things to do is sit by the fire and knit while Pete plays his guitar and sings to me.
58. Also to hike with the dogs.
59. I used to love to go to concerts when I was younger. Now the crowds stress me out.
60. I was a huge U2 fan in high school/college. I still like them a lot.
61. My musical taste has mellowed. I now like a lot of folk and acoustic music.
62. Musicians I dig: Lyle Lovett, Cheryl Wheeler, Mark Knopfler, John Hiatt, Indigo Girls, Paul Simon.
63. I listen to a lot of knitting podcasts.
64. I have been blessed with some very dear long-time friends.
65. I do not find it easy to make new friends though.
66. I think of myself as a very shy person.
67. I wish I were more social.
68. I like monkeys and have a festive collection of stuffed monkeys at work.
69. I eat the same breakfast nearly every day – Organic Morning Light and Kashi GoLean with Silk.
70. Most of my relatives live in Ontario, Canada.
71. I have only met most of them a few times in my life.
72. I wish I had more family nearby.
73. I buy lottery tickets regularly.
74. If I won I would quit my job in a heartbeat.
75. I wouldn’t want to move though.
76. I am a liberal.
77. I despise George Bush.
78. I also loathe raccoons.
79. I had 2 chickens until recently, when they were killed by raccoons.
80. I get terrible motion sickness – more so than anyone I know.
81. My fingers go numb when I am cold or anxious.
82. I believe in love. (What else is there?)
83. Yosemite is one of my favorite places in the world.
84. Sometimes violent films make me throw up – in the theater.
85. Sometimes they make me faint.
86. I don’t generally care for violent films.
87. I did like Pulp Fiction though. And Fargo.
88. The Sound of Music is one of my all-time favorite movies.
89. I am deathly afraid of public speaking.
90. My favorite childhood story was Heidi, which my dad used to read to me.
91. When I was a child, a horse once stepped on - and broke - my foot.
92. I love the outdoors.
93. But I don’t so much like tent camping. (I prefer a real bed and a bathroom.)
94. I usually go to bed at 9:30 pm. I don’t like to stay up late.
95. I am a morning person.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Don't believe in yourself too much."

I swear to god, that is today's message on my uplifting page-a-day calendar. I bought this calendar at Barnes & Noble one day because I was feeling blue and I thought I could use some daily pearls of wisdom about ways to improve my life, my outlook, etc. And, since it was the second week of January or so when I was shopping for this ray of sunshine, the selection of calendars was a little on the sparse side. And I have to say, I'm not too terribly impressed with this one so far. But it does kinda crack me up. (And no, it's not meant to be funny.) I find these page-a-day things unreasonably entertaining, though I wish I had a different one now (maybe the stitch&bitch one). But you face the day with the calendar you have, not the calendar you wish you had.

I'm working on my list of 100 things about me, and I'm stuck at 70. Does that make me boring, or what? I will continue to ponder it and post it when I come up with 30 more moderately interesting things about me. It doesn't seem like it should be this much of a challenge.

It is another gorgeous day here in California. I suppose it's unfortunate that we've had so little rain, what with the water shortage and everything, but lordy I do love the sunshine. And after last year's deluge it kinda feels like we've earned ourselves a nice sunny winter.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Getting there...

Finished the body. Working on the sleeves, both at the same time - because if I did them separately, there's no way they'd come out matching. But it's going slower than I would have thought. So...onward.

Monday, January 15, 2007


I tell ya, this stockinette knitting can be a bit tedious. I'm making prety good progress though, considering how distracted I get when faced with another row of plain old stockinette. I've got the whole lower body and right side front done, and am moving on to the upper back. Then left front and sleeves. I'm looking forward to returning to some cable work for the sleeve cuffs. And when I have finished this sweater, I will return to some lace knitting, which will make my heart happy. I do love my lace.

Actually, despite all my whining, I really am liking this sweater. I am so excited by the cabley thing at the bottom and I love the over the top green color. It has got a lovely Irish look about it (which is just so me). Strangely, I have almost no green in my wardrobe at the moment, so this will be a great addition. I can hardly wait to finish it up and wear it.

It is a gorgeous day outside, not quite so freezing cold as its been. I'm hoping to get out for a hike in the great outdoors at some point today. Yay sunshine! In January even!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Slowly She Grows

I'm slowly working my way up the body of Samus, but lordy this stockinette stuff is boring as all get out. I have done all the decreases for the waist shaping, so it's onward for a few inches, then increases, etc. It's good mindless TV knitting though. I'm home today, so I'm hoping to make a little more progress on it.

We had a couple earthquakes this morning that have left me feeling a little shaky. One was at 3:30 this morning and was a 3.8, then a smaller one (2.9) at 6:30 am. Plus we had one on Sunday morning, also about a 3.8. All three were centered very close to our home, which I have to say kinda freaks me out a bit. I used to enjoy the earthquakes now and again, but after the Loma Prieta quake in 1989 I am much more aware of how scary and devastating they can be, so I get a wee bit more anxious when the shaking starts.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Starting the Body

It took me 2 hours last night to pick up the 192 stitches I need to start on the body portion of Samus. Yikes! But I did it, and I knit a couple rows. I decided to add waist shaping, as seen here. I was a little worried the sweater might turn out to be too big and blobby, but I think the waist shaping will solve that problem nicely. Plus, it's a good thing for me to learn. Last night I received Sensational Knitted Socks and my size 1 Knitpicks circular needle. Now I am ready to start learning the magic loop method of sock knitting. Sensational Knitted Socks has some really excellent instruction in various sock knitting techniques and a nice selection of different stitches. It's really a great resource for learning to construct socks, and gives the tools to design your own. I'm looking forward to exploring it further. I really need to make that other Monkey sock too. I can't decide whether to rip back to before the heel and make the heel flap bigger, or just complete the other sock and find a suitable owner for them. I think if I let them sit for a while it will be easier for me to rip them back.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Green Cable Grows

I'm making good progress on my saxon braid for Samus. I am halfway through the 7th repeat with just one more to go. Maybe I'll finish it up tonight so I can start on the actual sweater knitting tomorrow. I am really loving this cabling thing. Now I'd really like to make the Shedir cap fron Knitty. I must admit, the "extraspicy" description intimidates me a bit, but it seems like a popular knit, and it's so beautiful, I may just have to give it a shot.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Two Projects Progressing...

I'm making good progress on my Monkey socks.

I am loving this pattern. It is fun to work, looks very cool, and knits up quickly. Only thing is, I'm afraid they're going to be too small for me. I used size 1 needles, instead of the 2's called for in the pattern, and Knitpicks Essential sock yarn in tan. So, I may end up giving these to someone with smaller feet than me. But I will definitely make this pattern again, probably using some of the J-Knits sock yarn I won in Wendy's Heifer International Prize Drawing.

My other project, which is progressing much more slowly, is the Samus cardigan, also from Knitty. I'm working on the Saxon braid that runs along the bottom, and it is taking me forever, mostly because I'm new to cabling, and just last night learned to cable without a cable needle, thanks to Wendy's excellent instructions. Still, I'm really enjoying working on it. Here's my progress so far:

I'm home today, but feeling kinda sickly. I'm going to try to get in to see the doc to make sure I don't have strep throat, but otherwise plan to hang around close to home all day, and hopefully accomplish some knitting.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

More Holiday Knitting Goodness!

We had a grand time in Turlock, celebrating with Pete's family. I was gifted by Pete's sister Nancy with some wonderful knitting items:

A lovely tapestry knitting bag, Vogue's Stitchionary Volume 1, 365 Knitting Stitches A Year, row counters, scissors, chibi's, and some festive yarn. It's all just perfect, and most of it was on my Amazon wishlist, so there you go. I am looking forward to trying out a bunch of new knitting stitches, and maybe one of these days venturing away from patterns a bit.

My one knitted gift, a Wool Peddler's Shawl (in Knitpicks Andean Treasure) for Pete's mom was well received. I think she really liked it. Here she is with her new shawl.

And here is my mom in her new Wool Peddler's Shawl (made in Knitpicks Elegance):

I'm making good progress on my Monkey socks. They really do knit up quickly. I'm a little concerned that they're going to be too small though, since I'm using a size 1 needle instead of the size 2 recommended in the pattern. They're so cute though. I finished my plain Trekking socks and I love them. I ended up really liking that yarn. I'd use it again for sure.

I'd like to get started on a Samus cardigan, maybe even this evening. There are so many projects I want to start, but I think I'm going to make this my next one. I'd like to finish a cardigan before the winter is through. I better get started...