Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Vay-cay

I owe you a little insight into my week-and-a-half absence...I was getting back to my hillbilly roots, so to speak. The C family (and some extended family, the T's) have traditionally taken a week off each summer to go houseboating in Tennessee together.


This week consists of the basics: eating a lot, drinking, water-skiing at dawn, squirting anyone who is trying to relax with water guns, you know, the usual. These trips got more sporadic as we got older, as things do (I'm still resisting growing-up though, kicking and screaming all the way). The last was four years ago, and we figured it was high-time to get back on the water! I was pumped. I thought that I was going to have sooooo much time to knit. I mean, a good 50% of these vacations are supposed to be just lounging around; I could get so much of Mystery Wedding Project done!

Well friends, I did get a fair amount of knitting in, but only on the car ride to my home town in Indiana, and the subsequent car ride to TN. I know you're tired of hearing my bitching, but it was so....flippin' The novelty of the houseboat of course, is that when you're too hot, you can jump right in the water. However, being soaking wet is not terribly conducive to knitting and frankly, I didn't want MWP draped over my a wet blanket (groans at own pun).

I was inspired, however, to knit myself a headband. I'd been thinking about doing this for a while and I figured this was the time to do it. A headband is small, so no worries about having to have some bulky thing on your lap, and it could actually be helpful for riding around on the speed-boat. My hair is at that odd length where I can't quite get all of it in a ponytail and so what's left out whips around in any kind of breeze, tangling up and generally driving me crazy. Working on the shawl has gotten me into lace (I love how quickly it knits up!) and so I chose a simple stockinette lace pattern out of my Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls book (despite my earlier tiff with Martha Waterman, I still love this book).

I got about halfway done and realized that the fabric was curling into a tube. Unh, mental headslap. Apparently I didn't learn from the incident when I was first learning how to knit and decided to do a scarf in simple stockinette stitch; I ended up with one long tube that refused to flatten no matter how aggressively I blocked it. I finished my headband, assuring myself that it would flatten if I aggressively blocked it. Yeah....

Here's what it is (sort of) supposed to look like:

Aaaaaand here's what it actually looks like:

Curled up all snake-like.

The moral of the story is, if you're making a relatively thin strip of fabric DON'T USE ANY FORM OF STOCKINETTE. Just don't even try. For me this was apparently one of those "do the same thing and expect a different result" forms of idiocy. NEVER AGAIN.

I tried to rally and started another in a garter stitch with some eyelets:

But I ran out of steam quickly. So instead, how about some amusing vacation photos?

Here's me inhaling a bunch of water on a ski start. The copilot looks on thinking, "What is her deal?"

I share 50% of my genetic material with this man.

Some candy cigs from a much, much earlier trip (presumably before they were banned) were passed around and the copilot tested their ski-worthiness. My conclusion: I'd look extremely trashy as a smoker. I'm just not good at it.

Happy faces all around!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Get off my lawn!

I totally dropped off the face of the earth there, sorry about that. Went for a little R & R which included (somewhat involuntary) internet separation. I have this issue where if I get online I'm compelled to check my email, which could and probably does contain work related content. Ugh. Moving on.

Faithful readers know that in addition to my passion for knitting, I also am mildly obsessed with cycling (which is a fancy word cyclists use to describe riding their bikes. It makes them feel special). In the same vein, I'm also a big fan of the Bike Snob's blog. One of my (non-cyclist) buddies had the pleasure of seeing him speak on his book tour and was awesome enough to get me a signed copy of his book. I've been reading bits and pieces of it since (it's a fabulous bathroom read--small sections, entertaining pictures).

A chapter that caught my eye was titled "Subsets of Cyclists". I was confident that there wouldn't be a category that I really fit into. Roadie? No, not dedicated enough. Mountain biker? No, I try, but it usually seems to end with a lot of screaming like a girl. Triathlete? NO. Cyclocrosser, no, Urban Cyclist, no, Retro-Grouch, n--waitaminute. My brow furrowed as I read the description. The upshot was - "Loves anything tried and true, sometimes to the point of not accepting new technology for years." Main points: "Hates anything carbon fiber, loves steel anything. Loudly claims that carbon fiber will fail catastrophically." Well, IT WILL. Another facet of the retro-grouch is their tendency to scoff at trendy upstarts.

The more I thought about it, the more this description seemed to apply to other parts of my life. Over the 4th of July weekend, I went with some buddies to see a Dave Matthews Band concert. One of my coworkers scoffed, "What are you, in high school?" Yes, I did like Dave in high school, but things have changed a little since then...

This is the Dave Matthews of my high-school era:

Aaaaand this is Dave now:

Balding and somewhat bloated. Not that he didn't still put on a bitchin' good show. But again, I was going with the tried and true. What I apparently didn't remember were the copious amounts of weed that are smoked at Dave's concerts, and I found myself wanting to chastise all of the partying youngsters with a shake of my fist and an admonition to "Get off my lawn, pot-heads!" Apparently that's where the 'grouch' in the term comes in, but I restrained myself.

And I'm pretty sure that's why I like to knit so much. It's been around for hundreds of years and is still pretty darn useful. Sure, there was that nålbinding crap, but who has the time to put that little circle over the 'a' anyway? I'll stick with my two needles thank you very much. If that makes me a retro-grouch, then I proudly accept it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A blue yarn

I heard through the grapevine today that there's a sign on my LYS's door saying they are closed for the month of July, but that it is for all intents and purposes closed indefinitely due to [INSERT GENERAL OWNER DRAMA HERE]. I'm not entirely sure what this drama is and don't want to start some bizarre unfounded rumor (maybe like the owner is actually going to convert it to a leather S&M shop, his true passion) but I am bummed. This is where I go for all my tools, to relax and drink coffee, and to indecently fondle yarn. There was a whole wall of Cascade 220 in every color imaginable. I made my first sock there, and did my first two color work (albeit just a useless ring of fabric, but it had two colors, dammit).

If I were a yarn, I would certainly be blue right about now.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Holy cozy cabled hats, Batman!

The original impetus for starting a blog was simply to have a place to post the first pattern I'd written, the Cozy Cabled Hat. I've been thoroughly entertained with the whole experience since, and hadn't thought about my humble blogging origins in a while. So at lunchtime, while working hard (read: trolling Ravelry) I was delighted to discover that two real-live human beings have tried and successfully used the Cozy Cabled Hat pattern!

Whoa! I was especially pleased to see that one utilized the gigantor headed dude-size, since there seems to be a lack of dude-sized hat patterns. I'm almost feeling inspired enough to get off my duff and take some pictures for the Infinite Cabled Hat, since all that is left to do is add some enticing photos to the pattern. But again, so damn hot, milk was a bad choice, etc. etc. Perhaps this weekend.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bon appetit!

Trying to find some instant gratification via the Netflix 'Instant Queue' (a.k.a., "You didn't plan for your evening, so we're throwing you a bone with a limited selection movies you can watch through your computer"), we ended up watching Julie and Julia. It follows Julia Child through her early cooking years and a parallel(ish) story of blogger Julie Powell as she works through Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year. I could have done with all Julia Child all the time (She was a spy! She revolutionized American home cooking! She was 6'2"!) and no Julie blogging (She works in a cubicle! She has no ambition! She cries!), with the exception of this segment:

Dan Aykroyd on Saturday Night Live as Julia (with hilarious thumb chopping results!). Julie and her hubby watch the skit one late night.

Sidenote: Watching this is one of my earliest memories as a kid. Don't ask me why I was awake for SNL or why my parents were letting me watch it (way to go, guys) but I remember being very concerned for the nice lady who was bleeding everywhere. I think the memory stuck with me because I was surprised when my dad informed me that the blood was fake and downright baffled when he said that the 'nice lady' was a man. I was beginning to think this was a fabricated memory since no one else seems to remember this sketch; it's always nice to take steps away from the nuthouse instead of towards it.

However, the blogging segments for some reason struck concern in my copilot, who practically shoved Mystery Wedding Project into my hands mid-movie and prodded "Knit. Knit! You haven't been knitting or blogging, slacker!" (I'm paraphrasing). He even snapped a photo for me [WEDDING PROJECT SPOILER AHEAD]:

It was nice to see the progress. All 4 colors are involved! The copilot's concern was a little perplexing, though, since a major source of conflict in the movie is the couple's dearth of nooky due to the demands of the blogging project...impressive confidence, I guess!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Milk was a bad choice!

Wow! First things first. I'm pleased to accept the "A Blog with Substance" award from Michelle of You Just Gotta Keep Knittin'.

If anything, I strive for substance--even if that substance is something more like Jell-o than an actual solid.

Rules of acceptance:

Thank the blogger who bestowed you with the award - That's easy. Thanks so much Michelle! She has a wonderful blog that you should check out. I kind of feel like her stalker because I wouldn't mind stealing her lifestyle - cooking, knitting, little ones + animals running around, living in the Pacific northwest, insert more awesome and cool things here. Ooh, that sounds a little creepy; I swear I'm not going to try to "Single White Female" you.

Sum up your blogging experience, philosophy and motivation in five (5) words
- education, amusement/entertainment, inspiration, accountability (on all counts for you readers and for me, I hope).

Nominate 10 deserving bloggers - Also pretty easy, and it no particular order.

1. Designs by Dianna - fun designs by a gal who is amazingly a relatively new knitter.
2. My Fibre Obsessed Life - love her sassy attitude!
3. Wife, 'Mom', Knitter - when you read her blog, she seems like that buddy you can always call up and complain about your day, and she'll make it all better.
4. Fiolinn and the Handy Gnomes - I wrote this at first as Fiolinn and the Angry Gnomes, which is different and totally terrifying. This gal makes wonderful knits.
5. The Student Knitter - a multi-talented crafter!
6. useless beauty. - another multi-crafter with an awesome sense of humor.
7. fridica - great knits and fun photos from her day-to-day.
8. Stephcuddles - another blogger who you feel like you could ring up to bitch about your day together.
9. Dyeing to Knit - beautiful yarns and patterns!
10. And a bone for my non-knitting readers -, a friend of mine who blogs about whatever is entertaining or interesting to him at the moment, currently health care in various countries and how they compare/contrast.

I would throw the Bike Snob in there, but he would just piss on my award and call me out for being too hipster. But that's also why I love him.

As I glanced through these blogs, there was a similar thread running through most of them (the knit-centric ones at least) of "Sorry I haven't posted recently, guys, I haven't done much knitting or blogging recently." Ditto. I'd like to place the blame squarely on the beast:

Don't let that sweet face fool you. Moments later he tackled the photographer and inserted his nose firmly into the photographer's crotch.

And that's part of it. Not only because of the walking/housetraining/playing/infinite other dog stuff, but because yarn is apparently perfectly shaped, colored, and textured for his entertainment. I snapped this photo of my shawl to show you a little progress:

And not a second later, the ball of yarn was snatched from the table. I have to wait until the beast passes out to get any productive crafting done:


But I think a lion's share of the malaise can be blamed on the weather. It's getting to the point here where I feel like I'm pushing the limits of good taste in my apparel; there's only so many clothes you can take off. After a while, the thought of anything wool touching your body makes you throw up in your mouth a little bit. As has (oddly) been the case recently, my situation can be summed up by Ron Burgundy:

It's so damn hot! Milk was a bad choice.

Maybe I should start working on a bikini...