Wednesday, June 28, 2006  

Camping in the Rain

Last weekend, we ignored the weather forecasts and headed to Shenandoah National Park for a night of camping. My parents, though surely they are old enough to know better, came along.

Everything was going great at first - we set up the tents...

My parents' tent had a little doggy door! It was the cutest thing....

We went for a hike and saw some stunning mountain laurel in bloom...

And we walked back to the campsite in what we optimistically termed "fog." Of course, in reality, those were actually CLOUDS.

We spent a few hours huddled in the cars while a thunderstorm hung out directly above us, but eventually we were hungry enough to brave the lingering rain showers to cook dinner...

Notice that we were fully prepared with both wine AND beer, although we had to be careful to cover the bottles to keep out the rain!

Luckily, neither tent leaked, and we spent a relatively pleasant night. It rained off and on, but waited until the next morning to really unleash another storm. S and I snuggled back in the tent with Abby after a wet breakfast of muffins and mimosas.

On the ride home, Abby discovered the joy of sniffing out the window... she's never done that before! Maybe it was because we were driving so slowly due to the unbelievably thick fog. And trust me - I've lived in the Bay Area and in Santa Cruz, and this was some of the thickest fog I've ever been in.

Eventually, though, the poor little pumpkin was just too sleepy...

WAY too sleepy.....

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Thursday, June 22, 2006  

Drive-By Updating

I haven't been home long enough to take pictures, so I apologize in advance for the craptastic boringness of this post.

ANYWAY - here's what's been going on in my life - the summer job is fantastic, and thanks to the crazy amount of food-related events I attend, I haven't fed myself at home in months. I've been knitting slowly but surely - I finished the first sleeve of Elizabeth I, started a Moderne Baby Blanket out of my hand-dyed, and am just about finished with another pair of socks. So I think for the time being, I'll concentrate on finishing the Moderne Baby Blanket, Elizabeth I, and Lilies of the Valley. I really want to "clean my knitting slate" before I dive into a bunch of new projects. I also need to set aside some serious time for finishing - I've got a couple of pairs of socks and the Debbie Bliss Silk Shrug in dire need of some finishing touches. Perhaps next weekend...

THIS weekend, I'm going camping with S, Abby the 3-legged-wonder-dog, and my parents. I'm really excited, but am not sure about how much knitting time I'll actually get... and I'm hoping very much for no thunderstorms. I feel no overwhelming need to test the waterproofing on our new tent.

Ummm ... and what the $&#^ was up with the pathetic US soccer effort this morning? True, the penalty kick was crap, but there is NO excuse for the lethargy with which the US jogged through the first half. Any bets on how soon Arenas gets fired?



Sunday, June 18, 2006  


If it's an animal fiber, watch out, because I want to dye it. I'm officially addicted.

First, I mixed up all 24 beautiful colors of dye stock... I had a really hard time visualizing the colors, so figured I'd just see what they looked like all mixed up.

I used mason jars so that hopefully they won't leak on anything.

And then I got out the white paper and played with some colors.

Meanwhile, I soaked the yarn - I used some silver-grey jaeger matchmaker aran. It's superwash, so I was even less worried about felting everything together.

Woooo hoooooo!!! First color done!

S and Abby tried to help, but they got so sleepy......

But somehow, I managed to get 4 different colors.... destined to be a log cabin blanket of some kind a la the Mason-Dixon book...

WOOO HOOOOO!!!! Yarn!!!! I didn't use salt in the dye baths, so the colors have that slightly mottled variegated tone, and they make me so happy.

And then I took the plunge and tried dyeing the 60% merino 40% acrylic sock yarn. It turned out just as I hoped - slightly heathered. I may try overdying this skein in a darker red/burgundy, but I don't know yet.

I do know, however, that I love this whole dyeing thing. Must.... buy.... more..... cream.... yarn.....




Thursday, June 15, 2006  

Seriously Amazing

I LOVE this site! Basically, you tell them an artist or song that you like, and they'll create an entire "radio station" based on things that they think you'll like. It's totally free, and you can tell them when you don't like something.

I think I just set a world record for most non-valley-girl-uses of the word "like" in one paragraph. It's a talent.

Oh, and I did manage to resist the birthday koigu last night - but here's the question. Although my birthday was yesterday, since I didn't buy any yarn yesterday, can I buy "belated birthday fleece artist" when it comes into the shop later this week?



Monday, June 12, 2006  

Random Updates

**random weekend update**

I love where I work - I spent this past weekend thoroughly enjoying an all-expenses paid weekend at this resort with all of my fellow summer associates and a good 'selection' of partners and associates. It was AMAZING. On Saturday, our only full day there, I woke up early, got breakfast, got my hour-long massage at 9, and was on the beach by 10:15, lounging under the umbrella. I didn't start the pina coladas until noon, but then I kept them coming until it was time to get ready for dinner. FABULOUS. I finished a sock, worked on Elizabeth, and read hundreds of pages of a really great book. I'm not sure what I was expecting since I've never really been on a full-scale work-retreat before, but I had a great time.

When I got back home on Sunday afternoon, S and I took the wonder-dog to a local park for a mile hike, and I came home with every intention of doing something productive. Instead, I took a nice, long nap snuggled up with S and the dog. We finally dragged ourselves out of bed and took another long puppy-walk (seeing a pattern here?), grabbed some dinner, and came home to watch a movie.

**random product endorsment (now with 100% more random kitty stories!)**

I recently bought one of these temporary screen doors, and it came last week. It really is super easy to install - you just twist the tension-rod at the top, wedge it in, and velcro it to the frame at the sides. It's not perfect, but it keeps most of the bugs out. And perhaps I'm being old-fashioned, but I love the idea of having the door open... it's great ventillation, but more importantly - it's FRIENDLY. So often, I feel like I'm completely disconnected from my community - I barely know my neighbors since the courtyard is always filled with closed doors and drawn blinds. Maybe my new screen door won't let me get to know my neighbors any better, but at least I'll be able to wave when they pass my door!

The real impetus for the screen-door purchase was to allow Cricket to play outside (outfitted in her updated tags and sexy green collar). There are a lot of dogs in my apartment complex, and the owners allow them to play off-leash sometimes (totally not a problem with me - they really are sweeties, and the owners are out supervising). But since they are off-leash, and many are quite a bit bigger than Abby (think full-grown black labs!), I'm way too nervous to just let Cricket out and shut the door behind her. While she is still fully-clawed, she's an indoor kitty, and I'm afraid she wouldn't stand much of a chance against 4-5 full-grown big dogs, even if they aren't really trying to hurt her. So I always want her to know that she can run inside when she gets freaked. Thanks to the screen door, the bugs can't take advantage of the situation...

So last night, screen in place and collar on, I let Cricket out to roam the courtyard playing "jungle panther." After about an hour, I decided to bring her back in, so I went outside, found her at the bottom of the hill, and picked her up. She began screaming, hissing, and generally acting as if I was actively beating her with something large and painful... but she didn't struggle at all. By the time I got her into the house, I was almost in tears from laughing so hard - S had come running to the door, thinking that Cricket was in terrible pain or something, and here she was, being casually held in one of my hands. What a little diva!

**random dyeing update**

As Chaos and Company pointed out, I can't exactly dye acrylic. D'oh! Talk about one of those moments when you know something, forget that you know it, and then have an "oh crap" realization when someone points it out to you. But no biggie - I have plenty of yarn to start playing with, my books came, and I'm assembling my shopping list. I'm going to throw a bit of the merino/acrylic into a pot to see what happens - maybe it'll do something unexpected but cool, as opposed to unexpected and "straight to the trash." I think my first dye projects will be (1) striping sock yarn with the nature-spun, (2) baby blanket (or animal blanket) yarn with some light silver jaeger merino that I bought ages ago on closeout. I had thought that I could use it to make felted things, but (of course) it's superwash. So I think I'll experiment with all sorts of different colors. But that should tide me over until Knitpicks gets more of its sock yarn in stock...

**random knitting update**

Right. Here's the current knitting plan:

In Progress
  • Mom's Lily of the Valley Wrap
  • Current Sock Project
  • Elizabeth I
On Deck

I'll probably also do something Mason-Dixon-blanket inspired with my first attempts at dyeing.

Next time - will I be able to resist buying "birthday koigu" at KH on Wednesday?



Thursday, June 08, 2006  

Just What I Need – Another Hobby!

But first... a trip to New York, starring an expense account and a sock.

5:30 am - Union Station, Washington, D.C.

6:00 am - The Sock Enjoys the Comfort of the Acela Express

10:00 am - The Sock Researches at NYU's Law Library

4:00 pm - The Sock Relaxes in Bryant Park

Overall, it was a blast - although I'm fairly certain it was a waste of money for the firm. However, since it wasn't my decision to go, I just made the most of the day. I spent most of the afternoon wandering around Manhattan - I got a mani/pedi, had a nice lunch/dinner, and enjoyed just watching the city on a cloudy Monday.

And when I got home from work on Tuesday, my new hobby was here...

I couldn’t help it… I just had to order myself some “big-girl” dyes. I’ve done kool-aid, and I knew it just wasn’t going to cut it. So, thanks to the folks at ProChemical, I’m now the proud owner of the “springtime,” “summertime,” “autumn,” and “winter holiday” dye kits. I was particularly attracted to the kits because they included citric acid, synthrapol, and instructions – all I need to contribute is yarn, table salt, a pot, a spoon, gloves, and some plastic wrap. Hopefully I won’t make too big of a mess of things …

And I have plenty of yarn to play with.

I’m going to start with some crappy naturespun stuff – I got it at a yarn swap, so I’m not too worried that I’m going to turn it into something totally unusable. I think I’ve had it for 2 years now, and still have no plans to use it for anything, so I think I might try some stripes or something. Once I’m convinced that my dyeing efforts won’t turn everything into a giant pile of crap-yarn, I’m moving on – next up will be the 500 grams of sock yarn (60% merino, 40% acrylic) I bought in New York on Monday. It turned out to be about the same price as the dye-your-own stuff from Knitpicks, and since they’re backordered until the end of June, this seemed to make sense. Then, if and only if I am FIRMLY convinced I don’t suck at dyeing in every possible way, I’ll tackle that grey sock/lace – weight cashmere that somehow ended up in my bag leaving the Big Apple. (There may also have been some beautiful deep jade green cashmere laceweight, but really, what’s a little cashmere between friends?)

If I like what I’m doing, I’ll also be placing a knitpicks order once they get the sockyarn back in stock, and I’ll go crazy with some more sock yarn and laceweight. I’m so excited.

When the dyes came yesterday, of course I had to look at all of the little containers and say “oooooooooo.” I went to bed last night firmly convinced that I would kick some serious ass in the hand-dyeing department. When I woke up this morning, though, it occurred to me that I have ZERO clue as to what I’m doing, and perhaps a few references might be in order.

So thanks to my free Amazon Prime trial membership, I should have these babies tomorrow or Friday.

So sometime in the next few weeks, I’m having a dyeing adventure. Is it a bad sign that I’m a little upset that Cricket, being jet black, isn’t amenable to Technicolor experiments?

Oh, and Shanti - I may have kinda started Elizabeth I a little bit.

And I think Good Old Queen Bess may be accompanying me to the beach this weekend - that's right - more tough work at the law firm... the summer associates retreat in Charleston. It's a tough life!

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Sunday, June 04, 2006  

Woman, In Cute Dress, Saves Bird

Eleanora Socks


Merino Sock Yarn

Next time (and oh yes, there will be a next time!)... start with 60ish sts. I used size 0 needles. But I LOVED these socks, and have gotten more compliments on these than on any other socks I've ever knit. The pattern was complicated enough to keep me occupied, but easy enough to memorize.

And now for some non-knitting adventures -

Last weekend, we treked over to the parents' house for some Memorial Day festivities. Little did we know how exciting it would be -

This little guy must have fallen out of his nest. You can't tell from the picture, but he's only about 6 inches off of the ground. My parents have a cat, and Abby was over, so we had to do something!

So S got a napkin and gently pried him off of his tree...

He wasn't entirely sure he liked this huge, feather-less wierd bird, but he was pretty calm...

And then we got out The Ladder... this tree is TALL. I don't know where the nest was, but we wanted to get him up into the crook of the tree so there would be somewhere for him to hang out until he got big enough to fly. S, however, is not so good with heights. So apparently that was my cue...

Here you go, little buddy!

We all felt pretty happy about that, and hope that he has done well in his temporary little perch. He was pretty big, so hopefully he was really close to being big enough to fly...

But Abby was NOT amused. She could not understand how we could be such terrible hunters...

Once all of the animal rescue excitement was over, we got down to "work" - making homemade ice cream.


K - I should go get my knitting organized - my firm is sending me to New York for the day tomorrow to do some research, and we all know what that means.... that's right - 3 hours of knitting time EACH WAY on the train tomorrow. I may manage to finish Lily of the Valley, and maybe some more socks....

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