Tuesday, November 30, 2004

tink tink tink!

No, that's not me making weird noises...it's a new knitting term I learned!

To Tink is to Knit backwards...or rather to unknit one stitch at a time...I've not got the hang of controlled frogging yet, so I have a tendency to unknit my mistakes to correct them...it can be very tedious and trying - especially when you have to unknit a considerable amount - as has happened on occasion with Cozy (each row is 85+ stitches if I recall correctly - and I usually don't realize I've made a mistake until the end of the row!) Ah well...a new noise to make to myself while I'm knitting...all the better to make people wonder :P

Monday, November 29, 2004

Turkey Day Feast Redux

Well, since we didn't have our own feast on Thanksgiving, I had to do one when we came home after our Death Valley experience. On the menu: Garlic Green Beans, Roast and Stuffed Chicken, Roast Veggies (carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes and onions), Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Home Baked Italian Bread, Cranberry Sauce and an Apple Pie a la Mode. Yum.

Yeah, that's a roast chicken - I don't do roast turkeys - I can never find a bird small enough and no, I haven't tried the roast turkey breast trick yet. Tho I might consider it one of these years.

I can't believe the holiday season is upon us. I'm not ready! Are you? I guess the frantic-ness begins, and I need to break out the baking books for all the holiday parties and hurry up to get our cards out....luckily most of the gifts and what not are done - or are easy enough to "wrap up" ha ha. bad pun. Sorry bout that :D

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Trader Joe's + Weber Baby Q = well fed hiker

I love Trader Joes. And I love my Baby Q. Thanks to them both, I'm eating very well indeed when I take off on a road trip :) This past weeks menu included such delectables as Bulgogi and Barbecued Pork Loin. I have to say though, that the simmer sauces are amazing and resulted in one of my best meal concoctions yet for the road. What was it? Thai Red Curry. Cooked on a white gas stove in the middle of the desert. It made for one happy camper indeed. What all went in the pot? Converted rice (because it takes too long to cook normal rice on my camp stove), a huge can of chicken breast, and veggies of choice - I opted for green beans. Oh yes, and the Thai Red Curry simmer sauce from TJ's. Yum.

On the fiber front, I've finished off the detailing on my last minute knitted item and I've stumbled across a shrug pattern that I think I may well have to acquire yarn for. It calls for Cashmerino Super Chunky...but I've got partial skeins of Homespun I need to use...I could go pick up a couple more skeins and crank out that shrug...

Saturday, November 27, 2004

and into the Valley of Death she went

Happy Day, Turkey! Those who know me well also know I nearly never spend holidays at home! This year was no different in that aspect, but we did branch out and explore some new desert regions. We migrated over California-way and hit Death Valley National Park for our holiday festivities - which were complete with turkey dinner, I might add, courtesy of Panamint Springs Resort (which, on a serious tangent, could be all mine for 2.6 million dollars!) The resort hosted a free Thanksgiving Feed! They roasted something on the order of 25 huge birds for the occasion. Much knitting got done with the long nights - I finished my first skein of yarn on Cozy and she's looking very nice indeed. Some last minute surprise knitting was done and is now in the "finishing" process since I didn't bring my yarn needles with me on the trip.
Death Valley is quite the interesting place with lots and lots to see; photos will be posted sometime in the near future after I get them all off my camera and "processed." Things I learned/decided on the trip:

  1. A good portion of RV-ers aren't that bad. Unfortunately, like everything else, there's the bad egg in the bunch who thrust my impression to the worst. Who was it this time? The not nice loudmouth individual who insisted on taking up spaces at a Tent Only campground with his and his buddies. They clanged about for over an hour arranging their humongous trailer, their truck with on-board Camper and their Jeep in a site meant only to house a car or two and some tents. I say thanks that they did have the redeeming quality that once they did settle in, they didn't run their generator.
  2. I really like my Weber Baby-Q for car camping. It's really made quite the difference in camp-food.
  3. To make a truly decadent camp, I believe all I have missing is a high end two burner propane stove and a portable hot water heater. My car-camping style couldn't possibly be more of a departure from my backpacking style!
  4. Sand dunes are lots of fun.
  5. Salt flats are very interesting - especially for looking at mineral growth and crystalline structures.
  6. Flat spaces and being able to see for miles and miles make me realize just how tiny we are...yet how destructive we can be. For cripes sake folks, stay off the Racetrack when it's wet!
  7. For some reason, the park writes all of its information as if it were addressing a child. I personally found this rather irritating. It's almost as if they expect for one's curiosity towards the natural world to diminish as one gets older. How sad.
  8. Coyotes are very handsome creatures.
  9. So are Ravens.
  10. Hoover Dam on a holiday weekend during daylight hours - not a good idea. Backup of four miles to get through!
  11. Escaping to the wilderness to celebrate and be thankful for its existence - excellent idea! The more remote the better, I say!

Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Technical Difficulties

Imagine my horror when I logged in and noticed that my entire blog content had gone off and disappeared! All I saw was the very beginning of an html tag where the title of my blog should be!

The good thing is, it was relatively easy to resolve because it turns out my template had somehow gotten corrupt. Since this has happened once before, I have actually backed up my template every time I make a change to it. Unfortunately Blogger does not have a good way to backup the daily content of the blog, so if mine ever goes missing....well...it'll go missing.

I'm exhausted today - I keep getting sucked into staying up late and making a few more DPN needle cases - those who know me well also know that when I get sucked into a project, it has a tendency to keep me up into the wee hours. So instead of getting rest this week, I've been staying up sewing in bed with my Petzl headlamp lighting the way (I need bright light to sew, but my husband doesn't appreciate trying to sleep with the overhead light on).

Thank goodness it's Friday. I'm in need of a break - I never did recover properly from my allergies of last weekend and thanks to a few enabling friends (you know who you are ;) ) I've found a whole mess of fabrics to get into online....and my head has been spinning with ideas now that I've refamiliarized myself with my sewing machine!

And yes, there really is a beer called KiltLifter. And it's quite tasty too.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Do you know how to read a french fry?

I do! Thanks to my current reading material! I don't know what it is about food science that intrigues me, I guess it's because it satisfies the engineer/scientist inside that always wants to know the answer to "why is it that that happens anyway?"

So between cranking out more DPN cases and making slow, but steady progress on Cozy, and trying to bring myself to start the Shapely Tee with that dreadful Beachcomber yarn, I've been reading about food. I figure what better way to re-inspire myself into the kitchen?

Oh and for those of you who are wondering how Alton's new book is - I can't say - I got my current reading materials from the library - so it takes precedence over a book that I've got on my personal bookshelf. Gotta love libraries :) they keep my own personal library down to a semi-manageable size.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Look what arrived in the mail! Mini Sushi Stitch Markers made by Amy! My photo just doesn't do em justice - my excuse is poor lighting conditions and my eagerness to show them off...but Amy has a much better photo in her blog - and if you want some, she's workin' em up into a small business. Isn't she crafty?! Go Amy!

I swear, knitting has just led me into all kinds of other mischief...it's like my inner crafting child was just waiting to get out and it looks like Knitting was the key! Now...if I could just find time to do it *all*!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I need a keeper

Okay, so maybe that wasn't quite the best way to put it :)

Anyway, while I was in the midst of my freakish organizational flurry over the weekend, I took a look at my knitting needles and decided I really didn't like all that cardboard. It's just plain unattractive. Inspired by my heaps of outdoor gear, I designed myself a bunch of small pouches to keep each set of my double pointed needles attractively organized. Each pouch is lined (I hate raw/unfinished seams, don't you?) and closed with a ribbon. The wooden ball that is threaded on each ribbon is so I can write the needle size on the ball (if I so choose) so I don't have to pull out my needle sizer to figure out which of my double pointed needles are inside. And yes, those would be frogs on that open pouch. Such a shame that pattern didn't come in greens...

As for the rest of my knitting organization, it's looking fairly nice - my DPNs are nestled inside their pouches and all the pouches are in a vase, all my straight needles are in another vase, cable needles and crochet needles are in yet another vase, stitch holders and other miscellaneous small items are in a small container, and my patterns are filed in a three ring binder alphabetically by project type...my yarn stash is mostly organized...I say mostly because it turns out my bins aren't big enough to hold my whole stash. eep - I swear the balls multiplied while left on their own in the dark closet. Guess I better get more projects on needles so I can get that stash size down!

Monday, November 15, 2004


I'm not quite certain what spurred the ridiculous spate of "spring cleaning" frenzy at my house, but it was either my office move or a recent trip to IKEA. Now that the frenzy has stopped, I'm pretty happy - my poor nose on the other hand, is not so happy - even with the air purifiers running on high, we kicked up more than enough dust to keep my allergies (or rather my nose) running at a furious pace.

Of course, it wasn't just standard books and paperwork that got organized, I even purchased a three tier bin (from the IKEA Trofast series) to house my yarn and miscellaneous knitting supplies. Unfortunately, all my yarn has not yet been moved into its new home because I got distracted by making up pouches to hold all my double pointed needles (tune in tomorrow for a photo). Incidentally, that particular activity also distracted me from making any progress on my knitting projects...Cozy still lingers at the bedside waiting patiently. I've got plans for that Beachcomber yarn....and my Elann order came in :) So Ribby Cardi madness will be underway shortly.

Some tips from the weekend: If you have textbooks that you don't think you will ever use in your real life, get rid of them while they still have value. For heavens sake, don't do like I did and move the darn things hither and yon across the country. I finally bit the bullet and brought in my heaps of textbooks that I don't care to keep (yes, I did have trouble parting with a few) and managed to reap a small $50 for my efforts. The good news is they took all the ones with no resale value off my hands for donation - so at least I didn't have to keep dragging them around in my car! I also made a run to the used book store to drop off some "regular" books that I don't ever see myself re-reading - and since they were offering more money if I did a "trade," I came home with a couple new additions. No knitting books, but they did have a couple of nice cookbooks to add to my ever growing collection.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Traumatized. Need Chocolate.

Why is it that whenever I'm stressed it triggers an insatiable need for chocolate? Generally I can take care of this fix by nibbling on a piece of high quality dark chocolate. Unfortunately my tasty chocolate that I keep on hand for such occasions is playing hide and go seek...I'm in the midst of packing my desk at work because my workplace has decided to relocate my office. I don't know if they realize how disruptive this process is - it takes a good chunk of a day to pack away the office - at which point I can't stand to sit inside my cube any more because it's so dreary looking when it's empty. (not that I can normally stand to sit inside my office when it's so gorgeous outside and I'd rather be enjoying the sunshine...but that's something else all together.) Not to mention the time it's going to take for me to *unpack* my office and put it back in order once they do move it all. What I need is a fully movable cubicle. Slap a lid on it and move the whole darn thing. Too much to ask for, eh?

Anyway, I packed my chocolate, sealed the box, and here I sit, with a mad craving for said chocolate but with too much pride to go slicing open all of my boxes to find it. *sigh* a true conundrum it is, I tell you.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

the fine art of Persuasion

It's quite frightening, really.

I was watching Frontline the other night, and was fascinated and horrified at the same time. The topic? Persuasion - in the way of advertising and words in political use. The program included a look at how marketers and advertisers are trying to determine just what it is we want, so they can appropriately target their audience to deliver the appropriate message. If you missed it, go and have a look at the link - it's pretty interesting reading.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Stupid Yarn.

Never again I tell you. To keep my yarn stash in some semblance of control, I think I better make sure I have a good inkling what I'm going to do with the yarn before I give in and make a purchase!

I bought this pile of yarn (something like ten balls worth) back when I was just starting to knit. I bought it because 1) I love the color blue - and you probably can't tell from the photo, but the yarn has 2 colors of blue intertwined 2) the price couldn't be beat. The problem? Well...first off, I can't find a pattern to knit with this yarn. It says it's DK weight, but the recommended needle size is US4. I've tried swatching it on larger needles (to try to match gauge for some patterns I have), and quite frankly, the fabric looks too loose on any needles US6 and larger.

Also, if you look closely at the strand of yarn next to the swatch, you might notice how loosely woven it is (yee. knitting with splitty yarn. not fun). The swatch itself is on US5 needles (in st stitch), and is not unlike terrycloth. Well, not quite that nubby, but hopefully you get the picture. I can't use this yarn for lace work or pattern work because the yarn itself is too textured. *sigh* And unfortunately I can't make a pile of towels out of it because it's acrylic. Acrylic just doesn't sop up water the way good cotton will. I'm at a loss. Using this yarn to make cat toys is going to be SLOW going if that's what it comes to because I have to knit up cat toys on considerably smaller needles than recommended for the yarn so I don't get catnip leakage....

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Toasty Tootsies!

Fuzzy Feet from Knitty!
Just in time for the winter and the cooooold tile floors!

Knit double stranded out of Paton's Classic Merino Wool in Natural Marl and Deep Olive with Lion Brand Fun Fur in Sandstone for trim.

These felted slippers knit up quickly and easily - and because they're felted, any sloppiness in picking up stitches at the heel weren't obvious post felting (definitely a bonus!) I was amazed at how huge they came out pre-felting - If I had done them up in red, green and white, I could have added some length to the cuff and used them as holiday stockings!

After I had them done, I sent them through my front loading washer on Hot wash/cold rinse twice...while they were damp, I slipped em on for shaping. They're still a bit on the wide side, but the length is just about right. Unfortunately, the last few nights have been warm, so I haven't had a reason to wear them much!

Troy seems to think they're mighty suspicious....

Monday, November 08, 2004

I've been Ribbied!

I don't know quite how this happened. I'm not a cardigan kind of girl. But somehow (peer pressure I say!) I've gotten sucked into the Ribby Cardi madness. I'm officially committed as the yarn has been purchased and is enroute...Perfect. I was down to one project on needles and was trying to figure out what to start next...

Friday, November 05, 2004

It's the End of the World as We Know it!

and unlike that REM song that has been stuck in my head, I definitely don't feel fine. I realize I'm supposed to be blogging about other things, but I've been rather despondent since Tuesday and quite frankly, I have no appetite for food (other than pastries and chocolate - both of which I've been indulging too much in this past week) and the few times I've had a serious rant going in my head, Blogger has been down (perhaps a blessing in disguise...). I don't think I've been this emotionally drained in a long while.

Anyway, I just haven't been myself lately. Due to the lack of appetite and energy, there have been no tasty things coming out of the kitchen. I have gotten lots of knitting done on my Fuzzy Feet - I've got the first done, and I'm past the heel turn on the second. Cozy is going slowly but steadily...and my stash continues to call out for another project or two to be put on needles...unfortunately, I just haven't been inspired to pick out my next project yet.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

A little bit of brightness in an otherwise bleak day.

Look what arrived in the mail! If there is something I enjoy collecting, it's cookbooks. I don't know what it is, but I loooove reading cookbooks. Books that help me better understand why food behaves the way it does are an extra bonus. If I haven't got time to read the cookbooks, perusing them for the photos and random facts is also just as satisfying. I'd love to play in the kitchen more (with my massive collection of cookbooks)...but unfortunately (for my palate), I seem to only be able to focus on one obsession at a time. And right now, my obsession is set firmly on knitting...(and a very strong penchant for all things chocolate)..and well, yarn just doesn't taste real good. Oh well.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Shoulda Brought my Knitting!

I exercised my privilege to vote this morning in selecting my turkey of choice in this political circus. Did you? I don't know whether I should have been surprised or not, but the lines at my polling location were long...and are just getting longer. It was an hour wait in the cold wind this morning - I wish I had brought my knitting along - instead I had to settle for reading the latest High Country News out of my gym bag. I foresee plenty of quality knitting in front of the TV this evening as I watch the election returns roll in. Perhaps I'll finally get several more pattern repeats of Cozy done...or perhaps I'll finish the first of my first FuzzyFeet!