Friday, October 27, 2006

Five Weird Things

About a month ago Denise tagged me with this meme:

The rules of the tag are: List 5 weird things about yourself or your pets. Tag 5 friends and list them. Then, those people need to write on their blogs about 5 weird things, and state the rules, and tag 5 more people.

Me first:

1. I sucked my thumb until I was in kindergarten, and I still have tooth marks on my thumb. I finally stopped when my mom put a band-aid on my thumb, and at the time I remember falling asleep with my thumb pressed up against my mouth. About a year ago I realized that the reason why I tend to fall asleep with my hand or the blanket pressed to my lips might hearken back to my thumb-sucking days.

2. I have inherited a spill gene. After years of watching my mom and my mom's mom spill things, my dad coined the term "The Family Spill Gene." Ben has now claimed it as his own, and everytime I spill something he chimes in with "The Family Spill Gene strikes again!"

3. I have had several strange allergic reactions in college. During my first semester, my tongue swelled up and I couldn't talk for about a day until I saw a doctor and was put on some steroids. One fall semester I had a really bad case of hives that kept returning until I moved to a different room the next semester.

4. I love running even though I'm not very good at it. In high school I ran cross-country for four years, but was always the worst or second worst runner on the team. Runners are in general a nice group of people (like knitters), so my teammates were always very encouraging.

5. Growing up, my family and I moved around quite a bit, which resulted in me attending two preschools, two elementary schools, two junior highs and two high schools.

Now on to my favorite mutt, because he's a very strange (yet lovable) dog:

1. Picasso has a thing about penis. He pees on the tires of all of the cars that park in our driveway. He also peed once on our neighbor's dog (a Bichon) and once on our neighbor's boots. One of his nicknames is Tweedle-Dee watch me pee.

2. You know how a lot of dog treats come in four flavors, pink for beef, yellow for chicken, white for rice and green for vegetables? Well Picasso won't eat the green treats.

3. When my mom bought a new doormat that is like a plastic shag carpet, Picasso started jumping over the doormat so that his paws wouldn't touch the plastic spikes. Mom worried that jumping fifty times a day wouldn't be good for his joints, so she had to move the doormat over so Picasso could walk around it.

4. In the middle of winter when everyone is freezing Picasso lies with his back up against the crack at the bottom of the front door to cool off. And remember that this is in Duluth, MN.

5. The beer bottle trick, which I've already documented.

6. Picasso was almost killed by his brother while in the car. My family used to have a Saab 9000 with the window controls on a console between the driver's and front passenger's seats. So one day we were driving home from the vet, and when Mom pulled on to our street (which is a dead-end street) she opened up the back window all the way so Picasso could stick his head out. Darkstar, meanwhile, who is always a bit more nervous about riding in a car, put his paws up on the console to get close to Mom and I. Darkstar put his paw on the controller for the window that Picasso was sticking his head out, and the window went up and strangled Picasso. He started squealing, and Mom and I freaked out. Mom stopped the car, I rolled down the window and we ran back to check on Picasso. He was fine, but it gave Mom and I a big shock. The next week Mom bought harnesses for the dogs so that they stay strapped in every time they ride in a car.

I'm tagging Elisha, Lynne, Jennie and Kim in the order of who needs to update their blog the most.

As long as I'm revealing things about myself, here's a picture of my newly organized stash:

Clockwise from the bottom left corner: red, orange and yellow yarns, green, purple and pink yarns, blue yarns, circular needles and notions, neutral colored yarns, miscellaneous fabrics and UFOs, my dpn holder, my spindle and fiber, current projects and my straight needle holder, and finally in the center is the multi-colored yarn. Ben was a bit horrified when he saw everything together, but it's not really that much. From reading other knitting blogs I know that there are many knitters out there with much larger stashes. So I don't feel so bad. If anything it needs to be bulked up a bit, don't you think? :)

There are two things I want to point out from my stash. First, this really cool needle holder:

This needle holder was my mom's when she was a girl, and it was passed down to me with her Barbies. I used it to hold Barbie things as a kid. I rediscovered it a couple of Christmases ago, and have used it to store my dpns (it's too short to hold the longer straight needles). Speaking of straight needles, I found a clever use for some aluminum needles that I never use:

It's a ghetto lazy kate that I constructed from a cardboard box, the needles and empty toilet paper holders. I will demonstrate how well it works in another post.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Trips Out West and the Yarn Harlot

In September Ben and I had two fabulous trips to Seattle and San Francisco. Over Labor Day weekend we had a relaxing visit with Ben's grandparents in Seattle. Bad Penny did indeed make her debut, but I forgot to take a picture. So instead a lovely Seattle scenery, you get our spare closet:
After returning home we had less than a week before heading off to San Francisco so Ben could attend the American Chemical Society's National Conference. I just tagged along to be a tourist. We stayed in a great hotel in the Union Square neighborhood, and in between visiting with our University of Michigan friends, seeing a great white shark at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, meeting Ben's uncle and aunt, catching-up with an old college friend, eating dinner with my uncle and sightseeing, I wandered over to a fibery oasis in the middle of the city:
The store was amazing. For muggles and those of you who haven't been there, the store is unique because all of the yarns at Artfibers are produced exclusively for them. And if you purchase yarn there, they will help you create a pattern for the yarn using a patternmaking software. After circling through the store a couple of times I selected a few yarns from their sample skeins and "tasted" the yarn in their yarn lounge. It was so relaxing to knit after walking through the city. There were several yarns that I loved, but I decided to take this chance to design a shrug to wear with my wedding dress. Because my dress has such a unique skirt, I wanted a very simple yet elegant shrug. I love the I Do pattern, but I think it would look too busy with my dress. I selected the Hana silk yarn due to its sheen and smoothness and the store clerk helped me design a capped-sleeve, cropped shrug with an all-over tulip lace pattern and picot-edges. It was so great to say I want this, this and this, here are my measurements and bam - here's a custom pattern for you. I would highly recommend this store to anyone headed to San Francisco. I did leave the store with a headache, which isn't a good record for me.

In between our trips I saw the Yarn Harlot in SLC, and here's the undefinitive proof:

That's really me in the upper right corner. Stephanie was hilarious and it was great to be in a room again filled with knitters. I told Ben that I was seeing a knitting celebrity, and then to my embarrassment he proceeded to tell everyone in SF that I go see knitting celebrities. Just wait until he gets his first pair of socks. Then he will understand.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Mountains and Mormons:

Or we aren't in the Midwest any more Toto.

Since moving to Utah I've been feeling like a fish out of water. Or a fish in a mountainous desert. This is the first time that I've ever lived out of the midwest, so I really notice the geography and climate. Salt Lake City reminds me of Denver, where my mom grew-up, yet is different. The air smells the same, dry and piney. But there is not one but two mountain ranges. It makes me feel like I'm on some foreign planet where two moons rise up at night. The two mountain ranges that Salt Lake City is sandwhiched between are both visible from our apartment. On the east are the Wasatch mountains, where Park City and other ski resorts are located:
To the west are the Oquirrh mountains, with a giant copper mine:
To give those of you who've been to SLC, we are living about this far south of downtown and the university area, where Ben's company is located:

This amazing view is less than a block from our apartment.

Of course the other thing that makes Utah unique is the dominant religion, Mormonism. While this fact hasn't directly affected me, one notices subtle differences. On tv, for example, there are a lot less alcohol commercials. And the coffeeshops advertise their fruity shakes. And I feel a little conspicuous when buying coke or coffee in the grocery store. But overall there isn't a big difference.

On the knitting front, I've finished Bad Penny and the wool-stretch socks. When I blocked Bad Penny the other day it was dry overnight, as opposed to Michigan where it takes three to four days for a sweater to dry. Bad Penny will be making her debut in Seattle this weekend, so pictures will follow soon. I'm disappointed that I totally missed the Tour de Fleece. My spindle was with the movers for the three weeks of the Tour. Oh well, there's always next year.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

In Utah

Ben and I safely made it to Utah after traveling from Ann Arbor for five days. We didn't travel straight for five days, but stopped along the way to visit with family and see my alma mater. I will be posting pictures from the trip soon, but for now I'm going to post about something I meant to post about earlier.

I finished up my Hourglass Sweater several months ago, but then it took me a while to find time to block it. And after blocking it I realized that the sleeves went way past my fingertips. So after a few more weeks of procrastinating, I blocked it again, this time carefully scrunching up the sleeves to the right length. Here's the result:

I love, love, love this sweater and this yarn. I'm thinking of making it again in a cotton/silk blend for a summer sweater. As you may recall this sweater was my entry in the knitting olympics. I am granting myself a silver metal for getting 2/3rds done.

A couple of weekends before we headed out of Ann Arbor, we attended a wedding for two of our grad school friends. I took advantage of the chance to dress-up and finally wear the Hyrna Hergorbar shawl that I won from the Give a Little Drive. The shawl looked perfect with the dress, so I'll have to wear them together again.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Wedding Colors? Look to Yarn Colors!

I've been thinking recently about wedding colors: what color the invitations should be, what color the decorations should be, and in particular what color the bridesmaids' dresses should be? One evening as I was thinking about this I looked over at my yarn stash and realized why I'm leaning towards blues, greens and pinks. Isn't it obvious those are the colors I gravitate towards?

Clockwise from the 12 o'clock position, Trekking XXL sock, Hourglass Sweater in Noro Cash Iroha, Knit Picks socks, Grace sweater in Kid Seta, hat and mittens in a Plymouth wool yarn, my first hat in Peace fleece, sleeveless sweater in Debbie Bliss Cotton Silk Aran, second hat I made in Peace Fleece, Bad Penny in Tahki New Tweed (dark and light pink), sock in Jaeger Wool Stretch, more Tahki New Tweed for the Honeymoon Cami (it's more green than yellow in real life), Tahki Kelly in turquoise and dark blue destined for a sweater and Accordian sweater in Peace Fleece. Ahhh ... colors.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

So Long Isis Wrap

I finished the back of the Isis wrap that I started last summer, and blocked it. Here are pictures from before blocking:

And here are the after-blocking pictures:

And I think it looks like crap. The lace is supposed to make a nice even pattern, but mine looks nothing like it. I'm not sure what happened, but this is a good example of lace gone bad. Even though it may be considered pretty it its own right, I know that I will always look at it and go ugh. I think that my problem was that this was my first lace project, and I bit off more than I could chew. In the future I will try much simpler lace patterns before working up to something like this.

So as Isis wrap goes to the frog pile, I found a really awesome pattern on Knitty to use with the Tahki New Tweed yarn instead - Bad Penny. I am so in love with this pattern right now for the simplicity of it. I really like zoning out while knitting it and getting into that knitting/meditation trance. I have decided that I am more of a production knitter right now, because I have only a handful of knitted items to wear. And I want a fabulous, knitted wardrobe, dammit! My goal then is to finish the sweater this summer, so that I can wear it. The New Tweed is knitting up well in the simple stockinette stitch, and I enjoy it so much that I ordered more online in celery to make the Honeymoon Cami.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Picasso's Life Lesson #1

In this post Picasso is going to show us how to get the last drop out of a beer bottle. First, take an almost empty bottle on to the carpet. Grab the bottom with your mouth and lift up.
This will allow the beer to run down to the mouth of the bottle. Then hold the bottle in place with your paw. Now lick the last drops of beer out. Repeat and enjoy!

Not bad for having no opposable thumbs!