Monday, June 30, 2008

Post 157-A Little Lagging..

I've been slacking off....blogging, knitting, sending our resumes, bad me. I've this conversations on my head of good blog posts, unfortunately they do not count and since my free internet is slow I'm forced to get out of the house and go to a cafe. I have 15 minutes before the shop closes so I'm going to make this short and sweet.

When Linda and I went last week to the Yarn Harlot we weren't fast to jump up and get in line to get our books signed. She said she wanted people to come up who had trains and buses to catch and try to make it fair, well, the line was long anyway. I didn't really see a need to get another book signed, I'd been to her last two signings and appearances and besides I was able to chit chat a little with Linda and Franklin of the Panopticon (he has a really nice bum I noticed). So, for those of you who have never been to a Yarn Harlot signing or she'll be in your area soon, be prepared, be very prepared!

I am envious of my friend, Chicken Linda, she has the best garden, though technically I would call it a mini-farm since she has chickens. If it were my place, I would have a hammock it was so nice and peaceful. After many years Linda decided to have a party and it was lots of fun, I had great conversation with a wide variety a people and lots of yummy food. I made for the first time a chocolate ganache and raspberry tart and played around with my basic hummus recipe and one of the varieties I brought was a roasted garlic and basil experiment, it was very good. (it helps when you grow your own basil!)

Since the weather was picture perfect on Sunday, Rachael and I drove up to the forest preserve a couple of miles south of the Chicago Botanical Gardens and biked up for a little exercise. The forest preserve has made a lovely paved bike path the meanders over little streams, by some fishing and kayaking lakes and through some swamp/wetlands (they may not be real swamp/wetlands and could be lowland that was still a victim of all the floods here). It was a nice afternoon, I got some much needed exercise and chilling at the gardens are nice, we like to bike up because the admission is free and the only cost is for people parking their cars.

Couldn't you just waste a day sitting here enjoying the weather?

Pretty enough to make Monet jealous.

Every time I see poppies I think of the Wizard of Oz.

On our bike ride back to the car we narrowly out rode a big thunderstorm that hit us when we got back on the highway, I don't think I would enjoy biking in the rain.

I won't bore you with more photos of my tomato babies, suffice it to say they are everywhere! I was a little nervous about my sugar snap peas, I think everyone doubted my ability to grow them in a pot with an old apple tree and that using the apple tree as a natural trellis was silly. Well, take a look at my first pea flower, since the first bloomed I've had several more, hopefully I will get sugar snap peas from them.

This little purple blossom surprised me, I think it belongs to my cucumber or eggplant, I'm not sure which, since I tool this pic I have had several more bloom. I was kinda playing god with one of my pots and planted four different plants and thought if something grows, great, it'll be survival of the fittest. I didn't expect all the plants to do so well, but I'm only halfway there, they've bloomed, but will the veggies grow?

I think this is my melon plant, I have no idea anymore, I'm just happy to see it survive and bloom.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Post 156-Mosaic Me Game

This was a fun game to play, I saw it on Knit and Run.

The concept:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink? (for the record, I was drinking these long before they were made popular by a show on telly!)
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Post 155-Way Cool

I just discovered some more coolness information about my cousin in the band. Did anyone else see that movie P.S. I Love You? Yea I was suckered into the theater to see it with the previews that made me think it was a love story, it was sort of but not as much a love story as a sad depressing story, I cried because it was sad, not romantic, not what I was in the mood for. I was looking around on itunes and occasionally look at the reviews of my cousins' albums (he is currently working on number 3 in NYC) I didn't know his band had a song on the P.S. I Love You soundtrack, now I'm going to have to watch the movie all over again just to see when it's featured, ugh, the stuff I do for family.

The Noro Snowdrop socks are all done. I put the finishing touches on them last night, soaked them and then hung them on the blockers on the refrigerator from magnetic clips. Strange I know but it keeps them away from furry cats and they actually dry faster then being laid down on towels.

All done, see that little bit of yarn, that's all that is left! I didn't plan it that way I just got really lucky. As for the second sock being too rainbowy, yea, I really don't like it but that's what jeans are for right?
I was up until 2 in the morning trying to figure what sock pattern to do next and with what yarn. I an effort to help myself decide I thought I would pull out all my sock yarn, I have a lot.

Guess which one I choose to work with.....Brooks Farms's Acero. After looking at several patterns I decided to try it out on the Baudelaire, I think I'm the only one who hasn't done them yet. The thing is, I think the yarn is a little thicker than the pattern calls for and I can't find my set of DPN's, I think I left them in my luggage and need to dig them out. For the time being I will start the first sock on 0's and see how it goes, if I don't like it I can pull out the Austermann Step yarn I snag from my stash as a backup.
Linda decided to take the day off work and called me last night with the idea that we trek down to the southwest suburbs and make a last minute pilgrimage to the Yarn Harlot signing. I've seen her before and always enjoy myself, I'm looking forward to getting out of the city and going a yarn store I've never been to before. It's hard to imagine that there's a yarn store in Chicagoland area that I haven't been to!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Post 154-Taking Fruit

I think we should bring back the concept of the Victory Gardens (maybe we should call the Economy Garden) and not only that but there should be some sort of incentive to jump start it and get people to grow their own food in their backyards. If I, an apartment dweller can grow tomatoes in a container so can a lot of others with no grass or earth for sowing seeds. It's not hard, you just have to remember to water, I have to everyday now that it's stopped raining so much.

I am now proud to say I now have at least 3 tomatoes growing on the vines. Take a look at the picture of my plants on my last blog post and look at this:

Holy Cow. Now I have no idea about sugar snap peas but at least my plan of the pea plant using an old dead apple tree for a natural trellis is working.

Anybody know anything about peas, like do they flower or do the pods just appear?

WWKIP day was a blast. Yes it was hot but Rachael and I were smart to get the shade on the west side of the promenade so even as the sun moved we were nice and comfy. Lots of people were about so I was able to catch up with those I don't see often, including an old art school classmate. After a little pitstop for coffee at Intelligentsia, Linda, her husband Mark, Rachael, Adrienne and I went out to dinner at the West Town Tavern and it was delightful. It's been awhile since I had such a yummy meal out the was so good I wanted to lick my plate, service was good but they didn't scrape my place for crumbs like on the ship, boo-hoo. The first Noro Snowdrop sock was done before WWKIP and I cast on for the second on there.

I am now past the heel and almost done with the leg shaping increasing and with the pattern fully memorized it's just a matter of time, I suspect I will be done by this weekend. I really like the colorway on the first one and the way it turned out, but this second one I hate, it's all rainbow bright and way too colorful, not at all what I expected.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Post 153-Growing Things

Right now I'm doing really good at growing things, gardens, socks and even my hair. The garden is just taking off and I can't believe how well the plants are doing. Every year is trial and error in what will grow in pots, basil and my favorite herbs, no problem and now I can add tomatoes to the line up.

It's nice to grow your own tomatoes when you can't buy them in the stores right now.

I have no idea how my eggplant, cucumber, melon and pepper plant will do I had this large pot to fill and thought it might be cool so we'll so see. I think the garden has been happy with the weather, it's starting to get a little warm here but all the rainstorms have kept me from having to water everyday.

The garden.

It was a really really nice day yesterday.

I finished the Sea Socks traveling sock that I called Artery because the way the red colored pool and striped. I really liked the Nutkin pattern, it was easy to memorize and I would do it again but not with the heel type that's in the pattern. Last week I was babysitting and knowing that I would be finishing the sock while there I pulled a ball of Noro sock yarn from my stash to start working with. Of all the sock yarns to my disposal it was the only one already balled and ready to go which is nice when you are running late and don't have time to ball up a skein. So far I like the yarn, yea it's rough and slightly scratching and don't forget that it's a single ply, but I really like it, it's different from all the smooshy fancy sock yarns in my stash. While looking around in Ravelry at other patterns that people did with this yarn I saw the Snowdrop Socks pattern and it was perfect, it's mostly Stockinette knitting except for a narrow band of lace up the center front. I have vertically challenge calves meaning, my ankles and calves are phat (yea I used the cool funky spelling but nothing will ever making trendy). Knowing my issues and the fact that there are no patterns out there to address the issue I'm used to doing my own leg shaping and I prefer the increasing to take place up the center back. To make this all cute and to tie in part of the lace pattern in the front I'm doing a YO, sl1 ktog psso, Yo every other row and flanking it with the leg shaping increasing, very nice.

So pretty in the garden.

Thing I have been meaning to do but have gotten to lazy today, cleaning dishes, spinning (yarn), fixing the Rusted Root, finishing grandma's bag and cleaning the house, so toodles, I have go and buy toilet paper.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Post 152-Tagged

Ah, sweet Piewacket made a bed out of my half done Rusted Root sweater.

I don't normally go for the email questionnaire things that you fill out and send to all your friends to compares answers and blah blah blah, but this one is simple and interesting and I was tagged by Adrienne. (FYI it reminds me of the notebooks passed around high school that each page had a question and you answered while trying to figure who left the dirty answers)

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? 10 years ago this month I started my first job out of college. I was a paid intern labeling textiles for a privately own Saudi Arabian ethnographic artifact collection here in Chicago. The job lasted 2 years and by the time it was closed down and put into cold storage I was cataloging the artifacts.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today-I already did numbers 1 and 2, take a shower and go to Kerry and Oliver's new baby dedication at the Unity Temple in Oak Park. (yea the one Frank Lloyd Wright built)3. I'm babysitting for Megan in 20 minutes for 4 hours or so. 4 Maybe have drinks tonight with friends, 5. Walk the dog.

3. Snacks I enjoy-Iced tea, my homemade hummus.

4. Places I've lived-Oh shit, this will be a long list:California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Virginia, and West Germany (yea before they unified)

5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Buy a cool house in my neighborhood and have an art studio and knitting den. Buy houses for my sisters and pay for my nieces and nephews college, donate a lot to charity, buy some Vicuna yarn and have one hell of a party!

Inside the FLW Unity Temple, Oak Park.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Post 151-Turning Tables

This week has been a little better, talking to friends and knowing I have peeps out there to cheer me up is nice. I'm slowly getting up a little earlier which is really thanks to the damn cat, getting dressed before noon is nice.

I've got some new yarn for my stash. The Handmaiden Four Two Silk in Glacier that I picked up in Victoria was calling to go home and Amy Singer contacted me for a trade. I'm happy with what I got but I'm worried that she hasn't received her yarn yet, the post office said 5-10 days and I guess they really mean it! I'm not sure what I would have done with only 440 yards of silk yarn and think that 1000 yarns of lavender lace weight is more practical.

I trade this yummy and got....

This yummy.
It's really not so blue in person, the lack of natural daylight at midnight had me relying on pure flash.

Boy that pair of socks I was working on on the trip is coming along. The first was finally blocked last night and now that I know how to modify the pattern for a better fit and better heel I'm already at the heel flap on number two! The Lornas Laces yarn is a dream to knit on and with a couple skeins from them and a set of 0's dpn's I'm happy as a clam on a dessert island.

The pooling is a little funky and the pattern does get a little lost but it's really growing on me in some gothic funky way and in some sections the big red blobs of pooling make me really want to play with some solid Shepherds Sock stuff. Actually I have a design project that would use one skein in my head that I would like to submit to Knitty, it's a great pattern and there should be more of them out there all I have to do is a little light math, some lace charting and we shall see....

Tonight before I go to bed I will try on the Rusted Root and see if the modifications I made are good or if I really will need to rip that back to before the sleeve/body split. I'm not quite confident my changes will fix the problems it just one of those try it on and see things.

So I was talking to my good friend and neighbor John the other day and somehow we got to talking about four leaf clovers. I told him that I've found several and he said he had never seen one in his whole life. Well, this afternoon I was walking Bella and went toward his house and on the way there I passed this new fugly brick monstrosity that was built last year and hasn't sold yet and in the front of the property where a lovely garden should be is nothing but weeds and clovers. I took a couple of quick looks for a four leaf clover, a habit of mine while waiting for the dog to find the perfect spot to pee, and found one, so I plucked it and gave it to John as proof of their natural existence. I kinda felt bad that I gave away a lucky four leaf clover when I need all the luck I can get right now, so I went back to scout for some more. Hells Bells, if I didn't find a whole bunch more, 14 to be exact! I rushed home and promptly pressed them in a book and the only book on the bookshelf that jumped out as the one to press them in and remember that they're there is the one that my great uncle wrote about growing up in the depression, Missouri Blue if you're wondering.

Here's proof, maybe I'll get lucky in many different ways ;)

And now some more pictures from the Sea Socks trip.

I finally got to go to the GlassyBaby studio the day we docked back in Seattle. Ana, Holly2 and Lisa went to Acorn Yarn, which is a yarn store that we had to skip on the crawl and afterward Lisa went with me to the neighborhood of Madrona to the studio. I've always wanted a Glassy Baby every since I saw them on Martha, the one I bought was a very pale translucent pink.

One of the things I wanted to do in Seattle was go to the very first Starbucks. I appreciate what they brought to us, the love of coffee, but then their train went of track and like Microsoft before them who also had a good idea, they got too big for their britches and now everyone hates them. I bought the girls a round of drinks on me and used the gift cards I won at my last temp job and therefore did not spend my own money.

I did however have to molest the mermaid, it pays to be tall.

Just a lovely random photo of raw and untouched Alaskan coastline, somewhere.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Post 150-Catching Up

Ok, now I can talk about the was fantastic, relaxing, I bonded with people that changed my life, I saw raw nature and feel in love with it, now I am back in my apartment with no job and I have the blues.

I won't give the low down of the trip or torture you with over 600 pictures, chances are you were either on the trip with we or have already seen them, if not, go to my flickr page. My internet connection has not been the best over the last week so I haven't gotten far with the editing of the pictures or work on my shutterfly book of the trip, slowly but surely I will be catching up.

Last week was really tough, I was severly depressed and was feeling quite hopeless what saved me was my knitting and I'm trying to feel better. This week will be better, I demand it to be! On the knitting front I frogged back the travel sock to before the heel, the heel was too tight and didn't fit, plus the sock really needed to be longer anyway. As of right now I am so much happier with the sock, the pattern is really easy to memorize and it goes really fast, oh the pattern is the Nutkin. The Rusted Root keeps growing, the sleeves are too big so I'm playing around some kind of decreasing under the arms and I keep toying with the neckline. The pattern has you pick up the neckline and do a few rows or ribbing and then bind off again, well it seems stupid to me that you start with a finished neckline and knit your self down to the hem, there is no way (right now) that I'm going to frog the whole project (not yet...), the plain ribbing didn't work for me so now I'm playing with ribbing with a picot edge and then fold it over and do a sewn bind off. I also think that once I get past the bust I might do some side decreasing and then make the sweater tunic length with side splits perhaps? I dunno, really I'm just playing around with the yarn, I love it so much but I really need to hurry up because I have another sweater on the brain and can't stop thinking about the yarn possibilities for that one, why can't I have a sweater on the brain that would make us of the yarn I already have? The lovely Raven Frog yarn I bought in Ketchikan was knit up into a lovely ruffled little wrap-shawl thingy, weeeel, I got almost to the end only to find out that I didn't like the pattern after, I think it's going to be frogged. This yarn is turning out to be hard to find a pattern for, I think I'm over multicolored lace weight yarn, that's a lot of knitting to not see a pattern pop. :(

Now some good advice, don't see the new Indiana Jones movie, it sucked so bad I had to pop in the Last Crusade the next day just to cleanse my head.
Do see the new Sex and the City movie, it was great but I won't give it away, however there is no need to dress up like SJP wearing heels to sit for two hours in a dark theatre.

Rachaels birthday was last week so Linda, Shannon and I went out to see the new SITC movie and went out to the Weber Grill afterward(Don't go to the Weber Grill in Chicago, service was slow and the food was so-so). I got Rachael a nice bottle of whiskey for her b-day, plus I volunteered to make her cake, everyone deserves cake for their birthday. Except for the vanilla, everything was either organic or natural event the food coloring used in the Marzipan and the reason I wanted to make the cake is because I wanted to play with making Marzipan knitting, easy to do and really cute I think.

Other than knitting, sending out my resume, and calling my temp office, I've been doing a lot of cooking. The blueberry pie was bad, it was too juicy and never thickened, might have something to do with the frozen cherries I threw in. I discovered the magic of pink sauces on pasta a couple of months and feel in love, I've tried to make it myself but with out a recipe to help me I've had to try Newman's Own and yum! So cook and shred some chicken, add some sauce and toss with past and I'm in heaven. Tonight I made some peanut butter cookies and am very happy. Truth be told I only wanted a few and so I make a whole batch (it's impossible to half a recipe that only requires 1 egg) and gave most away to my neighbor John (bringer of organic natural yarn from New mexico). The garden is going well, tomatoe plants are happy, basil is sprouting and all over green lushness is in full bloom. Along with happy plants I have bountiful weeds and I discovered the best natural weed killer (no chemicals near my produce bearing plants please!), vinegar with a splash of dish soap in a spray bottle and bye weeds bye!

So that's it, I think I'm now caught up with all the details for the past two weeks, pictures of knitting projects to follow.