Friday, August 31, 2007

Socks! Socks! Socks!

Warning: Pictures Totally Unrelated to Post

I seem to be commenting a lot about socks these days so I decided to do a new post about them. Since I started blogging, I seem to be constantly surrounded by sock knitters. Everywhere I look--socks, socks and more socks. I, as a knitter, had never been tempted to knit socks. I didn't know anyone personally who knits socks (although I didn't know any knitters except my mom, an older former co-worker and a few girls I taught how to knit). And even when I began to be surrounded by sock after beautiful sock, I was not tempted by the sock.

However, the sock gave me a different feeling, inferiority. Suddenly, I began to feel like less of a knitter because I don't knit socks. I felt that somehow my knitting skills (which have grown quite a bit in my few self-taught knitting years) were less "real" than the abilities to do toe-up socks and toe-down socks and socks with picot edges and gusset heels. I don't even know what a gusset heel is. I felt like less of a knitter because I've never seen (in real life), much less touched or used, Koigu or STR or Shibui.

I just read on Kathy's blog about her similar feelings about sweaters. It was nice to hear that I'm not the only one who gets Knitting Inferiority Complex. Apparently, KIC is more rampant than I originally thought because I also read this post by Maritza. Anyway, I've decided to follow Kathy's suit and be undaunted by my non-sock-knitting status.

There's only one I've seen the sock that has tempted me to knit socks. I saw these socks by Megan. More specifically I saw her Lemongrass Pomatomus Almost Kneehighs in STR Mediumweight in Lemongrass (the yellowy-green one in the upper righthand corner of Megan's sock picture). The sock in the Pomatomus pattern did not so appeal to me, but when put into this lovely Lemongrass, the intricate pattern is showcased in such a lovely way. I want some. I want them to be knee highs. Maybe in a lovely warm gray or gray blue or something more funky like this or this. I don't know, but someday I want them.

But that day is not now. For now, my yarn budget is at $0. Because due to uncontrollable circumstances, we may possibly be without our main income sometime in the not-so-distant future. Until there is a certain beer on the market, our little household may be surviving off of my sad little sporadic paychecks and our savings. It should be doable, but it will not be pretty. No money for fun extras like sock yarn or any yarn for that matter. As there is no lovely sock yarn in my stash (none of this or this or this or this), then I will continue being a non-sock knitter for now. But someday I'm going to knit those knee high Pomatomuses and I'm going to love them.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Most Publicized, Non-Producing Brewery Ever

There is yet another article about my husband's brewery. It's a good one. They're not producing beer yet, but they've gotten a lot of free publicity. What do you think? Will you try their beer?

On a funny note, these are two other articles that ran in the same paper:
The Invasion Begins and Save Bentley

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Need Some Fluff

Along with always having something on the needles, I'm one of those people who's always reading a book. I prefer fiction, but will sometimes get sucked into some good non-fiction. I love the escapism of a good book. I'm a very empathetic person, sometimes maybe too empathetic, so I get really sucked into whatever I'm reading. I tend to prefer books written by women or at least books whose main character is a woman. I just relate to them better. I'm not a book snob and am equally happy reading a fluffy romance and a more serious, artsy novel. But right now, I need some good fluff.

It seems everything I read recently is way too serious and heavy. Starting in July, I read an awful book called On Green Dolphin Street--male writer, way too much extra background stuff, not enough story and the story that was told was depressing--I actually almost didn't finish it and I NEVER stop reading a book before I finish it.

Then I went to the beach and wanted some good fluff so I asked my cousin who just graduated from high school for some recommendations (she was reading the entire week). She recommended anything by Jodi Picoult and the J.A.P. Chronicles. I started with the J.A.P. Chronicles. It was an interesting and quick read, but again gratuitously depressing in parts. The child molestation part was awful, but at least seemed a part of the plot. The rape scene seemed totally unnecessary and awful. It ruined an otherwise okay book.

Next, I picked My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. This was a really good book. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I thought the topic would be frustrating to read about, but it was really well written--but not exactly a happy go-lucky book.

Most recently, I read Madras on Rainy Days and it was interesting, but totally depressing-- especially an event that happened towards the end of the book. Awful! (the event, not the book--the book was okay.)

So I need some fluff. Some good girl-meets-boy fluff or girl-has-world-adventures fluff. Any suggestions? I want to escape to a happy go lucky life for a little while.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Top Ten Tuesday: Kick-in-the-Butt Edition

In all my wallowing and worrying, I almost forgot that today is Tuesday, Top Ten Tuesday, that is. So I decided to kick myself in the butt (I have to do that on a semi-regular basis; it's really quite a fete.) and think about all the positive things in my life. Thus this week's upbeat Top Ten Tuesday topic:

Top Ten Reasons I Know I am Extremely Blessed

10. I live in a home in a safe neighborhood with nice neighbors and good schools.

9. I was able to go to college and even grad school without incurring tons of debt. How amazing is that? Thank you, Mom and Dad and graduate student work opportunities!

8. I have the time and ability to interact with many wonderful people everyday through fun blogs and places like Flickr.

7. I have found a hobby that I love doing and that results in great gifts to give to those I love. (You guessed it--knitting!)

6. I was raised to truly love and cherish animals and I have two of the sweetest mutts ever.

5. I've been able to stay home with my son for the last 17 months and feel so lucky to have been able to do it.

4. I have an incredible family including parents who are still happily married, the best twin sister a girl could have, a big brother who only sometimes still beats up on me, wonderful nephews and a precious niece, nice in-laws, and lots of crazy aunts, uncles and cousins.

3. I have a wonderful husband who loves me and puts up with the fact that I have sub par cleaning skills and next-to-nothing, sporadically-used cooking skills.

2. I have a sweet little boy who is generally healthy and very loving.

1. I get to enjoy my husband and son and family (via phone) and friends every day.

Yes, I am extremely blessed. Hope your life is also filled with many blessings.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday, Monday!

It's Monday and life is a bit hectic and crazy and possibly spinning out of control right now, but I don't feel like getting into that. So here is some happy news: I think I finally got a decent fit on my Rusted Root. I'm doing the XS, but added some extra rows in the raglan. It's not perfect, but I think I will wear it and enjoy it. Here's my progress as of Saturday... (Please excuse the night time/no flash photo.)

And as of Sunday... It's coming along!

And Little Man continues to learn new tricks.

Yes, those are yogurt cups that he is expertly balancing on his toes. Very nice, huh? Yes, America's Got Talent, here we come!

Knitting and my little man--two things I can guarantee will eventually make me smile. Hope you're having a smiling day!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fast...But Not Too Fast

Little Man is growing up so quickly. Here are a few of his latest tricks.

Not all the pieces are in correctly, but he's getting the right idea with puzzles. My favorite part is that he likes to keep the puzzle pieces in his dumptruck.

He's been doing his stacking "doughnuts" for a while, but he's finally getting the idea that the big ones have to go on first.

He doesn't quite get that these won't stay on top of the doughnuts (they fell immediately after the picture was taken), but he's having fun trying.

Then he decided to be like me and test out his "monkey toes." He actually picked this up with his toes. It was pretty funny.

Although he's growing up quickly, he's still my little boy. He got up early yesterday (around 6:30AM) and passed out dead asleep in the car while running errands. I brought him in the house and he refused to wake up. Look how sweet he looks when he's asleep?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fast Like a Band-aid

It's done. I tried to do it fast to make it as painless as possible. Tonight I restart the Rusted Root. Hey, third time's the charm, right?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Top Ten Tuesday: Flickr Edition, Part 2

Another busy week and I needed a quick topic--so I'm resorting to my other favorite pastime, Flickr. I was introduced to Flickr by Julie of Fricknits and it was my "gateway drug" which led me deep into the depths of blogging and the Internet knitting world. Although I have new loves now (reading and writing blogs), I still love my first. So here it is, this week's Top Ten Tuesday Topic:

My Top Ten Favorite Flickr Contacts

For those of you who are not yet Flickr members, you can choose to make other Flickr members your "contacts." Which I like because then their photos appear on a page of your Flickr homepage and it's a fun, easy way to keep up with people and see their great photos.

Sorry for the lack of photos, but I didn't want to steal anyoneelse's intellectual property. Please follow some links and check out these great people and their amazing photos.

10. lillybeth05 (A knitter and a mom, I actually met her through Flickr and now read her blog as well. She made the top ten for being totally fearless about modeling her knits for the world.)

9. knitkid (A male knitter of mostly hats. The pose is the same each time, but the stream of different hats is endless and very entertaining. He's making a book. Very interesting.)

8. nikki nimble needles (A knitter, lover of the Wonderful Wallaby, and maker of gorgeous yarns. I love her for sharing her "yarn porn" on a regular basis--and it's for sale.)

7. soto softies (I read Maritza's blog first, but then discovered her on Flickr. On Flickr, you can see even more great photos of her phenomenal softies. Love them!)

6. doggedknits (Another one who's blog I read first, but have since found on Flickr. Ashley takes gorgeous photos--knitting, crafts, nature, her dog--and I've really enjoyed seeing more of her work on Flickr.)

5. mintyfresh flavor (I discovered Erin first through her blog, but am highly entertained by her Flickr photos. Erin is famous for her daily self-portraits. She has something called a gorillapod which allows her to set up her camera pretty much anywhere. She's fearless and the results are amazing.)

4. Alex Guerra (I don't know anything about this guy, but he invited me to put a photo in a group called the Anti Penguin Domination League so I decided to check out his photos. They are amazing. Love all the black and white! By the way, if you like humor, go check out the APDL group. The rules alone are worth a trip to read them.)

3. ~~Walter~~ (A friend from college who also does a great photoblog called Wayne's New York. Walter has an amazing way with capturing beauty in everyday objects. He's in NYC and takes a lot of graffiti pics. My two favorites.)

2. JulieFrick (My first Flickr contact--and my first blog--and still one of my favorites. I love her knitting photos, her fiberlicious yarn photos and the great photos of her family. )

1. fragglejill and mobstaj (Two more complete strangers with gorgeous photos. Lots of macro nature shots and adorable animal shots. Gorgeous! I can always count on a lovely photo from these two.)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Size Dilemma (or Do I Rip Again?)

So here's my second attempt at the Rusted Root. This time I decided to try the Small size.

What do you think? I think it might be too big. I originally tried the XS.

I generally liked the way the XS looked, but it felt too snug through the pits and I was afraid the sleeves would be too tight.
What do you think?
I'm thinking maybe I should rip again and go back to the XS, but add a few extra rounds in the raglan. Do you think that would work? What do you think about the two fits? I just don't know what to do. Any advice would be appreciated!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Does "Rusted" Mean "Ill-fated"?

I am having the worst time with my Rusted Root. I love the yarn I'm using (Cascade Pima Tencel) and I like the pattern, but I just can't seem to get it right.
My yarn before it was knitted and ripped a few times.
At first, I was making a few mistakes with the lace pattern. My eye kept jumping from Row 3 to Row 5 instructions and I would skip a YO. Then the XS ended up being too tight in the armpits (too short in the raglan and not enough stitches on the sleeve).

My first attempt (too small) before my first ripping

So I frogged my first attempt (all 56 rows of it) and started over making the S size. This time I remedied the lace issue by writing each odd row of the lace pattern on a separate notecard. This way I'm only looking at the row I need. The lace looks much better this time around.

My lace on my second attempt

One thing I liked about doing the XS is that I didn't have to circle any numbers on the pattern, I just did the first one. So when I started the S, I circled a few numbers and was on my way. I was so excited when I finished the first 28 rows because that meant I got to start doing some sleeve shaping. However, the sleeve decreases seemed to be off in terms of their placement on the sleeve. I was a little befuddled. Then I realized that I am a big idiot! I had followed the stitch numbers for the S size, but had failed to follow the row numbers for the S size. For a small, you're supposed to do 36 rows before beginning the sleeve shaping. Duh! This is needed to make the raglan longer. Can I say it again? Duh!

So I had to rip back (only 4 or 5 rows), but it took forever because I was only ripping a few rows. It really put a damper on my progress and kept me up an extra hour and a half as I tried to make sure I didn't do anything stupid while ripping. Big sigh. Oh well, such is life.

My Rusted Root now after a second ripping

I think part of my problem is that I decided to make a summer top in August. So I'm rushing to get it done so I can wear it before it gets too cold. Must slow down and think!

On a happier note, I'm still working away on my Wallaby for my younger nephew. It's almost ready for sleeves.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Snapshots of a Day

Little Man and I went to a "kiddie park" with our friends today. These are all moms and babies who we met through a local breast feeding support group. I originally went to the group because I was lonely home alone with Little Man. I never realized I would make such a large group of good friends. I'm not sure if the "kiddie park" was Little Man's favorite outing, but we had some moments of fun. Brian had our stroller in his trunk so we borrowed one from a friend. Little Man is the one in the pink stroller crying. He hates when I walk away from him and is crying for most of our group photos. Oh well.
A happy moment on his first ride--before he realized that the ride would take him away from me.
Little Man wouldn't go on the boats, but how adorable do his friends look? Who wouldn't want a little boat with four happy one year olds?
After the kiddie park, Little Man and I came home and relaxed in the backyard where I discovered these little beauties:

Little red mushroom

Another red mushroom

Some lovely berries on a weed growing on our fence. Love them!

Finally, this evening I settled in to read a new library book to Little Man--Leo Lionni's Let's Play(click on the link to see much better pictures of the whole book) --and I discovered these beautiful mosaic illustraions. I've never wanted to make art with printed paper so badly. Aren't they amazing? For some reason, they remind me of Maritza's softies. Sorry these photos don't do the illustrations justice.

Look at that field of flowers!
You can almost feel the texture of this tree.
Look at those yummy papers.

So there we have it--snapshots of my day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Top Ten Tuesday: Anniversary Edition

On August 12th, B and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. If you count the years we were dating and engaged, we have now been together for 12 years! Isn't that crazy? We were such babies when we first got together. Anyway, I am so incredibly grateful to have found such a wonderful man to share my life with (cheesy, but true). So this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

Top Ten Reasons I Love My Husband

The early days in college--look at those baby faces!

10. He understands my need to go see my family as often as possible.
We ended up spending our anniversary apart because I went to Virginia for my nephew's birthday and he stayed in Ohio because of work. Luckily, B understands me and wasn't upset about it. We just celebrated before and after.

Just graduated

9. He cooks (a few times a week) and cleans (when the house gets really bad).

Visiting B in Scotland during grad school

8. He bakes me yummy desserts.

A Valentine's Day cake and a slightly naughty card

7. He's passionate about what he does and always wants to do things right.

Our first Halloween in Ohio. Can you guess which pumpkin is B's?

6. He laughs outloud while watching television.
I love it when I'm doing something in the other room and I hear him laughing at whatever he is watching. Sometimes it's just a funny commercial that he's seen before, but he still laughs outloud at it. I just love it.

Leaving our wedding. B bought the hats while at a World Brewing Conference in Orlando.

5. He's a good Samaritan.
Just recently, he pulled over because he saw a young man and his wife pushing their broken down car. B helped the guy push the car about half a mile down the road to a service station.

At the beach in 2001.

4. He's a great father to our Little Man and the girls.

At a wedding in 2004.

3. I think he's the sexiest man alive.

On a trip to Niagara Falls in 2005.

Where we had this in our room. He was wonderful enough to think it was great!

2. He makes me feel like I'm the sexiest woman alive.

The three of us at Easter 2007.

1. He's not afraid to be silly and he can always make me laugh.

At the beach in July 2007 with Little Man

Thanks for reading this "cheesy, but true" edition of Top Ten Tuesday. Sorry for the poor picture quality--most of them are pictures of prints. Hope you are all having a week filled with love and laughter!
Edited 12/3/08

Sunday, August 12, 2007

But the partying was great!

Birthdays! Birthdays! Everywhere, birthdays! My oldest nephew's 4th birthday is on Monday and his birthday party was this weekend. My sister throws a mean birthday party!

There was visor decorating

and dinosaur painting.

My sister drew this scene. Pretty impressive, huh?

My niece took the "finger" paints to heart. No brushes for her!

There was a scavenger hunt!

There were parachute games!

And two delicious cakes! One made by my brother-in-law:

And one made by the birthday boy himself:

All in all, it was a great time for everyone. Exhausting, but fun!

I've also been working on my Rusted Root and I have my first WIP picture:

As you can see, I've made good progress. I finally remembered that knitting from the top down meant that I could try it on. It fit great, except for right here:

Sorry for the gross armpit shot, but that's where the problem was. Too tight! I was crushed. I contemplated different options and have just decided to frog and try the next size up. I was right on the line between XS and S and had decided to make the XS. We'll see how the S fits. Hopefully, it won't be too loose. Wish me strength in my frogging! I never realized how much it hurts to frog! Luckily this yarn (Cascade Pima Tencel) has a nice smoothness to it so it shouldn't be too bad.

So not a good knitting weekend, but the partying was great!