28 November 2006

Project Catchup & On the Horizon

Lest readers think that I have been remiss in my knitting as of late... Well, I hadn't been doing quite as much as usual due to the overload of real-world stresses that were going on, I'll admit, but there was SOME knitting happening. And now those stresses are behind me so let the deluge of yarn commence!

First and foremost, proof that I have, in fact, finished Riley's sweater, despite the fact that I keep talking about putting the pattern up and it hasn't happened yet.

That facial expression is what we call "grumpy." But perhaps he will not feel quite so grumpy about wearing the sweater when it's 20 degrees F outside and he has to go tinkle. It kinda makes him look extra fat (or at least emphasizes just how fat he is), so I may decide to break it up with embroidery or a patch of some kind or a pocket... Something. Anyway, there it is, I did make it. It's just that I've been attempting to design diagrams for the pattern, and all I have is Paintbrush, which is extremely frustrating to try to work with. I will be working on the pattern today, but don't expect it to show up here until tomorrow at the earliest.

In the "Current Projects" department, 2 items.

I have actually cast on the front of Brendon's Leo sweater.

Ta da. He griped and griped about how he can't just wear the BACK of a sweater - a sweater that was promised to him back in August - so I finally took some action on it. And remembered why it was such a pain. TEENY NEEDLES - AAAGGHHH. But it will be done. By Christmas. Really.

Also, this little crochet bag.

This purse, which may look like it's all-but-finished, is actually less than halfway done. That's because it is intended to be a versatile purse/mesh market bag engineering phenomenon.
How will it all work together? You'll have to wait and see. The part you see here was done on the plane home from California, I just hadn't gotten around to taking pictures of it until now. And I actually have begun the mesh bag part, but currently it looks like a doily, and I can't have the world thinking I'm sitting here crocheting doilies, so - no pictures of that.

Upcoming projects: there are also two of those.

My brother's big fuzzy snowboard socks.

This yarn is very soft. And there's barely a word of English on the labels.

Also, B's Ferrari scarf.

There will also be black in there, but I had a helluva time finding this stuff in black - I went to FOUR LYS's without success and finally ordered it on eBay. I found a chart of the Ferrari prancing pony, and... well, he has a thing for Ferrari. What can I say.

By the way, this blanket may creep into some of these or future pictures, and I thought I would give it a formal introduction.

This was among my earliest crochet projects, and it is a HOSS. The weight is spectacular. I made it for B long long ago (like 2 and 1/2 years!), and it has been living on the ship making his icky ship bed feel a little more like home - but now he has no ship, therefore no ship bed, so for the time being it's on our couch and I get to enjoy it too. I don't even remember what I made it out of, something I bought at A.C. Moore, but it's rather soft.

Hopefully there will be a dog sweater pattern in the next post. Wish me luck.

27 November 2006

School Days

Brendon started his school today. Saying that makes me feel like he's five years old. As does this picture:(That's him in NC a couple weeks ago, playing with one of our high school friends' son's Tinker Toys. I'm so proud.)

Having B starting class means a lot of things. First, obviously, it's the end of his leave/vacation. It was a great vacation, I'm sad to see it go. It also means a lot of starts and ends, like the end of him having scruffy facial hair, and the start of hearing the alarm go off at ten minutes to 6 every morning; the end of getting up and walking to breakfast without showering, and the start of a new diet and exercise program.

It also signifies a lot of alone time for me. I may have mentioned this in earlier posts, but I've chosen to not look for any type of employment while staying here in Newport, because the only type of job I expect I could be hired for a three-month tenure is, well, wrapping Christmas presents or dressing up like an elf. And, come on, really. I am college educated. But it may mean I have to cut back on my yarn purchasing over the next couple months, until we get to Florida and I do seek gainful employment. It also means I will be spending the weekdays without anywhere I have to be, and with only my dog for company unless I venture out into public. Sounds like a great time to set my creativity flowing and get as many projects accomplished as I can stand!

First among these projects today was downloading some pictures from my camera from the last few weeks. Some of them are worth sharing. Here's a couple of shots from our most recent visit to NC, of my KIP (mom and dad - that's "knitting in public") with Bethany at Borders. She was learning how to use DPNs (double pointed needles).

Here's our table. My dog sweater belly, and her scarf. Plus some festive holiday coffee drinks. Yummy!

The DPN lesson clicks:

See the light bulb over her head? Form will come later, but at least the theory is down! She's gonna make a great pair of socks.

Next, some nice shots of the boxed-up chaos of moving out of the apartment.

Remember how B and I spent all that time and effort packing up some stuff ourselves? Trying to be helpful? Well, apparently (we were never informed of this) the military won't move any owner-packed boxes. Damn. So they unpacked and repacked all those boxes. Their stacks look much more organized than ours ever did, though.

When it was all packed up like that, I seriously had to wonder how in the world all that stuff ever fit into that tiny space to begin with. Wow.

The new place is so refreshingly different from the old one. We went from a one bedroom in an apartment supercomplex built in 2004, tucked away behind the MALL, to a furnished condo encompassing the entire first floor of a house that's gotta date back to 18-- at least (we need to ask the owner how old it is next time we see her). Walking through the neighborhood here, every fourth house or so has a plaque noting that it's on the National Register of Historic Places, and just up the road about 2 or 3 blocks is a gorgeous Catholic church where John F. Kennedy and Jackie were married. Plus there are a zillion awesome restaurants, shops, pubs... There was zilch within walking distance from the apartment in VA. And across the street:

A park! Riley can run and play! People have their dogs out there off-leash all the time. I'm thinking perhaps sometime when it isn't too cold out (and it really hasn't been THAT cold) I'll sit out there, let him wander around leashless, while I knit on a bench. Brendon thinks that would make me a little old lady, but whatever. I may instead walk up to the awesomest coffee shop ever, Empire, and knit there while drinking some sort of wonderful hot chocolate/cider/bubble tea. I sense a new habit coming on...

A couple more pictures of the new house - my spot:

And the "ghettofied" computer setup:

To finish it all off, I know it's a bit late for these, but what the heck. Our Thanksgiving dinner turned out beautiful:

Too bad it may (or may not!) have given B a very mild case of salmonella. He's okay now, and it was probably just a stomach ache. And besides, it was delicious.

I have a lot of pictures of yarn, but I'm saving them for another post. This one has gone on way too long as it is. By the way, I have in fact finished the doggy sweater - it was done Saturday night - but I haven't gotten up the stamina/attention span for writing out the pattern. So I'm lazy. So sue me.

23 November 2006

Gobble Gobble!

Happy Turkey Day!!

B and I have already enjoyed two separate Thanksgiving dinners this month, one in California and one in NC, so we're doing a quiet dinner just the two of us tonight. But quiet doesn't mean simple or bland! Tonight's menu:

Maple-glazed Cornish hens stuffed with shiitake mushrooms, sausage, and sour cherries, served over a watercress salad;
Butternut squash with maple syrup and allspice;
Sizzled green beans with crispy prosciutto and pine nuts;
Rich chocoholic pudding;
and this 2002 Cohn cabernet sauvignon we picked up in wine country.


Everything but the green beans are from Cooking School Secrets for Real World Cooks by Linda Carucci - a recent purchase that we haven't yet tried out - and the beans are from the Oct/Nov issue of Eating Well magazine.

Sorry I don't have knitting pictures. This weekend (I hope) I'll be able to do a great big dog sweater post. If I get motivated. If and when I ever finish that project, posting the pattern will be very involved.

And yes, I know, I need to put pictures of Newport and the condo on here, but I've just now put fresh batteries in the camera and it's dreary outside. Not an ideal photography day.

See, that's what it currently looks like out my kitchen window. I guess that's November for ya.

22 November 2006

Up (North) and Running

I have made it to Newport, and the internet is successfully hooked up.

We're still busy unpacking, and I have had NO time for yarn - but I have located the LYS and it's within walking distance!

More later. I promise.

15 November 2006

Rachel's Amigurumi Kitty

Pattern: Amigurumi Dude from Crochet Me.

Materials: Bernat Cottontots in Wonder Dream, plus a little scrap mint colored yarn and a bunch of polyfill stuffing.

Time Spent: Approximately 6 hours; aka the plane trip from Norfolk to Houston to Oakland (minus a couple of Sudokus and the last third of Running With Scissors, the book), plus an hour of embroidering the face and claws and about half an hour of stuffing and seaming together at home.

I altered the pattern for the head slightly to make the muzzle stick out so it looks more feline than fungal, but I can't actually remember how many stitches I added where... Oops. Should have written that down. Also I added very basic ears and a tail. The sleepy face was embroidered on, which was the most difficult part - symmetry is not as easy to achieve as you may think. One ear got a little squished in the suitcase so it folds over slightly more than the other, but I'm sure it won't be the worst abuse this guy sees in his lifetime, being made for an infant and all.

The yarn is a little cheap, sure, but it's cotton, it's soft, it's washable, it shouldn't fuzz in baby's mouth when gummed upon... Really I think it's quite apt for the project, and I like it. The color can work for either sex, which was important since I will be several states away by the time Rachel finds out what it'll be.

I think she liked it. Hopefully baby likes it too!

13 November 2006

Knitting Blues

But that's not a bad thing!

I'm feeling a tad famous after finding out that I helped in some way to inspire a whole KAL. That has definitely never happened to me before. I didn't even realize anybody read my blog. It's a warm fuzzy feeling, and to a yarn addict, warm fuzzy feelings are extra special.

So everybody should go visit it, the KAL for Knitting Democrats, Knit Blue. Hooray.

Item #2: What's going on in the real world.

By the way, I'm home from California. Here's one last vacation picture, to demonstrate what happens when wineries have unlimited budgets. (B, parents, and I spent a couple days in Sonoma and Napa, where we all got somewhat tipsy before noon and then kept right on drinking - excuse me, it's not drinking, it's tasting.)

We're "home" for another couple days, that is. The packing crew comes tomorrow morning, and the movers on Wednesday. B and I have been scrambling the last couple days to get everything organized, separate things out to take to Newport, canceling utilities and assorted memberships, changing addresses. It's been chaotic. The cable gets cut off tomorrow, so this is my last post from VA. We will be at the mother-in-law's Thursday through Sunday, so I may get to post then, and after that... I'm not sure exactly what the internet situation will be. I'll get it worked out eventually.

Item #3: On the yarn front.

So here's the finished surprise gift project:

An Amigurumi kitty doll! Based on this pattern. It's for my friend Rachel, who's due to have her first baby next summer. She's convinced it's twins, in which case I may have to make a second toy. I owe this guy his own finished objects post, which I will attempt to do while in NC this week. I just don't have the time at this second.

On the plane ride home I began working on another crochet project, the mesh shopping bag. I don't have pictures because my situation is just too chaotic and, well, I'm not exactly sure where the project is at the moment among the bins, boxes, suitcases, bags... It will make it with me to RI though, where I will finish it, experimental engineering and all.

The Riley sweater is also still in the works. I am happy to report that even though I worked through almost the entire back section with the dog on the extreme opposite sides of the country, my measurements worked out to be pretty accurate and it looks like it will fit just like I wanted. Again, I don't have new pictures, (I'm SUCH a bad blogger!) but I am going to try to finish the thing while in NC, and then there shall be pictures galore, of the sweater and my dog looking miserable in it.

Well, I suppose this is goodbye for now. So long Chesapeake, VA. It's been.. Well, not all that interesting, to tell you the truth. Here's to the future - cheers!

08 November 2006

A Great Day in History

- The House is definitively Democrat.
- We will have our first female Speaker of the House.
- With Yahoo just now reporting the Democratic victory in Montana, and a win for Webb looking likely in my recent home state of VA, they now have half and I'm counting on edging out a majority in the Senate.
- The governors' races leaned heavily towards Democrats, too, and now 28 states are governed by Dems, 20 by GOP, with 2 currently still undecided. (Sad to say my future home of FL is still, well, let's just say it's unfortunate.)
- As of right now, I'm watching Bush on CNN announcing Rumsfeld's resignation!!

It's no secret where my politics lie. I won't go off on any further tangent, but to say I'm now looking forward to '08 even more eagerly.

I watched all the coverage on the west coast, feeling a sense of being the last to know despite the live coverage, since CNN and all news networks are so east-coast biased. This 3-hours-behind thing is kind of a pain, if you ask me. My sleeping schedule has just now come around, after being here a week; long-distance phone calls are tricky; and the television is all screwed up. Come on, in California we never got a live broadcast of the "live" Daily Show/Colbert Report Special. Since I changed the channel from CNN to Comedy Central to watch it, the information I had was already 3 hours beyond their information. Still, Dan Rather was great.

The time zone woes are ameliorated by the awesomeness of the surroundings here. This is a shot taken from a hike on the hill behind my parents' house, looking back. You can faintly see where I've circled the house. Check out that scenery, huh? And that's just an average, everyday view.

And because I feel strongly that my parents' dogs ought to be famous, I'll post their pictures too. They are ridiculous dogs.

Kumar (who doesn't like his picture taken)


They make me appreciate how great a dog Riley is. Not that they're bad, they just have character. Speaking of Riley, I'm moving right along on his sweater. I don't have any new pictures, since it pretty much looks the same as before except bigger. I am to the arm holes currently. I've been getting in quite a bit of knitting time, maybe not quite as much as anticipated, but that's in part because of the new Sudoku book I bought...

Other knitting items: 1) There was a girl on the train into San Francisco who was knitting, and it made me happy. She was making 2 socks at the same time using double circular needles, and she was doing it Continental style and was VERY fast. *Jealousy.* I can sort of work in Continental style, but my gauge gets a lot tighter. I'm practicing though. 2) We tried to go to what looked like a really fantastic fiber store in Half Moon Bay yesterday, and it is CLOSED on Tuesdays. What kind of crap is that? Now I'll have to go home with no more yarn than I came with.

Lastly, we finally heard from our Navy movers! Took their sweet time about it, I tell you what. They are coming to pack us out on Tuesday and Wednesday. Meaning, since we get home from CA late Saturday night, that we will be frantically scrambling to get everything in order in 2 days. I'm feeling overwhelmed. But at least they didn't schedule us while we're here, or after Brendon's already supposed to be in class in Newport, or not at all. The blog will likely continue to be pretty quiet next week, though, so heads up to loyal readers, if there are any.

04 November 2006

Who Wants To See Vacation Pictures?!?!

(Insert maniacal laugh here.)

I have been too busy/too isolated from technology to post for a while now. B and I are still in California at my parents' house, and will be for another week yet. We're having a lazy day today though, so I can grace the internet with a brief appearance.

After battling with the unfamiliar computer here and finally getting it to recognize and open my camera, I am pleased to bring you a summary of what I've been up to - ta da!

I got bunches of crocheting done on the plane. Crocheting is a far better plane activity than knitting. Only one tool to worry about, and it's not even a pointy tool. I'm not yet ready to reveal what this will be, but once it's put together and in the hands of the recipient, I will be happy to show it off.

Our first day here, Brendon and my brother went off on their own to the Blackhawk Museum, which is a car museum within a couple of miles of my parents' house. Brendon took my camera, and returned it to me "full." Lots of pictures that look like this. The green one is an Aston Martin DB4 Zagato, at least that's what I'm told.

This one is a Mercedes 540K. Which is worth more than a million. I'm impressed, how 'bout you? (There are lots and lots of pictures of cars, I just picked 2 random ones.)

Thursday we picked up a rental Explorer and headed south. There was a stop at Monterey to see the fishies and the Navy college there that B wants to go to.

From there we continued south along Highway 1, where we drove past some of the most amazing scenery in the country.

All 5 of us spent the night in this little inn near Big Sur that was very rustic and cut off from the world. No cell phone reception, no alarm clocks in the room, nothin’ but some peace and quiet and a lovely view of the Pacific.

On the way back to the house, we stopped to gawk at a pile of elephant seals congregating on a beach.

There, I touched a very friendly squirrel.

Before we made it home, we stopped one more time to take advantage of my dad’s discount to prepare a little for Newport.

Overall, we spent several hours in the car, which allowed me to make some great headway on Riley’s sweater.

Detail shot.