May 30, 2006

Memorial Day and my first sock.

I’m exhausted. Every muscle in my body is sore. And I’m rocking a sweet farmer’s tan including a very sexy tanline from my work gloves. But I have a patio. Oh yeah. We finished the patio! Lots lots more pictures and a description and all that will follow…

In knitting news Kristin finished her Adamas!!!! It is so awesome. Go see it – it’s amazing. I love the bright pink…She dyed it herself!!! and her trick of threading the wire through the points is pure genius. If I ever make another lace shawl that’s how I’ll block it.

Unfortunately I did not knit at all over the weekend (I have a patio!!!) but last week I started my very first sock...It’s out of knitpicks sock memories in one of the discontinued colors on size 3 needles. The pattern I’m using is from the book from my Secret Pal 8 (who rocks!). I turned the heel Thursday which wasn't nearly as complicated as I thought it would be. So far I’m liking that it’s sooo portable and the yarn is super-fun…and I’ve knit almost all of it on the bus! But my picked up stitches look a litle wonky… I’ll have to work on that.

May 23, 2006

A new addition to our family

Andy got a dog!!! Dexter has a cousin!!!

The new dog is a blueheeler – or an Australian Cattle Dog – and his name is Mitch. Andy found him through (a great website! We found Dexter there too). He was at a high-kill shelter and was supposed to be put down last Tues. morning. My brother called literally just in time and then picked him up last Saturday.

He’s adorable and such a sweetheart. He’s obviously been a little starved for attention – he gives hugs!! Seriously – he’ll come up to you and put both of his front paws around your waist and snuggle into you. He has soooo much energy and is constantly playing. He’s also insanely attached to my brother already – one site called Blueheelers "fuzzy tumors" because they latch onto one person and follow them everywhere – that describes Mitch perfectly!

He’s not as much of a sweetheart when it comes to other dogs, though. Supposedly when they all first met Max (my parent’s dog) got real protective of Dexter (my dog) and there was a little bit of fighting going on. I’m sure they’ll work it out… they just have to figure out who’s in charge. My guess is it’s going to be Dexter. He’s small but he’s bossy! Gotta love a terrier!!

The other times that they’ve been together Mitch seems to really like Dexter – we took them out to my grandparents’ house (they have a huuuuge yard) and Dexter would run, run, run, and Mitch would chase him (I think he was herding him!) But Mitch is younger and bigger with a lot more energy then Dexter so they would play to a point and then Dexter would snarl – no fur up, just a little showing of the teeth –And then Mitch will back off for a while… and then he’d get bored and go back to trying to play with Dexter…and Dexter would get annoyed....

It was really amusing to watch… but anyways... Yeah for Andy!

May 22, 2006

Adamas hits the road

What we did Friday:

What I did Saturday:

What Matt (and the boys) did Saturday:

Weddings are super-fun when you don’t really know anyone, there are lots of young people there, and there’s an open bar. We made lots of new friends.

And according to the guys drinking beer, grilling out, and playing with tools outside while the wife is out of town is fun, too.

Rebecca and I needed to do some serious recovering on Sunday – and the best cure for a hangover? Clearly yarn and Chipotle. We went out to the knitter’s mercantile on KDK's recommendation. It was a fun store – lots of yarn to play with. I ended up buying 4 skeins of Cotton Fleece and the new Interweave Knits magazine which was all about lace. I love the Icarus shawl pattern in there…. The Cotton is for Green Gable which I just started last night… So far it’s going well…. And the blue/green color although not a color I would usually use definitely gets me out of my pinks and reds box – and it counts for both May and June project spectrum. And I’m finally trying a top down raglan! I’ve been meaning to try that for awhile….

It was a fun weekend.

May 19, 2006

How I blocked Adamas (It's finally finished!!)

First up – materials: I bought a cardboard blocking board from JoAnne’s and some 36" x 18"diameter steel dowels from Home Depot. They were each like $2.50… downside being that they were nasty. On my dad’s recommendation I used dishsoap to scrub them b/c it cuts through the grease. Although he also recommend something called Simple Green as being the best way to clean metal so that might be easier.

I did some internet "research" on blocking lace. The best post I found was this one over at Yarn Harlot.

And here’s my version of her blocking techniques:

Step 1: Soak shawl in lukewarm water for a half hour.

Step 2: Being careful not to stretch out any of the lace I folded the shawl-clump into a towel and then stepped on the towel to squeeze out any extra water. I did this like 3 or 4 times until it was damp but not dripping.

Step 3: String the metal rod through the top edge so it will be straight. This required 2 rods which overlapped in the middle. I then pinned next to the rod on each side so that it would stay put on the board while I stretched out the rest of the shawl.

Step 4: Pin the center bottom point – I just stretched it as far as the board would allow and pinned it down.

Step 5: Pin the center points of the slanted sides

Step 6: Pin each point out. Yarn Harlot recommended to pin each center point and then pin the center again and then again, etc. This would be great to keep everything even… however I had the wonderful blocking board to work with so I found it easier to just pin each point one square over and one square up from the last one. So I started from the center back and worked to the top alternating sides repositioning the middle one when I got there.

Step 7: Obsess a little. Yeah… I stared at it for awhile and pulled and tugged etc until it looked perfect. But sadly my lace knitting was not perfect and there are a few mistakes that no amount of blocking will erase… but I still think it’s pretty good for my first ever lace shawl!

Step 8: Go to work the next day and spend all day wondering how Adamas is doing…
Step 9: Repeat step 8

Step 10: Un Pin… WHO-HOO!!!!

Here’s before….

And after:


And after:

Before (ignore my scuzzy sweatpants/t-shirt combo):

And after:

Blocking lace is seriously the coolest thing ever.

May 18, 2006

I'm going to knit socks - Thanks SP!

I was going to wait to post about this until I finished up all of the Adamas posts … but last night was my first rowing practice for the year… which turned into a trip to Hooples with the team to watch the rest of the Cavs game (GO CAVS!!!!!) which turned into a late night out celebrating their win… So I haven’t unpinned Adamas yet…. but...

I have an awesome secret pal 8. Seriously – they rule… the exchange just started and already I have my very first package! How great is that! Here’s what they sent me:

It contains 4 skeins of Elann’s Peruvian Baby Silk which is about the softest thing I’ve ever felt in about the prettiest color and is destined to probably become some sort of lace…. And a book on how to knit socks complete with 2 skeins of Lorna’s Shepard’s Socks to make them with. The shepard’s socks is beautiful… great coloring and so very soft…. But I’m a little freaked out b/c I’ve never knit socks before and this is really, really nice yarn.

So ok. I’m going to do it. I’m going to knit socks. Any advice?

May 17, 2006

Mmmmmm lace.

What I did last night:

Yeah buddy! I can’t wait to get home tonight to unpin it and see it finished!

Dexter’s impatient to see the finished Adamas, too.

Lots of details tomorrow when I’m sure the blocking worked out ok!

May 16, 2006

Cleveland News

So lots going on in Cleveland.

First off… has everyone heard about the Cliffs on Rocky River? It’s been all over the news – and my husband did all of the renderings for it! Here’s some links to news stories on it:

News Net 5
Lakewood Observer

Such cool renderings...

In other news... any Cleveland Orchestra fans out there? Someone I know is trying to get the Junior Committee of the Cleveland Orchestra back up and running. It sounds like a great group. Their first meeting is tonight and it involves a backstage tour of Severance. Very cool. I know that there are going to be lots of other actives coming up, as well – if you’re interested email me and I’d be happy to send you the info.

And of course –GO CAVS!!!!

It's Finished!!!!

I finished knitting the Adamas Shawl!!!

It looks like a mess! Of course this is because it’s not blocked. I understand that… and I'm planning on blocking it tonight... I bought a blocking board from Jo Anne’s (it was only $15 and I had a 40% off coupon! Score!) and I’m going to try to buy some wires tonight from Catans… any metal wires will do, right? Is there anything special I need to know for blocking something this big or for blocking lace?

Also I finally finished and wove in the ends and everything on the big purple bag. The pattern is basically the Sentimental Stripes Tote pattern from KDK’s blog. It’s a good pattern it just took me forever because I kept getting distracted. The yarn is patons merino and random stripes of my grandma’s hand dyed wool. I hope it felts ok!

And thanks for all of the nice comments on the salsa garden!

Congratulations, Megan!

Megan (my sister in law) graduated from Syracuse University this past weekend. Congrats! We went up there for the ceremony… it was a long drive but totally worth it. The Finger Lakes area is beautiful. Someday we need to go back for a wine trip!

I have a ton of blogging to catch up on so I’m going to break it up into a few posts…bear with me here!

May 12, 2006

Salsa Garden Plans

So ok I know I’ve talked about wanting a salsa garden… and here’s what I’ve sketched out (yes I know it’s all drafted but that’s how us architects "sketch") for my 4’ x 8’ raised bed:

From top to bottom (with the abbreviations in parenthesis):
1 – 2’ row of cilantro (C)
2 – 2’rows of Onions (O)
2 – Cayanne Peppers (or something similar) (p.cay)
2 – Jalapeno Peppers (or other hot peppers) (p.jal)
1 – Purple or Yellow Bell Pepper (p.ppl)
1 – Red Bell Pepper (p. red)
2 – Green Bell Peppers (p.grn)
2 – Tomitillo’s (t.tillo)
2 – Big Tomatoes like beefsteak or better boy for Matt’s sandwiches (big)
3 – Roma Tomatoes (roma)
Basil (ba) interspersed around the tomatoes
Parsley (p) interspersed around the tomatoes
2 or so marigold (mg) plants also interspersed w/ tomatoes – they are supposed to be good for pollination and getting rid of bugs ‘n stuff. Yeah for companion planting!

So I know I’m missing garlic which is essential to any salsa I would make but according to my grandpa (who is my guru/idol on all things food growing) I have to wait until fall to plant garlic. Plus it’s supposed to be good planted near roses b/c they help each other. Again I don’t really understand companion planting but I’m going with it….

Am I missing anything? What else goes in salsa that I could grow? Am I going to have enough peppers/tomatoes to make salsa? Any other thoughts?

May 11, 2006

Finishing what I started…

So yeah. Sometimes I can be real bad at finishing things (case in point the Olympic disaster is still in a drawer on the needles somewhere). And this translates into my blog in that I’m real good about posting the start of projects and then I always forget to post about the finished object. I’m gonna try to be better about this, I promise.

So here’s some Finished Objects (well.. sortof finished. I still have to line them but the knitting part is done!)

First up… the two of the bags I blogged about here:

Bag #1 – all in Patons Merino (except for the green), size 10 ½ needles:

And Finished:

Bag #2 – Patons Merino (pink) and random wool I dyed while on vaca with the old folks (green), size 10 1/2 needles. The green didn’t really felt at all but it worked out with where I had the bag shaping… now it just really looks like a bubble! Here’s prefelting:

And finished:

Ok and finally the finished One Skein clutch I blogged about here:

Now if only I had a finished lace shawl to post about! Almost done... almost....

May 9, 2006

The Backyard Renovation Project- Phase I

"Make no little plans. They have no Magic to stir Men's blood."*

So we’re completely redoing our backyard. It started with the thought that really, we don’t need grass. There’s a park a half mile away that has awesome grass… that we don’t have to cut…. And we use our backyard mainly for grilling out or drinking outside w/ friends. Neither of which requires grass. And I have been all excited about the possibility of growing my own salsa…. And there are a few areas of our back yard that are … well… weed-ridden landscape trash heaps. And if we’re gonna have a nice new patio we don’t want to be looking out at a trash heap.

So we boiled our plans down to three grand but hopefully attainable goals:

  1. general yard landscaping/niceness
  2. veggie garden
  3. Patio

Here’s a before pic – this was taken a few months ago so they are before the weeds took over but you get the idea:

The geeks that we are we spent the weekend before last measuring and then Acad documenting our backyard. No seriously. I have a scaled cad drawing of my back yard. We’re not OCD at all. We decided on a simple 12’ x 10’ brick patio, to clean up the garbage pile and possibly add some plants there**, and to build a 4’ x 8’ raised garden bed for the veggies. A big plan but not ridiculous.

So this weekend…First up a trip to the ‘depot to see where we stood as far as how expensive this "little" patio would be…. 2 hours later we decided that in addition to everything else clearly we need a stone retaining wall, a new planting bed along the fence, landscape fabric to suppress the weed population, and a built-in irrigation system for the entire garden.


So here’s where we’re at so far….

building the stone wall

Canine help

Securing the raised veggie bed

wall and veggie bed built!

wall and new fence planter built!

Neither the veggie garden nor the retaining wall bed are filled yet… there is no point to buying that much dirt when we’re about to dig a 12’ x 10’ x 8" hole for the patio. The irrigation system is bought and designed but is not hooked up yet – we’re waiting for the patio dirt to install that. So yeah… the next two weekends we have to go out of town for various major-life-events of relatives and friends…. But Memorial Day weekend? It’s on.

Phase II plans include:

  • Build patio (like how vague I am about that one?)
  • Install landscape fabric, backfill beds, install irrigation system, add garden soil
  • Buy plants, and actually plant plants in all of these new beds
  • Mulch the crap out of everything
  • Make front yard presentable- move some existing plants, add flower pots to front steps, and mulch.

No little plans happening in our yard!

*bonus points to anyone who can name who said this

Burnham was right! Bonus points to Holly44109 for knowing her early 20th century architects! (i know i'm a geek. i'm fine with it)

**I had dreams of planting the sunflower seeds that I already have along the fence – but it only gets partial sun… will they still grow here or should I find some other tall, easy-care plant? Any suggestions?

Where to begin....

Well I don’t blog for a few days and them I’m completely overwhelmed with all I want to blog about! We had a very busy weekend… happy hour Friday turned into a night out in Tremont which is always fun. Especially when there is a Cavs game on… Oh and I totally got to trash talk…. After the game most of the group was leaving Southside… so me, Matt, my bro, and Jill (who I’m not linking to anymore because she never updates her blog anyways), decide that we need Edison’s pizza immediately. So we get there and we’re standing on the street eating our pizza and there’s this bartender chick playing with a hula-hoop trying to get people into the bar. … and I start trash talking a little. She wasn’t doing it right! And I knew I could totally kick her butt. I have few talents and hula is one of them…. So we threw down 2 hoops, 2 competitors, first one to drop loses. She didn’t stand a chance. But in the end (despite the vodka-fuled trashtalking, despite repeatedly kicking all of their arses) we made friends and having bartender friends is always a good thing. As is becoming Edison’s hula-hoop champ.

the pics are of us outside of Treehouse waiting for our sober driver. I think Andy was acting like Michael Jackson... not totally sure....

So then despite being a little rough on Saturday, Matt and I did some serious yard work… but I think that will be a post unto itself…. Sat. night my mom and I went shopping while the guys went fishing on the Peerless II… here’s some shots of their fun thanks to my dad (the old guy in the middle)
So I was mainly shopping for a dress for these upcoming weddings… I had exactly the same criteria as KDK:
  1. Had to be in my price range
  2. Had to match my shawl – I was thinking of something in a simple solid color – like brown or khaki… but unfortuantely right now everything solid is white. And call me old fashioned but I would be uncomfortable wearing an all-white dress to anyone's wedding but my own.
  3. Had to fit.

Ok now the last one really pist me off. *warning rant ahead* I am a petite. That does not mean I’m a tiny size 000… that does not mean I’m shaped like a board….it means that I’m short…. That ALL of me is proportionally short. Not that I need to hem a dress but that a dress cut for a "normal" person is not going to fit me because the hips of the dress will fall below my hips and the waist of the dress is going to hit me where my hips are leading to unfortunate fabric puckering. So if I want a dress to fit I need to buy a petite size… now I’m nearly 5’3. I’m not that short… really. I know lots of people who are my height or shorter and are my age. So why the f*ck are all of the petite dresses designed for 80-year old women???? Not even 80-year old women because I know my 80-year old grandma wouldn’t be caught dead in most of the fugly out there. Seriously WTF. I’m not a freak. I’m a size 10 (petite) – and that’s pretty darn average so why couldn’t I find anything that fit that didn’t remind me of a nursing home?! I don’t get it. Finally after going to 4 different stores and trying on many dresses that had the same it-doesn’t-fit-at-the-waist-and-hips-because-it’s-not-a-petite issue I finally found 3 or 4 decent petite dresses at Kauffmans. But of course nothing met criteria #1. Apparantly if you’re a petite and not an old woman they can charge you more. I ended up buying something that was a lot more expensive than I wanted simply because it was cute and actually fit. Now if I was 3 inches taller I would have had no problem finding something cute in my price range. GRRRRRRR. Luckily I got an additional 20% off for opening a store charge… so I guess it wasn’t thaaaaat expensive… but the whole experience just really, really annoyed me.

So yeah. That was the random of this weekend. The next post will be all about my backyard re-do and I promise it will be rant-free.

Secret Pal 8 Questionnaire

Hi secret pal! Here’s my updated Secret Pal 8 questionnaire! Alot of the questions are the same/copied from the Secret Pal Seven Questionnaire....

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

Um… I dunno… I’m very sensitive to wool (the horror!) but I’ll knit with it anyways – I just can’t wear it close to the skin… but basically I love knitting with anything soft and I absolutely do not like anything even remotely scratchy.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

A drawer and the storage that comes with the Denise Kit.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I learned to knit years ago but didn’t pick it up in force until college when I made a bunch of semi-hideous acrylic scarves for my roommates. But I really have only been knitting seriously for about a year and a half – so I’m probably an intermediate. I’ve made a sweater and learned cabling and I just recently tried some lace… but I have yet to knit any real complicated color work and socks still completely freak me out.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?


5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

I’m pretty picky about scents as I get migraines and strong, perfumy smells are something that can give me an instant headache… so anything mild. Vanilla is usually good.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Yes. Love me some chocolate.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

Create things out of beads, paint and decorate my house, garden (starting to get into that), sew (I'm just starting to learn), and I’ll pretty much try anything once. I do not spin as of yet.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

Honestly I’m not that into music. I guess I just don’t know where to start as far as what to listen to. I borrow a lot of cd’s and MP3’s from people at work and I pretty much like anything…. And am willing to be educated!

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

I tend to like reds and pinks a lot. I always seem to be really attracted to those colors… I’m not really a blue person so much because I don’t look that good in blue… Actually I think it’s more that I like warm colors more than cool colors. I’m doing the whole Project Spectrum thing and that has really opened my eyes to new colors, which has been fun.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I live with my husband and the cutest dog ever.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Yes, yes, yes, no.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Um… I dunno. I’m kindof all over the place. Generally I like quick knits… I like having something simple going at the same time as something more complicated so that I have something to knit on the bus and something to knit while at home.

13. What are you knitting right now?

The Adamas shawl from knitpicks – I’ve been working on it for what seems like forever. Hopefully by the time that SP8 really gets going I’ll be done with it! I also have currently been making an obscene amount of felted bags but I’m kindof overdosing on it.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I use the Denise Kit for everything although I love the bamboo double points that I have…actually I really like the feel of bamboo in general… and I just bought my very first pair of addi-turbos for the shawl I’m working on. They are amazing!

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

No but my mom and grandma both do!

17. How did you learn to knit?

My great-grandmother taught me how to knit, my grandmother taught me how to purl, and my mom refreshed my memory later on.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?

About a year and a half…. It’s a wool-ease scarf that will probably never be finished (If I'm going to spend my time knitting a scarf on size 8 needles it's going to be out of something nicer than wool-ease!).

19. What is your favorite holiday?

Halloween and New Years although I always seem to have the most fun on the Fourth of July because we always throw a huge, weekend-long party.

20. Is there anything that you collect?

Beads. And I’m starting to amass a pretty serious yarn collection too!

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Um… I dunno, really. I’m starting to get into lace so there’s that… but I don’t know about any specific books or patterns. And I’m always up for trying new things as far as yarn goes…
I don’t have any knitting magazine subscriptions.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I’d like to learn how to knit a raglan sweater in the round (the one I’ve made has set-in sleeves and was all knit straight… seaming it sucked hard) .And I maybe could perhaps be convinced to try socks….

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Not a sock knitter… how do I measure my feet? Around, length? Need some help…

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
April 17

May 5, 2006

Fun with Dye (and wine)!

So last night a few of us got together for dinner, wine, and dying. fun! I didn’t take any good pictures of us actually dying anything (I was busy making dinner. And I forgot) but here’s our finished yarn.

I think we each made very "us" yarn.

Jessica’s Grape and Lime:

Jill’s Grape and Lime:

Jennifer’s 1994 yarn (she’ll probably blog about it so I don’t want to step on any blogging toes but it was inspired by tie-die):

And my project spectrum May yarn:

I used lime mixed with lemon, lime mixed with cherry, and plain old lime to dye this… and I wound it into 3 different skeins within the same skein… so hopefully that will work out into big stripes.

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