July 27, 2007

More cowbell?

Ok so I need your opinions on something…

Remember this?
(Sorry for the sucky picture... it's very gray out right now. here's a slightly better close-up:)
That would be my Sahara that I was pretty convinced was headed for disaster. Well then I Ravelry’d it and decided that if the armholes are a little large it will just come out with more of a dropped shoulder look. I can live with that. Especially since I plan on wearing a cami under this anyways. So I kept up with the knitting and now I’m at a point where I have to make a decision.
To bling or not to bling.

I knit this swatch of the ribbing for the bottom, neckline, and armholes to check out the bling/no bling situation. I knit two repeats of the pattern w/o bling, then I slipped a bead onto the knitting at the center of each pattern for two repeats:
bling swatch

At first I thought: Needs more cowbell. I mean you can barely even see the bling! But I was pretty married to the plan of centering the beads on the diamonds… I’m picturing neat little rows of sparkle accentuating the v of the neckline. So I think rather than adding more beads I should just use different beads.

Because really when given the choice you always gotta go with the bling.

So ok then. I know how many/where I want them… but which beads should I use?

The Original Red bling:
bling swatch
I think this one may be too subtle.

Shiny Gray Bling:
bling swatch
Getting closer…

White Bling:
bling swatch
I think this might be too… white…

Black Bling:
bling swatch
Don’t know if this is shiny enough but it could work.

Or Silvery Gray Bling:
bling swatch
Also getting closer…

What do you guys think?

July 26, 2007

Garden Pics and a Conversation

Ok so, here’s an actual conversation between me and Matt:

Matt: That scarf you made is pretty cool.

Me: I know! I can’t wait to spin up the red stuff…

Matt: ?

Me: You know the big basket of red fiber in the office…

Matt: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Me: How can you not have seen it? It’s the giant bowl of red soft…

Matt: Wait you mean in the studio? You have to get your room names right.

Me: Well sorry. I meant the room with all of the yarn.

Matt (incredulously): Room with all of the yarn? Every room of this house is part of your factory!

Me: No it’s not. You're exaggerating.

Matt: Let’s see. Basement – dying, Office – winding, Guest Room – blocking, Studio – spinning and storage, Living Room – covered in Knitting.

Me (after a pause): You’re really tolerant.

Apparently my “factory” has taken over the entire house. Really I’m more impressed that Matt knows what each step of the process is named… I also noticed that he didn’t mention Attic – storage. I don’t know if he quite understands the extent of my stash….

So yeah here’s some more pics of my garden. These were all taken this weekend before the rain started… which btw Yeah for the rain! We so needed it! Although workwise I’m semi-screwed b/c of it. I can’t exactly approve wet mortar samples…. Anyways…Flowers!

Morning Glory
Morning Glories - I grew these from Seed!


Peppers - we've been eating them nightly. Mmmm...

Tomatoes - I wish they'd turn red already!

Basil - mmmm pesto

Zinnea's - I grew these from seed, too!

Mystery Flower
I don't know what this is but I love it!

Mystery Flower
Giant flower bush thing.

Cone Flower
Coneflowers - they grow "wild" (meaning I don't weed over there) on the side of my house.

Mystery Flower
Don't know what this one is either but it's another wild flower.

Mystery Flower
Lily that I accidentally ripped out last year thinking it was a weed. What can I say. I'm learning.

July 25, 2007

Weekend Recap and some more Peru stuff…

Right so the weekends so far this summer have been a bit on the crazy side. Good crazy, though…

This Sat. we had our second regatta of the season. Sadly I have no pictures of us actually racing just the team photo afterwards:
Regatta #2

And the one of us showing off the backs of our shirt for our sponsor’s webpage:
Regatta #2
Gotta love the Garage Bar! I mean what other bar has “brats ‘n tots” – the perfect combo of a bratwurst and tator tots? We go ever week after practice. And yes I realize that this completely negates any and all calories burned by the actual rowing.

So we did very well in our first race – a 2:32 which is 3 seconds faster than our fastest time. However in the second race…well…we were doing great – speeding to the finish line and gaining on the boat we were racing. We got to the bridge and were about to pass them for a spectacular photo finish…. And someone caught a crab. It sucked. But that’s what makes racing fun – you never know what’s going to happen. One little mistake and it’s all over.

Dexter had a great day – as our official team mascot he got lots of treats and attention:
Regatta #2
Then Sat afternoon Matt went out to play b-ball and I spent the day “working” in the yard, and sitting on my patio knitting. It was a lovely low-key afternoon.

Sat. night, however was not so low-key. It was one of our friend’s b-days so we all went out. Funtimes. We started at Southside and then defaulted to the Bier Market and the Garage Bar… all great bars.

Anyways then Sunday after spending a good chunk of the day immobile on the couch in recovery mode we decided we needed to get our butts moving and get back to the training. So we loaded up our new packs and went to the Rocky River Reservation for some hiking:
Rocky River Reservation
We didn’t do anything too intense – only about 5ish miles – but we did go up and down the valley rim several times. Everything I’ve read says the best/only way to train for backpacking is to backpack. And that training for the downhill is just as important as the uphill….
Rocky River Reservation
So yeah… there will be lots of pics of us hiking for the next few weeks!

(5 weeks and 2 days to be exact...)

July 24, 2007

Getting Excited

So last night I caught the last 10 min of the Peru episode of the show Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations and thanks to the magic that is you tube I can share this quote with you..

On Machu Picchu

“You may think of me as a snarky, cinical bastard always quick with a dismissive remark, a glib comment, a stupid crack, but here I don’t have a lot to say. The word beautiful really does not describe does it. It’s inadequate. To see it 360, to feel the wind, to smell it, Just the size. The mixture of being absolutely blown away by the mountains alone… just the mountains alone. Add to that one of the true wonders of the world. Add to that slight altitude wooziness, and the sort of vertigo inducing feeling of standing on the precipice. It’s – enlightening … Alright. I’m hungry. And actually I need a drink. Ok. A little ungraceful. But you try to summon up all this in a sound byte. There’s just no way."
And then later on he said this:

“I have to say … I have been to some truly breathtakingly beautiful places and by any accounts Machu Pichhu takes the crown.”
In 5 weeks and 3 days I get to go there. So. Very. Excited.

Also – his line up for next season is this:

Shanghai, New York City, Brazil, French Polynesia – Tahiti, Cleveland, Hong Kong, Argentina, South Carolina, and Tuscany.

Yup. Cleveland. Here’s the blurb:

Nestled in the Midwest and on the banks of Lake Erie, Cleveland, Ohio, was invaded and picked apart by yours truly, Anthony Bourdain. What Tony discovered in Cleveland surprised even him.

The episode premiers on August 27th. Set your DVR’s!

In other Cleveland news - congrats to Drew Carey on his new gig!

July 23, 2007

Back to the spinning

Right so remember that spinning thing I was trying way back when? Yeah I finally decided to keep the Louet wheel b/c honestly I just seemed to like it better. Plus it’s portable which is always a plus. So anyways - check out what I made:
My First Handspun
That’s the brown/gray wool that my grandma gave me to practice with. It’s actually a part of a fleece that one of her friends gave her as a birthday gift - can you imagine that? Getting a whole fleece for you b-day? That would rock pretty hard. Aaanyways I spun it all and then it sat on the wheel for a month. I finally, just now, got to plying it. I’ll be the first to admit that it sucks a lot in some places but overall?

My First Handspun
It’s totally yarn.

So much so that I can even knit with it!
One Row Handspun Scarf

That would be the one row handspun scarf by the Yarn Harlot that I found thanks to the magic that is Ravelry. Even closeup once knit the yarn looks kindof ok:
One Row Handspun Scarf

Yeah for spinning!

Yarn Jam

I won a contest! Tricia over at Spastic Shepard Knits was having a 100th commenter contest and I won! So last week I got this fantastic package from her:
That would be a skien of Colinette Jitterbug in in Florentine, and some wonderfully tasty homemade blueberry jam! Plus she also threw in some faboo extras like some hommemade chocoloate and a beautiful card (Did you make that, too? It’s gorgeous.):
An adorable stamp and a stamp pad to go with it:

And this luxurious bath confetti!

And check out the yarn, oooh the yarn:
Even my non knitting husband commented on how pretty it is.

Thanks so much, Tricia!!!

July 17, 2007

Mini Vaca

So this weekend we hit the road and got the hell outta dodge.

Our first stop was the Toledo Museum of Art where we were immediately distracted by the Gehry Building (The Center for the Visual Arts - it's one of his early designs from before he jumped the shark).

Toledo Museum of Art

And the giant “tire swing” sculpture:
Toledo Museum of Art

And the Guimard Subway station… which is odd b/c isn’t that supposed to be in Paris?
Toledo Museum of Art
But whatev – art nouveau pretty!
Toledo Museum of Art

Before making it to our actual destination – the Glass Pavillion:
Toledo Museum of Art - Glass Paviliion
Toledo Museum of Art - Glass Paviliion

Very, very cool building. There’s a great article on how they made it here (scroll down). Sculpture that is also functional with almost no visible structure –before I read the article I just figured it was held up by invisible sky hooks and structural paint because we couldn’t find more than like 4 columns in the entire building. Crazy.

Toledo Museum of Art - Glass Paviliion

Plus we got to see a glass blowing demo! I so want to try that sometime….
Toledo Museum of Art - Glass Paviliion

Then it was on to the real purpose of our trip. The Cabella’s Store.

Our mission was to find backpacks etc. for our upcoming adventure and we thought this would be the perfect place to find everything we needed. We expected equal parts red/crunchy. Meaning equal parts rednecks who are into “hunting” but are really more about the guns & dirty hippies who are really into nature and the…. nature, man. What we need for our trip falls somewhere dead in the middle of those two so it seemed like this would be the place to go…. Yeah not so much with the crunchy. Turns out Cabella’s is a great place to go if the sortof camping you’re doing involves camo underware, an outdoor turkey fryer, and a blow-up mattress for your truck bed (seriously) but not so great for the technical backpacking equipment we were looking for. And I mean, really, is there ever a need for this much camo?


We did find some of the other things we needed - like zip-off hiking pants and water purification tablets- so the trip wasn’t a complete waste. I have to say, though, I was more than a little annoyed at the size/focus of the women’s section. It was all “camper chic” skirts and cute little tank-tops with very little actual useful gear. While Matt had many, many options for a light-weight jacket to cut the wind up at high elevations that is also water resistant and close fitting so that it can be worn under a backpack I had one. And it was hideous. I mean I’m going on the same exact trip as he is! I need the same clothing as he does! So why is the women’s department less than half the size of the guys? Ugh.

Also, I feel I should warn you… If you ever go to a Cabella’s there are dead things everywhere:

Anyways the third destination on our little adventure was supposed to be a campground outside of Oak Openings Preserve. The plan was to camp Sat. night and hike all day Sun. Uh huh. You know what’s very un-fun? Camping in the rain. Which we remembered as we pulled up to the campsite and the skies opened. So we cut our losses and just headed for home – and even had time to stop at one of Matt’s projects on the way (of which I sadly have no pictures).

So then Sunday… well… we still didn’t have packs and that was the one and only goal for this weekend… so we did what we should have done in the first place. We googled “backpacking equipment, Cleveland”. Duh. Always start with Google. I so need to remember that next time I’m doing anything. Always Start with Google!

So yeah… we found The Backpackers Shop. It is literally only 20 min from our house, is incredibly awesome, and had everything we needed and more. Plus - and this is my fav thing about specialty stores – everyone there knew their stuff. I mean really, really knew their stuff. The guy that helped fit us for our packs used to work out at Yellowstone and had done some serious back country packing. Awesome.

In cases you’re interested in this sort of thing here’s my pack, and here’s Matt’s pack. Both Osprey’s, both the same pack, really I just got the girly one. Both have the detachable hip pack and the separate sleeping bag compartment, and water bladder holder etc. etc. They seem big… until you realize that that will be all we are taking with us for a 16 day trip…. But back in the day I did 5 weeks around Europe out of a glorified bookbag. I can do this.

So from there we still wanted to get some hiking in so we went to French Creek Reservation which was right by the Backpacker Shop. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much… but it was actually a really nice park. Check it out:

French Creek Reservation
French Creek Reservation
French Creek Reservation

Very pretty.

So yeah… I still need a few things (like a frickin’ jacket. Why is that so hard?) but we are definitely getting closer to being ready… now I just have to keep up the training…

July 12, 2007

One Skein of Glacier

So I’ve mentioned before that Cider Moon is my drug of choice… well check out all you can make from one little skein of Glacier in the colorway Asbury Park:

A pair of Instant Gratification Socks in a women’s size 6.5:
Instant Gratification Socks
Which are just plain old socks knit with 48 stitches on size 3 needles.

Stripes in a Baby Hat:
Baby Hat
The hat is knit out of Shine Sport and the Glacier – I cast on 88 stitches on size 4 needles, knit in K2P2 ribbing for about an inch, knit around until it was about 5.5 inches tall, then knit 6 K2tog to start the decreases, decreased every other round until the top. The stripes are 3 rows per stripe.

And a Cell Phone Cozy:
Cell Phone Cover
I cast on 32 stitches on size 4 needles, knit until it was just over 2” long and then grafted the bottom.

Not too shabby for one skein of yarn! They recently had the glacier on sale… and I ordered 2 more skeins of it….

One of "Pandora's Rose":
Pandora's Rose
Pandora's Rose

And one of "Lower Wacker Drive":
Lower Wacker Drive

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