Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Scarf Stuff

Yes, fiber related activities do still occur around here.
Actually, my chatter over our trip should drop off now that Hubby is back in school. As he will no longer be able to devote every waking moment to planning, he won't flood me with exciting information when I get home from work.
Cashmere sock scarf I thought I would have a new picture of the blue Eyelet and Feather scarf to show you so you would have a fighting chance to understand what I'm going to be babbling about.
But when I went to download it yesterday, there was no picture on the camera, and I remembered the batteries died when I was trying to take it.
So stick with me.
You'll remember I was working on US6 needles, which is what my pattern calls for, and Cynthia suggested I try US7.
I went to the other end of the ball, knit a little stockinnette stitch swatch, and then segued into two pattern repeats.
It looked quite nice.
On the theory that if big was good, bigger might be better, I repeated the process with a US8.
I pulled back the portion I had already worked on the US6 to just two repeats and worked up from there.
It didn't look good; the stitches were too open.
Just to be safe, I took it to the store Saturday for a second opinion.
They agreed the US7 swatch looked good and the principle behind it was sound (larger needle to get more length). Although people did like the US6 swatch too.
So I yanked it all out, used the ball winder to rewind the yarn so it was easier to work with, and I started over.

Frogging Either Way
Now you might think loosing all the work on the US6 progress is a shame, but either way I was thinking I'd yank it.
See, the varigation is very slight on this colorway, but I was still becoming concerned that it was starting to pool, causing the right hand side to be darker than the left hand side.
I had figured my choices were to ignore it and keep knitting; start cutting in the other tail at that point; or start over entirely, cutting in the second tail.
But then when I decided the US7 was better.
This time around I was smart enough to start cutting in the second tail right from the get go.
I'm working two rows with tail one, then two rows with tail two, etc.
This does make a little float up the right hand side of the scarf, but as it's only two rows tall, it's blending in rather well. I'll try to get a picture tonight.
Ok, I think that's it for now, gotta do some work.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Je mange le chien

I eat the dog.
Accomplished by biting their ears, which gets you a mouth full of fur and a dirty look for your troubles.
Yes, I really do bite their ears.
Or Samson's ears, at least.
He does this thing where he climbs into my lap, but instead of curling up, he sits bolt upright with his flank to me effectively blocking the TV so all I can see is dog shoulder.
Well, one day he did it and I got annoyed and bit his ear.
He was unimpressed.
So I bit it again, but tugged on it and growled like a puppy with a toy.
That got his attention. He jerked his ear out of my mouth and gave me a dirty look as if to say "You don't want to go there."
And I said, "Oh, I'll go there, puppy."
And I bit the side of his muzzle!
And Samson reared back and punched me in the face!
Really, pow, right in the kisser with his giant paw.
It hurt pretty bad, too, but I guess I was asking for it.
Hubby, of course, was laughing his head off.

Je marche sur le chiot!
I much prefer my normal battle cry: I step on the puppy!
Which is very useful when a 75 lbs dog is lying in the middle of the floor refusing to move. Stepping on the puppy is accomplished by shouting the battle cry, then softly placing your foot on the offending dog's shoulder.
This will earn you a dirty look, but at least your mouth is fur free.
And you don't usually get punched in the face afterward.
As you can see, Hubby is progressing in brushing up his French. (Although he hasn't learned the word for "step on" yet, so I had to run that through an online translator.)
I spent the weekend running around the house (attempting) to shout "Je mange le chien!"
Apparently my pronunciation was so bad during one attempt that I actually said something about a house eating a dog, or something.
Hubby and I decided it would be best for me not to attempt to speak any French while we are over there as they are more apt to be insulted by my extreme bungling than by thinking I don't speak French at all.
This does not surprise me, since I sometimes have trouble pronouncing English, and it's my only language.

I e-mailed Hubby: Je marche sur le chiot
He replied: You walk on the what?
I e-mailed: I step on the puppy!
He replied: No, marche is walk! You'd have to say Je fais un pas sur le chien, which is literally I take a step on the dog.....

So that online translator did me wrong.
No, I don't see much need for being able to say I eat or step on dogs while we are in France.
But my desire to know how to say that stuff should clear up any doubts you might have about my sick sense of humor.

Cupcake Caper
I baked cupcakes last night. Out of a box chocolate, with pre-made butter cream icing.
Really they can't be beat, so why torture myself with the scratch thing?
When it was time for dessert, I put four cupcakes on a plate and put it on the coffee table with our tea.
This coincided with the start of a thunderstorm.
Baru was already hiding upstairs in the Puppy Fort. Samson was in the foot space on the floor between the love seat and the coffee table.
At the first clap of thunder Samson barked, jumped up, turned around and barked out the window, then turned around and made a play for the cupcakes.
I jumped off the love seat and said, "No! Bad puppy!"
Then I suggested he might be more comfortable up in the fort with Baru.
But he sat in front of me with his shoulders hunched and his ears dropped and said he was a big boy and could handle it.
Then another clap of thunder came and he jumped up on me and said he could handle it better if I was holding him.
So I brought him over to the big couch, figuring it would be easier for him to sit next to me, and it would move his big, fat, flailing tail away from the tea and cupcakes.
But instead of sitting with me, he proceeded to jump from one end of the couch to the other—over me. Really, I was in imminent peril of being trampled.
I said, "Alright, that's enough, get down!"
Samson jumped off the couch—and made another play for the cupcakes!
I stood up and said "No, bad puppy!"
And although he was laying flat on his belly, he had a mischievous look on his face that showed he would try again if I turned my back.
Just at that moment, Hubby came downstairs and asked what was going on.
So I told him.
He said, "So, Samson's argument is 'I'm traumatized by the storm, give me a cupcake'?"
And I said, "I guess so."
Samson settled down after that. I don't know if it was the comforting presence of the Alpha, or it coincided with the storm passing.
No, we did not give him a cupcake.
And, just to be safe, when I packed the cupcakes up, I put them in the oven to protect them.
I can learn.
The cinnamon bun incident is still fresh in my mind.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Socks ::twitch::

I finished Hubby's Sox Socks last night.
He would not hold still for a proper finished objects picture. He presented me with one foot, which happened to be the first sock, which I posted a picture of when I finished it.
He was quite surprised when I threw the complete pair at him last night, prompting him to ask, "You made me new socks?"
Technically, he knew I was making him socks, as I'd corned him to check the fit at least twice.
But considering I started them back on Feb. 9, I could understand why he either forgot about them or gave up hope after I finished the first one back on March 2.

Sock Toss
I suppose saying I threw them at him has violent connotations, doesn't it?
Our living room furniture is arranged in an L. He lays on the big couch and I lay on the love seat, positioning us head-to-head at right angles.
So when I wove in the last end, I tossed them over into his lap.
He put them on straight away.
It is very cute, the way he gets all excited when I make him something.
You would think this would prompt me to make him more things, but I don't operate that way. :-)
Sox cuff I was a bit surprised that the toes didn't match.
You'll have to take my word on this.
Although I thought I did a pretty good job of matching up the cast on points, as you can see in this old picture, the stripes slipped out of alignment somewhere around the heel flap and turn.
So where the first sock ends with a black and white toe, the second sock ends with a green toe.
Oh well, they'll be in his shoes.

Sock Withdrawal
Having completed that pair, I don't have a pair of socks on the needles at the moment.
Hence my twitching.
Unless, of course, you count the hibernating Peacock Socks. Which I don't.
Or the fact that I still need to re-work the foot of my one Cubes & Cables Socks which I designed for the sock club.
Really, I need to focus on the two deadline scarves.
I wonder how long this will last.

Early Birthday Present
My birthday is in April.
Since my mom reads my blog, she saw the post about those socks from Sweaterscapes I've been drooling over.
And she bought me all the patterns!
Since it's an online transaction, I've already got the PDFs in my hot little hands.
We debated the virtues of getting a kit, but decided it would be better to buy the yarn separately, since I could potentially have enough leftovers to make two patterns, rather than just one.
I also have partial skeins in my stash that might work, such as the Jawool from my TipToe Socks, which would reduce the amount I have to buy.
So I'm going to price it out and then she'll send me money for the yarn.
It's all very exciting.

In Praise of Customer Service
Doug at Sweaterscapes has been very nice and helpful over e-mail during this process.
At first mom didn't understand the online ordering, so he e-mailed her the patterns and said to send him a check.
Then she figured it out and ordered a fourth pattern, but didn't realize she had to download it. So I e-mailed him the receipt and explained what happened. He said he noticed it all seemed connected somehow and resent me all the PDFs.
Which means I have a back up copy on mom's computer if something bizarre happens to mine.

Hubby recently had a good customer service experience with Verizon Wireless as well.
He wanted to call a B&B in France to book our stay. After we nailed down the international calling codes, the call didn't go through.
I remembered he had to activate international dialing on our account, which I had to do when he was in Japan in 2005.
So he called Verizon and did that. Then he called the B&B and had his heart broken since they required a two night stay.
Then the rep from Verizon called Hubby back and said if he was planning to make a lot of international calls he should get a plan for $4 a month which reduces the rate to 10 cents a minute instead of $1.50 a minute. And we could cancel it at any time.
Hubby said ok, but what about the call I just made?
So the guy made the plan retroactive to that call.
Because if you are going to be disappointed, it's better to pay 10 cents for the privilege.
Anyway, I thought it was cool the rep was proactive in calling back to point out the plan.

Speaking of our trip
Hubby's itinerary for us was trashed yesterday when he discovered Versailles is closed on Mondays.
He said he read it draws 3 million visitors a year, so why aren't they open all week?
We were pretty ticked off.
Since we were feeling snarky, Hubby pointed out Yankees Stadium draws more than that during the baseball season.
Although acting like Ugly Americans made us feel a little better, it didn't help our travel plans.
But he's got it sorted out. Now on Monday we'll go up to Normandy and visit some chateaus in the area, looping back around so we can go to Versailles Tuesday morning, then back on track to Bordeaux.
This means we'll have to skip Alsace (sp?) and Verdun, but sacrifices must be made.
We're still rather surprised the program he is attending doesn't include a trip to Versailles, but I'm sure they have their reasons.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Midnight Musings

As tired as I've been all week, I'm really really ticked off to be awake at 3 a.m.
(Since Hubby is on Spring Break, it is nothing for him to stay up til almost midnight since he can sleep in. Which means I'm up as well. But the last two nights I've put my foot down and gone to bed early. Fat lot of good it does when I wake up in the wee hours. sigh.)
When I first woke up, I was actually having dreams about my freelance article, in the form of dreaming of my Gmail account and sifting through other possible sources. This is silly because I'm actually in pretty good shape on it. But stress manifests in strange ways.

What's Wrong With Flannel?
Then, as I was laying there, my mind seized on that commercial for the dating website where the woman goes "I promise never to wear flannel pajamas to bed" and the guy responds "Can we just make that no pajamas?" or something cute like that. It's all very titillating. And I thought to myself, "What's wrong with flannel pajamas?" I have flannel pajamas.
Hubby gave them to me.
Granted, I don't usually wear them to bed.
But at the same time, the couple in the commercial have obviously never been to my in-laws house during the winter.
At Christmas time it's so fraking cold up there I not only wear my flannel pajamas to bed, I do my best to sleep under Hubby, and invite the dogs up with me. (Usually I'm fighting the dogs for space on the bed. It's hard not ranking high in the pack.)
Anyway, I just think that woman needs to qualify her pledges regarding wearing pajamas or she might regret it later.

Have I mentioned I'm going to France?
Then, of course, my mind turned to our trip.
There are several months to get through before we leave, but it's still pretty all consuming.
It's a good thing Hubby is on break as he is devoting most of his days to planning.
He has the broad outline in place.
I land Sunday around noon. We spend that afternoon and evening in Paris. He's got that hotel booked.
Monday morning we pick up the rental car and head to Versailles. That afternoon we head toward Bordeaux where we spend the night.
Tuesday we wake up, hit the wineries north of Bordeaux and wander out of town, sleeping in the general vicinity of Montpellier.
He, of course, is rattling these areas off in terms of their wine appellations, but fell back on the big city names for my benefit.
Wednesday we make our way up to Lyon.
Thursday we head toward Dijion.
Friday night will be spent somewhere in the Champagne area, but I don't remember where.
Of course the goal in all these areas is to hit as many wineries as we can.
Don't worry, when we do these wine tasting trips, Hubby tastes and I drive.
I figure he's the one who knows what he's drinking, so he'll get more out of the experience and I stay sober.
He mentioned something about trying to swing out to Verdun to see the battle site (he is a history teacher after all. He's fairly disappointed we won't have time to swing up to Normandy).
Saturday we head back to Paris, arriving in time to return the car by 6 pm.
Sunday morning we fly home, and return to our boring lives.

A Place to Rest
Although it all sounds good, he's actually stuck in Bordeaux.
He is trying to book hotels ahead of time so we don't have to worry about it when we're in country.
Sadly, he found a nice sounding bed & breakfast located amidst the wineries he's aiming for. But when he called, they established in his broken French and her broken English that we'd have to stay for two nights, which doesn't fit in our schedule.
So he has embarked on an elaborate system of punching addresses into the French version of Google Maps trying to establish where other hotels/b&bs are in relation to where we want to be.
Then he found a nice sounding resturant for dinner, but it's not open on Monday. sigh.
It's not easy being the activities director.
In the mean time, I figure I'm going to start poking around in order to determine the best way to bring wine home with us.
Carry-on luggage is obviously out because of the no liquid rule. I'd be worried about checked luggage. Have the stuff shipped seems the most sensible, but I don't know how easy it would be to pull off. But there is time to nail down the details.

I, on the other hand, was able to give Ravelry a few pokes and shake loose a three page list(password required) of yarn stores in France.
I couldn't remember where the list was, hence the poking. If you are wondering, the dialog box to search for a Local Yarn Store is on the "Yarns" tab.
Closer to our departure I will have to figure out how to print this list with street addresses that we can punch into the GPS unit.
There are, as you might imagine, several stores in Paris, but others seem to be scattered through the areas it sounds like Hubby says we'll be transversing.
Still, I might have to content myself with one of the Paris shops.

Parlez vous Knitting?
Hubby was asking last night whether there was a universal language that I would be able to go into one of these stores and be understood.
I said it's all knitting, but they'll have French words for it that I don't know. I figure it will be a matter of pantomiming what I want.
On the other hand, the labels are universal, and I know enough that I would be able to help myself to enough yarn to, say, make a scarf.
Still, it might be a good idea to learn the French words for hat, scarf, and socks so I can move things along faster.
I also seem to remember seeing on a blog once a few years ago that someone made a knit chicken that looked like those rubber gag chickens from a Phildar pattern. Maybe I should try to find that...hmm.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yo YOs

After work yesterday I went to a Lace 101 class at Knitting Central.
D was teaching it, she does a lot of nice lace knitting and has taught it in the past. (She's also a busy girl and hasn't updated her blog in a while.)
Did you know there are five different ways to work yarn overs, depending if you are going from knit to knit, knit to purl, purl to knit, etc.?
Yeah, you read that right five ways!
I had no clue, which is why I crashed the class. She was showing me some when we were working Saturday and I was dumbfounded.
I won't go into detail here, but would encourage you to take a class at your friendly local yarn store if you have a burning desire to know.
If you can't wait for a class, I believe there was an informative discussion of YOs on that blog let me explaiKnit.
(Which might indicate that I just accidentally lied about not knowing there were five different YOs. Well, let's say I knew there were different YOs, but maybe not exactly five. Do you forgive me?)
But it's so much easier to have someone show you these things.
During class, D discussed the uses of different increases and decreases and the various YOs.
She explained that there are different abbreviations that can be used to indicate just which YO should be worked, but most patterns (American ones, at least) just say "YO." This forces the knitter to decide for themselves, which doesn't offer much help to those knitter who don't know about the different YOs.
Poor YO-less knitters.
Then we made a squidgy little sample swatch, practicing the YOs, and getting a feel for the pattern for the scarf they'll make.
I say they because, as you know, I have way to many deadline projects going on to stop for another scarf at the moment (although it is quite lovely).
Of course, once I started working some of the new/different YOs I actually had trouble working the standard YO. sigh.

Crochet YOs
This knitting business is very complicated, with its five different ways to make a hole.
When you want to make a hole in crochet all you do is work a chain. The more chains you work, the bigger your hole.
Doesn't get much simpler.
Of course, in crochet they aren't called yarn overs, they are called spaces.

Relevance to my life
I'm not sure how this new information will influence my current projects.
The YOs on the Eyelet and Feather scarf are all between two knit stitches.
And the Harf, thankfully, doesn't have YOs at all!
It might all come into play, however, for the scarf I want to make with my Mohair Splash yarn. I would have to look at the stitch pattern I selected to see where the YOs fall.
But that is a task for another day.

Speaking of Scarves
Cynthia was at the store, so I showed her my progress on the Eyelet and Feather Scarf in the Cashmere Sock Yarn in relation to submitting it to the book.
She thought I should go up a needle size. She suggested it would get me more length on the finished piece.
Fortunately there is time to swatch and fiddle around some more. I do have a little over a month before the deadline. I'll probably work on that tonight.
Actually, I have two interviews tonight for my next Yarn Market News article, so I'm not sure how much knitting I'll accomplish.
Last night I didn't get home until 9 pm. As I was pretty fried at that point, I actually wimped out and worked on the Harf.
With the potential needle change for the blue scarf the Harf actually required less brain power!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We Have Lift Off

Crocus No yarn related content ahead.
My bulbs have started coming up.
Here are some lame little crocuses that have bloomed in the corner flower bed under the rhododendron.
Bulbs in the other flower beds have broken the surface, but haven't made this kind of progress. Although I think some daffodils will bloom any day now.
I'm even starting to see leaves breaking the surface on the hill in the driveway.

400 Strong
I say these five little crocus are lame because I'm sure I've planted around 400 bulbs in the four years we've been in the house, so I feel I should have much more color by now.
Also, I really should have gotten closer when I took the picture, but I was in my pajamas and only has on slipper socks, so I didn't want to walk in the dirt.
The bulb situation is really out of control, but I'm still not satisfied.
The first year in the house, Costco had reasonably priced bags of 100 daffodil bulbs. My mom and I decided to split a bag, giving us 50 bulbs each. Well, when we went to the store there weren't any more of those bags, so we ended up buying a variety of smaller bags.
After we'd divided them up, we each had upwards of 100 bulbs. We looked at each other and said, "How the frak did that happen?"
Now, I know 100 bulbs sounds like a lot. And it was a lot when I was planting the damn things. But when they bloomed, it seemed sparce.
So the next year I did it again.

The problem is, it turns out all the flowers I really like, and therefore keep buying/planting, are early spring bloomers—daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, paperwhites, crocus. So they all bloom at once and then I've got nothing for the rest of the summer.
Resulting in an effort these last two years to find late spring and summer blooms, but they are more money for fewer bulbs. So my beds are still pretty sparce.
And I've only got the three small beds and the hill out front, so I'm really planting bulbs on top of bulbs.
It's getting ugly.
What I really need is some hardy, fast growing ground cover.
Hubby commented once that usually when people have an interest in something (like say, gardening) they also usually have some skill at it.
He wasn't trying to be insulting. He was just commenting on my plant killing skills in general. It's not my fault our soil sucks.

Furry Little Flower Killer
Not that any of my efforts matter.baru pink nose
Once those poor daffodils do bloom, they won't have long to live.
Let's see, it was the second year in the house, which would have been Baru's first spring, because we got him the summer we moved into the house.
Which would also have been the first time any of the bulbs I had planted would have bloomed, since they would have gone into the ground autumn 2005.
One day I was on the back porch and noticed some recently bloomed daffodils were gone.
Not withered like they had died, just gone.
Which was odd, since we don't get deer in our yard (there are only two recorded sightings and it will be five years in the house in April), and I didn't think deer ate daffodils anyway.
As I was contemplating what could have happened to my flowers, Baru was running laps in the yard.
The next time he passed the flower bed, and without breaking stride, he turned his head and decapitated a daffodil.
After a few strides, he spit it out.
His lack of hesitation proves this was something he was accustomed to doing.
I've also seen him going out of his way to munch on tulips, which he also spits out.
And there is no way I can stop him.
This is, of course, so wrong on so many levels.
In addition to concerns for Baru's health, there is the annoyance of loosing my blooms, and then also having to let the plain leaves finish their growing cycle so the bulbs have enough energy to come back the following year.
So Baru can entertain himself.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Actually Dropping Everything

cashmere sock swatch This time I really am dropping all current knitting projects for a new project.
I know I said I was going to drop everything when I bought that lovely Mohair Splash yarn the other day, but that didn't pan out. I actually have to focus on the lace pattern I selected for that yarn and my other projects are more pressing.
Or at least they were until I checked my e-mail Friday.
And I'm not suffering a bad case of startitis, goodness knows 3 projects is quite enough to have going at once.
No, it's a bad case of a "call for submissions" for a new book with a May deadline.
cashmere sock swatch close
How much should I say?
I don't know, in the e-mail they said I could pass the information on to my other designer friends. But you know me, I figure the fewer people who know the better my chances are!
(Although I did forward the e-mail to the other staff members at the store, I'm not totally paranoid.)
With the short turn around time I figure I'd better submit a pattern that already exists, so I'm going to send in my Eyelet and Feather Scarf.
I might send in my Cat's Pajama's Socks as well.
In aid of this endeavor, I purchased this lovely skein of Artyarns Cashmere Sock yarn to knit a new scarf. (I don't have the ball band with me, so I'm not sure of the color number.)

And So We Begin
What you are seeing above are shots of my stockinette stitch swatch. The editor wants the gauge for both st st and in pattern. And I had to swatch it anyway to make sure I could stick with the US6 needles my pattern calls for.
I took these pictures out on the patio table, it was such a nice sunny day on Sunday, so the color should be fairly accurate.
This picture of the start of the scarf I took Sunday night on the office desk, so it doesn't do my work justice at all! Cashmere sock scarf
I'm sticking with the cute little accessory size scarf from the original pattern, so I expect this to knit up in no time.
Well, aside from being slowed down tomorrow night because I'm considering crashing a class at the store. Won't be able to knit on my project in class.
But once this blue scarf is done it's back to the Heart Harf, the doily, and Hubby's Sox Socks.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Talk about fancy socks.
A company called Borealis Sweaterscapes has these awesome sock patterns with landscapes ranging from cows in a field to trees in autumn.
You can see pictures of them here.
I remember stumbling across this web page when I was a new knitter living in New Hampshire. As soon as I learned to knit, I started knitting socks, so it makes sense that I found this page fairly quickly during all my internet searching for sock making info.
And these patterns filled my little heart with greed.
Of course, at that time I figured it would be forever before I was a good enough knitter to manage a pair of socks like this, what with all the intarsia and such. Shoot, I didn't even know what intarsia was at the time!
There are kits for two of the patterns available from Peace Fleece here. (scroll down)
Although it crossed my mind at the time to get a kit and have it on hand when my skills are up to snuff, I didn't because at over $30 it seemed rather pie in the sky.
But after finishing the Pirate Arrgyle Socks, a little bit of complication doesn't scare me! arrgyles done
I see now that the patterns alone aren't that expensive, but to then buy full skeins of yarn just for the little bits of color will get rather pricey.
I wonder whether the leftover yarn from my TipToe socks would work at all? Hmm, probably the wrong colors.
I'm not even sure which pattern I would want, I like the autumn road and the cows are amusing, but the lighthouse is really nice too.
Obviously, more thought needs to go into this since I haven't thought about them seriously in a while.
The next time I have found money to spend....which could be a while in light of our fancy trip this summer. Hey, plane tickets, round trip, were only around $650! I expected it to be much more.
Have you realized yet that I'm telling you about these cool socks because I didn't get a lick of knitting done last night?

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Guess I'm just a tease.
I know ya'll will be disappointed to hear I didn't work on Sundae last night.
Yeah, I'm mean like that.
I did work on the Harf. I'm about halfway through the second panel repeat on the left hand side.
Actually, there is no "about" about it. I'm on row 20, which is just beyond the halfway mark.
Remember, the goal is three panel repeats to get it to match the right hand side in dimensions. Then both halves need another half panel and I can graft them.
So it's coming along.
Of all my current projects, the Harf is the only one with a legitimate, not self-imposed deadline as the contest entry date is in August.
I worked on Hubby's sock while doing proofreading at work. It is around row 50, so about 40 rows to go before I kitchener the sucker shut.
And the doily is back in the dining room credenza. I should get it done, but the Harf, with it's soft, squishy yarn, and deadline have been calling to me.

Oh, who am I fooling?
We're going to FRANCE!
In July!
It's sooo exciting!
Just me and Hubby. The pups are going to stay home with my mom.
Hubby has developed this habit of abandoning me over the summer to go on these globe trotting "professional development" programs. He is ostensibly learning about the history and culture of these countries so he can give his students accurate information when he is teaching class. But I know he is just taking advantage of the system.
I miss him, of course, but most of they time these trips aren't costing us anything so I'm like "go for it!" because he has always wanted to travel.
When he pulls these stunts people always ask if I'm going as well. Usually the answer is no. We couldn't afford it, and he is on a structured schedule, which usually includes housing, so it's not like we'd even get to be together.
But, since we got married, I've always wanted to go to France with him. He loves wine, and philosophy, which says France to me. I was able to spend a weekend in Paris during my Junior Year Abroad, and well, I just thought it would be an awsome trip.
So this year, he managed to score a program in Paris for a week, learning about French history and culture. This time I was like "Hell, yes, I want to go too."
So I'm going to fly out and join him on the day his program ends and then we'll spend that week running loose across the French countryside. Which means Hubby will get two weeks in France and I'll get one.
We're thinking we'll rent a car and do a road trip.
He's looking into flights and the car and hotel options even as I type.
Well, he'll probably get the flight and the car first. The hotels can come after he figures out our itinerary.
We probably won't spend much time in Paris. He'll have just spent a week there and I've been already, so we'll want to maximize our time in other locations and maybe just hit the highlights so we can have pictures together at the Eifell Tower and such.
Oh, I'm all aflutter.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Was In the Air

sundae sewing Which inspired me to haul Sundae out for a little attention.
(Yes, I am using an old picture.)
The expectation of even more warm weather makes me think I should finish this thing so I can actually wear it this summer.
Don't get all excited, though, it's still not done.
I am so close, and yet so far from done.
I have to knit enough trim to reach up the last front slope and shoulder strap.
And then I have to sew the trim down.
And then I have to sew the shoulder straps in place.
THEN I'll finally be able to wear it.
I expect this to take at least another month (but I won't drag it out on purpose just to make my prediction come true).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Furry Little Creeps

All three of them!

Knitting Update
First up, though, we were at the in-laws for the weekend, I took Monday off work, which is why I've been scarce the last few days.
I took the doily stuff and Hubby's Sox to work on.
I took the finished doily as well, so show my mother-in-law. They are for her friend, after all, and she hasn't seen it. She thought it was quite lovely. I was able to work through row 25 over the weekend. I believe I determined the center needs to go to row 60. Of course, this one will go much quicker since I won't have to fiddle around trying to reach the correct diameter.
Hubby's Sox has been turned, picked up, and gusset decreased. I'm on row 36 on the foot with a goal of 75 before starting the toe decreases. I was able to work on the sock in the car on the ride home, since it is plain old stockinette stitch and I don't have to look at it.

Harf Stuff
The Harf didn't get to make the trip. When I was working the first half, I ended up attaching a second ball of yarn to the bottom half of the provisional cast-on to test working the pattern down from that point in order to ensure my crazy construction would work.
This made it rather cumbersome to drag around the house from storage in the dining room to the living room so I could work on it.
This second half does not have an extra ball of yarn hanging from it, but I still think of it as cumbersome to travel with.
Anyway, I did work on the Harf last night after we got home. I was tired of working on thin and thinner (sock, doily).
I did end up deciding against trying to flip the cables. It might look more funky than cool to suddenly have them switch direction at the peak of the hood. And I wasn't looking forward to either reworking the entire section, or attempting to jerry-rig the cables.
However, I did discover a new mnemonic to help me remember the cable cross.
Previously, it was first cable front. But last night it finally registered that on this half the first cable is the back edge of the piece, so back/back, front/front still sort of helps.
Speaking of the Harf, the other day someone found my blog by searching for "harf knitting pattern." I wonder if they were disappointed when they realized I don't have a pattern available yet? Although they did look around a bit.
Still, it surprised the daylights out of me that someone should search on "harf." I mean, it's not like I really thought I'd invented a new word when I dubbed it that, but I still thought I was terribly clever.

Puppy Tailbaru car 1126
So, about the dogs.
We were at the in-laws because this was the first weekend of Hubby's spring break.
Despite knowing first hand how hard he works during the school year, and how much he needs this two week break, I can't help a childish burst of jealousy that he gets to sleep in while I have to get up.
At least I get to sleep in until 6:30 since I don't have to get up and cook his breakfast.
Well, apparently the puppies had just too much fun at grandma and grandpa's house over the weekend because they didn't come downstairs with me this morning!
Not even Baru, who always comes down with me first thing because he's a mama's boy.
No, pups came stumbling down around 7, just as I was getting ready to go back upstairs to get ready for work. And, of course, they wanted to be let out right then, and they wanted their breakfast as soon as they came back in.
And I complied, because they are terribly spoiled puppies.
To add insult to injury, they were both back in bed with Hubby by the time I got out of the shower (and Baru was the one in the prime spot on my pillow).
Oh well, at least Hubby is doing the grocery shopping alone while I'm at work.
In case you're wondering, Hubby was up around 8 when I was getting ready to leave the house and he expressed appropriate appreciation for me making his coffee.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cable Chaos

Maybe I exaggerate, but you are accustomed to me exaggerating by now.
I threaded a US3, 24 inch Addi Turbo circular needle as a lifeline through the first row of the left half of the Harf, then ripped it all out.
Almost as soon as I started working forward again, I had to stop and think about what I was doing, because I cabled on row 3.
Such a pain, all this thinking.

So Much For Easy
When I was knitting the first half, I worked a front cable cross on the first cable and a back cable cross on the second cable so it would be easy to remember which one to work.
This worked out well since the first cable was also the front of the piece (near my face) so front edge, front cross.
Well, when I cast on for the second half, I happily continued in this manner—and immediately realized the cables weren't crossing in the same direction any more.
How can I explain this without pictures?
They were spinning toward each other, rather than flowing in the same direction.
Although this might actually have the potential to look quite nice, it's not what I had in mind.
Keep in mind, I'm only doing this terribly difficult construction of starting at the bottom of the hood, working both sides of the hood and then grafting them shut, then knitting the scarves, and all this other nonsense I'm struggling with—because I want to make sure I don't run out of yarn.

Not For Public Consumption
And this crazy construction just won't do if I want to try to sell this pattern. (Depending on how that works out with the contest—which I'm going to win. Staying positive!)
Really, who in their right mind would buy a pattern with that construction?
I can see it now: "Oh, look at this nice hooded scarf. Why is the skill level marked 'experienced'?"
The goal is to be able to write the pattern up so you can cast on at one end, work the scarf, work the hood, work the scarf, then cast off on the other end like a normal person.
In that scenario, all the cables will proceed in the same direction from one end to the other.

But On the Other Hand
Now, in theory, one could write the pattern so that the cables swap sides at the peak of the hood. And this might look attractive.
(This might also allow me to get away with an extra flat row between the cables. I fear the possibility both sides will want to cross on the very row I need to graft.)
But considering the trouble I'm having remembering to swap them, what trouble would it give someone who has worked the entire length of the scarf and half the hood?
They would have the first/front, second/back motion really ingrained in their brain.
Well, I can ponder this situation for a few days. I see much doily knitting in my future this weekend.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Reverse Shaping

I am 10 rows into the second half of the Harf.
This is good, because it's not very many to rip out.
See, despite not being able to think totally straight on account of my headache yesterday, I went ahead and cast on for the left half of the Harf.
This took several attempts as they all kept coming out too tight and it was difficult to work the stitches. I'm not sure how many attempts, but enough that I switched to the other end of the ball as I was concerned the first end was getting mangled.

Mirror, Mirror
Although it occurred to me at some point last week, or even earlier this week, that when I start the left side of the hood bit I would have to remember to work the cable panel at the other end of the needle so the pattern would line up properly.
red harf swatches Ok, stick with me.
As you can see in this photo, since I work the stitches from right to left, the cable panel is on the right hand edge of the piece when the right/correct/front is facing.
So for the half of the Harf I'm working now, I needed the cable panel to be on the left hand side.
But as I wasn't thinking straight last night, I followed my notes from the first half.

Keep Going
At this point you might be thinking, "But Ann, you've figured out that you need one panel repeat sans increases to bridge the top of the head. Why not keep working forward like a normal person?"
Well, that occurred to me last night when I realized my error. But I'm not going to do it.
I know I changed elements quite a bit while making the prototype, adding cables and such, but it seemed to me that the increase end and the decrease end weren't harmonious. This might have been because they ended up spaced differently once I switched to reverse stockinette, or because I kept moving them toward the center when adding cables and such. I just didn't like the looks of it and thought doing increases on both sides will balance it better.

Flip It

So now you're thinking, "But Ann, you've done that provisional cast on. Why not just work from the bottom edge of the new piece and avoid ripping back?"
Well, I though of that too. But I'm probably not going to do it.
First, for some bizarre reason I've got my heart set on working both sides up and grafting them in the middle. I guess I like to make my knitting life difficulty, because, you know, the kitchener stitch is just soooo much fun to work.
And I can be awfully stubborn when I put my mind to it. harf hiccup
Also, if you remember when I finally started knitting in earnest, I (attempted to) pointed out the way the stitches change direction on the other end of a provisional cast on. Everything is shifted half a stitch.
I'm concerned that if I do flip the piece and work from the bottom, when it comes time to graft the two pieces together, the mismatch will make it more difficult than I already anticipate it being.
Not to mention keeping any wonky bits balanced on both sides.

One Last Hurdle
Of course, I will make an attempt to grab the stitches on the first row so I can just rip out and then go forward right away. Rather than having to start from scratch.
I'm not sure how successful I'll be, or it this stunt will actually prove easier than just casting on again.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Half Harfed

half harfThe Harf, my dears, is finally worth photographing.
Not that I can get a good picture of it.
The day is rather overcast and gloomy, and even with the dining room light cranked to the max, the camera flash went off and washed it out. It's hard to take a good picture of red yarn.
Well, it's just hard for me to take a good picture.
Anyway, this is the first half of the hood bit. Remember, I will be doubling back later to work the scarf ends down from were the blue circle is.
(The blue circle is the, uh, short circular cable out of my Denise set held closed by attaching both ends to a single extender. Which will make total sense if you have a Denise set.)
I've worked to my target number of stitches, actually two stitches more than planned. When I hit the target it didn't seem to measure quite the 17 inches I was aiming for, which would be a difference between the Invernal yarn and the Cascade 220. I have three full heart panel repeats.
At this point, I've transfered the center stitches to a piece of scrap yarn so I can:
  1. Take an accurate measure of the depth.
  2. Use this needle to start the other half.
I'm going to work the second half to match, but I'm already thinking I'll have to work this half for more rows before I join them.
As it stands now, I think the hood bit will be a little to small (short?) length-wise, i.e. ear to ear, to fit over my head comfortably.

Getting Centered
Since I can't just work extra plain rows in between the two halves, I'm thinking I'll have to workharf curve another half repeat of the cable panel on each one. The top on one and the bottom on the other. Then I'll be able to work the graft over row 17 or 18 of the panel, which are the rest rows between the heart points in the center of the panel.
With the rest rows between the panels, this will add about 18 rows to either side. But I think that will work out.
I had wanted the ribbing on the scarf to end right around the collar bone for the switch to the reverse stockinette stitch for the hood. It will fall a bit below the collar bone, but should work out.
I might also work a few more increase rows, since I'm working extra rows anyway.
I like the way it curves a bit. This is probably because of the way I have the increases spaced toward the center rather than right on the ends. I'm also working right and left slanting increases, in an attempt to provide some shaping.
I'd been toying with the idea of trying to shape the top over the crown of the head a bit, but with the curve and the extensive flat part the extra panel will add, I think I'll be fine.
Also, the Invernal has more drape than the Cascade did, which should help with fit.
Ok, I'm working from home today because I've got a bad head because all this crazy weather sucks. I've been upright for about four hours now, which I think is a pretty good run. So I'm going back to bed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pretty, Icky

Samson cheesecake Samson Cheesecake!
Here is some of that racy content mom's work doesn't want her to see.
Samson would like any Golden Retriever bitches out there to know that he is all dog all the time and they should give him a call.
(Baru would like you to know that he has a squeaky cheese burger toy.)

Sock Drawer!
(Pretty)Sock drawer
Here is a picture of all my handmade socks all clean and snug in their drawer.
The only socks missing are my Rainbow Swirl Socks. One it at the store as a sample of the sock club. The other is...uh, where the frak is my other sock!? It was at the top of the drawer on the panty hose! Where could it have gone? I'll have to check the dining room credenza.
My current sock club socks are also not in here. I have to shorten the foot on the one my test knitter made and I just haven't had time.
Obviously all of the socks I've made Hubby are also absent. It wouldn't make sense to put his socks in my drawer.

Peanut Butter Oil
Icky peanut oil The hazard of eating all natural peanut butter is that it separates. I opened a brand new jar last night for an after work snack. As you can see, my attempt to blend the oil back in didn't go very well. That was only a small portion of it, but it made a royal mess. As you can imagine, the dogs were swarming while this was going on.
They would tell you peanut butter is their favorite, but they would tell you that about most things.

He Pays Attention!
This morning Hubby came down to breakfast and asked if I had noted two stories on the local morning news show, which I had.
The first was that United Illuminating is now charging $75 for that energy inspection program we did last year.
Hubby thought that was devious of them. But I pointed out the program is funded by the state and it makes sense there isn't as much money available. He said he was glad I did it last year when it was still free.

I Think It's Worth It
I would still say people should look into it, despite the new fee. Looking back, I can't swear that I would have done it knowing I'd have to fork over $75 (I definitely would have skipped it if the fee had been the full $300), but I have already saved $100, which would have covered the fee. (Even though it took me a few months to see the savings because I'm on the budget plan.)
(oh, hey, I just checked the site and now people who heat with oil can do it for $75 too.)

Weathering Headaches
The other story was a study out of, um, Boston, linking an increase chance of headaches to warmer weather, ie when the temperature increase. I was like, I could tell you that. The researches got records of emergency room visits because of headaches and cross referenced them to changes in the weather.
Hubby was like now they just have to find out why that happens.
I read an article once that said there was a link to the change in barometric pressure. That article said it didn't matter if it was changing to warm or cool or rainy weather, it was just the change in general that did it. Hubby said it affects his asthma, so he believes it.
Ok, that's about it. Worked on the Harf some last night.
Worked on the laundry.
A girl's work is never done.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Drop Everything

mohair splash desk I am not a big fan of white.
I prefer silver to gold.
I'm not really into glittery stuff.
So would someone like to explain why my brain shut off when I noticed this yarn at the store on Sunday?

Ooooh, Shiny
This is Mohair Splash from Artyarns. (not that I was able to find it on their website.)
It is composed of a strand of silk strung with glass beads and sequins held together with a strand of mohair.
It is similar to their Beaded Mohair and Sequins, if you are familiar with that yarn, but with less beads and sequins. (that should take you to a poorly lit picture I tried to take of the spacing.)
We've had this yarn in the store for a little while now in other colors.
I've seen it and thought it was pretty, as most of the yarn we carry is (especially the Artyarns stuff), but Sunday was either the first time we've had this white one or the first time I've noticed it.

Inappropriate Venom
I was so smitten, I immediately had to start disparaging it in order to distance myself from it.
I said it was a "mom color" and I wasn't old enough to wear such colors (yet).
P replied, "Some people would call it a classy and sophisticated color." mohair splash hand
I said, "We both know I'm neither of those."
But, despite my best efforts, I still circled back to it any chance I got.
P advised me to just buy it already, noting I have not been so smitten with a yarn in quite a while.
(Am I growing immune, surrounded by such fibery goodness on a regular basis? Or am I just so deeply involved in so many deadline projects that I've actually developed some focus?)

Nefarious Plans
This one skein is 165 yards (151 meters), which should be enough for a little accessory scarf.
I'm already hatching plans and spent some time last night flipping though my stitch dictionaries looking for the lace stitch I have in mind.
Sadly, I think my best bet will be to swatch with other yarn first. If you've ever frogged a project with mohair in it, you know what a difficult task that is. And I don't want it getting manky.
Still, the swatching I have in mind will only be one, quick pattern repeat, which shouldn't keep me from my beloved for too long.

What Other Projects?
I worked a few rows on the Harf last night. And I'm just about ready to start the heel flap on Hubby's Sox Socks.
I didn't get much knitting done over the weekend. I was down for the count with a bad head for most of the day Saturday. Then my mom, niece, and nephew came up for the play at Hubby's school (and dinner, which tanked the evening). But the food was good and the play (Bye, Bye Birdie) was fun, so I guess it was an appropriate trade off.
Ok, back to work

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Making Myself Paranoid

12 inch doilyFirst up, I've conquered the damn doily!
I was able to knock out the edging last night while Hubby was playing Madden football and before we started watching T:TSCC (which is still being stupid. So much false tension. And this one computer geek was responding unrealistically to an AI situation.)
doily detail(remember, you can click a small picture to see a larger view.)
Again, being paranoid, I did not cut the yarn, but stuck a safety pin through the last stitch to keep it live.
I had a moment of grand annoyance after I wet it down and pseudo-blocked it out (I didn't pin it, just stretched it with my hands and smoothed it out) because it was measuring 13 inches.
Really I was ready to shriek, but I had hopes it would shrink down a bit when it dried.
Which, happily, it did. Some parts might measure 12.5 inches, but basically it's 12 inches across, which is close enough for me!
Now I can move ahead and make the other two. phew.

Bad Novel Choice
As for the title of this post.
My library offers free digital audio book downloads. They used to only work with PCs, but now some titles are compatible with Macs and iPods, which is thrilling, except of course for the title I really want (Brisingr). So I got I am Legend instead, which I've never read but we saw the Will Smith movie last year.
I don't usually do the horror thing as I'm much too suggestible. Ask Hubby, it's really not pretty at all.

Can We Defend This Place?
So now I'm wondering how defensible the house is.
Really, zombie attacks and Mad Max type situations were not top-of-mind when we were house hunting.
Of course the front of the house is open to assault, but we have ravines on either side, which should help.
The ground drops off pretty steeply on the kitchen side, so we should be safe there. But the dining room side has the yard. Because of the ravine on that side, they couldn't approach head-on en mass, but they could still get to it fairly easily.
Samson 1109Of course, the back of the house is practically all glass, which is cause for concern.
Most of the back porch is over the ravine, but one corner of it is over the back yard.
Between the inaccessibility, the alarm system, and the dogs, I think we're safe from human intruders, but a determined, blood-sucking monster might not be so easily deterred and could probably climb up.
I might have to revisit the Zombie Attack Plan thread on Ravelry (password required) to see how to address this situation.
And people wonder why I don't sleep well when Hubby is out of town.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Creeping Along

Sox cuff Despite my laser-like focus on Hubby's Sox Socks recently, I did work on some of my other projects this week.
On Tuesday, I managed about four rows on the Harf.
My mom asked to see the Harf when she was up over the weekend. She thought the yarn was very lovely and soft. I also showed her to prototype, which she thought was interesting. She tried it on as well. It could have been a little deeper for her, perhaps, but I think I can still claim "one size fits most."
I only worked a few rows because I then stopped and hauled out the damn doily.
But I didn't work on it. Instead I was stunned to find there was not a row counter attached to it, and I would have to count stitches to find my place since I didn't have my row on the pattern marked either, that I went to bed instead.
It came back out last night. It was very easy to find where I was. Actually the hard part was I had stopped in the middle of a round, so I had to begin by figuring out if I was on a YO row or a K/K2tog row.
Last night I finished off the central spiral and the two rows before the crochet edging before I put it down.

TV Knitting
We are currently getting caught up on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (which records in Low Def) in a desperate attempt to free up DVR space for 24 and LOST (which are in HD). I don't know about your DVR, but on ours LD shows are worth one or two points while HD ones are worth like five points (as we refer to the percentage of storage space a one hour episode uses), so you can't store as many HD ones.
Our strategy for watching 24 and Lost, with their impossibly slow story lines, is to capture as much of the season as we can before we start watching. This way we can watch two or three episodes in a sitting and see some progress. This is also a good way to combat the random month long breaks shows always seem to take these days.
Important shows like Battelstar Gallactica and Heroes are watch in almost real time. We're also keeping up on Fringe and Damages to conserve space. (boy, howdy, did the current Fringe break blind side us.)

That Was Some Tangent
Where was I?
Right, Terminator: TSCC and the doily.
So, although Terminator: TSCC is poorly written and we are starting to wonder why we are watching it (I mean, really, don't these people communicate? So much false tension is created because they aren't talking to each other. Which is totally contrary to the characters that were established and the life threatening situation they are all in and aware of. Seriously, Samson and Baru could do a better job.) the crochet edging is just a little too fiddly to work while I watch TV.
The first row around involves single crocheting two stitches together with ch5 in between. Which wouldn't be so bad, if I wasn't using a steel hook and size 10 crochet thread.
I should be able to get through it in a few bursts this weekend, even though mom is bringing my niece and nephew up so we can go to the musical at Hubby's school on Saturday.

No Idle Hands First Sox Sock
Since a girl can't watch TV (except for BSG) without some project going (especially when it's bad TV like T:TSCC), I switched from the doily to Hubby's sox.
Which explains the opening picture.
I'm far enough along to see the pattern developing at this point, and I think I did a pretty good job of matching the starting point.
When I was ready to start the second sock, I somehow got it into my head that there were two different stripe sequences working (i.e. that the bright turquoise stripe shows up in two spots and I was going to get the wrong one).
But apparently there is one pattern, and I nailed it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Project Flashback

In this picture I'm about 20 years old on my Junior Year Abroad in the UK. I'm standing next to a telephone box in Edinburgh Castle in, uh, Edinburgh, Scotland. (Of course, why would Edinburgh Castle be anywhere else?)
I show you this picture not as another attempt to prove I deserve my self-declared nickname, but to draw your attention to the scarf I'm wearing (which I now realize you totally can't see).
(ahha! If you click on the picture you will be taken to a bigger version where you can make out the scarf.)
Not being able to see the scarf clearly is sad, because this seems to be the only picture I have of this scarf. Which is odd considering I used to wear it all the time.
It is a crocheted scarf I made composed (constructed?) of repeating blocks of red, blue, and black squares.
I seem to remember is was cleverly constructed so that the block started out big and got thinner (shorter?) as they progressed to the center, at which point they started getting wide again.
There was a regular pattern to the colors too, but I don't remember if it went "red, blue, black" or "black, red, blue" or "red, black, blue, black" or any of the other countless combinations you can make with three colors. And I can't figure it out from looking at the picture, because I can't see enough of the scarf.
I can tell you it would have been made with an H hook using all double crochet stitches, because for a while that is the only hook size and stitch I used for all my crochet projects. (No, I didn't follow patterns much when I was younger. Why do you ask?)
Also, this scarf was soooo long that I could make a loop that reached my waist and the two ends would still almost reach my ankles. (Why, yes, I have been a Dr. Who fan for years. Why do you ask?)
That was a lot of crocheting.
If I sound a little melancholy about this awesome scarf, it's because the scarf was lost during a move many years ago.
Which is why I'm fairly certain this is the only picture of it, because, trust me, I looked after I realized it was gone (some 5 or 6 years after that picture was taken).
For quite a while now I've also been dragging around one skein each of red, black, and blue Red Heart Super Saver yarn to make a new one.
Why have I not?
Because despite all I can sort of remember about the scarf, these vague scratchings are all I can find that remotely resemble a pattern. And damned if I can remember what they mean.
Really, 32 blocks total? I don't think so.
(Ps. that coat was also in the box. It was a nice coat.)
(PPs. Yes, those are Gonzo bow-biters on my sneakers.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Snow Day Activities

First Sox Sock Hubby's headmaster pulled the trigger on closing the school around 8 pm Sunday night before it had even started snowing.
My office called it around 7 am Monday morning. Causing me to charge upstairs and dive back into bed.
I was really happy about the snow day (at least until we had to shovel) because between working at the store both days and my mom being up Saturday night, I didn't get much of anything else done.
The day at home gave me time to reclaim the kitchen and get caught up on laundry.
Of course, the morning's activities were focused on working the last few toe rows of Hubby's Sox Socks.
I did indeed corner him last weekend and make him try it on. Despite measuring it on his foot, off his foot, and checking gauge, I think it's a little long in the foot.
But he says it's ok, which he wouldn't say just to make me feel good. After all, he's going to have to wear the thing.
So maybe it just seems baggy compared to how I like my own socks to fit.
Then I asked him whether I had to make the stripping pattern match? And he was like, "Well, they should be uniform!"
Count me as one of those knitters who is neurotic about getting self-stripping sock yarn to start in as close to the same place as possible on the second sock. But I thought maybe I'd try to let go this time. It seemed a safe gamble since he didn't think the I Heart Husband Socks were mismatched.
That, however, was a matter of the color pooling differently, which the Sox has a defined strip pattern.
I think I found the correct spot, and I'm through the 15 rows of ribbing, but I won't know for sure until I'm into the leg.
Fortunately, socks are small enough, and I'm neurotic enough, that I won't mind ripping back to get the sequence to match.

Forced Labor
Of course, no snow day is complete without spending a few hours shoveling the driveway.
I'm the mean one who has prevented purchasing a snow blower to date, but with the mortgage modification indicating we'll be in this house with this big ol' crescent driveway for several more years, we reopened the topic.
Anyway. Usually we step off the porch and work our way up to street level on the exit side. Then we go back to the center and work up the entrance side. This usually results in the entrance not being cleared because by the time we get to it we are too tired to do it. We always have the best of intentions to get back out there.
This time, Hubby had a major brainwave, carved out a shovel wide path to the road on the exit side, and we worked down to the center. Then we walked along the shoulder to the entrance and pushed down again.
This meant we were moving the heavy, wet snow from the plows at the start when we actually had energy enough to move it.
Then, when we were spent, all we had to do was a 5x5 foot area of fluffy stuff in the middle. His cunning plan worked as we looked at it and said, "Oh we can bust this out in no time."
It also helped that we remembered to park the cars strategically when we got home from grocery shopping Sunday so we didn't have to work around them.

Snow Tsunami
The state plows are the bane of our existence when it snows. Sure, I appreciate them clearing the roads, but they shoot all that nastiness into my driveway!
While we were working on the exit a plow when by and sprayed us. A second plow was hot on the first ones heels. It took us a few seconds to realize he was clearing the shoulder and sending a massive wave of snow toward us.
Hubby yelled, "Run!" and we all high tailed it for the porch (it is possible that I shrieked).
Dudes, you should have seen this wave of snow! It was like something out of a disaster movie.
It not only shook the front hedge and blasted tons of little twigs off, it also knocked over the garbage can!
That was actually the second time the garbage can got wiped out, so it was good we saw it happen. The first time we thought a plow must have hit it.

Is It Worth It?
Still, there is something satisfying about a freshly shoveled driveway. I guess it's because you can really see the result of your labor.
On the other hand, you should have heard the stream of cuss words Hubby cut loose with this morning when he opened the front door and saw the plows had been working overnight.
It's supposed to be sunny today, so hopefully their contribution will just melt away.
Luckily, Hubby's brilliance continued to this morning. Perhaps remembering my previous difficulties getting out of an icy driveway, he suggested I do a k-turn and go out the entrance ramp, since the slope is more gradual. This worked rather well, although it's scary because the driveway is a little blind from that angle.

Clean Puppies
fluffy puppies As though spending an hour and a half helping Hubby shovel wasn't enough exercise for one day, I also gave the pups baths.
They are so trusting and accommodating, they hop into the shower with me no questions asked.
And with the sliding doors, they can't escape once they realize their mistake.
Actually, they are very good about getting bathed. They just stand there and suffer the indignity of it. They both love getting toweled dry and brushed , which can be a bit chaotic.
I was a little worried because the fur on Samson's rump was coming off in little tufts, like a toy loosing its stuffing, but I thought it might have something to do with him shedding his winter coat.
I called Hubby in and he confirmed my suspiscions. Samson didn't seem to mind me going after it with the brush, at least not at first. I'll probably have to brush him again tonight.
Of course, after they were dry their fur was so soft and silky all I wanted to do was love on them for the rest of the day. Petting them was, dare I say it, better than petting new yarn.
An activity made better by not having my hands smell like stinky puppy when I stopped.