Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Fabulous Hat Model and Getting To Know The Neighbors

On Monday night I finished the cable hat that I screwed up last week. My buddy Cole modeled it for me and after a few false starts....



...his mum finally got the money shot and emailed it to me today! Isn't he the cutest ever? That is a 'Grade A Wisconsin Cheese Eating Grin' there if I ever saw one! You Da Man, Cole!Today was absolutely beautiful out and my apartment complex had a pot luck/bar-b-que, meet and greet at lunch time:
We all brought out our dogs, dishes to pass, and lawn chairs and got to know each other. Nice folks, each and every one. Dog people are my kinda people! At one point, someone spilled beer on Ben so he smells a little like a brewery now, but he was more than happy to lick it all off. I only stayed for a couple of hours because I wanted to go to Last Saturday Knitting at 2PM. When I came back at 4PM they were still out there so I went out for a bit longer but then came in to feed/walk Ben, make some phone calls and catch on on computer stuff. It is now 7:30 and I can hear them just breaking it up and carrying their stuff in now! Seven and a half hours! Now THAT's a potluck!

Saturday afternoon knitting was a hoot as usual. Cindy, Elizabeth, Jen, Brenda, Dale Harriet and Linda were all there and Jen brought Bug and Bean with her. What a couple of cuties and smart too! Entertaining all the way around...so much so that I screwed up the new cable hat I'm working on. Thank goodness it was an easy fix...but still...when am I going to learn that I can't handle anything other than a stockinette sock leg during knitting socials? Round and round and round...that's it!

I've been threatening to do it for a while, but tomorrow I'm actually going to bust Mabel out, lube her up and spin some. It's laundry day so there'll be lots of waiting around between cycles. It's going to be cooler too, supposedly, so the roving will be easier to handle. I haven't spun since June so I'll have to learn all over again! Wish me luck!

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's The Little Things That Will See You Through

Oddly enough, one of my great joys these days is my early morning walk with Ben. I've never been a morning person but for whatever reason, I am now! We go out after he's had his breakfast around 6AM, just as the sun is peeking over the trees. It's quiet and still and, with the cooler weather, there's often ground fog. One of my favorite places is the pond in the prairie conservancy across the street. Every morning there is a variety of water fowl in there including a blue heron, inland terns, Sandhill cranes, Canadian Geese, ducks and a Kingfisher. I got smart this morning and took my camera. Our buddy the heron was there. He was standing tall and majestic until I aimed the camera at which time he proceeded to hunker down like a toad under a cabbage leaf and glare at me. Thus, I have evidence of his existence (you'll need to biggify for proof), but I don't have a shot at that National Geographic Photographer of The Year Award I had my eye on...
What a primadonna! And there was no waiting him out either, we tried! At least the geese were more cooperative. Anyway...it's the little things that will see you through the rough spots....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How To Recycle Your Old Rotary Phones

Friend Anne emailed this to me today! I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes by posting it. I LOVE this. It made me smile. Look closely....these sheep are made of old phones and phone cords....right down to their widdle hoovies!
I wonder if their reception is good or Baaaaaaaad?
Can you herd me now!?!

♪♪♪ When I'm calling Eeeeewwwweeeeee?!?♪♪♪
Friend Anne asked me which one was the 'BELLwether'...get it? She's always on top of her game, Friend Anne; never just 'dials it in'. Come on...let's hear those sheep/phone puns!

Monday, September 22, 2008

OMG! OMG! OMG!

I went to Knit Night Friday night and got a huge surprise. Dale Harriet came in and handed me a manila envelope with the sweetest note about friendship and that the contents were for my new nest. Guess what I pulled out...

OMG! Squeal!!!! I know! An ORIGINAL FRANKLIN HABIT cartoon! It's called 'Wool and Gossip'. I about died. I did the happy dance and wouldn't let anyone touch it thus making me have to go to everyone individually and show it off while continually doing the happy dance. I may have even licked it a little. Not only is it an ORIGINAL FRANKLIN HABIT...
but it sums up my friendship with DH. Whenever we meet it's wool and gossip! I have to find the perfect frame and put it in the corner with my spinning wheel! Dale Harriet, you are the best!!!

"But choo luv me best, doncha, huh?"

Mr. Ben has boo boo eyes. I took him to the vet today and they gave me some medicine for doggie pink eye. He tends to get it when he's stressed. I expected it when we first moved here but now that he is settling in he got it. Wassupwidat? Anyway, we went to a new vet and he really liked her and she was less expensive than my old vet who I didn't like on a personal level so it's all good.

My friend sent me this recipe. I tried it last night and it wasn't bad. Kinda fun and a small dessert to do in a pinch. I like the fact that you can have a piece or two and not have the rest of the 9x13 calling your name from the kitchen! Works with Splenda just fine. I had to cook mine for 4 minutes though.

MUG CAKE

4 tablespoons flour , 4 tablespoons sugar , 2 tablespoons cocoa , wee pinch of salt

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk, 3 tablespoons oil , 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional) , a small splash of vanilla extract

1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous). And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!

Enjoy! I'm off to Charity Knit Night at The Ear!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This Definitely Falls Into The 'Oh Crap' Department

I've been working on a cabled hat since last Friday.
I'm not especially good or quick at cables but was very pleased about how the hat was turning out. (Looks even better stretched out a little...even if it is weird colored Red Heart yarn!)
I made it through the 4 cable repeats and then went to decrease last night and discovered this....See the two rib rows without a cable in between? Oh Crap! How did I make it this far without noticing that!?!? So back to the frog pond and starting all over.


I did finish my 'Pink Squirrel' dishcloth from last week's Dish Cloth night at The Sow's Ear though. Don't know why it's an oblong diamond instead of a square but maybe it will miraculously change during use. (Kathy Cubed calls that 'interactive blocking"!) Or maybe it just looks like that because I've had too many pink squirrels! But really, is there such a thing as too many ice cream laced alcoholic drinks?! Speaking of miracles. I came home yesterday to discover another box on my doorstep. I didn't recognize the return address and eagerly opened it since lately I've been just hoping for a bomb! It was the exact opposite of a bomb. It was this magnificent shawl from Friend Anne's friend, Laurie. I've only met Laurie a couple of times, but she still made this for me and sent a lovely card about how she hoped it would bring me comfort. It certainly did, Laurie. I felt like I'd opened a box of warm hugs. It still amazes me how generous and kind people are just when you need it most. Isn't it beautiful!? I can never repay such kindness other than to pay it forward, which is what I'm trying to accomplish with the charity knitting. Now I think I will tuck a shawl or two away for friends in need as well. No words can describe the comfort....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Red Letter Day of Surprises

Today I got a few surprises that cheered up my grumpy butt considerably. I came home from work early, not feeling well, and found a box of goodies from blog buddy, Knitzu. Look at all of the loot:
Biggify! It's worth it!

Beautiful deep purple yarn from French Hill Farms, a wonderful chicken mug made by a potter friend she knows at Maple Lane Pottery (and yummy coffee from the Carrabassett Coffee Company) and a little kayaker dude because she knows I miss kayaking back in Maine.

Knitzu and I have never met in person, but have become friends through our blogs and the fact that she lives in Maine and I'm from there. She does all the things in Maine that I used to love to do and I am jealous and hate her for it from way out here in the Middle Lands. She knows that all dogs on the planet belong to me (I just keep them different places around the planet) so she lovingly cares for my two sweeties, Gracie and Zuzu and posts wonderful pictures of them on her blog. I dispense advice about the evils of eating things you find in the woods and beside I-95 and relay instructions on which side (shiny or dull) of the tinfoil hat to wear on the outside according to which situation you may find yourself in. There is a protocol you know. It's an odd relationship, but it works for us. She thought I needed a few goodies from 'home' to cheer up my new nest. I can't believe how above-and-beyond thoughtful each gift was! Thanks Knitzu! You rock!


Surprise # 2 was that Fall Knitty is up. The patterns are great-lots of socks. If you haven't been there yet, run over and check out the night cap article and pattern by Franklin Habit. I'll wait...........I know, right?!? The man does it AGAIN! I love craft history and that was my favorite pattern/article so I dropped Franklin a note to let him know how amazing it was.


Surprise #3 came in the form of a note back from Franklin! We've blog commented a tiny bit before but very infrequently so I was surprised (especially since he gets a high volume of comments from his legions of fans) and happily so. It's like getting rock star mail, what with the popularity of his blog, his book coming out, his 1,000 knitters photography work, and wrangling Delores! I bow to his greatness! What started off as yet another bad day came in a winner in the end!
I finished Coronet (which I mistakenly called Corona in my last entry because I'd obviously been taste testing a few!). Even though I finally figured out the pattern, I'm still not happy with it overall because of the sloppy look of the pick up stitches (the ones that show at the very bottom of the brim). I'm a kind of loose knitter (Hey! That's not what I meant!) and it looks...well...sloppy... is the just best word for it I guess. And no amount of futzing around turning it up a smidge more or down a smidge more fixes it. But at least the cables were fun and provided some much needed distraction.

I went to dish cloth night at The Ear on Tuesday night where Katie gave me a pattern for a squirrel cloth for autumn. In keeping with my boozy pattern scheme I'm knitting it in Pepto pink...Pink Squirrel...get it? OK, It's not that it's not funny, it's just that you don't get it yet. Watch out for later when the hilarity kicks in! Off to partake in some more Pink Squirrel!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Keepin' On Keeping On and Cry for Coronet Help!

This week has been very difficult; the first one alone in my own apartment in 18 years. I took the week off to 'settle in' and acclimate Ben, but that may have been a mistake since it gave me extra alone time to think and sob. I'm looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow. Nothing distracts you from real life like a dozen wacky scientists to take care of!

Friend Anne and I went to the Jefferson Sheep and Wool festival. It was pretty difficult as I had always attended with Mr. Bee and last year's purchase of my spinning wheel, Mabel is such a strong memory for me. I was a bit verklempt, except for watching that sheep shearing guy. I have to admit, all of those arm muscles did distract me for a bit. Boy Howdy!

I didn't buy ANYTHING for me; not roving, no books, no yarn. That should tell you how off my feed I am! I did get a backseat extender and seat belt for Ben at the border collie shop though, and used them when I took him to the dog park yesterday. I feel a lot better about transporting him now that he's safely buckeled in rather than flailing around the back seat like a wild man.

Friend Donna came over for a visit and brought me a beautiful bouquet. I only have one photo and it's truly crappy, but I'll share it anyway. You can't see it, but there are beads woven in amongst the tall grasses. I'd never seen anything like that before. Those guys at The House Of Flowers in Verona do a great job! (Yes, I did that Hardanger doily it's sitting on my very own self, Thank You Very Much! )

I am still pumping out the charity knitting. I am working on the Coronet Hat from Knitty right now. If you have successfully picked up the stitches from the cable band, we need to talk cause I've ruined one cable band trying. It tells you to knit the cable band and graft it together and then turn it inside out, and with the wrong side facing you, pick up 80 something stitches around the edge. Then purl a row, then straight stitch the hat part, then decrease, etc. etc. It never mentions when to turn the thing back right side to, and for that matter, if you' ve picked up stitches on the wrong side, and you DO turn it back over, your working yarn is now in the wrong hand. Any and all assistance would be appreciated. I'm not an advanced enough knitter and I don't have the gift of being able to imagine spacial relationships (plus, see 'verklempt' above) so I am just not getting it. I'm almost done with the second cable band and am dead set on ruining that one too if I don't figure it out! What am I missing. Any suggestions?

(A few minutes later....) Der! Typing that long winded tirade out must have kick started my brain, because I figured it out! The brim turns UP!!! Now I get it!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Feathering The Nest

There has been little knitting content this week. Bentley and I have been busy setting up our new digs. I did do another charity hat and am working on the matching scarf but don't have pics of them yet.

Here are some pics of our new pad though. I told my Mum I'd take some and I was afraid they might swamp her email so I am posting them here. So if you Knitterly Types (you know who you are) keep reading expecting yarn-ey excitement, you've been warned.

Mum, you can biggify the pics by clicking on them twice.



Kitchen with Ben's butt as he tucks in to a kibble dinner I lovingly prepared for him.

Another one of kitchen and breakfast bar. The sink and dishwasher are on the other side of the bar. That's a utility/coat closet with the brown wood door and the entryway on the way right.
Left living room wall. That end table is like that because it will have a love seat sitting next to it once it's off back order!
New sofa and right side of living room.
Looking toward hallway to kitchen and bath/laundry room. (Can't see photo's of them yet, they're not done!)
Really bad one of the living room, but wanted you to get a sense of the view outside.
We now return you to your usual programming. Stay tuned for tales of how Bentley is coping with his new Citronella Anti Bark Training Collar!