Friday, January 26, 2007

Weekend update

The Fool, despite my hints to the contrary, refuses to post. He refuses to show you his Socks That Rock basketweave sock in Scottish Highlands. He refuses to discuss his Shetland fair isle project. He refuses to show off some very cute stuffed animals he made.
It is because, in part, we are married, and we like to think that married people share stuff. That means when someone comes down with a miserable, long-lasting cold (nearly done, thanks much) ... we share it.
But because we are musicians, too, we engaged in something called "Theme and variations."
It means that while I had a sinus infection, he swapped it for a fever and chills. While I had very little coughing, he has had a lot.
(Side note: Did you know that wearing heavy wool sweaters and drinking hot tea can cause a person's temperature to shoot up to 102? Because he swore up and down he wasn't sick. He was just inexplicably, uncomfortably cold.)


Here are two bears with a small kid, which some of you may recognize from Thorny Knits (the kid, not the bears.) The bears are from Interweave Knits' most recent holiday knitting issue. The Fool did the bulk of the knitting, and I did the finishing work.

This is the Fool trying to pose with the bears and a kid on his lap when the kid does not want to sit still and instead wants to slither down his legs.
This is a closeup of the bears, more or less. I've got to learn to embroider better eyes. Or the small people I know have to get to the stage in their lives when they will not be at risk of picking button eyes off and eating them.
It's a busy weekend so far. Last night, we went to the Old Town School of Folk music with Sarah
who we had met at Franklin's Dulaan Knit-in lo-so-many weeks ago. Turns out that not only does she knit, she plays the mandocello! There was contra and square dances, lots of jamming and lots of friends. Our banjo-playing personal-electrician buddy got his socks (he likes them!)
Today, we had dim sum with a couple friends and their toddlers, and tonight was the fifth annual Robert Burns Supper.
And that's about it chez Socknitters.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Does the sweater curse work on....say....

... cold germs? Because I am soooo ready to knit my virus a sweater if it will prompt the little bastard to unhand my immune system and go infest someone else's lungs. I've got some nice acrylic for the job.
I actually think on Saturday, as we were getting ready to go to Madison, my cold caught a cold. All of a sudden, I had this cascade of unpleasant symptoms that sent me running for a handkerchief right skippy.
But that is of no matter, because there are FOs in the offing, and I'm nearly done with the sleeve of an Aran sweater, and I finished a sock and I started knitting a scarf in Noro, in feather-and-fan, because it is the end of January and time to start working with cheerful colors to get me through the last couple months of winter. Photos soon.
The Fool has been knitting too, so I'll let him write about that at his leisure. I keep hoping he'll swatch for a Shetland fair isle he has the yarn for because I want to see what it looks like. So far, no luck.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Eat your vegetables

This is our friend who rewired the plug on my mom's iron for me. It's a really good iron, one of the old-fashioned kind that's nice and heavy, so it flattens wrinkle on the first try.

These are the socks I knit him. He picked the yarn out of the basket, but I don't think he expected them to come out like this. I didn't. It's KnitPicks merino sock yarn, in the colorway "Daffodils," which I think is more reminiscent of mixed frozen peas-and-carrots, but that's OK. Either one works.
Mornings like today, I wish there were a Bagel Fairy with a big wicker basket that flies through the city and leaves fresh, warm bagels for good people and stale Wonder bread for bad people. And I wish the Bagel Fairy had a big talking coffeepot for a sidekick, full of nice hot coffee.
I think all we have are cereal trolls.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I hab a code id by dose

And I have to go to work today, so I reserve the right to be whiny and demand large bowls of hard-to-find-in-the-suburbs Thai soups. Luckily, all I have to do is babysit the police scanner and make sure there are no dire emergencies that demand the attention of a newspaper reporter/ editor today. And drink tea. I may have to drink lots of hot tea.
I tried Tylenol nighttime cold medicine last night, but it did nothing to cure the sinus headache that kept me up until 2 a.m., and actually gave me fidgety feet, so I think today, I'll see if the unmedicated life is worth living.
But what of my sinuses, when there are knitted hedgehogs to look at?
It's the Fiber Trends pattern, knitted with some leftover Brown Sheep and a skein of fun fur from JoAnns.
Above, Mr. Hedgie (who went to live with two small children) demonstrates that everyone likes Socks That Rock, even inaminate objects. That's a skein of Scottish Highlands, which the Fool bought solely based on its name. He's turning it into socks as we speak and will undoubtedly post shortly.
Speaking of socks, it is a pair of those that earned the coveted "First FO of 07" in my list. They are made of KnitPicks in a colorway they call "daffodil," but I call "peas and carrots." They are for a friend of ours who kindly rewired the plug to my mom's old iron so I can continue using it and they are not photographed? Why? Because it feels like my head is stuffed with wool.

Time for tea.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A Nice Weekend at Home

I am quite relieved to be staying in the Chicago area for the entire duration of this weekend. I realized today that I hadn't actually spent an entire weekend at home since before Thanksgiving. Between Cosmic Otters gigs, running off to Florida for a conference, visiting Mom over Christmas, and other goings on, it's been one heck of a busy holiday season. It's only a brief hiatus for the insanity, however, as the mass out-of-townage will continue at the beginning of February, most notably a Friday-Saturday-Sunday Cosmic Otters tour of Missouri and Iowa that is sure to leave us exhausted.

In all of this travel, my car hit 100,000 miles. Meg made me get out of the car and she snapped a photo. For the record, this is on I-55 about 10 miles north of the Missouri border heading south.

On the way, we ran into some interesting artwork performed on an abandoned Wendy's sign near Springfield:

I wonder what the sign originally said.

Last Friday, we were invited to a whisk(e)y1 tasting party at one of our friend's apartments.2 We got to try everything from Kentucky bourbon to Scottish single-malts to a very bizarre vanilla-infused novelty whiskey.

Here was the lineup:

A good time was had by all. I was most pleasantly surprised by the Connemara, which was an Irish single-malt that tasted very pleasantly smoky and peaty. It could have come from Scotland and I wouldn't have been any the wiser.

All this talk of whisky makes me think fondly of our annual Burns Supper which is fast approaching. We are a bit concerned that the invite list is topping 50 people. We managed to fit 30 in the apartment last year, and that was pushing it. I guess we'll just wait and see what happens.

1Countries that have an 'e' in their name spell it whiskey, and countries that do not spell it whisky... or at least that's what I was told.
2Actually, it's a parsonage, but that's another story.

The Secret is Out

Not that it was much of a secret, really, but here it is in its full glory:

It's a baby sweater for my friend Michelle (well, actually, it's for her her newlyborn). Two dwarf hamsters adorn the front. Technically, the pattern I converted was a guinea pig, but I figured it was close enough1. I converted the cross-stitch chart into a knitting chart completely by eye. I'm particularly proud of this fact, because I'm pretty awful at drawing anything, let alone something that actually has to resemble something in the real world. Anyways, if she hasn't received it yet, she will probably receive it before she reads this post.

In other news, I'm working on something else that is remaining a secret for now. Though I can offer up this preview:

More will be revealed in a few weeks.
1Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a hamster chart? The only one I found was actually a cross-stitch pattern, and converting it would have made it look like a blob, as you lose a lot of resolution when you do this.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

On the 12th Day of Christmas....

... Or something like that ...
So here's a redux of the Christmas knitting.

This is the Sea Silk scarf, done in one skein of "Nova Scotia." Loved it. So does the recipient. You can't really tell, but it's a faggoted lace pattern I got out of "Knitting for Dummies." It turned out long enough to wrap around the neck a couple of times.

Above, that's the Fool under the archway to Enrico Biscotti on Pittsburgh's Strip, a street of interesting food shops, including great Italian markets and a fishmonger that always makes me wish I had a lot more people to cook for over the holidays than I do. This year, I really felt, more than usual, that the holidays just blew by with no time to enjoy or really participate in any of the typical preparations. I was too worried at work about getting everything done ahead of time so I could take a few days off, and so I really enjoyed standing in the crowds, being around all these people finishing up their Christmas shopping and getting lots of delicious things to make their families.

This is a scarf I knit from two skeins of recycled silk for my friend Carrie, who loves saris and their bright colors.
When I started knitting this yarn, it smelled like a dusty hippie -- something incense-soaked from the attic. So I washed it.
When it dried, it smelled like mold and machine shop (I polled some friends who were over playing tunes).
So I washed it again and put a squirt of minty shampoo in the wash water in hopes that would help. It did! It smelled like minty old clothes then, and I decided to quit while I was ahead.
All the washing meant the colors really came out well, too, so in the end, I was pleased.

Today, I'm home from work because I worked a late shift on Saturday. I went downtown and visited the Fool for lunch (lobster roll!) and a latte at Intelligentsia Coffee afterwards. I knit a sock on the train and came home and tidied stuff up. I'm trying to make peace with the housework this year. I like a clean house and feel better in one; I just don't like cleaning that much. So I'm working on adjusting my attitude about that.
Happy 2007, everyone!