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First: Evolution (the mail client for Gnome, which I was formerly using) has started eating my emails. I am now moving back to good old Claws.

So if you sent me something in the past little bit and unexpectedly not gotten a response, send me a poke. I haven't actually lost any mail -- it's still all up on Gmail, so I'm going to try to go through and see what I've been missing -- but it's possible something fell through the cracks.

Second: I am starting to see why people hate doing taxes, what with trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be withholding for a self-employed out-of-the-country income (I was a contractor at Secret Project X) when I've already paid the equivalent of SS and Medicare taxes which should count due to a tax treaty..... (I applied for the extension, so I'm not actually late yet.) This should be much easier next year, thankfully.

Third: I think I'm finally getting back my knitting mojo. I had been knitting a sock earlier this year, and it was going pretty slowly. And then I got to the heel! Finally, the interesting part! And then I realized I had the wrong number of stitches! And then I hated the sock and have not touched it since about late April.

What finally got my back to knitting was, oddly enough........ the NASCAR race. This makes sense. Really.

First off, it's a long drive there, and knitting is usually pretty good to do in the car since it's one of the few car activities I like that I can do and also pay some attention to what's going on and hold conversations with people.
Second, I figured I could probably do some knitting at the race (especially if it turned out that I found the whole thing utterly boring).

So what was the exciting knitting project I decided to start for the Michigan race? Why, a lace shawl, of course. ;)

I'm still only a few repeats into it (I got a grand total of one repeat done on the Michigan trip), but I'm starting to feel like I'm getting some momentum going.
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What have I been up to?

  • Secret Project X has met its end. Final tally on the bus knitting is two pairs of socks, a cowl, and a hat. Not bad.
  • I went to visit my parents for Thanksgiving, and got to hang out with my sister, and visit more briefly with other friends. It was very good times. There was quite a bit of consumption of the standard turkey, and also much consumption of enchiladas and a Freebirds burrito. Nom nom nom.
  • We also performed our duty as Americans (and sort-of-Americans-by-marriage) and bought cheap things on Friday. I picked up a few games from Gamestop as they had a deal on used games: the first Phoenix Wright, Wind Waker, and Zack and Wiki (guess who is apparently in the mood for some point and click adventure?).
  • Jerry was sick the whole time we were down there. So naturally what happens when we get back? He's better.... and I get sick. Thankfully it's a pretty minor thing. So I've been spending the past couple of days playing much Phoenix Wright and a bit having my mind blown by the Cat Bordhi and Elizabeth Zimmerman knitting books that I picked up in Texas (via a Knitpicks sale in October). I haven't gotten a chance to do much with them yet, but they certainly look like I'll have a lot of fun with them in the future.
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Secret Project X is proceeding apace, and I've been getting in a bunch of knitting during my bus time. Since I started, I finished a pair of socks (my first pair!!) and a smoke ring/cowl, and I'm halfway through another pair of socks.

Additionally because of the bus time, I'm rediscovering podcasts.


I need some podcast recommendations. Preferences: one hour or less, any frequency other than daily (I would get horribly behind rather quickly).

In case anyone's curious, here's my current list )
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Apparently getting a bunch of new yarn at the exact same time I've started to want to pick up the needles after a month or so of not getting much knitting done has completely short-circuited my decision-making skills.

In addition to the Colourmart stuff, there was a tent sale at the store here, and I ended up filling a small bag with 8 balls of fingering wool in green, burnt orange, and yellow, a ball of sock yarn, and a couple of random balls of cashmerino chunky in a dusty blue... for $40. Woo sale!

The wool I picked up at the tent sale is going to be an awesome sweater vest and probably my first foray into either fair isle or some other sort of colorwork, but I'm patternless at the moment so I can't get started until a book from the library comes in, and while I have a feeling I'm going to be pretty much making up my own pattern, I don't want to fly entirely by the seat of my pants.

Which adds up to me spending today and yesterday casting on and knitting like 5 rows of various scarf patterns in various yarns before deciding better of it (aka reminding myself that DEAR GOD HOW MANY SCARVES DO YOU NEED, WOMAN, YOU CAN'T GET RID OF THE ONES YOU HAVE), and when I try to think of anything else to make, my brain goes off in about 10 directions at once. (And of course, my current reaction to all of the projects I already have on the needles is "but I don' wanna knit that". <facepalm>)
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Those of you that do yarny things may have heard of Colourmart. (Those of you that hadn't heard of them before will be yelling at me for introducing you to the site once you take a look around there. ;))
After several years of drooling and then trying to forget about the site, a couple months ago I finally made my first order -- 1200 yards of linen. Well, the yarn arrived, but it turned out to be 1200 yards of wool/silk (which would actually have cost me several dollars more if I had ordered it). And then they told everyone that had had the mixup they'd send out the linen proper for free when it arrived (score!) and gave us regular updates on its progress (it was a bit of a saga). It finally arrived this week (with many more yards in a lighter weight). It's so shiny... I didn't think linen was shiny like this. If I hadn't felt it, I'd have guessed it was silk, that's how shiny it is.

Both yarns I ended up getting are both a pretty ecru shade off the cone, so they're dyeable. I made a Summer Lace Shawlette (pattern here) out of the wool/silk. And when the linen arrived, it was just in time for me to still be all pondering the newest Knitty... which means I'm probably making one of these. Now, I don't really need two similar garments in the exact same color, so I decided to experiment a bit with tea dyeing on the linen.

I knit up a swatchcloth (swatch for sizing, later to be used as a washcloth since linen is good for that sort of thing), then set the kettle boiling, grabbed 6 of the old teabags Jerry's had around for ages, and brewed up a really strong saucepan full of tea. After about 15 minutes, I fished out the teabags, plopped in the swatchcloth, and waited impatiently. After about 30 minutes, I checked on it, and...well... mostly, it looked dirty. <sigh> I decided to leave it in for another 20 minutes just to see if it would get any better or if that was the extent of the dyeing.

Half an hour later, I fished it out, and it is now this absolutely fucking gorgeous pink-y brown-y tan. (And it's still so shiny!)

TL;DR: Colourmart and tea dyeing: highly approved.
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Update? Update. Well, small update, anyway.

Alllll sorts of knitting drama today, which has been interesting to read. (Short version: person who runs free online knitting magazine, pay shop, and pay paper knitting magazine takes on more than she can handle and/or has ridiculously bad luck with the post, lots of customers don't get their yarn/mags, people don't get paid for patterns for free magazine, people start getting upset after a few months of getting the runaround, and then today the free magazine was flouncily closed and deleted.)

I have been having kitchen disasters lately. The other day while trying to grill some marinaded chicken breasts, I managed to both a) spill marinade all over the counter and somehow into two drawers of pots and pans and b) throw a chicken breast on the floor. And then today I dumped the majority of a large pot of spaghetti into the sink when I tried to drain it. <facepalm>
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One of my Denise cables broke. I've been carrying around a scarf as my out and about project, and I had just about decided I was ready to call it and bind off on it finally, when I discovered at improv yesterday that one of the needles had just snapped off.

I actually had to watch the improv workshop. :(
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Item A: Got my invite today, and Ravelry is really very very shiny. There are lots of bits that I won't use at all, but there are also lots of bits that are immensely useful and (surprisingly given the relatively large internet knitting presence) aren't available elsewhere online. Now I have to input my stash so I can actually get a proper queue going, rather than my usual "oh hi let's cast this on today then". On the off chance any of you are over there already, you can probably make a wild guess as to my username.

Item B: Pushing Daisies is indeed twee as fuck and I love it. (Watched it yesterday on CTV. Hooray periodic Canadian scheduling oddities!)

Item C: Alton is correct as usual that popping corn in a steel bowl is awesome and much better than microwave popcorn. We have a bit of an issue, however, when we have the burner turned up a bit too high and get black popcorn residue pretty much welded to the bottom of the bowl. We've been trying to clean it off, but unless something changes, it looks like we may have a dedicated bowl for popcorn-making only now. But the popcorn is still awesome.
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Okay, I am not one of those knitting people who thinks buying anything knitted is sacrelige. Some things are complicated to make by hand (colorwork, lace), some things are just too big/would take forever (sweaters, etc), or a lot of the time they just cost much more to make than it does just to buy. But then I go to the store with Jerry and see this and go "... That is almost exactly like the third thing I ever made." (The first two were a garter stitch scarf and a bag. I did take a break from the cabled scarf to work on a shrug though.) I could buy more yarn than you'd need for it for <$20, and while scarves can take a while, it's not that complicated.
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I just opened up a Coke (first one I've had up here! I'm being good!) and went "Man, this tastes really good!" And then I remembered that it actually has sugar in it up here, which probably explains why it tastes so good. (Actually, my first thought was "This tastes like a Frozen Coke!" I blame Sam's. Do Frozen Cokes use sugar in them still? Google is unexpectedly silent on this important issue.)

I actually cast off on Jerry's scarf today. The one that's been in the works for two years. ...At least I'm in time for this winter? The good thing about having none the rest of of my yarn here is that I've been forced to work on the scarf more regularly (although I really only did about the last 3 or 4 stripes here).
I have to admit, Jerry had to run into town the other day, so we stopped off at Kensington Market so I could see it and so I could also stop by Lettuce Knit (where I was mostly good and only bought a skein of Malabrigo (mmmmmmmmmm) and a skein of some Greek mercerized cotton).
While we were in town, we also hit up Phil's BBQ again, where we consumed large platefuls of meat (and the beans were better than I remembered them being).

Now I have to figure out what to do with my leftover yarn in the case of the scarf (1.5 skeins of each color -- Jerry wants a headband, so some of that is going towards that, but I'm still trying to figure out how that's going to work what with sizing up and also whether I want to attempt any colorwork or stripes or just leave it plain), and with the new yarn (I'm thinking maybe a beanie for me with the cotton, and I may just keep the Malabrigo around to pet. ;)).

Also: Guh. Ravelry invite please! <Colbert grabby hands>
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My god, I've finished a project. (Well, I've finished the knitting part. I have to felt it still.)

I used Knit in Public Day as an excuse to make myself pull out something from my box of UFOs, so I grabbed the modified Booga Bag (there isn't much modifying going on exactly, I just didn't measure or count exactly to the pattern) made with some Koolaid dyed yarn, and took it off to Sweet Eugene's, where, despite picking a not particularly comfortable chair, I had some very nice chai and an omgawesome crepe filled with melted chocolate goodness. Mmmm. ...And I also got a bunch of knitting done, actually finally finishing the bag part. Then I started on the i-cord...and remembered that my hands hate i-cord rather a lot. As I had reached the end of the chai, I wandered off to Hobby Lobby where I bought this (which is honestly really quite awesome, if you're in need of a spool--very easy to use) and wandered back home to watch Avatar and crank out i-cord.

Tomorrow, we felt. And make soup, I think.

(Also, how much do I love "The Blind Bandit"? Such a goddamn fun episode. And Toph is yay. And so is The Boulder.)


Jul. 17th, 2006 12:27 am
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Um, so. Long time no LJ anything substantial. Shame on me.
Work is massively compressing my time. I can't believe it's mid-July already.

I'm experimenting a bit with new food (particularly with things I can pack for lunch) in order to help me lose the couple of pounds that have jumped on (and also because I just need to practice cooking more things), which tonight included my first attempt at tofu. Well, the tofu part turned out just fine, but the marinade I used (and the subsequent sauce) was wayyyy too spicy and garlicky. Phew. Tsk tsk, Alton. Next time I leave out (or at the very least majorly cut down) the serrano and the minced garlic.

My parents are all moved down and everything to Katy. We went down a couple of weekends ago (and then again on the 4th), and hung out and played with dogs and did things, which was fun. Saw Superman Returns, which was also fun. I may go down there again next weekend to play with their new computer and go see Pirates with my dad since I haven't yet.

I've got my wireless router behaving finally, so for the one of you that has this (and I guess if anyone else ends up getting it) my friend code for Animal Crossing is 2448-8552-6151, and I'm Seas in Zabee. Let me know if you add me to your list.

Speaking of the DS, I just knitted the most ugly-ass, ill-fitting cozy ever for it, after I noticed it getting a scuff or two on the spine. I made it out of some navy ("Winter Night") Wool of the Andes, which I thought was going to shrink a lot more than it did when I felted it. As it is, it's more graphing calculator-sized than it is DS Lite-sized. Whoops. All it needs now is some dorky embroidered flowers. I'll have to see whether I can pull that off. (Judging by the way this came out, I think I may try a slightly bigger clutch-y type thing for taking to work in my messenger bag if I get a chance with the other two skeins I have.)

Things I found amusing when watching TV this weekend:
-I completely didn't notice the Cylon Bloo the first time I saw that episode of Foster's (although I noticed Kevin McDonald's voice in the first short and I think I even LJed about it).
-The sidekick on Psych is named Burton Guster.
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Dear Knitty,
Dangit, I don't need any more projects to be tossed in the queue! Stop it!

(PS: Yaysoawesomeusefulthings!)

So, at least two of these I'm definitely doing...
Topi: Not something I need, but I can wear it on vacation -- a light-colored hat that can get wet is awesome for parkgoing. Plus, it's cute. (Dunno if it will be on me, but when I'm at the parks, I'm also sporting the belt pack and water bottle over the shoulder, so I'm not super fashionable anyway. <g>) And I've got a cone of Peaches and Cream sitting here that I had no idea what to do with. (I actually kinda gave some to Sandra for making a bag, but I think there's enough yarn on there for her bag and this hat and probably about 3 more hats. ;))

Convertible: Okay, I've been totally wanting to try some lace, but I couldn't find anything I'd actually use. Don't need more scarves, don't think I'd wear a shawl... Tada! This is cute and with the versatility, I think I'd actually use it.

Exchequered is cool; I've been kind of wanting to try double knitting, and I think it'd be cute in red and white.
Nagano Sakura is also cute, although I probably wouldn't wear it. I think I'm going to steal the flowers though at some point.
And Nautie is adorably bizarre.
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I have fidelity issues.

Lately, my trouble's been with Josephine. We've been together for months now, spending weekends cuddling together on the couch as I work on her shoulders and neck...

But sometimes....

There was the mini-Clapotis. Exotic and so pretty from afar (if a bit abrasive in close quarters, and sadly much shorter than I was hoping). We had two whirlwind marathon sessions and then we were done.
Right after that, there was the potholder. Plain, unexciting, but it did the job, and we were over before I had time to get bored.

I've gotten back on Josephine now, and we're doing pretty well. We spent the past couple of weekends together again, and things are moving along nicely.

I've still got a crazy little oh so pettable scarf going on the side. And I've been flirting with Picovili and Fuzzyfeet for months now.
And in the past couple of days, I've gotten broadsided by a felted koolaid dyed bag. I haven't even gotten started, but all the pieces are there, and I know it's just a matter of time before I get in over my head with it.

Jo, baby, you know I love you, and I know that they're just simple compared to you, but that's what I need right now. I promise I'll come back to you soon.
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A note to the knitty/crafty people: Joann's is having a big sale this weekend (read: today and tomorrow), where they have 50% off one regularly-priced item coupons, which is cool but not super exciting, but they also have 50% off all the clearance stuff (plus other random things).

I got 5 big balls of Wool-Ease Sportweight (3 in grey and 2 in cream...about enough to make a sweater and a half!), 4 balls of Moda Dea Ricochet, a needle case, and some bamboo circulars for under $20.
At least at my store, they also had a bunch of Wool-Ease in the chunkier versions and a bunch of Cotton-Ease and some Cotton Tots (which I was wanting to use for something, but since I can't remember what, it stayed there ;)). Our Joann's here is pretty well-stocked though. Anyway, it might be something worth checking out.

The Ricochet is acrylic and a bit splitty, but it's reallllly soft and pretty and is going to be a nice scarf in mistake rib. <pets>
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Hooray! Knitted stuff!

Pictures go here. )

Okay, back to studying.


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