Friday, May 27, 2005

Well, here it is folks. All finished. (Except of course for weaving in ends... we won't go there)

There are a couple things about this sweater that I wasn't expecting. For instance, I wasn't expecting the collar to be quite as tight as it is. Once I put it on it's fine. It's the getting it over my head and past my ears part that can be a bit tricky. Though I have a feeling after some good blocking and use we won't have a big problem there.

I also wasn't expecting the fairisle pattern to be so high across the chest, but again, I really don't think that that's too terrible because it still looks good.

Lastly, I wasn't expect to finish this sweater in a month and a half. Seriously, it was on size 3 needles. How did I do that? (I'm thinking hours of train rides in England had a bit to do with it).

So now I have a problem...I feel... projectless. It's sad really. I haven't the faintest clue what to start next. I could always go back and finish up a couple of projects that have, let's say, been put aside for creative differences, but I'm not excited about those things. And the worst part is, I'm going to be on a plane this afternoon with nothing to knit on. Blasphemy!!!

Why am I going to be on a plane you ask? Well, D & I are flying down to Virginia to visit a roommate of mine from college over the long weekend. In fact, two roommates from college live down there and we're all getting together. I'm so excited to not only see two of my best friends, but I get to introduce them to D! Oh, and I believe I mentioned in an earlier post that we were planning on spending a day at an amusement park! I haven't been on a roller coaster in years! To say that I'm excited would be a supreme understatement.

And the weather is supposed to be gorgeous. Oh Capri pants and flip-flops, how I have missed thee!

Ok, before I start spouting an ode to my summer clothes, I'd better finish up this post. Hope everyone has an excellent Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Careful, this meme thing's going around...

Ok, I’ve been tagged by a meme, which actually turns out to be a very good thing because I have a whole lot of nothing to write about. Work has been, well, work. Things, as you may imagine, aren’t great, but are manageable. It’s just depressing around here with my coworker gone and everyone coming to me expecting me to know the answers. Ummm, well, I don’t always know the answers and they’re just going to have to deal.

Wow, did I get sidetracked there or what? Can you tell what’s been on my mind? Anyway, on to the meme.

I have to choose five things from the list below and complete the sentence. Then I tag other people and they answer in their blogs. Of course, I’m not really one to tag other people, so if you wanna do it, be my guest, but I’m not gonna make ya!

If I could be a scientist.
If I could be a farmer
If I could be a psychologist
If I could be a librarian
If I could be an inn-keeper
If I could be a professor
If I could be a writer
If I could be a llama-rider
If I could be a bonnie pirate
If I could be an astronaut
If I could be a world famous blogger
If I could be a justice on any one court in the world
If I could be married to any current famous political figure

If I could be married to any current famous political figure… Well, that’s silly, why would I want to be married to a current famous political figure when I could be a current famous political figure… Of course, let’s be realistic and take into consideration the fact that I hate politics and would never be associated with them in any way, shape or form… Moving on…

If I could be a professor… I’d probably teach zoology even though I’ve never taken a single zoology class in my life, but all things animal fascinates me and I can’t get enough of Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. Hmmm, I’m beginning to think that I chose the wrong major in college….

If I could be a bonnie pirate… I’d be like the Robin Hood of the ocean, steal from the rich and give to the poor and all that good stuff. Plus it would be damn cool to be a woman pirate!

If I could be a farmer… Ok, seriously how easy is this one? Of course, I’d be a farmer who raises goats and sheep and alpacas and angora bunnies. Really, that wasn’t even a hard one…

If I could be a psychologist… I’d quit and become a zoologist…

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Relatively Uneventful Weekend

I can't say I was a knitting fool, or a spinning fool this weekend. Mostly because I wasn't home almost all weekend. D and I drove out to Rochester for the Lilac Festival which we didn't even end up going to. We did however see the new Star Wars movies at a theater there. D even made sure was saw the digital presentation with the stadium seating. You have not seen a movie until you've seen it with a digital projector. The best part was when the preview screen came on and your heard everyone in the audience do a collective "ooo-ah".

Anyway, Sunday I had another concert (the last one for the season, woohoo!) which lasted a lot longer than I thought it would. That didn't leave a lot of time for knitting or spinning this weekend. However, I did get a little bit done on the sweater. I blocked everything and sewed the steeks for the sleeves and then.... gulp....

cut it... It turned out fine, no run away stitches or anything. Really not as scary as it seems, though everything in my knitterly brain was screaming, "Cut knitting?!?!? Are you crazy?!?!?!" I just push that aside and did it. I ended up seaming the shoulders together and knitting the collar, but that's as far as I got this weekend.

Did I ever tell you how much I love fairisle when it's blocked? It just looks so clean, if that makes any sense at all.

I also knit a little bit on the clapotis scarf that I've been working on. Mainly because sewing up a sweater in the car is not really something I like doing very much. Knitting's fine, sewing up requires a little more attention on my part.

I promise, it looks much better than this picture is making it seem.

Speaking of really crappy photos, how about this one:

I tried, but it really wasn't photographing well. Erica, out of the goodness of her heart, sent me this bag of Corridale fiber to spin! I couldn't even believe it. I'm telling you, the generosity of the knitters and spinners I've met through blogging never ceases to amaze me! Thanks Erica! You're a real sweetheart!

And because the weather is supposed to be pretty craptastic for the rest of the week, here's a picture from one of my gardens on a nice day, just to cheer me up.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Is it Friday yet?

Are you ready to see some spun yarn? I'm finally ready to show you some! My first attempt was with some maroon merino roving that I got at Rhinebeck last year. It was great to work with (Of course I'm probably going to say that with anything that I spin! Bare with me.) When I finally plied it, it came out to be about a DK weight.

And because I'm slightly anal, I sort of measured it and it's approximately 166 yards! I love how even it came out. But I'm really proud of the other things I've been spinning.

For Christmas I gave my mom a pound of merino roving because after I came home from Rhinebeck there was a bit of interest on her part in wanting to learn how to spin. Well, basically, mom's been so busy with the knitting that she's doing that she told me to go ahead and spin it up for her. Well she didn't have to tell me twice!

I decided to spin it a little bit thicker than my first attempt so that it's a worsted or heavy worsted weight. And boy it turned out great!

And it's sooo soft! I love the way the colors turned out.

Here's a picture of the three skeins. It's the most accurate when it comes to the color of the maroon yarn.

So this week has been going a little better than expected. That is up until this morning when I get to work only to find out that the person I call boss is a bit of an idiot (and when I say bit I mean extremely huge and in no way just a bit!) because he mucked up the system everyone works in. Mucked it up so much that all of the work that I've done since May 9th is now gone. That's nearly two weeks of work gone. And not just my work, but everyone else's also. You'd think that they would have backed up the system so that we could just restore it... Well... they can't seem to figure out how to do that because the tech guy was fired a good 5 months ago and they haven't hired anyone new to fill the position... It's just been the finacial guy who thinks he knows something about computers (and who also happens to be the boss in question and the person who fired the tech guy) messing with it. To say I'm a little bit frustrated right now would be a colossal understatement. In truth, something in the back of my head is screaming "RUN!!! RUN FOR THE HILLS, GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!!!" And you know, I think that 'little' voice is right, so there may be a change of occupations for me in the near future.

And do you know what really helps when situations like this come up? Pictures like this...

Tell me that doesn't just make all the bad stuff go away?

Monday, May 16, 2005

This is life I guess...

I realize I’ve been quite the sporadic blogger recently, or maybe it’s just that I feel like an extremely sporadic blogger. Either way, I feel I have been neglecting the blog. There are reasons people, I promise, there are reasons...

One happens to be I’ve been extremely busy at work. Not only extremely busy, but also just a little bit stressed out. Just when you feel you’ve finally settled in, something comes and knocks you off your feet. My coworker, who is one of the greatest people I’ve ever met, let alone worked with, has taken a new job and I will miss her terribly. It isn’t just the missing her that’s been stressing me out, but the fact that I was terrified of taking over her job (We assumed that since I’m her assistant their natural choice for a replacement would be me) and well, I’ll put it simply…there’s no way in hell that I want her job. For a time, I was trying to convince myself that I’d want it, that I’d be good at it and that it really wouldn’t be as bad as I make it out to be, but you know, you just can’t fool yourself no matter how hard you try to. So there I’ve been, freaking out that I’m going to be having a new, very stressful job that I really don’t want. Oh and did I mention I wouldn’t be paid very much more for this new, very stressful job? Luckily, things have worked out where I'm keeping the assistant position. Still slightly stressful because who know's who I'll be working for, but much more managable than taking a new job I don't want.

Right, so that’s been one reason that I’ve been neglecting the blog. I forgot to mention that being really busy at work directly affects how neglectful I am to the blog seeing as how I do most of my blog writing at work (shhhhh, don’t tell!)

Also, all last week and this weekend I was either at rehearsals, dress rehearsals or concerts for the chorus I’m in. We were singing music of the 50’s and 60’s. To put things into perspective of just how young I am compared to the other members of the chorale, the title of the show was “The Syracuse Chorale Cabaret presents Songs from the 50’s and 60’s, Remembering our Youth” Ummm, as I see it, I’m in my youth. Maybe if they did a show like, music from the 80’s and 90’s…then it'd be a little more accurate for me.

There’s one other person who’s around my age and she and I sat back and watched while many older people relived their childhoods. It was sort of fascinating really. It’s amazing how young at heart these people are and I never knew it, because most of the time we sing music from the 1700’s… I don’t think anyone’s remembering their youth with that stuff.

On top of it all, I’ve been extremely obsessed with spinning. I’ve finished three whole skeins of yarn. That’s three skeins of yarn since starting to spin last Monday. I’d even go so far in saying that they look great (I promise, pictures are forthcoming!) My mother has created a monster by buying me that thing. It’s truly scary. I’m afraid D thinks I’m neglecting him because all I want to do is spin. Forget bowling, forget going to the movies, spinning is my life. At this rate I’m going to run out of fiber to spin in about two weeks. Rhinebeck couldn’t get here fast enough…

Hopefully soon things will start to calm down again, but until then, things may continue to be sporadic around here.... or maybe it's all in my head....

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Big News

While many of you (though not all) were having an amazing time in Maryland, for which I am supremely jealous, I have been pining away thinking of my next chance to go to a big fiber festival. Part of that led to me wondering when I'd be getting a spinning wheel of my very own. My mom had promised that it was going to be my birthday present, but my birthday is so far away (August). In persective, August really isn't as far away as I imagine it to be, yet far enough away for someone who has spinning on the brain and who really doesn't have the patience to wait that long.

So my mom, being the wonderful person that she is, decided that I should get my birthday present early. And it arrived last Thursday.

The excitement was more than I could even handle. In fact, instead of waiting like I know I should have, I put it together.

Though Ramses was pretty curious and interested in hanging around while I was working, he didn't help me put it together one bit, lazy cat...

I had decided a long time ago what I was going to do with my wheel because, lets be honest, it isn't the prettiest thing you've ever seen all unfinished like that. So I brought out my trusty paints and foam rubber stamps and made it gorgeous.

At least, I think it's gorgeous, here's a close up on the wheel.

I can definitely say that I am more than a little bit proud of the work that I did (and so modest too!) I used foam stamps for the leaves and freehanded the vines on it.

I have only had the chance to sit down and spin one time because I have been so busy with the chorus that I'm in. We have three concerts this weekend, and all this week has consisted of rehearsal upon rehearsal, when all I really want to do is SPIN!!!

My first attempt has turned out really nice too. I think a lot of that has to do with my work on the drop spindle. I really got a feel for the rythmn and the amount of fiber to let through, etc. So we'll see how my first skein of wheel-spun yarn turns out.

And just because I can, here's a little picture of me and two of our cats, you can barely see the second cat because she's black and so are my pants.

Here's Pookie in her favorite position...

I'm almost finished with the second sleeve of the Dale sweater and hopefully will be showing you a finished (or semi-finished) product soon!

Monday, May 09, 2005

The England (and a little bit of France) Sweater

As promised, I finally get to show you what I worked on while in England. I am shocked at how far I actually got on this sweater, but I suppose when you spend roughly four hours on a train everyday you get a lot done. This is how far I was when we went to Edinburgh.

I only know that because this picture was taken in the hotel that we stayed in.
From there it was just a matter of a train ride or two before I got this far...

The harlot is completely on when she says that fair-isle works up faster than plain stockinette. It's freaky how quickly I finished that part. And the sad thing was it was the most interesting part in this entire sweater! On another note, I was afraid that the abundance of red and green would make it look a bit too Christmas-y but I think I won't have a problem because the sleeves are blue.

Speaking of sleeves... By the time I got home I had a whole sleeve and a bit of the second one finished

when I noticed I didn't have enough green to finish the cuff. At this point I did what any self respecting knitter would do and headed to the LYS to get one more skein. At least, that's what I had planned to do. Unfortunately, they didn't have anymore and I've been informed that it is a discontinued color. A color that has been discontinued for a very long time. 'Grrrr' would be the word that came to mind at that point.
Solution? Rip the first sleeve out and decrease the number of stitches used for the cuff. They are actually bell-sleeve cuffs so this was feasible but really, it just makes you want to cry when a sleeve that you had finished is reduced to this...

How do you cheer yourself up after a catastrophic event that? I could only think of one thing. Stash enhancement...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Finale

Ok, just a warning, this is an extremely long post full of pictures. I just want to finish up my trip so that I can show all the exciting stuff that's been going on since I've been back!

Sorry to leave you in a cliffhanger there. I made it sounds much more dramatic than it actually was. Oh but first, if you don't believe me about the Craft Fair of Quality... take a look at this...

Notice how tea comes before coffee? It's a strange, strange place...

Anyway, on to Paris... To be honest, it wasn't actually Paris that made for a not so nice experience there. It was the fish'n chips meal that I had the night before that was responsible for that. Apparently my stomach is not fond of fish'n chips mixed with English ale because it let me know at about 1am the night before we left for Paris. Did I mention that we had to be up by 4am in order to have the time to make the train we were taking? Probably not. So I was up all night paying homage to the porcelain god. I may have gotten three hours sleep at most, and then I had to get on a rocking train all the way to Paris. To say the least, I wasn't feeling well and I certainly wasn't up for being enthusiastic about sightseeing. I would have loved nothing more than to stay at the flat to sleep and recover from whatever stomach issue it was that I had, but I didn't, I went and now, Paris is forever tainted for me... Though judging by the pictures, it looks the same.

They had these Paris 2012 things up everywhere because Paris is a bid city for the Olympics.

Arc de Triumph... and the traffic leading up to it...

There's the Louvre, and if you've ever read the DaVinci Code, that's the pyramid he's talking about.

We didn't spend much time in the Louvre, but I did see the Winged Victory, Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and probably many, many, many more famous artworks, but I was in a bit of a haze at that point.

And he were are at Notre Dame (I have to admit putting all these pictures up makes me feel like I'm showing a slide show of a trip that no one's really interested in. Like those annoying neighbors who just got back from the Caribbean and insist on showing you all the pictures they took of how blue the water is....)

Anyway, interesting story goes along with Paris. We were on our way back to London and we were about to get onto the train when this guy gets off the train. I only saw the back of him but he sort of looked familiar to me. We walked past him and I just thought I'd turn around and see if I was seeing things or not. Well, I wasn't seeing things. Would you like to know who I saw?!?!?
VIN DIESEL!!! And you know what? He's just as hot in person as he is in real life. My mom actually went up to him to get an autograph because she crazy about him. I just sat back and watched. It was surreal. But, definitley one of those interesting stories that I'll tell my kids one day and they'll ask "who the heck is Vin Diesel?" and it'll make me realize how old I've gotten, you know, one of those kind of stories.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the rest of the trip.
This one is just funny and it really shows you how Europeans like small cars. And you thought a Mini was small...

Notice the motorcycle right behind it is not much smaller than it. It's called a Smart Car and they are really some of the funniest things you've ever seen if you like me and come from the land of oversized SUVs.

Ok, on to some real sightseeing...

This is Windsor Castle. The flag that's flying means that the Queen is in residence. That means that she was there while we were touring around her home. Weird to have tourists all over your place like that. Of course, there was plenty of room so I'm sure she didn't even notice us.

These are pictures of Caerphilly Castle in Wales. It was the most authentic castle that I went to because it really gave you the feeling that it was used hundreds of years ago. In fact, parts of it were falling apart (most of it actually) but that's what really added to the feel of it.

Then we went to Cardiff Castle in Wales.

That is actually the Norman keep in the center of the Castle grounds. I actually went up to the top where that flag is flying and took this picture...

That's what you see when you're looking down there, and if you look closely you can see a person on the fair bench by the tree with her legs crossed... that's my mom.
They also had peacocks.

Why I found this fascinating, I'll never know, but they held my attention longer than the castle did.

So those are just highlights of my trip. I know I'm leaving out so much but it's best not to bore my readers with things like "we were on the train for two hours, then we got off the train, then we walked to the castle, then we..." Instead, the highlights will do just fine. And I'm dying to show you my progress on the sweater I worked on and all the other exciting things that have been happening since I've been back.

Monday, May 02, 2005

York and Edinburgh

We went to York on our way to Edinburgh, Scotland and it was one of the nicer towns we visited. I believe it was a Sunday and the only reason I knew that was because this was closed...

That's right, another yarn shop and I couldn't even go in. That was slightly upsetting because, judging by the window, they had some very nice yarns...

Tell me it doesn't look like I'd find something that I'd like in that shop? Even so, York was nice. We went to a "Craft Fair of Quality" I found it quite funny that they had to empasize the fact that it was of "quality" as opposed to what? Quantity?

"You know, we have a lot of stuff, but it's all crap, what you want is a craft fair of quality..."

For some reason though, I really enjoyed the craft fair and I think it's because it reminded me of home. It had the exact same feel as a craft fair here. I have to warn you I became slightly homesick about halfway through this trip. I can't say I'm all that surprised, after all D was home...

Anyway, we made our way to Edinburgh that afternoon. We had booked a hotel there so we could tour around Edinburgh the next day. A litte back story here, a friend of mine from high school has been in Edinburgh for the past two years on a sort of work abroad program. I had sent her an e-mail telling her where and when we'd be there, hoping that we'd possibly have a chance to get together. I had to leave it to chance after that because we didn't have an internet connection and I didn't have her phone number so the only contact that really could be made was if she called me at the hotel when we were there.

I didn't hear from her that night and I wasn't totally surprise because we didn't get a chance to really plan anything, but the next morning I got a phone call! We decided to meet around 1pm and spend the afternoon together. How much fun is that?

So that morning my parents and I did a little sightseeing at Edinburgh Castle....

(I'm telling you you're going to be sick of all the castles I'm going to show you!) Another great historical castle by the way. In fact, I'm really interested in reading up on Scottish history now that I've seen that castle.

After that we went to meet up with Kirsten. I had the best day with her. We walked all over Edniburgh it seems and she showed me where she works...Fettes College. She's teaching English there. Tell me it doesn't look like something straight out of Harry Potter? According to K, Rowling based Hogwarts on Fettes. After walking around it, I'm completely not surprised. She also said that Rowling used to write in some of the cafes around Edinburgh. Again, it's easy to see what inspired Rowling. It's hard not to get a very gothic and somewhat mystical feel when you're in Edinburgh.

Meeting up with Kirsten was by far the highlight of my trip.

In fact, I would have loved staying in Edinburgh, but other places were on the agenda so we had to get going.

Up next, Paris and why I no longer have any desire to return there.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Day two...or three... by now I can't remember

I tell you the days from the trip seem to be bleeding together. I can remember everything that happened, however, dates didn't mean much to me while we were there. Do vacations ever do that to you? You completely forget the date or even the day it happens to be because it isn't imperative that you know the day. That happened quite a bit to me.

So somewhere along the way in relatively chronological order we went to Warwick. Warwick has an extremely interesting castle there.

This was the first castle I've ever seen and rightly I was extremely impressed. However, it didn't feel very authentic because they had turned it into a tourist attraction by making it into a sort of Renaissance Fair with archer and jousts, etc. Also, it really threw you for a loop because the family that owned this castle kept it all through the Victorian period so there are rooms in the castle decorated in 19th and 20th century styles. I suppose I was expecting medieval decoration....

You'll never guess what else we saw in Warwick...

That's right. A yarn shop. We just stumbled upon it. To say that they had a good size selection would be something of an understatement. They had yarn in bags from the floor to the ceiling (and it wasn't a low ceiling either!) I was so overwhelmed with the selection that I didn't even end up getting anything. Shocking, I know.

There were also really cute streets there.

Why I'm showing you pictures of streets, I'll never know, but really, they intrigued me.

I think that same day we took the train to Stratford upon Avon (again, the days running together thing is going on). Stratford upon Avon is where Shakespeare was born and is buried. In fact, he was born in this house...

We didn't stay very long in Stratford only because we had already spent half the day in Warwick.

More to come and hopefully a couple of days at a time. After all I want to show you how much I knit on all these train rides!