Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Unbelievers That I Live With....

...are giving me crap because they just don't understand the magic of hand-knitted socks. Ah, well. Colleen (who is reading this over my shoulder), at least can be converted. Or killed, whichever is quickest. And Jim (who keeps lobbing yarn at my keyboard and restraining one of my arms--i swear, i'm the only adult here) now that he is in possession of the Ugly Scarf, is rather less bewildered by all the knitting. He, at least, begins to see the beauty of a handknitted item.

Things at work are, well, still stressful. At least I didn't come home with a migraine today. And that's all we'll discuss of the unpleasantness that is my (usually) eight-to-five gig. It pays the bills, at least a little.

I'm still waiting to replace my copy of the Conwy pattern, --"and squish head czar jim sucks a lot of monkey b nbv" -colleen-- as I was only using a copy from Mom's book. The quote was added by Colleen while Jim stole my arms. As you can see, I am surrounded by children. I think of it as good practice for when I have children of my own, though I expect I'll not be able to threaten the children's lives so often. Jim makes me laugh, and he makes me play. It's good to be surrounded by children, at least sometimes.

At any rate, I'm still working on the Boss Baby Blanket and toiling away on my Bribe sock. I'm thinking I'd like to make some lacy mock cable socks with some of the delicious yarn I've been showered with. I realized today looking at my knitting basket, that between my gifts from Momolla and the Australian Fiber Fairies, I have what feels like quite a lot of sock yarn. I'd like something more mindful to knit, I realize I miss the Conwy knitting, because it is such a challenge. It's nice to knit something less stressful, but it also feels good to challenge myself with knitting. When next I go home to mooch dinner--uh, spend time with my family, I need to make another copy of the pattern.

In house news, Jim and I have narrowed the paint color options for our rooms (the library, office, and bedroom) down a little. At this point we're choosing between some mid-greens and gray-blues. We'd like to bring the trim in our room back to the original dark wood, it's just got a lot of layers of cheap, crappy white paint on it. We're also slowly working on cleaning up the front room. In another few months, we might even be able to put some real furniture in there. Ah, hope springs eternal.

I heard a song on the radio that I really liked today. It's a duet sung by Billy Ray Cyrus and his daughter. Part of the daughter's chorus goes, "I'm at the starting line of the rest of my life, as ready as I've ever been. I've got the hunger and the stars in my eyes and the prize is mine to win." It made me smile, and tear up a little at the same time, because, well, it feels like that's where I'm at. I've made this new start, I've set out to be an adult and to go follow my dreams. I just hope to all that's gracious and holy I don't screw it up again. At the same time, I thank all those gracious, holy beings that if I do screw up, I do have my family to lean on. Granted, I've done it once, and I'm not sure how much patience they'll have a second time, but it is good to know that I have people rooting for me. Oh, the father's part of the chorus? "Get ready, get set, don't go." I'm not sure how well that part applies here (kate, at least, was delighted to get her room back), but it made me think of Momolla. She's, ah, tenderhearted. When I packed my car up and headed out Christmas day, she cried. I'm pretty sure she's happy to see me moving forward, but I'm equally sure she'd like to keep us all home together as long as possible.

That's a rather long ramble. I hope the last few days between you all and the weekend are quick and easy and pleasant.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Long Overdue

As I was looking at my large, happy looking basket of George today, contemplating starting a new pair of socks (my darling jim threw out my copy of the conwy pattern, i need something to hold my interest), my eye was caught by the many beautiful things the Australian Fiber Fairies had bestowed upon me. And so, now, realizing that this post is long overdue, I must say thank you.

Bells, Georgie, I'm not sure I'm eloquent enough to thank you for the amazing generosity of your gift. The timing was perfect, and the yarn is absolutely gorgeous. Your kindness and sensitivity and willingness to send some yarn-y love to li'l ol me, someone you still hardly know, halfway around the world, touches me very deeply. I mean, how cool is that? And I got a huge kick out of reading the ingredients panel of the Fantales (they list energy, i find that infinitely amusing)--not as much of a kick as I got out of eating them, but a kick, nonetheless. So, a thousand warm, fuzzy thankyous go out to you two fantastic ladies. You have given me a wonderful start on George, and what knitting n00b can ask for more?

It's been a rough weekend here, thanks to too many stressful hours at work with too many men who don't listen to what I say, so instead of concentrating on the negative, I'm going to focus on the good, and raise a glass of this lovely (imported australian--yellowtail) shiraz in thanks to the fabulous Bells and Georgie. May you two wonderful women be blessed with as much kindness as you show so often.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

More Bloggy Goodness...

Yup, two in one week. Whooo! I'm on fire!

I'm happy to report, a lot of the clutter (i mean, crap) has been cleared out of the front room, and I wasn't even the person that did the clearing. It very much needs to get done, because there are no doors to the room, but there are a lot of windows, so we can't really satisfactorily hide any of the clutter (crap).

In other house news, I think I will try to paint Jim's and my bedroom next Tuesday, so that it gets done sooner rather than later and we can finish unpacking and whatnot. I'm researching re-finishing the floors. The second and third story both have fairly faded, abused hardwood flooring, and I would like to take care of that. Actually, the floor on the second story has been painted a sort of sickly shit brown, which I hate. The landlady offered to put carpet in, but the stuff on the bottom floor is rather cheap and pretty linty. There are enough clumps of fiber sitting on the carpet that I could probably make a pretty respectable roving and perhaps try to spin it. I can't imagine what one would make out of cheap carpet fiber, though. Socks for someone you hate, maybe?

Also, we have a couch now. I may not have mentioned this, but prior to Sunday, all we had in the living room was an armchair and a (really ugly) coffee table (i think jim's mom might have trashpicked it just to spite me--it's truly ugly). Well, there was also a beanbag chair, but that hardly counts. However, my super-fantastic awesome Jim found us a free couch in Pottstown. He even moved it in while I was at work, so that I didn't have to do any of the heavy lifting. Man, he's the best. So yeah, now I can have more than one person sit in the living room at a time.

So, I'm about three inches into the Boss Baby Blanket now, and I think I like my adaptation of the pattern more than the original. The eyelet detail on the edge is much more apparent now, though that could also be the yarn. I realize I forgot pictures of this particular bit of knitting, and so much track down my camera (hidden from a friend's wee one during a visit sunday) and show you this pretty, tiny bit of knitting. It would be going faster, but I'm working on a new circular needle, and the cord isn't stretched out all the way and keeps twisting itself up around my yarn. I am trying to think happy things while I knit this adorable piece of babyness, but the twisty-yarn-thing makes that a little more difficult.

The second bribe sock is coming along a bit slowly, but that's because I mainly knit on it during my lunch breaks at work. I find it very soothing to make lots of rows of small, orderly stitches. I feel a little out of my element at work, because I'm not really getting any training, and I feel like my boss has some fairly unrealistic expectations for me. I can handle this, though, I can (repeats mantra to self while rocking back and forth). Anyway, I generally only get three or four rows done once I've eaten, but it's enormously calming. I often go to the McDonald's next door for a shake or a burger, and then I knit in public. Knitting in public always makes me feel just a little special and daring. And it's a great way to start conversations with strangers.

Huh, I started out thinking I had nothing to really blog about. Looks like I was wrong, eh? More pictures will be coming soon, now that the kitchen is in better shape.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Pictures of the New Place

It's only a week late, but hey, I finally found my camera, bought some batteries, and located my cable, all at the same time.

And so here, in no particular order, are pictures of my house, my knitting, and The Cat. Trust me, she needs capital letters--she's enormous!

This is our chandelier--it's actually not very large but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in crystals. Apparently, it's a German-made antique. I'm not sure how reliable that information is, my landlady told us that's what the (somewhat crazy) old lady (religious zealot) who used o live in the house said. It's a little, uh, drippy, for my taste, but it is very sparkly and pretty when it's turned on.

This is our pretty kitchen lamp, which now hangs a lot higher than originally. We used to bump our heads on it frequently, and when something's low enough for me to bump my head on, it's low. But hey, it's pretty. There will be a picture of the cute kitchen later, but right now, there's too much stuff for me to feel okay about taking pictures of it.

But, just so everyone can feel good about the house they are living in, here is a charming picture of our front room. It's, well, full. Of shit. This is the store room for all of our many unpacked things, or things without homes yet. My goal is to get this room cleaned out and presentable within the next two weeks, which will be fun, because, actually, not a whole lot of that is mine.

Here we have a crappy picture of the stained-glass window in the house. It's really rather lovely, though it's difficult to tell. My excuse for the lousy picture is that the window is in the front room, and it's not exactly easy to get anywhere near the windows in that room at the moment. Below is a closeup of the detail on the window, which gives you a much truer idea of the colors and the design.

Here is The Cat, with human hand for scale. She's roughly twenty-five to thirty pounds, and when I sit down, she takes up my entire (fairly capacious) lap, and then some. As you can see, she's remarkably massive. She's beautiful and very soft and fuzzy. She'll even purr at you while you pet her, for about thirty seconds. And then, she snaps at you and growls. I think she may have a split personality. Or she's a rapid-cycling bipolar cat. The other alternative is that she is pure, unadulterated evil, which is a definite possibility.

And now, for something completely different. Here's my beloved Jim, wearing the ugly scarf. I was afraid he wouldn't like it, as it is, well, unique. However, he loves it. He wears it at work and at home, pretty much whenever he's not sleeping. I think he'll be a little upset when the weather warms up and he can't really wear it any more.

This is a foot, and a section of pasty-white leg, belonging to me. The astute among you might notice that it is encased in a Bribe Sock. This is the case, and it makes me glad to have one sock... and part of another!

And at long, long last, pictures of the infamous Conwy! My camera's zoom function leaves something to be desired, as does the stitch definition of this gorgeous yarn. But this gives you a basic idea of the pattern. As you can see, three repeats of a four-row pattern is not a lot in terms of inches. But damn, it feels like an accomplishment. Hopefully the stitch definition will be better when more of the sock is done and I can put it on my foot to show it off.

And that's the end of today's blog! It's time to go and take Colleen to Unclaimed Freight so that we can get her some furniture so she can finish moving in. Hope everyone's weekend is going well.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Progress, of a Sort

Well, there are less boxes. There are still no pictures, because my darling Jim, when asked to get batteries for my camera, purchased them at the dollar store. Said batteries only lasted long enough to take one picture, and not a good one, at that. Ah, well. I will get some myself this weekend and then, I swear, post some pictures of the house and my knitting and all manner of other cool things. Momolla, not surprisingly, has beaten me to the punch with pictures. She's got a lovely picture of me (sarcasm there, i'm not exactly photogenic) and the potato soup I made for lunch on Saturday.

Speaking of Saturday, that's when my parents and Kate came for lunch and to see the house for the first time. I really do live in a nice neighborhood, and the house is pretty and warm and safe, which eased Mom's (and probably dad's) mind considerably. It was a lot of fun to cook for my family, and it was great to see then relax in my home. The novelty hasn't worn off yet, which is good, since there's still a lot to do in terms of painting and unpacking and generally making the house into a home. It's fun to do all this, but I think it'll be nice to finally be settled.

In fiber news, I'm working on my second bribe sock, and also on the Boss Baby Blanket. For that, I've sort of adapted the previously used baby blanket pattern, I've just added a second yarn over and a k2tog to the border. The theory is that this will make the edge a little more lacy and feminine. I'm not sure what it looks like yet, really, because I'm still only about an inch into it, so there's not much border to see yet. Also, I'm experimenting with spinning. The fiber fairie brought me a roving and a drop spindle for Christmas, and I'm having a lot of fun playing with it. Right now, I haven't had the courage to try the drop spindle yet, but I'm doing the roll-the-wool-over-your-leg thing. I can't promise pictures of this yet, as there's not much to show, but I will post some pictures of the roving.

And that's all she wrote, at least for tonight. Happy almost the weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I should be...

... taking and then posting pictures of my fabulous new house.

...washing the dishes.

...doing wash for work tomorrow.

...unpacking some more boxes.

...figuring out what I'm making my family for lunch on Saturday when they come to see the new digs.

...reading up on the stuff my new boss gave me for homework.

...putting the last batch of laundry away. looking for a couch that will fit through my tiny, tiny doorway.

And? I am laying here, basking in the wonder of the Internet, which I have been without for so many days. The laundry will get done, eventually. And the boxes, well, Jim has suggested that we should stick them in the basement and just worry about them eventually. Some days, after work, I'm not so sure that's a bad idea.

Jim and I are pretty much moved in, and Colleen is slowly moving her things over. Mike, we're not so sure about. Mike is jobless and hasn't moved more than a few boxes in since we signed the lease three weeks ago. We're trying to be patient, but he seems to need someone to expedite the process for him. I think that, on some level, he's just not ready to do this yet. All I can say is that he'd better get ready soon.

Right. Pictures will be posted Saturday morning, I promise. And the laundry will get done as soon as Jim gets of of the shower. And until he's done, it's time for me to clean up the kitchen. Boxes? What boxes?