Monday, August 28, 2006

Labor Day in Chicago

My Aunt R and Cousin C are coming into town on Wednesday evening, and my mom is coming on Saturday morning. All the visitors are leaving on Monday. I have been asked to figure out what we should be doing.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Baby Surprise Jacket

Baby Surprise Jacket
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

I am a smart person. Even generally a smart knitter. But somehow, I decided that a DK-weight yarn (Merino Style) would be a good choice to use for a pattern that called for a shetland wool that knit to 6 stitches/inch aka Sport weight. And I kept knitting all the way through the decreases, through the straight knitting and into the increases, almost through 2 balls of yarn.

This pattern is supposed to take 3 oz. of yarn I have used almost that much and I'm nowhere near completion. That was the tipoff for me, actually, that it used too much yarn. It wasn't the fact that it is GIGANTIC or that I'm getting no more than 5 stitches to the inch (I haven't actually measured it) that tipped me off, oh say, a week ago. Nope, it was that I was running low on yarn. I have plenty (2 balls of each color) of this yarn for the jacket, but I knew how much was supposed to be used, and this is too much.

I started the jacket with the intention that it would be either for the Long Range Planning Department or for the Windy City Knitting Guild Charities program, but in the end, the yarn will return to yarn format until something better comes along to knit with it.

OSSP August Package, with notes!

OSSP August Package, with notes!
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

My upstream secret pal this summer was Gina at Life in LaLaLumay Land and she was a great pal. All of the packages were timely, well thought out, had nice yarn, and this final one was stuffed full of extra goodies.

Click on over to the flickr! picture for a larger version, lots of notes and detail shots.

If anyone can assist me in wearing a beret without looking ridiculous, please let me know. I really like this yarn (its got angora in it!) and the colors are nice and neutral, but I look a bit ridiculous. It is very well-made and fits nicely.

Thanks Gina!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Show and Tell Thursdays

Current Toothbrush holder
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

I suggested the topic for S&T and then almost didn't get the post made. Lame-o! Last night, I was exhausted from shopping for work, and it was Wednesday. Tonight, I was watching Gray's Anatomy re-runs and knitting quite contentedly. Then, as I was thinking about going to bed early, I remembered that I needed to post about my awesome toothbrush holder. Here it is, in all its easy-to-clean glory.

And this is a note-filled narrative in a picture of where I *used* to keep my toothbrush:
Previous Toothbrush holder

If you click on either picture, you can see other views, with the captions, about why my toothbrush holder is great, and totally worth the $9.99 at Target.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Proofread, people!

Those who missed the 'L' at Belmont are not alone | Chicago Tribune

I have made mistakes with graphics before, and have sympathy for the person who got fired, because we all know that nothing goes all the way to install without 37 people looking at it, but still, if you are working on a graphic, and you notice that there is a potential mistake,

Say Something!

Just like the public safety messages on trains, buses and in airports say, "If you see something, say something." Its better to look attentive to detail, but be wrong, than to let something get all the way to the install because "that's what the designer wanted" even if the "desired" item is ridiculous or wrong or defies logic.

I challenge everyone to take responsibility for the world around them. If you see something that seems odd, find a way to inquire, politely and appropriately, if it is correct. At worst, you seem to be unknowledgeable (is that a word?). At best, you save the CTA $75,000.

That's 37,500 full-fare, cash-paid rides on a bus or train. Which is one commuter, for two rides per day (round trip), for over 51 years. And that commuter would probably have gotten a Chicago Card Plus before 51 years passes, so they will be paying a bit less than figured in these calculations.

Something to think about.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Progress and Fun

If you take a look on the right hand side, you will notice that I updated the sidebar a bit. Took out the outdated buttons, added a list of blogs-I-read (I'm just the last kid on the block to do that), and

Got a Flickr! Badge!

I have wanted one for a while, but there are a lot of steps (well, a few, surprisingly, freakishly easy ones). First, you have to have a Flickr! account with some pictures in it, then you have to pay attention to your blog, then you have to put the Flickr!-generated code into the sidebar. I picked Flash. If this messes anyone up, let me know. I can change it. Like I said, freakishly easy.

I am in the process of uploading pictures from the camera to the computer and then the computer to both York Photo (for my mom) and Flickr! (because that's where people who aren't my mom actually look at pictures). I have knitting stuff, photos of the new Guthrie and the amazing, spectacular, awe-inspiring, incredible, why-don't-I-live-in-Minneapolis, how-did-they-ever-figure-this-out view of the Mississippi river, pictures of bridesmaids' bouquets, and wedding reception pictures. It will be fun. I want to upload the full-size images to Flickr! to save time on resizing. Is the Pro! account worth it? Is there a batch resizer program out there that even I can figure out?

I found the source of the horrible smell in my kitchen, and cleaned a lot of other surfaces along the way. I still need to keep at that battle tomorrow. Now that isolated areas are clean, I see how dirty I've let the rest of that room go. A bigger dustpan and a mop bucket are on the shopping list.

Arcadia Knitting had a yarn exchange party today. I went with oddballs and small bits, but the stuff I brought was kind of lame. I definitely came out ahead, mostly by hovering on the donation bin. You see, it was allowable to swap with the donation pile, as long as you didn't take more than you gave. I put in my weird random yarn to the yarn swap process, and came home with some good stuff. There will be a separate post for that fun.

I still need to work out the details, but I will, soon enough, have exciting news about my progress in the fiber arts world. But I don't want to jinx it. Though if you read the comments, well, there you go.

I am up to 14.5" on the back of my Brioche Bodice. And I finished a hat with the annoying Cleckheaton Gusto yarn for Adopt-a-Native Elder. All that fat yarn is making my hands tired. (or is that the typing and web surfing?) I need to go back to my Baby Surprise Jacket and sock swatching.

Is it wasteful to use superwash, handpainted, merino yarn in a blanket? I want to do a modular blanket, a la Shelly "could I please have some scraps" Kang, with it, ever since I was sent over to Shelly's website by Ms. Stephanie "let's bury her house in yarn" Pearl-McPhee.

Marcy will be teaching an Argyle Sock class this fall. I hope that it fits into my schedule, because I absolutely want to take it. Even if I have to buy expensive yarn and pay the expensive class fees (I am totally spoiled by the 24 person WCKG classes) to take it. How 1950s of me, knitting argyle socks. Maybe I'll find a boyfriend to put in them too? Ha! One shocker at a time, people.

Why does Target keep the Archer Farms Sparkling Mineral Water hidden? The yucky flavors are featured, but the plain stuff is hidden away, out of sight, not where you expect to find it. Its a good deal too, 99 cents for a big bottle of it. The imported stuff is around $1.29 minimum for the same size bottle.

Keep Smiling! =)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Look, there's my butt

Franklin and Kathy
Originally uploaded by arcadiaknitting.

I went to the Arcadia knit blogger party in July, had fun, ate snacks, got a goody bag, and had NO IDEA who Franklin was or why we would want his drawings.

Now, due to Stitches Midwest, I know who he is, and I was looking at these pictures, and saw my butt, and now, well, I'm putting my flat butt and bulge-y legs out on my own freakin' blog. Crazy she is. But look at how pretty Kathy looks at her party.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

In a room full of knitters...

you will find someone who knows the answer to most anything, especially related to knitting/yarn/fiber.

I went to Stitches Midwest today, after a bit of trauma trying to print the ticket, for the Market only. There was *so* much yarn. Something that I noticed, when talking to my friend Deirdre, was that if you are not on the internet as it relates to yarn, then all that yarn is really new and different, and the only time to get it is at the show. From my point of view, a lot of it was yarn that I had seen on-line, or read posts about, and had just never seen in person. And some of it, like the Koigu, is freakishly difficult to get from any source. But in general, the Stitches Market was a shopping experience, not really a buying experience. Its nice to touch the yarn, and there are some that I would definitely like to keep in mind, and now I know that there are some I have no interest in, but overall, I know where to get what I want/need. I'm kicking myself that I didn't buy more sock yarn, but I'm getting to the reason for that shortly.

I really want to knit socks. I've made two pairs of real adult socks, and many pairs of cute little baby booties. The problem with socks though, is that they need a tight gauge (7-10 stitches/inch) to be any good as socks. I want a firm fabric, with neat, tiny little stitches. And I don't want to use a 0000 steel needle to do it. In my previous experience, no matter what size needle I use, my stitches are always huge. As I said today,

I'm so loose, my mother is embarrassed by it.

I don't want to be a loose knitter. I'm don't usually mind it when I can be Elizabeth Zimmerman zen about how nice it is to be relaxed and calm and easy going with the knitting. But when I'm knitting a sock, I want firm tight, quick little stitches.

In a last ditch effort, I bought a 100g skein of sock yarn from Susan's Fiber Shop and a pair of Clover bamboo needles (my personal favorite) in both US1 and US2 sizes. When we were done shopping, D and I sat down on some chairs, pulled out our knitting, and I decided to try swatching for socks right there. I cast on 40 stitches over 2 of the US1 needles and then proceeded to knit a few rows using a fake-in-the-round swatching method. Drat, foiled by yarn again. My stitches were giant and baggy and loosely hanging off these pointy little toothpick needles.

I turned to D and asked her what I could be doing wrong, she's heard about my extraordinary looseness, but now she could see it in action. She watched how I knit and could find nothing wrong, so we decided to ask some passersby. A lady from the WCKG didn't have any ideas, but then another lady, from Champaign, IL, took one look at me knitting, looped the yarn around my pinky, and told me to try it.

That lady is a freakin' GENIUS. Suddenly, with no other change, no concentration on my tension, I was knitting, tiny, tight, cute little stitches. Its a bit awkward to learn how to keep the yarn over my pinky, but I think that with time, it will be natural. Now I just need to finish my other projects that are in loose-gauge land with the yarn only over my index finger before the over-the-pinky thing is too set in my habits.

Thank you, o lady who works in the yarn store in Champaign two days a week and on Saturdays (except for this one). You have changed my knitting for the better. My sock yarn need not languish any longer.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

She made this!

My friend Lacey designed this shirt a long while ago. And I thought that I'd show it off for her. To all 3 people who look at this page. Leave a comment if you read the post (because I'm curious) and then go check out her website and flickr! pictures and all that.

Pink Skull - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever"

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Yep, they're Chicken!

If you click through to Flickr! you can see the comments and stuff. Blogger ate the titles and "uploaded by" bits, and I'm over it enough that I'm not trying to fix it now.

IKEA Pillow
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

A Blue Chicken from far away

Another chicken view
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

Getting closer to that Blue Chicken

Blue Bird close-up
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

And its a Blue Chicken! I caught it.

Not Chicken
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

Which one of these things doesn't belong?

The tofu! Its not-chicken!

Frozen Chicken
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

Frozen Chicken! Its pretty freakin' idiot proof. Open package, plop on grill, wait 9 minutes, eat. The most difficult part is cleaning the grill.

Thawed Chicken
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

Its down to 8 minutes-ish on the grill if you thaw the day before.

Tequila Chicken 1
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

Off the grill, into the bag and then the fridge, two more meals closer to completion.

Basil Chicken 02
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

Kao Pad Ka Praw aka Thai Basil Chicken leftovers, mixed with extra rice to tone down the spice that has been increasing for 4 days. yum! I love Thai Pastry.

Chicken Pincushion Front
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

Helllloooo chicken!

Chicken Pincushion Back
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

cluck! cluck!

Chicken Pincushion Side
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

Hello Chicken!

And that is my first attempt to play along with Show and Tell Thursdays. Now I'll go comment that "I'm up!"

she's a capital kay Knitter

she's a capital kay Knitter
Originally uploaded by tdgirl.

This is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, who is Awesome! (say it in Patrick's voice) signing my books in a teensy-tiny little yarn store on the Southwest side of the city, in the Beverly neighborhood.

I had a great time with Jennifer and Erin. They were super to hang out with. We bought Tricoteuses Sans Frontieres/Knitters Without Borders pins, Erin gave me a chicken and we talked about ghosts in old homes. It was super fun, and there was yarn! too.

This is the first entry I've posted using Flickr! And I just figured out how to use Flickr! Notes on the photos, so clicky-clicky! I heart the exclamation points today, and no one reads this thing anyway.

Coming soon, a chicken!

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Yarn, how I love thee

Most anyone who has been around me for about, oh, 23 seconds knows that I love yarn. At 3pm today I received an email from Loopy Yarns' newletter list, with two announcements. They are having a party next Friday night. Yarn parties are good. I went to one last night at Arcadia Knitting. But the second part was even better. There were having a sale. A buck-a-ball sale. Yes, you read that correctly.

Yarn, from a real yarn store, for ONE DOLLAR.

One, measly, American dollar. That is two cans of soda from the machine at work, but with yarn, which is way better than soda. They did mention that when they had some yarn for a dollar on Sunday it flew out of there, so we should get there soon. So I did. (I am good at following directions like that. I like yarn.)

I got there by 5pm, and one of my friends from the Knitting Guild, Nancy, was working there today. She could see the gleam in my eyes, hooked me up with a basket, and pointed me to the sale yarn. Well, I saw a few piles on the back table, and thought that's all there was. Oh, was I wrong. The owner, Vicky, showed me that there was a whole bookcase and a spinning rack full of yarn that was, yes, I'll say it again

ONE DOLLAR... for yarn...

I was in heaven, and shock, and air-conditioning, all at once. So what did I get?

Two full, big bags of yarn (I usually only buy less than one small bag when I go to a yarn shop), containing:

Elsebeth Lavold Chunky AL in the color Still Water, a lovely blue that calls out to be something for me. (11 balls) This is an alpaca-wool blend, 50g balls with 82 yards per ball

Elsebeth Lavold Chunky AL
in the color Poppy, a bright orange, that I intend to send to a friend in Indiana who loves the color orange. (7 balls)

Linbel Tourage in the color 101, a multi-color blue, that will be sent to a friend in Texas. This is a cotton-linen-viscose blend. (7 balls)

Cleckheaton Gusto 10 in a nice blue, for charity knitting. This is a wool-mohair-acrylic blend and its super-duper-huge-chunky. (3 balls)

Cleckheaton Gusto 10 in a natural-cream-white color, also for charity knitting. (3 balls)

Its wonderful. My yarn cravings might have been satiated for a while. (but if you were thinking of sending yarn, you should anyway)

oh, and at the bottom of my receipt, it says, "Today you saved $198.77". I saved way more than 4 times what I spent on yarn. To paraphrase the Yarn Harlot, a knitter will not pass up on yarn she believes the store to be losing money on. And Nancy still wrapped up all my treasures in the tissue paper and into pretty red bags, even though they lost a bundle on my purchase. I like the products that Arcadia stocks better, but Loopy always feels like a deal.

P.S. There was still yarn on the shelf when I left, and in the rack that spins (filled with Cascade Sierra). They are closed on Wednesdays, so get thee to the yarn store on Thursday, but call first and see if there is anything left. Its yarn, people. For $1! That's better than any price on yarn anywhere.