Playing along

I checked my Google Reader over the weekend only to find that Adrienne of Knit and Run had tagged me with a meme. I’ve actually never done one of these before (although I totally loved the book in which I first encountered this term several years ago: Neal Stephenson‘s novel Snow Crash…but then again I am an anthropology/archeaology geek and also love inferences to ancient goddess-worshipping cultures…and Inanna is my main lady, so to speak), but I’m going to give it a try. As memes go, this one seems pretty low impact: not a lot of time or explanations involved. So, let’s go!

The rules are posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

The requisite to tag 6 other people is kind of hard for me. I sort of feel guilty tagging people; it seems like so much pressure! So, I’m going to sort of cop out and say: if you’re reading this and haven’t done it already, consider yourself tagged! 

  1. What was I doing 10 years ago? Let’s see…I had been married not quite a year, had just completed a great honeymoon in Costa Rica, was finishing up my year of service in Americorps/Vista and starting to look for a new job, and was prepping to start graduate school. Looking back: wow, that was quite a bit to take on in one year!
  2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today, not in any particular order?  Well, the day is nearly over and here’s what I can confirm happened: worked out with the trainer at the gym; telecommuted to put in a full day’s work; went to the allergist for the final round of allergy tests and another (number 5 of 10…halfway there!) B-12 shot; prepped and cooked a roast for dinner (roasted rabbit, yum!); cleaned up most of the dinner dishes. Geez, quite an exciting day, eh?
  3. Snacks I enjoy. Nuts, dried fruit, cheese, and plain, air-popped popcorn.
  4. Places I’ve lived. Whoa, this could be long list if I noted every housing option and location! Let’s see: various south suburbs of Chicago; Toronto, Canada; and Chicago. I’ve lived in apartments, condos, and houses.
  5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire. Travel the world. Develop my writing skills. Learn more self-sufficiency skills (like cheese-making, food preservation, basic carpentry, etc). Give away lots of money to charitable causes and teach others what I’ve learned. Live life on my timetable and conditions, as much as possible (barring natural disasters).

Well, let’s see where this goes, eh?


I was getting myself all ready for a nice “girls weekend” trip with my friend Rachael last night when I noticed something funny about my airline ticket. I wasn’t booked on the 6:30 PM flight out of Chicago today; I was booked on the 6:30 AM flight out of Chicago today. Oh, @#$%&!

A quick check of the United Airlines website confirmed this, as well as the grim reality that if I tried to change my flight to leave later in the day I’d have to pay an extremely hefty premium: nearly $1,300. Gulp!

So, here I am in Toronto — Yarn Harlot territory. Several hours earlier than planned, and with the work laptop that I had hoped to leave at home. I’m trying to work while sitting in the hotel lobby since the room isn’t ready for check in yet.

It’s pretty hard to focus on work right now, though. For one thing, I got about 3 hours of sleep last night. For another thing, I have a serious case of Toronto nostalgia right now. I took a bus into downtown from the airport and it drove right by one the areas where I lived many years ago when I was here. Wow, it has completely transformed. What was a little light industry area where we lived in a converted industrial loft is now…condos. Lots and lots of condos.

I have this incredible urge to just blow off the meetings I have this afternoon and check out the old haunts. But I’ll do the responsible thing and continue to work away instead. *sigh* I wish the room were ready at least.

A new sandbox

One of the reasons I haven’t been posting here is because I’ve been playing around on Vox. There are some great features and it is much easier to put together a blog post with photos than it is here on Blogger.

I’ve been really hating the fact that Blogger always throws off my line spacing when I insert a photo, so I have to go back and correct it before posting. It doesn’t work with my “flow of conciousness” style of blogging.

I’m still figuring things out there on Vox, but so far I’m much happier with it. If only I could figure out how to export my Blogger stuff and import it into Vox…hmmm….

Check out the blog I’ve created on Vox and let me know what you think!

A wonderful, Neat(by) day!

Ok, that title may sound corny, but I couldn’t resist. Today I took a day off of work and did this:

Swatch2Photos courtesy of Mark Williams: my awesome, highly talented husband.

The Windy City Knitting Guild is hosting a series of workshops this weekend with Lucy Neatby. I couldn’t resist the chance to meet Lucy and learn some of her innovative techniques. I had a total blast today, and am signed up for another course on Sunday AM that I am now extremely excited about.

The swatches above show some of the great techniques I learned today, such as Channel Islands cast on, short-row garter stitch heels for socks, a different crocheted provisional cast on, a Turkish or after-thought sock heel, and a chimney to aid with grafting. Oh, I learned more than that, but it just doesn’t show on these swatches.

I haven’t taken a lot of knitting classes, but I have to say that Lucy is my hands down favorite instructure now. Some designers and authors may come across great on paper, but they just lack certain people skills needed for conducting classes. Lucy was able to handle a room full of independent women: keeping us all on the same page (or close enough to it that her presentations really worked), and dealing with us all with a calm, interested demeanor. I learned a LOT from her session on Sensational Socks, and what I learned applies to not just socks.

As for my real “on the needles” projects, I’m still finishing up those toe-up socks. I’ve finished the short-row heel (in stockinette stitch) so it will soon be done. Really, it shouldn’t take too long to finish up the leg portion, especially since I’ve now moved up from 2.25 mm double point needles to 2.5 mm Addi Turbo (circular) needles.

I’ve also started on a pair of fingerless mittens in DK weight Knit Picks Merino Style. These are absolutely essential to have completed ASAP now that we are into air conditioning season at work. There are days when I get so cold that my fingers and nose become icy and numb. I’m hoping the fingerless mittens will help. I’m also thinking that I may need to knit a pair of leg warmers for the days I wear skirts and maybe even a nose warmer…assuming our business casual dress code will allow it.

In the garden I am still way behind. I haven’t even put the purchased tomato and pepper plants in the ground. Mark did generously help me move around compost after work on Wednesday, and I have most of my shrub pruning done.

Now that I have a Flickr account, I’m kind of lazy about posting photos here on my blog. I do update the Flickr account at least once a week with new photos, so be sure to check out the newest ones of what’s blooming in the garden.

At least the mating frenzy of the box elder bugs seems to be over now, making it a little less creepy in the garden. They’re essentially harmless to my garden, but having hundreds of double ended mating pairs crawling around in the mulch or unlucky singles flying up at you is kind of gross and off-putting.

More stuff to look at

I’ve been very busy at work or in the garden these days, so haven’t had much time to write. I’ve been taking photos of the garden blooming and uploading them to my Flickr account, so be sure to check them out. Links are on the right side. Just uploaded today are pics of my roses, peonies, Siberian Iris, and some anomolous growths under the roses.

Oh, and while I’m sure I could/should write a nice big entry about my experience flying with my husband this weekend in a cushy new Cessna, let me instead just direct you to the photos. Check out the Flickr sets for more details. Too bad Flickr won’t let me upload the short videos I captured with my camera…or would it…hmmm…

Look, more photos!

Yeah, it’s sort of a cheap and easy come on, but there are more photo links available in the sidebar now. I’ve updated my Blogger template to link to the carefully organized and tagged sets of photos I’ve established in my Flickr account.

After experiencing failing CDs and nearly a week of crappy laptop problems, I’m pushing more and more of my digital photos to the Flickr server. I’m thinking it may be a better storage solution for my precious memories.

Anways, the newest photos are not mine but Jamie’s pics of the Windy City Knitting Guild outing to Lorna’s Laces. I didn’t say a lot about the tour other than that I bought lots of yarn, but let me note the Beth Casey was absolutely wonderful. She graciously came in on a Saturday, opened her studio to a bunch of yarn-crazy women, and then gave us an awesome tour that included a demonstration of her dyeing a batch of yarn in the very popular Gold Hill colorway. Thank you, Beth.

I’ll keep adding more photos to Flickr and updating my sidebar links. I still haven’t finished uploading all the awesome photos Mark and I took in Washington D.C. last October, so look for those soon.


I’m such a bad blogger these days. I’ve fallen so much that I not only have neglected writing, I’ve neglected photographings stuff, too. Some recent examples:

  • Went to the Lorna’s Laces tour organized by the Windy City Knitting Guild. Picked up LOTS of yarn at bargain prices, thoroughly enjoyed the presentation by Beth Casey (current owner), but forgot to bring my camera.
  • Walked through Ryerson Woods with my friend Betsy on an absolutely gorgeous day and spotted lots of lovely spring wildflowers: white and red trillium, mayapple, phlox, rue anemone, and jack-in-the-pulpit. Completely forgot to bring my camera.
  • Enjoying the flowering of my own spring garden, but too lazy to get the camera. Already past their prime are the primula, pasque flower, and black chokeberry shrub. Fading fast is the geranium and wild phlox. Will I pick up the camera in time? OOOO…a cliffhanger!

Well, some photos of the Lorna’s Laces fun can be found on Jamie’s blog and Dee’s blog gallery. And Gail posted a photo Dee took of us all sitting on a cold dock waiting for the doors to open; I’m the fool sitting in the middle with my Clapotis snugly around my neck.

Betsy had her camera and took lots of photos. She promised to upload photos to her Flickr account one of these days, but in the meantime added a couple of these lovely photos to the website of the organization for which she currently works. Photos can be found here (check out the trillium) and here (look at all those mayapples!).

While I haven’t had time to do a lot of knitting, I have completed a couple of projects.

A baby blanket for my neighbor’s first grandchild. purple baby blanketKnit in Caron Simply Soft in the Grape color, it’s eye-popping and soft at the same time. It’s a simple knit and purl stitch pattern of hearts that is reversible. Details of purple baby blanket

I also finished another W tank top for myself. This time, I used Rowan Linen Print in color #346, Pip. W tank top

While it looks OK and fits OK, I think the Linen Print is really too heavy. By heavy I’m refering to the actual weight of the garment, not so much it’s warmth. Although, since the weather has turned chilly again I won’t be able to comment on the warmth factor anytime soon.

I’m also nearly done with #1 sock of the pair I started back in March (!!??!!). This is my first pair of toe-up socks, and it has really turned into a process project. I lost track of the number of times I completely frogged or partially ripped back these socks. I think it’s somewhere between 6 and 10 times: I didn’t like my first few attempts at a short row toe; I didn’t like the fabric over the foot when knit on 2.5 mm needles; I didn’t like my first few attempts at a short row heel; I didn’t like the gaps at the short row heel join with the rest of the sock, or how tight it was just there when I put the sock on; I didn’t like the fabric on the cuff knit on 2.25 mm needles; I forgot to start the pattern stitch on the back of the leg (!!!). I think that covers all the various iterations pretty well.

Need more details? The foot was completed on 2.25 mm needles. Since I’ve been really into using 2 circulars for socks, I actually ordered two Inox Express circulars just for this purpose. (Addi Turbos are only available in 2.5 mm.) While the Inox Express needles were fine, and I frankly love the Inox gray needles, the join on these 2.25 mm Inox Express needles really sucks. I think for sock #2, I’ll stick with my 2.25 mm Crystal Palace DPNs. When I got to the short row heel, I switched to the 2.5 mm Addi Turbo circular needles.

After the heel was complete, I picked up not 1, not 2, but six extra stiches between the foot and the newly turned heel. Not six total, but six stitches on each side. I decreased back down to the original number of stitches over several rounds, then I worked the rest of the foot and the leg in 2.5 mm needles. I now have a sock that is nice and snug through my slightly narrow foot, and not too tight on my legs.

Hey, if I’m going to go to all that trouble of making socks just for me, then they better fit correctly!

I know I mentioned it in a previous post, but the yarn I used for this sock is KnitPicks Dancing. It held up fabulously to all that ripping out and reknitting, so I give it high marks for durability. It’s a cotton/wool/nylon/elastic blend, so it’s great to wear during the ‘tween seasons. Oh, and you can get it on sale for $2.99 a ball right now, so total yarn cost is a low $6 for a pair of socks. Go order some now.

Oh, and be sure to check out my Flickr album, too. I broke down and purchased a professional version so I can store the many digital photos I’ve saved of my pets, my garden, vacations, and my knitting. I’m still uploading stuff, so be sure to check back occasionally.

Thirty (six) Days in the Hole

When I was in high school in the ’80s, I somehow ended up hanging around with the “stoners.” (It’s a long story that’s best saved for another time.) So, I heard a lot of head-banger music and/or music with sly references to drugs. Last week, as I reflected that I haven’t had time to update my blog in over a month, the song “Thirty Days in the Hole” popped into my head.

I couldn’t remember who performed it, though. I asked Mark if he knew, but I guess that wasn’t his type of music (other than the Beatles and some vague sort of “jazz,” I still can’t figure out what Mark’s type of music was when he was younger…but I digress) and he didn’t know. Amazingly, I came up with the name Peter Frampton. That was pretty darn close, as I found when I Googled the song name.

The band who originally performed the song was Humble Pie. I’m not clear on whether Peter Frampton was still a member of the band when the song was first recorded or not. Regardless, I stumled across the lyrics and find that the sound is all about highly illegal substances. Please realize it is not my intention to promote such substances by using the song name in the title of my blog entry. Nor is it my intention to criticize you if you prefer to use such substances.

My point is that I am alive and well!

Here’s how I’ve spent the last 30+ days:

  • Work
  • Work
  • Spring gardening stuff
  • Knitting
  • Other home stuff

So, there’s been quite a bit going on, just not a lot of blogging about it. More to come, promise…for now, I just need to publish this.