Friday, August 31, 2007

Gettin' My Knit On

I tried to teach myself how to knit about two years ago. Here's the swatch I made back in ye olde 2005.

Knitting Swatch 1

It's not bad, but it's not great. And this is the only thing I made.

I just couldn't get the hang of it. It was too frustrating. It was slow, my gauge was inconsistent, and I couldn't easily fix mistakes. I put away the knitting needles and went back to my crochet corner where things were back to normal.

But look what I've done:

Knitting Swatch 2

I took out Stitch n' Bitch and finally - FINALLY! - learned how to cast on using the sling shot method. Why I couldn't do it before, I can't tell you. But now - I can cast on like lightening, though I tend to cast on too tightly.

I think this second swatch is a lot better than the first. I don't know whether it's due to the different kind of yarn or a renewed interest in learning or perhaps the planets were so perfectly aligned when I cast on the stitches. Let's hope I get further than just a swatch this time.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


At least, that was what Sean and I felt like after having a slice of his wonderful birthday cake.

Sean's Cake 2007

Sean's Cake 2007 (2)

The green grass of the field is a generous layer of green sugar crystals and the gobs of icing to create the dirt, bases and umpire mask are as thick as they look. Not to mention that this is a layered cake with more frosting in the center. Not a cake for diabetics.

Sean loved the cake and I had a fun time making it, as I do all of his cakes. And aside from the sugar rush from whence I am now coming down, it was oh so tasty!

A few funny mishaps that happened during the cake making & eating:

1) My first attempt to make brown icing went very, very wrong. I thought red and green would make a nice dark brown. Instead, I wound up with dark Army green boarding on green baby poo. NOT pretty.

2) As you tell in the photo, I ran out of room to write "Sean". The umpire mask was also a little off as the black gel icing tip was not fine enough. Looks like a weird goblin mask or something. Oh well - call it artistic license.

3) Sean blew out the candles in one big breath - which sent the green sugar crystals flying off the cake, onto the table, the chairs and the floor. Priceless!

I noticed that the Joann's store near me has cake decorating classes. I'm going to sign up to take them one of these days. It would be nice to know how to decorate a cake with an appropriate amount of frosting and decorations.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Birthday Boy

Today is Sean's birthday!

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband!

A caring, funny, intelligent man who puts up with me and my yarn obsession. :)

Love you!!!

Last year, Sean's cake was store bought because we were so busy with all the wedding preparations.

But in 2005, he got two homemade cakes. One was just for fun (inspired by baseball season) and the other was for his actual birthday (inspired by our trip to New Mexico).

Boston Cake 2005

Sean's Birthday Cake 2005

But this year - A special birthday cake will be made on Thursday. Here's a hint - the decorating will involve baseball. :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Commuting Hell

When the commuter trains run on time, it is by far the best way to get to and from DC. But when the commuter trains (the engines, the track signals, Amtrak, the lines, or whatever other component that could have an issue) have problems - the whole thing goes to hell.

Case in point: I can make one of the pentagram spiral motifs per day of my commute, start to finish. Yesterday, I made two pentagram spiral motifs. Why? Because the train signals outside of DC shat the bed.

Long story short (because I don't really want to relive the travesty that was last night's commute) - At 7:30, we were still on the train at Union Station when 1) it was scheduled to leave at 6:40 and 2) we are usually at home at 7:20. Thanks to the overall incompetance of the communication lines between the conductors, the MARC people and the Amtrak people, we had no idea when we were going to leave. Sean and I opted to run for the other train which is on a seperate line altogether. This meant a longer train ride followed by an expensive cab ride to the other train line's parking lot to pick up our car and drive home.

At 8:31 pm we walked through the door.

Did I mention I left my office at 5:15 pm???

Pardon me if I'm a bit cranky today.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I've finished the whole Harry Potter series and wow! It was great! No spoilers or discussions here though - there are too many sites devoted to that already.

As for the subject of my post, that's where I'm at right now. Stalled on numerous projects, devoid of creativity as of late. I think it has something to do with the weather. It was wonderfully cool the beginning of the week, a hint of fall weather in August. Then yesterday the humidity and heat returned to remind us all what summer in DC is all about.

Or perhaps it has something to do with the impending move (for which we still don't have a closing date) and my continued search for a job (or should I say the task of picking the right offer). Since nothing is settled, I can't seem to concentrate on one particular project or think up anything fun and exciting to start. I did pull out my Stitch n' Bitch book last night to try and re-teach myself to knit but the book sat unopened next to me while we were watching baseball.

Inspiration - where are you? Creativity - where have you gone?

Alright - enough with the melodrama. Maybe I just need a cup of coffee to get this day started.

Stay tuned for something exciting! (I hope.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Weekend Update - with Crocheting Commuter

The title gave me a flashback to Saturday Night Live - back when it was good, that is.

What a wonderful weekend I had! It was soooo relaxing. After an extremely boring mortgage class, Sean and I headed out to Ellicott City for lunch. Now that Howard County's smoking ban is in effect, we could check out this little Irish pub which just so happens to be in the same complex as the Celtic Knot Yarn Shop. Coincidence that I suggested the pub for lunch? I'll let you decide.

While Sean went into the pub, I headed down to the store for a quick look. I was on the search for some cotton yarn to make the eight pocket two-tone carryall tote. I found some really nice natural colored cotton yarn, but there wasn't enough of it for my project. I also found some beautiful cotton blend yarns (the name of which I can't remember), but I would have had to buy 10 skeins and each was over $5. Now, I'm not one to shy away from spending money on good yarn, but I'm not going to spend that much money on a new pattern. After I make the first tote, using some less expensive yarn, I'll see if it is worth making one with more expensive yarn.

While in the store, I noticed they had added many more crochet hooks to the needle wall. The last time I was in, there were only 2 or 3 hook sizes and when I asked about crochet, the sales person had the air of knit-snobbery. Not the case this time as they seemed very crochet friendly. After asking the salesperson about upcoming classes, I did a double-take. She looked so familiar... "You're on Ravelry, aren't you?" I blurted out. Yep, it was Lindsay. She has such wonderful projects and designs. So while I didn't find the yarn I wanted, it was a great to meet to fellow Ravelry-er...or Ravelree? or Ravelrytonian? What is the proper term?

On Sunday, I got to deliver the "J" pillow. Sean and I had brunch with little Jade and her Mom and Dad at La Madeline's. J'aime les croissants! Jade seemed to like the pillow, though it was a bit difficult to play with it at the table given the pillow was as big as she is.

The other parts of the weekend involved crocheting, reading Harry Potter (Sean has now started and is already onto book 3) and there was even time for a nap. Such a great weekend - and probably the calm before the storm. Not long until we move and there is sooooooo much to sort and pack. But let's not think of such things now as I'm still basking in the relaxation that was the weekend.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rewarding Bad Behavior

My Smiley's Yarn order arrived!

Smileys Yarn Order 8-07

For detailed photos and info on the yarn, you can head over to my Ravelry stash page and check it out. Have I mentioned lately how much I :heart: Ravelry?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

New Project: Pentagram Spiral Motif Shawl

I finally got my nose out of Harry Potter book #5 long enough to start a new project. This project accomplishes a number of goals. One, I've been wanting to make a lightweight shawl to wear at the Maryland Renaissance Festival for the last 3 years. Two, I wanted the shawl to have a pagan or Celtic design to it. Three, I've been looking for a suitable pattern for boucle yarn I bought at MS&W two years ago.


pentagram spiral 1

I'm using:

This first motif measures about 12" from top to bottom (as pictured). I'm not sure how I'm going to join all the motifs or how many I'll need. This is really a pattern in progress, too.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bad girl! BAD!!!

I was looking for a deal on cotton yarn so I can start this tote bag.

While I was searching Smiley's, I was smitten by this yarn in Caribbean - and only $1.99 per skein.

And the minimum order amount at Smiley's is $40.

While I didn't find any cotton yarn for my tote bag, there is plenty of fibery goodness on it's way.

Welcome To Tuesday

Well, hello. And welcome to Tuesday.

As the side bar shows you, I have virtually nothing on my current projects list except for the Ohio Star Variant Quilt. And the last two blog posts were related to the Simpsons. That darn Harry Potter has taken over my free time. Not to worry though - as I am almost halfway through with book 5, I'm guessing I'll be back to crocheting by the end of next week. I am itching to get a new project started but I can't seem to focus with all this Potter reading I'm doing. I doubt I'll be making a Molly Weasley sweater though.

I'm very much looking forward to our upcoming move. Not the moving part itself - but the opportunity to have a real little crochet corner in the office. I'm envisioning some shelves for books, some drawers for notions, and lots of space to store my yarn. (And by lots, I mean more than the current space which includes a laundry basket in the corner of my room and one shelf for books.) If these weren't so expensive, I'd get one. Home Decorators has some other storage possibilities - and if I get the high paying job, I just might be able to get one.

While this blog is usually just for the fiber arts, I thought it would be a good idea to pass along some health information regarding other sorts of crafts.

"Keeping the Artist Safe: Hazards of Arts and Crafts Materials"
Artists, craftspeople, and hobbyists use potentially hazardous substances. Learn more about the hazards and how to protect yourself from unnecessary exposures.

And that's it. Nothing too exciting, but it is an update nonetheless. Here's hoping you're all having a good week!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Post Script

Me in my local hang out... LOL!

(Had to remove the photo as it wasn't loading right. I'm working on getting it back.)

Head over to The Simpsons Movie site to make your own avatar. Too fun!

Thursday again???

Wow - a week gone by and I don't know where it went. Sorry but Sean and I never did make it to the yarn store outside of Cooperstown. I forgot to write down the address before we left and the friend with whom we were staying doesn't have a computer and the store wasn't listed in the phonebook. My cheap a$$ didn't want to pay the $2 it would cost to call information on my cell phone so alas and alack, no LYS review.

Cooperstown was too crowded during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction weekend to really enjoy anything in town. But we did have an excellent time during our with a close family friend. Photos, you ask? Well - they're still on my computer with the hundred or so from Santa Fe. By the time I get them uploaded to share with friends, there will be no point posting them here. Besides, y'all got to see the yarn related ones already.

As for crocheting, I haven't touched a project in over a week. Ye olde Harry Potter has taken up all my commuting and evening time. What a fantastic series! Sure, millions and millions of people already knew this. It just took me a while to get on the bus. I'm glad I've started reading it now that the entire series has been written. I would have been so frustrated to have to wait a year between books to continue the story. That's what is happening with another series I'm reading, The Saxon Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell.

In life news, I've got a job offer - a good one, too, but there is another one I'm waiting for. Sure, the old adage is "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" but I've got a gut feeling about the second one. They are going through the HR stuff and it hasn't been officially offered yet, though I'm feeling it will be soon. I would like to turn down the first job and wait for the second, but as I am a Taurus who really likes her stability, this is stressing me out. I am not one for risks especially when they involve my wallet. We should be closing on the condo next month, so the sooner I get a better paying job, the better.

So - boring post, I know. I'm going to try and get myself back on the hook this weekend. BTW - does anyone have any good Harry Potter crochet patterns?