Friday, February 29, 2008

Finally, an FO!

Last night, I skipped my Arabic Dance Class so I could spend some quality time with my cat and my yarn. Due to a surprise dinner date (yay!), I didn't get quite as much done as I thought I would. But, I did manage to finish up the Frog Hat. I call it that not because it looks like a frog but because it is going to go with the Frog Pacifier Clip I am making.

Here's the finished object:


Pattern: Simple Baby Hat 1 and Marley Topper from Itty Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn Used: Rowan Handknit Cotton #219 Gooseberry, # 309 Celery, and #316 Slippery
Started: February 24th while sitting at Starbucks on Nicollet Mall before the Timberwolves game
Finished: February 29th in my cube, while eating Girl Scout Cookies

I had a question on Ravelry from someone asking me how I got my squiggles on top so curly and how I attached them. The directions for attachment seem a bit vague to me, so I just improvised. Here's a little step-by-step of my process.

Here are all the squiggles, completed and waiting to be attached.


First of all, I straighten it out, so it looks like a long line with the squiggles hanging down.

Then I take the first squiggle and make a circle of it.

And then attach that circle to the hat.


I repeat with the other two squiggles. The last squiggle, I make the circle tighter, since it will be on top.

I believe the instructions are to sew the squiggles together, making a large pom, and then attach them all at once. I prefer to attach them one at a time. Works for me.

As far as getting them curly: you really have to cast-on and bind-off the stitches very tightly. VERY tightly. It actually made my hands hurt last night, but I think they turned out great.

I'm so excited to have this done and I think it's so cute. That's the great thing about baby hats...they knit up quick and almost always look cute. Just like babies. The cute part, not the quick knitting part.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

In Lieu of My Own Knitting

Since I've been doing very little of my own knitting lately, I thought I'd alert you all to knitting other people are doing!

Before you do anything else today, check out the Teeny Project Runway, from our friends over at Mason-Dixon Knitting. I suggest you read the full entry to see what this is all about, but if you are impatient, about half-way down the page it says, "Let's start the show right now!" and that will take you to flickr where you can see all the different projects.

I really like the Bride in Sheeps Clothing (she's wearing wrist warmers and stands in front of a chuppah!), Mr. Beaver with his jaunty bag (plus, it's really a beaver...albeit a taxidermied beaver, but a real beaver still...love the tail warmer, too!), and Harriet the Hippo, because she looks like she's headed someplace I'd like to go.

My absolute favorites though have to be Kermit's Knitted Goods and Giuseppina, Kermit's Sister. Kudos to tantesophie for knitting an entrelac sweater for a stuffed frog.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hmmmm....Should I Go to New York?

I had pretty much made up my mind to NOT use a portion of my tax refund to go see Sara and then head up to NYC for a day or two. And then...

Well, first of all, I checked out the A.D.D. Knitter's blog. The February 23rd entry to be exact, in which she writes about high-end cupcakes. I love cupcakes. My favorite cupcakes here in the Twin Cities come from Wuollet Bakery. Nothing fancy, but hands down the best cupcakes I've ever had. My second favorite place would have to be Cupcake (appropriate name). They have gourmet cupcakes like Red Velvet, Mocha, German Chocolate, Coco Loco, and more. Check them all out! The A.D.D. Knitter visited Dozen in Pittsburgh, which looks quite yummy.

Still with me? Wondering where this is all going? New York City, remember? And no, not Magnolia Bakery.

So, the A.D.D. Knitter also mentioned Pinkberry (featured in an American Express ad). Seems that Pinkberry is sweeping the nation, although when I checked their website, they are only in California and New York. When she mentioned what she would do for a Pinkberry, it made me think: "huh, what would I really love to have that I can't get here?"

The answer: Rice Pudding.

Specifically, rice pudding from Rice to Riches...in New York City. Rice pudding with names like "Fluent in French Toast", "Coast to Coast Cheesecake", "Take Me to Tiramasu" and "Almond Shmalmond".

And that is the crazy way my mind works sometimes. It follows a circuitous route from cupcakes to New York. Silly, eh?

Look! It fits!

Here is my friend Sara wearing the necklace I sent her! Doesn't it look nice?

Sara has an interview for a PhD program tomorrow at 4:30. Send good vibes her way!

Monday, February 25, 2008

My First Etsy Purchase

I occasionally roam around on Etsy. For those of you unfamiliar, it's "your place to buy and sell all things handmade". There are certain vendors I check out every now and again that tempt me to empty my change jar or wish my couch cushions would yield twenty dollar bills rather than cat hair and pennies. Those would be vendors like Bijoujuju or The Spectacled Sparrow. I've mentioned Fiery Lion before (she's having a sale!) and Aisha Celia.

Sometimes I like to check out the Showcase pages, refreshed daily to feature different artists. That's where I found this:


Lovely, no? I bought this and sent it off in the mail to my friend Sara who lives in Scranton (no, she doesn't watch The Office). It's from tzaddishop. I could not have been happier with it when it arrived. It was just beautiful. I've been waiting for Sara to get it before I showed it off. I think she liked it because she sent me a picture message via cell-phone and she looked happy (and it looked great on her).

So, that's it. My first Etsy purchase. I am sure there will be more.

Random Images From My Weekend

Happy Birthday, Crunch! The Crunch Punching Bag I got at the Timberwolve's game Sunday evening. The Wolves lost, but we sure did have a good time at Crunch's Birthday Party!



The beginnings of the hat to go with the Frog pacifier clip. Nice colors, n'est pas?


Zoey the Cat soaking up some sun.

If you are wondering why there is no witty banter in this post, I do have an explanation.

Sheer laziness.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Speaking of College Students...

Yesterday, this article appeared in the MN Daily. As someone who has made very poor financial decisions in the past, I was a little dismayed by this article. In case you don't want to read it (but I suggest you do), it's about students using excess student loan money to pay for Spring Break trips.

The geeky financial aid counselor in me wants to tell these students that when they applied for financial aid, they signed a statement saying they would use the money only for educational expenses. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see how a Spring Break trip is an educational expense.

That's not my main concern though. These students are borrowing more loan money than they need for school so they can take a trip - Money that will need to be paid back with interest. Granted, it's better than putting it on a credit card, but I think they are getting themselves on a slippery slope.

Take this comment:
"Maybe I will see it as irresponsible later down the line when I start paying it off," she said, "but right now I'm just trying to live it up and I'm young and I'm never going to live these years again."

Uh huh. Yeah. That's what I said about credit cards when I was in college and grad school. "Hey, I'm poor now but I'll be making money when I graduate and then I'll pay it off". Granted, credit cards are much worse than student loans, but it's a slippery slope (as I've already said).

And now, here I am in my mid-30s and I could have saved a down-payment for a house, or bought that scooter I've been wanting, or traveled to Ireland or Greece by now. Instead, I'm making large payments to the Bank of M&D (Mom and Dad).

Which brings me to this comment: "I don't want to ruin my college experience by worrying about finances now," she said.

Well, then you'll just worry about finances later. Maybe I'm over-reacting. Maybe these students will be fine.

Okay. Off my soapbox now. We will now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

What Do I Do With This Hook?

Yesterday afternoon before class, I headed over to Depth Of Field to get a crochet hook so I can make Elephant's Ears. Depth of Field sells yarn...and futons. And odd combination, I think.

When I got home, I eagerly sat down to make the ears, and ran in to a few problems. One, I don't know how to crochet very well. Oh sure, I know a little bit. I did make this lovely orange bag a few years ago:


But I don't know enough and the instructions confused me. I'll have to get together with a crocheting friend before this projcet can continue.

The other problem was that Zoey the Cat kept trying to eat the crochet hook.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I'm a Waffle...No, I'm Toast...Wait, I'm a Waffle

Ah, toddlers. Aren't they cute?

As an adult, if I were to run around the basement, screaming and flinging my arms around over my head, people would look at me askance. But when Nathan did it, it was the funniest thing ever. I actually slid off the couch, I was laughing so hard.

Not only are toddlers entertaining, they are easily entertained. What 19-month old wouldn't be fascinated to see an adult pretend to be a toaster waffle?

"I'm a waffle! Here I go in the toaster (as I slowly lower myself behind the table)! Ooooh...it's hot! I'm getting toasty! I'm almost done! POP (and I spring up)!" Smiles and laughter and requests for "more! more!"

Even more fascinating was my toast impression. Much the same, only at the end I got to butter myself. FUN!

If only the college students I work with were so easily entertained. "Hey...look at me! I'm your MN State Grant, slowly shrinking (as I curl up on myself) because you aren't registered full-time! What's that? You added credits? POP! I'm full-size again!"

Nope. I don't think that will work.

Tales From the Bus

Afterall, this is "Knitting In Transit", right? And my posts lately (okay, since the beginning) have been woefully short on the "transit" piece of my title.

I ride the bus nearly everyday, and quite frankly, nothing very exciting has been happening. I rarely ride a route known for having "colorful characters". That would be the 16 or maybe the 21. As such, I just don't have much to say.

So, I'm really scraping the barrel to come up with something here.

Monday I was waiting downtown for the bus to take me to Plymouth where Gretchen would meet me for a fun evening with her family. Right away, a guy waiting for the bus started talking to me. And right away, I knew: Busstop Guy was going to hit on me.

It's not that I think I'm so attractive or so witty and charming. I was bundled up so much all you could see were my eyes, and our conversation consisted of scintillating topics such as the cold, bus routes, more about the cold, and more about the bus. But, I just knew.

And sure enough, after about 5 minutes of chit-chat he says, "So, Michelle...you should let me call you sometime."

"No, no...I don't think that's a good idea." Yup...that's what I said. Gretchen thought this was very blunt, but what was I going to say? Yes, and then give him a fake number? Or maybe, "I'd love that, but this thing I keep pulling out of my pocket to check the time is really a fancy time-telling taser that I will use on you if you don't step out of the bus shelter now?"

Well, Busstop Guy was very persistent. And it was cold and there was nowhere for me to go.

I tried the old, "I don't think my boyfriend would like that" line. He responded, "He doesn't have to know. We can just be friends." Yeah. Right. He actually tried that line several times. I just kept saying, "No...no I don't want you to call me. No...no I don't want to call you". There are only so many ways to say no.

Finally Busstop Guy told me, "Well, you don't know what you're missing."

Well, actually...I think I do know what I'd be missing, and I'm quite content to continue missing it. But thanks for the offer.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Back to Knitting

This weekend I decided I wanted to knit the Pacifier Clips from Itty, Bitty Nursery by Susan B. Anderson. I am making the Elephant and the Frog. These will be for a boy baby, so the flower didn't seem right.

So, off to the Yarnery I went to purchase the needed supplies. Here is how far I got last night while I watched Knight Rider.

Here is the Elephant...I need to get a crochet hook to do his ears. Right now he looks like a blob.




And here is Frog. Look at all those little pieces! Fortunately, it went very quickly. As I perused Ravelry, I noticed that someone altered the pattern a bit so Frog's hands and feet were not knit seperately. I wish I'd done that. I think sewing this all together might drive me crazy.



Of course, these only take a wee bit of yarn, so I'll have a lot of Rowan Handknit Cotton left over. I really love this yarn. My plan is to make two baby hats to go with the clips!

Hat Number One will be made with the blue and gray and will go with the elephant clip. Rather than closing up the top, I'll make an eye cord, to mimic the elephant's trunk. I'll probably tie it, as in the Umbilical Cord Hat from Debbie Stoller's Stich 'n Bitch. So, yeah...it will basically be a striped umbilical cord hat. Fun!

Hat Number Two will be the greens to go with Frog. I'm going to make the curly toppers like on my Stripey Hats to finish that one up. I figure they will look similar to the Frog's legs.

So, baby boy will get two nice little sets of a hat and pacifier clip. I'm pretty excited about getting these things done. I love to knit baby hats...they are always so cute. Plus, babies need them.

While I was at the Yarnery, I saw this: The Yarn Harlot is coming to St. Paul! It's not until April, but I'm so excited. I picked up two tickets, one for me, one for Mom and we have both marked our calendars. She'll be speaking just a few blocks from where I live, so this is very convenient.

For those of you non-knitters, The Yarn Harlot is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, who has a very popular blog and has written several knitting related books. I don't read her blog on a regular basis, but do have several of her books, and it looks from the website she has a new one coming out.

In other knitting related news...well, nothing. Still plugging away on the blanket. That's about it. Hopefully I'll get some socks on the sticks soon.

In the "melt your heart" category, I spent Friday with my sister and Nathan. We went to baby story time and Target. At one point, Nathan pointed at me and said, "Mimi!" Awww. I actually jumped up and down a little and clapped my hands. While we wandered around Target, I could hear him saying, "Mimi! Mimi!" Made me smile!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Oh My, Part 2

Yesterday, I linked to this video of a woman falling off a grape-stomping platform. Yes, I laughed. In fact, I watched it three times and each time I laughed harder. First, it was the slo-mo version at the end that cracked me up. Then, I laughed when they cut back to the anchors in the studio. You can tell at one point the woman is trying not to laugh. And finally, I just laughed at the poor falling woman herself.

I don't mean to go on and on about this poor woman, but I have been there! If you read the YouTube comments, someone says how this woman had the wind knocked out of her. I have had the wind knocked out of me too...and it's scary. Allow me to share.

Back in the 7th grade, my twin sister, Gretchen, and I went to a party at our friend Heather's house. At some point, all us girls bounded downstairs, probably to prank call boys or watch Friday Night Videos. At some point, my foot slipped, I flew up in the air, landed hard on my back, and slid to the floor below.

I immediately started flailing my arms and legs, while wailing and moaning - just like the woman in the video. I'm not kidding. I sounded just like her, and my sister confirmed this for me last night. "Yup," she said, "You did sound like that".

At the time, as I lay there in agony, I thought I had broken my back.* The whole experience was pretty traumatic. Not only did it hurt, but I also looked like a complete idiot in front of a half-dozen pre-teen girls. This may explain my low social standing in junior high.

Well, karma has already stepped in to kick me around a little this morning in return for my taking such glee at that poor woman's plight. This morning, I put on a very cute skirt, with some very cute boots. Cute cute cute! It was going to be a great day! First thing I do when I get to work - Rip the tights.

So, I flipped them around so the hole is in the back.

15 minutes later - ripped the other side. ARGH!
______________________________________________________
*The fact that I was flailing to such an extent should have clued me in that this was not possible, but I was 12 and my brain was not yet capable of the higher reasoning needed to make that connection.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oh My

Maybe it's because I've been pretty grumpy the last few days. Maybe I'm just mean. But this made me laugh almost as hard as I did Saturday night when my sister was imitating my voice mail messages. Okay. Harder actually. I scared the lone co-worker that was still here.

When Grape Stomping Goes Horribly Wrong

This is actually going to take you to dooce, one of my favorite websites. Read her commentary...that's how I feel about this. It's mean to laugh at that poor woman, but it sure did cheer me up!

And just in case you think I am heartless and cruel, here's a link to a cute little Valentine's Day Piggy.

Mmmm. Bacon.

Guilty Pleasures

Last night I got to enjoy one of my favorite guilty pleasures...Gossip Girl on the CW. I'm not sure why I like this show so much. Most of the characters are not likable at all, and I shudder to think there are actually people in the world like that. On the other hand, it's fun to see what they are wearing!

Yesterday Sara B. left a comment about illusion knitting (scroll all the way through the pattern to see the illusion!), also known as shadow knitting. My mom and I took a class on this at Needlework Unlimited a couple years ago. Following are some poor-quality photos of my shadow scarf. The lighting in my apartment is horrible.



Here it looks like just a plain scarf with some diagonal lines.
But look at it from a different angle...Stripes!



Project: Shadow Scarf

Yarn: Koigu KPPM and something else

Started and Finished: A couple years ago

We start using our finger cymbals tonight in my Arabic Dance class. Here they are, sparkling in the sunlight.


And here is a closeup of one of them. Pretty, no?


I'm so excited, and a little wary. I have to say, I find the "ching ching" of just one pair of the cymbals a little grating on my ears. I can't imagine what 35 pairs will sound like to me.

Then again, I played the violin for 10 years, and the sound of that instrument also makes me shudder. Yet a whole orchestra sounds beautiful.

I haven't posted any pictures of Zoey the Cat lately. Here she is all curled up last night. I think she was exhausted from all the shenanigans on Gossip Girl.


Monday, February 11, 2008

A Pear of Pairs...

Or a Pair of Pears. D and I went to my sister's place (actually her in-law's place, where they are staying until they find a home in MN) this weekend for dinner, and these large pears adorn the counter in the kitchen. I kind of like them.


We played a lot of Wii. Boxing...


That's my Mii, knocked out on the ground. So sad. Her name is Mimi.


...and tennis.


We also got to play with Nathan a lot, who did not like it AT ALL when we told him not to stick his finger in the central vac outlet. Oh, the tears welling up in his eyes, the lip stuck out in a tiny pout, his head resting on my shoulder as he cried and cried. It broke my heart. Then he watched some Elmo and everything was fine! Yay!

I finished up the Lace-Edged hat on Sunday while I watched the Timberwolves/Toronto Raptors game. I'll get a better picture later...I'm not sure how well the lace pattern is going to show up with this yarn. Once Heather can try it on, I'll know for sure and will post details.


I also spent a little time working on the Petroleum Blanket. I think I am going to need to buy more yarn for it. So much for the $5 blanket. I'm also, quite frankly, sick of it. But, it's a good project for while I am watching TV.


It is chilly here in MN today. I am so ready for summer right now. Bring on the warmth!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Gotta Get Me Some Seafood!

I was wandering around on Ravelry, looking for ideas for some of my stash, when I came across a cute octopus someone had knit!
You can get the patterns at this Etsy shop:
Some cute, cute stuff there....seahorses, pufferfish, octopi, jellyfish, squid...and some owls.

Check it out!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Next On the Needles...

...will be this:
It's the Lace Edged Women's Hat by Julie Hentz. You can get the pattern for free from Ravelry, or just click on the link above and that will take you to Headhuggers.org. I believe this was originally designed as a Chemo Cap, but many people on Ravelry have just made it as a regular hat. I'll be making this as the hat for my friend Heather, using that lovely green Frog Tree yarn from a couple posts ago.

I wish I had known how to knit years ago when my Aunt Bobbie had lung cancer. I could have knit her some caps. I think she would have liked that. At that time, I was in to painting flower pots with my nieces and nephews (there were only a couple of them back then...nieces and nephews...not pots), so she got one of those. I still miss her. She was a knitter too, and it would have been fun to get together with her and my mom and knit and chat.

The ride home on the bus last night was pretty interesting. There was a drunk lady mumbling to herself in back...but more disturbing than that was the attitude of the guy next to me towards her. He seemed nice enough, just came from a hockey game, chatted with the driver. When the drunk lady got on the bus, she asked where he'd been playing hockey, and for some reason, he seemed to take great offense to this. He started complaining to the driver about her, in the most offensive and rude way. I was actually pretty shocked.

Well, he got off, and another guy got on and he and the bus driver had a long, involved conversation about the caucuses, Kazakhstan, rackateering, and Bill Clinton. Actually, the bus driver listened. The other guy had a long, involved conversation.

Blogger is now available in Arabic, Persian, and Hebrew. Perhaps that explains why it the spell checker is no longer working for me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Loss, a Championship, and Some Zipper Issues

Well, I lost in the first round of the 4th Annual Twin Cities Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament (a fun shindig hosted by some friends). I got psyched out by someone whose competitive name was "Versace". Despite my cool name, "The Scissors Sister", and my cool "I (heart) Scissors" t-shirt, I lost. Oh well. Maybe next year.

It was still a fun event. Here is the bracket...you can see my loss in the first round recorded for all time.


Had I won, I would have gotten this cool trophy.


Sunday seemed to go much better, seeing the Giants win the Superbowl! Crazy! Although I thought the game was sort of dull until the last two minutes, my friend Amber, who LOVES football and KNOWS football, thought it was very exciting. She's a defense kind of gal, and there was a lot of good defense in that game.

I wish I could say that I completed the Ribby Cardi, but this is as far as I got.


No zipper yet. I actually bought a zipper on Saturday, and here you can see the first stages of its installation.


Yes, I painstakingly whip-stitched that thing on while listening to most of "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me: The NPR News Quiz". Then I got started on the second half, when I realized..."wait wait, don't tell me...this thing won't open at the bottom".

Yeah. Apparently, I didn't feel it was important to follow the instructions to get a TWO-WAY Zipper.

I was supisingly nonchalant about this discovery, despite the time I'd spent on it. It's just as well. I really should block it before I put the zipper in anyway. I was just so excited to get it done and hopefully wear it to the SuperBowl party, I didn't pay attention. So, it'll be a few more days before you see the finished product.

Here's a little preview though of how it looks!


Blogger is refusing to spell-check my entry, so I apologize for any spelling errors I missed!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Happy Friday!

Well, I took a picture of the collar of the Ribby Cardi this morning (even though I don't like how it looks), but I forgot the cord to connect the camera to my computer. I wanted to be able to post some knitting-related photo today!

As a consolation, here is a picture of Nathan wearing the sweater I knit him before he was born. Gretchen doesn't want the little guy's picture posted publicly, so I've cropped his cute face out. But, you still get to see the sweater!

I may have to make another one of these. The pattern is from Roo Designs, and she's got more cute patterns. I might have to make the tractor sweater for my nephew, Micah. He loves tractors and farms and trucks. He's all boy! Her patterns go up to 4 years, so if I want to make it for him, I should get cracking.

I think the Rhino is also super-cute! And the fish! If you are thinking of trying your hand at intarsia, I think these little sweaters are a good place to start.

Okay, so while I'm going on about things I like and encouraging people to buy, I also love these Monster Needles from Yarn Rescue. She also makes Monster Crochet Hooks and hand-spun yarn. That yarn looks good enough to eat. I have a pair of monster needles...well, my niece Emily has them at the moment, which is fine. Think about it...if you were eight, would you rather learn to knit with these:








or these:














Yeah. I thought so.