Tuesday, December 23, 2008

3ish more days

3ish more days until we start the trek to NH!

I'm actually a little nervous about the trip. I have done the NH/IN driving trip a couple of times. And while at Morehead Univ. I did the trip many, many times. I've done the drive by myself and with others. But I'm nervous this year because of the horrible weather that keeps getting worse by the day! For example, Mum keeps telling me about the thousands of people who are still out of power since the terrible ice storm 2 weeks ago! I mean, for real dudes!

It really doesn't look like it's going to let up either. As I write this post (while at a very dead and quiet laboratory here at Purdue), it is doing a really weird snow/ice mix outside. It actually looks like this snow/ice mix is occurring in most places in the US. As shown here from our peeps at weatherchannel.com.

This wintry mix is suppose to continue throughout the week into the weekend. And just to show what my drive is going to consist of on the 26th, here is a close up. Please note from Indiana (just north of Indianapolis) to southern NH. Notice how we go from snow, to rain and back to snow (funny thing, I just typed snot instead of snow... Freudian typing going on?).

Why did I decide to drive this year? Last year it was sunny for Christmas (as sunny as New England gets during the winter time). But no... this year because I have decided to drive, with the SO and the bunny diva, it is deciding to become known as one of the worse winters, well at least for this decade. Yay me.
Tonight I'll get the travel knitting projects together so stay tuned!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jaywalkers are done!

I finally finished mum's Jaywalkers! The Ravelry link is here.

Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock yarn in Purple Club
Needle: 2.25mm dpns
Started: December 8, 2008
Finished: December 21, 2008

I ended up doing these baby's toe-up instead of the pattern directions of cuff down. Just a personal preference; I like knitting toe-up instead of cuff down. I added black elastic reinforcement at the toe and heel, just to allow for stronger toe & heel as well as some extra stretch. The pattern doesn't really allow for much stretch, so this helps especially in the toe area.

I still have issue with the heel on toe-up socks. I can knit it just fine, but occasionally I see little areas with gaps. I might do some more reading up on sock construction. I might try designing some of my own socks next, so be on the look out! In that design I'll have new and improved Suzy heels!

Have I mentioned how much I love this yarn? :) We already know how much I love Lorna's Laces! But the colorway (Purple Club) is just awesome! I did have pooling of the colors after turning the heel - you can notice in some of the pictures. But honestly, I really don't think mum will notice.

Overall, the pattern is cute. I like the spiffy way of constructing the zigzag with simple decreases and increases. I never would have thought of it! But that's why Grumperina is amazing!

I have a couple of ideas for what I want to work on next. I have that damn sweater hanging over me. However, next week I'll be doing lots of traveling. 14+ hours in the car with the SO and the diva bunny. I'll need a couple of small mindless projects fit for car travel... hmm.... I wonder what I can dig up in the stash....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

4:30 am

Why does the smoke alarm always decide to eat the rest of the battery juice and start beeping in the middle of the night?

That's what happened last night.

I was having a very vivid dream of my SO roasting a turkey (if you know him, you know this would NEVER happen). As he was roasting the bird, the smoke alarm started going off and I started yelling at him -- poor dude I nag him even in my dreams. The high pitched shrill of the alarm kept going off and was getting louder and louder.

Then I woke up. I noticed there was no bear next to me (aka: SO). I squinted at the clock, mind you I am wicked blind without the contacts in, and noticed it was exactly 4:30am . That's when it hit me: the sharp, but dull, very heavy pain in the head, you know the start of a shitty migraine. No SO, a start of a headache and then a very high pitch squeak/beep resonating from the hallway.

I stumbled out of the bed and found the SO standing on a stool (really, the 6'2" dude needs a step stool to reach something on the less than 7 foot tall ceiling?). He was looking pissed off as hell, but also like he was going to cry. He was holding a battery in one hand and a very busted looking smoke alarm in the other - still attached to the ceiling. As I was looking at this scene the very busted looking smoke alarm beeped this horrible loud shrilly beep that echoed through the tiny, narrow hallway and made the bunny in the next room start thumping his little foot. My poor SO look totally defeated. He was mumbling something about he can't get it to stop beeping, the new battery must be dead, and how in undergrad the same thing happened. Apparently a smoke alarm died out and started beeping the night before his physics final. And because of that he got his only D ever, blah blah blah. I just looked at him and took the smoke alarm and ripped it out of the ceiling and said F*!% it. As I was holding it, the damn thing beeped again! So I ended up throwing the bitch under some pillows and blankets to drown out the sound. He looked at me shocked, as I said, "Nevermind, we'll deal with the freakin' thing in the morning."

But dude, come on, 4:30 am, headache, and at this point I still thought it was going off because his stupid ass burnt the damn turkey.

I went back to bed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Cards - Made and Sent!

That's what 60+ handmade, signed, postmarked and (now) sent, holiday cards look like. Yep, that's right, over 60 handmade cards. Finished BEFORE Christmas! That's pretty good for me.

Actually, I can't take all of the credit because the SO helps me make the cards. We have a system (two OCD students of neuroscience, following a systematic protocol... no!). Typically, I will create a couple of potential designs, usually using rubber stamps and card stock colored paper. We will then debate (for a dude he can be very picky about things) over the style, design and colors. Then I make a final prototype - usually followed by some more debating, and once finalized we then start the process of actually making the cards. As mentioned, this part of the process is very systematic, the stamping, cutting, coloring, gluing etc. I won't bore you with all the details now. Basically the whole process this year lasted about a week (well, the evenings consisted of an hour or two of crafty goodness).

The front of 2008 Holiday Cards:

The inside (reads: "Wishing you a magical holiday season full of warmth and love"). The SO had to have the bunny feet stamped inside.

And the back has the signature Made with Tender loving care, by us. And our now traditional environmental reminder stamp.

I still can't get over the fact that this year we made more than 60 handmade cards. A couple of people have asked me why I don't just buy holiday cards from the store. And yes, I could do that. But I feel that by making the cards I at least have a little more connection with each person I send a card to. I can't see or hang out with everyone for the holiday. I would absolutely love to. But there is no way I could see everyone. And there is no way I can afford to send everyone that I appreciate and treasure as a family and friends gifts.... So at least by sending them a handmade card, they get a little something that lets them know I spent some time on their card and they are special to me. And as long as the recipients know we care about them, the time spent is more than worth it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

F**** Cancer

My cancer may be back. :(

But it may not be.

I'll have more details later. For now I have to go call the family because my mum has already called everyone freaking out. And really, I was scheduled for a second round of radiation in March (i'll have radiation once a year for the next couple years), but now I might have it done earlier or at a higher dose. But mum is freaking out over nothing.

Grrrr.... mothers.....

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's happened! I've been injured by my knitting!

Oh whoa is me! It has finally happened! I was impaled by my knitting needle!

A little more than a year ago I picked up knitting as a hobby. I was, then, fearless and tried out all different types of knitting. I even tried the scary double pointed needles. I wasn't scared. And in fact I mastered the pointy devils by knitting up a baby hat for my cousin's little bundle of cuteness, on my very first try. Not once did I think that these things, or much less this hobby, might hurt me. I have been injured while playing sports such as in cheerleading and soccer. Heck, I've even been injured by watering my plants... yes, I don't know how I do it either. But this one was due to watering the plants and falling off the couch. All I know is this leads to expensive emergency room bills, a sprained ankle, and a couple weeks on crutches (nice knitted crutch cozys for my armpits didn't even help me).

But now... I'm scared. I have been impaled by one of my double pointed needles.
So not really impaled.
But there was blood.
And now a scab.

Actually, it really didn't hurt as much as you would think a sharp stainless steel needle would feel as one clumsily places one's hand on top of while sitting down. Really it was my fault for leaving my knitting on the floor, but I place blame on mum's damn sock!

This stabbing wound of mine made me wonder about case studies with knitting needle impalement. Me being the geek that I am, pubmed'ed and medline'ed (yet more verbs I have quite eloquently made up), knitting and injury, to find case studies of knitting injuries.

Surprisingly (or not), there are a number of reports as Ratan et al (2005), and Heath (1980), where injuries are caused by knitting needles. Another report of injury to specific areas, such as the tympantic membrane due to a puncture with a knitting needle (Vanderstock et al., 1983). And there is a report of accidental death, a case study by Payne (1966), which describes a dreadful incident where a 13-month infant was killed by a puncture wound from a knitting needle causing a lesion in the occipital lobe.

Then there are a number of other reports of self injury with knitting needles. Such as the hypochondriac man who inserted a knitting needle in places where you would want your nice merino wool to go (Walter, 1991). And I found another case that was very disturbing. Peschel et al. (1997), describe a schizophrenic patient who used a knitting needle to repeatedly puncture wounds into the forehead causing cerebral hemorrhaging.

And there is another case study from Yuksel et al (2008), that suggests that a 12-year old girl suffered from a right sided radial nerve injury causing numbing and weakening of her right hand, due to excessive knitting!

Have I picked a scary hobby or what? And who says knitting is for old ladies in rocking chairs?! Dude, after reading these case studies, I think it takes some balls to knit (I would say pun not intended, but again, I'm wicked geeky like that).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A day in Chicagoland

It seems like only yesterday the SO and I were in Chicago.... (The day after Thanksgiving, he surprised me with a weekend of sweetness which included seeing the musical, Wicked).

Yesterday was a little different, this time the SO rents (the "in laws") purchased tix through the local travel company and we took a bus tour thing up there. It's always odd to me, why they take the travel company and bus tour up there as we live so close (approx 2 hrs south of Chicago). But I love Chicagoland, and it's something they like to do, so I just go along for the ride.

One super thing about taking the bus is the knitting I can accomplish on the ride!

BTW: Kate, please note the awesome armwarmers. Just as an FYI, they kept me very warm while out in the very cold Chicago!

I was able to make good on my time while sitting with the old people by knitting away at mum's sock. One sock almost done! Kinda interesting, I don't think anyone took a second glance at me knitting, and I didn't notice anyone else knitting.

We were deposited along the Magnificent Mile. Fun times, but it seems like the SO and I always go up to Chicago and just roam around that one section of the city. Because we were with the tour group (luckily we were not "stuck" with all the the people, we were allowed to "run free" in the city, but had to meet at the pickup spot that evening), we couldn't go too far. We hung out with the rents for a bit, then split up with a promise for a lunch meet up. The SO and I just roamed around on the random streets around the main strip. We found many things that we've never noticed. We found a Trader Shmoes and bought some bread to munch on. We found a small independent bookstore to investigate and patron (yay! rather than the Borders on the mile). I really recommend the shop, it's called After Words Books, located on 23 E. Illinois Street.

I also found an interesting hot dog place called Portillo's Hotdogs. A chain I had never heard of, but everyone says is great. We'll probably try it out next time we are in Chicago.

After meandering around, the SO and I met up with the rents/in laws for lunch. The first time we went up to Chicago for the day of shopping we went to Rosebud on Rush. I will never forget the first time we went to Chicago with the in laws. I think that first trip really shocked the in laws because 1 - they didn't really know me because the SO and I had just started dating, and 2 - I switched up their routine by suggesting a different restaurant. The SO and the fam are very much set on routine and they had always gone to this one other restaurant. For me to suggest another resturant really shook things up. But we all loved Rosebud, and now, three years later, this has become the new routine and this is the resturant we always go to when we go to Chicago with the in-laws. Well, you know how much I love to switch the pattern.

So this year instead of going there and because the SO has been mentioning going to the ESPN Zone, I suggested a change (no wonder why the in laws can't stand me). So we went to ESPN Zone for lunch. It's a really cool place -- I haven't been to one since the summer I lived in Baltimore. But all was good - the in laws were happy, they were able to watch Butler basketball, and it was fun to go and chill for a while. But for real, the SO had this super silly look on his face the whole time. I think it was a smile, but I can't really be for sure....

After lunch we roamed around some more. Just to embarrass the dude, I took pictures of the buildings (yes I go to Chicago all the time -- but I have never actually taken pictures, I decided today was the day). When is he going to learn that when I find out something I do embarrasses him, I'm just tempted to do it even more?

I really love the architecture of the older buildings. I mean there are not too many places in West Lafayette, Indiana that have this sort of craftsmanship (Okay, I just remembered there is a Frank Lloyd Wright House in West Lafayette, I am ashamed to say I have not been to it. And we have a great school of engineering, I'm sure there are more buildings that deserve recognition, but I mean Chicago architecture is gorgeous.).

I don't recall seeing this the last time I was on the Mile, but there was a wicked tall statue of the figures from the painting "American Gothic." No clue why these were here (I do believe the actual painting by Grant Wood is in Art Institute of Chicago). But these figures were here and I snapped a few pics of them:

And finally there was a sighting of the very rare Chicago Moose. I have been whining for a couple years now that I miss seeing moose. They are commonly seen back at home and I love hearing mum say "Suzy, it was a huuuuge mooooose!" But alas, I don't see these impressive beasts in Indiana. But had I known all I needed to do was drive up to Chicagoland to see one, I would have done so much sooner. So here, I present the Chicago version of a moose. It is a little different from the ones back at home. The moose in Chicago are a little smaller, shiny and, well, more docile. I don't think I could have ever gotten this close to one at home.

And just to prove that I actually got some knitting done:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Join the Purple Club... everyone's doing it

I have the best SO ever!

I am working on sock for mum for Christmas. Yes, she reads the blog, but it's okay, she told me she wants a scarf. When I told her I wanted to make her socks she said "What the hell am I suppose to do with them?" Hmmm... she's quick like that.

Anyways... back to why my SO is the best. As I'm working on these socks I keep commenting on how much I love this yarn. We already know how much I love Lorna's Laces (see previous blog about Heather's socks). Let me show you a picture, and you'll understand why I love the yarn so much:
The colorway is called Purple Club. The yarn is actually a little more purple and a little less blue, but my camera can only handle so much lovely color! Can you see why I love it so much?

The other day the SO surprised me with 2 more skeins of Purple Club! Yay! Two more! I am totally making a pair of socks (or new arm warmers) once done with mum's socks. Thank you hun, I heart you!
And here is a preview of mum's socks (mum don't look if you want to be surprised).

Yarn: Lorna's Laces, Purple Club (just so fun to say!)

Pattern: Jaywalker (on Ravelry) by Grumperina, but with some modifications utilizing the toe-up version

Started: 12/8/08 - During Knit Night, I CO about 3 times and couldn't count. Then decided to do toe-up instead of cuff down as the pattern is written. I totally can't count when I'm around people. Note to self: CO before going to Knit Night!

Don't worry mum, if you don't like them, or if they don't fit you, they appear to fit me quite well so far!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Yankee Yarn Swap!

What's the cure for a horrible week at work and dreadful weekend of family drama? Why a start to the new week with a Knit Night, of course!

Tonight was actually my second time as I have actually only attended one other Knit Night. Knit Night is held the first Monday of each month at my LYS, River Knits. Tonight was extra special as it was the Happy Holiday edition of Knit Night that included a Yankee Yarn Swap!

Yes that's right, a Yankee Yarn Swap. How fun is that? So, I'm not sure if it's uncommon out here in the Midwest, but apparently not many people out here know what Yankee Swaps are. Maybe it's just more common where I am from. Actually, when you have a group of peeps, it is so much easier, and fun, to have a Yankee Swap rather than buying gifts for each individual. I guess occasionally it's known as a White Elephant, Gift Exchange, Dirty Santa, etc. But apparently a couple of the ladies tonight did not know what a Yankee Yarn Swap meant. Elizabeth, the owner of River Knits, emailed everyone about 2 weeks ago to notify us of the special evening. (BTW, this weekend included a run to Knit Stop, the other LYS that I like. I bought a skein of Malabrigo as I figured if no one else wanted it, I'd take it back -- it was taken and almost fought over). Basically we were to bring in a skein from our stash and wrap it for the swap. So after describing the basic rules we all drew numbers and went at it.

A total of 22(ish) people were present. You can't see them all but we were piled on top of one another!

And this is what the presents looked like:

I, of course with my awesome luck, drew number 4. Which actually ended up being the second person (don't ask, we had issues with the paper slips and numbers... I think the wool fumes were getting to some of us). But of course, being the second person to pick, you don't have much to choose from in terms of snagging good stuff. So I picked a cute bag with the Starbucks logo on it. When I opened it, and Oh! to my hearts desire, I saw the most lovely skeins (yes plural, there were two) of Noro, Silk Garden Yarn. These were amazing! And boy did I try hiding these babies. But of course, they were taken within 3 turns. Funny enough, my gifts were swapped out a total of 5 times! Good thing I didn't get too attached to anything (other than that Noro Silk Garden). But at the end, I had a nice skein of Cherry Tree Hill Handpainted lovely, in a purple/blue color. But alas, the person with the #1 pick, of course, with the last pick of the swap had to snag my squishy purple goodness. But because we had an extra present, I had my choice between the two last gifts. So I chose this:

The gift was in a clear zip bag that I figured I could use for travel knitting projects. The pattern is actually a crochet pattern. We'll just keep that in the pattern stash.... But within the clear bag of vinyl goodness was 3 skeins of yarn. 2 skeins of Gianna, from SWTC. These are a 50% Soysilk and 50% Wool blend. One black and one purple skein. And we know how much I love SWTC (see earlier project, arm warmers in Girlieflauge). And there was also a skein of Laines DuNord, Softlight. It is a fine merino. Very squishy and soft! Overall a very fun night and lots of goodies all around!

Oh, and speaking of SWTC, today I wore my arm warmers. Of course my peeps at works picked on me all day about these babies. But dude, my arms and hands were toasty warm, and I think it was totally cute!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

And once again... I start a fashion trend!

Okay, so a couple of days ago I DVR'ed (is that a new word?), the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Anyone who knows me knows that I love this company. I worked for them for about 6 years, and just love the clothes. I know, they are horrible for the environment and for women and girls. And as a feminist I do have issue with how women are objectified. However, I love the products. I can't help it. Maybe the years of working there brainwashed me.

Well going back to the fashion show. I have this wicked bad habit of getting really excited when I see some items that are based on old lines (think Earth Angels, Body Bare, Signature V Collection), and are basically revamped or "done up" for the fashion show and possibly the upcoming seasons. I tend to name off the old/new line that the item is probably based on and what is new and cool about the new item. And I also tend to include additional information, such as, when the old line was featured in stores and how it sold (or in some cases, how did not sell, sorry Body Flex!), as well as the key features of the product. At one point during the show, my SO turned to me and said "You know, you make watching half naked, beautiful women very boring." Thanks hun, I try whatever I can to urk you in every way possible. :)

Now I'm just rambling. So, the reason for this post and for the excitement is this: During the Pink Collection segment, I noticed something very peculiar. A number of the models were wearing arm warmers, leg warmers and knee length striped socks!
Figure 1. Please note the pink and red striped arm warmies. So cute!
Figure 2. Again Please note the monochromatic use of styling with the wrist warmers. I'm going to guess these are a gauntlet style wrist warmer (think similar to Fetching).
Figure 3. Finally please notice the knee high socks.
How much do I love these! How long have I been knitting and wearing these items? And please notice the stripped garter stitched scarf in the last pic. Very similar to my Fibonacci striped scarf (here), that I have made for a couple of peeps!

Since moving to Indiana, I have noticed fashion takes a little longer to reach the Midwest (as well as other things that take a while to catch on out here). It seems that whenever I go home to the Northeast and find items that are "in" for the season, it will take a while (a couple seasons to a year), before the trend becomes popular here. Last year I fell in love with knee high socks. Particularly soccer socks with the stripes (aka: tube socks). And I've noticed these are very popular on both east and west coasts. And yet no one seems to be wearing them (well, I do. But I bounce to my own beat). Then earlier this year I fell for arm/wrist warmers. I have made (aka, knit) these items and worn them to work which has prompted many to pick on me. Well after seeing the Vicky's show I am certain that I, not only am up with the current styles, but yes my friends, I start trends! Here's to arm and leg warmers and knee high socks for the next season!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Brrr... it's getting cold outside - Calorimetry time!

I finished another gift! This one is for Ashley, the best friend. Because she is not around to model it (besides it IS a Happy Holidays gift), Pooh Bear was kind enough to step in:

Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool Multy in 416. This is very yummy yarn!
Pattern: Calorimetry (found here), a very easy pattern. Seriously, it takes about 2 hours to make this headwarmer.
Funny little thing. I originally made Ashley's Calorimetry on size 8 needles (5mm). I thought it would be cute to make this with mini cables -- as done on Mum's Calorimetry last year (can be seen here). So I switched to smaller size 6 needles (4mm) and knit about 8 rows with mini cables and realized you cannot see the cables with this yarn. The yarn is beautiful, but it does not allow for cables or other fine details stand out. So switching back to the larger needles and staying with the 2x2 ribbing with this yarn.

Thing is, I have so much yarn I think I can make a couple more Calorimetry's for others (maybe even for those who pick on me).... :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Santa Bunny you're the one!

Just for your amusement...
Here is Kyle running away from his crazy mother....

Here is Kyle giving up (poor bunny, I know!)....

And here is Kyle just going with it because he disaproves and thinks we are crazy....

Started: November 30, 2008

Finished: November 30, 2008

Pattern: Bunny Santa Hat (found here)

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in white and red

Needles: Size 6 (4.0mm)