Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is my favorite holiday, although it really sneaked (not snuck) up on me this year. I had a rough couple of weeks, in the vision capacity, which made me quite depressed and irritable, but now things are better, although I am a bit sad that I didn't even get the Halloween decorations out this year. Nor did I dress up today, making it the first Halloween I can remember when I didn't conjure up a costume and wear it to work. I'm taking a science writing class and I thought it might be a bit unprofessional to show up as a cat or something, so I didn't, although I am wearing magenta tights. I got two Halloween packages from my parents, one of which included this great pen with bright red eyes that light up when you press a button on the back, which also causes its punching arms to burst forth vigorously. This pen is great, and got much use during the baseball playoffs and World Series, when Dave and I used it to show displeasure at the announcers with great frequency (even though the right team won). Dave also received a pen - his is about 10 inches long, 3 inches around (we're talking about the pen here), and unwieldly to write with, but good fun all the same. Then, the day my old Starbucks card ran out I got a new one, which was spectacular timing. Thanks for the pens and the coffee, and sorry to have kept forgetting to thank you, having talked to you several times since the arrival of the pens! I don't want to have a post without any photos, so here's a classic from Halloween a couple of years back. This is Dave in his pimp ensemble:
We bought that hat at a little shop in Snohomish, WA (which has a great tea shop you should viist if you're in the area). The pants and jacket are mine (They both look better on him than me, as Dave is skinny as a rail and has no hips to make the pants pockets flare out strangely.), as is the fluffy red scarf. It was a fun costume...
Happy Hauntings!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Random musings on a Tuesday

First off, I realize I vanished again, but I've just been really uninspired about things to write. So here is a cute Oliver photo to tide you over until I have some pretty knitting pictures. This should be pretty soon, since I'm at the tip decreases of my second Selbuvotter mitten.

I might have had a falling-down of the yarn acquisition variety last week, when I ordered some yarn to make the Ivy League vest from the soon-to-be-in-my-mailbox Interweave Knits Winter 2007. I was ordering some Christmas gift yarn from Knit Picks and, well, it just fell into my basket, what can I say? I'm going to blame Amanda for enabling me on this, since it was her idea to use Palette and she came up with the appropriate color substitions. We've both ordered yarn and are now eagerly awaiting the arrival of the magazine. I'm excited about this project, which I think will be more approachable than a full Fair Isle sweater. I have several of those in my Ravelry queue, but they're a bit daunting. A vest has no sleeves and thus much less seaming, which we all know greatly increases my chances of actually finishing the garment. Although, I suspect it will be steeked, which scares the daylights out of me but will be something new.
You might notice that I'm writing this post really early in the morning, and that is because someone had the brilliant idea to do an announced test of our building fire alarm at 7:00am this morning. I hate loud noises so I decided I would get up before that so as to be prepared for it. I don't usually get up until at least 8:00, so I'm not thrilled, but at least I'll be at work early! And, you all get something to read, although I make no guarantees of sensicalness (Is that even a word? It should be.) since it's early and I've not yet had my tea. I was going to present a bit list of all my knitting works-in-progress for you, for lack of something else to talk about, but since I came up with the Ivy League vest perhaps I'll save that for another time. Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Sorry to have vanished (again). I've actually got many knitting tales, but sadly the only photo I have to show you is of the tragedy that befell our still-under-construction sculpture during last Thursdays windstorm at the FHCRC, where I work: This is (was?) Vessel, an Ed Carpenter piece that was commissioned by the Center and was engineered to withstand very high winds, earthquakes, vandals, etc. Apparently there was a flaw! It wasn't that windy on Thursday...It's quite sad really, as I was getting quite fond of the sculpture, which was 55 feet tall. They plan to rebuild but it will take at least until next spring to determine what went wrong and to build new parts.
As for knitting, let's see. Wednesday night Rachel and I went to see Laurie Perry (Crazy Aunt Purl) at the downtown Barnes & Noble. They were woefully unprepared for the onslaught of knitters, but Laurie was hilarious and heartfelt and I'm so glad Rachel suggested that we go. And, Rachel bought me Laurie's book, which I finished in just a couple of days. Thank you Rachel! What I enjoyed about the book signing was that it felt like she really wanted to talk to everyone, not just move through the line, and I really appreciated that. Plus, she has a twang just like my cousin Danielle, who I haven't seen in years, so that was nice. Now that I think about it, you don't encounter many southern accents in Seattle. Why is that I wonder?
On Friday Anne-Marie and I went to the Louet trunk show at Village Yarn & Tea, which was also fun. They had wine and cheese plus lots of Louet yarns I hadn't seen. I bought two skeins of linen/mohair laceweight, which is really interesting stuff. The linen gives it strength and keeping shape ability, but the mohair makes it a bit fuzzy and softer. I also bought some Rowan Damask for a Dream Swatch (PDF link) scarf. They had it knit up and I fell in love with the yarn, which is soft and was in perfect colors to match what I was wearing. I always check out store projects, but I think this might be the first time I've just gone and bought the supplies for one right then and there.
Otherwise I don't have much to report. I'm about half done with the second Selbuvotter mitten (thank you for all your comments on my mittens!!!), and charging along on one of my gift projects. Last night I worked on the Drops cardigan a bit, but only about eight rows. Slowly but surely I guess. The mittens are way more interesting to work on and it's already late October (eek!) so the Christmas gifts are moving up the queue...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

First Selbuvotter off the needles!

Blue Selbuvotter #1
Originally uploaded by Emily E.M.
I did a lot of knitting this past week and weekend, and on Saturday night I finished the first of my NHM #7 mittens. Well, except for the thumb. I've decided to knit both mittens and then tackle the thumbs, because I want to get some super-short DPNs for the thumb knitting. I had a difficult time with my 6" DPNs once I got to the tip of the hand because the hole was so small and the needles were everywhere. So, instead of just procrastinating until I get around to getting the needles, I'm going to cast-on the second mitten tonight at knitting club and proceed with abandon. Whilst hoping not to run out of yarn. I may have made a slight error in yarn purchasing, only having bought one 25 gram skein of each color, due to my inability to pay attention to the actual yardage called for in the pattern instead of the weight and number of skeins. I'm hoping I'll have enough, but I need to weigh what I have to make sure, so I can get more of the same lot if need be. No reason not to do that right now, actually, is there? Weigh it I mean...


This weekend Dave and I went on another adventure, this time to Olympia, where we made apple cider at Rembrandt's parents' house. We love going down there - Rem's parents are some of the nicest people I've met, and good times are always had. We started by picking apples in their orchard, which is a bit overgrown and undermaintained, but produced plenty of apples for our purposes.That's Dave up in one of the trees. Myself I didn't head up very far, as I chose a bad tree to climb. Plus, I'm not that keen on being in trees with moss-covered branches. A bit slippery, and thus disconcerting, even though I'm not afraid of heights. Although, to be fair, I'm not thrilled at the prospect of falling from them. We took our haul of apples to the driveway, where the real chaos occurred. Rem's parents have a cider press, seen here (cart o' apples in the background): We had a good mix of apple varieties, which is key for full-bodied cider (so I hear). The box on the press contains sharp blades attached to a motor (on the right), which dices the apples into a lovely pulp. Here is Dave running the machine (it's important to hold the lid down - otherwise chunks of apple go flying everywhere at high velocity) while Rem (center) feeds in apples and Kelsea cleans them. That was also one of my jobs (the cleaning, although I also did the feeding later in the day). You then press the pulp down like so: The actual pressing process was pretty easy, and quite satisfying as you watch the cider flow into the pan. When you're done you get some good snacks for the resident chickens: The cleanup was fun - I love spraying water on dirty things, be it Dave's muddy bike after races or cider presses covered in apples. It was especially exciting spraying Rem's apron: No, I did not get him wet! All told we made about six gallons of cider: That doesn't seem like much considering the mass of starting material, but when you think about it, apples aren't that juicy. For reference, the bag of pulp Rem is holding, which is from one pressing, resulted in about 1/2 gallon of cider. So, how is it? It's really really good. Dave and I brought two gallons home, one which we're going through slowly and another which went in the freezer for later. This was my first time making cider and it was really fun (and very sticky)!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Ack, I am behind in posting (again). Dave and I had a lovely time in Portland on Sunday. Here is the start of his race: This was actually taken about 10 minutes before the start - they line up very early down there, and by the actual start there were even more people. Dave worked his way up to 9th (out of 80) during the race but then got a flat tire and fell quite aways back after having to run almost an entire lap with his bike. You might notice a mostly naked man in the middle of the photo - this is a Portland thing. You earn extra Cross Crusade series points by competing as close to naked as possible...I felt a bit bad for this guy because he disrobed quite awhile before the start, and he must have been freezing. Then again, it was his crazy plan to ride in a speedo. The Seattle cyclocross series is pretty big, but the Portland series is probably twice the size, participant-wise, and with many more women. It was interesting to go to a race down there - we've done it before, but only for big-deal national races. I think it was a more fun atmosphere than we have up here, to be honest...

We did make it to Powell's, which is crazy, in the best possible way. And completely overwhelming. I deal pretty well with overstimulation and lots of options, but I wasn't prepared for this. I did find some good stuff in the knitting section, but I didn't really look hard for anything else. There was so much single-word-title nonfiction it was astounding. I think unless you have a plan and know what you're looking for it can be a tough place to navigate simply because it's SUCH a huge store. That said, I can't wait to go back (with a plan).

When we got back from Portland I might have accidentally cast-on another new project: These are the NHM #7 mittens from Selbuvotter. I'm knitting them with Shetland Spindrift, on size 1.5 needles. This photo is from Monday - I'm currently just past the thumb. I'm participating in the Ravelry Selbuvotter Knitalong which started this week. I might have jumped the gun just a bit, but I'm sure I won't be the first to finish! I'm loving them so far - I had forgotten how addicting Fair Isle is for me...Last night Anne-Marie and I went to our first Seattle Knitters Guild meeting to listen to Annemor Sundbo, who spoke about traditional symbols in knitting. It was quite interesting, and we couldn't believe how many people there were - I really had no idea. I mean, I knew there were a lot of knitters in Seattle, but this was quite a whack of knitters. Of course I forgot my camera (oops). We hope to go again, but next time we'll be sure to eat dinner first - we had to leave after Annemor's talk because we were both starving (oops)!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

New Project!

I've started something new! Big surprise I know, but I actually only have two active projects, one a gift that won't be seen on the blog and the blue Drops Swing Cardigan. Both are progressing but I don't think the sweater needs to be rephotographed until I have the second front finished. When I finished the Purl Scarf I decided I needed another simple project to carry around, so I started this Drop-Stitch Scarf. I found the pattern on Ravelry, but I also saw it at the Fleece Artist/Handmaiden trunk show at Hilltop Yarn today, so I'm really not sure who to attribute it to. The yarn is Knit Picks Memories, and it's been fun so far. This is also a gift, but I'm going to talk about it anyway and assume that a) the recipient won't see it, or b) they won't know it's for them, or c) they won't care even if they do see it and think AH, that must be for me...

Today Rachel, Anne-Marie, and I (and about 100 other people) descended on Hilltop Yarn to check out the Fleece Artist/Handmaiden double-whammy trunk show/wine tasting/yarn groping event. It was fun, although a bit crowded. I'm not big on crowds in small spaces but I made due by having some chardonnay from a box. Which was actually not bad, and less likely to be tipped over onto $50 skeins of yarn than a bottle. Anyway - I only bought one skein of Fleece Artist Woolie Silk 3 ply to make this I-think-it's-adorable-and-will-hopefully-work-on-me-but-it-was-hard-to-tell-because-I-had-my-hair-pulled-back-but-it-looked-cute-on-Anne-Marie-so-I'm-hopeful hat: This is the Ana, from Perl Grey. There are some larger photos in the link, and the more I look at them the cuter I think this hat is. We'll see. I suspect it will be cast on sooner rather than later, but there are many other gifts to knit and exciting projects in the queue. And there's always the science to do...

Dave and I are driving down to Portland tonight so he can do a 'cross race down there tomorrow morning. Yes, we have our own 'cross series, but there are some big races in Portland in December and the starting line order is determined by standing in the Portland series, so Dave wants to get some points down there since there isn't a Seattle series race this weekend and starting position is really important in cyclocross. And, what else do we have to do but drive to Portland? Maybe this time we can actually go to Powells - I've been to Portland 5 times I think without ever making it there...for shame!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I knew it!

Chocolate is good for you! Anne-Marie brought this back from Montreal for me (and it's quite tasty). I love that they're advertising a candy bar as a "source of calcium." How much calcium? 10% - which is something, but sadly probably not enough to make chocolate your calcium source of choice...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Moss Grid Towels - Finally finished!!!

Well, these were a bit of a slog, but I've finished them, and I'm really happy with the way they turned out! They are a wedding gift for a good friend of mine, and they're a fair bit late, but hopefully no one is keeping track! She sometimes reads my blog but fingers crossed she'll get these before she spys them on the internets...

Project Stats: Moss Grid Towels

Pattern: Moss Grid Towel, from Mason-Dixon Knitting

Yarn: Euroflax Linen in Champagne, 2 skeins (one per towel)

Needles: Clover bamboo straights, size 5

Time on the needles: August 22-September 29, 2007. Which isn't bad really. Contrary to the photo, there are two of them, and the second towel definitely took longer than the first. Initially I was really trying to have both done by 9.1 (ha!), but once they were going to be late I admit I lost my impetus to hurry.

Impressions: These were fun to knit, and if I know you and there is an appropriate occasion you might also receive some. The linen took some getting used to because it doesn't have much give, but overall I enjoyed knitting with it. The pattern is easy and the results are stunning (I think). I'd be thrilled to have some of these in my bathroom, so hopefully the recipient will like them too! My only issue is that the pattern calls for 12 repeats of the grid pattern, and I was only able to do 11 without running short on yarn. Thankfully I had done my homework on Ravelry and knew that this might be a problem, so I was prepared to weigh my yarn and make the towels shorter if necessary. It was.

This weekend was the start of the Seattle Cyclocross Series. It was a muddy mess: Dave came in 5th out of over 50 people, so the misery was worthwhile!