Friday, December 28, 2007

Recovering from the holidaze

I'm so glad that Christmas is over this year. I always enjoy the holiday, but for some reason this year, I just wasn't in the spirit. I felt like we didn't put enough effort into most of the gifts that we gave because there just wasn't time to find the "perfect" gift.


It didn't help that on Christmas Eve, while driving back from my parents, we came across a terrible accident on the freeway. Eric felt obligated to stop and help. There was one fatality, the other adult had life-threatening injuries and the 3 yo was hurt, but okay because she was in a car seat. The accident just deflated us.



While visiting with my parents, I was able to finish the back of my Ribbi Cardi. It turns out that 8" of fresh snow that fell made a perfect backdrop for photographing the cranberry color. While the background is dim, the color is pretty accurate in the photograph. (On the first try no less!)



I started the armhole shaping on the fronts only to realize that I had knit the 2nd smallest size for the back and the smallest size for the front. Combine that with the fact that I wasn't happy with a couple of other niggling details on the fronts and ribbit. Currently, I am on row 18 of 32 of the ribbing, blech. Here's hoping that I can make up for lost time this weekend.


Imagine this picture, only shorter and slightly wider and you
will envision what I currently have on the needles.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Merry Christmas

I received this today from a friend at work. It made me smile!



Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I am a knitter, honest!

I keep starting every post with an apology and a promise to start posting more after I finished the craft show.


The craft fair went really well. I sold out of the adult sized felted hats by mid-day on Saturday. They were so popular. I will be working really hard to get more of those done for next year. I will also be including a few accessories for them as well to make them more appealing. (I took one and pinned a broach on it so it looked like a cloche from the 20's. It was very cute!)


I received a couple of custom orders as well, so I've been scurrying to finish those up. The first hat I finished up already and when I called the person who ordered it, she canceled. I hate it when people are flaky like that. I put a lot of effort into getting it done quickly and then I get nothing for it. (Well, not nothing, since I can put into inventory for next year. But, still, it is pretty rude if you ask me.)


#####



I have an announcement.


Brace yourselves.


I have finished a pair of socks.

Not just any socks.

The socks that sucked the soul from me.

I have finished the Pomatomus socks.







I started these last summer. But I had a few problems with the yarn. It was knotted in at least 4 places and when I went to return it to the store, the hours on the card that I picked up when I purchased the yarn that week were wrong. Then the clerk was rude to me and said that I couldn't possibly have gotten the card there recently. She didn't even have the class to apologize when proven wrong either. (It was the last time I shopped there.)

Then, Eric got so sick and life fell apart. I knit on these while he was in the hospital and ever since they have left a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach.


Then, when I decided that it was not fair to the yarn to let it languish in my WIP basket forever, I found this. I finally screwed up the courage to try and fix them this weekend. I decided to reknit the 2 rows that were damaged and just run a strand through all of the remaining loose stitches. I think it came out pretty well, all things considered.


Honestly, it is as if I was not supposed to knit these socks.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Yarn, anyone?

Looking forward to the end of the craft fair season, I am proposing another contest. Let's think of it as an on-line scavenger hunt.

There are craft fairs out there that are great with lots of beautiful hand-made items of high quality. However, we all know of the other type of crap craft fair. This is the type that interests me.

Ways to enter:

1. Find a link to the fugliest handmade item you can find online. (Nothing from Go Fug Yourself or The 4th Knitter of the Apocalypse - these need to be items you find.) They do not have to be knitted. Leave a comment with the link on this post - one link entry per person. Be kind however - do not trash the item in your comments - someone tried (we hope) to make something.

2. Post the contest on your blog and earn another entry. Leave a link to the post in the comments as well.

3. If you find this contest listed on someone else's blog, let me know where you found it and that person will earn another entry to the contest.

4. This one will run for a while. Entries will be accepted until midnight on Sunday November 18th, the last day of the fair. Once I recover, I will use a random number generator to determine a winner.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fini

So, the big craft fair starts on Friday. I'm working it on Saturday and Sunday and am really looking forward to it. For me, a huge perk will be seeing my friend, Nicole, who recently moved back from Germany. But, I am hoping to get some solid information on what styles of hats and bags sell well. This will really help me determine what types of materials to purchase for the coming year.

I've started the application process for fairs in the spring and summer and a lot of them require photographs of booth displays. This will also give me the opportunity to snap some pictures of my stuff all set up. When I sold bags at the Granary in October, the owner took a birch branch and wound white Christmas lights through the twigs. She is kindly letting me use the same display for the show and I am hoping that she might let me keep the branch. If not, I will try to go for a hike at my parents and get another.

I have just a few more items to finish up. One hat still needs felting. Over the weekend, I did a felted bag that I need to attach the handles and line. If this sells, I am thinking of adding it to my website. They are not cheap because of all of the time that goes into it, but using the knitting machine makes it much easier.

Once the show is over, I am planning a complete revamp of the website. Hopefully, there will be enough sales at the show to pay back all of my personal money that has been invested as well as purchasing a new digital camera.


I have been working on Ribbi Cardy, which has been a welcome relief. The back is done up to the beginning of the arm hole shaping. I have both fronts on the same circ and they are about half way to the beginning of the shaping. I fully intend to have it done before Christmas.

I will try to snap a few pictures and post my progress on the cardi.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Giant Time Suck

Yes indeed, I have fallen fully into the Ravelry black hole of time suckage. Even though I had not intended to do so, I spent last night photographing the majority of my stash and putting it up on Ravelry notebook. I realized that a very large portion of my stash is sock yarn. How this escaped my notice before is evidence that I live in the State of Denial. I know that not all of my yarn is up there, but what is there is what I consider my active stash (that is, stuff that I will actually knit up). I didn't put up all of the odds and ends that I have or the yarn that is currently residing next to the couch, ostensibly the WIP or queued projects.

I fully intent to take a picture of my WIP and get them posted both here and on Ravelry. Soon, I will do this soon.

Just as soon as a FO isn't a felted hat.

######

This weekend is the 1 year anniversary of when Eric got really sick last year. I feel so out of sorts about it all. In a way, I just want the next week or so over so that the reminder is behind us and we can face the second year. Halloween leaves a bad feeling in our household, but we don't want to transmit that to Caleb. Personally, I would prefer to wallow in my misery for a couple of day to get it out of my system, but as a parent it just isn't possible.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Coming up for air

This week has been so busy. I finished off 4 purses and 2 felted hats (which currently just need felting). I have been knitting the hats in the flat up to the decreases so that I can use my knitting machine to do the long stockinette portion of the hats. It does leave a seam but it seems to come out okay once it is felted.

I am loving these new bags. I had originally purchased the striped fabric as an exterior, but never really felt the love. It seems to be working perfectly as the lining for these suede-like bags (which, honestly, are too boring otherwise)




I'm really happy with how well the stripes line up on the slip pocket!

Monday, October 15, 2007

So far so good

I stopped to check out the sale at the Grainery this weekend and as of noonish on Saturday I had sold four bags from the main building. I’m not sure what sold from the other buildings because it wasn’t tied to their computer inventory. My sister had sold some aprons and my mom sold a Flying Geese pattern quilt for $250.00. Not to bad considering that there had only been a day and a half of sales. There are still 4 more days, so I am hoping to get at least $500.00 gross sales. I am being very good and resisting the urge to call up every hour to see if anything else has sold! I am guessing that this would be in very bad form and that she might not invite me back next year.

I also took a bunch of stuff up to LaCrosse for the Holiday Fair Sale in November. I had 18 hats ready and over 35 wash cloths. The woman who runs the Grainery should have some hand made soaps left over from the sale and she is willing to let me have them at cost. I think it would be a great pairing to have the cloths and the soaps in an old-fashioned washbasin. I think my mom even has an antique washboard… hmm. I am also planning on hanging a rope and pinning sample cloths to it. Now I am on the home stretch of finishing off some more bags and just a couple more hats.


I am officially declaring Bloglines Amnesty. If something momentous has happened and I haven’t commented, please accept my sincere apologies. In a generic, blanket statement, congrats on all FO, new babies (which I guess is the ultimate FO), pregnancies and birthdays. My condolences for all tinking and frogging that may have occurred as well as any illnesses.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Melancholy

Have you ever had the experience of having to go through something truly awful to get to something worth having?

One of my dearest friends is going through one of the stickiest things I can image; yet, I know that she will come out the other side happier than she has been in 10 years. I am so torn that she has this bad situation, but am relieved that she will be at peace again. I wish I could take a portion of her burden from her and make the upcoming weeks and months less painful. I am elated for her on one hand because the end result will be so positive, but my heart aches for the current moment she is in.



I dropped off my bags this weekend for the sale that will be running for the next three weekends. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Friday, October 05, 2007

So that's what happened

Apparently one can catch all sorts of nasty things on the internets from Rabbits and Sheeps. The scratchy throat that was discovered when I woke up this morning has blossomed into the glowing embers from depths of hell and I can tell that I am next to take up the baton in the relay race of Universal Snot Dispenser. Yipee freakin' Skippy. Just as I am about the head to my parents for the weekend.



Unfortunately this is a business trip to drop off my handbags before the start of a show next weekend. And I get to go again next weekend. At least the mileage will be deductible.



I know that I won't be around much (as if I had been here much recently anyway...). The boutique will be selling my bags for the next 3 weeks. Then there is a show in the middle of November. Then we are off to the races for the rest of the year with Caleb's 5th birthday, Thanksgiving in the same week and the mad dash for Christmas. (I can guarantee that I won't me making handmade items this year!)



I will post as regularly as I can. I am planning on hanging on for dear life until January when I will finally be able to catch my breath and do some knitting of my very own.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The deed is done

I must apologize to my faithful reader(s?). I have not died in a forgotten corner somewhere. Nor have I decided to stop blogging. Rather, life has bitten me in the ass yet again.

We finally made the decision to buy a new car. Normally, this would mean a different car that is somewhat newer than what we currently own. This time we decided to bite the bullet and get a brand-spankin' new vehicle. We drove a couple of different ones and decided on the Kia Rio. It's not fancy, but the price is right and the safety features and warranty are great for the price point. We got the silver one with the dark grey interior. I'm really happy with it so far.

Let's just say that the new car buying process sucked the will to live from me. Thankfully, I received a pick me up in my inbox today at lunch. My invite to Ravelry finally came. I fully expect that what little free time I have available between now and Christmas will evaporate before I know it. My username is HouseofWool.

I leave tomorrow to take a load of purses up to the first of 2 shows I have this fall. This one is in a boutique and runs 3 consecutive weekends. The woman who owns it is a friend of my mom's and she is trying to get the local paper to do a story on the sale focusing on my family because my mom and my sister are also selling items there as well.

I will try not to disappear for too long. Ciao for now.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Home again

I know, I know, I'm very tardy in getting this post up. It seems that Madame Fortune needed to toy a bit with the residents here at chez Wool. Camping was better than expected, but I will be leaving the details and photos for another post. (Really, given my previous camping experiences with Eric, this trip HAD to be better. My expectations were really quite low so as not to be disappointed when things went to hell in a hand basket.)

On Monday of this week, my car stopped working for the 3rd time in less than 3 months. As we just had the starter replaced we took it back to the shop that did the work but they were unable to find a problem. See, the car decided to start for them. Apparently, it has a grudge against me.

When we picked up the car from the shop, we took it to the Nissan dealership down the street and they were unable to figure it out and basically said that it appears to be an intermittent short in the electrical system. Which we take to mean that this car will suck the lifeblood from us if we try to find the problem with a skilled mechanic.

Seeing as how Eric's vacation month is up and he starts back on a full rotation complete with long hours and shitty commutes, I must have a vehicle that I can depend on. So, today we are heading out to test drive cars.

We went round and round on this: do we buy a used vehicle, a new, do we lease? In the end, we've decided to purchase a bare bones car (Hyundai or KIA most likely) so that we get the full manufacturer's warranty. By the time that the main warranties will be over, Eric will be just about done with residency so we could afford another car payment. Here's hoping that we can limp his POS along until residency though because there is no way we can afford 2 car payments on my salary.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Back Home

Basking in the California sun.

The boys came home on Friday and I surprised them at the airport. They had a great time.

I didn't think that this was allowed post 9/11.


Tomorrow morning we leave for a quick overnight camping expedition at a local state recreation area (I think this means it is like a state park, only smaller {and probably more poorly funded}). We picked this location specifically because it is close to home and should the mid-night heebee-jeebees require that we hightail it for home, then at least it is close by. It should be interesting as I don't camp. Hopefully the bottle of wine that we are bringing will help with that. I also plan on bringing some portable knitting to do while the boys fish.
I keep hoping that I will have an opportunity to get some knitting photographed. I have 15 knitted hats done up for the show in November and have about 30 bags that I am sending to the show in October. I will need to work on more so my inventory levels don't fall too much because I am also going to have my very first purse party in October as well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Spicy Crackers

Someone brought these crackers into work the other day. Thankfully, his cube is in another group or I might have eaten them all!

Spicy Crackers

1 Box (4 sleeves) of Saltine Crackers
1 1/3 cup Canola Oil
2 packets of Dried Ranch Dressing
2 tablespoons of Crushed Red Pepper

Mixing:

Split the ingredients in half and mix 2 half batches. Take 2 sleeves of crackers and put it into a 1 gallon zip lock bag, then pour a little less than ¾ cup of Canola Oil over as many crackers as you can. Then add 1 packet of Dried Ranch and 1 tablespoon of Crushed Red Peppers, try to cover as many crackers as well. Then just start turning the bag in every direction and mix the ingredients. I have found if you lay the bag flat and rub the bag on the crackers the excess ranch and peppers will stick to the crackers. Then repeat this for the other half batch, then add them together when done mixing.

Enjoy!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Woot woot

I know, I know. Two posts in three days. Sit down before the astonishment overtakes you. Amazing how that can happen if one has peace and quiet.

But, I had to post again today. Yesterday after returning home from some hellacious running of errands (more on that later), I found a very pleasant surprise sitting on my doorstep. Yes indeed the lovely people at KnitPicks outdid themselves and my new options needles were here!

I immediately sat down and put the little case together, labeling all of the pockets for the needle tips with the sizes. Shortly after that, I pulled out my Ribbi Cardi and proceeded to add 3" to the back last night.

I also put 6 more skeins of the Frog Tree Alpaca into the dyepot yesterday. I will be taking them out today (I left them overnight to cool.) One lone skein was left over because it wouldn't fit in the pot and because it is actually 2 smaller balls. I still haven't decided what to do with this one yet. Once the boys are back from Cali, I will take a picture so you can see the before and after. The after is so much easier on the retinas. I have no IDEA what I was thinking. According to the ball bands it is color # 38, but on my monitor it looks way to subdued... The discount offered by the shop because of some samples I had knit must have overwhelmed my sense of reason. Either that or I had a blackout of some kind.

So - about 11am yesterday I set out for a quick run into downtown to go to the main branch of our public library because I had a bunch of books on hold, including Wrap Style and some books on dyeing. It should have been easy-peasy because I got off the interstate at the correct exit and managed to overshoot the street I was looking for by only 2 blocks. No big deal I thought, I'll just go around the block so that I don't have to make a left turn and block traffic.

That's when I noticed that every freaking cross street was barricaded. I went nearly 20 blocks and they were all blocked by the police. For a moment I thought that maybe there was some sort of bomb scare or something, but it dawned on me that they wouldn't cordon off an area that was 2 blocks wide and 25 blocks long for that.

As I had also wanted to stop at Whole Foods to see if they carry the dried papaya that I love, I headed over that way. On the drive over, I saw several people running a race and realized that must have been why the streets were blocked off. But, my luck being what it is, the dang route went right past where I wanted to go. I did eventually make it to Whole Foods and they did not have the papaya I wanted. After that, I was able to make it to the library and pick up my books. What should have taken about 45 minutes tops, there and back, took nearly 2 hours because of the race.

From there, it was a trip to one of the malls and pants shopping. I know, thrilling. I tried on eleventy hundred pairs of pants and came away with one pair that fits okay, needing only minor alterations that I can do myself.

However, it looks like they will require a new pair of shoes. What a bummer, I might just have to get myself a pair of cute ballet flats like this or this or this. I have a pretty firm policy that if I am buying trendy shoes, I buy them on the cheap. If I am buying a classic then I will spring for the good stuff, but I won't spend a lot of money that I will only wear for one season.

Today I need to run to Best Buy to pick up a new pair of headphones for my iPod because I accidentally yanked them out of my ears yesterday and now one of them is loose and makes a staticky noise. Here's hoping that I can get away with a cheaper pair and not pay 30 buck to Apple, but my guess is that they have designed the connectors so that you can't use different brand headphones. Bastards.

Caleb's best friend is having a birthday party weekend and I've been invited to family party today even though Caleb won't be there. I haven't decided yet if I want to go. The parties at their house are always great with lots of fun people but I'm concerned that it might weird out the birthday boy to have me there and not Caleb, who is having a great time in California.

More later.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Empty Nest

Caleb and Eric left for California this morning. On one hand I've been doing a mental happy dance for weeks knowing that I would finally have some peace and quiet. On the other hand, I could barely keep it together during the good-byes this morning and burst into tears as soon as they had driven out of sight. Part of this can be attributed to PMS and an utter lack of caffeine as the coffee maker chose this morning to crap out complete.

And apparently, I am completely unable to purchase an adequate coffee maker. I stopped at Walmart this morning on the way to work after seeing the boys off and picked up a new one. I set it up and went to grab the handle on the pot and realized that the metal band that secures the handle to the pot was loose. So loose that the pot would slip right out. Damn, damn, damn. After waiting until it was mostly dry, I packed it back up into the original box.

After doing a few things around the house (by this I mean knitting, duh) I realized that there was no way I could choke down instant coffee two mornings in a row and headed out to Target. BTW, shopping without a 4 year old, heavenly. I was overwhelmed by the number of options in the coffee maker aisle. Dude - $150 bucks for a damn coffee maker? At that price it better do the dishes as well. I decided on this lovely model by DeLonghi.

Years ago, Eric bought me one of their toasters when our old one died. I love it and will buy their stuff any day.

Again, I was back at home and setting up the newest coffee maker in an effort to avoid being severely under-caffinated when I realized that this one is too tall for our kitchen. How you ask, is this possible? Well the idiot who "remodeled" the kitchen in this house did a crap-ass job and hung the upper cabinets a good 5 inches too low. There is less that 13" between the countertop and the bottom of the upper cabinet. This is among the other idotic things that they did. Don't get me started. I would love a $50K budget to fix all of the things that were poorly done. This is a serious bone of contention for me. I'm not sure if the previous owners were midgets or just stupid, but we just rent so I live with it.

Given the difficulties in procurring a new coffee pot, I am thinking that digging out the percolator that we bought for camping will have to be the way of it for tomorrow. Now, I'm off to find instructions on how to make coffee in a percolator and to play some more mancala online.

Tomorrow will be given over to cleaning the house (at least some of it) and dyeing more yarn after a quick trip to the library.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A bullet post

I feel like life has been crazy lately. Both good and bad crazy.
  • Last week, Eric's car was in the shop. We thought it might be important to repair the leaking gas line. The sneaking suspicion that we could explode over-rode the need to hoard money and we took the car in. Thankfully, the bill wasn't as awful as it could have been. It only cost an arm.
  • September is Eric's vacation month (med school schedules make no sense). We decided that we would keep Caleb in daycare during the month in the mornings so that his schedule isn't completely off-kilter. With the time off, Eric has been given the responsibility of getting Caleb to daycare and from school. Apparently while his car was in the shop the boys were riding their bikes to school and Eric was riding back home with Caleb's bike on his handle bars. I would have loved to see a picture of this!
  • On Friday, my car wouldn't start after work. Eric walked with Caleb nearly a mile to the repair shop and picked up his car (which was completed, thankfully) and came to pick me up. My car ran fine over the weekend and Eric changed out the spark plugs and wires as well as the valve gasket. Yesterday my car wouldn't start again. It wasn't the battery and today we had it towed. Turns out the started was shot... But it is running again and I am thankful. This did cost an arm and a leg.
  • On Saturday I received a great surprise in the mail from Annie. I was the 2000th commentor on her blog and I won a great prize. There were 2 skeins of Koigu KPPPM and a very cute book. I can't wait to knit up the Koigu!
  • I spent some time over the weekend dyeing up some Frog Tree Alpaca that I have. Unfortunately, the original color is a bit eye-searing. Honestly, I have no idea what possessed me to purchase 13 skeins of the stuff. Granted it is soft and cuddly, but there is no way I can hope to wear that color. So, in an attempt to salvage the yarn, I decided to overdye it in a crock pot. Unfortunately, my crock pot isn't as cool as some others. I am pretty happy with the results of said dyeing adventure. One skein came out a bit darker than the others, but overall, am satisfied. On that note, I reserved a bunch of books at the library about dyeing yarn. I can't wait to pick them up this weekend and try out some new ideas.

  • The boys are leaving for California on Friday and won't be back until Wednesday. (Is it inappropriate to celebrate this fact?) It does mean that I won't have the camera while they are gone.
  • Today at work someone posted a couple suggestions on how to reduce stress in the workplace. I would love to find something that actually works. These tips on the other hand appear to have been written by someone who telecommutes. The first tip was that every 1-2 hours spend 5 minutes practicing deep breathing. Not a bad idea, especially working in customer service. The second tip is to take a visual vacation (i.e. imagine you are someplace more relaxing than work). Again, not a bad idea, in theory. Um hellO. What exactly will be the reaction of my co-workers if I spend 5 minutes every hour breathing heavily with my eyes closed? How often can I pull this off before I am accused of being a slacker or a pervert?
  • Last but not least, we purchased Caleb's Halloween costume today. It cost entirely too much, but he LOVES it and will definitely use it more than just once. I can see that he will play with it a lot.

I keep trying to upload photos but blogger is having none of that tonight. When I can, I will post before and after shots of the alpaca.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Day of School

What a week – Caleb started 4K on Tuesday and I took a vacation day so hubbo and I could see him off together. He seems to be settling in well. Look at the proud look on his face! I can hardly believe that he is old enough to be in the public school system already.

I also wanted to share this link that I found in the comments of another knit blog. Go ahead - I'll wait, it's worth it.
In other exciting (non-knitting) news, I will be selling bagatelle bags at an event with lots of local artisans near my hometown. My mom has sold quilts here before and has pretty good success. This will definitely be a good thing so that I can afford the supplies I need to ramp up inventory for the craft show in November. The two events are only a month apart, so there won’t be a lot of time to recover between them. Wish me lots of luck!
I am hoping this weekend to photograph all of my bags again so that I can post them the website with the new labels affixed. It takes so much time to get it all done... I find the worst part to be the color correction of the file. I am having a hard time finding an inexpensive light source that doesn't leave a noticeable cast in the photos.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Vacation from Hell?

Last week, Eric received 3 free passes to a water and theme park about 2 hours from home. The type of place where rooms run $200 a night for a room with 2 queens and they are nothing special. Because the room rates are so high, we decided to make a day trip of it, figuring that Caleb is old enough now to handle that kind of drive with the help of the portable DVD player and Pixar.

We managed to arrive 15 minutes after the park opened and headed into the park in great spirits. It all changed shortly.

The changing rooms we found were NASTY, mildew covered and stinky. The waits for the rides were up to an hour. An HOUR to go on a slide for 30 seconds. The areas for the little kids were designed for toddlers, not the 4 to 7 year old crowd. Caleb wasn't allowed on the larger slides because of the height restrictions (along with the hour wait, yikes).

We tried the go-carts but the lines weren't any better. Again an hour to go on a 5 minute ride.

The miniature golf was worse yet. There were no kid sized putters (seriously people - a place for kids and nothing was their size? - they missed that demographic completely). We could live with that and started along the course. We had to call it quits at the eight hole because half of the green carpet was missing (This was a horrible time for the batteries in the camera to die - the pictures would have been priceless) and the plastic cup in the hole was broken.

Caleb was set on trying the wave pool so we bravely headed that way. We managed to find a single chair for our towels and set off in search of an inner tube for Bubba. Can you guess what happened? Predictably, there were none to be found and we headed into the arctic waters of the wave pool. Within a minute, Mr. NoBodyFat had blue lips and needed to warm up.

The last straw for my husband was when Caleb tried to go down one of the kiddie slides and it was so slooooow that he had to scoot himself down the damn thing.

After trying out a couple more areas in the park we decided to bug out and find the Wonder Spot. Par for the day, it wasn't where we remembered it. A quick google search proves the Wonder Spot was done in by modernity.

Because we tried to make due at a restaurant that had an arcade for kids, but overall, the entire day sucked ass. So much so that even Caleb pronounced it "not fun at all".

The piece de resistance was at MickeyD's where I found a large dead bug in my salad.

Hruumph.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm too stupid for my knitting

bonus points if you can identify the reference...


Lately, every project I touch seems to turn to crap. I have been trying to knit this bag and while the pattern in painfully simple, it would seem that I am not up to the challenge.


First, I cast on the wrong number of stitches. **rip**

Then, I knit about 3 inches and realized that I had knit a row with the incorrect decrease, so instead of a lovely zigzag meandering up the bag, I had a bit more zig than zag. **rip**

The third attempt was apparently not charmed either. I started again and got about 6 inches into it when I stopped and looked at it again. I realized that the bag was written for a much finer yarn than what I was using. It should have been about 8 inches wide or so, but I was coming in at nearly double that. **rip**


Needless to say, I put that project aside for a bit and finished up a dishcloth. A generally painless project.


#####


I had ordered some garment labels for my handbags a few weeks ago and they arrived late last week. I am now in the process of opening up a seam in each bag so that I can stitch on the labels. This depresses me more than you can guess. I have over 30 bags in inventory and the thought of having to redo something on each one of them makes me want to weep.


I am hoping that I can get something accomplished over the long weekend. As a bonus, Caleb and Eric are heading to California to visit my FIL and I get my very own vacation here at home! (This is infinitely more appealing than spending 4 days traveling.) They will be gone the weekend of the 15th, so I can actually accomplish something. No dinners to prepare, no games to play with clingy 4 year olds, nada!


I am also hoping to nail down a date for a purse party at a friend's home later this month. It will bring in a new influx of cash so I can afford a new digital camera.


What do you use to photograph your knitting? Do you use a macro function to capture stitch details? I would really prefer a point and shoot type (not SLR) digital camera at about $200 bucks. Recommendations anyone, or a good place to look online?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wanted:

1 Ark
2 of every animal

Yes folks, Flood Watch 2007 continues here in Southeastern Wisconsin where up to another 4" of rain are predicted by the end of the weekend in an area already hard hit by overflowing waterways. (Minnesota may be called the land of 10,000 lakes, but we have more of them and dammit every one of them in the southern third of the state is ready to bust.) The entire bottom third of the state is under a flash flood watch until Saturday. SATURDAY, people. Anyone else find this to be remarkably disturbing or is it just me?

Its either an ark or gills and I'm guessing that the former might be easier to come by.

And to think that 2 weeks ago we were experiencing a pretty severe drought.

Lest you think that all we do here at the House of Wool is bitch about the weather and how it isn't a perfect sunny tropical day all year round just like it is in Jamaica or the Bahamas or hell, anywhere but here I did cast on for the Ribby Cardi after swatching a bunch. Or at least a bunch for me. I also planned carefully and washed the swatch because I've never worked with this particular yarn before. I'm really glad I did because it bloomed like crazy.


Combining the bloom with the fact that it is pretty loosely spun and looks like it will pill pretty easily, I decided to go down another needle size and knit the next larger size. In part this is because my bust measurement is 34" and 2" of ease for me will look like I am drowning in it and 34" will be too snug for a cardi.


I started the bottom ribbing on size 4's (yes, I realize that I must knit really loosely...) and was all set to switch to 5's for the body when I realized that I can't find a single one of my size 5 needles. I have at least 3 24" or longer circs and from what I can see none are in a WIP in the basket (the WIP don't stray from the basket or they will never become FO).


I keep all of my circs in a binder with heavy duty page protectors, one for each size with the length's written on the sleeve. This is how I know that I actually own some. I looked in the 4 sleeve and those appear to be correctly stored. I looked in the 6 sleeve and there are a couple of bamboos in there that say 5 but when I size them, they aren't...


In my heart of hearts, I know that this means I need to purchase the knit picks options.

Monday, August 20, 2007

At a loss for words

I had been mentally composing a clever and witty post while driving to work today when I heard about the recent rainfall in my hometown. Normally, I would have heard about it sooner but my parents and my sister's family are all up north vacationing.

I am heartbroken to see the devastation that a tremendous amount of rain can bring. At the beginning of August, southwestern Wisconsin was several inches behind on rainfall. As of yesterday they are 16" over normal. 11" of which fell in just 4 hours.

My parents are lucky. According to my uncle who stopped over to survey the damage, they lost a retaining wall, but it was behind the garage and it appears that the house suffered no damage.

I am including a link to the local newspaper as well as a couple of photos from the area. There are several slideshows on their websites.





The number of major roads that are closed is stunning. Several counties have been declared Disaster Areas so that they can apply for state assistance. 6 people are confirmed dead. This map details it all.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Contest time again

I've been thinking of running another contest to disguise my blatant trolling for comments. There will be yarny goodness for the 500th commenter.

I have updated the bagatelle website so that some of the bags I have in inventory can be purchased directly. I need to photograph more of them and put them up on the site. New fabrics are coming for fall as soon as I can put down the knitting to finish them up.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

How does this happen?

Last weekend, I noticed that Caleb's sneakers were getting worn at the toe and made a mental note that this coming weekend we would need to go shoe shopping for him. Sounds good in theory right? I mean, the shoes should last 7 days if the that little bit of rubber that wraps up on the toe of the shoe is starting to, well, erode, for lack of a better description.

It turns out that 7 days was entirely too much to hope for. We only able to squeeze another 5 days from the shoes because Thursday he came home with the sneakers looking like this!



Yes, that is a hole worn right through. I swear he must be dragging his toes while riding the trikes at school.
Let's just say that he wasn't a happy camper about being dragged out to the mall on a school night. Paymore was having their typical BOGO sale, so the damage wasn't too bad and I picked up a pair that he can leave at school for gym.


These were a smash hit.








These are similar but not quite what we got, his are tan.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Jackpot

Today was the last day of Stitches Midwest and I was finally able to make it there after several aborted attempts in previous years.

I was lucky enough to be there when Franklin Habit was there to take photos for his 1000 Knitters project. He was lovely to meet in person. (I have to admit that I kinneared him for this photo.)


While he may have resolved to not purchase anything while at Market, I did no such thing. I must admit I made a bit of a thud as I fell off the no yarn buying bandwagon. I'm pretty sure that it was audible to most people in the greater Chicago area. I will acknowledge that I have never purchased so much yarn. Truth be told, I will need to find a new storage area for this haul because I have no room left in the normal stash containment area.

This is a good thing in my mind.

Here is the photographic evidence, but for some reason, the colors are waaaay off, so, where possible I will link to the real deal.

First off is the sock yarn. I scored a skein of Dreams in Color Smooshy (love that name!) sock yarn in the Deep Seaflower colorway at Mass Ave Knit Shop from Indianapolis. My skein looks a bit darker than what is on their website. I also found a vendor who had STR, The Fold in Marengo, IL. I got the Rose Quartz in heavyweight. Again, mine is a bit different than what is up on the Blue Moon website. I'm looking forward to working with both of them.

I found 10 balls of Louisa Harding's Kashmir Aran in color 19, a lovely rusty orange for just $3.99/ball. The color here is pretty accurate. This should be just enough for a 3/4 length sweater with a fair bit of negative ease.



Next up is a huge cone of tweedy goodness of unidentified wool. It was labeled on the shelf at the Web's booth, but it escapes me now. All I know is that it will be more than enough for a sweater. This time I'm thinking of trying a top down pattern. I've done a few bottom up, but I'm thinking that it would be nice to try something new. This is a rich brown, more coffee than chocolate with flecks of pink, blue and gold. I can't wait to swatch for this and see how it blooms. According to Jim at Web's it has been scoured prior to coning, but the yarn should still bloom a bit. I've got a bottle of Synthropol that I will probably use because it still feels a bit greasy to me.

Last up are 17 balls of burgundy and light grey from Valley Yarns that are destined to be come a Ribby Cardi. I'm looking forward to casting on for this as well.

This definitely means that I will not be buying myself any more yarn for a LONG time to come.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I feel like I have so much to say, this time with actual knitting content. Borrowing from Madame Sheepie I bring you a bullet post.

*Sizzle is done and I wore it to work on Monday. I love the shaping in this tank, but followed the pattern rather blindly, not stopping to think about the shape of my body and how cotton stretches horizontally. I really like Wendy’s patterns because they are well written and designed.

Unfortunately, it did not grow as much vertically as I hoped. I feel like I spent a good part of the day tugging on the hem line to ensure that I didn’t flash my belly at work. Because of this, I know in my gut that there are only a couple of possible options:

1. Give the damn tank away because the thought of knitting the purple cotton again makes me want to burn it. Any takers?

2. Cut the tank in the middle of the body. Knit up a bit further from the bottom half and then graft the 2 pieces together.

3. Laboriously undo the cast-on edges and rip it back to the section between the waist and bust darts and knit down.

I’ll be honest. Option 1 is looking good. I wouldn’t be afraid of option 2 if this were wool because it is infinitely more forgiving than cotton during blocking. Option 3 makes me nervous because I am guessing that the darts won’t line up correctly if I do that. Hmm, that last thought supposes that I will be able to graft it back together with the darts lining up correctly. This might not be an accurate assumption.

* I finally signed up for Ravelry and there are only 14,119 people ahead of me. I will not be OCD about it and put in all of the old projects that I have done, nor will I photograph my stash and post it. Mostly, I want to be able to surf and look for good ideas for some of the odd ball quantities I have of certain yarns.

I am currently looking for something to use up ~450 yds of Rowan Magpie. This is the yarn that I used to knit Twist, so I don’t have enough to make another garment and the thought of getting all cutesie and having matching hat and scarf makes me want to gag. I keep going back to the idea of something lace. I have a vague recollection of the candleflame stitch shawl that was done in worsted weight being all the rage last winter. But, I am too damn lazy to search the archives of all of the blogs I read.

Okay - I lied, I just realized that I saw the shawl on Brooklyn Tweed and a quick look at his 2006 photo archives let me to the post that I wanted.

* As a HUGE plus, Sunday I am heading to Stitches in Chicago! Yay me!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Finally, a post worth writing.

I have been working slavishly steadily haphazardly on Sizzle and the end is in sight. The body is completed. I have bound off the shoulder seams and picked up and knit the edgings. Thankfully, these came out okay on the second try. About 1/3 of the ends need to be woven in yet and the ends of the neck edging need to be tacked down.

I tried it on last night and am not sure about it. I am loving the deeeeeep neckline and the negative ease, but even with adding a couple of inches to the body length, it is still a bit shorter than I would like. Either my row gauge was waaaay off or I can’t measure worth a crap. Right now the body is 21” long, a bit shorter than the 22” – 23” I usually like.

There is no way in Hades that I will be ripping this back. Again. I am hoping that a good blocking will add a bit to the length and that the weight of the Cotton Fleece will stretch the tank a bit further when I am wearing it.

Please tell me this will work. I’m not sure that my sanity will hold up if I have to knit a third tank from the same damn yarn. I am sick to death of purple Cotton Fleece. Sick. To. Death.

The only other option would be to cut off the bottom and add another inch then graft the 2 pieces back together. It would work, but I think this particular “solution” will have to wait until after I wear it for a day to see if it grows of its own accord.
Pictures to follow shortly - stealth posting from work...

Besides getting another wearable garment out of this, the best part of finishing Sizzle is that there is another long-standing UFO that is done. I can start working on the Peacock Shawl again as well as knitting up another version of the Christmas stocking that I designed for my nephew. (My sister is trying for number 4 and I want to be prepared!)


#####


My parents are coming for a visit this weekend. This can mean only one thing. Eric and I will be bickering working like crazy for the next 24-48 hours as we frantically try to disguise the fact that we actually live in our house. This necessitated a trip to Wal-mart to stock up on some missing cleaning supplies. (The fact that we have been out of the Swiffer Wet Jet solution for months is not lost on me.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sizzle

I have been knitting lately on Sizzle in a mad dash attempt to finish it before summer is over. Seeing as how we are halfway through, I need to get a move on. Because I am doing this in the round, I have had a few, ahem, challenges.

Splitting for the neckline went fine. At first I knit the left leaning decrease on the purl side so that it would line up evenly with the K2tog on the other side of the opening. Doing a SSP was a pain and after just a few, I decided that if it was one row off from the other side, NO ONE but me would notice. Once that was settled, the next obstacle step was to bind off for the armholes.


Having converted several patterns from the flat to the round, one might believe that I would remember the basics of how to do this.

One would be mistaken.

The first attempt resulted in an uneven number of stitched being bound off on each side of the back. Again, previous experience should enable me to do this in a less painful procession of events. Why, oh why can't I remember that it is the number of loops lifted over the stitches that need to be counted, not the number of stitches knit?

Rip.

After much fiddling, all of the stitches were back on the needles and the markers were back where they belonged. I was on to my second attempt.

To ensure that I knit both the fronts and the back to the exact same length, I reasoned that knitting them at the same time would be the best way to go. The arm sycthes for the fronts were done and the stitch count appeared to be correct. Whew.

I counted the stitches in the back. Hmm. 66 stitches. After referring to the pattern, I was quite dismayed to discover that I was supposed to have 68 stitches.

Rip.

After putting all of the ^#$*ing stitches back on the (^$&^%ing needles, I took a deep breath and counted. Again.

Damn. 70 stitches. The farking stitch count had been correct and ripping them out was just an exercise of my rapidly diminishing patience.


#####

Stop over and see LaVerna and her contest. I haven't a clue as to what the answer really is, but maybe you will!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

contests and bags

First - there are a plethora of contests being run out there right now. I am linking to a few of them (Thanks Heddy). Stop by and enter for a chance to win some scrumptous prizes!

1. Stop over to the Knitting Sutra. The prize is out of this world. I'm tempted not to send you, but if you tell her that you came from my blog, then I get an additional entry - yes, I am very self-serving thank you. She is looking for a sock pattern that will defy pooling. Check it out.

2. The ADD Knitter has a contest. Stop over and tell her about your charmed life.

3. Adrienne is running a contest asking for what you dislike most about knitting.




In other non-knitting news, I have updated my website. Let me know what you think. I realize that not all of the photographs are the greatest, but as of yet, I haven't got the extra cash to buy a new camera. I am always looking for ways to improve the site. At this point, I don't anticipate setting up e-commerce because it is a huge headache.

Once I have a bit more inventory, I will probably set up a page to buy the individual bags but have the transactions take place on etsy. As a consumer, how does this seem to you?

Thanks for the feedback.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A knitting we will go

Honestly, knitting does happen her occasionally. Like last night. I turned the heel on the hippopotamus sucks socks. I have to admit that I am less and less infatuated with KPPPM as I knit these socks. I am finding it to be splitty and a bit underspun, which I am sure contributed to the disaster.



I really want to finish these up. I'm not entirely sure why I picked these up from the bottom of the WIP pile considering that I have Sizzle in the mix and the summers in Wisconsin can be wickedly short (compared with the winters which seem to last a lifetime). I think some of it is that all of the other knitting that I have been doing is utterly brainless (felted hats and dish clothes for sale) so a bit of lace is a nice respite.



That and I am not entirely sure about how I feel about Sizzle at the moment. I have not tried it on recently to ensure the fit. Factor in the blooming that will happen because it is Cotton Fleece, the fit feels like a total crap shoot. And yes, I did swatch and am following it faithfully.

BTW, stop over at the Heathen Housewife for a chance to win a copy of Victorian Lace.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

New bags available

Yes, yes. I know with the name House of Wool, in theory at least, this is a knitting blog, but lately my fabric stash has grown at an astonishing rate. Sadly, I have not bought myself any yarn since last year. I have purchased some for bagatelle, but that's it...

Anyway - I have a couple of new bag designs available. As always, they are fully lined with a coordinating fabric. Both designs have a slip pocket and a zipper closure.



I still haven't finished the fix on the hippopotumus* socks. It turns out that there was one broken strand and the strand below that was just about to break also. I decided to fix both rows (genius, I know) so there wouldn't be further problems down the road. I clipped the strand that was nearly broken and slipped the stitches from the row below onto a dpn. With a short piece of yarn, I reknit about 8 stitches on the first of the rows. All that awaits me now is grafting the row where the strand had actually broken.

For some reason, I am not quite up to doing this. If it were just plain stockinette, it would be a snap. Cables, bring 'em on. Twisted stitches, ribbing and K2togtbl, however, leaves me a twittering mess. I've done the first stitch or two and while not great, it is better than I had expected. But then my liquid courage ran out and adding more to the mix did not seem prudent given the difficulty of the task ahead.

Until I get up the cajones to work on this, I am studiously ignoring the offending sock sitting next to the couch.

*Yes, I know that isn't the name, but it is what I call them in my head.

Friday, July 06, 2007

oh crap

Last night I worked diligently on the second Pomatomus suck sock. The leg is now finished and I started the heel flap.

In a moment of whimsy to congratulate myself for my self discipline, I seized the first sock and put it on to admire its inestimable beauty.

The gasp was loud enough to bring my husband running in from another room. (It's possible that he thought I was seriously injured (which, psychically, I am).) Really, the next bit is a blur. I have a vague memory of whimpering quietly, of a few choice words, of complete and utter dispair.

I have no idea how to fix this.


Now, its not as if I haven't dealt with my fair share of knitting horror stories, but this one takes the cake for me. I briefly toyed with the idea of frogging all the way up to the break. In all honesty, given the complexity of the lace (not that bad when knitting but murderous when repairing), this may still be an option. I also thought of sending it to our beloved Harlot because she can fix anything.

I first tried to darn the area by duplicate stitching the broken stitches, but it was a disaster. Thinking about the mis-twisted cable fixing demo done by the Yarn Harlot, I realized that by only hope is to unravel the broken strands for a bit and reknit the hole with separate strands.

Stay tuned to see if I survive or if I burn a sacrifice.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The answer to the burning question


I know it has been on everyone's mind. What was the drawing actually supposed to be?



The majority of you guessed it as a Rocket Ship and that is what he insists it is. Personally, I was a bit concerned that the people who moved into the apartment upstairs would be upset because they have a 13 year old daughter. I didn't want the new neighbors thinking that we were a bunch of pedophiles.




In actual knitting news, I worked a few rounds last night on the Pomatomus socks. (Is there a hidden meaning to the fact that I originally typed sucks? I thinks so too.) I am about half a repeat before the start of the heel flap on the second sock and it just seems to be taking forever! Although in all fairness to the socks, it would probably be faster if I actually picked them up from the knitting basket.

Honestly? There were so many pairs on needles in the ziplock that I was momentairly baffled. The sock is currently on 3 needles instead of the 4 that I prefer to use (the patterning definately needs to be on 3 needles...) The 5th dpn was floating loose in the bottom of the bag. There were 3 circular needles in there also - 2 from KnitPicks and one from Clover.

I sat there for a minute completely not understanding what I was seeing. Then I remembered that I had been knitting the foot of the sock on 2 different sized circs (one that matched the dpn size for the top of the foot and a smaller size for the sole so it would wear better). Halfway through the first foot I changed from the clover circ to the knitpicks because of the join and apparently never put the clover circ away.


For the record, here are the two skeins that I dyed with Caleb. The first is handpainted with leftover Paas and was done at Easter time. The second is from the Kool-Aide dyeing done the other day. It came out much more purple than I had anticipated. I am planning on doing a simple beanie for him with stripes. Even if it isn't a perfect match, the dark purple will help tone down the, um, vividness of the handpainted.


Monday, July 02, 2007

I got nuthin'

But I did stumble across this quiz.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

What's in cue

I heard about this contest from Michelle's blog. It is being hosted by Lotus Knits! and entry is pretty simple.

Here are the rules:

1.) post a picture on your blog of your first finished knitted item OR what's next in your queue that you *haven't* cast on for yet and
2.) make sure to mention this contest! Scarf, dishcloth, sweater, whatever! I wanna see! Then,
3.) email me at lotusknits@gmail.com (or leave a comment) to let me know you've posted so I can come check out your blog! Let me know what blog you saw the contest on, because for every person that mentions your blog as a referral, you get another entry into the contest.

For me, choosing the next project is a bit harder. I constantly have hats and dishcloths on the needles for the craft fair, so I hardly want to count those. However, I am planning to knit a hat for Caleb from some yarn that we dyed with Kool-Aide together. (The colors are awful - but that is what you get for letting a 4 year old be your artistic director.)

Contest winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. Through the magic of a random number generator we have a winner.

Michelle, please email me your snail mail addy and I will send out your prize.



There is one of my handbags, a hand knit dishcloth and a hank of Merino Oro cobweb weight black yarn. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

spinning?

I tried out the spindle that I won from Trek and loved it. This is not to say that I was any good at using it. I did discover that it maintained its momentum much longer than the other spindle that I have which made things much easier.


I have yet to master the trick of the long draw needed for spindling. I totally get the short draw for wheel spinning, but alas, without a wheel, I am spindling.





The "yarn" (if it could truly be called by such a lofty name) is lumpy, bumpy, thick and impossibly thin all at the same time. As you can see here, there is a slight issue with the amount of twist in the yarn.

The last photo is after a quick dip and before I weighted it to dry overnight. Who knows what it will look like in the morning. I have a distinct feeling that I will need to wind this one by hand...

BTW: Hi to everyone who made their way over her from Heddy's blog. Please stop back again - we're pretty nice here at House of Wool, but who wouldn't be with the wool fumes?

Also, I have created a shop site on Etsy and updated my website. With a bit more shameless self-promotion, stop over and take a look at both sites. If you see something on the shopbagtelle.com site that you would like to purchase, let me know and I will set it up on Etsy for you. (There are a couple of popular styles that I can't guarantee to have in stock all the time.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

So far, so good

First off, a little housekeeping. Ali is running a contest. Stop over and enter.

Second, if you haven't yet entered my contest, please do.

Third, I have selected one of the prizes for the contest, but you will just have to wait and see.


Today I started my new job and it seems like it will be a pretty good fit. From what I can see, everyone is busy, but not frantic. I didn't see too many faces walking around with a look that is just this side of panic/terror. At any rate, I liked it enough to go back a second time. This is partly because they are offering a paycheck (yea!), but mostly because there is free pizza for lunch tomorrow.

Caleb started his new daycare and it is going okay. He is settling in well and it seems that he is starting to make new friends. I think the adjustment is hard for him because he had so many friends at the previous center and because he has been out of school for 8 months.

I need to keep this fairly short as someone else has staked a claim on the computer.

Monday, June 25, 2007

This is the week

This week is a big week here in the House of Wool.

Hubby starts school again after a semester off. (He was very ill in November and spent the last 8 months on leave).

Caleb starts his new daycare tomorrow and is thrilled. But I have a feeling he is a bit confused, thinking that he will be starting 4K at the "big boy school". After many explainations, I'm still not sure he gets it.

And last but not least, I start my new job on Wednesday. This means that I get a day to myself. More or less.

  1. I have to drop Eric off at school because is car is in the shop.
  2. Then run to the pediatricians and pick up the last bit of paperwork for daycare.
  3. From there, Caleb goes to his first day at the new place.
  4. Lucky me I get to come home and clean remove a layer of grime from the floors.
  5. If all goes as planned, I have an appointment in the middle of the day.
  6. After which, I should be able to pick up my new business cards. (yea!)
  7. By then, it should be time to pick up the kiddo and hubby.
  8. Home to cook dinner and collapse.

Hmmm, so much for a nice quiet day to get things done...

Don't forget to stop over and enter the contest.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

What would you call it?

Yesterday Caleb was drawing with chalk on the driveway and I found this:


What would you call it?

Let's turn this into a contest, shall we? Submit your guess as to what this is supposed to be in the comments by midnight June 30th. The winner will be selected at random from all of the submissions and a little gift will be sent your way.

Friday, June 22, 2007

I saw the light

Today is a happy day all the way around. Hopefully, this will signal the long-awaited end of my general state discontent and bitchiness. As you can imagine, my family hopes the same thing! Because I am a bit scattered, I will be doing the bullet point post.

  • Happiness the first - I am starting a new job on the 27th, pending the drug test. Unless aliens happen to inject my veins with something in the next few days, I should pass with flying colors.
  • Said new job comes with health insurance that starts on July 1. Whoo-hoo. Only one month of COBRA.
  • The hours are great - 8 to 4:30. I don't think I will really miss the hour lunch, given that I can sleep a few extra minutes in the mornings!
  • Walmart, Target and the grocery store are all at the exit I will be using for work, so it will be easy to do a quick run.
  • Caleb starts his new daycare on Tuesday and he is excited about it. More than I am. Me? I am a sniveling wreck just thinking about the fact that he will have to go through the process of making new friends. Ironically, it just occurred to me that I will be doing the same thing at the same time. How dumb am I?
  • Happiness the second - bagatelle is doing pretty well. On the trip that we took to waterpark hell the Wisconsin Dells last week, we stopped at 2 different store in small towns along the way and I sold to both of them. I have sold back nearly 50% of what I have put into the business so far. Not to bad for just 6 months.
  • While in Baraboo, I found the cutest yarn shop. Seriously. If I could have moved in I would have. I was seriously irritated that I didn't have my camera with me. She had a fantastic selection of Cascade, just as good as Lakeside Fibers in Madison. For the Harry Potter fans, she is getting the new book and the corresponding Cascade that has been specially dyed to match the house colors. With those, I think she said she would have around 100 colors in stock! The shop also boasts a gift shop and coffee bar, a sofa or 2 and 2 HUGE kitchen tables in one of the best lit shops I've ever seen.
  • Happiness the third - I think the universe is trying to tell me something. Today I received this from Trek. It's my prize from the contest she was running. It is a top whorl spindle and just under an ounce of chocolate brown roving. This must be the kick I need to learn to spin.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

all's quiet on the blogging front

I'm guessing that the recent quiet from knit bloggers is due to unusually nice weather rather than their sudden demise. We're planning on taking advantage of it as well and are heading to the Wisconsin Dells today for a short stay at a water park. It is an actual city that is on the Wisconsin River. It used to be a quiet place full of cabins that you could rent. Now it is Water Park/Tourist Trap Hell. Everything is overpriced and crappy. But Caleb loves it and we found a sweet deal. The newest thing is that the better resorts are building indoor and outdoor water parks on their property so you don't have to leave at all. The are great but run about $200/night.

The job hunt is going very well and with a modicum of luck, I should be employed by the end of the month. Currently, there appear to be 4 strong contenders.

One company told me that they are putting together an offer. I really liked the people I met and the atmosphere seems very good. However, the pay will be my rock bottom minimum and a huge step backwards.

The second is in telecom and the base salary is okay with a commission structure. I don't clearly understand how much selling is required for the position and that makes me nervous. I am the only candidate that has been presented for this job and it seems like a lock. I just need to meet a couple more people face-to-face and they will be putting together an offer that same day. Why they can't give me the offer now if they are sure it will happen, I don't quite understand.

I had two other great interviews this week. One is in HVAC and I should find out today or tomorrow about that. This one is currently my top choice. The pay will be outstanding and the people seem really nice. The company is growing and the person who currently has the position is semi-retiring and they decided to add another full time person rather than just replacing him altogether. I see this as having a great resource on hand to help during the first few months in a new position.

The last opportunity is seems like the best fit, but the commute will be about 40 minutes each way. It is really just too far for me - I hate the thought of leaving Caleb in daycare that much longer every day. They have asked me back for a second interview and I will go on it just because I can't afford to rule anything out.

Hopefully this all goes well. We will most likely need to have COBRA for the time that I am off of work because of Eric being ill last fall and I don't relish the idea of having to pay that huge premium more than one month.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dreamin' large

I was reading through my bloglines this morning when I came across this post that intrigued me. Over the years, I have given my dream home lots of thought. Mostly when I buy a losing lottery ticket and am waiting not-so-hopefully for the actual drawing.

For the most part I don't want anything too extravagent (unless we win the lottery - then all bets are off). Honestly, I would rather live in a smaller house and be able to do more things then be saddled with a mortgage that strangles us. That, and I am not keen on cleaning. Give me one or two extra rooms - these can be converted attic space or a finished basement - as long as it is clean and dry - I'm good.

But my ideal crafting room is pretty clear in my mind. It would be sunny and well lit with full spectrum lighting. Yarn and fabrics would be displayed beautifully in cubbies and shelves along a wall. In plastic to keep them clean, of course.

I would definately need both a sewing machine and a serger. The work space for sewing would also have a table with a permanently mounted self-healing cutting mat.

This would also be where I would have my spinning wheel and drum carder. Yes I know I don't spin yet, but I've tried it a couple of times and I enjoy it so much. It is another of the things that my hands just seem to know how to do. It just makes so much sense to me. Of course, I haven't done much and the fates will smack me for sounding cocky.



I haven't been knitting much for myself, but have been whipping out the washcloths and felted hats. My goal is to have have about 30 hats for the fair and at least that many washcloths and handbags. Right now I am currently at about 25 washcloths and 7 hats. I've also have an inventory of about 15 bags. It doesn't sound like much, but it is quite time consuming to get all of them made.

Not much progress has been made on Sizzle, but I am feeling the need to get working on it. I really want to get it done before the end of the month so that I can wear it during the summer.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

desperately seeking mojo

As I am sure is obvious - I have lost my blogging mojo. If found, please let me know. Rewards available.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record - life has been crazy. I finally reached my breaking point and left my job last week. This is good and bad. I get to spend some time with the family before Eric goes back to school at the end of June - good. But, we don't have health insurance at the moment - bad. I have more time to interview - good. None of my suits fit properly anymore - bad.

Overall, I am SOOOO much happier. It really is the best thing for our family even if the next bit could be a wee bit scary.


####


Most of what I have been knitting of late has been for profit and I have been sewing quite a bit also. To date there are over 20 washclothes knit for the craft fair in November. I have also been working on a few other things. Now that I have a bit more free time I will try to post more regularly.




Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fire

I have been composing this post in my head for the last 12 hours or so, but can't think of a decent title for it, so you are stuck with whatever lameness I put up there. Sorry.


Saturday was such an interesting day. Friday, my hubby, the cold-calling extraordinaire, made some contacts at businesses in Madison, just over an hour from where we currently live. We decided that on Saturday, we would take a day trip back to the old haunts, have a picnic lunch and try to sell some bags.


We were in the small town of Stoughton and had just stopped at a great vintage shop called Montage. (Sorry no website) The owner, Karen, another knitter, was very fun to talk with. She bought several bags for her shop.


While we were there, we walked through the downtown area for a bit. There was a couple in their late 40's or so (I am a terrible judge of age) who had 3 baby goats with them. They were sitting under the awning of a shop on Main Street so passers-by could stop and pet the babies. Caleb was fascinated with how soft they were. Truth be told, so was I.


Amazingly, they were just 24 hours old. It seems that they separate them from their mother so that they bond with people and are more docile. These wee goats will be shown in the local fair coming up this summer. The woman said that they milk the nanny goat and then bottle feed the babies the milk to aid the bonding with humans.


We were just getting into the car to leave town when we heard fire sirens going off. We looked up at sky and saw thick black smoke. Following the smoke back towards the ground, we realized that the fire was right in front of us.


The police were already on the scene blocking off the street the house was on. Because it is a small town, the fire fighters are volunteer and were starting to pour in to the firehouse which was a block from the burning house. We were concerned at first that there could be injuries, so we stopped (a safe distance away) to see if it looked like they needed any medical assistance because there was no EMS on the scene yet.


After looking more carefully, it became apparent that the house was abandoned and that whoever started the fire got out safely.


Neither of us had seen an actual burning building before so, like most of the other people downtown yesterday morning, we decided to gawk for a bit. It was astonishing just how quickly the fire spread.


After talking with some of the other people standing around, it looks as if there were a couple of 10 year olds who had been using the abandoned house as their headquarters and the two of them were seen running from the area that morning.

We happened to have our camera on us, and took a few pictures. I am linking to the flickr set so the page doesn't take too long to load.

We had more stuff that we did yesterday, but I will post about it later...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

another meme

I discovered this meme over at A Knitted Frenzy and because I am in desperate need of blog fodder, I dove in!!

1. Where is your favorite place in the whole world? Northeastern Brazil. I love the easy generosity of the people who welcome you into their lives with such a passion that you can easily forget that you only just met them. Each and every time I return to Latin America, it feels like a homecoming for me. I only wish I could afford to go more often.

2. What type of food could you eat an entire bowl/container/box of? Besides chocolate? I am a huge cheese fan, most kinds except blue. Something about eating the active mold culture grosses me out. But count me in for the typicals, cheddar, swiss, even american. I adore feta and gruyere. Don't forget the brei, camembert, Parmesan, and romano.

3. Who is your favorite author? I don't know that I actually have a favorite author anymore. I used to read all the time, then I picked up the needles. Now, I have remedied the situation by learning how to knit by touch, at least stockinette and by loading audio books onto my iPod. I like reading chick lit - if only to live vicariously. I met my husband just after my 20th birthday, so the whole dating scene is somewhat foreign.

4. If you could do anything and actually get paid for it, what would you do? This one is easy - knit. I love it passionately and would love to be able to earn a living that way. Either that or sleep.

5. Who would you choose to take a cross-country road trip with (living, dead, historical, etc.) and why? I would love to travel with my little sister. We so rarely get to do big things together, funny what motherhood does. As kids, she was the most obnoxious creature on the face of the earth, there just to torment me. Yet, once she became a mom, well, it was the beginning of a whole new dynamic. Since then, we have not had the opportunity to do as much together, first she moved back to our hometown, then I moved to NYC. Now we are living in the same state again, but nearly 4 hours apart. I miss her more than I realize most days.

She is funny and wise, able to see through the crap that people erect around them. She inspires me to be a better person.

Although - at the end of a long road trip, it might just be like the time we went to the Dakotas in the late model Caprice Classic. Halfway though, my parents shoved the huge cooler in the middle of the back seat so we couldn't reach each other!

  • Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me, please.”
  • I will respond by emailing you five questions of my choosing.
  • You must update your blog with the answers to the questions. Whether you like them or not.
  • You have to include this explanation, and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  • When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Monday, May 07, 2007

What a wild ride

As always, I am continually surprised at how busy I am. It seems that no matter how I try to shed the extra responsibilities, they always seem to latch on, like leeches or barnacles. Take your pick.

We went up to my hometown 2 weekends ago for my cousins wedding. I was so worried about it at first. Not the travel, but just the fact that he was getting married. He was always so babied and immature. I was so happy to see that he has grown up nicely in the last year. Not only has he gotten so handsome, but he has really grown up, after talking to him, I really think that he is ready for this. (I know that you can't tell from this picture, but they are a really cute couple.)




While we were there, my family and I also celebrated my birthday which is coming up later this month. My sister rocked and got me this absolutely fabu gift. I'm tempted to go back and get this for myself.


The yarn feels very nice. I don't know if it is superwash or not, but it is 100% wool (so, really, how can it be bad?). I actually like the olive drab color.

The needles are a bright orangey-red plastic and the kit come complete with plastic darning needle and directions for a man's sock. I have other plans for this though.




While at my parent's I was able to sell 3 more bags to the shop that had bought some previously. I am ecstatic that I won't have to wait until November to recoup the money I've put into this.

Over the last several months, one of the area Hancock Fabric's has been going out of business. A few weeks ago it closed its doors permanently, but not before I scored the haul of a lifetime.

I had been watching prices carefully and purchasing as fabrics fell below my threshold. I was able to get some very cute, high-quality fabric this way. However, the final weekend was a complete lark for us. On the last Saturday that the store was open, the prices had dropped to 80% off retail. At this point, you had to purchase the entire bolt or roll, but for that price... Heck yeah. That day, we walked out of the store with 5 rolls of decorator fabric and with our wallet $45 lighter.

Not realizing that it was the last day it was opened, we decided to head back to the store on Sunday to see if they would be willing to bargain on any of the remaining items. When we walked in, they announced that they were closing in an hour and that the decorator fabric (which I use for the bags) were 50 cents a yard. We went all out and spend another $45 that day.

After getting home and assessing the damage, realizing that I don't have any place to store that much fabric, I totaled up the original retail price of what I purchased and discovered that I had bought near $1950 worth of fabric and spent under $100.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Socktoberfest 2006 update

Yep - that's right dear reader(s?). I still haven't finished the friggin' socks yet. Hope does spring eternal here in the House of Wool because I have started the toe decreases on the first of the pair and am working on the second repeat of the leg of the second sock.

Koigu - still loving the purply goodness, fading from pale lavendar/lilac to a deep midnight that is nearly black.

While I still feel like complete crap, the return of the sun seems to have made a difference in at least my attitude towards life. I can honestly say that there is no way on this earth (or any other planet, for that matter) that I would follow my darling husband to Portland or Seattle should his residency take him there. Thankfully, he is aware of this condition to our continuation of the marriage agreement and has opted to not even apply to the programs in the Pacific Northwest.

Smart man.


It was so nice this evening that we went outside for a bit and I worked on the garden, clearing away the last of the dead stuff from last year. I was elated to see that not only did the tulips bloom today but that there are a ton of daffodils coming up.

This will be our third summer in this house (we rent the lower flat) and for the last two, the daffs were just a huge, overgrown, sickly clump about 18" wide. All of the crowns were exposed and the blossoms were pitiful. During the fall, I dug all of them up and divided them. I must have planted three or four dozen bulb or bulb clusters in addition to giving away half of a paper grocery bag.


I can't wait to see how they look this year!