Monday, March 26, 2007

Mini Break!

To (badly) quote Bridget Jones: "A mini break isn't just shagging, it means true love" (or something like that, I am too lazy to break out the DVD). Two years ago, G and I went on our first mini break to Williamsburg, Va. He has a lifelong friend who lives there and we visited. It was our first overnight excursion and the first time I met two of his best friends.


Fast forward to this past weekend and we were back. His same friend hosted a gathering of the whole crew: five guys who've been friends since middle school plus five wives. Those with kids shuffled them off to grandparents for the weekend. It was a great time. First of all, Williamsburg is really pretty this time of year; flowers were in bloom and the weather was gorgeous. We stayed at this lovely inn right next to the historical section. Our room had the best canopy bed. I now heart canopy beds.

Highlights of the trip include a poker game that I did not win, sadly. I made some bad betting decisions. Oh well, the losers got to console themselves with cheese cake and a fire pit out back. And it cooled off at night enough for me to break out Fetching!

And we will not soon forget the Presidential Museum of Heads. Ok, I can't remember the museum's actual name, but it was basically giant cement heads of all the presidents, right up to the current one. It was on odd and surreal place. But what cool Project Spectrum pictures! These pictures do not represent any political bias. I basically just took pictures of the heads I thought looked coolest.




I brought along a sock to knit, but honestly didn't get more than a few rows knit on the drive down Friday before it got dark. Yesterday during the drive home, I spent most of the time reading to G from the Idiot's Guide to Buying and Selling a Home. We are at that stage! We have an appointment next weekend to look at homes with our agent. We've been talking, talking, talking about doing this and suddenly, bam, we're taking action. And now of course I am really excited and impatient to get in a house!

We're looking in Baltimore County mostly, especially the two P-villes: Parkville and Pikesville. G lived on the city side of Parkville and really liked it and we currently live very close to Pikesville and also like it. Of course we need to do tons of research about other towns and neighborhoods. Where do people like to live? We're looking pretty modest: a three bedroom home with 1.5 baths (or more!) in a place where there are lots of people with young children (we're not there yet, but are headed that way, I suppose), maybe a park within walking distance? Ideally we'd like an actual house, but we might change our minds and look at rowhomes too. There certainly are a lot of cute ones in our area.

I've started to get hooked on the various HGTV home buying shows, which leads to jealousy: a cute five-bedroom house with inground pool in Mobile, Ala., for $264K?!!!

Since the market has cooled down a little bit, I know we can take our time (our lease is up in July), but I also know that I am going to see something that I love and want it RIGHT NOW!

Good thing I have a respectable stash; I think my yarn budget will soon be smaller.

And speaking of stash: it was recently enhanced at swap hosted by the lovely Kirby of Yarn Coffee. The swap was on March 10, but I've been pretty busy with work and never got around to photographing my haul. It was a really good swap!


I came away with some sock yarn. And some Knitpicks. Some Lambs Pride. And some mohair. And a cool needle case!

Oh, you thought you saw some Noro, did you? No, that wasn't from the swap. See, I had to stop by the LYS on my home to buy needles for Fetching and this found its way to me. I am planning a felted tea cozy. I just love this Noro colorway.



Not bad at all! Plus it was a fun afternoon. Kirby served us yummy wine and cheese. And she has this really cute apartment that got me wanting to actually hang my pictures and tidy up.

Friday, March 16, 2007

New Love and Podcasts

I have a confession: I am kind of glad for the nasty weather we are getting here in Maryland today. It's been sleeting almost all day (and now, I think I see snow). True, I don't have to go anywhere or drive anywhere. I am all cozy in my office with a cup of tea and my new love. My Fetching mitts!

I know I am late to the Fetching party. But I jumped all over this pattern last summer when it showed up on Knitty. I just had all these other projects in line to do first. Then a few weeks ago I finally bought yarn for Fetching. And last Sunday I finished knitting and starting blocking my Rachel sweater. And I wanted a QUICK project. Something I could wear on my upcoming trip to Wisconsin. So I cast on. And finished the first mitt Monday night. Then cast on for the second on Tuesday and finished it Thursday. I didn't knit at all on Wednesday. So basically it was two evenings of knitting per mitt for me. And I am NOT a fast knitter. But oh! the gratification! Oh the love!

But you see it was 80something degrees here on Wednesday. I thought I'd finish the mitts and pack them away until next Nov. But then, a last blast of winter hit (and hopefully it'll be a short blast, I am not crazy enough to want this to last! Though it would be nice to wear that sweater just once ...).

Anyway, the astute will note that I am not, in fact, in Wisconsin. My work trip was canceled because the meeting I was to attend was postponed. There have been some insane shake ups at work this week that I will not talk about here. (I don't like to talk about work on this blog because you never know who's reading.) So I worked feverishly all weekend to finish my sweater to bring to WI and then the trip was cancled. Just as well, I would have stayed up really late seaming Tue. night. Sadly I had planned to get together with L (who conviently is in WI now) for yarn store crawls and salsa dancing. Oh well. We'll have to get together when she's back in MD.

Today is the perfect day for listening to knitting podcasts, something I've wanted to do for awhile. And I can't figure out why I haven't until now! True, I don't have an ipod, but I use itunes all the time. I had a lot of busy work to do today, perfect for listening to podcasts. So I've been sitting with my peppermint tea and my Fetchings and listening. I really enjoyed SticksandString by a man in Australia. What other podcasts should I be listening to?

Here's the details on my Fethcings:
Started 3/11
Finished 3/15

Yarn: 2 balls of Debbie Bliss aplaca silk (this is NOT the yarn the pattern calls for but called for a similar gauage. Note on this yarn: the alpaca results in a "fuzzy" finished mitt, not the most suitable for the cables. And it does split a bit. But it is very soft yarn and feels very nice and on my hands.)

Needles: size 4 DPNs. The yarn calls for a 7/8 but this pattern is worked at a tighter gauge. And since I knit loose, I used an even smaller needle than the 6 the pattern recommends.

Modifications: I added one cable repeat to the cuff. And I made the thumb longer. I have a fair amount of yarn left over so I could have made them longer still. But I think this length is good. They are truly hand warmers, not arm warmers.

I am now planning to make Dashing, because I think my Fetchings need a beau.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thanks to Jody for this amusing diversion! You google your name + is and get all sorts of fun things. I added my editorial comments after each one.

Theresa is all over Regina and Saskatoon promoting Something Is Expected! (I love saying "Saskatoon!")

Theresa is now on MySpace.

Theresa is a childhood friend of Ryan Atwood, and the two have engaged in an "off and on" relationship, which came to a halt upon Ryan's departure. (Don't tell my husband)

Theresa is home to Widmer Cheese, which is one of the few places that makes brick cheese using real bricks. (Well ... I do like cheese.)

Theresa is a coach and flexibility expert in the field of competitive athletics (not so much)

Theresa is Deceiving Jared is Down Right Disgusting. (wow, that's harsh.)

Theresa is trying to reassure Whitney that Chad really does love her. (Sounds like I live in a soup opera.)

Theresa is now back working in office administration, but is looking around for a job as a network administrator. (ha ha ha!)

Theresa is originally from Southern California and started her TV news career. (I was actually born in Northern California, Sebastopol.)

Theresa is also involved with Swirling Records' CDs, Soap Sessions. (oddly enough, I felt really dirty during this project.)

Theresa is clearly not practiced at dating, works hard, has some brittle edges (again, way harsh!)

Theresa is the most sought-after baby-sitter and dog-walker in all of East. (I am very proud.)

Theresa is often too tired to cook dinner. (Thankfully, I have a nice husband who sometimes cooks too).

Theresa is sarcastic. (guilty)

Theresa is now working on a Comparative Genomics module. (huh?)

Theresa is also a featured artist with the Grammy Award winning Paul Winter. (That was fun, but dddly enough, I am more proud to be the most sought after baby-sitter and dog-walker in all of the East.)

Theresa is probably the most poignant voice in American. (that's American, not English!)

Theresa is dedicated to the cultivation of Comfort. (For sure! Long live sweatpants!)

Theresa is "unusually" pretty. (Why thank you!)

Theresa is an ethnohistorian, with a Ph. D. in Anthropology from Rutgers University. (again, huh?)

Theresa is the best character on Passions. (that explains the soap opera vibe earlier.)

Theresa is very obviously not someone who follows the crowd. She spent time in France touring wineries and talking to many people. (Yes, I really have done this. I was in France, I toured a winery or two and I did talk to many, many people.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Interweave Knits Redesign

I subscribed to IK in Jan., just a little giftee for myself. I started stalking my mailbox at the end of Feb. after I saw reports on line that people had received it and that it had been *gasp* redesigned! OK, that gasp was sarcastic. I work at a magazine that has seen three redesigns in seven years and I don't think we ever heard a peep from our readers. I think we received a few "like the new look" emails, but that was it. (Of course our readers are sooo totally different, it's not really a fair comparison), Still, I was really surprised to read the very, shall we say, passionate, things about the new look at IK. Some hadn't even seen the new look and, yet, were up in arms.

I think it is a really good redesign. It still looks like itself, just better, which is what a mag redesign is all about. You don't want to look so radically different that people don't recognize you.

I know many have emailed and called IK to voice their displeasure, so I decided to write that I liked the new look, for the most part. This is what I sent:

"I know there's been a lot of talk on the Web about your redesign. I figured you probably haven't received as many "pro" comments so here is one (with just a
tiny bit of constructive feedback tossed in!).

I really love the three column treatment for pattern type. This is SO much easier to read than two columns.

And I like that the patterns are all grouped together. It makes finding them later very easy. And they look very nice. I am sure publication design-wise, it is hard to make a pattern layout look "pretty" but you did! Plus, I noticed that the patterns "jump" less, which is a huge plus!

I do miss the full page photo for each project. And I miss the old models. They were all so beautiful and at the same time they seemed so friendly. Some of the new
models are a little blah (but not the cover girl, she's gorgeous!), but perhaps that's better for a knitting magazine. They don't compete with the patterns.

While I like the patterns all together in the second half (or really, third) of the magazine for second, third, and even fourth readings of the issue, it makes the first read less enjoyable. One of the things I dislike about many craft magazines is that halfway through it, you've seen everything (except for perhaps the last page, "last look" article). With the old Interweave Knits, I got to savor every page as I read
it the first time. So, I wonder if there is a way to sprinkle a bit more "new" content throughout the issue instead of front loading it? (Maybe just a little bit
more info about the designers or a slightly longer pattern intro? Perhaps a quote from the designer about the design's inspiration?)

I am still a very happy reader.


Theresa XXX

p.s. Beautiful staff projects in the Spring 2007 issue!"

And I couldn't talk about IK without congratulating Eunny on her new job! I am really looking forward to the Winter 2007 issue.

My knitting news: There is seaming in my future. Maybe I'll have a picture of a sweater on here soon!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Many Updates

I don't know what happened, but somehow it's been a couple of weeks since I updated the blog (not counting my rant earlier this week).

First, I need to thank Jody for helping me figure out new Blogger. I finally have oneof those cool Flickr things in my sidebar. Of course, now I need actually add more pictures to my Flickr account ...

During the past couple of weeks, I have "written" at least three posts in my head, but never got them down on paper, er keyboard.

I meant to write about the fun time I had in Feb. hanging out
for yummy food and yarn shopping...

This blue/green Debbie Bliss alpaca silk is my loot from that day. I am going to make Fetching.

Then, I was going to tell you about the great time I had with G at a Nils Lofgren show at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Va. It was a great acoustic show. I even knitted for a bit before the show and just the tiniest, tiniest amount during the show. :) At the Birchmere, it's general admission where you sit at tables. So everybody gets there early to get in and get the best seat. Like two and half hours before
the show even starts. So, even after dinner, I had a lot of knitting time.

I was probably going to blog about the snow, but now the weather is beautiful and springlike. We actually have our backdoor open. Has spring officially sprung in Maryland, or can we expect one more cold spell?

I am almost, almost done with my wool sweater. I fear I may have missed my chance to wear it this season. Unless, unless I can finish it this week and wear it in Wisconsin, where I am sure it will be cold enough.

I am heading back to the main office again in mid March. And the cool thing is L will be there too visiting her family. We have already made plans to visit at least one of the cool yarn shops in Madison.

I will actually be in Wisconsin over a weekend but my parents are going to be in Connecticut visiting my brother there. So I'll have a weekend to visit other friends, or go down to Chicago and see my brother and his tiny baby. Well, the word is
that O is not so tiny anymore. He takes after my brother who was a very chubby baby. Oapparently gets really grumpy when he is hungry. Funny, Matt does too, still.

It would be very cool to spend the weekend in Chicago. Matt and company live downtown, right across from Navy Pier. It's a fun spot.

And, as you see, I've been taking lots of blue pictures.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Why do the fashion police LOVE Nicole Kidman so much? She could wear poop and they would rave about her brave fashion choices. I should disclose that I have never liked anything that she wore to the Oscars. It's all blah, blah and blah. But this week, she was praised for wearing something that Charlize Theron was raked over the coals for wearing in the past. And during this week's Oscar Fashion Police on E!, those cats said that Kate Winslet shouldn't have worn such a pale green dress, because she is so pale herself. Hello?!!! Nicole Kidman is so pale she is practically translucent! And yet she usually wears the palest, most blah mother-of-the-groom colors like lavendar (when she isn't wearing a wedding dress like she did at last year's Oscars). Hey, at least this year, she wore a vibrant color. But I DID NOT like that noose thing around her neck. At least they acknowledge their bias. The Fashion Police (Debbie and the two Js) did not like Kirsten Dunst's Chanel dress (gag) but said that they would have loved it on Nicole Kidman. What??? I don't know why this bothers me. But it does.

Why does it seem like I didn't make any progess on my husband's 2 by 2 ribbed sock cuff during the four hours (plus a couple hours of red carpet coverage) during Sunday night's Oscar broadcast?

Why won't new Blogger let me post a picture to my sidebar with a link embedded?

Why can't I figure out how to customize my freaking sidebar in new Blogger?

OK, I do know why the Nicole Kidman stuff bugs me. The fashion police like her b/c when she wears a dress, they can just look at the dress without any woman getting in the way. She is a hanger (and I don't just mean b/c she is so very thin; she doesn't seem to have much of a personality; there's no spark there). They can get all geeky about the couture dress. But a dress should never wear a woman. It should never be the main event. I confess, I love to watch all the red carpet shows. I flipped between E! and the Rivers on TV Guide Channel just so I could see all the clothes. But I like dresses that make the most of the beautiful women wearing them. Take Salma Hayek. Nobody is ever going to miss her for the dress. Yeah, she's got amazing curves that couldn't be hid if they wanted to be. But she has so much personality; she is so vibrant. You're going to notice her and then notice her dress. The way it should be. I fear it is the opposite with poor Nicole. Honestly, I saw a red dress walking down the carpet and then realized it was on Nicole Kidman.