Sunday, March 30, 2008

Irish Rock and 70's Socks

This weekend, Mr. Batty and I went to a Black 47 concert in Roxbury, NY. If you like pro-labor, pro-freedom angry Irish rock music played by extremely talented musicians, give these guys a listen! They are excellent, and the live performance was very good, we had a blast. I'd share pictures, except I forgot to bring my camera to the actual event -- it was in my knitting bag at our friends' house, 20 miles away. Useful, right? So, instead of live concert pictures, all I have to show for it is a picture of the t-shirt I bought.

On our way to our friends' house, I had a lot of time to work on the 1979 Socks. 4 hours each way was enough to see them completed. I almost got the stripes to match perfectly. Almost.

Here's a closeup. The colors are so incredibly 70's, it's hard to believe. They're all there except that bright orange-y yellow color: burnt orange, olive green, a pale yellow-ish business, and brown. This is pair 3 for 2008... my goal is a minimum of 12, so I'm doing pretty well on the sock knitting front.

Pattern: None, really. Cast on 64 stitches, knit until they were about 10 rows longer than my usual socks, did a heel over 36 stitches (decreased to 30, then started the actual heel...), picked up 15 stitches on each side and knit until it was time to make a flat toe. So... nothing formal, really, just some standard top-down socks.
Needles: US #0 Addi Turbos
Yarn: A nameless colorway by Wolle Rodel, sent to me by my sister

After working with the Noro, I was amazed at how pleasant it is to knit socks with yarn that doesn't hurt! Things move so much faster that way.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

File under "C"

Ever wonder why it's called cataloging?

Mr. Merlin, CPA is helping us do our taxes. More knitting content once certain bureaucratic obligations have been met!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Yesterday, Mr. Batty and I decided to color eggs. I hadn't colored eggs since I was 7 years old, or rather, my mother always did the coloring and I watched. This year, I decided to take a more active role.

This is Mr. Batty creating a tri-colored egg. It takes a while for the color to take, so he had to hold the egg partway submerged.

But in the end, it was worth it. The yellow/orange-shaded egg on top is the one he made, and I stuck a lamb sticker on one of the green ones. Not that this will come as a big surprise to anyone familiar with the knitter's fascination with all things sheepy.

Then, I decided to make a traditional Serbian Easter Cookie. You start out dropping way more batter onto a cookie sheet than the recipe asks for, and then, all the individual cookies are supposed to run together like this.

OK, I made up the Serbian Easter Cookie. I was hungry when I decided to make chocolate chip cookies, made the cookies too big (the yield is 16 instead of 40!), and they all ran together. Still yummy, just not as aesthetically pleasing.

What turned out aesthetically pleasing was the deep dish pizza. I made 2, completely from scratch. Crust from scratch, sauce from scratch, and then I made a cheese pizza for myself and a pepperoni pizza for the husband. They came out looking very nice, if I may say so myself.

Today, we somehow managed to get up too late for church (the combination of reading in bed and cuddling kittens probably had something to do with it...). It has been a comfy, cozy day so far, with knitting, cuddling, eating leftover pizza. I'm happy, and I hope you are too!

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Good Mail Day!

Look what came in the mail! The new issue of Cooking Light and... my Knitpicks Harmony knitting needles, complete with extra cords, little taggies to keep track of needle size, and 3 metal circs for socks. I've been coveting the Harmonies since they first came out and I saw the pretty colors. When I finish the Dad Sweater, I get to use them as a reward!

Speaking of knitting needles, I have made two disturbing discoveries. I do not own a pair of US #6 circs in a 16" length, and I also do not own a single pair of US #2 circs. Many sock patterns call for size 2 needles, but with my skinny ankles and slightly loose knitting (I used to be a tight knitter, what happened?), 2s are too big.
Now I want to knit socks for Mr. Batty and need the darn needles. I guess I'm taking a trip to the LYS on Saturday...

Monday, March 17, 2008

And then, I flopped

I had all these plans for the weekend. Casting on a hat, casting on a pair of socks for Mr. Batty, possibly even casting on for Tangled Yoke. Instead, I simply flopped. I felt strangely tired and blah, and the only knitting I did was this sock. I call it the 1979 sock.

Why 1979? Because in person, these colors are exactly the burnt orange, olive green, and yellowish something-or-other that was all the rage that year. There are pictures of me in similar getups, dressed lovingly by a mother who wanted her daughter to look stylish. And let me tell you, I was stylin'!
This yarn is a gift from my sister. She was born in 1983... my guess is she didn't even know these socks would make me feel young again!

I wasn't the only one feeling floppy, either. This is Morgana flopping in my comfy chair, as if she owned the thing -- which, in her mind, she does.

I was browsing through some cat behavior books at the bookstore, and one of them pointed out that a cat who comes to you for snuggles considers you dominant/a parent figure. The cat who considers him/herself dominant graciously allows his/her retainers to come up and cuddle the superior feline Person. Given this analysis, I must say that it has been confirmed: Morgana thinks of herself as She-Queen of the Universe. No wonder she takes offense when I displace her from her throne!

Friday, March 14, 2008

No more Noro

It's here, FO Friday! They are done, and it was so worth it! My wrists hurt, I had to cut off a piece of the yarn I was using to kitchener the toes together, and I made liberal use of my vulgar vocabulary. I don't think I'll be buying this yarn again. But look at how pretty it is! Look at the colors. They are lovely.

The mismatched stripes actually make these socks look even happier. I love happy socks. I wear mostly black, but when it comes to my feet, I love bright, crazy colors and funky patterns. Go figure.

This weekend, I'll be casting on a hat for Mr. Batty (more successfully than the last time I tried, or so one would hope...), some socks for him, and possibly the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. Yes, that's a lot of knitting.

Have a picture of Merlin visiting his gray-and-white friend who only comes by at night. Clearly, both of them were intrigued by the spider on the ceiling.

Run, little spider, run! You are being stalked by two Merlins!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thar she loads!

I'm sorry, I couldn't help it. What can I say, I got carried away out of sheer joy over the fact that the server error is gone and I was able to load my pictures. A blog is much more interesting with pictures, don't you think?

So, without further ado, let us dive into all things knitterly. When we last left our increasingly concerned heroine, she was knitting away at Noro socks. Whatever else the problem (yes, this yarn does have those little straw-like thingies in it!), the colors are simply stunning. Although you may remember that I was a little suspicious about the green-to-purple transition on my first sock. You know, the one that looked like it had been ripped or cut and spit-spliced together. Well, it turns out the suspicion was well-founded. Take a look at the bottom sock and the top sock. The bottom sock has an entire color missing between green and purple.

And here, it's even more obvious. It's a good thing I'm not obsessive about stripes matching up, because I'd be a very unhappy camper right now. As it is, I really like how these socks are coming up, even though the process of knitting them is a bit frustrating due to the rigidity of the yarn. But I can't stop. It's so much fun to watch the colors change.

Or maybe I just need a life. At any rate, this being Sunday (in spite of this post actually going up on Tuesday...), I decided to do something besides knit. And, this being me, baking was one of the obvious choices. I present to you, cooling and mysteriously fewer in number than they started out, my parmesan muffins. Can you say yum? They were excellent. Out of 12, only 9 made it into the tupperware container.

In conclusion, I feel the need to post this adorable picture of Morgana. Her brother likes being inside the suitcase. Miss Morgana likes elevated surfaces, and she has decided that on the suitcase is a far better option. She's not the stowaway type. If she's going to travel, she's going to travel in style.

She is quite the princess.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Can't post pictures

Because I get a server error message. Which is too bad, because I have pictures of knitting, baking and kitties. No pictures of the hat I frogged, though. You see, I learned from my first sweater. When something looks too big, feels too big, and would require more yarn than even the largest size for the pattern calls for, it is too big. No more self-deception. No more yarn buying and telling myself it's supposed to be oversized, it's supposed to have large sleeves (what, hanging down to my waist???). Ahem.

As I said, I frogged the hat. Mr. Batty's head would have had to experience a miraculous and unnatural growth spurt for said head covering to fit. I'll try again and post pictures of my new attempt once the server error message goes away.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Home from Halifax

I have returned from Halifax, NS. It was a business trip, but I have brought back a nice assortment of knitterly things.
About the trip itself... I had a great time. First, I discovered that the hotel where I was staying connected to the building where my company has its offices. 5 minutes, room door to office. Awesome. Then, I found these great cheese biscuits. If you're ever in the area, go to The Red Pepper. They also have this spinach salad that's to die for. I got to eat my cheese biscuit while sitting in my office, enjoying a view of the harbor, and marveling at the sunshine in Nova Scotia in February.

Then, my manager took me to a yarn store during a lunch break. The Loop Cafe was also walking distance from the hotel, which can be a bit troublesome when you consider what came home with me.

Some patterns I'd always wanted but never got around to ordering...

...Legacy Lane yarn, which is local, a soy and merino mix, and incredibly soft. I bought it to make the smoke ring in the picture above. It's so soft, I want it near my face!

Then, there is the Lucy Neatby sock yarn. Not exactly a local rarety, but look at that green. Slight variegation, bottle green, perfect for spring socks, possibly with a leaf motif.

And then, I saw these spindles. It's made by a local woman who collects old broomsticks and uses them to make spindles. It spins and spins and the weight is beautiful, evenly distributed, just right... no, I couldn't resist.

That's it for my Halifax purchases. I came home Thursday night and collapsed onto the bed almost immediately.

Today, Mr. Batty and I went to an Anglican prayer bead workshop at the church we've been going to for the past 3 years or so. First we made our own rosaries, then we tried them out. I'm not sure yet if this is going to be a big part of my spiritual life or not and I'll spare you the theology, but here is the end product of the 'crafty' part of the session.

Not surprisingly, they are distinctly gothic-looking. The red beads are actually a dark burgundy.