FO: Socks on a Plane

I had high hopes for this post.

The pattern is Socks on a Plane, which I love and the yarn is Gnome Acres, which you all know I am addicted to.  I had planned to explain how this pattern restored my faith in the toe-up sock and how I think I figured out an aspect of my knitting I can change to help prevent the kinds of holes I have gotten lately.

Sadly I have overslept and must now dash off to work, but hey look -- more socks!

For more eloquent FOs, check out the group over at Tamis Amis!


Tangled Yarn of Evil

I had a different post all worked up last night.  It was witty and entertaining and full of self-indulgence.  But then something happened.

I've reached my least favorite part of knitting.  That part where nothing is quite right and all the projects are too close to completion to be fun for take-along or end of the day exhaustion.  I was so proud of myself.  The Holla Back Tank is ready for seeming, the Byzantine Cowl just needs grafting, and I am all set to cast on socks as soon as Sock the Vote officially begins.  Because I was super awesome and actually getting things done I decided to treat myself with a new shawl.  At ten last night I pulled out my swift, some yarn, and that is when things went horribly wrong.

The sun has yet to come up, so there is still the chance that I am being haunted by bad yarn karma.  This is this morning, after I spent an hour last night and finally gave up, ranted about the most tangled skein of yarn ever, and "what kind of sadist hides the end like that".  Chris and Cogsworth just stared in fear of the yarn monster growing on the table.  I stormed off to bed, but sadly when I awoke this morning it is still there.

I am thinking of leaving it there for a few days to think about what it has done.

For less distressing knitting in your day, check out the posts over at Tami's Amis.


In Which Faith Has Started Baking

One of the many things I have discovered about myself since getting married is that I love to cook.  Actually, that does not convey a proper picture.  I don't just love to cook, I love to bake.  I love the blast of heat when I pop open the oven, I love the smell of bubbling casseroles, I love the whir of my fancy KitchenAid mixer (probably the only reason I have discovered this love).  One of the best parts of my week is flipping through my cook books, deciding at what I want to try my hand, and making our grocery list.

Today I decided to combine two of my favorite things, fresh chicken and cheese (this should explain quite clearly why I was never able to make it as a vegetarian).  Chris does most of our grocery shopping these days, and has discovered that the butcher at our local Harris Teeter is better than buying pre-packaged anywhere else barring a good sale.

Thus I have started cooking with chicken that comes wrapped in paper.  Is there anything more decadent?

I made a hybrid version of Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Mac and Cheese, which uses the quinoa instead of noodles.  But we only had about half a cup, which is less than what is called for in the recipe, so I decided to improvise.  I cooked up about the same amount of penne noodles, yielding enough to fill my grandmother's casserole dish.  But the fun did not stop there.

Let me pause here a moment and explain something.  My husband is a really good cook.  He and his mother cook together all the time and have the whole kitchen thing down to a really unfair science.  I, having only recently discovered a love for baking, am quite understandably intimidated.  I have only cooked for his parents one time and that was in my crockpot. Now it seems that I am incapable of baking when Chris is home without having some disaster or another -- using the wrong skillet or forgetting ingredients -- and inevitably setting off the smoke alarm.

This is what happens when you take a recipe at its word when it says "small sauce pan".  Clearly my idea of small and the actual definition of small are not the same.

But in the end I managed to make a really delicious meal.  I used the broiler for the first time and am quite proud of the way my frankensteining of the recipe worked out.  The quinoa combined with the pasta yeilds a really interesting texture that goes a long way to distract you from how spicy the dish actually is.

Now if you'll excuse me, I still have a veggie pizza and apple scones to put in the oven (that is if I'm allowed near it again today).


Geektastic Thursday: This Girl

I have always had a thing for bands that have a strong female frontman.  In high school I was obsessed with Superchick and The Bangles.  As I moved into my college years I discovered Garbage, Metric, and Ivy.  My running playlist is consistently dominated by The Runaways and The Donnas, and when I'm feeling down I can always count on The Veronicas to commiserate and cheer me up.

Last month a new band appeared on the scene from some very familiar faces. Husband and wife team  Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon, best known in my world for their work as script writers for Dollhouse and their work on Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, released the EP for their new project This Girl.  Fans of Dollhouse will recognize track six, "Remains", which was a featured song and music video for the show.

The sound and feel of Remains is carried throughout the EP.  While the duo employ a wide rang of tempo, the preceding five tracks feel as if they are building to the final, slower piece.  They all carry the same haunting quality with imagery of an unnamed female character who could be "Dangerous" or the girl "In Your Dreams".

This album fits perfectly into my collection of "Sometimes-Angry-Sometimes-Loud-Always-Awesome-Chick-Music".  I start almost every day with "Bombs Away" which I have decided must be the credit music if there is ever a movie made about my life.  If nothing else you should check out the free tracks on their site and then notice that you can buy the entire album for less than a dollar a song.  I for one am always happy to help support quality artists who are producing independently, rather than processed through a studio executive's idea of what I want out of my music.


A Lack of Tangible Progress

One of the things I love about participating in WIP Wednesday is that it gives me a chance every week to take a hard look at my knitting and see how I have spent my time in the past week.  Generally I come away with some sense of accomplishment and a reaffirmed sense that I am doing something meaningful and worthwhile.  This is not one of those weeks.  This is one of those other weeks in which I look at my knitting with sad eyes and try to forget the way we have treated one another.

As I mentioned on Monday I have become a two project girl.  I have several things on the needles and I really want to finish something.  I am becoming antsy about the number of projects I have planned and thus really want to free up some space in my mental queue.  In the past few days, however, I have become largely monogamous to my Holla Back Tank.  Which is a development you can blame on Nathan Fillion.

Despite its progress while under the influence of cold medicine, I have discovered that when it comes to colowork I have to draw the line at reading.  Not even I can multi-task that well.

You may have noticed that I am not really that far along for the amount of time I have claimed to be working on this piece.  That is because, dear readers, what you see is the fourth attempt.  Unlike colorwork, it appears that lace knitting and cold medicine do not work -- for me at least.  I had to rip it back to the cast on three times because I ended up with such a snarl at the end of my row.  But the good news is that yesterday Chris was sworn in as a lawyer, a ceremony that is done in open court and takes a really long time.  I got a good three inches done on the back during all of the speaking and other new lawyers.

So there you have it.  Minimal progress for a minimal week.  Hopefully someone else has more inspiring bits of news, which you can find over at Tami's Amis.


Wishful Knitting

Thank you everyone who left such nice comments and get well wishes last week.  One week and an entire bottle of Dayquil later and I am finally feeling like myself again.  I actually thought I was better on Friday but turns out I relapsed during my yoga class on Saturday and fell out of a backbend because I started coughing so badly.  I had to leave early because funnily enough people don't particularly like being near you when there is the potential  you will take them down with you.  Thank God I take my classes at the Y.  Hopefully they will have forgotten about me by the next time.  When I left they still had the guy in jeans and sneakers to puzzle over.

One thing that became ever so apparent while I was sick was that I have a really hard time staying focused on one task when left to my own devices.  Chris went out of town for the week, so I was left alone in the apartment where it turns out I was much more interested in finding everything wrong with my current knitting and picking out brand new projects than I was in actually knitting.  The only projects that are showing any progress are the Byzantine Cowl and the back of my Holla Back Tank (which has been ripped back to the cast on now three times, so no pictures.  It is just too painful).

But if wishes were stitches I'd already have a brand new shawl.  I received my KGASS (Knit Girllls Afghan Square Swap) package in the mail last week and in it was a gorgeous skein of sock yarn.  I immediately decided that the bamboo was far too nice for the abuse of my shoes and started to look for shawl patterns.  I have a skein of Dragon Sock from one of my Dragonfly Fibers club packages that I have been saving to knit a two color shawl and I soon realized that this new skein was the answer.  So of course I then had to look at patterns that use two colors and maybe are in my queue or favorites because there are none in my library and hey should I really be knitting a new shawl when I still have one on the needles?

I did actually pull out my Citizen Shawl for a bit (remember that one?), but I just was not feeling it.  I don't know if it still harbors all of that pre-wedding stress or if it is just the reality of shattered Ravallenic expectations.  Either way I would much rather play with these two skeins.

I am thinking Dancette.  It has been in my queue since the release and is a great take on the striped shawl.  Also, I could then call it my Dancing Octopus, which would just be a blast.


Plague Driven Charts

The plague (or something akin to the plague more commonly known as a cold) has been making the rounds at work and I appear to be its latest victim.  I spent Monday in a medicated haze and yesterday I came home from work and passed out before I even removed my shoes.  Because of this, one would think that I had not accomplished much.  But then, one has been known to be wrong.

Over the weekend I started knitting the Byzantine Cowl, which I got as a kit from Club Dragonfly.  Let me remind you.  I've never done stranded colorwork.  It has always been that "oh, one day when I'm a better knitter" kind of thing.  But for some reason when I got this kit I decided that I absolutely must cast it on (after the wedding of course, there was no way I could start this in the weeks it arrived).

I think I have found a new addiction.  I knit most of this in the past two days, but it seems to be working out despite the medication.  I have not spent time researching how to knit stranded, but finally my immersion in way too many knitting blogs and podcasts has paid off.  I remember reading or hearing someone talk about what it is like for a continental knitter to do stranded and which hand to hold the background color with (my right), and so I just took off.  And guess what?  I'm knitting with two hands!  Just don't ask me to do housework.  I'm far too sick to try that.

Hopefully I can finish the entire project before I lose my mind with these charts -- it is a reversible cowl after all.

For more WIPs and knitting fun, check out Tami's Amis.


Geektastic Tuesday: Because Thursday is Too Far Away

This week's Geektastic Thursday is too exciting to sit on any longer.  In many theaters this has a limited run, and I just cannot take the chance that you may not already know about it.  I am talking, of course, about the IMAX release of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Now Raiders is my favorite of the Indiana Jones series, and is in contention for my favorite movie of all time. It is exciting and witty and has just a hint of romance.  It is one of the reasons I decided to pursue a degree in history rather than a more practical degree in business or accounting.  Something about the magic of the movie has stuck with me, long after I have moved on from other childhood favorites.

The team who was involved in this IMAX conversion did an amazing job.  Not only are the images much larger than I have ever seen them before, for the most part they are very clear.  The film still retains an older look to it, but you can actually see everything, like the blood spatter on the windshield when Indy is shot in the Nazi convoy.  There are still some places, most notably one of the final scenes, in which the film becomes a bit blurry, but I believe that is due to the way the cameras were focused and I think it was the only scene shot at that angle.

Overall, it is an incredible film, as always.  It was a lot of fun to watch it in the theater, because you could tell where there were children who were watching for the first time.  I only hope they enjoyed it as much as I have over the years.  Our theater extended the run for a second week, but most IMAX theaters are sticking to the one week run, so do not hesitate to check it out.

And the highlight of seeing it on the big screen?  I finally found R2 and 3PO!


FO: Purslane Beret

My sense of time has been completely warped this week. I got to enjoy one of the best perks of full time employment -- administrative holidays.  Thanks to Labor Day I got an actual three day weekend, only since I work one of the weekend manager shifts mine started on Sunday, giving me a four day week that actually started on Wednesday.  Why do you care?  Because in addition to cleaning, baking, and trying to catch up on some sleep, I finished a project!

Purslane Beret and Cowl, Knitscene Fall 2012, in Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock, Coastal

Despite my best efforts to focus my knitting time on projects I already had on the needles, I became obsessed with this hat.  The obsession began when I opened Knitscene and flipped through the photos (let's be honest, how many of us really read the magazines in order?  Yes, the articles are great, but I'm there for the pretties!).  I have a skein of Sweet Georgia that my old roommate brought back from NYC for me and I just knew this is what it had to be.  There was no way it could be anything else.  This is its destiny.

I knit the pattern to specs because Romi Hill is a genius. Well, I did until the bottom ribbing, which I did not knit to the length indicated.  I say it is because I wanted to be sure I could knit the cowl out of the same yarn (Yes, I am going to knit a cowl again), but really I grew impatient.  As soon as I cast off I plopped the whole mess (it isn't nearly as pretty unblocked) on my head and forced Chris to notice it about eight separate times.  It is my first hat of the season, which means autumn had better get here soon!

I really enjoyed knitting with the Sweet Georgia.  The color works up beautifully and the yarn has a great feel to it in the skein.  I will definitely be on the look out for more.  Maybe I'll win the lottery I never play and be able to knit the entire Romi Hill collection in this yarn.

To read more exciting FO posts, check out Tami's Amis!


Yarn Tourist: Part Three

Day Three of our post-wedding holiday (aka mini New England yarn crawl) saw us road tripping across Massachusetts out to Lenox, which is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and played host one night only to the Boston Pops with their primary conductor, Keith Lockhart (my first celebrity love who was not a cartoon) and guest conductor John Williams.  It was a magical night during which I may or may have cried through a selection from Close Encounters of a Third Kind.  But to get there we first had to drive four hours through many small towns, terrifying detours, and visit several yarn shops.

Our first stop was in Littleton, which plays home to The World in Stitches.  We actually drove past it because it is situated on the second floor at the back of an office complex on the way out of town.  While I did not find anything I absolutely had to have, I must say that this was the most eclectic yarn shop I have visited.

For starters, it is not a yarn shop.  The yarn is only in one of the many stuffed "rooms" off of the main hallway.  It reminded me a lot of the apartment I lived in in Pittsburgh except that there were spaces off of both sides.  these were filled with older books, magazines that are part of the older, established knitting set, cross stitch supplies, and more that I did not even recognize.  I refer to it as the Kim's Antiques of knitting stores.  It was like that first episode of Gilmore Girls where Mrs Kim is lost back among the chairs but you can still hear her talking with the other customers.

Then we traveled on to the most knitting-friendly town probably ever.  Northampton.

Even if you have never been there, you have probably heard of Northampton.  "Where the coffee is strong and the women are stronger."  Also known as the home of two lovely yarn shops -- Northampton Wools, and Webs.

We stopped in at Webs first because, seriously, how could we not.  I know, I know, all the locals go to the other shop and I was trying to pick up the local feel, but I could not help myself.  This was Webs.  Domain name yarn.com.  I went into total tourist mode.

I had a really hard time deciding if I would buy anything because I was so overwhelmed by the choices, but I finally settled on a few gifts for the knitters in my life, a project bag, and this skein of Madeline Tosh Lace.  I have wanted to knit the Geodesic Cardigan for years and I think now may be the time.

We did visit Northampton Wools, but I had already blown my budget so I did not actually buy anything.  It is a gorgeous shop and I am determined to go back and visit it again sometime.

Actually, if I could I would just move to Northampton.  Despite the fact it means I am making two Gilmore Girl references in one blog post, it really did feel like Stars Hollow.  I hope we can save up our pennies and vacation days so that we can go there specifically, rather than for just a few hours.

Oh, and Tanglewood?  If you ever get the chance, you really must go.  It was a stunning experience.