Friday, August 22, 2008

friday, finally

Instead of knitting, I've been spending a lot of time reading. This stack represents what I've been working through lately. We've eaten through all the bread in the house, so I'm going to start my first loaf of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day over the weekend. I was very excited to finally get The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao from the library (Pulitzer Prize winner!), but it isn't exactly what I'd hoped. I'm only 30 pages in, and will keep going, but... :(

The second to the bottom book, The Woman at the Washington Zoo, represents my latest read about fabulous women that you'd like to know who die really young of dreadful cancer. I've learned that I really need to STOP reading these books (e.g., About Alice) because their husbands are too skilled at the writing thing. I end up bawling and feeling generally rotten. So: more books about cookies, less about cancer. An excellent recipe.

While we were off at the coast last weekend, I gave myself a little birthday present: two skeins of Socks That Rock, and I just cast on a new sock with one of them. I think this might be exactly what I want to knit at this second, and hopefully will get me going again!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

the coast

This is why we decided to leave Portland for the weekend:

Photo taken shortly before we left that afternoon. We have no air conditioning, and it had been nearly that hot for two days. When we returned and saw some friends at a party on Sunday afternoon, one said that she slept on her cool-ish ceramic kitchen tiles Saturday night, because the heat was unbearable.

But the coast was pretty magical... and cold.

We watched the surfers at the beach above for a while.

And finally saw the ocean, after the incredible morning fog lifted.

We were lucky to have such a clear day on Saturday, because Sunday was so foggy that the huge Haystack Rock was almost entirely hidden. You could make it out once you were on top of it, but it was quite disorienting to walk along the beach, knowing that a 235' rock was just in front of you, and not be able to see a thing.

I loved the coast, and can't wait to go back. But I'll bring some more sweaters, and a wind jacket. Those Alaskan breezes are really something.

Friday, August 15, 2008

hippo birdie

I celebrated a birthday this week, by eating at one of the country's best restaurants on Birthday Eve. Our server was a hoot, and graciously allowed me* to take home half of my entree for lunch on the big day itself. The meal was the finale of the brother and sister-in-law's visit, and I think that we showed off Portland quite nicely.

*Le Pigeon does not work like most restaurants. The philosophy of "the customer is always right" is not in the house, shall we say. The menu says substitutions politely declined, but I've heard that it's not always so polite. I was pleasantly surprised that they did doggie bags.

Portland is currently in the middle of a heat wave (101 today, so I'm working from the laptop in our basement living room, which we set up during the last warm spell - yay for a strong wireless signal!) and so we are decamping to the coast for the weekend. It's never more than 80 out there, and windy. I'm hoping that we can spend all of tomorrow walking the beach, freezing our toes off when we dare to step in the water, and hiking around state parks. Maybe one of these days I'll actually pick up some knitting, but I wouldn't hold one's breath.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

the interview

Me: What is your favorite thing about my knitting?
Hubby: It makes you happy… and your happiness is very important to me.

Me: What is your least favorite thing about my knitting?
Hubby: It’s harder to give you hugs when you have pointy needles in your hands.

Me: What is something I have knitted that you recall as being good?
Hubby: The surprise baby sweater and the tilted duster thing were ultimately both really great (though you weren’t sure going into each project)!

Me: Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby?
Hubby: not as expensive as mine, so… “no”

Me: Do you have any hobbies?
Hubby: I think you know about my hobbies, why ask?

Me: What are your hobbies?
Hubby: great wine, great food, and great highbrow live performance (with the all-too-infrequent splash of good old musical theatre).

Me: If we compared money spent on hobbies, who would win?
Hubby: Why even ask this question? I have you so beat!!!

Me: Has my knitting in public ever embarrassed you?
Hubby: Has mine?

Me: Do you know my favorite kind of yarn?
Hubby: There are just too many to choose from, how could you possibly have just one favorite?

Me: Can you name another blog?
Hubby: I know you love both Mason Dixon and the Yarn Harlot.

Me: Do you mind that I want to check out yarn stores everywhere we go?
Hubby: Sure it’s okay. You drag me where you want, and I’ll drag you where I want. Besides, I like feeling the yarn.

Me: Do you understand the importance of a swatch?
Hubby: Um… could it have something to do with the ball or skein not giving you a clear idea of how the yarn will look once it’s knit?

Me: Do you read Yarn and Cocktails?
Hubby: Whenever there is a new post – though I don’t really get the knitty techy stuff. But the pictures are great!

Me: Have you ever left a comment?
Hubby: Yes, but it was usually to correct some inaccuracy you posted about me.

Me: Do you think the house would be cleaner if I didn't knit?
Hubby: Knitting has nothing to do with it!

Me: Is there anything you would like to add in closing?
Hubby: Good bye!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

is it me?

Two days ago, just after convincing myself that I should knit like crazy on the Big Black Blob to finish it by Tuesday, I decided that I wanted to knit on bigger needles and with very colorful yarn.

So, off I went on a Placket-Neck Pullover (or whatever it's called - you know, that pattern from Purl that was published with so many errors that they had to release it for free because knitters were threatening to throw the book through windows) in Mirasol Hacho... the Tutti Frutti colorway.

Last night I worked on the little sleeve, starting a new ball of yarn. I hadn't felt well earlier, and thought that my eyes were tricking me, because the sleeve looks like a very different color from the body of the sweater. In today's daylight, it's a very different color.

I'll start the other sleeve using the third ball of yarn. Right now, I'm not sure if it's just a function of a much smaller tube diameter from body to sleeve, or if the dye lots (which match according to the labels) are just a bit screwy. Any ideas?

[ETA: Now that I look at that first picture, it seems like the top ball is much darker than the others - so was that the oddball? (Ha!)]

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

moving right along

The Icarus Shawl is finally past the Big Black Blob stage. I decided to only do four repeats of the stockinette section, and started the lacy edge early. There were a couple of factors in my decision:

1. There were many reports of running short on yarn, and I purchased this in 2006, so the likelihood of finding extra at this point would be slim.

2. As written, the pattern makes the shawl 72" wide, and I didn't see the harm in cutting out 8" of that massive length. (Of course, it's not like I wear these anywhere.)

3. I was getting really bored.

I've finished the first lace chart, and there are two more to go. I wasn't so sure how I felt about the lace, but now that one is completed, I'm rather happy with it. So: yay! I would love love love to get this blocking by the Very Special Day next week, but with guests this weekend, I won't be able to watch baseball and knit all day Saturday and Sunday. Icarus has been lying around for over a year, so a few extra days won't be the worst thing in the world.