Monday, June 22, 2009

A fine coating of moss

That's how this weather is making me feel - like I'm developing a fine coating of moss, or possibly mold. Me, the furniture, the cat, the car... everything. Mossy. Crap, if I'd wanted to live in Seattle or Ireland, I'd have moved there! ;-) We're looking forward to a break over the weekend, but I'm starting to lose confidence. The other day I actually caught myself thinking how sad it was that I hadn't gotten those plants in, and here it is the end of the season already. Ummm... no. That's a September thought. It's really only June. *sigh*

So between the weather and being sick as a dog last night, I gave myself permission to stay home today and drink tea and knit. This gave me the chance I needed to make some measurable progress on a couple of projects I've had waiting in the wings.

And yes, I did finish the back of The Big Red Sweater before starting anything new. So there.

First is Kyle's Boyfriend Sock in Dream in Color Smooshy, Chinatown Apple.




















Not only is the pattern quick and fun to knit, but the yarn is amazing. I can't say enough good things about Dream in Color. Not just the texture and the twist and the softness, but the colors are absolutely amazing. The photo doesn't do this color justice - it's actually lots of shades of brick red. I think I'm going to use my own skein in Wisterious for the new Outside In sock from the summer issue of Knitty. As far as the purl bumps on the inside sole of socks, I'm just the Princess and the Pea this was designed for. heh.

Another thing I've been wanting to get started in the Ten Stitch Twist blanket (Rav link). I am finally tired of Noro, after my long affair with Lizard Ridge, and I wanted a lighter blanket anyhow; something more suited for spring/summer/fall use. After Blogless Sara and I had our amazing yarn crawl, I had the first two skeins of the yarn I wanted - The Serendipitous Ewe Lucky Sock in Prickly Cactus. Wanting a lighter blanket, I knew sock yarn was the most likely candidate, but I didn't expect to fall in love with a yarn that would lead me to size US1 needles. Yes, you read that correctly - I've started a blanket (not a baby blanket, mind you) using US1 needles. Certifiably insane? Oh yeah. You bet. But look! Isn't it pretty?


















The knitting is just a simple garter stitch, but the construction is a magic trick. It tickles me that I can knit a round flat thing in a big spiral like this. It's... engaging. And the colors are just the tropical, floridian look I wanted. I'm very happy with it. Which is a good thing, because I'm a little worried that I'll be knitting this for the rest of my life.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The first time is never easy.

So we didn't get the house.

There was just too much work needed for the price they wanted, and when we counter offered with a list of projects and a reduced price, they basically told us to go take a hike. They didn't even bother countering.

*shrugs*

It would have been a good house for us, but I know there's even better stuff out there for the money. We're taking a little break this weekend and we'll start again fresh next week with a strategy meeting with Brian, our realtor. And it gave me a good excuse to buy myself some consolation yarn. A bag of Linen Twist in Chili Red. Mmmmm! heh heh.

Mister Tim was mostly sad that he couldn't get me a house for my birthday. How sweet is that? So instead he's taking me away for a spa day in Portland, Maine tomorrow. Oh yeah - that'll work! ;-) We'll leave right after the Reader's Theatre Collaborative stage reading he's directing on Saturday morning. If you've got nothing else going on at 10am on Saturday, I'd encourage you to go. The plays are a bit blue so don't bring the kids to this one, but you will laugh until you cry. The scripts are fantastic! And yes, I did get roped into reading stage directions. Again. lol!

One last bit of drama to impart - while we were having lunch downtown Wednesday, waiting to hear back about the house, Mister Tim's cell phone rang. I'm thinking it's our realtor with news, but about 30 seconds into the conversation, I know it's not that. It's Tim's main job in Vermont...

They laid him off.

Now, this is no where's near as bad as it sounds. He hated it, he was planning on quitting right after we'd finalized on the house, and he'd already been offered a better job with one of his contracts. But still. The timing was pretty... disconcerting, to say the least!

So that's all I have to report on The Great House Hunt for now. In knitting news I've finished a scarf that desperately needs blocking to be presentable, I'm trying really really hard to stay focused enough to finish the back of The Big Red Sweater before it's too hot to have it on my lap, and Kyle's "sock kit" is staring at me accusingly from my knitting bag.

Next week will be much cheerier. I promise!

====

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Home...sweet... home??

Saturday was the inspection and I cannot thank our inspector, Ernie, enough for being so thorough (damn him). No really, I'd much rather know now and be able to negotiate for a lower price than get into the house and then realize there's $30k of work to be done. We do not have that kind of cash in the bank.

We spent two sleepless nights thinking about it, then last night sat down and wrote out all the things that were surprises versus upgrades that just come with buying an old house. It still added up to far more than it should be, plus there's that scary, full-length-of-the-house crack running down one side of the foundation wall. Yeah. Good times.

We rewrote the offer last night and our realtor sent it out this morning. I think we managed to be clear that, although there is more upgrading needed than we anticipated, the items we are talking about are all repairs (that central air they promised? yeah. defunct. And then there's the sill...). And we won't even know about the results of the Radon test until Thursday some time. So we reoffered with a substantially lower price, but we think it's a fair price considering all the things that need to be done (illegal plumbing, anyone?). They're bound to have an immediate reaction to the reoffer, for good or bad, so I don't expect this to go on longer than this evening.

So if you see me sobbing into my knitting at Knit Night tonight, I know you'll understand.

*sigh*

-------

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Home Sweet Home!













It's finally happened - we found our home. We saw it for the first time on Sunday at an Open House, called our realtor on the holiday weekend, he set up a second showing for Monday evening, and by Wednesday evening we had a signed and accepted offer letter in our hands.

We are on the road to finally having a home of our own.

Life is good.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Where the hell have I been??

A sad excuse for not blogging is being too busy. But something happens when I have a million things going on at once - I want to wait until it's all over to talk about it. Normally, this would work fine, but this late winter/early spring things have just not stopped! Let me give you the run down.

March - The New York Book Show




















Mister Tim made it a big outing, with a fancy hotel stay and everything, to celebrate our real reason for attending... I took second place for Trade Books in a Series! I was so excited and so proud! The part that was fun was that it wasn't just a cover design award, judged by other designers, but it was for all elements of the finished book from paper choice to typeface to interior design (my forte) to printing and binding. It was really a thrill!

Here are a few shots, first of the view from (one of) our hotel rooms (The Helmsely was under renovation. The management was rude and uncaring. We had several rooms. 'Nough said. Note to self - don't try to save $$. Stay where you know you'll be welcome - stay at Essex House), followed by a few touristy NYC shots.














































































































I love New York so very much... :-*
And we never even made it to School Products, much to my shame. ;-)

March - The Big Yarn Crawl





















Blogless Sara took me on a most excellent yarn crawl to Yarn and Fiber Company and the Classic Elite warehouse outlet in Lowell. Yarn and Fiber is, in a word, incredible. Sara did some serious damage there, while I was there on a mission for an appropriate yarn for this spiral blanket. I wanted something self-striping, but not heavy. And I've already done a blanket in Noro, so I was looking for another option. And did they ever deliver! I scored two skeins (and ordered, I think, 4 more) of an amazing, hand dyed, self striping sock yarn, by Serendipitous Ewe in a bamboo/merino blend. And the colorway? Prickly Cactus! It's really beautiful, full of all the pastel-ly colors I was hoping for, and I can't wait to knit it up! And then there's the warehouse outlet... I just don't have the words. That is where I did my damage, because I can not resist a bargain. Here is a photo of my part of the day's haul.














Damned impressive, isn't it.

But you should have seen Sara's... ;-)

April - "The Cake of My Dreams"

Kath has always referred to our wedding cake as "the cake of my dreams", so when her birthday was impending, I knew what I had to do.

I called Hillary. This is her smallest, most basic cake. It's actually the size she uses as a "taster" when you order a wedding cake. This one is chocolate with chocolate filling and buttercream frosting. All I asked Hillary for was to "please, if it will fit, put 'Happy Birthday Katherine' on the top". And this is what we got.














If you are anywhere even near the north shore of Massachusetts, and you need a cake for any, any reason, you must call Hillary. You simply must. You will not be sorry. She is teh awesome. With awesome sauce.

April - Mister Tim's Surprise 50th Party


This was a miracle. I still don't know how we did it, but a huge thank you to James, Janey and Kath. There is now way in hell I could have pulled this off without you guys. As is, I went through a whole bottle of gin and didn't sleep for a week getting all the details and decorations worked out. People came out of the woodwork for the party and I was so pleased to be able to do this for my beloved husband. He deserved it, in spades. The theme was "Fifty and FABulous", with a heavy reference to his role as Philip in "The Movie Mogul." It was... well... see for yourself. Do you think he was surprised??

video

May - A Trip to Key West

And finally there was our birthday/second anniversary trip to Key West. This trip was what Mister Tim expected as his birthday present. This made it infinitely easier to surprise him with the party!

We stayed in a resort this time (!?!), on a part of the island we'd never stayed before, way down by Southernmost Point. The Reach Resort was amazing. Spend the money and upgrade to the ocean view room. It is so worth is.
























Mister Tim's birthday theme was The Night of a Thousand Drag Queens. We started with a stellar dinner at Square One, then a short walk up Duval to a show at La-Te-Da. We were fortunate enough to have Randy Roberts performing that night. He is... incredibly talented. And damned cute, to boot.
























Randy, by the way, is the one on the left. ;-)

After that was 801 Duval, where they do not actually sing (which may be a good thing), but they still look damn good (for the most part). And those ladies can seriously bust a move. I dream of being able to dance like that. Seriously. Good times.

We had our anniversary dinner at the same restaurant where we had our wedding dinner - Pisces. We had almost the same menu, too: a bottle of Veuve, caviar, carpaccio, Lobster Tango Mango, and something chocolatey for dessert. Our waiter, Zak, was incredible. I know you'll probably never stumble across this blog Zak but, I swear, you made our night. We love you! I would knit you something - you made us that happy!

We also spent two glorious days house hunting. In Key West. But that's a story for another time...

;-)

This IS embarassing...

I seem to have fallen off the blogsphere for... good lord, could it really be almost 3 months?? I don't have a good explanation, but I promise I was busy.

Installment #1 - The Knitting Content

There was knitting and finishing:
























Those singles I showed you lo these many months ago were plied, and became this lovely little dress, Little Liza Jane, designed by Alison Greene Will and gifted to a friend and former co-worker. Thanks so much Alison for such an adorable pattern! I loved knitting it and, if some obliging knitting-friendly pal gives me the chance, I'll do so again!



















The entrelac sweater was completed, although the hem will have to be ripped and redone over the summer (the bind off is far too tight. I need to suck it up and just do the tubular bind off I did on the cuffs and collar). Here, The Mister, in full Winter Fur (and a couple of cocktails) does his best impression of a catalog model. I think he should keep his day job, don't you?

In addition, socks were knit! Pairs of them!
























These, Rivendell, in a steel blue merino/bamboo blend by Sereknity Yarn and Fiber, and below, Hedera, in some of the lovely Panda Wool I can't seem to stop buying from Little Knits.
























And the ongoing saga of the Big Red Sweater - progress has been made!























That's 19" of the back of the Cabled Jacket by Debbie Bliss. I'm about 1.5" away from binding off for the arm holes and starting to decrease. I love the pattern and the yarn, but my hands are exhausted and I have calluses on my fingertips. I'll be glad to finish the back and put it away for a little while to get on to other projects.

Like your socks, right Kyle? ;-)

And then there's this...

/begin rant

There was also a little Knitting Fail involving a pattern purchased off Ravelry. I don't want to bash anyone, so I'll leave out the name of the pattern, but, lord love a duck - people, if you're going to ask money for a pattern, could you at least make a proper chart and put in detailed instructions? And while you're at it, I'd appreciate it if you took a little more care and didn't just fudge it where it gets hard. It looks sloppy and unprofessional and you should know better. It's hard work and a real talent to be able to translate a design into a pattern. Those two things are not the same! Only one of them is worth money to others.

/end rant.

Next Installment - Where The Hell Have You Been?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Progress

I haven't been talking much, but I have been busy. I've been spinning a bit each night to get these singles done and ready for plying this weekend.
















That's the second half of the superwash I special ordered from Heather at Sereknity. I can't wait to see how it looks plied! The green came out so nice I'm sure this will be excellent. Then I suppose I need to decide what, exactly, I'm going to knit out of it. It's for my friend Amanda's baby, if you remember that far back. I'm thinking a little dress with a frill on the edges. I'll have to measure all this yarn to be sure.

I have also... knit a PAIR of socks! (Sara?... Sara?... Get up Sara! You fainted!)



















These are the An American in China socks done with Spunky Eclectic Beefy Sock in "Good Morning". Tim wanted this yarn the minute he saw it... not what I'd think of for "man socks", but what the heck do I know? ;-) They came out great and he loves them.

I'm even thinking about knitting more socks...

In the meantime, back to the endless knitting of the hem on the entrelac sweater. I'm relatively optimistic that I'll have an FO post of that by the end of this weekend. Then my needles, and my bobbins, will ALL BE NAKED!

Sunday I may have to drag all the stash out into the middle of the living room floor and see what calls to me, althought I already have an idea - Vivian in a lovely blue Peace Fleece, and Rivendell Sock in some Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino I have hidden away ... although I do have two other sweaters and a vest calling to me pretty loudly from my Ravelry queue, so we'll see. It will probably come down to which yarn I feel like knitting with first - Brown Sheep Lambs Pride in Roasted Coffee, Peace Fleece in Volgasippi Blue, Cashmerino in Lilac, or Peace Fleece in Sakhalin Salmon! Mmmmm... red yarn!....