Monday, December 29, 2008

We Have a Date (maybe)!

The official Wedding Date is set (that is, if DH gets on the ball and reserves the reception hall today.) Saturday, April 11th will be the Beginning of Eternal Bliss Day, or so we hope.

This means that I have about three months to knit The Dress, which is why there's been very little blogging, and no pictures (sorry Daniele. I know you keep asking. But it really doesn't look like much right now anyway.) Actually, I need to get it done in a lot less than three months, because if it turns out to be a disaster, we need to get another dress ASAP. So I gotta go knit.

Here's something else: I had gotten into The Loopy Ewe's Spring Fling retreat, but I've had to let my spot go. There's no way I can manage a wedding and a trip to St. Louis in the same month, either physically or financially. It's a disappointment, because I'd finally get to meet Wendy from WendyKnits, not to mention a whole bunch of Plurkers and Ravelers that I know only online. Well, I'll keep checking the Interweave site for the info about SOAR. Maybe I can go there instead.

The good news is that I think I'm finally not sick anymore! Hooray! Oh, yeah--remember how I mentioned that Missy didn't stay out of the baby's Vomit Zone? Heh, she paid for that mistake BIG TIME!! Betcha she never takes Rugrat into bed with her while Rugrat's sick again! Oh, the lessons we learn as a parent...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sick of Being Sick

I'm on Day 4 of being really, really sick. I was sick last week, too, but things were looking up around Thursday. Still a little sniffly, but much better. Friday morning, I felt like the worst was over. By Friday evening, it was as if a hurricane hit me. (Didn't they do a commercial like that for some flu med? Probably. There are no original metaphors in my head. It's all from Advertising.) On Saturday I at least got out of bed and got dressed (yeah, yeah. Flannel.) By Sunday I was down to lounging on the sofa in my nightgown (also flannel) but I had at least put on a bra under the nightgown, so the proprieties were observed. I had taken a shower sometime in those two days, and I actually could stay upright and knit.

Yesterday I spent totally in bed. No bra, no shower, no knitting, and if I eat another bowl of ramen noodles, I'll barf. I contemplated just drinking the whole dang bottle of Ny-Quil and sleeping for three days, because the Daytime stuff didn't make the slightest difference in how awful I felt. I left a message with the Very Important Client apologizing all over myself because I (again!) couldn't get her invoices to her. She must have felt sorry for me, because she called me back and said I didn't have to worry about that at all--she needs everything on the 30th, so we're good until then. What a relief.

In the meantime, I've read until my eyeballs are about to explode. I finished "The Duchess", and read all of "The Amazing Adventures of Kavelier & Clay." (Both very good books.) I couldn't knit at all, and didn't even check my email. So far today I've read the paper, peeked at the email, and caught up on a few blogs. I'm ready to go back to bed. The worst part about this is the coughing, because my head feels like it's going to come off every time I have a hacking fit.

What a Debbie Downer post. I do apologize. I did have to chuckle to myself yesterday, though. We had our first real "throw-up" incident with Rugrat, and I couldn't do a thing to help. Poor baby--we don't know if it was something she ate, or getting overtired from playing really hard with friends on Monday evening, or maybe sinus drainage from her cold. Whatever, she woke up early yesterday calling for "Pappy." He staggered in to find her lying in barfed-up spaghetti. He and Missy got her cleaned up and the sheets changed (oh, the memories that brought back!) and then he went off to work. She was sick several more times (once in Mommy's ear while lying in bed with her.) I really should have told her to always stay out of the Vomit Zone. Ain't Momhood great? I'm happy to say that after a long afternoon nap, Rugrat was back to her normal zoomy self, so all is well. Though I think Missy's still scrubbing her ear.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Bravest Blog I've Ever Read

It's funny how the world of blogging and Ravelry and Plurk has changed my life. Before I started my blog, I had lots of projects--heck, that was the reason for starting the blog! And then I really began to investigate Ravelry, because I had joined, but done nothing with it, and discovered a million a thousand dozens of other projects I want to do. Then I started reading the Yarn Harlot's blog , which BTW is really hysterical today. (She could so be a sitcom. Yeah, "Everyone Loves Steph.") And from her blog, I got links to other blogs, like Wendy Knits, then Zarzuela, and you know how it grows kind of exponentially. I can't keep up with the blogs on my Blog List, and I haven't even put all of them that I have bookmarked in the list yet. Then through Wendy, I got onto Plurk, which is one of those "social networking" sites, so we all talk about knitting and food. Not necessarily in that order.

Almost all of the blogs I read are knitting-oriented, which makes me wonder about the other needlework I love. Are there as many cross-stitch or quilting-themed blogs out there? (Don't tell me. I don't really want to know.) But I came across one the other day, that, even though it doesn't deal at all with knitting, is now the one I check the most. It's here, and it's the bravest thing I ever read, with a large dose of black humor, which is my favorite kind, seeing as how I have major depression difficulties too.

When I read Jenn's words about her illness and problems in life, and the support she gets from her family and friends, it makes me cry. You cannot imagine how hard it is to be honest about something that's still so misunderstood, though it shouldn't be by now. I have written posts about my fibromyalgia, but haven't even touched on the depression because I'm...what? Scared? Embarrassed? Uneasy? I don't know, but I do know that Jenn does some powerful writing about her illness, her fears, and her life. She's the best kind of writer. She's honest. I can't be that honest yet. It's easier to blame the fibromyalgia for all my troubles, because that's less of a stigma, as far as I can tell.

People who know me and find out that I have major depression have told me that they can't believe it. I'm usually pretty chipper in a group (heh, Jenn touches on the Chipper Act in one of her posts, so it must be universal for us crazies.) I have a great sense of humor, especially about the absurdities of life. But people don't know that every morning when I open my eyes, my first thought of the day is a variation of, "Oh, God. I can't get up and deal today. I just can't." I hate even writing that, because it sounds so whiny and pitiful. And, to look at my life, there's no reason to feel that way. I have a home and a family and a job, and they're all going pretty well. Nobody has died recently. We're financially tight, but managing. My job isn't exciting, but it's not hard, either. So I have no reason to slide into the Black Hole, at least to all appearances.

But down into the Black Hole I go. I know some of the underlying causes, and I do need to work with a therapist, but it's so scary. And it's hard. Really hard. I've done it before, and I'd rather crawl naked through broken glass across a freshly salted highway than do it again. But I'm going to, as soon as I find out in January what our new insurance pays for. Because if Jenn can be brave enough to go through what she's going through, and put it all out there for the world to see, then I can at least make a start by going to a therapist. I don't want to. You have to be honest, and cracking jokes doesn't work with those guys. I'd rather crack a joke or two than be honest, let me tell you. I'm better at it. I've had more practice.

Anyway, thank you Jenn, for being brave enough to show the world what it's like to have an illness that people think is somehow your own fault for not just getting over yourself and getting on with it. It's not that easy. And if you want to learn to knit, let me know. I have people...and they have yarn.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Blech, Blah, Ick

Still sick. I had to take off work yesterday, which I hate to do right now, because it's the end of the year for one of our clients' accounting departments. I feel like I've let them down because I couldn't get their invoices processed and out to them in time. They were nice enough about it when I called, but it's my own guilt hang-up that's making me feel bad.

But, then again, I was too sick to even knit yesterday. That means I'm really sick. Oh wait--I did cast on Rugrat's second mitten, but casting on and knitting just a few rounds of K2P2 ribbing was all I could handle. I spent most of the day huddled on the sofa watching TV, alternating among "Clean Sweep", "What Not to Wear", and DVR'd "Law & Order: SVU". Do you think the people on "Clean Sweep" REALLY live like that all the time, or do they mess it up worse before the TV crew gets there? And I have a morbid fascination with "WNTW" because I just know that my family is trying to get me on that show. They don't like my flannel-wearing propensities. I know my wardrobe could stand to be punched up a bit, but considering that Clinton was wearing a pair of plaid pants in one of the shows yesterday, I'm not sure how much I'd trust some of their fashion advice. And why do they insist on dressing overweight women in sleeveless clothes? Even I know that's a no-no, even if I do wear men's flannel shirts (but only in my own house. Most of the time.)

So now I feel guilty for having spent a whole day not knitting The Dress. The last time I worked on it, I timed each round. It takes me an hour and a half to knit a round, and there are about 4 or 5 rows to the inch. I have to knit 12 inches of this 2400-stitch row, then double them to 4800 stitches. I refuse to do the math on how many hours this will take. I'm just glad that I have a few audiobooks on the iPod to listen to while I knit, and that this is straight knitting--no fancy increase/decrease stuff.

I'm not sure how long I'll have to knit the 4800-stitch rows. I figure the best thing to do is measure the length of the crinoline. When I start getting close to that measurement, I'll have to put the stitches (oh. my. gosh.) on a string to hold them, let it hang for a day or two, then have Missy try it on over the crinoline to see how much the skirt has stretched. We've talked about doing a ruffle or some such nonsense at the bottom, but I don't think that's going to be possible. By the time I get 4800 stitches on this circular needle, it's going to be packed solid, and there's no way I can do another increase for a ruffle. The only way is to knit a separate strip and attach it. I'll think about that when I get there.

Notice that I haven't even mentioned the bodice for this dress. I'm refusing to think about it at this point.

I had also planned to knit a lace shawl for her to wear over the dress if she wanted to, but I don't think that's going to happen (that was Secret Project #2.) I had started it with some fine ice-blue silk, but now she's not sure that blue will be the theme color. It depends on when the wedding is. So the shawl is definitely on the back-burner, though I think it would be lovely to have made that too. The 4800-stitch skirt looms waaaaay too large though.

I really must go back to work tomorrow, so I think I'd better get settled in with The Dress. The set of replacement tips I called for the first time my needles fell apart has arrived, so I'm good for needles at the moment (though I'll feel a lot more confident using the nickel-plated set when I get it.) I'm feeling a little better today, so I need to use every moment I can. Though I'm thinking a shower is probably in order. And I hope I have a clean flannel shirt in the closet.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm Siiiiiick....

Read that in your best whiny tone. Good thing I stopped at the library and got the last two "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. Also stocked up on ramen soup (at the grocery, not the library. Though wouldn't a library/grocery be a handy thing?) which I spice up with ground red pepper--it helps the drainage.

Speaking of pepper, I was telling my violin teacher today about my special chicken soup recipe, and she said she'd always heard canine pepper was good for your system. Once we sorted out that she meant "cayenne" pepper, we fell about laughing. I love her. She's as goofy as I am.

We're supposed to get snow today and tomorrow, so I'm glad that I not only have the movies, but I hit the library and the bookstore today. I also have a half-full bottle of Old Crow, which is nearly as good for your system as canine pepper. I think I'll go crawl into my blue flannel nightie with the snowflakes on it, and snuggle in bed with a magazine for a while. If I gather my energy, I should get some knitting done on The Dress as well.

Luckily, I have household help. Everyone is expected to pull her own weight around here!

Such a good little worker she is, but she ends up with dishpan hands.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It Happened Again!

Another needle came apart as I was knitting the Dress. I was beyond stunned. I got on the phone, and I think I got the same CSR as the other day. This time, I said (nicely) that I had had it, and I wanted an exchange. I think she could hear the strain in my voice (it might have been shaking just the tiniest bit,) because she got a little nervous, put me on hold, then came back on to say that an exchange would be made. I have to send the original kit back, which kind of stinks, but she said of course there would be no restocking fee (of course!!) and that she was flagging my account so the new kit would be sent out ASAP. She did say that I was being very nice about the whole thing, and I said that I'd always appreciated their customer service, so the whole thing was extremely civilized. Then I had a really big drink, put the stitches back on the remaining needle, and went to bed.

Of course, if you're a knitter who hasn't been marooned on a desert isle with Johnny Depp, you've figured out by now that I'm talking about Knit Picks. I really do like the company and their products. I think they should have given me the exchange the first time I called, because I just KNEW it was going to happen again in the middle of this Dress, but other than that, I've always had nice dealings with them.

The only thing about the kit is that I was frustrated by trying to keep all my needles tips, cables, end caps, etc. corralled but easy to get to. That little plastic zippy thing they come in is ok, but when I bought the DPNs, fixed circulars, and extra cables, it was next to impossible to find what I wanted easily. Especially those little "keys" for tightening the joins.

Knit Picks offers a binder and pocket kit, but I had read some less-than-favorable reviews. So I dug out my big zip-up Franklin Covey binder that I got off eBay and never use, stocked it with pages and pockets, and this is what I ended up with (clicky to embiggen):

I plan to label the individual pockets with the needle sizes, but for easy identification, I put a small set of tips with a large set so I can tell right away which is which. For instance, a size four set will be in the pocket with a size nine. That way I can check the label (when I get it on there) and if it's a size nine that I need, it's obvious which two those are. It's hard to see in this picture, but I put the "keys" on a keyring (what a concept!) and clipped it inside the top ring.

I put some other tools like cable needles, a small crochet hook, and stitch holders in one of the pockets, and the end caps got a pocket too. I need to add some small scissors, stitch markers, and a yarn needle, but I don't think I can fit another pocket in there, so they'll have to go in with the cable needles or something.

What I really like are the top-loading page protectors. My circular needles curl up and slip right down in there and stay put. I peeled the label off the original flimsy plastic envelopes they came in and stuck them on the page to identify the needle size. I can easily see which length is which--I have 32" and 40" lengths of each size, and there are a couple of random small-sized metal circs as well. When I need to knit socks, they're all right here!

The plastic envelopes with the extra cable sets have their own page as well. It's all very convenient and tidy, and I love it. I wish there were a way to use the pockets on the inside of the front and back covers of the binder, but it's almost too thick as it is. I keep the needle sizer and the plastic envelope that holds the sock DPNs in tidy little slots in the front pocket, but that's all that will fit. And, of course, there's one of my cards, so if I lose it, there's a chance I could get it back if it falls into the right hands.

If you want a similar system, check eBay first. Get a binder with the biggest rings you can, because those needles take up a lot of space. The rings in mine are 2". I certainly wouldn't go any smaller, and I'd get bigger ones if they make them. The book size is "Classic." You can browse binders and accessories at Franklin Covey but I would try to find a less-expensive way to get a binder, either through eBay or a local office supply store. It doesn't have to be a Franklin Covey binder, but you want the hole configuration to be the same so you can get the page protectors from FC. You really need the zip-up binder, too, so you can keep everything secure. Some of them come with handles, which would be nice. I was able to get some vinyl zipper pockets at the office supply, but the Franklin Covey ones I got at the FC store are much nicer and easier to open and close. And I couldn't get the page protectors at the office supply, either, so you'd have to get those through an FC store or their website.

It was quite an experience going to the FC store at our local mall. The manager and clerk were a bit bemused because I took the needle kit with me so I'd know exactly what and how many of each I'd need. The manager said that was a first for him--he'd never seen anyone use their system for that! I wish I'd had the brains to give him one of my cards that has my blog url on it!

To wind up, this is how I've been feeling in general:

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Think About it Every Day

Posting, that is. Well, there's other stuff I think about every day, like how much I love peanut butter M&Ms but I shouldn't eat them because I could stand to lose a few ten twenty-five pounds plus I'm not getting any younger and now that I can not only not fit into my jeans but I'm having those weird hot flashes feelings that women get as they get older I really need to stop eating crap but since I'm too lazy busy to go to the store and get fruit and veggies the M&Ms are really the only food snacks in the house so what's a girl to eat? I think about that, and the fact that Johnny Depp is really cute. But I don't think about Johnny Depp long, because not only am I a few ten twenty-five pounds overweight and he'd never look at me twice, I'm also getting old older and actually I'd prefer the peanut butter M&Ms to attention from Johnny Depp anyway. I'm also married. So is Johnny Depp. Or at least he's in a relationship or something. But hey, that didn't stop Brad and Angelina, did it? BTW, I think it's a hoot that Brad defended Angie after Jen's oh-so-vicious attack (yeah, right) by saying something to the effect that she's such an honorable person. He needs to go buy a dictionary and look up the word "honorable." Anyway, being married and all, the Johnny Depp thing is kind of just a weird twitch I have now and then, and I only bring it up because it makes my husband roll his eyes. Hey, he's the one that thinks Kim Basinger is so hot. I think her eyes are squinty.

So, anyway. Posting. Well, I'm still knitting the dress. Though last night one of my wooden needles came out of its little metal socket thingy. Right in the midst of 2400 stitches of laceweight yarn. The name of the company I bought them from shall, but I did call and complain mention it, so they're sending me a new set of tips. That's great and all, but it didn't help me get the million hundred twenty stitches back on the needle that slipped off last night. AND on top of that, TWO of Missy's needles came apart in the past couple of weeks. So this nameless company is having to send three new sets of needle tips to the same home. I would call that an issue. And, yes, I'm happy they're replacing them, and I know that I could have just glued the darn thing back myself, but the problem is that I'm afraid to knit with them now. It's like driving on defective tires. If you have a blow-out and the tire company replaces the tire, fine. But are you going to feel safe driving on that new tire? Are you going to put your dog, your kids, Brad and Angie's kids, and Johnny Depp in that car and drive 65MPH? Well, are ya? Ok, so it's not that dramatic (and more than a little stupid,) but you get the idea. (Sorry. I think I just had one of those flashes things. I apologize.) I tried to explain that to the customer rep yesterday (without the references to tires or Brad and Angie or Johnny Depp, naturally) and asked if I could just exchange the whole set for the set with the metal tips, but she said if I did that I'd have to pay a restocking fee. HUH?? Well, I settled for the replacement tips for the moment, but if another one goes, I want the whole set replaced with the set of metal tips. And there will be no stinkin' "restocking fee." Yeah, you know what company I'm talking about. They're a very nice company, and their service and products are great, but this particular problem is getting very close to becoming a major issue with me.

When the needle broke last night, Missy got out her kit and found another tip so I could keep knitting. I was zipping along nicely when I got the strangest sensation in my hands. I tried to dismiss it and keep knitting, but it kept bugging me. Finally, I dug out the needle sizer and discovered that she had given me a tip a whole size smaller than the one I needed. I knew something wasn't right! And there you have the blessing of knitting something that will eventually be about 35" long and 4800 stitches around--no one will notice if some of the stitches are the wrong size. Just in case, I switched the tips, so the one I'm making the stitches with is the correct size. The size of the non-working tip won't matter. We can always put that part in the back and cover it with satin roses or something anyway.

Speaking of Missy mishaps, I wish I had a video of the cake-frosting incident of yesterday evening. She had spent all afternoon making several different sizes of cakes to give to her fiance and his family, and to practice her cake-baking and cake-decorating skills. I think she had some vague hope that she would be able to do the wedding cake herself and save a few bucks. Well, the lopsided and slightly singed parts of the cakes were trimmed off, so that was okay. The crumb-coating could have been a little better, but that takes practice. The decoration on The Fiance's cake was nicely done, if you like turquoise frosting with hot pink piping and didn't see the side where she dropped the decorating bag on it. And the cake she made for our family to eat was certainly delicious, even if it didn't show quite the care that had been lavished on The Fiance's cake. (At least it was a normal color--pale cream--straight from the can.) But the highlight of it all was when she was slapping on the last of the frosting for The Fiance's parents' cake, and managed to flip the whole thing off the counter and upside-down on the floor. Don't ask me how she did it. I think it was a slightly-too-vigorous swipe across the top with a two-inch thick smear of frosting that sent it flying. I so wish I'd had the video camera. We all performed our respective parts perfectly: The Baker/Decorator/Fiancee was open-mouthed, The Fiance was obviously amused but appropriately tender in his commisseration with the still open-mouthed Baker/Decorator/Fiancee, The Mother (me) was practically peeing in her pants because she was laughing so hard, and The Father (DH, who has waaaaay too strong a streak of analyst in him) was explaining to the still open-mouthed Baker/Decorator/Fiancee exactly why the cake had zoomed off the counter and done a half-gainer in mid-air. The dog was trying to get to the cake on the floor, and the cats wisely turned their backs on the whole mess. I think we'll be checking around for good cake decorators as the day gets closer.

I had to baby-sit Rugrat today, which partly explains the total insanity and inanity of this post. She's good, but she's a two-year-old. You know what that means. A lot of "NO." From both of us. The house is a wreck, the laundry is piling up, we're out of cat food and dangerously low on dog food but I wasn't about to venture out to a store alone with her, and we ate scrambled eggs for dinner that Missy made (with no disaster that I know of. So far.) But I did knit a mitten for Rugrat. I had made a set when she was really little, but they don't have thumbs (since she had no motor skills at the time, what did it matter?) She needs the thumbs now, though, and gets furious with the mitts because she can't do anything when she has them on. Oh my gosh. (headsmack) Why didn't I just put them on her first thing this morning and duct tape them to her wrists??

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's Official!!!

That's pretty much all I have to say about that right now. I've gotta go knit.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kind of a Cheat Post

I've been sick with a filthy cold, so this isn't going to be much of a post. I don't have the energy. I actually did try to do a post late last week, but the computer decided it didn't want to upload pictures, so I gave up. But I've since run all the adware/spyware doodads, so it's working fine. I, however, am not.

This is what's been on the agenda for the last million thousand couple of weeks:

It's the wedding gown pattern from Interweave Knits, and I really have very little to go on except a blurry photo on the printout, and some pictures of finished projects on Ravelry. So I'm knitting (and knitting and knitting and knitting) and hoping for the best. It will literally be designed on the bride, because we're not using the yarn called for, and we're changing the neck, and we might be adding sleeves, and we're attaching the skirt at the waistline, and it will go over a crinoline, and she may end up wearing a black plastic bag with holes cut in it for all I know.

Wanna know something really funny? I miss knitting socks.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Caturday again!

And you know what that means:
But wait, there's more (even cuter):

It's a good thing this cat is so very laid-back. Rugrat ADORES him, and he lets her pretty much do everything but drag him around by the tail. And he'd probably let her do that except for the fact that his tail got slammed in a door when he was very young and had to be amputated, so I'm sure it's a bit sensitive. He is definitely a "dog cat" though. You know, one of those cats who act like lap dogs instead of being all "don't-touch-me-I'm-a-cat" types. Like Emmy-cat. BTW, his name is Princess. It seems that Missy and her ex-husband found him as a tiny, sick kitten, and since they weren't exactly experts, they thought he was a she. Once they figured out he wasn't, it was too late. So now he answers to Princess--and yes, he does come when you call his name. Dog cat, I'm tellin' ya!

I just found a cool blog/website/vendor.  Very witty, even for a Canadian, eh?  And I want the purple yarn! And the Jeans & Coffee yarn. And a bunch of others. So I should stay away from that blog, eh?

Since I've been doing the Inventory and trying to find a better way to manage the rubble junk stash, I've been looking around for good storage. Office Max paper boxes work well, but are kinda ugly, and you can't see what's in them.  I found this in a local antique/junque shop:
Now that's what I call a Mason jar!  It stands about 18 inches tall, and is 30 inches around. I should remember how to figure the volume, but that little formula has gone slap out of my head. I think it involves Pi.
This gives a better idea of the size:
It's a bit dark, but you can see how big it is relative to our dining room chairs. Now, what to fill it with? Sock yarn? That would be cool! But I have 12 skeins of Noro that would look great too. Or, I could coil up some of my many pounds of hand-painted roving and put in there. Hmmm. I think I'll have to audition some of these things.

I really need to get off here and start the wedding dress. I swatched last night, and we agreed on what size needles I need to use, so let the casting on begin! The basic pattern is from Interweave Knits Summer 2003 (and if you have a copy you'd like to part with, I'll take it, just so I can see the article about the dress. All I have is the printout of the free pattern.) I have to cast on 150 stitches, so I'd better round up my stitch markers! And, of course, this means a temporary haitus of the "finishing" part of the blog, which, let's face it, hasn't been going so well anyway. But once this giant project is done, I'll get back on the wagon and get a new Project List going and FINISH SOME THINGS!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Very Big (Formerly Secret) Project Begins, Part 1

This came in the mail the other day--5 cones of it. It's a cashmere/merino/viscose blend from, and it's going to be Missy's wedding dress. Guess who gets to knit it?

It's laceweight yarn, which is why we ordered 5 cones. We're not exactly sure how much we'll need. We're not exactly sure what the dress is going to look like. We're not exactly sure how long we I have to make it, as there's been no formal proposal just yet. But you know how it is--when he's out looking at apartments, that's a good sign. I think. is a wonderful place to get these terrific luxury yarns so inexpensively, but the downside is that they must be taken off the cone and washed. They're spun for machine knitting, so they have a coating of oil. So this was the somewhat daunting scene earlier this week:

 We're winding, we're winding. And one of us looks much happier than the other. (This picture also shows me in my native garb, one that would make a lumberjack blush. Missy says it looks like a plaid flannel train wreck. I say it's comfortable, so shut up.)

After a billion million couple of hours of winding, we finished two of the skeins and washed them. I'm totally convinced of the necessity of that now, though I toyed with the thought of skipping that step. I could see clouds of gray dirt and oil coming off the yarn, so we rinsed it a thousand hundred dozen times, rolled it in towels, and hung it to dry. This is how big the skeins are. I didn't measure the diameter, but that's about 2100 yards per skein.

Later, after drying. The yarn fluffed up beautifully, and the contrast of the soft cash/merino with the shiny viscose is lovely.

It's much more silvery than we expected, but since Missy wants to add ruffled accents of icy blue, it will be perfect. When it's knitted, that is...

So now it's off to swatching. I hereby consider myself officially excused from any sort of household duty whatsoever, including washing dishes (which would roughen my hands), laundry, cleaning, and cooking. If somebody wants a wedding dress, she'll cooperate, right?

Oh, and don't forget, there's another Secret Project going on right now. Can't talk about it. Shhhh.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Well, Lookee What I Found!!

First of all, let me congratulate Daniele, because she's the winner of my first comment bribe giveaway. That's nice, because she's been a faithful commenter for a long time. (Of course, that means she didn't need a bribe, but let's call it a reward or something.) I should mention that the winner was chosen by the scientific method of taking five playing cards, one for each commenter, shuffling, drawing, and awarding the bribe prize to the comment number that corresponded with the number on the card. Obviously this works until you have more than 13 comments, but I'll not worry about that just yet. So thanks to all who commented, and stay tuned. I've been cleaning up the stash, so there will be more bribes giveaways in the future.

So, the stash cleaning. Wow. The original plan was not only to inventory, photograph, and list The Stash on Ravelry, but also to get The Room organized and cleaned up enough to actually walk through, instead of creeping sideways through the narrow path to my computer chair. After much moving, shifting, prying open, and dumping of boxes, the inventory commenced. I say again, WOW. I made a shocking discovery:

Eh, so what? you say. Look at this picture:

This is Missy's lace shawl--the one I mentioned in the last post that we started together because she found this faaaabulous lace yarn at Woolgathering. Compare the photos. Yep, it's the same yarn. And even though I stood there at the booth and helped her pick it out, I had absolutely NO recollection that I had bought exactly the same yarn from exactly the same booth at exactly the same fiber fest the year before! What's even funnier is that she was with me last year too, and she doesn't remember it! Scary, huh?

But wait, there's more. See this?

This is a shawl I started for the Spindlicity handspun shawl contest a while back.  (Wow, I didn't realize just how "a while back" that was until I retrieved the link!)  I loved that roving so much, and spent so much time working with it, both spinning on a drop spindle and knitting it. You'd think I would recognize it instantly if I ever saw it again. Nope. Look what I found in a box on the bottom shelf behind the loom:

Again, exactly the same roving, probably bought from exactly the same vendor. The details of both purchases are a blur, but really. Am I going to have to start carrying smidgins of wool everywhere I go so I don't make multiple purchases? Oh well, at least I'm consistent in my tastes!

That shawl never got finished because I started knitting it before I finished spinning the yarn. As I spun, the yarn got finer and finer, ending up like this: 
(Love that classy yarn bobbin!) Unfortunately, the difference was obvious in the shawl, and I pulled it off the needles because I knew it wasn't going to work out. Here are the detail pictures--you can clearly see how the yarn got progressively finer.  The center starting point:

About a billion million hundred rounds later:

I was terribly disappointed, because I so wanted to win the scholarship to SOAR, but I couldn't bring myself to finish it. I put it away until I could stand to look at it long enough to frog back to where the yarn started becoming a little more consistent, and of course, I forgot about it. I've got so much of that roving now, I could spin and knit 40 shawls with that weight of yarn!

So far those have been the worst discoveries in the Stash Inventory. I am going to get tough, and get rid of some of the leftover yarns I have rattling around. Somebody somewhere can use them. And to show you just how tough I can be...I THREW AWAY yarn I had spun and plyed on a drop spindle. It was one of those projects that was just not turning out well and I knew it, but I couldn't bear to give up on it. I had spun and plyed so much of this yarn--laceweight again--that I tried to ignore the little voice in my head that was insisting that it was scratchy. Really, really scratchy. It was a mystery roving I got from someone else who was destashing, and yesterday as I fondled the thousands hundreds ten little skeins, I realized that wearing a shawl knit out of this stuff would be like wearing an exquisitely lovely hair shirt. So it went in the trash, roving and all (though I think I spied more of that roving peeking out from under some mohair in a clear box I haven't gotten into yet. Maybe it will make a, well, it could be spun into a thick yarn for...hmm, maybe I could...) Aha! FELT!!

It's been fun (though eye-opening) to go through all my yarn and fiber, but I don't think it will all get posted on Ravelry any time soon. It's just too much! I have been writing down the bare bones information, so I'll probably do a spreadsheet just so I can see what I have and where I've stored it. Pretty much the same idea as Ravelry, but without all the pictures. Which leads me to wonder: how do you manage your stash, if you have one? (If you don't because you're one of those anal compulsive freakish wonderfully disciplined people who only have yarn for the project you are presently working on, I don't want to know about it.) Do the rest of you just toss your purchases on top of the pile, so to speak, or do you post it on Ravelry or use another organizing method? I really do want to know, because besides yarn I have needlepoint, cross-stitch, weaving, and quilting stash and UFOs, and I'd kind of like to keep track of it all. If for no other reason than that I don't need any more purple silk-blend roving!

Friday, November 14, 2008

WIPs and a Giveaway!

Even though I haven't made a new Project List, and I'm kind of on hold because of the new Secret Project(s), here's a look at what I've been working on.

The Swallowtail Shawl cast-on was my response to months of sock knitting for SOS08. I think I cast on around the first of September, and this is how far I got before relegating it to the bottom of the pile. It's not hard, and it's a wonderful yarn (Suprima by Fila de Crostura)  (Superior by Filatura Di Crosa) but I got distracted. Surprise, surprise.

This next shawl jumped on the needles because Missy bought some laceweight yarn at Woolgathering in September, and we started a KAL on Ravelry so she could learn to knit lace. The plan was for us to work on it together, row by row, but that hasn't worked out so well. She's still learning to "read" her knitting, so when something goes wrong (and you know that with lace it always does) she doesn't understand what happened so she can fix it. She's gotten discouraged and hasn't picked it up in a while, so mine has been languishing as well. But I have been able to help her fix some things when they go awry, so all is not lost. And part of the reason she hasn't been working on the shawl is because she's been making a shrug and can't stand to have more than one project going at once. If I hadn't endured 40 weeks of pregnancy (with the requisite 3 months of morning sickness) and 16 hours of labor to bring her into this world, I would swear she can't be my kid.

This shawl is a bit bigger than the picture shows, because I've had to sneak it out on occasion and do a couple of rows just for the fun of it. Don't tell Missy.

The gray sweater/coat below is a Jo Sharp pattern, and it's being made with Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride. The pattern calls for a tweed yarn, but I don't care for the tweedy flecks with all the cabling this sweater has. The Lamb's Pride is perfect--smooth and glossy, and the cables pop out beautifully. I'll have to make something else from it when I get done with this (stop snickering) because the stockinette on the wrong side is even more beautiful than the cabled side.

This just shows a little of the progress on this particular project. I do have the first sleeve done and the ribbing and a couple inches of the pattern done on the second sleeve. But again, it's languishing because of the SP(s). It's kind of hard to work on for a long stretch anyway, because I have to concentrate and follow the pattern carefully so I don't have drunken cables wandering every which way. An hour of working on this and I'm begging for the mindlessness of a fun fur scarf.

The color in the above picture is true--a lovely silvery gray. I don't know what happened to the second picture. I'm not much of a photographer.

Speaking of scarves, I'm ripping off  stealing  borrowing an idea from Wendy of WendyKnits and giving away a book I no longer need. It's Vogue's "Knitting on the Go: Scarves" in new condition. This is what it looks like:

So leave a comment, and I'll choose a winner at random and send this to you. It's really a nice little book, but I don't need it and I'm trying to downsize a bit. I'd rather have a reader get it than dump it off at Goodwill, and our local libraries are not accepting donations right now. Since I rarely have more than two commments on any post, your chances of winning are fantastic!  (Thanks for the idea, Wendy!!)

I'm off to have another little glass of chilled wine after my hectic day spent searching for the perfect Baby Doll for Rugrat. I've decided that there really is a seventh circle of Hell, and it is called "Toys R Us."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Exciting New Project(s)!!

I guess I should be careful not to whine about boredom with the WIPs (or the UFOs--two totally different categories.) I've obligated myself to something really, really big. Two big things actually. And maybe a third, depending on the other two things and their relative bigness vs. deadlines.

But...I can't tell you about any of them. Well, I could, but then I'd have to hunt you down and kill you.

Not really. It would be way too much trouble to try to retrace blog hits, especially for me. Besides,  I don't really expect this (these) to remain secret(s) until they're finished, but it would be nice. I'll give a little hint, though. A couple of them involve purchases from Colourmart.  I'm not saying exactly what, but cashmere and silk are two more clues. And it all has to do with a special occasion. There. That's all I'm saying. For the moment.

So although I bought navy blue and black yarns for socks for the husband, those will have to be put on hold. By the way, it was extremely difficult to track down dark solid colors for Man Socks. I kept getting sidetracked by all the wonderful handpaints (as if I couldn't stock my own yarn shop already!) But, really, all of my favorite pushers enablers shops carry very little in the way of Man Sock-style yarns. My husband is just not the type to wear variegated colors, no matter how much he may admire the hand-knit jewels that adorn my feet.

No pics this time around. I've been busy knitting. But I can't say what...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It's Caturday!!

In honor of Caturday, I share pictures of my Emmy-cat:

She contemplates helping with the ironing...


...but decides to nap instead. It was a tough decision.


I don't like to iron either, so I can't blame her.

On the knitting front, I'm trying to finish several projects at once, and that obviously doesn't work well. I joined the "One Day a Week for UFOs" group on Ravelry, and I've decided Wednesday is the day to work on the Jo Sharp cabled cardigan. I've managed to finish the first sleeve, and have the ribbing and a couple of inches of the pattern done on the second sleeve. At this rate, though, I think I need another day for that particular UFO!

Remember this picture?

I never told you what it was. It was a cliffhanger, but given my sporadic blogging attempts, that was clearly a Fail. But one commenter did ask if it is an angora blend. Nope. It's 50% merino, 50% Tencel, and it's probably one of the most gorgeous rovings I've ever seen. I got this at Woolgathering from Carol Larsen at River's Edge Weaving Studio, and I believe Carol dyed and blended this herself. I snagged the last three rovings, so I have nine ounces to play with.

The thing is, what should I do with it? It's almost too beautiful to spin. I'm afraid that I'll somehow lose the lusciousness of the roving if I spin it. And what to do with nine ounces? The most obvious thing is to spin it fine for a shawl. Or I could do fingering weight for a scarf, but I'm afraid that neither of those options will do justice to this roving. Should I ply it, or will that make it muddy, and cause it to lose its unique shades? I'm in a quandary. Most of the time, I have a good idea of what I'll do with fiber when I buy it, but this has me stymied. It's so beautiful I'm afraid to touch it! And because it's a one-of-a-kind dye job, I can't get more. Help me! Don't let this wonderful lusciousness be wasted!

Things are changing in my life (well, when are they not? That's true for us all.) My hours at work have gone down even further, and given the state of my health, I'm not going to be able to go out and get a 9-to-5, or even a 1-to-4 job right now. So I'm contemplating doing handpainted and hand-dyed roving and yarn for my shop (which has had nothing in it for the last couple of years, since I took out the sole eyelash scarf I had listed. There were only about a zillion other fashion scarves for sale at the time.) I certainly don't expect to get rich, but I have a dollar amount I need to make per month to maintain our existing budget, and I think it's doable. So I'm going to get my dye station set up in the basement and give it a go. Any suggestions for yarn, fiber, and dye suppliers are more than welcome (even though I would technically be setting up in competition with those who are in the know. Oh well.)

Speaking of health, that last med is an Epic Fail. (I so love the "Fail" concept. It says so much with just a word or two!) It's heinously expensive, so I don't want to pay for it in the first place, and it has nasty side effects beyond the zombie-inducing ones. So I'm weaning myself off that before I use up all the samples, and starting over again. And I'm going to call another doctor on Monday, who is a fibromyalgia specialist. It's time to try something else.

It took a few weeks after the "dry" Hurricane Ike went through for us to get our yard cleaned up and the tree cut down. But it was finally accomplished with the help of friends and relatives. And overseeing it all, the Rugrat:


She did a wonderful job of directing everyone, then took the time to do a little dog whispering.

What would we do without her?

So that's the latest from chez Spingirl.  I think I'll go cast on some li'l pink socks.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Lull...

...because I haven't had the energy to blog for the past couple of weeks. I'm still trying to deal with the fibromyalgia, and we've changed meds (the "we" being the doctor and myself agreeing on something new that will cost a fortune but I don't care because I would sell my soul if it would make me feel even 50% better) so my body has to get used to them, and meanwhile, I'm a zombie.

But I am a knitting zombie, at least! I've made a little progress on the Jo Sharp cabled sweater, I've done a bit of spinning on the Tropical Fish roving I got from Jessica, and I've finished the Monet shawl except for the fringe, and that's because I ran out of Zen, so I've got to get to the yarn store when I get the next tiny surge of energy. I also frogged the silk Clapotis I had started, and cast on another with my favorite Lana Grossa sock yarn. (Melissa insists on calling it the VD scarf. Well, I can't help it if that's what it sounds like in English.) The silk wants to be the Toe-the-Line shawl, I think. But it's just going to have to wait its turn now. That's what it gets for being so troublesome. AND, I finished another pair of socks. So things are looking good on the knitting front.

I do have pictures of various works-in-progress, as well as some terrific Rugrat shots, but they'll have to wait for another day when I'm a little less zombieish.  Meanwhile, I'm going to stagger downstairs because I have to figure out what to do about supper (braaaainssss....)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Tale of Mr. Bun

Meet Mr. Bun:

No, you're not seeing double. There really are two Mr. Buns in the picture. If you look closely, you'll see that one is, well, slightly more "loved" than the other. (Dirty, in other words.) Why two?

You know how it is when you have little ones. You are blessed with an overabundance of stuffed creatures, be they bears, buns, or dolls. Our Rugrat got three "My First Doll" babies, but she's never gotten attached to them. No, it was Mr. Bun from around the time she could focus her eyes.

I grant you, the name is a little odd. This clearly would be considered a feminine bunny, seeing as how it's dressed in pink, has a tag on its chest that says "Sweet Baby", and is wearing its very own bunny slippers. But Missy and I dubbed it Mr. Bun in honor of Hobbes' counterpart in the "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip. (Remember? Suzie always wanted to play house with Mr. Bun and Hobbes and she couldn't figure out why Calvin threw such a fit over it.) Anyway, Mr. Bun has been THE bun of choice, and always will be.

Unfortunately, a couple of months ago, Rugrat dropped him in a store somewhere, and despite all my nagging, her mother has neglected to retrace her steps to find him. Her. It. So what's a good MeMaw to do but get on ebay and find another one?

Do you have any idea how much these things are going for? I found a couple that were listed at around $30 for the Buy it Now price. That was a bit too steep, but I waited and finally got one for around $20. Being the smart (ha ha) Memaw that I am, I planned ahead for the day when this Mr. Bun might go AWOL and grabbed another off ebay. That one I tucked away for just in case. And if Mr. Bun #1 (really #2 now) survived, then Mr. Bun #3 would be my own little memento of my first grandbaby's younger years.

Of course it couldn't last. The day came when we had to take Rugrat to the ER, and Mr. Bun was nowhere to be found. So against my better judgement, but unable to resist the pitiful whining, I dug Mr. Bun #3 out of the dresser drawer, and all was well. (Anything to get Rugrat's mother to stop whining.)

So we now have Mr. Bun #2 and Mr. Bun #3 floating around the house. I still think I should put one of them away, but darn it if we can't find one where he/she is supposed to be, so the backup Bun comes into play. And I'm still keeping my eyes open for Carter's Happy Friends Sweet Baby Bunny. I'm thinking that a Mr. Bun #4 might not be such a bad idea. Just in case. Either that, or I attach a GPS to each Mr. Bun.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm Baaaaack!

I wandered off to what I thought were greener pastures, but I've been even less happy with Wordpress than I was with Blogger. The Help section was better, but almost everything was easier to do in Blogger, like posting pictures, or putting stuff in the sidebar.

So I am again changing my mind, and coming back here. I get more of a warm, fuzzy feeling from this blog than from the Wordpress one. So if you really need to see what's been going on with me since the end of July, this would be where you have to go:  I'll put a link over there to get you back to here. What a pain, but Blogger doesn't have the ability to import an entire blog--at least not a one-step kind of thing, which is what I need. It can be done, but just reading the instructions gives me a headache.

I feel like I got away (boyyyyy, did I get away) from the original purpose of the blog, which was to get stuff done. Coming back here may kind of get me back on the right path. That and the fact that my  hours are going to go way down at work because we lost a big client, so I'll have no money for yarn. That's okay, though. I have plenty in stock here.(Only I can't find my skein of Dream in Color Smooshy, and it's driving me crazy.) Summer of Socks didn't help either, but I do have just the best sock drawer in the world now!

I've joined a couple of new groups in Ravelry that are dedicated to finishing WIPs, so much of what goes on over there will end up here. First off, it's time for another Project List. That's on tomorrow's To Do list.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Change of Venue

I'm abandoning Blogger for greener (I hope) pastures. Plus, I felt silly having a blog called "The Big Finish" when we ALL know how well that's going. New blog address:

See you there!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Trying to Catch Up

As I promised some of my Plurkbuds (y'all know who you are!), here are photos of the sock yarn in "Plurk" colorway that I got the other day:Ok, so that photo was washed out, but I wanted you to see the tag, so you'd know how to hunt it down. But here's a link anyway, because it's hard to see. This is the yarn in all its glory:
For the non-Plurking among us, those are the main colors of the Plurk Timeline when you join up. It's lots of fun--the wittiness of knitters is a blast. Witty knitters. What can I say?

Here are a few photos of other fun stuff I've gotten recently. I wish the true colors would show up better, because this hand-dyed fiber is out of this world. This first one, the teal and bronze colorway, is really different for me. But I absolutely loved it, so I bought all she had. Now I have about 12 ounces of it to spin, and I want to know exactly what I want to knit before I spin it, instead of just spinning it, then figuring out what to do with it. This came from here.

I'm a sucker for pink and yellow together, so this (from here) found its way into my shopping cart:
And then here's a study in blues from the divine Ms. Z:
And then we sidle back to the yellow and whatever side of things for this, from here:
Obviously, etsy is a major trap for me. I have so many shops favorited it's not funny. You'd think that would be enough, but no, last night I did a search for "roving" and just about went out of my ever-lovin' mind! Do you have any idea how much gorgeous handpainted roving is out there, just waiting for my credit card to come a-knockin'? I did escape with ordering only one braid--another pink and yellow, but softer than the one I showed here. That's it. No more. I mean it. ("Yeah, yeah," they all sigh, "just like The Last Purchase sock yarn.") I know, you've read it before.

Speaking of etsy, here's another batch of really fun stuff (notice the quick change of subject?) I've already bought several sets of stitch markers from WeeOnes. That's where I got the cute sock monkey markers that were a few posts back. I wanted ice cream cones and cupcakes for my daughter, who loves both, and these were custom-designed for me:

I wish you could see the real thing because the texture and detail is beyond amazing. Missy keeps raving about what an artist Jillian is, and she's right. I simply have to stay off that site for at least a week or two!

This is what she custom-made for me when I described my Jack Russell Terrier, Boomer, to her:

I think she came pretty close, didn't she? Only the face is a little different, but it's close enough! Here's the real dawg. Is that too cute or what?

And what of SOS, I hear you cry? Oh, I haven't totally given up, but I'm still putzing along on the same pair I started last Friday. I should get them done tonight. I still haven't felt well at all this whole week, and I've been playing the violin more and doing some spindle-spinning as well. I think I just needed a little break, but I feel myself getting fired up again. The competitive urge is coming back, so though I'm down, I'm not out yet! I've had to resist casting on a sweater coat (don't say a word) and so far I've been successful at that. So it's back to socks tonight. And no more shopping on etsy!

Gotta go plurk. And knit.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Slogging Along

I'm still fighting whatever has got me down; probably a fibromyalgia flare, about which I can do almost nothing but ride it out. The fatigue is mind-blowing. I drag myself to work and stagger home and collapse and that's about it. When I don't even feel like knitting, I know I'm in bad shape!

I did have a nice violin lesson today, which lifted my spirits a little. Oh, and I learned something about practicing at home. Do not practice under a moving ceiling fan! Who knew it was that low?? It's a wonder I didn't break my bow. What's worse is that Missy was piggy-backing the baby on her shoulders the other day and ran her little noggin right into the moving fan. Yeowch!!

I'm still knitting slowly on socks. I just finished one of WendyKnits Seaweed Socks in a beautiful green-shaded Araucania Ranco Multy They are super-easy to knit, and Missy has been raving about them since the pattern first started appearing on the needles. I've cast on the second one, but it's slow going since I feel so cruddy.

I also joined a spin-for-ten-minutes-a-day group on Ravelry, so I've been using my drop spindle a bit, which is a nice change. Right now it seems like I can only do things in 10-minute-or-less increments. I couldn't even solve Sudoku in today's paper, even though it was the easy level.

I do want to post some photos, but my 10 minutes are almost up. Here's a hint: check out Wee Ones on Etsy. The woman is an artist. I got several sets of stitch markers from her the other day, and I'm afraid to look at her site again for fear I'll see something else I must have. The ones I just got were custom-made for me, so they're really special.

My 10 minutes is up. Time for my next 10-minute ice cream break.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Crisis Time

I pretty much decided to throw in the towel on SOS last night, in spite of Daniele's nice comments. I just was in a terrible funk, and couldn't imagine another six weeks of nothing but knitting like a maniac and seeing myself always behind. (Not that I have any hard feelings whatsoever toward the leader. She's very nice, and she happens to be in a situation that allows her to knit more than I do. Plus she knits realllly fast!) So I was sulking and crabbing and feeling like everything was totally pointless, and I ought to just give all my knitting stuff to Goodwill and move to, oh, Alaska or someplace. Which would really be stupid, because I think I would need knitted objects there if anywhere.

But today is looking a little better. I'll keep going, but I have to do the other things I want to do. Like play my violin, for instance. It hasn't been out of its case for 10 days, which is ridiculous. And I really need to do some work in the yard, once it cools off a bit, and I'm feeling the stirrings of a basement-cleaning attack, a clothes-sorting attack, and a wallpaper-stripping attack.

Now that I think about it, maybe I should just stick with the socks...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tenth Pair Done!

Woo hoo! Ten pairs done, but I'm still behind on the leaderboard of SOS. Oh, well. Everybody's lives have ups and downs, and I'm sure there will be times when I'm knitting when the leader(s) aren't, and vice versa. In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it ain't over 'til it's over!

So this is pair #8:

These are Marigold Socks, a free pattern on Ravelry. The originals were done in yellow, but I've always loved orange marigolds, so the pattern was perfect for this yarn. The whole time I was knitting them I was thirsty for Orange Crush. I'm so glad I can get it where I live now. Do you know, when I lived one county north, Orange Crush could not be found for love nor money. Go figure. Anyway, nothing tastes so orangey. Starkist orange soda, blech!!

Back to socks. This is pair #9:

This pattern is WendyKnits' Double Eyelet Rib, one of my favorite patterns (though I do my own toe and heel in my own...idiom?) I bought this yarn online, thinking it was another yarn that I loved but had lost the label for. Turned out to be completely different, but I love this too. It's Opal Rainforest; one of the "bird" colors. These socks go to Missy, so I have an excuse to buy more of this yarn. And I'll make them plain because I love the color and variegation so much.

On to pair #10:

These are Supersocke Cotton Beach yarn that I bought on clearance from Simply Socks. I've made two pairs now, and I really like how they turned out. The colors were much prettier than I expected. These are going to Missy, too.

I've been through another book: "The Age of Innocence." Great book, terrible narrator. I hate that. And they did a hideous job of editing it. Right in the middle of a tense scene, the narrator says, "Oh, let's retake that," and reads the paragraph again!! Talk about being jolted! She had an awful, grating voice too, so I plan to leave a negative review for that particular book on

I'm listening to "Sense and Sensibility" right now, because I love Jane Austen, and that narrator is fantastic. She has the amazing ability to change her voice so completely for each character. That makes listening so enjoyable. She happens to be the actress who played Mrs. Elton in "Emma" (the one with Gwyneth Paltrow) so her acting experience apparently is a great asset in narrating books. Her name is Juliet Stevenson, and I plan to search for more books narrated by her.

I feel as if I've done nothing but knit socks for years. It's like being down the rabbit hole! I miss spinning! I miss my needlepoint! I miss reading the newspaper! Seriously, to keep up, I have to knit every free moment. I'm trying to remember why I'm doing this...The prize of more sock yarn? Hmmm...

The other time-sucker is Plurk. It's so much fun, though. You have your own friends whose plurks you follow, and the back-and-forth gets hilarious. I'm in a little circle of knitters that includes Wendy from WendyKnits, and she's a riot. I also covet her cat, Lucy, and would be Lucy's stalker if I lived closer to her. Don't tell my cat. Or Wendy. She'll de-friend me.

Missy bought the Rugrat a wading pool today, so as soon as Papaw is done cutting the grass, we'll fill it. The water should be warm enough tomorrow afternoon for her to play in it. I need to dig out the pictures of Missy in her wading pool at that age. No, I'm not sniffling. Shut up.