Monday, October 31, 2005

Who's Spoiled Rotten?

Mini, that's who!

So, my Secret Pal (I am assuming it's you... there was no note, and well, a giftie this COOL doesn't just materialize without a knitter behind it!) sent me a prezzie in the post on Friday night. Here's a re-cap of the conversation (reminder, am living at home with the parents):

Mini: "hi... how was your day?"
Mom: "good... umm, did you order something from England? like yarn or jeans?"
Mini: "jeans? umm.. no. yarn? I don't think so...." *thinks... did I order PC anything?*
Mom: "i had to sign for it... the mailman said it was registered"
Mini: "oh, ok... I'll open it later. I'm picking up PC at the train in a few minutes"
Mom: "ok, it's on the counter."

Flash forward 10 minutes:
PC: "I'm almost to the station, are you still picking me up?"
Mini: "yup, gotta run by the house for a second though"
PC: "for what?"
Mini: "umm... I forgot something"

Yeah, I forgot that there is a MYSTERY PRESENT at my house and I am TOO IMPATIENT to wait a few more hours to open it!

Lookie what i got: (better pictures tomorrow... I forgot the camera with all my great photos at the house this morning ... what a Monday)

This bag is adorable! And it's made in Big Wool, which I have never knit with! And it gave me a reason to buy Size 15 needles :) the yarn is "camoflauge" and the ribbon is "herb". There will be FO pictures REALLY soon.

So, the rest of the weekend? Saturday was a whirlwind. In the morning, I headed off to my LYS... I needed help. With a capital H. Friday night (after being sick all night--- bad mayo on a turkey club...ewww), I swatched *again* for PC's blob... washed it, dried it... and in the morning, it was the WRONG size again. It started out as 5 spi and had grown AFTER washing and drying to 4 spi. So, off to see my friends at the LYS. It was jumping down there! Everyone loved the fabric and could see the problem... so, we looked for something else for yarn. We settled on a 75%acrylic, 25% wool blend that WILL hold gauge. Colleen (a very helpful knitter!) suggested that I try casting on for a smaller size and hope that it "grows proportionally"... I have to agree that I was ready to try this. I suggested this to my LYS pros... and a little voice in the shop said "oh, no... Cotton Ease. I made my son-in-law a sweater with that and it just kept growing and growing", I turn and see a very elderly knitter. A little more conversation and I knew, this was one of those things were I should learn from HER mistakes (she had re-cast on, cast on smaller sizes... even ran it through the sewing machine... it is still too big.). NOTE: if you ever hear a 85 year old woman say "that yarn sucks", it's probably true.

So, a few minor purchases later (and a free "test" skein for PC's blob later), I was off! Off to pick up pumpkin coffee, the world's best muffins and PC. :) We headed off to the Wrentham Village outlets. Yes, on a Saturday... I know, a deathwish. I was in search of something I have been looking for since PC and I started dating: a good wool coat. FOUND ONE! And a Coach bag followed me home... but I have NO idea how it got there... ha ha ha.

Saturday was a day of snow storms and more presents! I arrived home to a VERY large box that I KNOW I didn't order. Hmm... a giftie? Not another SP prezzie? Perplexed, I opened the box and began to cry... this is why I love my friend Anna.

A HUGE box of KnitPicks yarn, Pallette... ALL THE COLORS. :) Yes, besides being the best girlfriend I have ever had , the sister I never had, and the mom of the best people I have ever known (E-age 5, I-age 3, and A-age 18 mos), she's a great shopper! I have to say, Anna... you outdid yourself! This was a birthday gift from her... and oh, the mittens that will be made! Mittens for E, I and A and also Anna. :) Thanks, hon!

A FO made it's appearance last night, but the camera is at home. Pretty soon, I will be just showing FO photos and if you want more info, you can email me... these will be presents and well, my family (brothers and sis-in-law) friends and boyfriend all read the blog, so there will be no "extra" info. I am also attaching tags to them so I know "who gets what", so that will be another bit o' info you may request. :)

Pumpkin carving was also yesterday... PC and I wielded large sharp knives and munched on toasted pumpkin seeds. I will take pictures tonight! It's going to be a great Halloween!

More tomorrow... the clock change thing is still making Mini a little "off", so I will be more coherent (and remember the camera) tomorrow.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2005

So, I have been knitting on the "blob" this week... it's slow but steady progress. This weekend, I am going to treat myself, though. I am taking these:
and turning them into this.

Also, got a package this week from the amazing Buffy at Shelridge Farms. She picked out a handpainted colorway for me (oh, so very me!) and I asked her to find a "coordinating solid" that she thought would look good... this chocolate brown is perfect.
It "goes" with the colorway but doesn't match it. The chocolate will be heels, toes and cuffs. It will also be heels, toes and cuff with this:
This is leftover sock yarn (about 2/3 of a skein) of Cherry Tree Hill Champlain Sunset.
And for all of you who DON'T know exactly how sock-obsessed I am really am:
These (and 2 more pair) were part of my birthday gift from the amazing PC. I love socks. The crazier the better (as long as they don't have individual toes.. that freaks me out).

So, this weekend is going to be good for some knitting, movie watching with PC and just all around hanging out. Hopefully, I will be able to get some pictures of the "blob".

does Cotton Ease shrink? I got gauge, in circluar and flat (never washed the swatch, now I can't find it) but a size 46 inch chest is now a 48? I wanted it to have ease, but not make him look like a burnt marshmallow. Someone, somewhere said that they washed the Cotton Ease in warm water, and machine dried at high heat and that "set the shrink".... any advice greatly appreciated!

Happy Knitting Weekend!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Knitting in the "news"?


Ha ha ha.... saw this in the Boston Herald yesterday!

Operation Black Blob...that's what I am calling PC's sweater. In daylight, it's really a nice pattern, the Cotton Ease has a nice stitch to it; it's making a very soft fabric. But, at night, watching tv--- it's a black blob. That's ok. At least I got all my stitches on and NOT TWISTED. I am working a 3x1 rib on the bottom, a 3x1 rib for the crewneck... and since I am working this as a raglan... I am thinking of 3x1 rib all the way up the sleeves. Suggestions encouraged! :)

We have a Nor'Easter today and I am watching the rain beat against my office window. *sigh* It would have been a great day to hang out and knit. But, work calls.

Happy Knitting Tuesday!

Monday, October 24, 2005

the best laid plans...

go completely to pot.

*sigh* I love my family, I really do, but right now? Wanna kill them. So, yesterday, while PC was watching football, I sat down with a new ball of yarn, my needles (both Addi and bamboo) and a new book:
Colleen is always referring to it, so are so many knitters. So, I bought it once I figured out the Paton's book is CRAP. *breathe in , breathe out*

So, it's me and my yarn. Re-measured PC. Cast on. Worked 3X1 rib (very nice edge detail for a plain man's sweater)...for about 1.5 inches. Umm... how did I twist my stitches? I am now making a mobius sweater. It'll look cool, but PC must learn some new tricks for keeping arms in this position.


Go home, after pizza, and try to work on re-casting on the sweater.


Oh, dad bought surround sound. Great. For the giant TV and new DVD player that he can't seem to get to work properly before attaching a very complicated multi-component system to it. f5 hours later and one very large bump on the head, it's still not working. And my sweater? Still in my knitting bag in the kitchen.

Tonight, post-nail appointment, I will be locked into position on the couch, casting on 232 stiches in black Cotton Ease. I am not moving for at least 4 hours.

PC is great. He suggested that we go get some pumpkins b/c well, who said Halloween was for kids? Saturday, we headed off to Brooksby Farm in Peabody, MA. Ahh.. sheep, the llama... the emus? The emus were racing around the pen... and I have to say, ugliest animal alive.

Pumpkins in the back of the cupcake (nickname for my car, if you saw it in the snow, you'd know why), apple cider donuts in my belly... we're off. And it's raining. I wanted to head into Pumpkin Fest on the Boston Common! :( So, we check out movie times... nothing we want to see.

PC is great; have I mentioned? He says "scerw the rain" and we head off to an OLD hang out (back to the 1st days of dating here) - the Hub Pub. Ummm... yummy food, Fighting Irish game on several large screens. Then it's off to the Common to see these:

And I got me one of these:
Also, on Saturday, I stopped off by the house to grab something and there was a BIG box for me. For me? Hmm... Secret Pal? Nope, a not so secret pal! Jan sent me a fall-sorry-about-your-secert-pal-present!
It's got two home frangrance things (one cotton, one pumpkin), a candle (pumpkin), a bubbling pumpkin nightlight (LOVE IT!), lollipops, and GODIVA chocolate. Did you hear that? GODIVA. And they have PUMPKIN in them! OMG... too amazing! And, yup, they are GONE, GONE, GONE. :) Thanks Jan, too much goodness!
Oh, and an updated BLING photo; this is what PC bought me for my b-day... all I need is the tiara (he makes me such a princess!):
back off ladies, he's mine!

More knitting photos tomorrow. *sigh*
OH, the OTHER big adventure on Saturday? Umm... 6.5 inches of MY hair were removed from my head by a professional. :) ahhh... easy to blow dry hair. :) (PC likes it, was afraid he wouldn't, but he says I look more like a woman and less like a girl now).

happy knitting monday!

PS- Sandy... no mittens or thrums just yet... soon!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Finish what you started!

Arghh... yes, this old "mom" voice keeps rolling through my head.
PC's sweater has been anything but cooperative... I want to kill it. No, it really just requires me to sit and think and work out the maths, and draw a little diagram and break out the fancy schmancy stich marker do-hickeys and get to work! So, while he is peacefully watching football on Sunday (even though the Patriots have a BYE week and the Bucaneers' game isn't broadcast this weekend in Boston), I will be working on his sweater. It needs to be done. Soon. Once I get past the raglan, it'll be cake. (I know this b/c after the raglan, it's useless in the round for 16 inches....I can do that.)

So, in a famous Mini attempt to be distracted by shiny, small projects, I present you this:
1. the finished scarf
2. Dad's sage and white stocking cap.
Dad works on a truck (big truck... an 18 wheeler) and needs warm hats to keep his bald head warm (love you dad!)... so, he requests hats/gloves/neckwarmers for christmas/birthday each year. So, this year, I decided- stylish hat.
NOTE: I am especially proud of this b/c it's my first two-color knitting (yeah, in the round-- i'm that brave) and I kinda taught myself that "knit with both hands thing" that helps in fair isle so much.
3. also, I have 3 balls of Royal Tweed for brother's scarf... I want to do brioche stitch... any help?

PC's sweater... ok, I am working on an imaginary deadline here.
I PROMISE: that the body will be done for pictures on Sunday night (posting on Monday) and that the sleeves will be done by the end of the week.

PROMISE TO ME: if you finish PC's sweater, you get to make thrummed mittens. :)

I leave you with the cartoon that is up in my cube--- it was in the Boston Herald about a week ago:
Edit: An oversight on my part: I "stole" this photo from Colleen b/c my 20+ photo attempts to capture the cartoon on my cubicle were horrendous! My apologies to Colleen, who caught my "blog faux pas"... thanks for the photo!
Happy Knitting Weekend!
PS- will be taking pumpkin pictures this weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I saw the Harlot!

Ok, so here's the "dirt" on the big Willow Books bookbookbookII thing:

1. Stephanie is funnier, more personable and lovable in real life than you could ever imagine.
2. I was a little "star struck" by all the sweaters I recognized.
3. I am amazingly shy for a girl who can talk to a pole.
4. I saw more bloggers that I recognized!

So, about being shy and having stood there like a complete moron and got my book signed, ate my cake and took off like someone had lit me on fire: I am completely terrified of you "real" bloggers. Me, I knit a little, yap a lot, and have been told I make a good friend. Umm, I'm still afraid of you all. People I saw and recognized but was too chicken-shit to approach and say hello (is it b/c I feel like I am STALKING you people? I mean, really... walking up to a complete stranger and saying "hi... i read your blog everyday and I think your sweaters are pretty.."sounds a little like restraining order fodder, doesn't it?)

Anyone else? In case you were wondering, I was the girl in the purple shirt, gray pants, knitting a gray blob of Royal Tweed (Lana Grasso) in the 3rd row on the left side of the room. I had a good seat. I got there early. I did meet a very lovely woman from JP who doesn't have a blog. :(

So, yes, I was there. I laughed, I completely KNEW what Stephanie was talking about when she talked about the insanity of airlines forcibly removing people from their knitting (hello, 4 flights, back and forth to FRANCE... no knitting... hello? I would have 9 pair of socks by now!).

I missed meeting Sandy, but it's b/c I have NO IDEA what she looks like. ( I have been DYING to meet Sandy in real life... she appears to be a witty, intelligent woman who happens to knit the most amazing mittens on the planet... I want to BE Sandy--- ha ha ha.)

So, there you have it. At a wedding this summer for PC's friends, I introduced myself to most of the guests... no problem. I even sucked in my tummy and made nice with his ex. I chatted with everyone! I even helped make us a new "couple friend" (oh, we have "those" now... when did this happen?). But, no.... in a room full of like-minded people, I am chicken-shit (why do I feel like Norma when I say this?).

It's like when I attend conferences for my work (biochem)... I am painfully shy. I feel like a fraud. Even though I KNOW that I am capable, smart and completely BELONG there, I still feel like everyone will know something I don't. PC will probably read this and say "oh, that mini... she really can talk to a wall", but he knows it took me 1 hour of sitting outside the coffeeshop to enter my first SnB.

Unfortunately, this stems from a bigger problem that I have... and it's deep and not to be discussed here... I am working on it. PC helps... he really does. Having someone in your life who thinks you are cute and smart and wonderful is a good thing for a girl's self esteem.

So, someday soon, i WILL walk up to some of these bloggers and say "hi, i'm Kate and I read your blog." The day is coming, watch out bloggers!
:) mini (kate)

PS- I finished the scarf, have a photo, but hate it... will have PC take a better one this weekend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I'm going to see HARLOT!

Yup, tonight at Willow Books in Acton, MA! YAY! I missed her when she was at Circles in JP, but since Willow Books is only 11 miles from work, well... how can I say no? Now, onto a knitting emergency!

I have the scarf that I have been working on, but I don't think it's 2 hours of knitting for this event... and well, I need to keep my hands busy! So, skip lunch, hit Wild and Wooly? Yes, I think so! (I've been wanting to get some more scarf yarn... big bro needs a scarf for x-mas!)

So, I am off to see the Harlot!

:) Mini
Tell you all about it tomorrow!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Why do I even open my mouth?

Seriously, this entire weekend was "open mouth, insert foot."

Example #1:
PC's "easy sweater"... umm, I had to rip back 3 times on the raglan... I am finally at the the same point I was at on Friday. *sigh* Oh well, he'll get it before Halloween. :) There are some seriously confusing directions in this "easy" sweater design... It's one of those "fill in the blanks" sweater patterns; just follow the easy to follow chart of sizes and stitches and you will be great! Umm... no.

Example #2:
A conversation with PC on Saturday night. I don't want to get into it too much here, but it was a case of me having been keeping a secret and finally letting the proverbial cat out of the bag. This is not a nice cat. I tend to keep things from PC that he should know about and I don't know why. Then when I tell him, he gets completely blindsided and has an "a-ha!" moment where my seemingly chaotic behavior for the past month is explained. We are ok (aren't we?) now and we have made some MAJOR decisions.
1. we are looking for an apartment (this is major people)
2. i am trying out this patience thing
3. we are both feeling a LOT of external stress about marriage and children, etc.
4. we are going to have accept things as they come... doctors can be wrong, and (for me, PC's an atheist): there is a Plan. Someone, somewhere has a plan for me.

So, now with all that out of the way, a little note to PC (he reads this):
I love you with all my heart; in a way that I never thought I could love someone. Everything I said to you is true and honest. There is no one in this world I trust more than you; any journey in this lifetime will not be worth it without you.

Yeah, PC's sweater is going ok. I will be back "on task" tonight. (side note, complete PMS this weekend and have been a stressed out, crying, crampy bitch... this doesn't make for a whole lot of patience with confusing instructions)
I started something "easy" last night while vegging out on the couch:
Want the pattern? It's SUPER easy and I got it from my LYS (Sit and Knit). The owner of the LYS showed me the scarf after I was petting some yarn there... I fell in love and well, it's so gorgeous and easy that a few more "holiday scarves" will be made with this pattern.
Yarn: Schaefer yarns
Miss Priss 100% merino wool, 4 oz, 280 yds
Color: Mary Pickford, from the Memorable Women Collection
CO 25 stitches on US8
Row #1: P1 *(yo, P2tog) (repeat from * to the end of row)
Row #2: same as row 1
continue until desired length.

Happy Knitting Monday...
PS- heard from my SP6 (she was, like the rest of us, too busy... thanks for all the emails and advice about SP)
PSS- Sandy: this is the "weekend of thrums"... I'll email progress pics!

Friday, October 14, 2005

What the man wants....

The man gets. Kinda.

So, remember PC's sweater? He'd like something "simple but ok for Turkey Day dinner"? After 3 patterns, 3 attempts to make a stylish, simple, elegant sweater for the man of my dreams, I started to believe the MYTH: instead of dumping me, I was going to kill him. All over a sweater. So, finally he mentioned a sweater he liked from LL Bean. Now, you know he was going down if he was going to say "buy this" instead of "make this", right? Turns out, THIS is what PC wants:

In black. In Cotton Ease. It's a raglan. No fluff. No cables. He doesn't like the collar or the cuffs, so he's getting some 2x2 or 3x1 ribbing as the collar and cuff. I am using a generic "top down" raglan pattern from Paton's. And guess what? I am already at the armpits. I started it last night. Dude... 6 straight hours of football on Sunday and I am golden! PC may have his sweater before Halloween! Screw that, he might have it for a dinner out next weekend!

What else am I knitting? Christmas crap. No, really. I am making a red Cashmerino Chunky scarf for a friend, Alice from Magknits for PC's mom (in a bright and dark blue...very shi-shi tone-on-tone, ohh la la), socks for my mom (yep, she's only getting socks, but she's getting 5 pair), fair isle hat for my dad w/earflaps, and a bag for my SIL. For the little ones: Carson's getting a new sweater, Jackie's getting a poncho, Bubba's getting toys, Em, Ian and Aidan are getting toys (they will get sweaters after X-mas). PC... well, we'll see... he reads this so I need to be careful.

Haven't heard from my SP6. I hope this turns out better than the last time. In SP5, I heard from my pal a few times, she sent one book ( a very nice book, FYI) and then... nothing. I thought at least an email would've been nice. Hopefully my SP6 is just busy.

A side note: I am getting a little discouraged, b/c this SP thing worked out last time very much like how occasions work out in general for me. I spoiled my SP rotten. Packages, cards, funny emails... it was fun and now I have a nice friend in Michigan. In "real life", I spend weeks, shopping for the perfect gift, getting the right card, the cute wrapping paper, and then... BAM! I get (sometimes) a card (usually a gift tag or some sort of wrapping paper scrap), with a gift card to a store I don't shop at and it arrives 3 weeks late. In real life, I am used to it. SP5 felt a little discouraging.

Please take this above paragraph as merely a minor rant from Mini. She has a stressful birthday and was "fed up with everyone" and this is merely an extension of it.

SP6: I am sure you are wonderful and I am sure you are just hanging out waiting for the perfect moment to contact me. :)

my new Ecco t-strap mary janes:
1. too adorable for words
2. comfy and stylish in that " i am my own woman" way
3. fit with hand knit socks. Very specifically my SockPal Socks.
Camera batteries died this morning, so no pic,but trust me: dark jeans, orange/red/yellow/purple socks... adorable!

On another note:
KnitPicks... Oh, my. Does anyone have an idea of how the Decadence (100% Alpaca) would look as A Banff sweater?
I am thinking the "tide" color? It's a "cheap" sweater for me to make.... like $50. I have been DYING to make something with Alpaca.
Also, I am itching to purchase the following:
Now, THAT could keep me busy all winter--- mittens anyone?

More updates on Monday...
Happy Knitting Weekend!

PS- one for "workation" photo:

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Some more trip photos and well, some knitting content. I have an almost FO to show you (will prob'ly be done tonight --- minus buttons) and some "WIP" to update you on. I am still unpacking. I did all the laundry the first night home (yup, i'm that girl), but it's everywhere. Last night, there was some quality knitting going on, some re-prioritization also of knitting projects. More about that later.

Les Baux de Provence. Or, the road leading up to it. Just another great sight on my whirlwind weekend tour of Southern France in between horrifically boring training sessions. *yawn*
Have I mentioned that I am so not over jet lag yet?

Pont du Gard. An amazing 2000+ year old aqueduct. It's amazing. It's huge. It's breathtaking and awe-inspiring. I used to be only interested in "natural" art and design. (i.e. nothing made by man) but lately, I have been finding large amounts of inspiration in man made structures. Funny, am I growing as a person? Am I gaining a new perspective? Natural art (leaves, trees, landscapes) will always be a first love, But I am starting to see the beauty of a clean line. Speaking of which, these arches caused me to fall even MORE in love with something I saw in Marseilles. In true knitting-geek fashion, I took a picture.

How do I make this? I am LOVING everything about this sweater! I still have the rust silk that would make this go "ooooohhh".

is it short rowed? look at the attachment of the border! oh, FYI: it's 630 Euro, which is ~$815 USD. and it's a wool/acrylic blend. anyone who wants to help me with this one--- i will even pay/trade for design help!

Wanna see what PC gave me for my b-day? It's ONE of my presents... and oh, it's going to keep me busy. It's the kit to MAKE the quilt in this picture! How cool is that? PC rocks!

Happy Knitting Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Home Sweet Home.... finally!

So, I got home Friday night... what a project. But, Saturday was my pre-bday with PC- the circus in Boston and then dinner at Gargoyles (i'll try to find a link) in Davis Sq. Yummy. :)
Sunday was the actual b-day and Monday was the obligatory family dinner. Pics of presents and other stuff later this week.

So, this is what I saw when I walked out my hotel room. Yup, just my room. :) We stayed at the beautiful Hotel St. Laurent (in St. Laurent), about 20 minutes west of Avignon. It was gorgeous. Our hotel was run by two men, Christoph and Terry. They were like family... and the dog, Noie. So, seeing this alot made the business trip almost worth it. (notice i said "almost").

Like my castle? Yup, just next door to the hotel. Now, if PC said I was a "princess" before I left... well, there's no stopping me now!

Palais de Papes. Words cannot describe the beauty and emotion that this place conveys to my heart. One evening, there was a gentleman singing in the plaza. It was beautiful. A truly amazing accomplishment of man. As a Catholic (ok, slightly lapsed, but I keep my faith), this was quite the sight to see. It was also amazing to be with non-Christians and hear their take on the opulence of the building. more about that another day.

My all time favorite photo: this quiet little street behind the Duke of Uzes's castle in Uzes (on the way to Nimes from Avignon). I love this street. I love that people live here. A few moments after this photo was taken, 5 boys and 1 girl came runnign after a soccer ball. :) *grin* someplace where kids can be kids!

And lastly, a little contest: a prize (to be determined, sock yarn, me thinks) if you know where this last photo was taken. :) If more than one answer, PC will draw a name out of a hat. :) and yes, a new hat...not his stinky one.

More each day this week! Travels and knitting.... I promise!
Happy Knitting Tuesday!