Friday, May 30, 2003

More Photos!

I promised to post pictures of the surprise, so here it is:



Click here to see a fuzzy-ish photo of the very nice card that came with the surprise... It says, "Good Luck and Happy Knitting from your friend, Sarah Bible, and the devious fellows at ThreadBear!" This yarn is meant for the Suki Knit Along, which I just realized starts on Sunday! Yikes! Sarah knew that I had emailed the guys about these specific colors. I was wondering why it was taking them so long to get back to me, but I just figured they were really busy. Plus, I took it as a sign that I really shouldn't buy more yarn. Sarah got in touch with Matt and Rob and found out what colors I was looking at and told them to send 'em on over! What a great group of friends I have...

And here is a photo of the Noro I'm going to make into a lovely felted tote. And here is a picture of the yarn for Sitcom Chic. Please vote on a ribbon you think would look best for the inside of the button band (a, b, c, or d).

And, finally, here is what my mom gave John and I as a "thank you" for having her stay with us:



My addiction is yarn; her addiction is flowers. Thanks, mom!

Nutricious and Delicious

I can always tell when we haven’t been to the grocery store in a while because that’s when I eat cereal for 2 or more meals per day. Yesterday, it was breakfast and dinner. Today, it is breakfast and lunch. Wait! Today is payday… That means I can go out to eat. Life is good.

The “No Yarn for One Month” group is going well. It’s tough, but I’m a tough lady. I can do it! Don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying that I haven’t been tempted. I’ve just been stronger than the yarn (so far).

That reminds me… I have to tell you my LYS story. Mom and I went to the LYS in Omaha (I won’t say the name, but it’s the only one in the whole city – you can probably figure it out). I was excited to go to a real live LYS, since there are none in my area. In fact, this one is the closest one – and it’s two hours away. I had read a few reviews about this store, but I decided to try it anyway. It couldn’t be that bad, right? Umm, wrong. I’ll start off by saying something good: there are sooooo many different yarns in this store. Quite possibly thousands. End of good things.

I don’t even know where to start, the place is so bad. The store is tiny and cramped. The swatches (if you can find one) are not labeled – no prices, no fiber content, no needle size, not even the name of the yarn! And the swatches aren’t located by the yarn that it’s swatched from. The yarn itself is not priced – you have to look it up in the one price book they have sitting on the one table in the store. Handy. I’m not sure what she was thinking when she organized the store – the yarn is not in order by brand, content, color, price, name. I couldn’t figure out the system and I did not want to ask.

Why, you ask, did I not want to ask? Here’s why. I found a gorgeous pillow in the front of the store. I asked the woman sitting at the table eating her lunch if she knew how it was made. She told me to ask the owner. Gulp. I brought the pillow over to the front counter and this is what transpired:

Me: (nicely) “Excuse me, did you make this pillow?”
Her: “Yes.”
Me: “It’s really beautiful. Can you tell us what kind of yarn you used?”
Her: “All different kinds. None that I have here now.”
Me: (pause) “Oh… Okay. Well, can you tell us how you made the back panel?”
Her: (large sigh, interpreted as, ‘please stop asking stupid questions and just buy something already) “I knit the middle and crocheted the edges.”
My Mom: (pointing to the crocheted part) “So, this is crocheted and the middle is knit?”
Her: “Yes. That’s what I said! Crocheted!!”

Well, then. My mom is not really a knitter or a crocheter (she knows how to do both, but she’s not, umm, addicted like me). But, regardless of whether she’s the next Lily Chin or if she doesn’t know the difference between a knitting needle or a crochet hook, she did not deserve to be talked to that way. As a business owner, I would think that she would want to be friendly and helpful to even the most annoying customers. We were actually being nice to her and she was incredibly rude. It was very bizarre. To her defense, she is obviously having medical problems which might contribute to a bad attitude. But if she hates her customers so much, maybe it’s time to let someone else run the store for a while? I will never return to this store nor will I order from her online. Sad.

The good news is that my mom and I were able to closely approximate what the woman had done to make such a lovely pillow. We stopped at the Hobby Lobby on our way back from Omaha, bought a little cheap-y yarn and I gave her some leftovers from my stash. The pillow is going to be absolutely gorgeous and about a quarter of the price it would’ve been if we’d bought the yarn at the LYS. Thank you, crabby lady!

The story has a happy ending, though. Because the owner was so cantankerous, I was able to stick to my “No Yarn for One Month” pledge. So I say, “Thank you, crabby lady. Have a great day!”

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Where's the Knitting?!?

I just realized today that it's been a while since I posted anything about knitting. That's because I haven't really knitted lately. I was so busy getting ready for my mom to come and then I was busy having fun with her, I've neglected my knitterly duties! I do hereby solemnly swear to devote more time to knitting, including, but not limited to, finishing that d*mn BNS!

Like any good knitter, I'm already thinking ahead to the next two or three projects. I thought about joining Wendy's mouse along and making one for this cutie, but I'm not sure I have enough yarn. Instead, I think I'll cast on for Sitcom Chic and some variation on a felted tote. I promise to post pics of Sarah B.'s yummy surprise tomorrow when I can get a good one out in the sunshine. You are going to be jealous! I found some great knitting buddies!!! I also have some Kureyon to be made into a delicious felted tote. Hmmm... can you tell I'm hungry by the choice of adjectives in this paragraph?

I sent my aunt (Margo) her felted tote a few weeks ago. She tells me that she loves it. She showed it off to some women in her parenting group and they went ga-ga over it. One of them said she'd like me to make one for her, and Margo made it sound like she'd be willing to pay whatever I'd charge ($$$). That got me thinking about knitting for money. Some people say, "No way!" Others say, "Okay." I'm not sure where I stand. Probably more towards the Okay end. I love to knit. I feel a bit selfish knitting for myself (in fact, I haven't really knit anything for myself until the BNS). And I only have so many family members to give stuff to... I've heard that a good way to calculate cost for hand knit items is to charge three times the cost of the yarn. I think that would mean between $75-$90 for a large tote. Seems like a lot to me, but that's probably because I know I can make one for myself for one-third that cost!

I have a *very* funny story about my dear BF, John. It's a bit lengthy, however, and I'm exhausted so I will post all about it tomorrow at work. I also have to show you all what my mom gave John and I as a sort of "thank you" gift. They're gorgeous. And, one last thing... Have I mentioned that I'm glad to be back in the blogging world? I missed you guys...

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

I'm Baa-a-a-ack!

Time flies when you’re having fun. I just dropped my mom off at the airport about two hours ago. It was very sad. I wasn’t ready for her to leave. We had so much fun together. Want to know what we did? Read on…

Wednesday: I picked my mom up at the airport after work. We picked up a few groceries and went home and hung out. John helped us pick out a hotel to stay at in Omaha and gave us some ideas about fun things to do there.

Thursday: We woke up early and got on the road to Omaha. It’s about two hours by car and we had no trouble with directions. In fact, we didn’t get lost the whole time we were there. Mom said that’s because it’s an easy city to get around in. I say it’s because we’re so cool. We went to the Henry Doorly Zoo. The weather was absolutely perfect for wandering around looking at animals. I know some people are opposed to zoos, and I think that some zoos are really sad and gross, but this one seemed nice. The animals all looked healthy and happy. I took a million pictures (click here for zoo pics). It started to sprinkle just as we were leaving the zoo. Perfect timing. We checked into the hotel (which, BTW, was a dump – thank you very much, Expedia) and took a short cat nap. Then we found a tourist guide and mapped a course to the best looking shopping areas! We shopped around and got some great deals on clothes. We went to a women’s clothing store where the sales person asked us if we wanted anything to drink. I thought that was strange… Nice, but strange. It was a little bit of a frou-frou mall (fancy-schmancy, you know). That night we also had the yummiest steak dinner. Mmmm… Back to the hotel to watch “The Life of David Gale.” Pretty good movie…

Friday: More shopping! Old Navy (cheap but tasty!) and then on to (drumroll, please…) the yarn store! This is an entire post in and of itself, so stay tuned for details! After that, we drove downtown to see the Old Market area. Lots of cute little shops and restaurants to explore. We had lunch at an outdoor café. Mom got the special: soft-shelled crab with Santa Fe slaw and avocado sauce. Sounds yummy, right? Imagine our surprise when the waiter brought out an open-faced sandwich with an entire breaded and deep-fried crab on a bun. We’re talkin pincers, antennae, the whole deal – right there on the bun! Yikes! We ended up splitting my chicken wrap. More shopping and then back to Vermillion. We got some knitting in before going to bed.

Saturday: Our project this weekend was to cover the windows in the living room and dining room. My mom had previously mailed me some nice black linen fabric so we decided to use that for the valances. Long story short, the finished product is gorgeous, but we would get kicked off Trading Spaces. We stayed within budget, but it took us three days to finish three valances and two sets of sheers. It was all worth it though. They are fabulous. We also had dinner with John and Carol (FILs). They’re great. My mom really likes them and they all get along swimmingly (hee-hee, I’m British for a minute there!).

Sunday: This is the day I started getting sad because the visit is almost half over. We spent most (okay, all) of this day on the window treatments. Lest you think that this project wasn’t fun, I must tell you that mom and I work very well together. We giggled, we gabbed, we sewed, we goofed off. We worked hard, though. I’m so glad we didn’t give up. I love our new look! Dinner with John and Carol again, tonight. Carol’s daughter Janet was there with her two little kids. They are super cuties. They’re staying with grandma and grandpa for a week.

Monday: More sewing! But this is the day we finished. Check out the before and after pictures. Quelle différence ! (Ooh, now I’m French !) Dinner at the Welcome Table
tonight. Then home to relax, knit and watch another movie (“Catch Me if You Can”). At this point I’m already missing her. Mostly, I was just trying not to think about when she was going to have to leave…

Tuesday: Early morning wake-up call. Today is the day mom had to go home. But before she left, we went to WalMart to buy a ton of flowers (see how pretty they are?!?). Then I dropped her off at the airport, hugged her, kissed her and told her how much I love her. I wish it was last week again so she’d be coming tomorrow…

We had a blast. We shopped a bunch, ate good food, made beautiful window treatments, designed a pillow for her to knit, picked out a ton of flowers for my back porch, talked, relaxed and had a great time. I wish you guys could meet her. She’s a very cool person.

In other very exciting news, Sarah B. sent me a lovely surprise today. I don’t know how she did it, but she teamed up with the “devious” guys at ThreadBear and sent me a box full of the Cascade 220 yarn I had been eyeing for the Suki Knit Along! I wasn’t going to let myself buy it bc I made a pledge to buy No Yarn for One Month and I am sticking to it. So a BIG thank you to Sarah B. and when I hear the rest of the story, I will let you know.

Whew! What a long post. And I still didn’t post about everything I wanted to post about. I promise it won’t be another week before I post again. I just wanted to soak up every minute of my mom being here. I knew you’d understand…

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Happy Happy Happy

I'm in such a good mood today. People are being nice to me and I haven't felt like screaming at anyone on the phone yet today. I pick up my mom in 3 hours. I am sooooo excited for her to be here. She's my best friend and I miss her so much. I think we're going to have a blast. We're going to Omaha tomorrow to go to the zoo and to see Old Market. I'm trying to get a nice hotel room for the night, too. And there will be many games of Scrabble, all of which will be won by me!

Sarah B (One Stitch Short) sent me an email today. She said she is going to send me a surprise... Actually, she asked if it would be Okay if she sent me a surprise. Umm, let me think... YEAH! I love surprises! I can't wait to see what it is. She wouldn't tell me. I'll keep you posted. I'm outta here for today. I may not be posting much until my mom leaves... Don't miss me too much!

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

T minus one and counting

My mom arrives tomorrow! I can't wait. I haven't seen her since March and I miss her so much. She gets in tomorrow around 6 o'clock and I can't wait to give her a big ole hug (carefully, of course -- she has a torn rotator cuff). I think we're going to go to Old Market in Omaha, and maybe to the Omaha Zoo, too. We're also going to do a lot of relaxing and gabbing and Scrabble playing. She knows hot to knit, so maybe we will knit a bit, too. Have I mentioned that I'm excited for her to get here?

Still plugging away at the BNS. Will I ever finish? I'm absolutely amazed at people who whip out fairisle sweaters and cardigans like crazy. Where do they find the time? I guess I used to have a lot of time to knit when I worked in the computer lab. Now I work 8-5 and I come home and I just want to vegetate. I get maybe 5 or 6 rows in and then it's time for bed! Sad, sad life. I really need to just bite the bullet and ask if it's okay to knit at work. The worst they can say is "no" and then give me a real job to do, right?

Sunday, May 18, 2003

The big clean

Whew! I am stinky and tired. John and I spent the day cleaning the house. Well, we got most of it done. I'll have to go through one more time and "freshen it up" before my mom gets here. It's sorta funny... She knows how, umm, relaxed we are about keeping things tidy. But we still give the house a thorough cleaning before she arrives. I really love it when our house is totally clean. I feel like I can really relax once it's finished. And yesterday, I worked all morning and then came home and mowed the lawn. Then John and I went to a party for Carol (John's stepmom). She's leaving her job and her co-workers threw her a really nice party. It was fun, but we stayed forever and I was soooo tired when we got home. I couldn't even stay awake for SNL.

The garden is growing like crazy. We got a lot of rain last week and that definitely helped our situation. Maybe I'll have some pictures of flowers soon!?! For now, check out this and this and this. Isn't it pretty? I got the Festival "Happy" because I like the name, but I think it's just Baby's Breath.

During the cleaning today I organized my yarn stash. Doesn't it look nice? Here's what prompted the re-organization. Like the sticker? Now I can see some of my yarn and I think that will help stifle my urge to buy more! Also, I've joined the "No Yarn for One Month Club" at Knitter's Review. That should help, too. Oh yeah, and I'm broke so that should really help!

Okay, I'm off to work a little on the BNS before I crash into bed. Have I mentioned that I'm exhausted from all this work?!?

Thursday, May 15, 2003

I know how you feel, Mom

Tonight, John and I are going to his nephew's orchestra concert. I think it's very cool that he's in the orchestra. He seems to like it. So I'm excited to see him. But there are going to be something like 1300 kids performing at this thing -- it's an all-city concert. Now, I was in band in high school. We had a couple of hundred kids in all the bands. Our concerts were usually around three hours (or longer). I was always part of the show, so I didn't get bored. But I can imagine that it may have been a bit much for the folks in the audience. My poor parents and grandparents and other family members -- they sat through so many band concerts! This is why I am excited yet not excited about going to Brendan's show tonight. I am going to bring my knitting and try to get some work done on the BNS. I'm sure John will get embarassed, but I'm sure he'll get over it.

I have such a terrible urge to buy, buy, buy more yarn. It's terrible. So far I've been able to keep it in control, only because I don't have any money. I may have to use some of the yarn I already have. That is a wonderful idea, no? Here's a list of things I have yarn for:

  • Cotton Ease for Sitcom Chic (knitty.com)
  • Noro Kureyon for felted tote
  • Bartlett Yarn for 2 Christmas stockings
  • Enough sock yarn for 5-6 pair of socks
  • Curly cotton eBay yarn - no project in mind, yet
  • Rowan All Seasons - free tote project
  • Tagliatelli - no project in mind, yet
  • Several skeins of LB Homespun
  • Lots of Wool Ease
  • Lamb's Pride for Bucket Hat (chicknits.com)
  • Tahki Cotton - another BNS?
  • Lots of Sugar n'Creme cotton
  • Much, much more...

I also have 10 skeins of Rowan Summer Tweed on the way (hopefully) from Jenn at Moonglitter. I don't know what that's going to be, yet. That's all I can remember from my desk at work. I'm sure there's more. It's a bit crazy when you start doing inventory. You realize how much you really have to work with. I guess I don't need more yarn right now. Maybe I need to get rid of some yarn! Hmmm... anyone up for a little yarn swapping???

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Frustrated lady

I'm trying to get monkeyknits.com up and running and it is just not doing what I want it to do. Argh! We have the domain registered. That's a good thing. We have Greymatter installed. Good. I just don't know how to use the darn thing. There are a bunch of templates available, and I've downloaded a few, but I don't really know what to do from there. Maybe the BF can help.

Not much news in the knitting world. I want to do the Suki Knit Along. I emailed the guys at threadbear regarding the Suki kits. They're going to email me with a few color combos. I can't wait. I think of it as a headstart on Christmas present knitting...

I'm still working on the BNS. Sheesh! How long can a sleeveless top take, you ask? Well, it will be a month old, tomorrow. And she's still not finished. I haven't given up on it, though. It's just taking a while! And I've also got a sock on the needles. I'm not sure if I can knit at work, but I'm going to find out. I don't see why I wouldn't be able to. My job is to answer the phone. When the phone is not ringing (which is most of the time) I surf the net and update my blog. I think knitting would be no different than either of those activities, right?

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Liar, liar... Pants on fire!

I know, I know… I said Sunday. Well, life gets in the way, sometimes. John and I had a full weekend. I worked Friday and Saturday and it was very busy. This weekend was graduation in our small college town and the town was bursting at the seams with family and friends of the lucky graduating class. Sadly, I was not among that class. Saturday morning, John and I planted our front flower gardens. I think they’re going to be beautiful. I took photos, but I haven’t uploaded them from the camera yet. I’m not sure when we’re going to tackle the big ole vegetable garden in the backyard. We still have to get it tilled and buy some seeds and some plants. John wants to plant a bunch of sunflowers in the backyard, too.

On Sunday, we drove up to Sioux Falls and had lunch with John's Mom and Grandma. John's brother, Tim, and his family were there, too. We ate at the Olive Garden. It was a nice time. Then we went to Home Depot and looked at lighting fixtures. We also got a great deal on pots.

In knitting news, I got the rest of the yarn for the BNS and I’m working on the second side. I think it’s going to end up being the front. I’m a little nervous about finishing it. I don’t really know how to seam. Any suggestions for a website with good info on how to do seams? I’ll probably use my Vogue Knitting book, too. And, I’m very excited about this news, I’m finally learning how to knit socks. I’ve mastered knitting in the round with two circulars. I’m using Regia Jacquard in Las Vegas. I’m at work right now, but I will try to get some pictures taken when I get home and post them tonight, too.

The other thing I’m working on is a major overhaul on my blog. Like someone else in the knitting blog world said, I know it’s a little young to need a facelift, but I think it will be much more user friendly and easy on the eyes. John and I are still trying to figure everything out. I hope to unveil it sometime next week. Keep watching!

Friday, May 09, 2003

Still here

I'm working on some major changes to MonkeyKnits.com so I'm not going to write a long post. I promise to get you all up to speed by Sunday. In the meantime, enjoy some photos of the other fun thing I've been working on (see sidebar). Pictures of the "finished project" will also be up by Sunday. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

The Times they are a changin'

Keep your eyes open for big changes at MonkeyKnits! The excitement will commence in the next few days... Stay tuned!

How do you spell relief?

No More Calculus. Ever. I had my final last night. It wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting. I am soooo glad it's over. What a stresser. I usually don't get worked up over that kind of thing, but man, I was freaking out last night! I have one more final tomorrow morning and then I'm done. I'm taking one class this summer and I think it'll be easy. I'm not even thinking about fall semester yet. Yikes!

John bought a new computer. This one is going in our living room, I guess. That brings our total number of computers to seven, I think. That doesn't include the ones he has at work. What does a person need with seven computers, you ask? I have no idea. Plus, we got our TiVo back last night. It was MIA for a whole year. I never have to watch commercials again!

The BNS is on hold until the yarn comes in. I broke down and ordered more blue. I just think all those crazy stripes would mean crazy weaving of ends and that would mean crazy me. I just want to get it done. Maybe the next one will be crazy stripes -- but knit in the round. The only bad news is that of course the yarn store didn't have the same dye lot. I'm crossing my fingers that it won't be noticeable. I did the whole front in one dye lot and the whole back will be in the new one. Shouldn't be too bad, right? I'm sure my tag-board will be inundated with dye lot horror stories now...

I think my next project is going to be a poncho. I've wanted to knit a poncho since I learned how to knit. There's a cute pattern in Rowan All Seasons Cotton. But it takes 15 skeins of All Seasons, so I'll have to find a reasonable substitute. I wish it was my birthday. I need presents. HeeHee. Oooh, that reminds me. I am going to call to make an appointment for a massage. That's my reward for surviving calculus.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

All talk

John and I had big plans for the weekend. We were going to buy flowers for the front flower beds and do some major planting. Well... that didn't happen. We almost didn't even make it to the grocery store. I worked Friday and Saturday. And then on Sunday, we just lazed about. We played no-limit Texas hold 'em. John likes to watch the World Series of Poker (I think it's on the Travel Channel). We have "real" casino-grade poker chips, so we felt like real high rollers. We had a good time. I could never do it with real money, though! And we'll get to the garden later this week.

The front of the BNS is off the needles and blocking. This is good news. I thought I was going to through it out the window for a moment or two. I could not, for the life of me, figure out the instructions for binding off the neck and shoulders. I did it over and over and over and kept getting the same screwy-looking results. Finally, I just left it. Hopefully it will look OK when it's seamed together with its equally (I assume) screwy-looking backside counterpart. I'm still debating about whether to call the yarn store to see if they have more blue cotton or to just give in and do the crazy stripes on the back. Will it look strange with a solid color front and a crazy stripe back? Will I go crazy with all those ends to weave in? What should I do?

And in the category of "In My Dreams," if any kind reader has an extra one of these hanging around, looking for a loving home, email me and I'll give you my address. Substitutions in size, shape and color also accepted.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Felting Maniac part II

M's tote is finished! I may wash it one more time because I think I used too much dish soap and I don't think it all came out. It feels squinchy. It turned out good, but I think it's pretty big. I hope she likes it. The yarn is really cool. It's black with red, yellow, green and blue specks. It felted nicely. This is what it looked like before felting. You can see finished pictures here and here.

Now, I only have one project on the needles: the boatneck shell. I'm almost done with the front. I know I say, "I'm going to finish it tonight," all the time, but I think I might really finish it tonight. Here's a picture of the decreases on the armpits. I'm pretty proud of the way it turned out, except there are two places where I did some funny bar thing. I don't think it will be noticeable when I'm wearing it, but I'll know it's there. It doesn't bug me enough to rip it out. I just really hope this bugger fits me.

In other news, my mom is coming to visit in 19 days. I am very excited. I'm not sure what we're going to do. She just found out that she has to have surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. Ouch. Maybe we will just relax and recuperate. I'll need a little R & R after next week. I have my calc final on Tuesday evening. The good news is that I never have to open a math book again in my life. The bad news is that this final is cumulative and can make or break my grade in that class. I'll be happy when it's over.

I registered for my summer class, Film Appreciation. It's an online course. I'm not sure what that entails, but it fulfills a requirement and helps me graduate a little earlier. I also registered for fall. I have an 8 am class. That is going to be tough for me. I had a hard time making it to calc at 10 am this semester. And the 8 o'clock class is biochemistry. Yuck. Wish me luck with that! And I emailed one of my favorite professors from last semester and asked if she'd be willing to write a letter of recommendation for my application to PA school. She said she'd be honored to do that. I think it will be beneficial because she's on the admissions board at the med school. I'm also going to ask the medical director and the PA at the clinic I used to work at. I'm sure they'll be willing to do it as well. Now I just have to pull up my GPA a little bit and cross my fingers and wait it out.