Sockaloos are done! (before the birthday, even)

The Little Runes socks are done! No, the self-patterning yarn didn't "pattern," but that's okay; I think they look like ragg wool socks, but with stripes. They're a teeny bit longer than they should be for a just-turning-5-yr old, but I'm sure he'll grow into them. I hope he won't be disappointed, though. The colors are pretty accurate--there's charcoal gray/black, slate gray, paler slate gray, and bright (electric) blue--all with white bits.

Here they are, lounging on our recliner. They've been blocked, and are already dry. I'm going to send them, along with a cool picture book (
Actual Size) that I think will appeal to a 5-year old boy.

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But wait--there's more!

Here's a knitting productivity hint: want to make people think you're really super-fast? Wait until you've got a bunch of finished items, then show them all at once. Lookie here at what I've done...tons of things. Heaps!

Well, okay, I did just finish the socks (see prev post), but the bunting has been done for a loooong while (unblocked).

But (cue drum roll here)...I blocked it! And the flaps are the right shape! Who woulda thunk it could be that easy? Here's the whole thing, all nice and blocked:

And here's just one of the nice, rectangular flaps (near perfection compared with the pathetic parralellogram-like flaps of old):

Hooray! And the gift has already been received and the momma-to-be has rated it "the most beautiful thing you've made for us." Hooray! I can't wait to see Nephew #3 in it! Someday soon...
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I totally succumbed to the Clapotis craze

I searched high and low at last year's Maryland Sheep & Wool festival for a suitable yarn for the Clapotis pattern. I bought a gray superwash that was nice, and all, but for some reason didn't really speak to me. But it was cheap! And I think my super-helpful mom was offering to pay. Bonus!

Well, I never made the Clapotis, and I think part of the problem was the yarn. As luck would have it, I needed a sweater for a little nephew (#2), and the gray yarn worked beautifully. But what to use for the coveted Clapotis?!

Somehow, I had bought this gorgeous yarn that somehow escaped my notice, and then, like a lightbulb over my head, it appeared in my stash! It's handspun (I think) from Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, and it's beautiful. It's waaaaay thinner than the gray yarn I'd originally bought, so the finished product is much finer. I sooooo love the finished product! AND, and this is the best part...AND, I still have almost one complete skein of the gorgeous yarn left!

So, without further ado...here's a close-up of the beautiful yarn in the Clapotis pattern:

And here's one end of the Clapotis. Sigh. I truly love this project. I've worn it multiple times--almost exclusively as a scarf flung playfully around my neck. . . not so often as a semi-shawl (it's too small to be a real, grown-up shawl). But I looooove it!

Tune in tomorrow for more photos of old finished projects to distract you from the fact that I haven't shown any in-progress photos of a
certain Nerdy Hubby sweater.

Actually, I just finished Nephew #3's socks this morning, which I'm planning to block (gasp!) tonight, in order for them to dry before I take them to the post office on Thursday. His birthday's Friday, and they live in-state, so our priority mail is guaranteed to get there in one day. Hooray! I think this will be the first time I'll have a knitted gift in time for any of the newphews' birthdays! I'll have photos tomorrow, if I remember to bring my camera connector cord to work (land of the fast Internet).
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How I love my little "singles"

I haven't mentioned my "spinning" (I use quotation marks because I have only done a teeny bit of it, and have yet to watch my paid-for how-to video) yet, so here you go:

These are my little, bitty balls of "singles" (I think that's the right term...I'm still too new to know for sure). I'm in love with them. Is that wrong? The green one is probably the size of a golf ball, and the brown one is about the size of a small apple. Not enough to do anything with, but they do look nice all rolled up like that. They may just become part of our decor. Hee hee.
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Random (old) finished object

I put some old photos in flickr and want to see if I can link to just one. The link should bring you to a photo of a kitty bed I made for a fundraising even for Petfinder a long time ago. Since I don't own a cat, I used "Mr. Bear," a frighteningly bright-pink bear I've had for 10+ years, as a model. Ain't he cute? Before you ask--yes, the color is pretty accurate. Egads!

There is a little story behind my attachment to Mr. Bear...I went to an amusement park with a group of friends. The majority of the group was male. I saw Mr. Bear at a throw-the-softball-into-the-milk-urn game, and fell in love with him. Here's why--his original fur was that soft, luxurious kind like you'd see on a Gund bear, and he was soft and squishy, not hard and icky like most amusement park prizes.

Well, the men of my group tried to be all manly, and win the prize for me, and all of them failed. I tried, and won! Yup, the girl who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a tank won a throwing game! So, I keep Mr. Bear to remind me of my triumph, and because I've grown to love him.

Another reason I love Mr. Bear: he was nameless for a very long time, until I met Nerdy Hubby. Nerdy Hubby started to refer to the nameless animal as Mr. Bear and I thought it was cute, so now, by calling him Mr. Bear, I'm also reminded of how cute Nerdy Hubby can be. I know, silly, cheesy, etc., but this is my blog, and I'll be as cheesy as I wanna be, so there!


Hello? Clue phone for Nerdy Knitter!

I mentioned my for-charity bear in my cranky post, but didn't have a photo. Here it is. I've decided it looks more like a tiger than a bear, though. Don't you think so? I doubt the intended recipients will care whether it's a naked tiger or a naked bear. The original pattern called for using multiple colors to indicate a shirt and pants and a scarf. I went with multi-colored yarn I had at home, and decided it was too cute to cover up, so my tiger/bear is naked! How many times can I use the word "naked" in one post? Let's see..

I wonder if anyone will come across my blog as a result of searching for some pornographic content, now that I've said "naked" four times. Hee hee.

Oh, but you want to know why the clue phone is ringing for Nerdy Knitter?

Here's the story--I worked and worked to finish this naked tiger/bear by the end of the business day last Friday. It was for a charity drive, with a deadline of receiving the tiger/bear by Saturday. I worked and worked and worked, and finally had to admit that there was no way I'd finish in time to drive to the post office and get the naked tiger/bear in the mail. Sigh. But, I still wanted to send it, just in case a naked, day-late tiger might still help someone somewhere.

Well, I work until noon on Saturdays, which means I couldn't even get the naked tiger/bear into an early delivery. I went jetting right to the PO after work and was so proud of myself for thinking of using the self-serve kiosk to mail my parcel. No lines, no fuss. Perfect! I filled in the label, I wrote a note to include in the envelope, I weighed my little guy, and elected to send him via Express mail, just on the off chance that there is such a thing as same-day delivery for in-state Express mail.

Right as I was printing my Express mail label, I swear I saw something on the screen telling me to cover up any other mailing labels that might be on the package. Well, being the rule-follower I am, I stuck my barcoded Express label on TOP of the address label I'd already completed, and threw the package into the outgoing mail shute. Boy, was I proud of myself. [claps hands in excitement]

It wasn't until the next day that I started to doubt my intellect... I remembered vaguely that the automated self-serve mailing station didn't ask me for the address where I wanted the package to end up...just the zip code! So how would the PO know to deliver my (naked) donated tiger/bear to the Bay Window in Irvington, VA? Duh! If I'd left the address label well enough alone, everything would have been fine.

I called the PO to ask where things like that go, and the man asked "was your return address on the package?" and I had to admit that I'd purposely, with intent, covered the entire label. Embarrassing? A tad. Anyway, to find my lost naked tiger/bear, I'd have to go to a PO, get a form to fill out, send it away, then wait to hear whether my little parcel had been found. So much for express mail getting the naked tiger/bear there by Monday!

Meanwhile, I looked at my receipt and noticed there's a tracking number right there. This is 5 days since the original mishap, mind you, so if the package is anywhere trackable, I'm assuming it's in Atlanta, at the Dead Letter Office.

So, I type my little tracking number into the online system and discover (wait for it...)

my tiger/bear was delivered to the Bay Window (where it belonged)! Two days ago! HOW DID THEY DO THAT?!?!?

I missed out on being entered into the drawing for beautiful Noro yarn, but at least I know the naked tiger/bear made it in time to go to Jamaica to find a loving home.

All's well that ends well, right? Something to be not-cranky about--hooray!


Aah, life on the couch

So, now that the Beast is allowed on the couch, he has no compunction about plopping down on top of anything Nerdy Mommy might have left in his way. I love this photo because he's lying on stray bits of yarn and fleece. Doesn't he look peaceful?

And here's the real payoff to allowing my beloved boy to sleep on the couch: cuddle time with my boy. Sigh. Believe it or not, he managed to fall asleep with my head there. This is remarkable because he's not really a cuddle bug, no matter how much his Nerdy Mommy would like him to be.

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Grrrr! It's a cranky Monday

There are days when a few things happen to make me cranky, then there are days when every single thing just makes me cranky. I'll give you ONE guess which kind of day today might be...

...if you guessed the former (as opposed to the latter), then you're WRONG!

A few things have happened today that have made me cranky, which has then led to the latter, which is every single thing has conspired to make me really, really cranky.

The Big Issue is this: Nerdy Family has been living under the assumption that Nerdy Knitter's payroll requests have been heeded, and today we discovered that they have not. Yup, the additional taxes we requested be withheld for all of 2005 have NOT been taken out of Nerdy Knitter's salary, so we're going to owe THOUSANDS of dollars when we were expecting to get at least a thousand dollars refunded. Do you see the problem here? Paying thousands vs receiving thousands. Get it?

Then there's the fact that the money that was NOT being withheld will start to be withheld in the next Nerdy paycheck, so Nerdy Family has to learn to live on hundreds of dollars less. Meanwhile, Nerdy Family has been operating under the assumption that we're finally in a position where we can save some money. WRONG!

There you have it--the reason Nerdy Knitter wants to bite someone. Grrrr!!!!!

Oh, you want knitting content?

I started working on a kid's sized sock for First Nephew, who will be 5 in 2 weeks. The pattern was created for Opal self-patterning yarn, which I bought...considering everything else you've read, what do you think is happening to MY sock? No patterning whatsoever! Yup, just a bunch of garbled colors, with absolutely no logic. So, I ripped the sock, even though I was about to turn the heel, because I thought I'd try a different pattern and see what happened. This time I went into it with my eyes open, though, and didn't expect striping...and didn't get it. But the colors are at least looking a little less skizophrenic, so I'm sticking with the new pattern. It's Little Runes from Trek Casts On. So far so good--and I'm glad I switched patterns because this new pattern uses a slip-stitch heel flap, and I'd forgotten how much I like those. Take that, you stupid self-patterning pattern that doesn't self-pattern!

So, once the little sock-a-loos are done, I'll be back to working on Nerdy Hubby's sweater.

I also have a frustrating story to tell about mailing my for-charity teddy bear, but I'm out of time, so it will have to wait until another day. Lucky you--a little less cranky content.

Please, please, tell me someone, somewhere, is having a better day than I am!


A finished (yet unblocked) item!

I just wrote a big, long entry about this cutie-pie bunting I made for my almost-born nephew, when Blogger refused to publish it! Grrr. So, here's a summary of what you would have read if all went as planned:

This is the Dale of Norway bunting I made for nephew #3.

I love it, and love all of the details, like the little row of red at the turning row for the seatbelt flaps. What I don't love has nothing to do with the pattern, and everything to do with my wonky knitting--the flaps aren't even remotely rectangular, and I don't know why! Here's the wonky flap on the front:

And here's the cute little turn-row:

The cuffs are even turned in so there aren't any stray ends hanging loose for little fingers to catch. So cute! So well done!

So, my question is how to block the offending little flaps into being square/rectangular, considering the yarn is superwash wool. The pattern recommends using steam, which I've never done. Any suggestions? Comments? The baby's due any day, people--I need to get this project blocked! How?!?!? Posted by Picasa


A photo of a knitted item!

This is my very first (and so far, only) color-work project. This is Nerdy Hubby, wearing his sweater. Don't ask to see the inside--the ends are still hanging out, never-to-be-sewn-in, and it's been years since I made the sweater! But it's fine, darnit! Why are you tsk-ing like that? I know you're not shaking your head at me--that wouldn't be nice!

This sweater is the reason I'm working on Rhapsody in Tweed--this is the only sweater I've ever made for Nerdy Hubby that even remotely fits him, and it's getting a little old because he wears it a lot. Doesn't he deserve a nice, cozy, hand-knit sweater that fits the way it should? I agree! So, back to the front of Rhapsody in Tweed, which is 2/3 finished.

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My pal

Here's an example of something my pal, N, sent to me, even though it was MY job to send things to her. She made these adorable egg cozies, which have been decorating our kitchen for more than a year now. They make me smile every time I see them. I'm smiling now. Hee hee.

My mother has some 'splainin to do

I have yet to mention my very dear Kiwi pal, N, on my blog, so I think now's the time to share my story.

I started reading the forums on Knitters Review regularly a few years ago. I was particularly intrigued when someone suggested doing a secret pal-type of program, where we would sign up and send/receive knitting-related gifts. What a great idea, I thought, and what an even better idea to volunteer to be a pal to an international knitter! You see, I lived in Australia as a teen, so I was anxious to see if I could get matched up with an Aussie. . .

...I was given a New Zealander for my pal, which is pretty close, considering how many people signed up, etc. I had a great time doing all of the recommended activities--I set up a dummy email account to send anonymous messages, I asked questions about her preferences, and shared stories about my knitting and non-knitting life. My pal was fabulous from the get-go. She was responsive to my emails, was very funny, and appreciative of the gifts I sent.

It wasn't long into our correspondence that we started to suspect one of our mothers of foul play...there's no way we could have so many things in common and not be related. You want examples? We both love the TV show "Bewitched." That should be proof enough right there, but there's more! We both have major, major gift-giving excitement that makes it difficult for us to keep gifts until their "give dates." We both have major, major, major gift-receiving excitement, making it nearly impossible to "not open until December 25." We have similar neuroses (I won't list them here, out of respect for N, of course). We have similar hobbies, above and beyond knitting. Honestly, we must share a gene or two. My mother denies it, but we say there's something fishy going on here.

So, to make a long story just a smidge shorter, I'll sum it all up by saying that I'm thrilled to have met N, and can't think of a better pal to have. We haven't been "secret" pals for more than a year, but we enjoy each other's friendship so much that we've decided to do our own gift-giving program (limited to a membership of 2), which has been a great deal of fun. What started out as a knitting friendship has become much more--we share our lives through our email and now she's reading my blog, so I hope she happens upon this entry and enjoys reading about how glad I am that she's my pal.

(Granted, I still can't stand waiting for my packages to reach the other side of the world so I can write and ask "did you like it?" but that's okay--I'll get used to it...eventually.)

The best of intentions

Sheesh! I start this blog, posting more than once a day on most days, and now it's been a week since my last entry! This is exactly why I can't manage to keep a journal. I have at least 3 partially-filled journals from various times in my life when I swore I was going to keep a journal every single day. They're funny to read because the first few entries are daily, then it goes to every week or so, then there's the inevitable "Oh my god, I can't believe it's been [insert amount of time here] since my last entry!" Then, nothing.

I am determined to keep up with this blog, though. Honest. Really.

Part of my delay in writing this time is that I was really and truly S.I.C.K. Yes, that spells "sick," and that's what I was. I can't recall the last time my throat hurt so much.

Then it was all about recuperating, which meant lots of couch time and not so much computer time.

But now I'm baaaack, and will post some knitting content very soon.


Hmm...I don't think I like this one bit!

Well, I guess it's not horrible, but I don't like that "plasticky countenance" phrase...

You are Acrylic.
You are Acrylic.

While you are very versatile, your plasticky countenance can be offputting. You are very good with children but can become a pill if left alone with them too long. You are very flexible but don't give in to manipulation.

What kind of yarn are you?
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The cat's out of the bag...

...or, The Dog is on the Couch

So, while Nerdy Hubby has been away, Nerdy Knitter (aka Doggy Mommy Extraordinaire) has been bonding with
the Beast. Odd though it may seem, the Beast prefers to bond on Mommy's level, rather than having Mommy come down to his level (aka the floor). So, while Nerdy Knitter was horribly sick (strep is Hell), she had a moment of weakness and allowed the Beast to cuddle on the couch, with the understanding that when Nerdy Hubby (aka Big Mean Doggy Daddy) came back to roost, all couch-visiting would end. This secret was ours to take to our graves. I thought we had an understanding.

Well, Nerdy Hubby was home for 1 1/2 days, and wouldn't you know, the
Beast-Child couldn't keep up his end of the bargain! Once the sun starts to set, and our thoughts turn to quiet time in front of the TV, Beast-Child's thoughts now seem to turn to couch time. He jumped right up there with no qualms whatsoever, even though it was CLEAR that Big Mean Doggy Daddy was back, watching his every move.

But here's the funny part--once he spluttered and complained about "someone" not being able to say no to this
beast, he capitulated without any argument from this meek little nerd! Yup, you read that correctly, Nerdy Hubby said, "go ahead and let him up there." Henry could barely believe his luck when I invited him up there in the presence of Big Mean Doggy Daddy, and no one made him go back to his spot on the floor (you should know that it's not cold, hard floor he's got--he has a cushy, soft bed on the carpeted floor).

So, Nerdy Husband and I have an agreement--if the
Beast ever ends up on our bed, we'll be in divorce court, but as far as the couch goes--Henry's welcome. Lucky me, lucky Henry. Now I can work on getting a photo of the cutie-pie all curled up with his head on my knee (heavenly). I was avoiding it because I didn't want any physical proof of my rule-breaking. Hee hee hee.

Now that I don't have that rule to break, I might need to find something else to do while Nerdy Hubby's away...in sunny Florida...with his brother...whose wife is away for the weekend...


Feeling almost-human again

So yesterday was one of those sickly days where I was still incredibly tired, but also starting to feel antsy. I managed to finish the last repeat on the back of Rhapsody in Tweed, with much trepidation. I'm still not sure if the fact that the piece measures about 25.25" and the pattern says it should be about 26" is a problem, considering I'm measuring an unblocked piece. The yarn is very soft and airy, and I imagine it doing a lot of stretching when it's blocked with wool-wash. So, I decided to go with what I have rather than knit an entire 7th pattern repeat, which would add 4" to the length. I hope it's the right thing to do!

Now I bind off for the neck shaping, and I'm good to go on the back. Then it's on to the front...more of the same. Sigh. Oh, and then another sleeve, and then the dreaded picking up of stitches for the neck. That's one of my worst "skills."

But the front should be fun--the cable pattern is engaging.

I'll try to take a photo of the back after Nerdy Hubby returns from his research trip.


Germ-induced ranting

Okay, so things were looking pretty horrible yesterday when I woke up: dizzy spells (we're talking, putting head between the knees lest I pass out), super-sore throat, etc. I finally called the doctor and got an emergency appointment with Dr. not-my-doctor, who prescribed a 3-day routine of antibiotics. I said okay, was thrilled when Dr. Not-my-doctor said I might even start feeling better that very night (yahoo!!!), and went off to the pharmacy to get my miracle drug. This was at 11:30 (ish) on a Friday, folks, and I got the very last parking spot in the whole CVS parking lot! The pharmacy was mobbed. So, I dragged my poor, sick self around the store to buy the essentials: soft, lotion-added tissues, pain-killer, throat-numbing lozenges, and water to take my drugs with. When I did get my drugs, I just paid with my credit card and didn't really watch the total. Something vaguely odd registered in my brain, but I let it go. Well, now I know what was so odd--my total was over SEVENTY DOLLARS! Why, you ask? Because my 3-day supply of medication cost $49.59!!!! And this is WITH insurance!

Okay, so if it's some sort of miracle drug, I still think I could stomach paying that, but here's the worst part: I'm not really any better and I've already had two pills! Grrrr! So, probably, this means another visit to the doctor's office (this time I'll try to get Dr. My-doctor), and another co-pay, so we're looking at a $150 illness so far. Not to mention the fact that I didn't go to work today.

I'm normally a very independent (some, aka Nerdy Hubby, might even say 'stubborn') woman, and don't like a lot of fuss when I'm sick, but these past two days have had me wishing for Nerdy Husband to cut short his dissertation research trip to come home and do stuff for me. Like change the channel on the remote. I mean, like make me tea, go to the store for ginger ale for my throat, tame the Brat Child...you get the picture. Sigh.

So, I'm going to do a teeny bit of computer stuff then resume my position on the couch--pretty soon I'm going to have to curl up on the other end; I'm making a permanent dent on the right-side end.

I hope everyone who reads this has a much much better weekend than I'm having. And yes, that's a self-pitying comment if I ever wrote one, but I'm siiiiick. Hmph.


Yoo-hoo, Mister Raccoon...

This is what I call the "Raccoon Vigil." Poor Henry saw a big mean critter out there, and even though he sat there for ages, it never came back. He was ready to scare the mask off him, though! Aren't I lucky to have a big mean dog to protect me and mine? Hee hee.

My boy, the car-riding fiend

I love this photo because it actually looks like Henry's enjoying his ride in the car--he even looks happy, doesn't he? So cute!


So sad when you're too sick to knit

I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been hit by a truck. I know I'm sick when the idea of knitting just one little row is too much effort for my tired little body. Sigh.

So, not much content for a few days, I'm afraid.

And, before any concerned citizens ask, yes, I'm drinking plenty of fluids and taking Tylenol and will be in bed shortly after reaching home tonight. Thanks for your concern.

--Sickly Nerdy Knitter

My friend "tagged" me through email, but I thought I'd post it here

How Well Do You Know Me?

Four jobs I've had so far, in my adult life:
Assistant Manager, Blockbuster Video (various locations), Live-in Nanny (for one 7-year-old child), Children's Book Editor, Librarian (children's, high school, community college)

Four movies I could watch over and over:

Full Monty
So I Married an Axe Murderer
any Inspector Morse (not really a "movie")

Four places that I have lived:
White Plains, NY

Yonkers, NY
Charlottesville, VA
Afton, VA

Four TV shows I like to watch:
Barking Mad (on Animal Planet), Rockford Files, BBC-America's What Not to Wear, The Closer

Four places I have been to on vacation:
Ocean Grove, NJ, Washington/Oregon, Ireland, Nova Scotia

Four websites I visit daily:
my email, my library, my blog, and a bunch of knitting blogs

Four of my favorite foods:
strawberries, mushrooms, "bean curd szechuan style" from Hunan Pan in NYC, soft-serve ice cream

Four places I would rather be right now:
Home in bed (I'm sick)

home on the sofa (I repeat: I'm sick)
sleeping in a hammock in the sun
cuddled on the couch with my honey