Life is good...

This is the cuteness we get now that we let the Beast on the couch. Isn't he adorable?! I took another one of him sound asleep, but you can see his eyeball redness, and it's kind of freaky, so I decided not to post it. Don't want to give "all" of my faithful readers nightmares, now, do I? I thought not. But I think I will post it on Dogster, so consider yourselves warned.

Bet you can't guess what this is...

If you guessed "the biggest dust bunny ever discovered," you're wrong (not that huge dust bunnies are unknown in these-here parts).

If you guessed "a bad wig," you, too, are wrong.

But, if you guessed "the yarn left over after serious un-seaming and frogging on the Rhapsody in Tweed project," you're absolutely correct.

It's sad, but true--I had to rip out the side seam, the shoulder seam, and the entire neck (with its little cable treatment that lined up so well with the cable on the body). The good news is that I'm almost done with the new-and-improved (read: longer) front, and "just" have the back to fix (adding a 25-row cable repeat), then attach the shoulders (oh, how I love the 3-needle bind off), then do the neck (again).

It's getting very cold here, all of a sudden, so Nerdy Hubby might actually get to wear this thing if I can get it done by the weekend. And so, the saga continues...


I spoke too soon

Sigh. The sweater shrunk back up after it dried, even after I blocked it to within an inch of its life. Yup, that means ripping out the side seams, the neck, and the shoulder seams so I can add one more cable repeat (25 rows) to each side. Luckily, I wasn't happy with the way the neck stitches worked out when I picked up the last time; this time I'm going to leave the front neck stitches on a stitch holder instead of binding off. That way I'll be assured that the cable stitches will match from the body. Frogging has been simple enough because the yarn is very woolly, meaning that it sticks to itself, making dropped stitches virtually impossible. Hooray for sticky wool!

It's funny--I'm usually a real product knitter, not a process knitter, but I'm almost happy about frogging part of this almost-finished object. I think it's partially because it allows me to avoid working on the wedding gift that is nowhere near completion. Plus I feel proud of my willingness to rip to make it wearable. I tend to avoid that kind of work and just make do with whatever I have when I deem the project complete.

I'm already wanting to work on another project (I bought some sock yarn...I'm thinking about the pomatomus socks from Knitty). But I really need to finish the wedding gift before the wedding (Memorial Day weekend). The wedding gift project (henceforth known as the WGP) isn't difficult, but it involves needing a good solid block of time to work on it and I haven't had much of that recently. It's too much effort to pick up the project and just knit a row or two. Hopefully I'll have some "me" time this weekend and devote it all to knitting on the WGP.

That is, if we don't do more gardening...I have seeds "burning a hole in my pocket."

Eek--I'm in the faculty lounge at work (on my lunch), and they're doing construction on the other side of the wall where the computer is. I'm going to post this before they pound right through the cinder blocks!


Yahoo--finished object!!

The Rhapsody in Tweed sweater is complete! Do I have photos of the sweater? Sadly, no. Do I have a photo of Nerdy Hubby wearing the sweater? Sadly, another no.

But soon, I swear! It was too sticky (hot, rainy, etc) this weekend for any contact with wool, but I'll get a photo of Nerdy Hubby tonight, maybe. He looks really handsome in it--neither one of us anticipated how flattering the semi-turtleneck collar would be on him. He's a Nerdy Hottie Hubby in that sweater.

Now I've switched gears and am working on a secret wedding gift for a knitting friend who's getting married in a little more than a month. Eek! I'm not even 1/4 of the way done yet...I'd better get knitting!

Non-knitting content:

We spent a good portion of our day/evening yesterday
planting new stuff at our house. We dug, we mixed clay-cutter with dirt, we mixed in nutrient-enhanced soil...we "misted," and we patted down mounds and mounds of dirt.

Even though all of the plants we bought were small-ish in size, it's incredible what a difference they're already making in the homey feel of our immediate yard. We have a small, 1970s era ranch house situated on 2 acres of land. Most of the yard is on one side of our driveway, and our house is on the other side. So our house doesn't have much "yard" to speak of. It's also on a hill, so a good part of our otherwise buried foundation is exposed to the world and it's not pretty. The gardenias will mask the ugly foundation and the clematis will climb up the posts of our deck. The creeping ground cover plants will (hopefully) spread out to control some minor erosion we have going on near our driveway turn-around.

It's a lot of fun for me to work on gardening stuff, but I'm not very good at the upkeep (translation: anything involving weeding). Luckily, Nerdy Hubby is good at the follow-up stuff, and enjoys it, so I get to be the queen and just celebrate the beauty we've created while Nerdy Hubby keeps everything alive.

I think I'm going to try to plant some flower seeds next weekend, but it involves a lot of digging/preparing the soil since it's an area currently covered in grass. Nerdy Hubby has had his fill of ripping up grass to make way for plants. We'll see how strong I feel on Friday. I have discovered a few new torso muscles that had been deceptively silent until the gardening workout yesterday. I assume they'll be relaxed and ready to work again by Friday--I certainly hope so, at least!

If all goes as planned, I'll try to take some photos of the "after" gardens. We still need to coat everything in mulch, which I don't love, but everything we bought recommended mulching the base of the plants to protect the roots. I guess if it's good for the plants, it's something we should do...phooey. I don't know why, but mulch just bothers my asthetic sensibilities. I'll get over it, I'm sure.

I have a big fat case of the grumps, and I don't know why--I'm incredibly cranky and don't want to do any of the things I should be doing. What I'd most like to do is just leave work and hide out at home with no responsibilities and nothing to do. I don't even think I feel like knitting, that's how cranky I am. Hmph!

And with that, I'm going to stop writing because I'll just end up saying something cranky and stupid (as if I haven't already).


how spoiled am I? not too bad...

I found this while reading a Knitting Vacation Swap-member's blog...

How Spoiled Are You?
Do you own:
( ) your own cell phone (I decided to say "no" to this one because I'm on my parents' "family" plan)
( ) a television in your bedroom (I don't get how this makes you spoiled...I have no desire to have a TV in my bedroom!)
( ) an iPod (boy, how I wish I had one of these!)
(x) a photo printer
(x) your own phone line
( ) TiVo or a generic digital video recorder
( ) high-speed internet access (i.e., not dialup) (Yup, we live in the boondocks where high-speed isn't available)
( ) a surround sound system in bedroom (again--why?!)
( ) DVD player in bedroom (see above)
() at least a hundred DVDs
(x) a childfree bathroom (easy when you don't have children)
(x) your own in-house office
( ) a pool
( ) a guest house
( ) a game room
(x) a queen-size bed or larger
( ) a stocked bar
(x) a working dishwasher
( ) an icemaker (I dream of having an icemaker, honest!)
(x) a working washer
( ) more than 20 pairs of shoes
( ) at least ten things from a designer store
( ) expensive sunglasses
(x) framed original art
( ) Egyptian cotton sheets or towels
() a multi-speed bike
( ) a gym membership
( ) large exercise equipment at home
( ) your own set of golf clubs (but what if I don't play golf?)
( ) a pool table
( ) a tennis court
( ) local access to a lake, large pond, or the sea
( ) your own pair of skis
( ) enough camping gear for a weekend trip in an isolated area
( ) a boat
( ) a jet ski
( ) a neighborhood committee membership
(x) a beach house or a vacation house/cabin (well, our families do, and we're welcome there, so this counts in my book)
( ) wealthy family members
(x) two or more family cars
( ) a walk-in closet or pantry
(x) a yard
(x) a hammock
( ) a personal trainer
(x) good credit
( ) expensive jewelry
( ) a designer bag that required being on a waiting list to get...(yet another item I don't understand...why bother?)
( ) at least $100 cash in your possession right now
( ) more than two credit cards bearing your name (not counting gas cards or debit cards)
( ) a stock portfolio
(x) a passport
( ) a horse
( ) a trust fund (either for you or created by you)
( ) private medical insurance (I'm confused by this...I have insurance provided by my job...is that "private?")
( ) a college degree, and no outstanding student loans (rats! I thought I got to say "yes" until I read the last part...)

Do you:
( ) shop for non-needed items for yourself (like clothes, jewelry, electronics) at least once a week
( ) do your regular grocery shopping at high-end or specialty stores
( ) pay someone else to clean your house, do dishes, or launder your clothes (not counting dry-cleaning)
( ) go on weekend mini-vacations
( ) send dinners back with every flaw
( ) wear perfume or cologne
( ) regularly get your hair styled or nails done in a salon
( ) have a job but don't need the money OR
( ) stay at home with little financial sacrifice
( ) pay someone else to cook your meals
( ) pay someone else to watch your children or walk your dogs
( ) regularly pay someone else to drive you
( ) expect a gift after you fight with your partner

Are you:
( ) an only child
( ) married/partnered to a wealthy person
( ) baffled/surprised when you don't get your way

Have you:
( ) been on a cruise
(x) traveled out of the country
(x) met a celebrity (my definition of a celebrity might differ from others' but I'm still counting it)
( ) been to the Caribbean
(x) been to Europe
( ) been to Hawaii (my plane to Australia stopped in Hawaii, and I think we even got off the plane, but I didn't [i]see[/i] anything, so I'm not going to count it)
(x) been to New York (this one's easy--I used to work there!)
( ) eaten at the space needle in Seattle
( ) been to the Mall of America
( ) been on the Eiffel tower in Paris
(x) been on the Statue of Liberty in New York (I can't see how this counts considering I used to live/work in the region...it wasn't being "spoiled," it was to entertain visitors)
(x) moved more than three times because you wanted to (well, "wanted to?" I guess so...)
( ) dined with local political figures
(x) been to both the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast

Did you:
(x) go to another country for your honeymoon
(x) hire a professional photographer for your wedding or party
( ) take riding or swimming lessons as a child
( ) attend private school
( ) have a Sweet 16 birthday party thrown for you

Score: 23


Random information about my birthday

I saw this on January One's blog and thought I'd play along. It's an easy way to distract you from the fact that I don't have any knitting content...soon, I swear!

Do a Wikipedia search of your birthdate, minus the year; list three interesting events, three people who were born, and three people who died on that day.

1835 - Hans Christian Andersen publishes first book of fairy tales
1885 - Although the exact date is unknown, the US Patent Office acknowledges December 1st, 1885 as the first day Dr Pepper was served.
2005 - South Africa's Constitutional Court extends marriage equality to homosexual couples.

1913 - Mary Martin, American actor and singer (d. 1990)
1935 - Lou Rawls, American singer (d. 2006)
1940 - Richard Pryor, American actor, comedian (d. 2005)

1947 - Aleister Crowley, English occultist (b. 1875)
1985 - Alvin Ailey, American dancer, choreographer (b. 1931)
1987 - James Baldwin, American writer (b. 1924)


Nephew #3 in his bunting

Nephew #3 in his bunting
Originally uploaded by Nerdy Knitter.
Here's the baby-in-bunting photo--hooray! Like I said, it's too big, but he'll grow into it by the time it's cold enough to bundle him up in handknits.

I have one photo where his little foot is peeking through the hole where the seatbelt is supposed to go! His little teeny arms don't even extend past the shoulder seams at the moment. He's soooo little (and yet he weighed 8lbs 15oz, which is a substantial size for a baby).

I have 13 rows left on Nerdy Hubby's second sleevie, then it's "just" a matter of seaming and doing the neck. Watch this space for exciting knitting news...hopefully next week.


Body Blocking

Body Blocking
Originally uploaded by Nerdy Knitter.

This title makes me think of the time I was addicted to Thai kickboxing...blocking takes on a completely different meaning when you're talking punching and kicking!

Anyway, here's the body of Nerdy Hubby's sweater...ain't it purdy?

Unfortunately, the yarn and cables don't show up so well here, but I've got a close-up photo of the cable, which I'll post next...

Cabling detail
Originally uploaded by Nerdy Knitter.
Here's the up-close look at the center cable. Sorry it's not centered in the photo...the basement where the sweater was blocking is dark, and I couldn't see whether I'd even gotten it in the frame, let alone centered it!

The color is pretty accurate, though--the yarn is charcoal gray, with flecks of pumpkin, olive green, and some ochre. Really beautiful!


Coming down the home stretch (and a few concerns about my blocking)

Well, I'm about 1/3 of the way done with Sleeve #2 for Nerdy Hubby's sweater...I finished the front and back, put them together at the shoulders (using the beloved 3-needle bind-off), and popped the "poncho" over Hubby's head. The body barely made it past his waist! But, never fear, the yarn doesn't have a lot of twist, and we use Eucalan to soften our woollies, so I wasn't deterred...I could block this puppy into submission.

I soaked/spun the poncho/sweater with 2 capsful of Eucalan, and then pinned it to the blocking board (photos to come...no camera at high-speed internet central...aka work), stretching it a bit to make it the required 27" long. Not too bad...didn't take much effort...

I let it dry, then unpinned...I think it lost .75" when I took the pins out of the sweater.

So, here's my thought (irrational rationalization coming...warning! warning!): I didn't leave much dampness in the sweater after I soaked it in the Eucalan...I let the washer spin most of it out...if it had been really wet, the project would have stretched out and stayed that way...so I'm going to do another in-the-sink-with-no-spin-cycle soak/block. What do you think? Am I simply fooling myself?

I did end up adding another 1-2" to the first almost-finished sleeve, so I was glad I hadn't bound off on that one. Now I'm striving to keep the second sleeve similar to the first. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Once I finish this sleeve, I'm going to block the sleeves to match the width given in the schematic, then worry about the length. I'm confident they're long enough, but I don't want to block them so aggressively that they become overly long. Eek! That wouldn't sit well at all.

Because it's a simple drop-shoulder design, there aren't any armholes to fit with the sleeves...just two rectangles for the front and back, and the sleeves. I'm not very good at sewing fitted sleeves into shaped armholes, so I'm thankful for small favors on this project!

Tune in later this week (I hope) for photos of the sweater in progress...


I have a new Nerdy Nephew!

Yup, Nephew #3 entered the world this morning at 6:15. His mother reports that this was the shortest labor yet (6-ish hours). The baby is 8lbs 15 oz! That's one teeny little ounce away from being a 9-pounder. Yikes!

We'll be making the 2-hour trip to see the new little guy and the rest of the family this weekend. Can't wait!

Photos of Nephew #3 in his bunting should be available next week. Yahoo!