Photos and fun weekend activities

Well, I just gave up on figuring out how to rotate a photo in Flickr and have it show up correctly in the blog. Ugh! I don't have time to fiddle with this when I'm on my lunch hour and need to get a little knitting done besides!

So, follow the link to Flickr and you'll see all of my photos. Here's one that worked the way it was supposed to:

Alpaca Friend #2 is so cute

I went to a Berry Festival at the Orchardside Yarn Shop on Saturday. Guess where the yarn shop is...if you guessed "next to a berry orchard," you're the winner! (We've already established that I don't really give prizes to my winners...you should just enjoy the feeling of satisfaction at knowing the answer.)

My friend, E, and I had a great time chatting on the drive out there (it's about 45 minutes from our area), walking in the nice, sunny, weather, browsing at the local vendors' wares...and seeing alpacas and adorable angora bunnies! Who knew they come in gray?!

Oh, yes, there was also a yarn shop to explore, with everything (I love that my color is the "Cisco Kid" color!) in the place discounted (I think this is the color I chose) by 20%, and a few extra things 30% off...(yes, I bought 3 balls of that exact color--it looks like fog and smoke and all of those wonderfully vaporous things; imagine it in a lacy shawl!).

I also saw a really beautiful multidirectional scarf done in self-striping sock yarn. It was gorgeous, and really dainty, done on nice, little needles. I might use the yarn my Knitting Vacation Swap pal gave me to make one of those...it would be lovely!

Not sure what I'll use the Tri-Color Suede for, but it's my favorite color combination, so I felt I had to buy it. But, considering the price, I only bought 1 ball, which naturally limits what I can make. One can only have so many scarves, you know...

I really, really, really want the perfect pattern for the Kid Merino because it's such a gorgeous color--I'm always attracted to mohair-type yarns, then never know what to do with them. Please, please, please, if anyone is reading this who can give me suggestions, please do!

I just bought this beautiful pattern yesterday, but I don't have enough of the Kid Merino to make it (plus, this is where I get confused--can I use fuzzy, fill-in-the-holes-with-fuzz yarns for this kind of lace, or will the design disappear in the fuzz?). Oooh! Oooh! Wait a minute! I dooooo have enough yarn! So, anyone? Could I use my fuzzy yarn for this pattern? What a concept!

Well, lunch is officially over, and I didn't even finish my entry. That's what I get for being such a link-happy nerd today!

So, it's back to the reference desk...for 5 more hours...if you're in the area, swing by and ask me a question. Anything, really. Well, except "how do you print from the computers here?" That might send me into a tizzy as it's the only question I get most nights. So put on your thinking caps and ask something memorable.


A finished object

Gold Hat
Originally uploaded by Nerdy Knitter.
Well, the car ride north to my parents' 40th anniversary party gave me a lot of good knitting time (well, when I wasn't wrangling the beast child)...I almost finished the whole hat on the way up (12 hours in a car will do that)...until I hit the directions for the edging. My brain just couldn't cope, and then for some reason, the edging just beat me. I was even thinking of finding a different edging pattern somewhere because I just couldn't make it work.

I even had Nerdy Mommy (knitter extraordinaire) try it, and she finally got it and demonstrated for this Nerdy Knitter. Phew! Once I'd seen it done, I was much better off.

So here's the cutie-pie hat in all its glory, ready to be donated somewhere...not sure where yet. It's the right size for a toddler, so I'll have to find a place that is in need of toddler things.

Are you so suitably impressed by my one finished object that you won't mention the fact that I haven't mentioned the belated wedding gift project?

I brought everything I needed to get started on that project...the yarn, the book with the pattern, the other (completed) part...everything, that is, except my needles! And I don't even know what size I used, so it's going to be a bit of a guess when I get back home. Sigh.

As luck would have it, our car has been in the shop since Saturday (today is Wednesday, in case you're not near your calendar), so we've been up north way longer than we'd planned. Both Nerdy Knitter & Nerdy Hubby really need to get back to Nerdland tonight, so no matter what time the car is fixed, we're going to be on the road today...meaning a late, late, late night of driving, and no light for knitting.

The good part of this is that the Beast will most likely sleep more when it's dark and less exciting to look out the windows. We've taken him for a big, exhausting swim in the lake, and I will take him for a big, hot walk before we get ready to go. This should do the trick. Never again will we travel without taking the Beast for a long, long walk...exhaustion is the key to good travel behavior! That is our motto forever more.

Next post, photos of the parents' party--lovely, lovely.


Sigh...what a way to start the day

So I went out on our deck to reinstall our birdfeeders (we take them in every night to discourage foraging raccoons), and I saw a mass of moss/soft stuff that looked suspiciously like the bird's nest under our deck...upon further inspection, I saw a sad little pile of bird feathers nearby, and could only conclude that some Big Meanie (the biggest meaniest!) ate our little bird friends who were not quite (but almost) big enough to fly away to safety. Sigh.

I have all kinds of fun things to tell, but I couldn't write about the fun stuff until I gave my bird friends a little eulogy--they were only a few weeks old and had grown so big that they were standing on each other to get some space in their little nest. Poor Momma Bird! She wasn't roosting with the babies because they were so big; I wonder if she saw it all happen, or if she came this morning to find that her nest and her little ones had been destroyed.

I wonder if this will keep another bird from choosing our previously just-right location for its nest. In a way, I hope it won't, but then I think I wouldn't want to have another nest there...I would only worry about what might happen to the babies.

And to think, Henry barked at 2am and I looked at the deck to see what had caused the ruckus and saw nothing. The bird-killer must have been exploring down below (the deck is on the 2nd floor), and I didn't see it. Henry knew, though--I guess, considering we think the hunter was a raccoon, I'm glad Henry wasn't out there to duke it out with the big meanie.

I know this is the way Nature works, but it's no fun. We provided a nice, safe haven for the nest, and then it turned into an open invitation for marauding predators. Hmph.

So, the rest of my day has been colored by my first-thing-in-the-morning sadness.

But I don't want to forget that I had a really nice weekend (which included showing off the little ones in their nest just Sunday!).

I took the pooch to the dog park on Friday and he had a great time meeting and greeting the other pooches. He's such a funny guy--he was wandering around, sniffing and kind of whimpering, and I finally asked him if he wanted to "get dressed" (doggy-human code for "put your harness on and go somewhere"), and he ran over to me, practically begging to go home. This is particularly unusual because he will not come to me at all when he's in the dog park (it's something akin to a child pretending a parent is a complete stranger when out in public), but when I asked about getting dressed, he was more than happy to admit he knew me. We were there for 90 minutes or so, which I guess is Henry's limit for play before he's panting to leave.

On Saturday, my knitting friend, E, came over for some fun chatting and knitting. We haven't seen each other since E got married almost 2 months ago, so we had a lot of catching up to do. She's so great--I'm glad we live so close (5 miles, tops).

Nerdy Hubby and I had a nice dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, which is always nice (and almost always happens on a weekly basis...but don't tell my nutritionist!).

And then, much to my surprise, my friend, C, called on Sunday to ask if she could "stop by" for a little visit. Reminder: we live in the country...anyone coming from the City is making a serious effort to see us. C lives in the City. She thought she'd arrive in an hour or so...right when Nerdy Hubby was planning to watch the final World Cup match. No problem, I told him, we'll sit outside on the deck. (Hint: foreshadowing here...). Kaboom! Splash! Sprinkle. Pitter-Patter. Get it? You guessed it...just before my visitor arrived, the skies opened up and it poured down on our little house. So, we all sat together, C and I chatting softly, Nerdy Hubby ignoring us while he watched the match. It worked out well because then we (C and I) were able to get into the excitement of the last bit (for those who haven't heard, it was a tedious 2 overtimes, and penalty kick series before someone broke the tie).

And I took the Beast for a walk Sunday and today; today was a bit of a trial because we saw a baby bunny (very exciting for a pooch on a leash, let me tell you!), and deerios (Someone--guess who--didn't even see them, just heard them crashing around in the woods as they ran in the opposite direction). Phew! That's a lot of excitement for a little 2-mile walk. That amount of excitement is so huge that Someone (guess...just you try) had to wear his I'm-being-naughty-on-the-leash harness to give Nerdy Mommy some control over his pulling.

Sadly, I've been letting the Leash Beast pull a teeny bit too much and have hurt my knee-related muscles. So, I'm forced to be firm with Mr. Pully-McPully-Pants. The head harness we've found is similar to a Gentle Leader, but it doesn't have any adjustible parts; it comes in S, M, and L (probably even more), and that's it. Nothing for a frantic dog to loosen when he scratches with his paws/claws. Nothing to give a feeling of victory when the clawing doesn't produce any results. The Gentle Leader was an easy target for our temperamental pooch--he scratched at it enough that he eventually learned he could get it off. This was bad, people--he dragged his little pink/purple/brown nose along the road until he ripped off the top layer of skin and bled! He clawed at it so much that the inside of his mouth bled! This was more than one Nerdy Mommy could stand, so the Gentle Leader went away. I can't remember the name of the new leader, but it's working much better because he has learned that he cannot get it off. Ha ha to him! And he doesn't fight it anywhere near as much as he did the Gentle Leader. So, we can walk every morning, which does us both a lot of good.

I need to give an endorsement to the Gentle Leader, though--we used it to help keep Henry calm in the car, and it really changed his demeanor; if it hadn't had the adjustible qualities mentioned above, it would have been perfect for our pooch.

We're leaving in 1 1/2 short days to drive to NY State for my parents' 40th anniversary party...10 hours in the car with the Beast...start sending positive vibes now. We need them. Honest. Trust me.


How long does it take Nerdy Knitter/Doggy Mommy to knit 96 sts?

Let's revisit my attempt at flying through 5 rows of 96 sts before coming to work this morning, shall we?

1. knit. knit. knit. knit. knit. kni...

Nerdy Mommy: "Henry--come here, baby" [said in a sing-song voice indicating no hard feelings, just the desire to distract from whatever bizarre outdoor sight is the target this time].

Beasty Boy moves into the living room, away from the window...

2. [same blasted row, mind you!] knit. knit. knit. knitknitknitknit. knit...

Brat Child from Hell: "Bark!" [This "said" while standing in the middle of the living room, staring at Nerdy Mommy!]
Nerdy Mommy: "No, I refuse to play with you; I'm knitting!" [still said in a nice, friendly voice, honest]

3. [still the same row] knit. knit.

He Who Will Not be Ignored: "Bark! Bark!" [Still standing in the middle of the room, incredulous that anyone who loves him could possibly ignore his pleas for play.]

4. No more knitting; doggy play takes over.

Now, I know I could have ignored him altogether, but I spend 11 hours/day out of the house 4 days/week, so I'm weak when it comes to giving play-time.

So, I ended my morning with not even one of the possible five rows completed. [sigh.]

What was I working on, you ask? Well, I can only hint at it since it's a to-be-felted gifty item for my friend, N and I don't want to spoil the surprise. It might be something really cool, or it might be less cool, but practical. I'll let N worry about it for a little bit. Hee hee hee.

You see, N and I both obsess over upcoming gifts, both the receiving and the giving, so right about now, we're both on an equal footing--I can't wait to finish her project so I can send it, and I'm sure she can't wait for me to finish it so I can send it. See? We're equal opportunity gift givers/recipients! No wonder we get along so well.

Oh, and N --I felted my bowl, but haven't taken a photo yet. It's soo cute! I might felt it a few more times, but for now it's just right. I'm waiting for the next time Nerdy Hubby is washing hot wash/cold rinse-appropriate clothes to throw the bowl in with them. Nerdy Hubby is very particular about his laundering, so I have to live by his what-goes-with-what-temp-water rules...

I finished my gift for my One Skein Secret Pal Program pal (I just like using the full official title for some reason...I could just call her OSSPP pal instead, I suppose. Not as fun.), which I also can't show anyone just on the off chance she figures out who I am and how to find my blog (what are the chances of that, honestly? A gazillion to one is generous, but I'll play by the rules until August rolls around).

The gift I made for my One Skein Secret Pal Program pal was a lot of fun because I actually modified a pattern for the first time. I'm such an intense rule/pattern-follower, that this was a major event in my life. The pattern made an item that was too small for what I wanted, and it wouldn't have used much of my single skein, so I made it bigger and changed one small part of the design. But when I was done, the item was a little scratchy, so I thought I would just put it in the washer for one quick wash, just to felt it a bit. I wasn't planning to completely felt it...well, after ONE wash, it's felted. There's no denying it--I felted the thing. But the bonus is that it looks really nice. Nerdy Hubby expressed a preference for the felted version, actually, and I think I agree. Phew!

But I have to remember that even though I have my for-August project ready to go, I still need to mail out the second skein for July...we're in July now, for pete's sake, and I haven't sent it out yet. So much for getting ahead of the game.

So, maybe while I'm out and about this weekend, avoiding the really huge projects I'm pretending aren't in my briefcase, I'll mail my second skein to my pal. I think I shall, just so I can feel all virtuous and all. What a notion!

I'll really feel virtuous if I get my you-know-what in gear and finish my critiques this weekend. That's my goal, at least. Maybe I should tell myself I can't knit (gasp!) until I do at least one critique...maybe that will work. Just maybe.

Just a random note...I was reading Jason's blog, and he was talking about wanting to knit a teddy bear for this program (in California, I think) that takes children to see their incarcerated mothers on Mother's Day, and likewise for fathers on Father's Day. Each child receives a stuffed animal and a note when they go back home so they have something to remind them of their parents. I want to know if such a program exists near me, but I'm not sure how to find out. What a nice idea, no?

We have all kinds of cool prison/community outreach stuff in our area, mostly involving inmates caring for to-be-adopted dogs from the local shelters, so I wonder if we have this kids-visiting-their-parents-thing, too. I hope so!


Photos, photos, everywhere

This is what happens when I don't blog regularly: photo mayhem! We'll begin with knitting content (gasp!) because I have some, and it's not the cheating kind where I show already completed things to fill in gaps. This is a recently finished object and secret pal loot.

First, let me announce that I finished Nephew#2's 3rd birthday present in the car on the way to visit the family. Thank goodness it was a 2-hour drive, or I wouldn't have been completely finished. Talk about cutting things close!

What did I make, you ask? Well, I made a backpack from New Knits on the Block, that's what. It was fun to do because I'd never done that shadow knitting technique before. The pattern was a bit of a challenge, with a few teeny typos that I found frustrating, but they didn't really change the way the pattern worked. It was a case of needing a copyeditor, more than the designer making mistakes.

I kept stopping as I knit to check out the cool way the pattern was appearing. I think Nephew#2 is too young to figure out the magic face hidden in his bag, but his older brother enjoyed being in on the secret.

It was a toss-up whether Nephew#2 would ever get his bag back from his brother, actually, so now I know what Nephew#1 needs for Christmas!

Here's the bag:

A froggy day

And here's the only photo I have that shows the way the face shows up:

Now you see it, now you don't

I wish I could have gotten a better shot of it, but I'm not a professional photographer by any means. You'll have to use your imagination to see the rest of it appear out of the stripes.

The only bad thing about making the bag was the cotton yarn; my index finger was really sore and my wrists didn't feel so good, either.

So what am I working on now?

Good question! I haven't returned to my ballet neck cardigan yet because I'm working (ahead of schedule, I might add) on my gift for my One Skein Secret Pal, which isn't "due" until August, but I needed a small project to work on in the car on the way back from visiting the Nerdy In-Laws. I can't tell you what it is, but I can tell you that I'm really pleased with the way it's turning out. I should be done in the next day or two. Yahoo!

I'm using wool purchased on our honeymoon in Nova Scotia, and it's a little scratchy. I'm thinking of doing one round in the washing machine to soften it up and to felt a teeny bit. I just hope it doesn't felt too well...

Speaking of my One Skein Secret Pal participation...my secret pal is so cool! I call her the Mysterious Ms. M because she told me her first name starts with 'M' and is so unusual that she wouldn't be a secret pal any more if she told me more than that. Mysterious, no? And she's also very talented--she made a gorgeous handspun skein just for me, complete with its own label! I couldn't get a really good photo of the colors, but this is the best of the lot:

She's mysterious, she's . . . divine!

The colors aren't as dark as they appear--they're just right. Very autumnal, very Nerdy Knitter. Aah, I love it! I hope my pal is ready today so she can read my gushing appreciation for my new skein!

And now on to the non-knitting photos...as I mentioned, we were visiting Nerdy In-Laws this past weekend, partially because Nephew#2 turned 3, and partially because Nephew#3 would be 3 months old (it's today, actually). I didn't take a ton of photos, but I took one cutie one of Nerdy Hubby with Nephew#3:

Uncle Marky-Mark and his teeny nephew

(You won't be able to click on it and see anything because I think I have viewership restricted to family and friends. So unless you're family or friend, you'll have to be satisfied with the little photo you see here.)

We had a very nice weekend, playing with all 3 nephews, letting the nephews terrorize the pooch, and enjoying the fact that Henry actually behaved himself in the car. . . both ways!

Don't believe me? Here's proof:

I'm riding in my car

He struggled at first, but then settled down quite nicely. I was so proud of our boy! And, as if riding in the car wasn't enough, he went for a walk in a "foreign" neighborhood, and behaved fairly well. He's making major strides here, people!

So that's the short update on my knitting and our outings. Stay tuned...I won't be gone so long next time, honest.