Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The dumbing down of America

I know I don't often come on and rant here because I try to stay away from that here...but...

Fox has a show called "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?". It's set up just like "Millionaire", except you are answering questions from grade school, and win money for it. A selection of questions:

  • 1st grade art: If you mixed equal amounts of red paint and yellow paint, what color do you get?

  • 1st grade astronomy: What is the closest star to the Earth?

  • 2nd grade geography: Which country has the longest border with the US?

  • 4th grade math: How many sides are there on a trapezoid?

  • 3rd grade reading: True or False. Fiction books are not assigned numbers in the Dewey Decimal System.

  • 3rd grade measurements: How many decades are in 2 millenia?

I can't tell if this show is a complete joke or if they are for real. I'm really hoping that it's a complete joke because if it is not...I am left speechless. I am in shock of this show and yet I can't stop watching. I think they'd reject me from this show cuz I know too much... I did get one of those questions wrong. Answers to come tomorrow.

Turned the heel on Widdershins #1


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Just to catch up from my 2 for 1 post. Here are my current pairs and the status of each pair:

Pair 1:Monkey socks

Flower Meadow Shrug
Pair 2:Top down raglan


I hate the formatting on this post. I don't know why there is that space there. This is why I don't do webpages.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

This Ain't No Love Story

Warning, this is going to be a long post.

Start of the Widdershins

I cast on for Widdershins. I wanted to get the initial toe increases out of the way. I was able to do one cable Friday night and then I packed it up. I did forget to pack the dpn I was using as a cable needle but thankfully, I had tried cabling without a cable needle in the past so I was okay. By the time I got to Boston, the sock looked like this:


Boston, the memories

I got myself up to Boston this weekend. It's amazing the stuff one remembers. I took the airport shuttle from terminal B to the T station and we drove past terminal C and terminal E. Last time I was at terminal C was on 9/11/2001 in the madness of the groundings post World Trade Center hits. Last time I was at terminal E, was the summer of 2001 on my month long jaunts in Europe and Asia. From the airport, I took myself to the North End so that I could get cake. The winds were bitterly cold. It was the Boston that I remembered. After a quick lunch and some cake, I got myself to the redline and headed for Porter Square. Again the memories came back. Alewife, the end redline station I used to park at for my jaunts into Boston. Kendall, where there was a thrift store with lots of old clothes from the last 20 or so years. I don't remember what it's called, but if I got out at Kendall, I could walk myself to it. I had bought a blue velvet dress there in high school. I think it was handmade since the seams looked like something I would do if I had made it. Next stop, yarn crawl.

Mind's Eye Yarns

I hadn't originally planned on coming to Mind's Eye Yarns. Upon a recommendation in my comments, and checking out the website and seeing fiber, I decided to go. I did have 3-4 hours to kill. It's located in a cute little house in Porter Square and was literally right off the T stop. Lucy, the owner wasn't there, but I did meet some other very friendly people. I tossed my stuff in the backroom and began my explorations. First I saw a wall of fiber for spinning. OOOOOO.

IMG_0981Then, I was shown some of the yarns in the shop including some of Lucy's own hand dyed sock yarn. I bought 2 colors, 2 skeins each to I could make knee highs if I wanted to. It's a superwash wool/ tencel blend.

I sat and knitted with some of the friendly people there. At one point, I looked up and said, "Oh My God!" because I saw:
A Great Wheel!

I got up after a while and wandered the shop again and came across:


The funny thing is that almost a month ago, I had actually bought something similar at Springwater:


I had started spinning up this ball and realized that not only would this make a great laceweight for knitting up Cherry Blossom Shawl. Then, as I plied it, I thought it'd make a great sweater. But I only had just under a pound of this fiber! What to do? What to do? Well, there was 8 ounces of this stuff at Mind's Eye Yarns so it all came home with me. After doing enough damage there, it was time to head on over to Harvard Square to check out Woolcott and Co and then an early dinner and THE GAME. Woolcott was okay.

Harvard Sucks

As usual, pregaming was at John Harvards where anyone who could make it ended up. Then the walk over the Charles, which for once was actually warm. Then it was on to the game:


Well, we lost. It hurts to lose, but it hurts A LOT to lose to Harvard. And their student fans suck. But then, we can't score on the Power Play. Our defense is shaky. Goaltending is questionable at times. It was the last game of the regular season and in the end, we finished 4th and they finished 8th in a league of 12. But wouldn't it be funny, to the annoyance of the other teams in the league, if it was still a Cornell/Harvard final in Albany? Then, it got bitterly cold.

Post Game

Post game took place at the Hong Kong with the Scorpion Bowls

Those things are tasty! It's like drinking juice! It did take quite a few plus a Long Island Iced Tea for me to achieve the desired effect. I yelled at another random begger guy on the street that night and then felt quite queasy.

Sunday's plane adventures

Sunday morning, I woke up to vibrations at my feet. I thought it was my phone, but I didn't see my phone. And then it vibrated again. Oh, it was my phone. US Airways had called to tell me that my 1:45pm flight had been cancelled for "aircraft maintenance". This is NOT the first time they've cancelled a flight for aircraft maintenance. Now, if you were scheduling a fleet of air crafts, wouldn't you have one or two that were "spares" that wouldn't be in use and you could rotate in if one of the places required maintenance? So I called their 800 number and had my flight changed to the 12:45pm flight. While on the phone I also started getting stern with the person on the other end because I asked, "Is this flight also going to get cancelled too?" and she didn't answer. Finally, I said, "I asked a question." Bloody hell, I may still be drunk, but when I ask a simple yes or no question, I expect an answer. She said she couldn't really hear me. Okay.

So I get myself to Logan and try to check in. I have this bad habit of showing up about an hour before my plane is scheduled to leave. When I get there, I find that DC and NYC flights have their own special tiny counter. And the line was LONG. I could maybe combine my stuff together to not have to check luggage but when I tried to get my ticket from the kiosk, it said to see an agent. Now I was swearing at the person I spoke to this morning for messing up my itinerary change. If there was no line and I didn't have the kiosk problems, I'd be all set. But having to wait in line, checkin would close before I got to the front of the line and I'd have to reschedule to the 2:45pm flight. I get to the front of the line and hear that they've cancelled the 12:45pm flight due to the weather. Before I left, I heard that we were supposed to get light snow and some icy rain. I didn't htink it was anything to worry about, other than an annoying layer of ice to scrape off my car. So I'm wondering how bad the situation really is down here. After checking in and getting myself on the 2:45pm flight, I go grab some food to help ease the pounding headache and since I thought my body could use something other than alcohol to process. I also texted Amber with the question "How's the weather down there?" Her response:


A picture of her boyfriend's car with the snow that had fallen during the night.

Holy crap! No wonder we're grounded! I make myself comfortable in the waiting area and took a picture of Widdershins before starting my afternoon of waiting and knitting:

Boy, was I glad I was making knee highs! I had quite a while to go before I ran out of yarn! Now, if I finished this sock before I got on the plane, that would not have been a good thing. I also took a nap...still hungover at this point. And then I knitted some more. And then they announced various flight cancellations. And then a plane flew in and I noticed that it had the Philidelphia Eagles logo on it.
Eww. Eagles.

The DC sports fans had trained me well. Strangely, they were flying that plane down to National. Well, it flew down, couldn't land, and came back. They had everyone get off the plane and reschedule. Sometime during this time, I remembered the last time I had gone up to Boston for a Cornell/Harvard game. A storm had hit the northeast and shut down the airports in Philly, Baltimore and DC for a couple of days and Providence and Boston were also shutting down. I ended taking the train back. What fun, I'm doing this again! The announced more cancellations and I was lucky. I was ticketed for one of two flights they were going to try to fly down here. The gates got switched around a bit but no one moved since there was a chance we'd still leave from the same gate. Flights to LaGuardia were also delayed and cancelled cuz they were using planes stuck in DC. And then a sign, a plane was coming in. The passengers who arrived said they'd been sitting on the tarmac at National for 40 minutes. It was my plane. Whoo hoo! Then the crew showed up. Another good sign. And then we were on the plane. If sitting on the plane for hours is what it takes to get myself home, I'm all for it. I napped and knitted some more and finally we landed and sat and waited while they tried to clear a gate for us. National was a mad house. But eventually, I got my bag, and got to my car which didn't look so bad. It was still warm so the wet snow hadn't frozen yet so I was able to clear off the car quickly. Now I'm home, with the Oscars on, and with a headache. I'll leave you with a final picture of Widdershin, I'm ready to turn the heel:

Hockey trips - always an adventure

Friday, February 23, 2007

Monkey off my back

Everyone periodically has a monkey on their back. Yeah, this was my monkey:

Monkey socks

Photo is courtesy of Amber. I was zooming along on these socks until the trip to New York when I knit and knit and knit and knit and knit. The continuous knitting on double pointed needles was NO GOOD and so I had to pause in the knitting. I had one and a half socks. After resting my hands for a couple of weeks, I picked up the needles and continued on like the tough cookie that I am. Well, after a row, my hands hurt again. My hands don't seem to agree with knitting in the round on tiny dpns. It because the monkey on my back that wouldn't go away. Then, I realized that I could very possibly switch over to 2 circular needles to continue on and finish the second sock. Why would circs be better than dpns? Well, for one, I wouldn't be contorting my left hand in various ways. When working with dpns, I can't knit continental. The needles and yarn and hands all get in the way of each other. So, I have to throw. But when I throw, my hands start to hurt, a lot. Switching to 2 circs, my hands wouldn't have to contort because stitches I'm not knitting sit on a flexible cable that can be moved easily out of the way.

So the Monkey is off my back. Details:

Yarn: Mama E's C*EYE*BER Fiber sock yarn in Poppy

Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo in size 2, switched to something grey and metal, also in size 2.

Pattern: Monkey from Cookie the great.

Next up, I've started working on Widdershins for some cabling fun. Yes I'm still throwing. Needles are too small for me to have enough control over tension to knit continental.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

This weekend to Boston

I'll be spending this weekend in Boston, well, really Cambridge. It's Lynah East weekend where we play Harvard. Here's the wikipedia entry. For many years, there were no Harvard fans in the stands. Cornell fans attended and took over the place...hence, Lynah Rink in the east -> Lynah East! It's really a pity that Harvard has no fans because they're usually a decent team...until you hit the NCAA tournament and then they're a one and out team. So...this weekend:

  • Hockey game

  • Scorpion Bowl - which I've never had but am preparing myself for based on what I've heard

  • While hanging around at Harvard Square during the day, I think I shall have lunch and go see about hanging out at Woolcott and Co which appears to be the local yarn shop. I heard about this place on the It's a Purl, Man podcast. Side note on this podcast vs. Lime and Violet. This guy has the most mellow voice and something which would normally put you to sleep. As opposed to Lime and Violet who shriek and should keep you awake. But I have this weird ability to fall asleep listening to L&V while no sleeping problems with Purl Man.

  • See about going to Mike's Pastry which is this AMAZING Italian bakery in the North End. I used to buy $25 worth of cake for myself to bring back to school. Note that at that time, a slice of cakse was $2.50. and OMG!!!! THEY'LL SHIP ANYTHING FROM THE STORE!!!! A few years ago when I checked, shipping was about $50 for next day shipping but you know what, I haven't had this in a few years and it would SO BE WORTH IT!!!!!!!! But of course, I'm gonna try to bring some back with me this weekend

So that's my weekend.

One Monkey, To Monkeys

I just need to kitchner the second Monkey and then I'm done with the knitting! I'll do this at lunch tomorrow. Close my door, eat my food, kitchner my sock, take a nap :-) Then, all that's left is weave in the seams, put them on and take a picture. And I guess wash them, wear them out once, and wash them again before sending it to my friend.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Thinking ahead

Once I finish Monkey and Flower Meadow Shrug, I will need a new project and a new sock project. The new project will be the top down raglan. The sock project...I'm looking at either Falling Leaves which Amber is also working on or Widdershins the cabled version. I will be using one of my Schaefer Anner purchases. Any thoughts?

National Pancake Day

On Feb 20, 2007, between 7am and 10pm, you can go get a free shortstack. So...who's up for a late dinner Tuesday?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

2 for 1

I was playing around with this idea in my head last night. For every two objects that I finish, I can buy yarn for one. The top down raglan yarn purchase isn't counting right now. So, for finishing the Flower Meadow Shrug and the Monkey sock, I can go get the kit for Lake Placid. Then, for finishing the top down raglan and something else, I can go buy more yarn. I'm not sure how this would work out. Now, let's say that I finish the Monkey sock first and still have the Flower Meadow Shrug to go. I can't say that Monkey + Flower Meadow Shrug is a pair, and Flower Meadow Shrug and top down raglan is a pair. That's no good. But maybe this will put me on the road to knitting productivity and knitting through the stash.

After all, when one is on a diet, one must be allowed to cheat a little, else one ends up on this insane binge!

Friday, February 16, 2007

It's been a while

Since I've gone days without posting. Work is my explanation. My brain is too tired to come up with things to say. Update on projects. I haven't beaded much since the last post. I've spun and knitted some. I've got the back and one sleeve of the Flower Meadow Shrug done. I still have another sleeve and the lace edgings. I forgot how quickly worsted weight yarn knits up. I've also switched Monkey onto DPNs. The sock would probably have gone into the "Forever Unfinished" bin if I hadn't because I don't think I'll be knitting with small DPNs again. It hurts too much. I've got 4 more repeats to go and then I can start the decreases for the sock and then be done with knititng. For finishing these two items, I can go get....

Lake Placid is a beautiful place. I wish they hadn't moved the annual league tournament away from there.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

On my neck tomorrow

On my neck tomorrow will be this pretty little baby


Astrophyllite stone. Instead of picots with seed beads, I used 6 mm Swarovski crystals. For the strap, a spiral rope made with size 8 triangle beads.

And later this week,

Red glass cabochon. This one has the seed bead picots. It is hanging off of a spiral rope made with size 8 hex beads.

I think I need some better shots.

It's one of those weekends when I need to remember to stop and breathe and relax. I don't know how to relax. Saturday was a go-go-go day. I tried to take it a little easier today. But I need to stop and relax before I drive myself into the grave.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Dale of Norway Olympic kits

I've been really really really wanting to knit some Fair Isle. Last weekend in Ithaca, I was thinking how nice it would be to have some nice Fair Isle wool sweaters to wear in the cold. I've also greatly admired the Dale of Norway Olympic Team sweaters and have been wanting to know where I can find the patterns. Well, look what I found tonight! I'm trying hard to keep myself from buying it all.

Right up my alley

Joan McGowan-Michael of White Lies Designs has a new book coming out. This stuff is right up my alley. Yes, I have a strange fascination with the construction of the underclothes. I also love this woman's designs. Remember last year and the Knitting Olympics? I was working on her Angelina Jacket. That didn't turn out so well since my hand hurt then as well but I did eventually manage to finish.

In other news, I have bound off all stitches of the Flaming Moth. Whoo hoo! I just need to weave in the ends, wash and block. I am currently using it as a "lap blanket" because it is very big. Also, because I have a superstition that I can not wear red when Cornell is playing. They tend to lose. Cornell is currently playing RPI. RPI sucks this year, but on any given night, anyone can really suck. I hope it's not us tonight. So Flaming Moth is a "lap blanket". Sunday through Thursdays of hockey season, it is a shawl.

I should also have some pretty beady things to show too. I'm just realy sleepy right now.

And I found my cabochons!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Where's MY Interweave?

Well, where is it? :-(

Amber got hers. Helena got hers. I hope I get mine tomorrow...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Drinking from the cup

This post is for the menfolk in Helena's household.

In 2003, Joe Nieuwendyk won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils. Each member of the winning team gets to spend a day with the Cup. Joe decided to bring the Cup to Ithaca and make it a fund raiser for one of his former teammates while at Cornell. The Cup's visit to Ithaca coincided with the annual alumni game. During the game, Joe stood with the Cup and took pictures with the line of fans that had come from all over the surrounding areas.

Usually, the post game celebration takes place at Dunbar's, a bar in Collegetown, owned by hockey fans and supporters. The place looks better in the dark, but when it's time to celebrate with the team, that is the place to be. Late into the night, the Cup made its appearance. More pictures were taken. At some point they started pouring beer into the cup and people started drinking out of it. Or really, two people would hold Stanley, and pour beer from him into an awaiting fan's mouth. By the time I got to meet Stanley, random half empty bottles of beer from the table were being emptied into the bowl. I have no idea what I was drinking. I came away thinking that the lip of the cup is a lot thicker than you would think, and I'm glad I didn't get my teeth knocked out.

You can read about this adventure of the Stanley Cup from the Hockey Hall of Fame journals.

Edit: Something I remembered from the Mighty Oracle's comment. Yeah, probably something with hockey trophies all being cup or bowl like. We do the same thing with the league trophy. It's a cup. It's smaller than Stanley and the one of the times the team won, they brought it to a bar in Albany and handed to the bartender and said, "Can you fill that with beer?" and they did!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

An update on the Flaming Moth

There was a query tonight from Patricia about how the Flaming Moth was going. Well, I haven't touched it since I realized I didn't have enough yearn. This thing is huge and it had been a little warm to work on it since I was covered in something nearly the size of a lap blanket. Well, it got cold. I pulled it out tonight and finished off a row using the old yarn. Now I join in the new yarn for 2 rows and a final 3rd bind off row and then I can block. And I'll have my size 8 needles.

I am trying really hard right now to keep myself from buying wool to make a Dale of Norway sweater. There is a sweater I really like in one of the booklets I bought while at the Mannings that calls for Dale of Norway Daletta which is a fingering weight superwash wool. Now, when I think Dale of Norway wool, I wasn't exactly thinking superwash, so I have mixed feelings about this. Also, this fingering weight thing... I realize color work would make it thicker...but I was hoping for something that knit up a little faster. But this cold weather is making me want to knit some wool sweaters.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Scenes from Lynah

I've got the pictures from Lynah Rink here. The Saturday night game, they also honored the recently retired Joe Nieuwendyk right after the national anthems and the puck drop. We play both Canadian and American anthems. Nieuwendyk once played for us and went on to play in the NHL where he won the Stanley Cup 3 times. It is because of him that I had once gotten to drink out of the Stanley Cup. I don't know what I was drinking, but when you are offered the chance to drink out of the Cup, you don't ask questions, you just drink!

So we lost the game to St. Lawrence but it was a good time all around. Here are also some pictures of the Schaefer Anne sock yarn. Look at those yummy colors:


Finally, something that I've been working on:

Edit: To add the link to the wikipedia Stanley Cup entry.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Superbowl Sunday

And I spent a portion of it on the road. I do have pictures from Saturday, I'm just feeling lazy right now so they're not going to get uploaded.

I didn't make any yarn purchases while at the Mannings because I knew that I was waiting for Knitting Etc. The last time I was in Ithaca, I stood in that store admiring the Schaefer Anne yarn, and I hadn't been able to stop thinking about them. So this time, I went back and bought a couple of skeins of it. It is so pretty. It is a superwash wool and mohair blend and it is very soft.

Cornell lost to St. Lawrence last night but my friend did win the 50/50 raffle so she took us out for a drink and dessert and she still has her next stay in Ithaca covered.

Ithaca was COLD! I should've gotten the Ithaca is Cold t shirt while I was up there. I spent Saturday thinking about how nice it would be to live in Ithaca (again) because it's cold and I could make many many many wool sweaters in fair isle, or with a yoke neck, or some Dale of Norway sweaters, etc. And my friends were very amused. But I could knit myself sweaters and have many opportunities to wear them!

On the way back, I got a little lost around Harrisburg since I stopped on my way over to the Mannings on the way up and didn't remember exactly if I was supposed to pick up 15 from 83 or 81. I followed 81, got off at the 15 sign and realized that I've ended up on Harrisburg local roads and was supposed to have followed 83 to pick up 15. I ended up finding 83 and came down to DC by way of Baltimore and 95 instead of 270. I concluded this meant that I need to go up to Ithaca more often. But you know what, I really have a preference for the 95 -> 83 -> 81 route. I don't know why but I hate going up 270 to pick up 15 and 83.

I am knitting again. Not much, but I am able to. Oh, and I think I may have lost one of my dpns in Lynah.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


On my way up to Ithaca yesterday, I stopped at:
The Mannings.

It was really awesome. I managed to stop myself from buying yarn since I didn't really have anything in mind other than a top down raglan and I wanted to wait on that. So, pictures are over here.

So, all Thursday night and Friday morning, there was talk about horrible traffic and ice and bad weather...down in the DC metro area. I don't know what they're talking about. I didn't see any bad weather on the Beltway or up 270. In fact, the flurries only started when I got up to Binghamton and the snow really started AFTER I arrived in Ithaca!. This is what winter is supposed to look like:

It turns out that I'm also staying that the same hotel as the Clarkson team...I'd like to go to the gym now and I hope that they're not all down there too. We did beat them last night 5 to 1 and Lynah...after the renovations is interesting. Everything seems to have gotten louder. It's supposed to keep snowing here, though right now, it's sunny outside and the sun is reflecting off all the snow. I'll have some pictures of the game tonight. Today involves some brunch and dinner with friends, a trip to Wegman's (the second of the weekend), and also the second trip of the weekend ot the LYS, Knitting Etc. They carry a lot of the Schaefer hand dyed yarn produced right on the other hill over in Interlaken, NY. In a strangely odd twist that makes this yarn even more endearing to me, the coach of Cornell's men's hockey team is named Schafer.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Urg! Urg!

You know what I hate? I hate that I can't find the cabochons I bought at the last Gem and Jewelry show. I also hate that I can't find my bluetooth headset and I need it this weekend cuz I'm going up to NY, state where you can't talk on a cell phone unless you're using a headset. I'm sure after I buy more cabs and another headset, I'll find them all again and kick myself.