Sweater, Interrupted; Or, How My Search for a Needle Made Me Finish a Sweater

My wayward US 6 Addi Lace is to blame for what happened last weekend.

When in doubt, blame the needle.

See, I caught the lace bug a few days ago, and decided to pick up a long neglected project.

This makes total sense, I assure you…

That incoherent jumble happens to be the starting strip of Jared Flood’s Rock Island, worked up in some superwash merino/bamboo blend handspun. While Jared Flood’s Rock Island is, of course, spectacular, my personal Rock Island and I had a series of misunderstandings last year that led to a big ‘ole time out.

But we were on our way to a tentative reconciliation last week when I realized I couldn’t find that all-important US 6 Addi Lace.

Serious. Problem.

I looked high, I looked low….all to no avail. I began to suspect sabotage…

“I was framed…”

…when genius struck. Into the closet, hanging in a tote bag,¬† entangled in a mass of red, organic merino cables…

I promise, it’s actually red, not pink.

…was the wayward US 6. And my Military Cardigan, just waiting for a collar and placket and some finishing work.

I then found myself faced with another dilemma: Steal the needle back — forfeiting the many, many, many stitches I had picked up for the collar on this almost-finished sweater — so that I could knit on the lace. Or just finish the damn sweater.

With a sigh, with determination to just be done with it, with stash reduction in mind, I decided to finish the damn sweater.

I knit on Thursday, staying up way too late to knock out just another row of baby cables.

I knit on Friday, all through the London opening ceremonies while hanging out with Emilee.

I knit on Saturday, while hanging out with The Dude.

I knit on Sunday, before and after a trip to the farmer’s market for lunch and fresh produce.

On Monday, I set in and seamed the sleeves.

And today, I washed.

Voila

And that’s how my search for a needle led to a shiny new finished sweater!

The end ūüôā

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Kicking the Kitchen Up a Notch

Things have been busy, busy, busy ’round these parts as of late. Work has been unrelentingly busy, all leading up to Annual Busy Time, which starts in less than 30 days.

And, in my attempt to be “less lame,” I’ve been spending more time with a circle of friends I haven’t spent a lot of time with lately.¬†My long-dormant social butterfly is waking back up. I’m loving it.

And least you think I haven’t been knitting, let me assure you I have been. I finished Multnomah (Simon was *very* helpful with the blocking process) and a pair of simple socks, that I gifted to Jenni because I apparently can’t remember how big my feet are on any given day.

Then I whipped out my very first pair of handspun socks, and cast on a pair of Pointelles in one of my favoritest yarns, String Theory Caper Sock, which I think are destined to be my mom’s birthday present. And I started (and dang-near finished) a Super Secret Xmas Project for one of my favoritest faves. More on that way later.

And all that is from stash. Yup, Operation Stash Containment is going fantastically thus far. I’m doing great. What I’m not doing, clearly, is taking pictures of anything.

A good part of this past weekend was devoted to another recent project: Making my apartment my own. I love my apartment, but when I moved in, I never intended to stay very long. Then everything blew up and my life kind of fell apart for¬†a while. I’m getting back to a good place, and a big part of that has been making my 700-or-so square feet all my own. The first project was the kitten-room re-do. This weekend was all about the kitchen.

Mark, putting on some molding Hard Hittin style, which means no miter box, just a skillsaw and a triangle. Can you dig it?

First and foremost, I’d be totally and completely remiss is I didn’t give madd props to my favorite spindlemaker. See, my apartment has no countertops. At all. For almost two years, my only counterspace has been a four-foot kitchen cart—not really convenient when you like to cook. When I mentioned my desire to put in some sort of counter, Mark didn’t just agree to help; he jumped in with both feet and built me an entire, custom, upcycled-wood cabinet that would color any woodworking hobbiest impressed.

Over the course of Saturday, Mark outfitted it with doors and, after a quick-ish trip to Home Depot, hardware. Then I got a five-minute lesson on laying tile, and we went at spiffing her up. A coat of primer and paint, and she got to looking really pretty.

How do ‘ya like them apples?

Course, I’m making light here. It was a ton of work, mostly on Mark’s part. I’m a lucky girl to¬†have a friend like that,¬†and I know it.

The tile still needs grout, but man, it looks awesome already.

I’m totally psyched for how it looks in my kitchen. The red tiles don’t exactly match the wall color, which is perfect. I had something completely different in mind when we walked into Home Depot, but this just screamed at me off the display. I think I made a good choice.

Awesome.

Yesterday I went crazy with three rolls of shelf liner. My mom ingrained in me the need to “do things the right way” as a child. Damask-ish print shelf liner is totally “the right way.”

Have I mentioned my kitchen is huge? This is just half of it. It’s spectacular.

So, there it is, my fabulous kitchen, now even fabulous-er. My steal-of-the-century kitchen cart now serves as an island, and my cooking mojo is about to go sky-high. And a zillion-and-a-half thanks to Mark for being so ridiculously awesome its not even funny.

Next up: The closet known as my bathroom. My landlord has promised me a new ceiling and a new bathtub/shower in the near future. Rock on.

Breaking All the Rules

I never, ever, ever blog specifically about work. In fact, it’s against my rules. No work on this blog. I work in politics, and I want no politics here.

But, just this once, I’m breaking my rules. Because, on Wednesday (and, yes, it has taken me two days to recover) I was witness to something so epically awesome that I would be totally remiss if I didn’t post about it here.

The Daily Show’s John Oliver looks like he’s about to crash into me right here. I assure you, he’s not. I’m about 6 feet away using a super mega lens. His comment after skidding his bicycle to a stop, “God, the inner eight-year-old in me loves that sound.”

My job on Wednesday was to document the day…the day being of the 10-hour variety on location with a crew from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and correspondent/comedian/very cool guy John Oliver.

My colleague, Taylor, in a haz-mat suit and gas mask. This all makes sense, I assure you…well, sort of…

Now, I’ve gotten to do a lot of very cool things in my job, but this by far took the taco. Not only did I get to play photographer all day, which is always a blast, I got to do it for a Daily Show shoot. Seriously, I should just retire right now. It’s never going to get any better than this.

Cameraman Ryan waiting to start shooting a new scene. This is one of my favorite shots of the day.

I won’t give away any the gripping details here, because that would totally spoil the surprise. The piece is set to air sometime in December, after Thanksgiving and once they edit the more than 30 tapes they shot over the day, and I really can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Shooting an outdoor scene. These guys were total pros.

Instead, I’ll leave you with a parting candid shot of Oliver (who the crew does not call “John,” BTW, because “John” is Jon Stewart…little bit of insider info for ya, there)…

Seriously, this is one very funny man right here.

…and my one-and-only, exausted, freezing cold,¬†wind-burned fangirl moment.

A very long, very awesome day

Not a bad way to spend a day at work.

Rhinebeck 2010: Epic Post of Awesomeness

I thought about breaking this post up, but decided to go for one epic huge post instead. Enjoy!

Autumn was in the air! Saturday was chilly and windy, but Sunday was downright toasty!

 

We stayed in a nice Days Inn in Poughkeepsie. On Saturday morning, some of us got up early and met Kris, Paula and Suzanne at Pete’s Famous in downtown Rhinebeck for breakfast.

 

Ummm…stick-to-your-ribs goodness, perfect for a chilly morning!

Our first stop of the day was the Bosworth booth. This pretty canarywood Midi (shown here on another Rhinebeck goodie, some tussah top from Shadeyside Farm) found its way into my bag.

Our next stop was the competition barn. Sharon took home a few ribbons for her photos! And Kate got a 4th for her Evenstar shawl! And Emilee got a second in Novice Skein for her handspun! As for myself, I got a few ribbons, too, like this 6th for my Gail shawl!

And this crappy pic is of my Shetland Triangle, which took 3rd place in its class! That yarn won a second last year.

And, while none of my skeins placed, Valeria took 1st place!!!!! WOOOHOOO!!!! (Damn, squirrel....)

After checking out our winnings, we started visiting the vendor barns. Tracy stumbled across some beautiful alpaca/silk blend from Gale's Art.

There were critters, of course, like this mohair on the hoof.

These adorable Aussie puppies totally made me squee. There were border collie puppies too...just as adorable.

This sheepie looked silky and soft.

And this one was getting a nice little trim.

These guys were dressed for the weather.

And this horny guy is so cute!

Jenni was totally a knitting rockstar. She knit a whole pair of Malabrigo fetchings while we walked around.

The Artichokes French were all I had hoped for. Delish! (Also tried the apple crisp this year, with ice cream, and chowed a fabulous beef gyro while watching some pumpkin chuckin' on Sunday. I love food.)

We stumbled across the Windy Valley booth, where Tracy and Jenni may have molested this quivit scarf for a little while.

It was gorgeous, but just slightly out of our budgets...

Around 2:00 on Saturday, we made our way back to the competition barn. Jenni and I had entered the drop spindle competiton. Here we are, psyching ourselves up.

Mary handed out chunks of wool for us to spin. This wool sucked. Seriously. Full of lanolin, coarse and super sticky, making the competition all the more difficult.

And we're off! Quite a crowd gathered around us. I was kind of surprised at how big the crowd was.

We all spun for 15 minutes. The most yardage won. The wheels were in a different competition, but we all spun at the same time.

Jenni spun on her little Two Tails purpleheart top whorl...

...while I used my Two Tails laminate. Team Two Tails represented!! Jenni won third place in the contest...

...and I won first!! Woot!! I spun 40 yards in 15 minutes. I got a pretty blue ribbon, the 2011 Spin-off calendar and a gift certificate to Amazing Threads...

...which I cashed in at their booth at the festival for this pretty skein of Cat's Paw Yarn Hand-dyed sock, in "Green with Envy." Score!

Next up was the chopstick knitting contest. Aaron competed (damn, squirrel)...

...as did Tracy...

...and Jenni. The winners did an impressive job; just a couple stitches seperated 1st place and 2nd place. I think our crew will be back with a vengance next year!

Saturday night, we went to the Rav party. No pics of that, though. Instead, enjoy this shot of pygora on the hoof.

That pygora was a nice little goat, as Jenni and Tracy found out.

Emilee looked smashing in her handspun Shalom in the Orenburg lace booth.

And, of course, Tracy went home with some new alpaca yarn for her stash.

The theme for the whole weekend was "Do whatever you want (within reason)." And what I wanted was a fun time with great friends. That's exactly what I got!

But I wanted pretties, too. Which I got. Like this Into the Whirled polwarth in "Minotaur."

And these amazingly soft merino/tencel/angora batts.

And this merino/tencel from Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm.

And this sunny, happy BFL from Fiber Optic.

And this dk-weight organic merino from The Sanguine Gryphon.

And, finally, perhaps my yarn-snobbiest purchase of the weekend, this skein of fingering cashmere/silk from Sanguine Gryphon. Gorgeous.

 Thanks, Rhinebeck!! See you next year!!

Most Productive Weekend Ever. Seriously.

Despite having some ridiculous lingering head cold all weekend,¬†this past weekend was the¬†most productive three days I’ve had in a while. For starters, two more kittens left for their wonderful new forever homes, leaving me with just a pair of mini furballs in my 700 square feet.

Simon and Franklin (formerly known as Bailey)

With the departure of their brothers, I let my two little boys loose on the rest of the apartment—a transition that went surprisingly well for all species involved—and set about undertaking a 24-hour room renovation.

By Saturday night, with some help from Jenni, my kitten room had been totally repurposed into a kitten room/guest room/den that I am totally and completely in love with.

Love.It.

I may have missed my calling in life. This was a super fun project, and the tiny little room is totally transformed.

I don’t want to work. I just want to paint interior decor all day.

The icky brown floor got a coat of primer and two coats of bright new gray paint, and all the trim, doors, and door and window frames got a fresh coat of white semi-gloss. We moved in a new little futon, and an old fish tank stand I had plus a $15 Target end table got a new shabby-chic facelift.

Crackle coating does it again!

Those two refinished  pieces are my absolute fave. A couple accent pieces from Bed Bath & Beyond, my beloved sheepskin rug on the floor and a relocated houseplant topped it off.

I’m a sucker for a good paisley.

Eventually, I plant to sew some damask-print pillow covers for some toss pillows on the futon. But I’m totally psyched with how much we got done in such a short period of time. And Tilly totally approves of the makeover.

She spends a lot of time in there…

She spends a lot of time on that futon. I’ve even caught her sleeping on the cat tree. She seems so happy now that the kittens are loose. She runs and plays with them like the kitten she actually is, and she seems so relaxed now.

Lazy Kitty + Sunny Windowsill = Bliss

It all makes me really happy.

Sunday was spent being all politicky. But Monday, I got to hang out with the girls. Kris made yummy beef stew in her crockpot and homemade bread, and we hopped in the car and went to the Cheesecake Factory for coffee and dessert after dinner. It was awesome.

And sometime amidst all that, I finished and blocked my mom’s mitts. And my Rhinebeck sweater. And Mark’s hat. Three WIPs done. Boo-yah.

But today, I’m home sick from work. I guess everything’s a tradeoff.

So, the next couple days will be devoted to getting better because this weekend is freaking RHINEBECK! And I refuse to be sick. We check into the hotel on Friday, then it’s three days of fiber fun. I have five skeins and three knit pieces in the Skein & Garment Competition, and Jenni and I are competing in the Drop Spindle Contest on Saturday. Wish us luck!!

And enjoy this last picture of Frankie.

Awwww, sleepy Frankie…

He likes my bed. A lot. And he blends in with the blanket. Very cute.