Thursday, September 30, 2004

File Under: Too much information

In this installment of "I Wore Men's Underwear to Work"....


My brother-in-law works for Fruit of the Loom. We get a lot of underwear for Christmas. It's nice, if not a bit awkward. My husband received a set of adult sized Superhero under-roos for Christmas last year. Who knew they even existed? Well, we are now the proud owners of a Superman t-shirt and the matching flaming red briefs.
I also received flaming read undies, a female version in a "boy short" style. Now, my husband doesn't wear briefs.
That, coupled with the fact that both garments are flaming red, led to their stay in the bottom of our laundry basket for TEN MONTHS.

TEN MONTHS? Are we horrible housekeepers or do we have an obscene amount of underwear to hold us over? Neither. We were simply without a washing machine for those TEN MONTHS. Good God, can you imagine a worse kind of hell? But I digress. We weren't willing to shlep these measly pairs off to the laundromat and then proceed to pay a butt load of money to wash them. So in the basket they remained.


Ahh, a new washer comes home to us.
We are back in the laundry business. I wash away. A single load of red clothing is laundered and returned to their proper drawer homes. Or so I thought....da dun dun duuuuuuunnnnnnn .


This past Wednesday I woke up to another day of rainy cold miserableness. I decided that I needed a little spark in my day. This could be accomplished by donning a pair of flaming red women's "boy short" underwear. I dress in the dark of my bedroom and then negotiate my way to work with an unlikely kick in my step. Soon after arriving I take my first bathroom break.


Ekkk...I'm wearing my husband's red Superman briefs.

Embarrassed? Me?

Nah, I just zip up, giggle a whole bunch, and spend the rest of the day saving the world.
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Book Signing

If you're in the Boston Area and haven't already heard: Amy Singer will be at Circles in Jamaica Plain on October 12th to support her new book Knit Wit. Amy is the editor of Knitty.
Rumor has it there is going to be a potluck. If you'd like more information contact Circles cause I ain't got any more than dat. With any luck and pot(kidding) I'll be there!

Coming soon to a blog near you...the first (and last) installment of: "How I wore Mens Underwear to Work".
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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Have you hugged your banned book yet today?

This week is National Banned Book Week. I spent some time at The Book Store tonight putting together a display. I learned a lot. Aside from the obvious government bannings in the early century it seems that there are a lot of books out there that have complaints (or challenges) filed against them . Book 'em Dan-O! (Pun intended...just wanted to hear you all groan.)

Are you There God it's Me Margaret by Judy Blume being one. (Side story here. I had a male customer bring his young daughter in to buy this book the other day. He said he read it and loved it and felt she HAD to read it. Go Dad!) And who could forget everyone's favorite boy wizard? I feel as though these are fairly innocuous books. I read many of them as a child and student. It seems that some parents out there are compelled to file complaints against them for filling their children's minds with swear words, sex talk, and (horror of all horrors) stories of deviant behaviors. They're asking that these books be removed from bookstores and libraries. These books are the least of their worries! They certainly don't force themselves into the hands of the innocent. Some may brooch subjects that are difficult and should be exposed at the right time for the child. But to say that no person should be able to read it ever?! Especially books that are innocent - The Giver, Harry Potter Series(#7 most challenged books), Daddy's Roommate(#2 most challenged book), and Where's Waldo?! I don't care what you say, these are books are not corrupting our youth.

I'm guessing the fear is that letting kids and "young adults" (really, what is a young adult? I'm 28 and I would argue that I'M a young adult) read a few challenged books would raise a generation of tolerant, swearing, and sex-loving deviants? Hmmm, I've read at least a third of the
100. Shit, I'm going to go seduce my husband and then tomorrow I may even call my gay friend to see if they want to pick up a copy of Where's Waldo instead of going to work. Is that so freakin' wrong?!
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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Political Sidelines

Check out this picture of John Kerry. Too funny....

Reminds me of when I was a little kid and my parents would hold my pants as I peered over the edge to try and get a glimpse of Niagara Falls.

I wonder if that's how Kerry feels.

So far as I can tell this picture is from the NYTimes 9/24 edition. I found it via
Taegan Goddard's Political Wire
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Monday, September 27, 2004

The Big Sack

This is the name of the sweater that I'm knitting for Rob. I'm part of the man-a-long over at Knit-o-Rama. I did have to wait until we were married to knit my beloved something. I don't care what you say...I wasn't risking it for anything. That damn curse. Curses are for real. Look at the Red Sox.

Could there be any more unattractive name for a sweater pattern? Who wants to wear a big sack? My husband. Of all the patterns I showed him (and there were a ton) this is the one he chose. It's a fun knit. However, my bossy-ness got the best of me.

I swatched and didn't get gauge. Rather than change my needles I decided to change the size I was knitting. I am knitting a large, ready to get a small sized sweater. My row gauge was also off. Now here comes the bossy part. I decided to adjust the pattern to meet my row gauge. It involved Excel Spreadsheets, hair being pulled out and all kinds of yelps. I triumphed. I was worried about the sleeves. The Big Sack is designed to have raglan sleeves. I figured if my row gauge is off, I need to adjust the rate at which I do the decreasing for the armholes. And on it went. There was some complicated ratio of decrease two stitches for every 2 rows and then every 4 rows or some retardedness. Notice the *was*. Yah, you guessed it, it didn't work.

Rob will just have to wear this (beware of flagrant product placement):



Bossiness is dangerous. Mind you, most of my wedding pictures include scenes of me bossing people around. Not pretty. With this project I was proud of myself for figuring it out. Adjusting the pattern to meet my needs. The end result? The sleeve shaping looked uneven and not so much raglan like. So much for that. I did learn that Raglan's need to be decreased EVENLY across a pattern. Fun lesson or lesion as I originally typed it. Uh-huh. Sure. Knitting is learning to recognize your limits and learning to accept defeat. And putting up with all the lesions.

But did I give up, nah. I ripped and I'm just following the pattern for the sleeve shaping. I finished the front this weekend and I'm a few inches short of the arm shaping on the back. I'm thinking that it'll be alright. It's a big sack for crying out loud. It's big and bulky...arm holes that are a bit shorter than the intended pattern shouldn't change the earth's orbit.

A few yarn details...I'm using Green Mountain Spinnery's Mountain Mohair. I love the feel of the yarn. It's not itchy and very soft. However, there are quite a few spots of white along the yarn where the dye didn't penetrate. This is annoying. Knot annoying. Some of the strands get mighty thin in some places. I wonder how they'll hold up to the activity of a winter wear sweater.

Progress Pics:


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Friday, September 24, 2004

Love Hate Relationship

I hate knitting. Really. I hate it. I'm done. Throwing it down. For real.

Okay, not really. But that's how I feel right now. I went ahead and bound off the rest of the collar on my Shapely Tank. I had picked up the stitches and knit 6 rows in Garter Stitch. As I bound off and held it up to me I saw that the collar flared out from the body. I thought, huh, this isn't going to do. I considered my options. I figured it would most likely flatten out when blocked.

Then I went to Google and found this...
"Pick Up The Correct Number Of Stitches" and this...."Picking Up Stitches For Necklines and Armholes". In fact, there is a boat load of know-how here. El sucko. Apparently I picked up too many stitches. What the heck? How was I to know?

I hate being a beginning knitter. Why can't every skill you learn have all of the disclaimers outlined from the beginning. How did I not know this? Total bummer. So, I'm taking a break from the Shapely Tank. Sorry, no finished pictures.

I am going to pick up the Big Sack Sweater from
Stitch 'n Bitch for Rob. I'm doing this as part of my first online knit-along.


This is a fun knit and I'll post pictures of my progress next week. It hasn't been without its drama. I have definitely learned a lot and have come a long way. I just have a long way to go.
Patience...
I started another book. It had to be a thin paperback. These are easier to take on the train. Michael Chabon is one of my favorite authors. In fact, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is one of my favorite books of all time. It's pretty incredible. I picked up The Mysteries of Pittsburgh last night. This is his first novel. The voice is much different than The Drink Before the war. It'll take a bit to switch gears. So far, so good.
Erin, not to worry, your book is my home book now I'm hoping to be done with it next week.
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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Have you seen this? An article in today's Christian Science Monitor. Courtesy of Bookslut. Nothing like starting your day off with a little bit of outrage! How in the world does this kind of thing happen without major backlash?
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And she's off...

I finished A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane. This is his first book. Apparently he is like a fine wine, he gets better with age. This is a good thing, because all of those people that rave about Mystic River would be labeled "crazy" in my book. And really, who wants to be labeled anything in anyone's book? The book wasn't horrible, but I definitely wouldn't recommended it.

I've successful mastered picking up stitches. Thanks to Allison at
Circles and a nifty new pair of #5 Addi Turbos I'm in the process of casting off the collar. I had already been shown how to pick up stitches once before...thick head!

So, I'm in bed last night knitting. I REALLY wanted to finish everything on the tank last night. My husband is convinced that my knitting in bed is some sort of horrible statement about the state of our relationship. I'm trying to convince him that it's just like reading in bed, only I'm using my hands. His biggest complaint, I talk too much when I'm knitting. He used to be able to read peacefully in bed before the knitting joined us. And now, now I chatter away about everything and anything that pops into my head. At that point in the day it's nothing really interesting or even compelling - just chatter. Humph. I don't think there is anything that's going to convince him that knitting in bed is a good thing...

In closing, I'd like to introduce another one of my family members:



This is FutureMan. Named after a character in
this movie. There is nothing dainty about this cat. There is nothing stealth or agile about this cat. This cat is large and in charge. Or at least he likes to pretend he is. He eats a ton of food and behaves as though he has never been fed in his entire life. Think Chunk from the movie Goonies and you've got our cat to a T. He's kind of cute though.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2004


Has anyone picked this book up yet? It's massive, 800 pages. I'm intrigued. Check out this review at Powells.com from a September 17th Salon.com post. The byline is, "When Harry Potter met Jane Austen."
It looks wonderful. Better yet, it's a first-time novelist. Which is one of my favorite categories.


However, I really would have to take out a second mortgage to buy it and then have to go to the gym just to be able to carry it around. Why are hard covers so damn expensive? And 800 pages, that's crazy talk. All the same...it's going on my virtual nightstand.

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It's 6am do you know where your Husband is?




It's 6am and where am I....work. Blech. This man is the best husband ever because he drove me here this morning.


Little old me forgot to check the train schedule before I committed to this duty at the ungodly hour of 6am. Can't get here from there....


I'm off to
Circles this evening to finish the Shapely Tank (or at least give it that old college try).

I finished Bone People last night. All I can say at this point is - wow. One of the best books I've ever read. I definitely need a few days to process internally and then I'll review it here!

Learn something fun today!
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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Darkness on the Edge of Town

Sidebar on the right has been updated...

I'm almost done with my Shapely Tank. Still no pictures. Darkness sneaks up on me now. I bound off both shoulders and I have a front and a back. Rob helped me pin it up to myself...and by-god I think it may fit! I backstitched one of the shoulders together (my first time). Once again, A Knitter's Companion comes to the rescue. I'm super excited to finish and have to hold off until I can get someone to give me instructions on how to pick up stitches. I'm just no good until I see the tricks in person. Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids.

In other news.

The
Knit Picks website used to have a "find your college, NFL & NHL colors" search option on their site. The Yarn was Superwash from Cascade. It's not there anymore?! It was so fun. As you may be able to tell, this house is a Browns house. Orange and Brown together isn't the prettiest combo...but it is the best.
Rob really wants a football helmet. I think that this pattern looks a bit like the old school leather helmets. I'd like to make it all one color with a few stripes from front to back. Colors? Duh? Brown and Orange! I haven't tried anything with a second color introduced halfway through the row. It's also a bit more complicated because of the shaping in the hat. Any suggestions?

I'm just about done with The Bone People and halfway through A Drink Before the War. It's killing me, all of these half finished projects lying about. I'll hopefully be able to finish at least one of these tomorrow.

Oh, as if I didn't have enough to do - we're having a Halloween Party. Yippy!

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Monday, September 20, 2004

Scarf Mania!!!

A finished gift!




Knit in Paton's Divine in Richest Rose. It's cheap and it looks cute. What fun! I cast on 22 stitches and knit until I got bored (approx. 67"). My gauge was approx 5 stitches/in on size 10 needles.

This is a birthday/thank you gift for my friend Jess. Her Birthday was last week...look I'm almost on time. A miracle I tell ya!
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Friday, September 17, 2004

Christianity

"Christianity is not about forgiveness to the point of insulting Jesus Christ."
To go with recent thought and discussions about Christianity and the role of religion in my life and the life of those around me I have this link. Courtesy of Bookslut. Lebenon has banned The DaVinci Code.





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Thursday, September 16, 2004

Knitting in Public

I had to attend and present at a community meeting for my work last night. The thing is I didn't feel comfortable knitting while the other speakers were presenting. This frustrated me. I really wanted to spend that time well, pay attention and knit something in the process. Idle hands are the devil's spawn. Is that how that goes? I had a few mental blocks: 1 - I didn't want to appear as though I wasn't paying attention, 2 - I was a little embarrassed.

What? Embarrassed? Okay, it comes partially from this innate need I have to not stand out. Pull out the needles and what do you do, stand out. I'm not afraid to do it on public transportation or in public for that matter. I think it was just the fact that I was part of an audience and didn't want to detract from the main event. Am I so conceited to think that little old me would do that? I guess so.

When I was little I was always afraid of the question, "What do you like to do with your free-time," or "What are your hobbies". My hobbies and free-time activities centered around books. I read. A lot. It was fun for me. That was about it. Fascinating childhood, I know. It wasn't until I was an "adult" (at least in theory) that I was proud and able to fess up to my utter dorky-ness. I like things that are considered dorky by most.

Someone told me a story about a person they met (I can't remember who told me this) who was a knitter and a lesbian. This woman laughed and said that she was a closet knitter. She was out and proud about her sexuality but afraid to come out about her knitting. So funny. I guess I'm a bit like her. I wonder if there is a 12-step program to bring us out of the closet?


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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Comments

I just realized that only people with blogger accounts could leave comments. I have changed my settings so that *anyone* can comment away. Sorry about that.
I'll blame the silence on this glitch. :)
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The Power of Visualization

Late nights at work all this week makes for few pictures. Husband Rob tried to capture the magic of Southwest Trading Company's Beyond in my Shapely Tank but it was too damn dark. I decided I'm not going to let that stop me.
Introducing...The Shapely Tank (visualize a textured cotton tank in a Rose colored cotton, back done, front almost there).

I've really enjoyed knitting this. I started it as part of a knit-along (my first) at
Circles. I was side tracked as the wedding approached and now I'm back on task. I have a few rows left before I begin increasing for the lovely ladies that reside on my chest. I like short rows. They're fun. They're used in this pattern at the bottom and at the bust. I'm not sure that they are all that necessary here. I think I'll "get it" once I've got it on.

Learning how to pick up the short row stitches with the regular stitches was a challenge for me. The pattern doesn't offer much in the way of direction. The front became the back after I tried 5 times without success. You could see the short row stitches. I hated it. I could get it to work on the knit side but not on the purl side (or was it vice-versa?). I had to go on without figuring it out because I was driving myself bonkers. A woman from my knit group, Kris, recommended
The Knitters Companion. It saved my Shapely Tank! This was definitely the kind of thing I needed to see with a visual representation. The front has beautiful increases along the bottom. I'll let you know how the increases up top look.

All of the trial and error obviously involved a lot of ripping. The Beyond is a bit splitty which made this a bit more difficult. I don't mind ripping... it's the picking up that drives me crazy. I found that a small crochet hook was the easiest way to get the wiley pesky stitches back on my needles. So far this is my only complaint with this yarn. Otherwise it's fun to work with.

I made the tank in the smallest size (36" Bust). However, because of my gauge I'm knitting the pattern at the 38" Bust. I'm not sure how this is going to fit. I'm concerned that it's going to be too big (again the gauge problem). However, I have confidence that what ever the end size of the pieces I can either seam them up so they fit (
a la Bonne Marie) or try shrinking them (the beauty of cotton).

Hopefully pictures soon...

I found
this site in the new Get Crafty book (the book isn't all that great). Yarn money going to a great cause....

Also, a very happy birthday to
Erin . Find your way over to her site and wish her a happy be-lated one (it was yesterday!).
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Monday, September 13, 2004

Mr. Picasso Head

I've updated some of the information on the right. Mostly added yarn and project information to current and future projects.

I'm teaching myself html. It's fun, but man does it take a long time. I'm definitely using this blog as an opportunity to learn something new as well as share my passions. The learning curve is steep, which doesn't leave much time for knitting. Bummer.
Good thing I've got the train ride to keep me occupied!
If anyone is looking for some great free code and lessons on how it all works I've found the Madarin Design Website to be particularly helpful. They ask that you steal their code.

Blog Trashed by Mandarin

I found this fun diversion at a link on their website...

Mr. Picasso Head
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Busy Bee

Wow. What a weekend.

First, the most important addition to our house in years:

A new washer and dryer! We've been without for close to 10 months now. It's a horrible long saga that I will summarize in one statement: Do not, under any circumstances, purchase any appliance from Haier America. Not only did we go through 3 of their machines in as many months, we also had to put in a DAILY phone call to their customer service department to move things forward in the refund process. Not so much fun. 10 MONTHS LATER....

New machines!



My parents drove in from Rochester to get us up and running with the installation. We had to redesign the area. Shorten the counter, install new cabinets, etc. Dad was a champ and fixed it all up real good for us. Go Dad. I'm searching throughout the house to find things to wash...it's so fun.


Boston Knit Out

The Boston Knit out was Sunday. I took my mom and friend Jess over to check it out. It was fun. I have never felt like such a big nerd with the woman in the background singing songs about knitting and woman every where all in love with knitting. It was pretty funny. Although, I must admit the song lady was a bit much (Mom says there is an equally cheesy "quilting singing lady." Apparently these two have the market cornered). I got to touch all kinds of beautiful yarns, see my knitting ladies from the bookstore, and say hello to my long lost workshop ladies. You couldn't purchase anything at this event. Which is good...because there was much there to tempt me. Fun was had by all. I think I've convinced Jess to take a knitting class so she can join the fun!

New project

There is one major thing that sucks about being poor - no money for yarn. Well, here is a temporary work around. Tell your mother you'll create a handmade, lovingly stitched, specially designed scarf just for her. The catch? She has to pick out and buy the yarn. So we were off to Circles (lucky me, it's right around the corner!). It turns out mom has pretty great taste. I'm excited for this project. I've swatched (see this post for a disclaimer) using size 10 needles and with any luck in a few days/weeks I should have a 12" wide caplet a la Champagne Caplet made of this...




Interlacements Yarn Periwinkle Petite hand dyed yarn. 300 yards, 8 ounce skein, 99% wool, 1% Nylon. Color #218. 4 st./in. on #8 needles. What weight is this? Hold on I can look it up on my greatest weekend purchase. This is the greatest gift for a new knitter. Why look, this yarn is a Worsted Weight Yarn. Click here for the Knitter's Review review of the yarn.

I just need to name this project now. What are the rules here? Everyone seems to use names of people for their projects. Shall I do the same? Susan, for my mom? Vinnie for the punk down the street? Where do I go with this?

In other news...

More progress on the shapely tank. I'll get the details of this project up sometime this week. I'll be traveling public transportation to work for the next few weeks. I'm pretty excited - more knitting and reading time for me!

Our bookclub met this week...we're reading a Drink Before the War for our next selection. The Bone People has left me feeling very melancholy so I've decided to set it down for a few days. The characters are all just being ripped to pieces. It's too powerful for me to get through all in one full swipe. The mark of a good book - it hits you so hard you have to take a break.

Like any good weekend, this is how it ended.

Dad in the hammock.



Robby on the big chair (note the Browns Jersey, they won!).



All for now!

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Friday, September 10, 2004

The new Knitty has arrived!



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My First Love

It's introduction week here at The Bookish Girl. And who's more important than the sweetest, most lickedy, energetic dog in the whole world?

Meet Rya....







Rya is five years old(!) and still a puppy at heart. I brought her home as a puppy and she came with me to graduate school soon after. As a stranger in a strange land (Athens, Georgia) Rya was the spark in my social life. Athens has a few pretty great off leash areas. It was her insatiable energy that required me to spend countless hours a week at the dog park. there that I made fabulous friends and met my future husband. The story is a lot cheesier than that but I'll spare you. She has a thankless job, this dog of mine. I swore I'd never become one of those mushy animal people. That was before I had one of my own. Just wait until I have kids. Whew. I'm going to be out of control.


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Thursday, September 09, 2004

Bucket Head

This is ChicKnits Bottoms Up Bucket Hat.



It's cute. I loved knitting it. Except my hands were not so happy. It was knit with Sugar 'n Cream in the Creme Du Beurre (Buttercream) colorway. Hard on los manos.

I think it's time that I come forward with a serious problem I have. I can never achieve gauge with my knits. I'm a beginning knitter, I'm not so good yet. I know how to read directions and I'm pretty good at following the rules. I swatch...I do...I swear.

I figured since I was knitting one of her creations, that I should take Bonne Marie's advice and try to "Boss My Knitting Around."



In the end it all comes out larger/smaller than I intended. So far this hasn't been a huge problem. My knits have either been poncho type garments, sizeless accessories, or for small babies who were meant to "grow into" my project.

This hat was the first time I produced something very cute that may be unwearable for the intended. My best friend
Juli has an abnormally small head (albeit a cute one). I intended to make the size small (18") knowing that it would probably be too big. I swatched. Good to go. Size 7 needles, about 1 1/2 skeins, and two days later what do I have? A 24" hat.


Like I said, I have a serious problem.


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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Practice their love with women

"President Bush offered an unexpected reason on Monday for cracking down on frivolous medical lawsuits: "Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." ..."


This man is our president. The scary thing is that he could be elected again. Who's the stupid one, him or us? Yikes!

Click here for the complete article
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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Champagne Caplet Dances the Night Away




So while we're on the wedding let's stick some knitting content in here. Above are snips of some wedding pics. Click on them and they'll open to a bigger window. Mind you, I look a bit goofy in all of them. The point was to show the shawl, not how cute I am!

About 2 months before the wedding I went to my knitting teacher and designer extraordinaire (Irena who owns Knits 'n Pieces in Newton, MA) and asked her to design something that I could wear to cover up a bit after the ceremony. The weather in Ithaca is touchy, even in the summer. Better safe than sorry.
I'm glad I did it. It was beautiful, it kept me warm, and it'll be something to pass down to the grandkids (which is a horrifying thought).

This is what she came up with! I call it the Champagne Caplet.
It was knit on size 11 needles with Austermann Cocktail Ribbon Yarn Color: 0006. It took at least 275 yards (5 skeins). I'm not sure what my gauge was. If you're interested inquire within and I will measure it.

The pattern is easy peasy...
Cast on 26 stiches. In stockinette stitch work in pattern *K8, P1, K8, P1, K8. Turn and purl across. Turn and follow pattern from * until you've got enough length. Before binding off drop P stiches to create web. Sew two sides together with loose stitches to mimic the dropped P stitch. Leave a hole for your head! Weave in ends. (**Disclaimer**: I've never written out a pattern before, can you tell?!)


I actually got my bridesmaid Marne to weave in my ends in the hour before the ceremony. What a trooper she is. I think she's forgiven me by now.
Fast! Easy! and Fun! Just how I like 'em!
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Monday, September 06, 2004

The Wedding




I recently got married to my true love. It's a pretty incredible feeling. We were married in Ithaca, New York on July 23, 2004. Our friends and family stood around us. We even had sparklers to kick off the kiss!


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Sunday, September 05, 2004

Canasta es Caliente, Caliente, Caliente

Husband and I learned how to play Canasta this weekend. Apparently it was all the rage in the 50s, it was called an epidemic. A card game an epidemic? It seems people had a lot more time on their hands before cable and such. Now all I've got to figure out is how to play canasta, read, and knit all at the same time. Hmmm....
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Saturday, September 04, 2004

The Launch

3-2-1 blast off...


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