Sunday, December 7, 2008

Knitting and Books

I did a lot of knitting this weekend while listening to an audiobook.  The book was The Mistress' Daughter. I first heard about this book some time ago and was really interested in the story. It is a memoir of the author's life and deal with finding out that her birth mother was the mistress of a married man.  The book starts off very good but just past the middle of the book she starts repeating things as it's five to seven years later and her character is flashing back to things that happened in the beginning of the book. If I were reading the book rather than listening to it, I may not have been so annoyed with it but when you are dealing with audio you tend to remember more and not need to be reminded of the past that just happened two hours ago.  Part of the book discusses people she found during the search of her genealogy. It got really bad as she was discussing dead people that really didn't add any interest or purpose to the story.  And some of these dead people weren't even related to her.  She just wanted someone to remember them so she threw them in.  Towards the end of the book, she lists a bunch of questions that she would ask her father if she had him sitting down for a deposition.  Those questions went on for more than half an hour.  Just question after question.  No conversation.  Just questions.  I fast forwarded through this as once again as this added nothing to the story and repeated things in question form that had happened in the book.  Sadly, I would not recommend this book to anyone.  If you read it, the first and last bits are lovely.  The bit in the middle, not so much.  I considered reading more books from the author (A. M. Homes) when I was enjoying the book but I'll have to really think about that considering the outcome.

Okay, on to the knitting.  

Using some leftover wool yarn, I made the coaster that I need for my bedside table.  I had a little bit of three colors left so I striped them.  I very happy with how it turned out.  Now I can set a glass of ice by the bed at night and not have to worry about a puddle forming during the night.  And since I still have some of the purple yarn left (this stuff refuses to die!), I will probably do a smaller one for my desk.

I managed to finish another one of the burp cloths for my friend Ching Sia.  I still need to get the applique sewn on.  So this makes six of the seven.  I will cast the last on some time this week and hopefully be ready to mail this weekend.  It took over a month to finish this one.  Let this be a sign to all of you.  If you think it's a good idea to knit a whole week of something, it's not. You will get bored long before you finish.

The procrastination scarf is finished.  I decided not to do a super long scarf because I think this is the perfect scarf for wearing with a blazer.  I'm not entirely happy with this as that means I'm left with one ball of the gray Geode and quite a bit left of the red Cascade 220 which may become another coaster.  For close up pictures of the scarf, check out my Ravely project page or my Flickr pictures.

I saw some really miserable looking people out Christmas shopping in Kohls this weekend.  The holiday season has barely started and already the unhappiness is surfacing.  I'm wishing all of you a very happy holiday season.  I don't want to see you looking unhappy walking through the mall spending way too much money for a bunch of people that may not appreciate it anyway.  Just my thought.  Be blessed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Inside Outside Procrastination

When I am stressed and need to get things done, I tend to procrastinate.  And I'm talking really bad procrastination.  I am so behind on a project at work and this thing is not going away.  It refuses to leave my desk.  I even brought it home tonight to work on it and what have I been doing?  Washing dishes, folding laundry, watching television and knitting.  And don't forget blogging.  But this is my last act of rebellion--okay, next to last.  I'm going to walk on the treadmill before giving in to working.

For the most part, today's procrastination is brought to you by the Inside Outside Scarf which was introduced to me during Stitches East 2008. 

It is a free patten that XRX is giving away to promote the new Knit One Below book.  If you have not yet seen this book, check it out.  It is amazing!  The technique takes a little thought but once you get it, it's super easy.  For this first project I've decided to use two completely contrasting yarns as it's a little difficult to see the pattern with just the gray yarn pulled from the inside and outside of the ball.  Here's a close up of the pattern.

 It makes a really nice and impressive looking color-work fabric.  the back also looks nice.

Okay, I'm off to the treadmill now.  Good night.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


No, I didn't finish or win Nanowrimo by writing a 50,000 word novel, but I made a good stab at it.  It was my first year participating and between the business travel, Stitiches, and Thanksgiving, I was lucky to get out as many words as I did.  I finished with a total of 14,443 words.  I didn't do the standard novel.  Instead I decided to do a memoir and it was the best thing I could have done for myself.  It really does help to write things out even if you never intend anyone to read it.  And who knows, my secrets just may become public one day.  But the experience has gotten me off to a good start on my writing and I hope to get some personal, fictional and professional writing published in the next year.

To that end, I will be participating in National Novel Writing Year (  Since it started, they have dropped the national as it is more like international and also dropped the novel since people are interested in writing all sorts of things.  So, you set a goal and work on it throughout the year.  I will be working on a series of short stories and engineering/project management papers.  I have no idea just yet what my word count goal will be for the year, but I will not be waiting until next year to start as I've already got plenty of ideas.

And just to give you a bit of visual stimulation, I am including a picture of my niece and nephew who I adore greatly when they are not being bratty as both are prone to being at times. :)  She is 17 and he is 1.  Also by different siblings.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Hello all.  I know it's been quite some time (a month!) since I've blogged.  November was a very busy month.  I was on business travel in the Pittsburgh area for the first half of the month and I attended Stitches East in Baltimore and I participated in Nanowrimo and I hosted the family at my home for Thanksgiving.  That was a lot people!

Stitches East was fabulous but I didn't take any pictures so I can't show you any of the greatness.  I took two classes--one on I-cord edging and one on color/texture combining of yarns.  I enjoyed them a lot.  I went with my friend Mandy and we have already reserved our hotel room for Stitches South 2009 in Atlanta.  And because I have so many points from all the business travel I've been doing, I was able to get our room free so we have more budget for classes and yarn, although I'm looking to spend on the classes.  I bought way too much yarn during Stitches, but most of it was spent at 2 of the local shops rather than at Stitches itself.  But there was one vendor at Stitches that had a $15 bag special.  You are given a paper bag of good size--it was by no means a small bag.  You could fill the bag up with as much yarn as you wanted and it was only $15.  I got so much yarn in that bag!  And nothing was single skeins.  I was on a mission to get 2+ skeins of anything I purchased and for the most part I stuck with that.  I did buy single skeins of two colors of Valley Yarns Northhampton from Webs but that was just because there is so much yardage in a ball.

A lot of the knitting I've been doing during November was swatches of stuff I learned during Stitches but I did manage to get some felted boxes done.  They are more bowl shaped because I left them in the washer for a full cycle and just threw them in the dryer to dry.  I didn't bother trying to shape them.  And actually I like them better this way.  The fabric is much more stiff than if I had shaped it like I did a box I made some time back.

I did a three box/bowl set and will take two to work to contain all my paper and binder clips. The goal was to get rid of the 100% felting wool in my stash.  For the most part I achieved that.  I still have a little bit left from which I'll probably knit and felt a coaster for my bed side table.  I hate putting a glass of ice next to my bed at night and waking up to a puddle of water under the glass.

Before the family arrived, I spent some time knitting up some chenille hand towels.  Mandy had given me four skeins of Lion Brand Chenille and having no idea what to do with it, I went on a search in Ravelry and found a pattern for washcloths that I
thought would work well since I had two contrasting colors.  I've done three of them so far and I'm working on the fourth but I still have enough yarn left over to do at least 1 to 2 more.  

Upon seeing the felted boxes/bowls, hand towels and all the burp and wash cloths I knitted up for my friend Ching Sia's baby, my mother decided she wanted to re-learn to knit.  Now she is the one that taught me to knit so it was a bit of an adjustment to teach the teacher.  I gave her a set of needles and some cotton and walked her through the pattern and she picked it up rather quickly, finishing two wash cloths before leaving.  I'm so proud as I've been pushing her to pick back up a hobby in her old age (okay she's not that old but I want her to have something better to do in her free time than shopping).  She's off to a running start.  

I sent her home with another skein of cotton and some 100% Vintage Fisherman's wool all of which I got at Stitches East.  She is going to do more wash cloths and also the Felted Boxes from the first Mason Dixon book.  She wrote the pattern down but I went and bought her a copy of it at the fabulous Thanksgiving sale at Krazy Knitz in Dalton, GA.  I just need to get the book in the mail to her.  Okay more to come later.  This post is already long enough.