Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WIP Wrestlemania - I think I'm Down for the Count

There's a "competition" of sorts going on on Ravelry right now - WIP Wrestlemania. Competitors are supposed to devote the month of July to finishing up works in progress. I don't know if there are prizes other than bragging rights, but it's fun nonetheless. And it means I can clean up some WIPS, not that I'm one to have too many WIPs languishing about the house.

So far, I've finished the PoisonIsh:

the Aestlight Shawl:

and the Skandalous socks:

This means that the only remaining WIP that I have, not counting the Tilted Duster, which is too hot to work on, is the Alpine Frost (crochet) scarf. So I picked it back up and crocheted and crocheted and crocheted. This scarf goes reaaaallllllyyyy slowly. Every time I finish a few rows, I look at the scarf and realize I've gone maybe 1/4 of an inch. So after much crocheting, here's where I stand:

I hope this blocks out much lacier than it looks, because right now I'm thinking I should have used a bigger hook.

Worse than that, however, is that crocheting hurts my arm in a worrying way. I'm having some pains that shoot up my left forearm from my wrist to my elbow. Yes, I've stopped. I don't want to hurt myself! But this means that I may not complete this on time to count in WWM '09.

So, although I sort of vowed to myself that I wouldn't start anything new until August 1st, I spend this morning winding up some yarn for a new sweater. When I'm done with this, I'll start a swatch. Stay tuned.

The Flamethrower

We picked up Sr. Jr. from his week away at Adventure camp on Saturday. I fretted all week long, because we had no contact with him at all - no phone calls, emails, texts, nothing. We got one email from the camp on Friday, telling us what the kids had been up to, but we didn't know whether Sr. Jr. was having fun or not. It was really tough on me! Pickup time was at 11 am, and a picnic/barbecue lunch was scheduled for the parents and the kids.

When we got there, Sr. Jr. was laughing and having fun. He was wearing the shirt we dropped him off in, but he was smiling and happy. He had an awesome time. They camped, they canoed, they hiked. They slept in tents and under the stars. They saw bears and deer and all sorts of stuff. Sr. Jr. claims that a bear slept right near their tents one night, which made the middle of the night potty break nervewracking, but I don't know how much of that story is true ;) The counselors gave each kid an award and talked about them for a little bit. Apparently SJ got the "Flamethrower" award, for being very good at starting fires. He was the go-to guy for getting all the campfires started.

When I was signing him out and thanking the counselors, they told me that he was great, he remembered to pack everything up, he was helpful, and one said he was "noble." I didn't have a chance to follow up on that one, unfortunately, because it sounds interesting. Sometimes, when I spend my whole day yelling at the boys to stop fighting and picking on each other, when SJ spends all his energy on trying to make his little brother feel bad, it's hard to imagine him being called "noble."

When we unpacked his stuff, we found one pair of socks that were so muddy and gross that we just threw them away, but most of his other clothes were still folded up neatly, socks balled up and clean... clearly he hadn't worn very many clean clothes while he was away. He ran to take a hot shower as soon as we got home, and I don't blame him.

Here are some pics, with one mischievous Jr. Jr. one as well:

Little Stinker!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Random Access Memory, with The Bed Show

(Get your minds out of the gutter. The Bed Show is the talk show Jr. Jr. performs in his room each night before bed.)

I've had some interesting instances of Random Access Memory lately. That's when something pops up in your mind from long ago, usually something insignificant and utterly forgotten.

Mr. T and Sr. Jr. were talking about something, I don't even know what. But it led to a conversation that where Mr. T said, "You can ....., you can......, you can....." with several alternatives. All of a sudden, I looked up and said,

"You can stick it to a duck!"

Both of them looked at me like I was nuts. Waaaaay back in the '80s I lived on Long Island and listened to a radio station that was then called WLIR. It was the alternative radio station, the one that played the Clash, REM, and the Pretenders when all the other stations were playing the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. At the same time, there was a commercial running on tv, and I can't remember what it was for, but it featured things you could do with a dollar bill, including the line, "you can stick it to a duck!" The djs on WLIR took a sound clip of that sentence, and would randomly insert it in their programming, sometimes even into the songs. I had completely forgotten about it until Mr. T started saying "you can..."

And more with WLIR: one of the songs they played back then that I liked was a song called "Doot Doot" by a very obscure German band called Freur. I never did find the album, which is now long out of print. In those days, before digital downloads and file sharing, if you couldn't get your hands on an album or tape, you went the low tech way and taped the song off the radio. The sound quality sucked, but at least you could listen to it when you wanted to. I had one tape that had a bunch of great songs on it, "Doot Doot" included. That tape was stolen out of my car when I moved to DC after college, and I was never able to find another copy of that song.

Fast forward to summer, 2009, when I'm sitting, knitting and watching Torchwood. On comes a commercial for the new Palm Pre and what song are they playing in the background? "Doot Doot." It brought me right back to those teenage days, listening to the radio on the boombox.

The Bed Show

Jr. Jr. is a very energetic, imaginative, verbal child. He talks constantly. If he's not talking, he's singing or just making noise of some sort, so it didn't come as much of a surprise to me when we discovered that he does a little talk show in his room each night before bed. Yes, stuffed animals are involved. He's been doing this for quite a while, but now that Sr. Jr. is away at camp, he invited Mr. T and me to be a part of his studio audience.

We were treated to a sports report by his snail finger puppet, with updates from the Tour de France, and interview with his Sealie about life on his bed and his feelings about his fellow seals being used in Sea World type shows (he feels it's animal abuse, even if they are paid in fish). There were commercial breaks and even credits at the end.

Last night was Comedy Night, with some jokes and Extreme Sports, too.

It's all very cute, but it's becoming a charming bedtime-avoidance technique :) Since it's summertime, it's ok, but we'll have to tell him to scale it back when the regular schedule resumes.

Tomorrow we pick Sr. Jr. up from his week away. A whole week with no contact has been very hard for me! I can't wait to see him and hear all about his week. I'm sure there will be a lot of really muddy laundry to do, too.

Knitting? What's that you say? Where's the knitting on the knitting blog? Well, there's very little of that. I should have the second Skandal sock done soon, so pictures next week. Other than that, the needles have been quiet, unfortunately.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Radio Silence

This weekend we took Sr. Jr. off to camp. He'll only be gone a week, but I miss him! We'll have no contact with him all week. No mail, no phone calls, no email, no texts. It's really hard not picking up a phone or composing an email to ask what he's doing and if he's having fun!

His camp is an outdoor adventure camp. They'll hike and camp in the Shenandoahs, and then there's a couple of days of kayaking/canoeing and camping as well. There was supposed to be a day of caving, which Sr. Jr. really liked about his previous year's experience in the day camp, but caving has been cancelled this year due to the spread of White Nose disease among bats up and down the east coast. (White nose disease is a fungal disease [I think] that's been killing bats en masse. It's similar to what's been happening with bees.)

This camp is camping. No cabins, no indoor plumbing, just the kids, some tents, and nature. Base camp was outside of Middleburg. These are the tents they stay in for the first night, before they leave for the hiking expedition:

Here's the mess tent:

Unlike previous years at the day camp, Sr. Jr. knew none of the kids attending this session.

He was too macho or nervous to accept hugs or kisses from mom :( After we dropped him off, we stopped off in Middleburg to have some lunch before heading home. Mr. T and I hadn't been out there in ages. It's as pretty as ever.

In knitting news, I'm still working on the Skandalous socks. I committed myself to WIP Wrestlemania on Ravelry, which means that the month of July is devoted solely to finishing off projects already in progress. It's killing me not to cast on for something new! I have so many ideas that I want to knit up and so much beautiful yarn calling me. But I'm being good:

Last night while watching Torchwood, I got a bit done on sock #2. I've turned the heel and I'm working my way up the leg. When I finish these, I will have completed 3 WIPs for Wrestlemania. After that, I will break out the languishing Alpine Lace scarf and see if I can finish that, too. Summer, alas, is not a time when I can get a lot of knitting done.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Aestlight in the Evening

My Aestlight Shawl is finished and blocked :) I made it through the body of the shawl and the edging using one skein of Wollmeise (100%). The skein was a little heavier than the 150g listed on the label, 154 grams, I think. I had to break into another skein just to bind off the stitches on the top edging.

This was how much I had left after doing the border:

Here are some FO shots for you:

I knit the large size, for maximum coziness. I love how this turned out. It's casual enough to wear with jeans, but pretty enough not to be boring. I can definitely see making more of these.

I am just about two rows away from finishing my first Skandalous sock, too, so look for that in an upcoming post.

In other news, Mr. T and Sr. Jr. entered a father/son golf tournament at a local municipal 9 hole course. Despite a shaky start, they came in second! They had a lot of fun. Jr. Jr. and I played putt putt at the same course while they played.

This month is WIP Wrestlemania on Ravelry, where we try to finish up as many WIPs as possible. This means that I'm committed to working on things already in progress, which is killing me! I really want to cast on for something new, even more so because I'm not supposed to.

This upcoming week the boys are at tennis camp, which is only half a day. I won't get very far on the WIPs anyway.

Next week, Sr. Jr. goes away for a week of outdoor adventures camp, his first whole week away from home. I may go a little crazy missing him...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Down to the Last Inch, I Expect...

Yesterday I started the border on the Aestlight Shawl:

The problem is that I'm running low on yarn. According to my calculations with the pattern in hand and a scale to measure the yarn, I should have enough. But it was getting pretty close, as you can see:

I have another skein of this color, but it's a different base (80/20 rather than 100% merino), it's slightly thicker, and a slightly different shade. Ack.

I kept working, hoping that the yarn would last. By the end of the evening last night I had knit the border all the way down one side of the triangle and just around the tip at the bottom:

Here's a close up of the tip:

And here's how much yarn I have left to work my way up the second side of the triangle:

So, what do you think? Will I make it? I'll be sweating this one down to the last stitch. If I can make it through the border, I don't mind using my other skein just to do the bind off on the top stitches - the differences in the yarns won't be noticeable in the bind off. But if I don't have enough to finish the border... I may have to rely on the kindness of Rav friends :)

In general summer news, Jr. Jr. has been having a great time at football camp this week. Sr. Jr. has been home this week, mostly begging for food. He's old enough now that he can go out on the golf course by himself, so he's played a couple of rounds at a local municipal 9 hole course. I'm very proud of him. He's been playing well, too! He and Mr. T are high on the wait list to compete in a father-son golf tournament Saturday morning. I hope they make it in, because it will be a lot of fun for them to compete together. Jr. Jr. and I will entertain ourselves on the putt putt course while they play.

And now I'm off to try to power my way through this border. Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Border Crossings

Kippi asked, in the comments to the last post, whether I was slipping the first stitch of each row to facilitate picking up stitches for the border. Nope. In this pattern, you increase for the triangle by doing a yarnover at the beginning of each row. This creates a line of bigger loops running up the sides of the triangle that you pick up and knit into the back of to create what looks like a row of yarnovers:

You can see it in the picture above separating the main triangle from the border pattern. I'm cruising along with this now, but I'm not sure how much I like it. I've never been a huge fan of garter stitch based lace patterns, but this will be a cozy warm shawl, rather than a work of art, that's for sure.

Garden Question

There's something yucky going on with my Roma tomatoes, and I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I'm going to seek the wisdom of the few of you who read this ;) They start out nicely, but then the bottoms start to get brown and rotten looking:

Any ideas from the crowd?

On Friday, Mr. T took the boys to the AT&T National Golf Tournament at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda. They had a great time, got themselves on TV (if you squint, they're behind Anthony Kim on one of the holes), and got a bunch of autographs:

Being a cute kid helps with the autograph seeking, apparently. They got autographs from Lee Janzen, Mike Weir, Lucas Glover (who won the US Open last week), Stuart Appleby, Hunter Mahan (who shot the course record at Congressional yesterday), Rocco Mediate, Ricky Barnes, Aaron Baddely, and Steve Flesch. Not Tiger, who doesn't do many autographs and walked right past them.

Bwahahahaha, Sarah Palin

I don't care how she or her followers try to spin her resignation from office a year and a half before her term is over -- the going got tough and she bailed. She's so full of hypocrisy, it never ceases to amaze me. She doesn't like the media attention focused on her family? Well, then, keep your family out of the media! Don't trot them out as campaign props or put them in the spotlight by picking fights with David Letterman. She complains about being in debt because of ethics complaints? Does she remember what happened to Bill Clinton? He didn't quit mid-term, although people were trying hard to force the issue. She didn't want to coast and travel around her state and across the country? What else has she been doing since the election? She's been here in Washington, in NY attending Yankees games... She claims she doesn't want to waste her state's time as a lame-duck governor. What would she do as a lame-duck President?

This doesn't even pass the most rudimentary smell test.

The funny part is that her spokesperson has said that she's going to devote her energies to getting other like-minded politicians elected to office, specifically including campaigning for the wingnut-in-moderate's clothing who's running for governor here in Virginia. However, governors in Virginia are limited by law to serving only one term... making them lame ducks almost immediately upon taking office... but they don't quit in a huff... not sure how she justifies this...

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Exciting: This morning's tennis match between Serena Williams and Elena Dementieva in the semi-final match at Wimbledon. I didn't get in the shower until 11:15 this morning, because I didn't want to miss a minute of the match. It was very close. A lot of excellent tennis.

Somewhat Exciting: Homemade strawberry/raspberry/banana/sour cherry smoothies for lunch. Yum.

Unexciting: Knitting garter stitch triangles:

It looks the same as before, right? But it is bigger, see --

That's where it was at my last post. I'm close to the finish line for the small size. However, I've decided to do the large size, which is another 30 rows. Even though it's garter stitch, it's going slowly, probably because it's boring.

After the center triangle is one, I pick up stitches around all three sides and knit a lace panel, then I do a knitted-on edging.

Tomorrow Mr. T is taking the kids to the AT&T National golf tournament at Congressional Country Club, so hopefully I'll have some time to crank out the rest of that triangle!

In garden news, some of our grape tomatoes are almost ready to harvest. They're nice and red, but still a little hard. Maybe tomorrow or the day after. Yum.