Monday, January 12, 2015
Of course, I am trying to expand my knitting horizons a tad (as fun as knitting just socks would be, I'm trying to keep some variety in my projects), so my current project is a striped cardigan.
A variety of criteria played into what colors I chose for this sweater, not all of them aesthetic. (One important factor was what would give me enough yardage to actually make a sweater.) This resulted in a color selection that was... a bit outside my norm.
Hopefully I'll see in a couple of more weeks!
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Currently, I have 45 miles of stash yarn (if you don't count leftovers less than half a skein).
Yes, I have enough yarn to (theoretically) knit for the next five plus years without buying more. Yikes. Maybe I can work on that for 2015. (Though really only so I can free up some cabinet room for MORE YARN!)
Something else joyful (but not really ridiculous at all) is my first sock project for the new year. I am participating in the 12 Socks group again this year and my first pair is one I'm doing as a knit-along with a Ravelry friend.
So knitting 2015, off we go!
*John is named after WWE wrestler John Cena, whose catchphrase is "you can't see me". I find it hilarious. Don't judge me.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Yesterday was an uninspired kitty toy since I had previously promised Olive that I'd make her one. So far, Cocoa has been the only one to play with it, but she was enthusiastic in her biting and bunny-kicking, so I can't be upset about that.
I thought about making another kitty toy today but honestly, in the way of all cats, my cats are the type to prefer to sleep in the box instead of the expensive cat bed that came in it. So no kitty toy today. Well, except for the pattern I picked is supposed to be a kitty toy.
Instead of stuffing this with fiberfil, as directed by the pattern, I used some plastic canvas sheets. After all, it isn't to be a kitty toy so it doesn't need to be soft. Naturally, this means the kitties will most likely try to destroy it. But until then, I have a construction cone that is reinforced and sturdy, ready to denote any area in which caution should be taken!
Sunday, December 28, 2014
It's ironic that I've started to win yarn right about the time I banned myself from buying more. I don't plan for it to be a long ban, but getting the prize yarns has made it easier to stick to. That and the fact that I have a ton of awesome yarn and not too much room for more!
Must knit faster!
I did run out of yarn and have to finish the socks off with something else, which was a bit sad, but I think they turned out okay. Well, ugly but in a charming way maybe? The variegated yarn did end up pooling and it did it in a pretty cool way, I think.
These puppies are superwash wool though, so I'm thinking I'll put some Plasti-Dip on the bottom to keep the holes away - and to make them not so slippery. Because they are crazy slick on our laminate floors. But they have to finish drying first and I have to figure out the best way to paint them. Maybe with a foot form in them? Something. I'll figure it out.
And then I can start on my 12 socks for 2015!
Friday, December 26, 2014
Even if I hadn't run out of knitting steam just over half way through these, this pair would have taken a little bit longer than my norm because I had to reknit the toes. I'm still searching for the knitting merit badge that I believe this deserves.
Speaking of knitting accomplishments, I noticed that the repeating pattern would make it fairly easy for me to figure out how many stitches are in these socks. So I figured it out.
Each toe and heel had about 1,248 stitches and each block section was 720 stitches each... so short row toes (not including the first ones I had to frog), short row heels, plus 21 block sections... that's about 17,616 stitches per sock or 35,232 stitches total. Over 35,000 stitches. Okay, maybe I never need to calculate that again.
I have only a tiny amount of time before 2014 is over and honestly, I'd really like to make it to thirty pairs of socks. I see some worsted weight footies in my future.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Of course, when gifting wool slippers to people, you do want to make sure you also haven't given them something that will make them slip and break their neck. (Newly made wool slippers are crazy slick - I've almost fallen more than once when my slippers were new or newly washed). So I put little non-stick bottoms on them!
Anyway, I've been working on these puppies since June and I'm so glad I finally get to include them in my yearly sock/slipper total. (Also, this is the project that broke my washing machine. Yes, felting all these slippers killed my old top loader. So thank you Christmas slippers, for buying me a new washer dryer set!)
Yay for 28 pairs! I have one more pair that I'm almost done with (more socks for Dan) so I'm really hoping to get my total up to 29 before the year ends. Of course, if I could I'd love to get to 30, which is a nice round number, but I don't think I can knit a pair of socks that quickly... unless it is a big fuzzy pair?
Sunday, December 14, 2014
First on the list was the master bedroom.
Next up, the guest bathroom.
This project is, naturally, going to take a bit longer than the bedroom as we are pretty much gutting and redoing the room. We still have to finish taking up the floor tile and removing the fiberglass tub/shower combo thing. But we already have a vanity and mirror purchased and new tile picked out for the shower so we are making slowly moving forward!
Dan also got some beer brewing done this weekend; he made a golden stout and an kind-of imperial stout. No pictures of that, but the kitchen in the midst of the brewing looked very similar to the in process picture of the guest bathroom above.
Yay for productive vacations!
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Our pockets were full of deng, so there was no real need from the point of view of crasting any more pretty polly to tolchock some old veck in an alley and viddy him swim in his blood while we counted the takings and divided by four, nor to do the ultra-violent on some shivering starry grey-haired ptitsa in a shop and go smecking off with the till’s guts. But, as they say, money isn’t everything.What?
At times, getting past the slang was easier said than done, but I found as long as I picked the book up fairly regularly, I could keep in the mindset that allowed me to not get tripped up on the slang.
Once I got past that, the book actually ended up fairly interesting. The main point seemed to be about choice and yeah, it was a bit heavy handed with that.
A man who cannot choose ceases to be a man.Thwack.
Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some ways better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?Thwack.
Goodness comes from within.... Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.Thwack.
They have turned you into something other than a human being. You have no power of choice any longer. You are committed to socially acceptable acts, a little machine capable only of good.Beat that dead horse, baby.
No, but really. It did bring up some interesting things to think about and it came at a good time for me, so thumbs up on that. But honestly, I think the end kind of fizzled and it left me wondering what the takeaway was supposed to be.
Apparently, the last chapter (SPOILERS: where Alex gets bored with his youthful life of violence and decides he'd like to be married and have a child and effectively grows out of his thieving, assaulting, raping and murdering ways in one night), was originally removed from the US versions of this book. (It was this edited version that Stanley Kubrick's movie was based on, which is probably why watching the movie didn't help me resolve any of my issues with the book.) I can understand that because, to me, it ends the book on a confusing note. It kind of messed with what I saw to be the strong choice-related themes of the book.
I think if the book had ended differently (the last chapter particularly, but I think it started to decline when Alex ended up in the hospital), I might have actually enjoyed this book. As it is, I'm left with kind of a "meh" feeling about it all. It was interesting and provoked some interesting conversation with Dan, but it could have been more.
Anyway, I'm apparently still on my weirdly violent (violently weird?) book kick. And I've just started reading a Haruki Murakami book, so I don't think the kick is done yet.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
At times, I'm okay with minor mistakes in my socks. But something like this? Not so minor. And the fact that the socks are for Dan made it doubly important to do it right. Which means I had to fix the too-pointy toes. I could rip them back, but one sock was past the heel - half way done! - and the other was almost as far.
So I took a deep breath, braced myself up and unravel the toes.
I'm so relieved that I was able to fix Dan's toes. There was a lot of nervousness involved in the fix since I had never done such a dramatic fix before. But now that I've done it once, I have the confidence to do it again if it ever pops up. Win all around!
Of course, too-pointy toes aren't the only sock-related things around the house that have needed fixing lately. Dan's first pair of socks had a spot that had begun thinning out so I set up to reinforce the thin spot with some duplicate stitch. Unfortunately, when I started to repair the thin spot, the worn yarn gave way creating a honest-to-goodness hole.
Basically, the Speedweve is this little mini-loom contraption that you hook up to your sock to create a woven patch.
It was pretty easy to do and it worked great!
Holes in hand knit socks still make me sad, but it is a bit of a fact of life apparently, so I'm really pleased to have a way to fix them that's pretty fun. (I do have a small darning egg that is great for doing some duplicate stitching for reinforcement, which I used for a pair of my socks that hadn't gotten to hole-level yet, but the darning egg isn't as fun as the Speedweve!)
I'm now flying pretty high on my mad sock repairing skills. Go me!
Monday, December 8, 2014
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Woodchuck Private Reserve Pumpkin Cider
3.5 our of 5
Woodchuck Cellar Series Mint
3 out of 5
The taste is very bright and, yes, there is mint. It's sweet but not over powering and gives a nice tingle on my tongue. This does hit the sparkling white grape juice note more than apple cider but I do like it, especially the sweet yet slightly earthy mint at the end.
It's not my favorite cider but I approve of its uniqueness. I prob like the cheese flavored cider more but this is similar in style/sweetness/lightness to the Crispin so yeah, I like it well enough.
Magner's Irish Cider Original
2 out of 5
Taste is interesting. It makes me think of rotten rubber band fruit. There's something in the aftertaste - it's so fruity and sour - that all I can think of is rotten fruit. Which is a shame because the first part of the taste seems like it would be a good beer substitute as it isn't overwhelmingly fruity or wine cooler, but rather something with a little funk and personality.
Great potential, but disappointingly not for me.
Angry Orchard Hard Cider Apple Ginger
4.5 out of 5
The taste is interesting. It very apple-y on the front end and very ginger-ale on the back end. The ginger gives it a nice balance to the sweetness of the apple so it's not just candy sweet. It also gives the flavor just enough earthy funk to make it super tasty.
This one is one of my mom's favorites and I can totally see why. Nice flavor, great balance. This is up there with the Woodchuck Belgium for me. Definitely going to have to buy more of this.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Please play the commercial for theme music while reading the rest of this post. Because apparently, that song fits my yarn experiences this month.
I have won two yarn prizes! The first one was a random drawing for those in my 12 Socks in 2014 sock group that completed socks in October. For that, I won this delightful pink bamboo and wool sock yarn, which I can't wait to try out!
Yay for yarn winning!
So last weekend, we happened to be near a Le Creuset outlet. And that outlet happened to be having a sale. You see where this is going? Yeah, we bought a new "big" pot. How big? Well, here it is next to our previous big-boy, the 9 quart.
Of course, I don't think it will replace my beloved orange pot for daily use. But it will be our go-to soup pot, which is the whole point of it.
Part of me knows how ridiculous it was that we got this pot - I mean, it's HUGE and nothing Le Creuset is cheap. That being said, don't think we actually paid anywhere near full price for this. I've wanted this pot for ages but could not justify paying what it sells for. But knock a couple hundred off the price? Yes please!
And now I must return to the kitchen to pet it and tell it how fabulous it is.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
I tried reading page one three times and even tried out page two before I realized I couldn't as I was completely distracted by the words I didn't understand.
Does it get better or should I just give up now?
Friday, November 21, 2014
Basically people who love horror movies are people with boring lives. They want to be stimulated, and they need to reassure themselves, because when a really scary movie is over, you’re reassured to see that you’re still alive and the world still exists as it did before.Earlier this year, I read a book by Ryu Murakami that started with a random murder and ended with the firebombing of a Tokyo suburb. It was weird and oddly entrancing, so I decided to read something else by him. I picked In the Miso Soup.
I'm not really sure if I can explain this book. Basically, a Japanese tour guide is hired to show an American around the seedy side of Tokyo's nightlife. The American ends up being a serial killer.
“He’s checking out a Print Club booth.”It's a horrifically violent book. Do not read while eating. Most of it isn't gory, but there is one (long) scene that... You know, I have a strong stomach but I'm glad I didn't hit that part while I was eating lunch. For some reason, it was particularly gruesome.
“You know, that machine that takes photos of you and then prints them out on cute little stickers. I don’t think he knows how it works. He’s watching a group of girls posing for a picture.”
“I think you’re probably all right, then, Kenji. I can’t imagine a murderer making Print Club photos of himself.”
I’m not sure why, but that seemed to make sense.
Frank sighed as though bored and cut off his other ear as well. It fell to the floor soundlessly, like a slice of fishcake or something, and lay there among the loose strands of hair and cigarette ashes.And that doesn't even get into the really icky parts. (Let's not discuss a man's face begin set on fire.) One disadvantage of particularly evocative writing style, I suppose?
But even before the real violence sets in, it's just such a weird book. There's something about the writing style - it really sucked me in even though I'm pretty sure I had a shocked-to-horrified expression on my face while reading 90% of this book.
On a larger scale, it touches on the issues of loneliness, the disconnect of younger generations (compared to post-WW2 folks; this isn't a teenagers-are-the-bane-of-our-society type book), cultural differences, who's to blame for society's issues... It's not exactly the most flattering towards Americans, but then it isn't exactly a glowing review of the Japanese either. Murakami is critical of everyone, apparently.
What’s good about Americans, if I can generalize a little, is that they have a kind of openhearted innocence. And what’s not so good is that they can’t imagine any world outside the States, or any value system different from their own. The Japanese have a similar defect, but Americans are even worse about trying to force others to do whatever they themselves believe to be right.So yeah, this all probably really says nothing concrete about this book, but it's just weird. Did I like it? Yes, in a horrifying sort of way. The underlying issues were really interesting to think on and the actual plot was engaging in a rubbernecking-at-a-horrible-car-accident kind of way. I can't say I'd recommend it to anyone because if someone actually read it, they might think I had massive mental problems, but yeah, really fascinating read. I'm definitely going to have to read more Ryu Murakami books. Once I recover from this one.