Smitten as a cat, yeah as kitten as that

A great end to a great summer. I'm just saying is all . . .

Yesterday I had date #4 with The Boy. I know I haven't shared much about him, but I don't want to jinx anything and I don't want to get too excited about it yet, but things are going well. Plans are in the works for date #5. Yeah, and I'm pretty sure he likes me too, so that's a nice bonus. Yay me!

I also got my last package from my secret pal. I'm very excited about it, but this has been so much fun that it's sad for it to end. Elizabeth has been a great pal, and I love all the stuff she sent me. When things calm down a little around here again, she should watch the mail. I'm just saying is all. Yikes! Just realized I reused the box she sent the goodies in. Elizabeth, want to e-mail me your address? Pretty please? Thanks a bunch! Here's what I got from the best pal around:

Cute packaging, don't you think? And inside those packages:

A neat little blue glass doo-dad (well what would you call it?) with a sheep printed on it, some yummy Trekking yarn, some yummy Cascade Fixation for some fun ankle socks, point protecters in all different sizes for my needles (how did she know I needed these?), and of course some delicious treats! There was chocolate, Skittles, chocolate, maple sugar candies, and did I mention chocolate? Thanks Elizabeth! You're the best!

And that FO I promised you, here goes (sorry, not the best photo - an experiment with the self-timer):

You thought it was going to be something different, didn't you? An Eyelet Chemise or a Baby Hoodie? Nope, fooled you all - hah!

Pattern: Shrug from Debbie Bliss Pure Silk, size 32-34
Needles: US 3 and US 6, both circulars
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Pure Silk, color #10
Pattern Notes: The pattern is very Debbie Bliss, meaning it's a puzzle. It was a fun challenge that I really enjoyed. There's something about the way she writes patterns that infuriates some people, but personally I love it. I'm not sure if it's the added excitement about interpretting what she has written or the fact that it makes me feel like I've really accomplished something when it's done, but I love her patterns all the same. One thing that really helped was putting a small sticky note on each of the stitch patterns. See, she gives these two different stitch pattern repeats and they have different numbers of rows. It's a little confusing, but with the sticky-note-system I was able to just move the sticky notes as I went along. There was just no way I would be able to keep track by using row counters since I'd have to remember which row counter went with which stitch pattern. Did that make any sense at all?

The only thing about this shrug is that apparently my gauge was really tight so it's a drop small. I'm hoping it will grow a little the more I wear it. On the plus side of that trauma, I managed to complete it using 5 skeins instead of 6. More yarn store credit! Am I good or what? Below you can see what was left over from 5 skeins. A close call there!

Well, this weekend is my brother's wedding, so I've got to go finish packing now. Details after it's all over.

Previous title: The Clash, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"


This indecision's bugging me

It has occurred to me that if I worked on one project at a time, things would get done a lot faster. However, in true stashmonkey fashion, I can't possibly make that kind of commitment. In my defense, I have limited it to two projects rather than the overwhelming list of 14 over there in the UFO list. Go ahead, count. You know you want to. Take your time, I'll wait . . .

So here are the two I've chosen to devote my time to this week. First, there's the Debbie Bliss Cabled Coat with Hood from the Baby Cashmerino book.

As you can see, this little number has gotten the majority of my attention these days. I've finished the back twice now. Yes, twice. Shut up. And both front pieces are done too. Maybe it'll just be a vest, then I can do some finishing and call it done. Not really, but the cables that were once intriguing are now more annoying than anything else. On the plus side, I should have lots of leftover yarn to return since I decided to chop a good four and a half inches off the length. You can see the original version here. Wicked cute, no? But the thing is, while that baby looks adorable, can you really see a kid in a cardigan that long? Me neither.

I've also realized I better get a move on on the IK Eyelet Chemise. Fall is coming fast and I'd like to actually be able to wear this baby. Also, I've got lots of leftovers on this one too and I can only make a return if it's before the end of the month. I think it's pretty safe to say that those two balls you see hanging out above the sweater are going back. In case you can't tell, that's one finished giant main piece (front and back knit together), one finished sleeve (all curled up on the left), and one just-started sleeve.

Next question: What should I get at the yarn store with all of my store credits? Apparently I've been smoking crack while deciding how much yarn to buy. I'll try to kick the habit before I go back.

Previous title: Pearl Jam, "Elderly Woman behind the Counter in a Small Town"


Hello! My god it's been so long, never dreamed you'd return

What a fun weekend! My college roommate Lisa was in town all weekend and we had a blast together!

She's one of those people that, even though I haven't talked to her in almost a year, we can pick up right where we left off. It's oddly comforting to know there are people in your life who, no matter what, will always understand you. Every so often I wonder if that's it and we've finally moved on and outgrown a friendship that, at times, seemed like it could outlast anything. And then I spend some time with her and I know again that the world will keep on turning and we really will be friends forever. Ok, too cheesy. I'll stop now.

We did many of the traditional Boston things, like walking Newbury Street and eating in the North End, not to mention Mike's Pastries - yum! So all in all, a good time was had. Because of this good time, I have no new knitting to show you. But I will soon. And maybe even something finished by the end of the week? Not so sure about that one. No promises, okay?

Previous Title: Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Aeroplane"


Music is my aeroplane

Clearly you've noticed by now that music is important to me. I don't play any instruments, and those who know me would run in fear if I threatened to sing. Yet somehow music has crept into my life anyway. I'm really a lyrics kind of person. Sure, there's the occassional instrumental song that'll do it for me (lately it's Medeski, Martin, and Wood's "End of the World Party" for those curious), but generally it's the lyrics that hit home. Thus, the titles on this blog. I spend a good portion of my day listening to music.

With this in mind, you can see why I was devastated today when this happened:

Here you can see my iPod. It is on and playing a song. What's wrong with this picture? Ah, yes, the screen is blank! Here's the deal: it plays music just fine, but the screen is consistently blank. So, basically I'm just guessing when I try to play what I want to listen to. It was kind of a fun challenge at first and maybe slightly interesting to try and figure out how to get to certain playlists or artists, but now it has definately lost the appeal.

I tried going to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store today, but it turns out those geniuses are in high demand! I have to log on to Apple's website at midnight tonight to make an appointment for tomorrow. Some geniuses! You'd think they could figure out that people prefer convenience to this weirdass system. In the meantime, I can't decide what I want the geniuses to tell me. If my iPod can be fixed for a reasonable price, obviously I'll do that and save some cash. However, if it can't, then it would be a great excuse to buy a new one . . .

Oh yeah. For those of you early birds who missed it, I added a few notes to the last post. Go see! Maybe I left one for you!

Previous Title: Jimi Hendrix, "Stone Free"


Tear me loose baby

"Stone free, do what [we] please!"

Check it out! I was working on my Debbie Bliss silk shrug, but I got to the point where I need to switch to smaller needles. Of course, the smaller needles were already occupied with the IK Eyelet Chemise. I put in some quality time on this baby and managed to get the main piece off the needles. Above are all that remains; well, except for the finished piece, which is below.

So, what would you do next? FInish off the eyelet chemise or the silk shrug (below)?

Faced with this dilemma and cursed with the inability to make a decision, I did what any good knitter would do. That's right, I cast on for something new.

At least it's a somewhat small project . It's a baby sweater for a little one who is due on October. I'll get back to the others soon, but for now I'm enjoying a much needed break from the girlie colors. While starting a new project is definately not going to help cut down my UFO list, I'm working out an incentive for myself. I have a new list on my sidebar (or will in a few minutes) of all of my works in progress. This way I can see everything I'm working on, and erase them as they get done. I think when the list gets down to just two or three, or maybe four, there should be some kind of prize. I haven't figured out yet what it will be, but if you have any suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them.

Edited to add a few quick notes:
- Thanks Secret Pal for the postcard! I hope you enjoyed your vacation!
- Joanne - The baby sweater is the "Cabled Coat with Hood" from the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino book. I'm making some modifications and I'm using Sirdar's Snuggly yarn, because it was less than half the price. I'm happy to give you more details if you want them.
- Colleen (my pal) got her KSKS kit and loved it, although it seems some Oompa Loompas snuck in and ate all of the candy. Heehee! Glad she enjoyed it!
- Andrea asked about the booga bag, so here are some quick details on both that one and the Cleo Clutch. For the booga bag I followed the pattern exactly and used Noro Kureyon in color 90. I think it took a little over two skeins. For the Cleo Clutch I used Lamb's Pride Worsted in Rust. Both were from the stash. See, I can do something right! Even if I don't seem to finish projects, at least I used up some stash yarn!

Previous title: Fall Out Boy, "Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year"


It's just a matter of time before we're all found out

Secret swaps are coming close to an end - isn't it exciting?

Today I finished off and packed up my knit sock kit for She Who Must Not Be Named (well, it is still a secret!). It's all packed up and ready to go out. Here's a sneak peak:

She's getting a booga bag as her "official" sock bag, but I also included the cleo clutch, because she likes to put her socks in whatever bigger bag she's carrying. I figured the clutch could easily slide inside of a bigger bag. I added a metal snap to the inside of the bag, but it's kind of hard to open and close. I'm thinking it'll loosen up as she uses it. There's some delicious candy; the Amelia Raitte sock patterns, and some homemade stitch markers. The stitch markers are in this cute little metal tin that I found at the Container Store. It's decorated on top with a picture that goes along with her blog, but I tried my best to make it blurry so she won't figure out that it's for her if she reads this. Hopefully, that'll all go ok.

I had so much fun wrapping everything up, but then I forgot to take a picture of the final product. Trust me, it was very cute.

Previous Title: Paul Simon, "Call Me Al"


Got a short little span of attention

For Shelby, because she asked for it, I present the gallery of unfinished objects.

In all fairness, I should warn you that it took quite some time to dig up these bad boys. I feel a little like those oddballs on "Clean Sweep" who can't seem to stop themselves from purchasing weird little knick-knacks until they finally find themselves exposed to the world by the wonder that is TLC. This is a little embarrassing, but here I go. Please be kind.

We begin innocently enough, with just a basic update on that Debbie Bliss Silk Shrug I am so fond of these days.

It's really coming along, don't you think?

Also residing in a place of honor (meaning it hasn't yet been relegated to the "drawer of doom"), is the IK Eyelet Chemise. I got pretty far before abandoning this baby for greener, or hot-pink-ier, pastures. I'll pick it up again someday. Promise.

Hiding in the Drawer of Doom, I discovered Mariah.

I have no excuses here. I think I just got tired of looking at this one. Every so often I think about picking it up again, but I just can't bring myself to. Especially not when there are brightly colored fun yarns that are so much nicer and softer than Paton's Classic Wool.

In keeping with the sweater-style items, we have the IK Union Square Pullover.

This was my first foray into a sweater on size 3 needles, and not the last, I might add. It's done, I guess. All the pieces have been knit. Ignore the fact that it hasn't been sewn together or properly blocked. It's done. Really. It is. Shh. Stop it.

And here is what became of the leftovers:

Ok, so I had to buy the purple to coordinate nicely. This is a knitting needle case that I decided to create. It was more of an excuse to try out this funky stitch pattern from Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book. I like it a lot, but I don't really want to have to line it, and I think that's unavoidable. Unless, of course, I just move on to the next project. Heehee.

I also tried to create a tank top pattern. It was coming along well, when, oh I don't know. I just moved on DAMNIT!

And finally, the piece d'resistance, socks . . . and a mitten.

We have, from left to right:
- Cut Your Teeth Socks in Koigu
- Tropicana Socks in Sunshine Yarns
- IK Rib and Cable socks in Pearl Gems
- Jaywalker Socks in Lorna's Laces
- Plain old stockinette socks in Koigu
- IK Embossed Leaves socks in Cherry Tree Hill - I ran out of yarn
And above, one sad and lonely mitten. It's for the Mitten Challenge 2006.

I'm going to go cry now. Or knit up a storm. Haven't decided which yet.

Previous title: Moody Blues, "Running Out of Love"