Sunday, March 25, 2007

Raking in the presents!

So, here we are closing in on the end of March and I may or may not have had an event this week involving turning another year older, blowing out candles, and over-indulging in a dessert kind of way. (Can you tell I don't really feel like talking about now being thirty-two? Sigh....) Anyway, the good part of course is that I have I'm a lucky girl who got to spend time and get very well wishes from the very sweet people who love me. Chocolate, laughing and beverages were consumed on the appropriate birthday-level scale. Oh yeah, and they also gave me presents too. Here are the knitting related ones

Look at that! That's like enough knitting knowledge to stop a bus isn't it? Wow! My dad gave me the 2 Barbara Walker knitting treasuries (and also "Knitting in the Old Way", which I now just realized is not in the picture). My husband gave me the Nicky Epstein "Knitting on the Edge" books and the Amy Sedaris book (I know it's not knitting but it's in that craft category, and totally hilarious by the way) and also Little Miss Sunshine on DVD which I watched for the second time yesterday and have officially decided it is my new favorite movie. The lovely Tracy gave me the "Favorite Socks" book and yes it just as good as they say it is. It's one of a handful of books I own where I can really say I'd be hard-pressed to find a project in there that I would not want to make. I really could make every one. And the "Victorian Lace Today" book? That would be a gift from me. To me. And I happen to love it. What a great gift! Doesn't everyone buy themselves birthday gifts? Gifts as in plural right? I hope so because that's not the only thing I got myself.

I had heard someone talking about a corduroy messenger knitting bag on a podcast awhile ago. I didn't buy the brand the person was referring but recognized immediately that a corduroy messenger knitting bag could possibly be the penultimate knitting vessel that would someday surpass all my knitting in public dreams. Behold the Namaste Messenger Knitting Bag. Can you tell I love it? I adore it? And I'm so not into 'buying stuff' lately. But this bag... Every time I knit I admire it. The corduroy is soft as butter, yet sturdy. The inside? Gobs and gobs of space.

The bottom even unzips to make even more room! So the next time I'm knitting a 50 inch top-down raglan I don't have to worry that the entire sweater is not going to fit in my bag. No problem! It is so roomy! But small stuff is kept safe and sound too-the little pockets in the front? So useful, and cute. And there a bunch of small pockets lining the inside also-it's hard to photograph the black. And the style? It's just so me. I love messenger bags. And I'm so happy with this, it's so useful and practical, yet stylish and classic and punk-ish. And I'm totally tempted to cover that top flap with different pins from bands and stuff. Because even though my drivers license says otherwise in my head I am still living in 1995. But that's ok right? Back in 1995 I'm still 20 years old. Eeek!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

May the bug bite you, and may it bite you bad

Well, on the knitting front I’ve recovered nicely from the frogged Jaywalker.

This one fits and I’m much happier with it. I do like this pattern a lot. I’ve pretty much knitted exclusively on it this week. And it hasn’t been hard because I’m afraid I’ve gotten a little bored with the other project I have on the needles.

I’m halfway through the sleeves on the red cardigan and I don’t want to say it’s like slogging through concrete but well, sometimes it is. I can’t believe it. I’m the girl that loves mindless knitting. Miles of stockinette. Hours of straight stitching. Well I guess I’ve met my match. I’m not sure if it’s the yarn (it’s acrylic, which is ok, but after this much of it it no longer says ‘touchmepickmeupknitme’ all the time) or the color (it’s almost exactly the same color as the last sweater I knit, that could bring about boredom too). But something has me just wanting to get through this. I think it’s that I also know once I do finish the sleeves I still have a few weeks of seaming and buttonbands to go (I usually only do that stuff on the weekends in high concentration mode so it takes a while) and probably not much wearing time left in the season. It could also be all the other patterns I’ve been looking through and planning. Or that this is the smallest gauge I’ve ever knit a sweater for myself with. Who knows. But I’m going to keep at it. Since that’s the only way it will ever get done I guess.

In other hobby news I purchased my first pair of clip-on cycle shoes this week. They clip onto the pedals of a stationary bike to keep your feet in place. They’re better for your feet and can give you a better workout than just using regular sneakers.

I’ve been taking cycling classes at my gym for quite a while now and I love it. (It’s also called spinning but whenever I tell people I took a spinning class they always assume it’s the fiber yarn making kind of spinning:) Depending on my schedule I usually go to the gym between 3 and 5 times a week and I alternate between cycling and kickboxing classes. I know, I’m chubby for a healthy person, but at least I’m healthy and I’ve made my peace with that. But that’s a topic for another day...

Anyway, the story I want to tell you about today is about my new friend-the cycle guy. I went to a cycle shop near where I work to get the shoes. When I was there I asked the man helping me about getting a bike too. I haven’t owned a bike since, well probably since age 13 or 14. But I like these cycle classes a lot, and sometimes see one of those weekend cyclists riding around on a beautiful day and think "Hey, I could get used to that." Nonetheless, I probably won’t be getting a bike soon. According to my sales person if I want to get set up with a quality bike for the long haul (which I do) he positively assured me that he could definitely get me set up for less than $400. Which wouldn’t be so bad. I don’t want a toy but I’m not about to start cycling competitively either. So it’s not completely out of the question, but also not an amount I’ll be running out to spend tomorrow either. Anyway, we started talking about biking in the area and all the trails, biking by the beach and in the woods. And his eyes glazed over a bit and he spoke a little quickly and I noticed he had a look on his face all too familiar to me. As he went on to tell me how wonderful it is to cycle in our area and how alive it makes him feel when he hits the road I couldn’t help but think "I totally know this look. This is how I look when I talk about knitting." After a few minutes the conversation wound down and I told him if I did decide to buy I would go back to his shop. It means a lot to me that the person selling to me really cares about what they’re selling. He said that would be fine and told me, "Well, may the bug bite you and may it bite you bad." And I nodded and smiled. Because I understood. After all I have all these knitting bug bites all over me already right?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Frog and Some Dogs

So how much yarn would you say goes into a halfway completed Jaywalker sock? Probably about this much.

Probably? More like definitely. Unfortunately the Jaywalker got thrown into the frog pond today. Here is a picture of it before the swim in all it's pink and stripey lovely Trekking glory

Sigh.... Now I understand what Sachi meant when she commented "Just remember that they don't stretch. At all." Up until this point it seemed like the sock would be fine. It slid over my foot just fine. Not really tight, but still not all loosey goosey like that first attempt. But today I knit the heel flap, which was seeming a little shallow. I was prepared to make it longer than in the pattern and decided to try the sock on to see how it would go. And it turns out it wouldn't go- over my ankle at all that is. Now I understand the part about the stretching. The leg fit over my foot just fine, and it probably would also fit around my leg just fine. What I really need is some stretch and leeway to get it over my heel. So I've already re-cast it. I'm keeping it on the size 1's because I think it shows the stitches better than the 2's. I'm just going up to the 84 stitch size. But if this doesn't work, then I'm afraid I don't know where we're going with this. They might turn out to be socks for someone else. We'll have to see.

So since the sock frogging incident left me a little, well... dejected. To cheer me up the husband was sweet and decided to take me out for a hot dog.

Last month the cover of New Jersey Monthly Magazine featured their article on cheap eats. Great places to eat for less than $15 bucks. Some of the places in there look fabulous, and this weekend we decided to try our first one Amazing Hot Dog in Verona, New Jersey. Which also got an excellent "4 grease stains" rating on the Holly Eats website Tracy shared with me awhile ago. A great site to look and and drool over. Let me tell you the hot dogs... well, they were absolutely amazing, just the fix for a frogged sock.

You can get a "Classic" hot dog which is a wonderful 1/4 pound start. But most of the dogs on their menu start with their "Amazing" dog which you may or may not be able to tell from the pictures, is one of the 1/4 pound dogs, wrapped in bacon and deep fried. That's right- I didn't say steamed, I didn't say blanched, no these babies are DEEP FRIED!!! (Disclaimer-Don't worry, I promise I don't eat like this every day, I have a lot of yarn in my stash and if I die too early it won't get knit after all.) My favorite that we had? The one called "My Schmero!" in the lower left hand corner, an Amazing Dog served on a bun spread with cream cheese and sprinkled with scallions. Maybe it sounds weird but it was so good!!!! (And you know I'm beginning to now consider how cream cheese really can complement a variety of foods...) Vinny had to have the one pictured at the top called "The Jersey Breakfast Dog." That one is served with a fried egg and cheese. Yeah. Also on there is the "Smokey Joe" served with barbecue sauce and baked beans of course. And then one traditional Amazing Dog with mustard and sauerkraut. MMM... Fries on the side, and oh the little fried things in the middle? Those are Egg Roll dogs- mini hot dogs wrapped in egg roll wrappers served with duck sauce. Delish!!!

The owner tried to talk us into trying their "Amazing Hot Dog Superhero Challenge." Eat 6 specialty dogs and get your name on their plaque. Apparently only one person has done it so far and it only took them 45 minutes. We knew, we could just tell by the pictures there was just no way. We were more than fine with what we had ordered. We got our dogs sat down to eat and other than just saying "MMM" a lot we were pretty quiet. After a few gluttinous minutes in Vinny was halfway through his first dog. He looked up and half spoke/half sighed "It's really good.... Really... But there's no way I could ever eat 6 of these f**king things..." And trust me, 6 normal hot dogs for Vinny, not such a challenge. But these Amazing Dogs? Well, you can only taking in so much Amazing in one sitting... Highly recommended.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Beastie Boys Survey

Swiped this survey from Sunneshine and just had to do it. Why? Because I own this shirt

Now I didn't buy this shirt anywhere, even though Craftster does have some pretty cute ones. No I actually had this shirt made. I had to have it in black (of course) so I ordered it from Neighborhoodies which is a fine business I recommend highly. Anyway-so now you know I'm not only the type of geek to go to the trouble of having a shirt like this made but I also do really love those Beastie Boys just that much. So when I saw this survey loosely based on the lyrics from the very same song as my t-shirt is based on, well I knew it was destined for a blog post.

1. I've been hooked on the needles since: Learned to crochet from grandma when I was 5. Knitting from my godmother soon after.

2. I'm still a virgin, but not for long: I’m dying to knit a big fancy lace shawl this summer. Also socks on 2 circulars. I’m also a virgin to steeking but I don’t think I’ll be getting past that one for awhile.

3. She's crafty - she gets : Knitting everyday or every other if that’s not possible. If not I’m a serious crank. Seriously. And I rarely miss a meal. You don’t want to see me hungry either... Give me yarn and food and everybody’s happy...

She's crafty - she's always down...for: Knitting, tivo, trivia, eating out, cooking for friends, online shopping.

She's crafty - she's got a gripe...about : The serious injustices in the world today. The blatant consumerism in this country. The fact that youth culture has been replaced with Coach bags and Lindsey Lohan. The phone, I hate it. MySpace, I just don’t get it. I feel like I was a geek in high school and now I’m a geek on MySpace. But lets not talk about the gripes...

She's crafty - and she's just my type. What type of knitter are you? A process knitter (as opposed to a project knitter). I like the finished objects, but it’s the activity of sitting there and concentrating and knitting and relaxing that always brings me back... See #3.

4. I'm dying to try: lace shawl knitting.

5. I gravitate towards colors like: Black. Gray. Red. Purple. Green. Brown.

6. My most cherished possession (kids, pets, family don't count) is: Maybe this sounds cheezy but for as much of a collector as I am I’m really not into possessions lately. They’re things. Lately for me it’s all about people and action. Put me in a store (unless it’s a yarn store or I need something) and I feel bored to tears. I don’t need anything. Time, rest, peace of mind, more time to knit, now that’s the stuff I really need.

7. I'm stuck on an island, what am I reading? A knitting or food magazine. Or doing crosswords or sudoku.

8. If I were about to be executed and I was offered a last meal , I'd be dining on: It’s ridiculous how I’ve always known the answer to this question and it comes up in conversation a lot-rack of lamb, Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic, and creme brulee for desert.

9. Music to knit by: I usually knit to the tv or to podcasts. Music on the ipod right now would include the Pixies, NOFX, Bad Religion, Ella Fitzgerald, the Replacements, Louis Jordan...

10. I have a crush on: Jim Halpert on The Office. Drool....

11. Least favorite celeb: I don’t know why this question kind of bugs me. But I guess I’d have to say Teri Hatcher. Can she have any more plastic surgery? And this is supposed to be our new standard of beauty in this country?

12. Choose:Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp? Johnny Depp

Madonna or Janet Jackson? Old Janet Jackson- the Control album, I wish there were more female artists out there that still were delivering that type of message to young women. Sadly, I’m afraid I think Janet has even abandoned it for that troll Jermaine Dupree....

June Cleaver or Peg Bundy? Peg, only because Katey Segal also did the voice of Leela on Futurama

Jackie or Marilyn? Jackie

Love or Money? Love

Brains or Looks? Brains

Math or English? For me english, but because my math is lacking, I’m totally impressed by it in others.

Cat or Dog? Cat

Leader or follower? Hmm.... How about sarcastic bystander? Degenerative heckler? I’m not a follower, but I don’t think anyone should follow me either. Really. Do I look like I know where the heck I’m going?

Beer or Champagne? Good beer-I’m a beer snob. Although I wouldn’t turn down good Champagne either.

13. My favorite smell? The grill in the summer. Bacon cooking. The smell when you walk in Carvel Ice Cream.

14. Not many people know this about me: Nobody knows that stuff for a reason... :)

15. My hidden talent is: digesting legal info and spitting it back out sounding like I understand what I’m saying. Yeah, that one’s hidden for a reason...

Happy knitting, hope everyone's having a great weekend, I'll be posting knitting pics soon.