Sunday, August 26, 2007

Back home again...

...and, hey, it's not good.
(my little homage to John Denver.)

I received a couple of lovely welcome-home presents in the early moments of my return last night -- a crashed computer, and cat vomit in several locations around the house. One rug is beyond repair and is now in the trash. Let's hope the computer is not destined for the same fate.

Thanks, guys. Makes me want to leave home permanently.

Today I'm "recuperating" from my vacation, checking email, unpacking and doing laundry. My desktop PC, the workhorse of my life, is terribly ill, and so GeekSquad has been summoned for a housecall. The earliest appointment they could give me is a week from tomorrow, and so I'm relegated to this tiny laptop for the next eight days, at least. That's what I get for buying a small, travel-friendly, lightweight one -- a tiny keyboard to fat-finger all the live-long day. You pays your money, you makes your choice.

Vaycay photos will probably be uploaded here within a few days, (boy, I miss my desktop PC).

In the meantime I'm trying to figure out where's the best place to buy prescription (far-sighted) swim goggles. Anyone have any luck getting them locally? How about the internet?

Time to shift another another load of laundry from washer to dryer.

Do I seem grumpy?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Counting Our Blessings

Had an email from my brother this morning. It seems his #2 son was making a left turn out of James River High School on Robious Rd. yesterday afternoon, coming home from football practice, and was broadsided by a van. Van driver just had a small scratch. #2 son has a severe concussion and the burden of knowing he totaled his older brother's white pickup. But no broken bones and no organ damage. A miracle, to be sure, based on the the damage to the truck.

Very scary stuff.

I've been plugging along today, doing my work, and then every half hour or so I'll remember about the accident and shoot about ten grateful prayers of thanks heavenward. My most recent jolt of remembrance brought tears to my eyes, perhaps after finally realizing the full potential of what could have been. A small taste of what his parents must be feeling.

Thank you, God, for protecting my nephew.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fall Fiber Frolics

(what's with me and all the alliteration lately?)


I've got to make some decisions here, people. Autumn is rapidly approaching, and there are so many fiber events on the calendar (yay!) that I need to make a decision about which one(s) I want to attend.

Here's what's on the calendar, so far:

This list doesn't even include another knitting retreat that a local Stitch 'n Bitch group is having down at the beach, the same weekend as Stitches East. I'd already decided there were too many other fiber events going on to even consider that one.

Plus, there are some great classes being offered locally. Our local knitting guild is having a special workshop in early September on top-down Aran cardigans. Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg is having Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably workshops in late September. One LYS, The Knitting Basket is having a class on Thrummed Mittens, also in late September -- something that appeals to my always-cold-in-winter hands. And of course, our four other area yarn shops all offer a host of good classes. A knitter could go wild (and broke), taking them all!

It's a fun problem to have so many options to choose from. Which shall I attend? Chances are, the closer the event is to home, the higher probability of my attending. But, ya never know -- I could easily be talked into something farther away, if I'm feeling adventurous.

Which will you be attending?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Pursue Perception of Perseids in Powhatan?

The annual Perseid meteor shower is underway, with its peak being tomorrow (Sunday) night. There's a dark sky observing area out in Powhatan that I'm considering driving out to, in order to watch them. Being as I live in the city, which is, like any city, lousy with light pollution, that's really my best bet to see lots of shooting stars.

Clear skies and decent weather are predicted. Anyone care to join me?

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Couple 'o Hats

Longtime readers may remember my post about this year's Sedalia Spring Fiber Festival back in April. Way, way back in the sweet, sweet springtime, back before the earth flew too close to the sun and scorched in summertime temperatures that reached 107°F.

(Yes, that's what my
WeatherBug told me we hit on Wednesday, although the "official" high was "only" 104°F. Hottest I've ever seen it get here in Rivah City. But not the hottest I've ever been. That would be two summers ago when I was working in Palm Springs, CA, when it got to 115°F every day, and it was still 100°F at midnight. Bleh. But I digress.)
Anyway, you may recall my Spring Fiber Festival purchases:

Including some Kid Hollow Farm Wrapped Yarn:

Which, for some reason, had a catnip-like effect on my Ali:

yarn wrastlin'

I think the residual smell of cedar on the yarn does that to cats, maybe.

So, I finally got around to knitting up that yarn into a couple o' hats for a couple o' nieces with summer birthdays. Just some simple roll-brim hats which take next to no brain power, and are therefore perfect projects for me:

  • Yarn: Kid Hollow Farm Wrapped Yarn (90% wool wrapped with 10% mohair/Border Leicester)
  • Colorway: Kiwi
  • Gauge: 3.5 stitches per inch
  • Needles: U.S. size 10 (6 mm) Denise circulars & Clover bamboo 8" DPNs
  • Pattern: cast on 70 stitches, join in the round, knit every round for ~6-7", decrease & finish according to Super Simple Hat Calculator
  • Size: ~20" circumference
  • Recipient: niece ML - 14th birthday

  • Yarn: Kid Hollow Farm Wrapped Yarn (90% wool wrapped with 10% mohair/Border Leicester)
  • Colorway: Chico
  • Gauge: 3.5 stitches per inch
  • Needles: U.S. size 10 (6 mm) Denise circulars & Clover bamboo 8" DPNs
  • Pattern: cast on 70 stitches, join in the round, knit every round for ~6-7", decrease & finish according to Super Simple Hat Calculator
  • Size: ~20" circumference
  • Recipient: niece RM - 14th birthday

And look, here's the happy recipient now! (Okay, two weeks ago.)

RM -- a little out of focus

RM actually attended that fiber festival with her mother and I, and picked out the yarn. But I'm not so sure if she likes the hat. It's so hard to please teenagers. That's okay - I don't remember a thing I got on my 14th birthday. I also gave her a Barnes & Noble gift card to make up for any disappointment. :-)

As easy as this mindless hat recipe is to knit, it did take me four tries to get a gauge I liked with this yarn. The yarn label gives no gauge or needle recommendations, and the thick-and-thin nature of the yarn doesn't offer any clues. I was knitting these down at the lake last month, and after my third frogging I thought everyone was going to tie my arms to the rocking chair to stop me before I ripped again. But the fourth time was the charm. And you gotta know I love those colors!

A week from today (or tomorrow - haven't decided yet), I leave for my late summer vacation down at the beach, and I'm really looking forward to it. I haven't thought about it at all, which is cool -- it'll be a nice change of pace.

I mention it now because, given my slackened blogging pace this summer, it's very possible I won't have another post here until after I return from vacation. (We'll see -- maybe I'll feel chatty this weekend. There are still one or two topics I need to blog about before they become too dusty and covered in cobwebs.) This working for a living really cuts into my fun time, ya know? Since I sit on my arse all day in front of a computer to earn said living, after I'm off the clock, if I do feel like "playing" on the computer, I tend to spend that time reading blogs and playing on Ravelry.

It's not like I have whole lot to show-and-tell these days, anyway. I'm knitting, but it's just the tiniest amount you could possibly knit and still call yourself a knitter. I'm still blaming the heat. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Has nothing to do with just being lazy. Uh uh, no sir.) So, finished objects will be slow in coming. And since I'm working from home, I can go for days without leaving the house, which makes for a very boring and non-blog-worthy life. Zzzzzzzz. Sometimes I do miss the days when I traveled a lot for work. At least I had something to write about!

But there will be knitting at the beach, for sure. And maybe an FO. Maybe not. We'll see.

A momentous event occurred last month, which I failed to recognize here in a timely manner. On July 20th, I had my 2-year knitting anniversary -- my knittiversary. Two years ago on July 20th, 2005, my SIL Jenny, (who had given me a Learn-to-Knit kit three days prior, on my birthday), taught me to knit three days later on her birthday. And my life has been irrevocably changed. A new obsession hobby, a whole host of wonderful new knitting friends, a new blog. I'm so very grateful to have found this craft.

When Jenny taught me to knit, she was a beginning knitter herself, and what with her crazy-busy life, (my brother for a husband, three kids, a full-time job, training for and running in marathons, redecorating their newly remodeled house, etc.), she hasn't advanced much beyond the garter stitch scarf, (not that there's anything wrong with that). Heck, I'm not all that further along myself.

So, this year, on Jenny's birthday, (my knittiversary), I gave her some lovely yarn in her very favorite color:

Araucania Nature Wool (in chunky, I believe)
(thanks again, Gina!)
* well as her very own set of pink Denise Interchangeable circular needles, and a few sets of Clover bamboo DPNs. Oh, and a little "coupon" from me for hat knitting lessons down at the beach, and her very own copy of the Super Simple Hat Calculator. I'm going to make a hat knitter out of her yet! (Insert evil laugh here: Mwoooahh-ha-ha-ha-ha!)

Should be fun times, down at the beach! And if you need a reminder of what a beach vacation looks like, feel free to re-read my account of last year's vacation, starting here.

Good times!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Wake Up, Number 37

For the past few days, my heart has been with the folks in Minnesota as they, like the rest of the country, relive the horror of Wednesday's bridge collapse over and over again as it's aired on CNN.

And everywhere around the country people are wondering about the safety and stability of bridges in our own hometowns.

I think about the Huguenot Bridge, which took me to high school every day for four years, and more recently, seems to be closed for repairs every single weekend. And yet, although the paved surface is a patchwork quilt of pothole fill-ins, it is not cosmetic repaving work that's being performed on Sundays, and that makes me more than a little uneasy.

Huguenot Bridge, Richmond, VA

Although of a different construction than the steel-trussed I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, the Huguenot Bridge is still at risk. In May 2006, the deck, superstructure and substructure of the 57-year-old bridge were rated as poor, while the August 2006 underwater inspection rated the footings as just "fair". Not comforting. Fortunately the bridge is scheduled for replacement in 2010. Here's hoping it holds up that long.

I've also had the phrase, "Wake up, Number 37" rolling around my head these last few days. If you've seen the movie, The Mothman Prophecies, then you know to what I'm referring. If you haven't, then I won't spoil it for you. But it's a fantastic movie, in my opinion -- spooky, (in a fun, Sixth Sense kind of way), but not gory, and has a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat, heart-stopping ending which makes watching all the spooky stuff worthwhile. And of course, Richard Gere (my sister's hunky "co-star" in the upcoming Nights in Rodanthe flick, heh heh), is in it.

But what happened on Wednesday is not a Hollywood movie. Real people were injured. Real lives were lost. And thank God there are many more survivors than originally expected.

Yesterday I emailed my friend Marci, a Minnesota native currently living in Florida, and asked her if anyone she knew was involved. Her answer was thankfully, no, but she does have a friend who takes that bridge home from work every evening, usually right around the same time as Wednesday's rush hour collapse. Her friend went home by another route that night. And I'm guessing her friend is feeling particularly grateful to be alive these days.

Wake up, Number... ?

Have a safe weekend, everyone.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tuesday Night Knitters celebrate Unraveled!

Tuesday night, instead of meeting at our normal Barnes & Noble venue, our knitting group trooped over to the Far Country known as the West End, across the mighty Rivah James, and gathered at Unraveled to help owner Mary Jane celebrate her yarn shop's three-year anniversary.

I went the entire night without getting a picture of Mary Jane, (shame on me), nor did I knit a stitch as there was lots happening that would have surely distracted my middle-aged attention-deficient brain into all kinds of mistakes, but I did manage to get a handful of pictures of a few of the folks who came.

Here are Robin C., Sheddy and Renny all wearing my favorite color teal, so I of course just had to lump them together and force them to take a photo:

the gals (and the color) are so pretty! :-)

Here are a few other folks who joined the party:

Any, Lou, Judy, and Patsy were seriously knitting

Robin C., Issy, Deb and Renny were also heads-down, serious knitters

Jane modeled her newest FO - her CeCe cardigan,
which she knit start-to-finish on her beach vacation last week


Jane's sister Lawre had a trunk show of all her lovely knitting bags and fabrics

Linda finished her E.Z. surprise baby sweater:

Cute 'lil sweater!
And if you blur your eyes, doesn't it look like she has a normal-sized head and a tee-tiny body?


At one point in the evening a few of us decided to walk a few shops over to Deluca Gelato, Richmond's only authentic Italian gelateria, and man, was that stuff fabulous! I got the chocolate-chocolate chip, my first ever gelato, and it was incredible. I was sure that something with less fat than ice cream surely couldn't be as good, but I was happily proven wrong. I will be going there now every time I'm in the neighborhood! A yarn shop and a gelateria? Twist my arm!

Patsy seemed to enjoy hers:

As did Issy:

Mary Jane was also kind enough to put out yummy snacks for us, so we were happy knitters!

front: homemade cinnamon buns
back: cheese & crackers


And Cathy just seemed happy overall:


Finally, I will leave you with a picture of this beautiful freeform-knitted purse that Ann, who works at Unraveled, knit up as a shop sample:

Love it!

Mary Jane sells the purse forms in her shop, and I believe Ann teaches a class on free-form knitting, in case you're interested!

Well, that's all for now. Maybe I'll get inspired and blog again this weekend -- I do have a few other things to share. We'll see!

Happy weekend, everyone! :-)