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Hidee ho there. Did you miss me? I missed you! Tons and tons and tons (and tonnes for the Brits).

So, I’m back home now. And I’m writing my thesis full time again. And going batshit crazy! What’s new with you guys?

I also have a finished thingie. I like it. Here it is.

hi. this is not a very exciting picture

Mara du cashmere!
Pattern: Mara by Madelinetosh (Rav me, baby)
Yarn: Jade Sapphire Angelwing Handspun Mongolian Cashmere, 1 skein, granny smith
Needle: US 8
Started: March 21
Finished: Er, a few days ago? I forgot to update my rav page
Size: I would totally tell you if I remembered to measure it.

I also took all these pictures with my iPhone, so they are awesome! And by awesome, I mean NOT AWESOME IN THE SLIGHTEST. (See what I did there?)

the cashmere, it's so soothing

This yarn is making you veeeery sleeeepy…. It’s also so friggin soft that I considered making underwear out of it, but who wants to handwash underwear?

The knitting details are entirely unremarkable. Mara is supposed to be a bigger shawl, but I could only afford one skein of this lovely lovely expensive cashmere. So I just knit the garter stitch part until I thought, “eh, big enough.” Then I did the edging part.

Was I exaggerating? Unremarkable.

Also once again, I underestimated how much yarn the bindoff would take, and ran out of yarn about 2/3 of the way through. Lucky for me, this yarn is exactly the same color as some Malabrigo lace in lettuce I had laying about. So I finished the bindoff in that.

See? This is why we keep stashes.

gimme all yer...bad pictures

I am pleased.

I haven’t blocked it yet, and I’m not sure I’m going to. It’s kind of knobbly and crap right now, and I don’t want to screw that up. Also, I’m not sure what blocking would do to the ribbing. Also also, I’m being lazy.

But I did manage to take a picture that makes it look like I lost 30 pounds.

twiggy

Photography can be magic.

I don’t have any good modeled shots because I’ve lost my photographer. And I’ve lost my photographer because the blub FINALLY opened the restaurant and works eleventy billion hours a day now.

Ha! Ha ha! Just kidding, it’s actually closer to 14.

But it’s good. Business is doing okay. People seem to like the soup. It’s a soup place. Here is a picture of some of the soup.

soup!

That’s the chicken tortilla. It is tasty.

And I am done talking. Here are pictures of some flowers at my house.

flowers on da porchrosy roses

OH, I am not done talking! I said above that I’m writing my thesis. I have to turn it in at the end of the month. So maybe expect some very weird and disjointed posts here in the next 30 days. Umm, kind of like this one.

But no really. I missed you guys a lot and plan on both writing more again and actually reading other people’s knitting blogs once more. I was in some weird head space when I was in NY, and I think I’m finally coming out of it. So I am really back, even though I got home a month ago.

Really. Really really. For good or for ill. MUAH!

ETA: OH also also again, I have a just for knitting stuff twitter feed now. It’s @thechemgrrl. Please to follow me? Kthx.

So. Hi.

I really hate it when people apologize on their blogs for not blogging. So I think I’ll skip that. But I will tell you what’s been going on.

To refresh: I’m in New York for Big Internship. Aaaaand Big Internship is not going so well. I’m kind of sucking, and it’s been a study in frustration and self-doubt and a whole lot ‘o angry. The hardest part is that my editor, who can be just about the world’s biggest asshole (hence the angry part), actually genuinely thinks I have a lot of potential and really wants me to get better and is trying to work with me even though I’m being stubborn and belligerent (his words, not mine). Plus, when he’s not being a total dick, he’s a great guy and I both like him a lot and respect him immensely. Which is honestly why I took the internship in the first place. It’s a bit outside my realm of expertise/interest, but I thought I could learn a lot. And I am. I’m just not learning what I thought I would. Or maybe I have a lot more to learn than I thought I did. Either. Both.

Anyway.

I haven’t been knitting much. I find that when I get sad/depressed/upset, I just don’t. But I have been buying the shit out of some yarn. I’m in New York, after all. You could shotput a pigeon in just about any direction here and hit a yarn store. I haven’t taken pictures of ALL my purchases (coughSHELTERcoughcough), but two have gotten a photoshoot.

First! Superwash worsted by Sweet Georgia yarns.

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I actually bought this in a store. Knitty City, which is about seven blocks from my house. They have TONS of it, but should be grateful I didn’t walk out with the whole pile.

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Isn’t it pretty? I’ve been yearning for spring, which is why the next one is green as well.

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It’s also c-c-c-cashmere. Handspun. Two-ply. I got it at Purl. On sale (but they don’t have it online, I guess). It’s becoming this.

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I took it for a little walk in Central Park today, which is about two blocks from my apartment.

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Look, a building in the background!

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By the reservoir.

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Park bench. And the quintessential Central Park shot.

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Imagine all the cashmere…

I did also get a kickass new knitting bag recently.

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It’s waterproof! I also got a project bag, but it came separately.

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I’m a bit worried about getting all this crap home. My bags were really close to overweight coming here, and I had Nels send me some stuff I forgot, plus some other purchases. (Mostly books. No library card = sadness.)

But I am going home. Soon. In about two and a half weeks. To a (so far) successful restaurant (knock on all things even remotely wood-like around you, please). Yep, Nels opened almost two weeks ago! So far, so good. And I totally can’t wait to see it.

Yay for going home.

Hi everybody. Miss me?

No wait. Don’t answer that. That way I can presume yes.

So you may have noticed that I haven’t been updating in a bit. (Has it really been since July?) I did say last time that I’m writing my thesis. This is still true. But some other things have been going on too, so I’ve been a busy little rodent with large teeth.

Thing one: the blub is finally getting his restaurant started. He’s actually already quit his job. He’s supposed to open in January sometime, probably early January. We are very excited! I am also scared shitless! I think maybe he is too, but he’s pretty good at hiding those things.

Thing two: remember my great adventure to southern California, about two years ago? Well, I’m off on another. This time I’ll be going to New York for another writing internship. In interest of pseudonymity, I won’t say more than this: you’ve heard of them. I am way excited, but also pretty stressed out about it. I start in two weeks. Do I have a place to stay yet? Nope. I’m also kind of nervous about living in close vicinity to so many yarn stores. New York people: how do you do it? Also, which are the best knitting groups?

Okay, so. A lot of stuff going on here. But I expect I’ll actually start updating again soon. Until then, Merry Christmas and see you in Manhattan!

happy peeking toesies

Hey baby…

what's that?

…do those socks go all the way up?

they're tall

No. Only about halfway.

orata socks

Ta da!

My orata socks. (Rav me!)
Pattern: Not!
Yarn: Crown Mountain Farms Sock Hop, Sunshine of your love colorway, 2 skeins
Needle: US 3
Started: February 6
Finished: March 13

Okay, so. How did I knit these? I started at the toes. Cast on. Figure eight. (I do like that one.)

los toes

I knit some. Feather and fan. Then I got to the heel. Forked it.

the heel

heel--action shot

Knit the leg for a bit. And then, because I still had tons of yarn, I kept going. And going and going.

I had to put some (apparently very large) calf increases in there. Did.

calves of Bellville

Knit some ribbing, and cast off.

the sadness of sag

Done.

And now we do the dance of joy!

I think I'll dance a jigor point my toes all pretty-likeor perhaps do an oomph-pa-pa dance

Okay, so maybe it was a bit more complicated than that.

Wait, was it? Not really. The only slightly tricksy bit was doing the calf increases in pattern. Which I kind of winged, but it turned out pretty nice. I think.

ze calf

Kalani said I should write up the pattern, but I am Not A Fan Of Writing Up My Patterns. (Milanese lace much?) But being the wonderful and compromising person that I am, I wrote down how I did the increases on the second sock. Er, that I had to figure out again since I didn’t write it down when I did it on the first sock. No matter. Twas simple.

So you know how feather and fan in the round goes, yes? About like so, depending on how many stitches you have:

Row 1: k
Row 2: k
Row 3: (k2tog) 2x, (yo k1) 4x, (k2tog) 2x
Row 4: p

So I had 48 stitches on my needles. (Although please don’t ask me what my gauge was. I knit socks toe-up so I don’t have to figure out my stinkin’ gauge.) I used dpns. Four of them. The up parts (the yos) were in the middle of each needle, and the down parts (the k2tog parts) were on the ends. All of my increases happened every fourth row, on that Row 3 hey-this-is-the-exciting-bit row, between repeats. And they went a little something like this:

Increase row 1: (at the back of the sock) (duh) yo, m1, yo
Increase row 2: (remember it only happens every fourth row!) m1, k3, m1
Increase row 3: (k1, yo) 3x, k2
Increase row 4: k2, (yo, k1) 3x, yo, k2

And uh, yeah. That was it. At the end of the sequence, I had increased 12 stitches. I knit the next Row 3 normally, then did the increase sequence once more. Viola. Sock that fits.

calf close up

Well, mostly. I only knit about an inch of ribbing because I ran out of yarn. I do wish I could have made the ribbing a bit longer, because they slide town a tiny bit, as evidenced in the pictures above. Not too bad, though.

As for the amount of yarn left over, I had about a yard left of each skein, give or take. And I would have taken a picture of that, but. Um. After that last picture? Something bad happened.

I dropped my camera. Onto a cement step.

Nels (who is getting a lot better at taking pictures, don’t you think?) had been shooting for me, and was handing me the camera to look at what he had gotten so far. I grabbed it, but neither of us realized that the strap was looped around his hand. My nice Pentax digital SLR slipped from my grasp at about the same time that the strap worked itself free of Nels’. Crunch.

Actually, it’s not THAT bad. The camera body itself sustained no damage. But the lens? Not so much.

So yeah, I need a new lens. So until then…. Well, until then nothing. Go look at my sock pictures again! Gosh aren’t they pretty?

Part I, The Setup

Start to knit some socks. Make them man-sized. Make them boring. Make them so repetitive you consider faking your own death just so you don’t have to finish them. Name them a silly name, just to make yourself finish at least one. Finish that sock, then show it to the husband, telling him how lame and boring the knitting is. Make sure they fit. Then hide the sock away for at least a year, so your husband forgets it exists.

blub sock

Kill Me With Death Sock the first, photo taken April 3, 2008. Modeled by moi.

Did I mention it helps to have a husband with a memory problem?

Part II, Run Away!

Go on a business trip, preferably right before Valentine’s Day. Dig first sock out of project retirement home and take it along. Knit knit knit on the dumb, boring sock. Get it to oh, about the gusset before you return home. Realize somewhere along the way that hey, these aren’t so bad. Slightly entertaining to knit, at least engaging enough to pass travel time. Then realize it’s probably like the bad movie syndrome.

(You know, the phenomena that occurs when someone tells you that a movie is really bad? And then you see it and think, well, it wasn’t so bad! It was kind of good! That person is so picky. Gosh, you think. But if that same person had told you it was a really good movie beforehand, you’d think it was the worst crap you’d ever seen in your life? You know what I speak of. Case in point the other evening with me and the blub. He watched The Dark Knight while I was at my knitting group last Thursday, and declared the movie the worst piece of crap he’d ever seen in his life. Then I watched it after he went to bed on Saturday. Eh, I thought. Not so bad. Distinctly lacking in plot, though. And the Joker, what about that guy? A scary villain yes, but what the hell was his motive? Sure, he said he wanted to be a agent of chaos or whatever, but why? Nowhere in the damn 2 hour long movie did they say why. It’s like Don John in Much Ado About Nothing. He sets out to break up Hero and Claudio’s wedding and just be a nasty guy in general but for poop’s sake what was his motive? Shakespeare should have known better than that. And now other people are pulling that kind of crap too! I hope you’re happy, Billy boy. Screwing up years of theatrical story-telling with your bad example. ANYway. I’m blathering. Moving on.)

Part III, Reel him in

Upon return from your trip, produce mostly done socks. Husband will declare to the high heavens that they are the most fabulously beautiful hand-knitted socks he has ever seen or ever will see in his life ever and he might as well gouge out his eyes now so he won’t be disappointed looking on a world of cruel hideousness after seeing such a sight.

The Kill Me With Death Socks

Be wary, those who look upon me. You may now be unsatisfied with all other knitted items ever.

Apologize to husband about how they’re not quite finished, and tell him just how you slaved to get this (ahem) pair of socks this far. Sit down and continue work on them that very instant. After knitting quietly in the corner like a good, diligent wife for a bit, ask in a small and meek voice where your Valentine’s card is, that he promised to have waiting for you when you got back?

Watch him stammer.

Then sweetly say, that’s okay honey. I don’t need a silly little card. Although it would have been nice. I’m just going to keep knitting your socks. But after I take a break, okay? My hands are getting tired. But all this work is worth it; aren’t these socks just lovely?

slipped stitch rib socks

Continue in this vein for the next few days, mentioning all along how much you love flowers. (But you might have to knit slowly, especially if your socks are like mine and knit at 7 stitches per inch on a size 2 needle. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd sport (in jeans!) makes for quick sock knitting.)

Finally, after much ado, finish. Show husband the socks. Let him try them on. Listen to him declare all over again that these socks must have descended from the heavens, and that you are an angel incarnate to knit such lovely, lovely things. Smile beatifically. Ask about flowers. Watch him stammer (again) that he just keeps forgetting and he’s so sorry he didn’t get you a Valentine and he will soon.

they fit

Say nothing, but remove the socks from his person. For blocking, you say.

Do actually block the socks. Let them dry, then leave them on your desk. (Where he never notices anything ever. I swear, I could leave a purple elephant in a bikini there for a week and he’d never see it.) Let them sit for a few days, waiting for flowers to appear. Continue to wait. Continue to wait.

Part IV, Give up

Give him the *#%@*$@ socks.

Watch him be happy. Take small joy in the fact that he doesn’t want to take them off. Hear him extol the socks for their stretchiness and comfort.

ribbed for his pleasure

Listen as he praises the simple beauty of the slipped-stitch rib.

ye olde patterne on sock

Then go out and buy yourself some damn flowers.

and he hearts them

Kill Me With Death Socks (Rav me)
Pattern: Slipped stitch rib from Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in jeans, 2 skeins
Needle: US 2, I think the larger size (2.5 mm)
Begun: March 24, 2008
Finished: February 22, 2009

And no, I never told him that I started these last year. What, you want me to give all my secrets away?

I have an assignment for you today.

It’s not hard, and there’s a potential reward at the end. Let me ‘splain.

So awhile ago, I made this hat.

...not looking so good on me

In all fairness to the a) hat itself; and b) the pattern, it’s not a bad hat. I knit it out of double-stranded Malabrigo worsted, so it’s soft and nice. I did modify the pattern, Elizabeth by Jane Richmond (rav link), a bit–no cables, beaded rib instead of plain. It was just supposed to be a nice slouchy warm hat for those really cold days of winter–the days when my beloved Slouch For All Seasons isn’t warm enough.

purple hat side

Well, it *is* slouchy.

But, I dunno. I just don’t like it. It’s not cute. And it’s a bit too…purple. Maybe I’m getting over the purple thing, I dunno.

It just didn’t turn out the way that I’d hoped.

So when I finished it, a bit ago now, I slipped it on my head and was sad. The blub, noticing my sadness, asked me what was up.

“I just don’t really like this hat,” I said.

“Really?” he said. “Then can I have it?”

I stared at him for a few beats.

“It’s purple,” I finally said.

“So?” he answered.

Then he took it from my unbelieving hands and put it on. After checking himself out in the bathroom mirror, he sashayed back into the living room.

“I think it looks jaunty!” he said.

“Dude,” I said, “you look gay.”

“Do not!” he insisted.

We went back and forth like that for a bit. It didn’t make him look gay, he said, and besides what did I care? He has the right to look gay (even though he doesn’t, he said) if he wants to. I said that I wouldn’t be seen in public with him wearing that hat, because people would think he was my gay boyfriend, not my husband. Blah blah blah. The blub is a stubborn man. He budged from his stance not an inch. But I’m stubborn, too.

“Okay!” I said finally. “What if I let the blog decide?”

And he agreed.

So okay, loyal readers. What do you think? Jaunty?

the really gay smurf

Or gay Smurf?

And just for the record, that is how he normally wears his hats–pushed up and flopped over. And I guess to be fair, I should post all of the pictures I took of him in the hat, not just the gayest of them all. (Which he did on purpose, by the way. I told him it wouldn’t help his chances much, but apparently he was having too good a time to care.)

the gay smurfblub in purple hatI don't even know what this is supposed to be

the blub does Rosie the Riveter

Is it just me, or does this last one look like Rosie the Riveter? Just more hairy.

Again, what you say goes. So leave me a comment. Tell me he doesn’t look gay, tell me he does look fruity but I should let him have the hat anyway, tell me to donate it to the women’s shelter, tell me to bury it in the backyard. Whatever the consensus is, I will obey. And here’s something to help you find your voices.

KidLin 1

A skein of Louet KidLin laceweight to a commenter selected at random.

KidLin 2

250 yards. Color: woodland. Mohair and linen blend. Sigh. I love this yarn, but I have to face the fact that I just can’t knit with it. Let my loss be your gain. Wouldn’t it make a beautiful springtime scarf?

Anyhoo, leave a comment by Friday, February 27th by 11:59 pm EST. I’ll announce the winner, and the verdict, next Sunday.

Okay, go. But please be honest. Even though my humiliation of being seen with this guy in public is in your hands.

No pressure.

I’m out of the house! With an internet connection! Wahooooooo!

Sorry. I love my house, but I’m so very happy to be somewhere else than there right now. Because I didn’t have a choice but to be there for the past two days. I was going a bit mental.

Okay, so that’s kind of a lie. Like in most of the Midwest, it snowed here on Tuesday. About…5 inches? I don’t know. But I decided to stay home and work that day. I live about 12 miles outside of town, between two state forests. It does get a bit icky on our rural gravel roads sometimes, and my car doesn’t have all-wheel drive. (The blub’s does.) Besides, I had a bunch of computer work to do, and it was supposed to sleet in the afternoon. That meant I might have problems getting home. So I stayed put. Made some tea. Put my feet up.

It was cozy, that first day. I did get a couple pretty good shots of Izzy (for you, Huan-Hua).

IzzersMore Izzers

He looks all sweet an innocent in that picture. Do not be fooled. That was right after this.

I also saw a furry creature that was quite unexpected. While sitting on the couch a bit earlier, I happened to look up just in time to see a big fluffy tail disappear into the woods in the front yard. I didn’t get a very good look–it was either a fox or a coyote. Seeing a coyote during the day would have been really weird–they’re nocturnal. In fact, I’ve only ever seen one in the five years I’ve lived out there. But I’ve never seen a fox by our house either. So I was perplexed.

But after another 20 minutes or so, I had my answer. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a bright orange thing jump down into the creek that runs under our front porch. I sprinted for my camera. And this is what I got.

this is how far away I was

Sorry for the total crap shot. That was from inside the house, obviously. I blew it up, but it’s a bit out of focus (he was moving pretty darn fast).

running foxy

I managed to get one other shot, equally as crappy.

Foxy

That’s the enlarged shot. Here’s the original.

Then I opened the front door reallllllllllllly slowly, but the fox heard me. And man! All I saw was an orange streak, up and over the ridge. Gone. Pretty cool though, huh?

The rest of the day passed uneventfully. I shoveled the porch, which didn’t take me too long. I finished my work. I knitted a bit. And I went to bed, actually looking forward to going to work the next day.

Hah!

I got woken up at 5:30 the next morning by the ringing of the telephone. It was the front of the house manager at the restaurant where the blub works. Was Nels coming to pick her up? Well, how the bloody hell should I know? Would I call him and ask him? Listen lady, I was *&$@^ asleep before you called, even though you have been told NOT TO CALL THE HOUSE LOOKING FOR HIM. Here’s his damn cell number. YOU call him. Oh, okay, she says. And I hang up. ARRRUGH!

And of course I can’t fall asleep again. So when the phone rang a second time, thirty minutes later, I wasn’t too pissed. It was the blub.

“Uh, sweetie? Stay home today.”

“What? Why? I don’t have anymore work to do. I have to go in.”

“No. Stay home.”

He then told me that it took him 50 minutes to make the 20 minute drive into town. And he said he didn’t want to drive in those conditions again. Ever. And this guy is a professional driver–he used to drive semis for a living. He also told me that they weren’t opening the restaurant today, but he wasn’t coming home. He was essentially stuck in town.

I hung up the phone. Lay there for about 5 minutes. Then I got up. I drank tea and listened to NPR until the sun came up. And then I realized how much snow we actually had. I would like to point out that the local news guy on the radio said total accumulation was, and I quote, “Anywhere from four to seven inches.”

this much snow

My ass.

Apparently, it was so bad out there that Indiana University actually canceled classes. The last time they did this? 1978. So I was stuck. At home. For the second day in a row.

I didn’t even try to work. I had finished about all I could do without a high-speed internet connection anyway. (I have dial-up.) The worst thing was that I kept picking up on my neighbor’s wireless signal, which surprised me since he’s a fair bit down the road. But I couldn’t get in because it’s password protected. Bastard.

I started a new sock.

cheery yellow sock

They’re called the Lakehouse socks. And yes, I’m actually knitting something yellow. (It kind of looked like hell had frozen over anyway.) No, I’m not finished with the Sweater of Doom yet. I couldn’t take it anymore! I’m at the point where I keep thinking I need to knit only one more inch. Then I try it on again. And it needs another inch! So I gave up on it for the day. But here’s how far I am.

the never ending sweaterrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Please forgive crap picture. It was dark outside.

I also did a bit of swatching.

swatching

Heh heh heh. Anyone care to guess what that’s for?

After a bit, I put on my coat and went outside. I shoveled the porch again, which took a lot longer than the day before.

really snowy

Compare with foxy picture above. That’s a lot of snow.

I took a bit of a walk. I found the trail that Izzy had made earlier that morning.

trial of the Izzers

He had come in completely coated in snow, which he proceeded to shake off all over the front room. But I could hardly get pissed. He does love to play in the snow.

The road, which actually got plowed at about 10 am.

snowy woods

That red thing is my neighbor’s garbage can. How picturesque.

hummingbird feeder

Maybe it’s time to take the hummingbird feeders down for the winter?

Then I decided to shovel the walk beside the garage. I got as far as the driveway, then stopped. I stood there a bit, gazing at the 14 inches of snow covering the expanse of gravel. Because I had just realized that if I didn’t remove all that snow, I wasn’t going anywhere the next day.

Shit.

So I got started. I dug and dug for about an hour. Then gave up and went inside. Has some more tea. Gazed longingly at the toe of my new sock. Then put my coat on and went back out.

Fortunately, the blub came home when I was about half done. And he helped me finish. Also fortunately, he showed up before I got to that bit where the plow and pushed the snow to the side of the road. Because it was about up to my waist. And partially ice.

Then we (yay!) went inside. Within moments of cracking a beer, Nels was out.

the blub is wiped

The poor blub had spent most of his morning shoveling snow from the sidewalk/parking lot/road outside the restaurant. Then he came home and helped me shovel some more. Plus two hair-raising road trips. He was a bit tired. We had pancakes for dinner and went to bed at 8:30.

snow on snow

Today, I hurt. And the roads are still a mess. Parking this morning was a joke. (Only the bottom half of each parking spot was plowed. Um.) But I’m at work, so I guess I better get to it. Because it’s supposed to snow again tonight, and tomorrow I might be stuck at home again. With my knitting. And no work to do.

God forbid. :)

Since I’m currently in sweater slogging hell, I thought I’d take this opportunity to give a blog tour of my lovely and cozy abode. But I guess it’s going to be a limited tour, since my camera batteries died before I could take pictures of the whole house. So it’s a er…limited tour. Yes, only select places. I also didn’t actually take any pictures of the sweaters in question, so I will distract you with cute animals.

This is Oscar.

oscar

Like all of our kitties, Oscar is a foundling. He’s kind of the blub’s cat, since the blub brought him home. He was driving home one day, on the winding rural roads that lead to our house, when he saw a tiny orange kitten at the side of the road. So he pulled over and threw open the truck door. According to the blub, “He just jumped right in and started purring! I couldn’t just leave him there!”

When Nels got home that day, he came inside and sat next to me on the couch, his eyes Bambi-huge.

“I have a friend I want you to meet,” he said.

“Oh yeah?” I said. (We already had two cats at this point and I wasn’t particularly keen on getting any more.)

“He’s very nice,” Nels said.

I sighed and followed him outside. Inside the pickup was a scrawny dirty kitten, laying on the heating vent and purring like a motorboat in high gear.

The blub’s eyes got even bigger, which I didn’t think was physically possible. Then he said, “Can we keep him? Please?”

How could I say no?

I think Oscar was either abandoned by his mother, or dumped. The latter is sadly common around here–I live between two state parks, and it’s pretty rural and wooded. A lot of people see this as a perfect dumping ground for unwanted animals. Poor things. But Oscar was never weaned. He had a habit of sucking on our fingers when he was a kitten. Even now, he is very fond of licking us. Especially our hands.

licky cat

We don’t really know how old he is, but I think he’s around six. (We’ve had him for about five years, I think.) And he’s gone from scrawny kitten to big fatty. He’s on diet food, but still has a tummy that would make Buddah proud. I don’t mind so much. I feel he’s making up for his undernourished and sad kitten-hood. He’s a very nice kitty, although he’s a bit agressive with foreign cats. He is constantly trying to fight our neighbor’s Big Mean Cat, who’s about three times as big as Oscar. Dummy. But that’s why he’s missing a piece of his ear, as you can kinda see in that first picture. He always purrs when I bandaging him up, though. Weirdo.

Okay, I didn’t mean for this to be the Oscar show. Moving on.

Here’s Kelpie. She’s my kitty.

the kelpers

Nobody puts Baby in a corner

And she has a bit of a cranky disposition. She’s ten. I got her from my landlady when I first moved to Bloomington. They had named her Baby. I quickly changed that to what I thought was a cute name. It turns out a kelpie is a Scottish water fairy, like I first thought. However, it’s actually an evil fairy that takes the shape of a horse and gets unwitting mortals to ride it. Then it runs straight for the nearest river, jumps in, and pulls the rider down to their death. Cute, huh? The blub says this fits. But I think he’s just mad because Kelpie only started letting him pet her last year. What can I say? She’s discerning.

We have a third cat Izzy, but I couldn’t find him before my batteries died. That’s sad, because he is The World’s Best Kitty. He’s cuddly and friendly and cute, and thinks he’s a dog. (He likes to be thumped instead of petted. He also plays fetch and comes when he’s called.) He was my little brother’s cat, but I took him in when Erik moved in with someone allergic to cats. So Izzy went on an airplane from Denver to Chicago. My mom was the one who took him on the plane, and said he only gave a little mew when they pushed back, and another small peep when they took off. And he loves the car. He’s a big sweetie.

Izzy also taught himself how to climb the ladder up to the loft. It’s where we have our bedroom. Izzy likes the bed.

top of the ladder

Seeing him do this makes people say things like “Holy shit!” and other four letter words. It’s pretty amazing. Oscar can do it too. Kelpie’s the only one that can’t.

The blubster and I live in an A-frame, that was built around 1940. It was a hunting cabin for a long time, then some other people bought it and turned it into a house. They put a two-room addition on the back. When the blub bought it (which he did before we were married, or even dating) he gutted the whole thing, and redid most of it himself. (He had help with the wiring, and ripping out part of the ceiling to make the big front room.) The whole place is about 850 square feet. With no closets. And the walls in the front are tilted. This makes decorating difficult.

the tilt of the wall

But see those things on the wall there? I just got those. I’m so excited–they’re stickers with not very sticky adhesive, so they won’t harm the paint. (Not that it matters too much, can you see all the spackle there? Sheesh.) I got them from Photojojo and I heart them.

I can has pictures!

The blub doesn’t like them much, but he can go hang. I’m very excited.

The other side of the A-frame wall has a climbing wall on it.

the wall

The blub put it up. We have a big mat that drops down, so we don’t hurt ourselves when we fall. No, we just hurt ourselves on the wall itself. Since it’s overhanging, it’s pretty hard. I was on there Saturday night and my shoulders are still killing me.

Um, what else? Oh yeah, our house is also wood heated. Sometimes, like when there’s a power outage and everyone is cold but us, this rocks. Other times, like when you’ve been gone all day and all the fire is burned down and it’s freaking freezing in the house, this sucks. It also kind of sucks when it’s really cold outside, because you can’t just turn up the heat. It also also sucks that the house is so dusty all the time from all that wood ash, no matter how often I vacuum. Oh, but it also rocks that we usually pay only about $400 per year to heat our house.

It’s also nice to have a tea warmer.

how I keep my tea warm

No cozies needed! That blue kettle is our humidifier-we keep water in it. Until it turns to steam. Then we put more water in it. Wow! Interesting!

I also made cookies yesterday.

oatmeal raisin clumps

They were supposed to be oatmeal raisin cookies, but they turned out more like oatmeal raisin clumps. They didn’t actually flatten out any when they cooked. I also played around with the ingredients a bit. I’m reading On Food and Cooking right now, particularly the chapter about sugars. It’s really interesting, I highly recommend it. Anyway, I swapped honey for the white sugar and also added some nutmeg and played with the baking powder/baking soda ratio. I guess a bit too much, since they are so poofy. I just think they’re okay, but the blub hearts them. Which is weird because he usually doesn’t like sweets.

Then I found Izzy, but my batteries died. So that’s all you get. Fascinating, no? Maybe next time I’ll actually have pictures of a finished sweater. Pray for me.

Have a nice Monday.

undoing wicked 002

Recognize that sweater? No? Then let me give you a hint.

Yep, I’m ripping out my Wicked. I rarely wear the thing, but last week I actually pulled it off the sweater shelf and wore it to school.

Then I was reminded why I never wear the thing.

It’s too short. It’s too wide. And the neckline could probably accommodate at least six more people, a small child, and a ferret.

But other than all those annoying little details, I really like it. Cuteness factor? Check. Yarn love? Totally off-scale. (Blue Moon Fiber Arts Twisted–the stuff that dreams are made of. And nice sweaters.)

So I decided I needed a do-over.

undoing wicked 004

Bye-bye old, ill-fitting Wicked! Hello to new, more negative ease and longer length and smaller-than-the-national-debt neckline Wicked.

undoing wicked 006

(Okay, that’s still the old one. But I had one more picture.)

I’m actually not finished ripping the old one out yet. I got up to the armpits, then realized, “Hey, it might have been a good idea to rip out the sleeves first, since they’re knitting from the top down. Yes, genius-girl?”

So yeah. That’s still waiting to happen. Sitting on my swift too, since I want to wash the yarn before I re-knit with it. No gauge issues allowed here, no sir! Wicked part deux is going to be bloody perfect. Because I say so.

In other news, I’ve finally finished all my coursework for that Science Writing class I’ve been taking. Yaaaaay! I can have a life again! Well, the sort of half-life that grad students have. But I can actually knit in the evenings again, woo-hoo! I do still have to try to package one story to sell (and get paid real money for, woot), but that’s it. And that’s not happening until after Christmas.

And speaking of Christmas, seekrit projeck numero dos is finished! Yay again! Take a gander here on Ravelry, iffen you feel so inclined. The object in question still needs to be blocked, so I need to figure out how to do that in stealth-mode. Then I will take some not-so-crappy pictures. But yay, all Xmas knitting is done!

Next: I cast on for a sweater. Tonight, perhaps. So exciting, no?

Hoo doggies, do things get wild at Chez Chemgrrl on Saturday nights. Last night, we played Scrabble.

This is no happy little low-key game, mind you. Nope. Around here, we play cut-throat Scrabble. At least the blub does. And to keep myself from getting completely tromped by him, I’ve had to start getting nasty, too.

Don’t have a word to reach that triple word score square? Block it. Think you know where your opponent is going to play next? Put a word there first. Preferably a lame and crappy word too, just so it pisses off the other person. Gloating is also highly recommended.

Playing this way is not how I was raised. But compromise is the key thing in a marriage, so I’ve learned to be a complete bitch on the Scrabble board.

The blub usually still beats me anyway. And this never fails to piss me off, since I always have way better words.

Some of the ones I played last night: MELEE, GNOMES, TROOPS (actually, I didn’t think that one was so great, but the blub thought it was brilliant), JOT, OVA, QI, and TAXA. (Which he challenged me on, ha! It is a real word, it’s the plural of taxon, which is the word for a collective name of a biological organism, like in family, genus, species, blah blah blah. Yay for reading Biology textbooks.)

I also played the word POTEND, which isn’t a real word. I didn’t really think that it was; I was pretty sure I was confusing it with PORTEND. But I didn’t have an R, plus the spot I stuck it in was sandwiched between two across words that were one space apart. So there was a P, a space, then a T. Sweat droplets the size of small children were running down my face when I plopped that one down, but the blub just rubbed his chin and said, “Potend. Hmm, good word.” Whew! (Then after the game I looked it up and laughed at him.)

Some of his words? BIDET, LURK, QUEST, which fell on both a double letter score (for the Q, which is worth 10 points) and a double word score. He got something like 46 points for that one word. He dropped ZEN on a triple word score. 36 points, ouch. He also did this thing where he put down three letters directly under three more, so he got the points for an across word and three down words. The letters were so pedestrian that I don’t even remember what they were, but it ended up being on another double word score square, so he got another 30-something points. Gah!

So yeah, he kicked my ass. Again.

HOWever, I must enter evidence in my defense. I was knitting this.

noro swatch

Well, I couldn’t have knitted either of my sooper-sekrit projecks! Both require paying attention (don’t want to stick a tassel in the wrong place), so I had to knit something that didn’t require any thought. What better than a swatch of the ferociously fabulous Noro Kochoran I just got?

Bought from a fellow Raveler for a song, enabled by inspired by turtlegirl’s Lady Eleanor wrap. It’s bunny! And silk! And Noro!

stack o noro

And pretty.

I didn’t really have a goal for this yarn when I bought it. Vaguely I thought of knitting a Lady E too. But honestly, the idea of knitting something very long and rectangular is about appealing to me right now as sticking dpns through my eyeballs then squeezing lemons into the open wounds.

But while trolling Ravelry yesterday, I did notice that a certain sweater that I’ve long had in my queue just happens to call for aran weight yarn. Which Kochoran just happens to be. I also just happen to be headoverheelsandmanyotherbodyparts in love with this version, which is all beautiful and stripy. And Kochoran is all beautiful and stripy. And it takes about 900 yards to make. I just happen to have about 1050 yards. And my gauge just happens to be spot friggin on.

I have Christmas presents to finish, dammit! I am getting close. Seekrit projeck #1 is half finished as of this morning, and I’m past the 75% mark for seekrit projeck #2. But still.

Must not cast on for Mrs. Darcy.
Must not cast on for Mrs. Darcy.
Must not cast on for Mrs. Darcy.

Contact me

thechemgrrl AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do with the extras)
April 2017
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