Sunday, November 30, 2008

Craftiness to an Unhealthy Degree

Being at my parents' house gives me access to my mom's leftover acrylic, much of which is from the 70s and 80s. Combine that with my recent but basic knowledge of crochet and you get this:

'70s Monstrosity

It's my '70s-Inspired Crocheted Monstrosity. It's nowhere near being a monstrosity but it's on its way. I never thought I'd be caught dead crocheting a gigantic acrylic granny square. My inner fine-gauge-knitting fiber squad is screaming for help. My tiny ironic hipster is cackling with glee.

Another project I made this weekend was a mouse for my mom.



It's for her to use as a prop when she sings a version of "A Visit from St. Nicholas"--a.k.a. "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"--set to chopsticks. The levels of kitsch and quirk are high in my family.

ETA: I used Monty, a free pattern from Berroco, for the mouse. I used Wool Ease held double for the body instead of a bulky weight. I also stitched on the eyes and nose instead of using French knots because I was using some scrap sport weight for them and the French knots would have disappeared into the fabric.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Feeling a Little Sepia

There's a quiz going around the internet on what shade your rainbow is. Here's mine:

Your rainbow is shaded brown and gray.


What this says about you: You are a deep thinking person. You appreciate tradition and wisdom that comes with age. You feel closer to people when you understand their imperfections. You depend on modern technology and may feel uncomfortable without it.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

I would say that this is pretty accurate, especially appreciating tradition and depending on modern technology. I am a walking contradiction.

I went shopping again today and my grandma wants to go somewhere tomorrow, too. My family is exhausting. It's a damned good thing that I love them.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

I got talked into going shopping at Ridgedale today. I'm not entirely certain how this happened. We didn't leave my parents' house until around 9 so we weren't really dealing with the doorbusting craziness. The Target near there wasn't too bad although the mall did get a little too much to handle by the time we were done.

My mother decided that I needed new clothes for "professional reasons" so she bought me a few separates to use as suits for interviews. I really do appreciate this a lot because it's one less thing for me to worry about if I have any job developments coming up. It was also kind of fun helping my parents pick out my sister's Christmas presents.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a happy day with lots of good food and fun times. Also? Watching your parents do the hula hoop on the Wii Fit is possibly one of the best things to ever happen. If only we could have talked Grandma into it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I'm typing this entry on my mother's laptop for a very stupid reason. My laptop has decided to no longer charge the battery and only works if it is plugged in. I brought the laptop with me but left the charger sitting on the futon in my apartment. No laptop for me. Good thing I have the iPod loaded up with plenty of podcasts for the drive back. It will make blogging through the time I'm here a little more inconvenient but I've now made it 26 days through NaBloPoMo so I might as well make it through the last 4 days. I'm apologizing now if the already low quality of this blog sinks further into the depths of unreadability.

Up side: I just ate a piece of my mom's fudge.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Out of all of the podcasts that I have recently begun to listen to, I think Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing is my favorite. Not because I'm applying what I'm learning in this podcast to my blogging. There is a flagrant disregard for several grammar rules all over this page. No, the reason I'm loving the Grammar Girl (aka Mignon Fogarty) is that she has introduced me to the interrobang, pictured at the left.

It's almost comforting to know that this (!?) has a real symbol and name. It would most appropriately be used in something like, "You did what‽" See, interrobang. The exclamatory skeptic of the punctuation marks.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Short-Row Heel

I finally feel like I'm getting someplace on a kind of boring sock. This is only the second pair I've done a short row heel on and it went petty well. It was kind of nice not to have to pick up a bunch of stitches or have to pay attention to decreases. I like the fit of the other pair I made with a short row heel which I know is a common complaint of why a lot of people prefer a heel flap.

I'm ready for it to be Wednesday afternoon. I don't know if spending some time with my family is going to do me good or not but I think I'm ready for a change in scenery for a few days. My mom already warned me that I might be roped into singing at Christmas Eve service at my family's church. At least I get a heads-up. Any one know a way to guarantee laryngitis by December 24th?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Random Awesomeness

Last night I decided I needed to add more podcasts to my life. I've now got Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, Knitters Uncensored, NPR: Science Friday, The Ricky Gervais Podcast, The Savage Lovecast (note: this is a sex advice podcast), Sweaters for Dragons, Videos from the President-Elect (which includes Barack Obama's weekly radio address), WNYC's Radio Lab, and Y Knit. I haven't really gotten a chance to listen to any of them yet but I'll have all sorts of new excitement for driving to and from my parents' house for Thankgiving.

Tonight, though, I have something awesome to watch. Stephen Colbert's Christmas special. It airs at 9:00 PM CT and it looks like it will be reaired a few times. I already heard a bit of it when Colbert was on Fresh Air last week and it was hilarious. Catch it when you can!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Banana Bread

Around 8:00 last night, I was hit by a bit of a baking bug. Fortunately for me, I had stuck some bananas that were on their way to going bad in the freezer awhile back. Less then two hours later, I had two loaves of banana bread and my apartment smelled fantastic. My one hand smelled a little too much of vanilla, though, as I had a little slip with the bottle of vanilla extract. At least I hadn't dumped it into the bowlful of batter, I guess.

Today was a bit of a lazy day. Had a bit of last night's banana bread for breakfast and read The Wordy Shipmates for most of the day. I did pause a bit to clean the bathroom and get some other things done and I may knit a bit while watching some TV. I think I'm in the mood for Veronica Mars since I've decided Kristen Bell is one of the few things left worth watching on Heroes these days. I wish she wasn't just a guest star.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Owl Sweater

Originally uploaded by chromate_stew
I was way too excited to see this sweater while browsing Ravelry today. I'm pretty sure I had one in light blue when I was little made by my grandma. The nostalgia is making me happy but I'm now wondering if it isn't actually kind of creepy. I'll have to see if Grandma still has the book with the pattern in it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cake Wrecks

I have found a new blog to love. It's Cake Wrecks and it pokes fun at professionally made cakes that went horribly wrong, like this one:

This is actually not even close to being the worst example of bad, bad cakes. Also, on Sundays the blogger posts actual good cakes that are kind of like a visual palate cleanser.

Bonus? I believe I spotted a little making fun of Sandra Lee, she of the dreadful Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee. That woman is crazy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Amazon Wish List

Today I updated my wish list which mainly consisted of getting rid of some older items on it. Even after I added a few new things I still ended up having only 4 pages when I started with 13. Hopefully I convince my parents to work off of this for Christmas shopping. Unless they want to buy me yarn. That would be perfectly acceptable.

I had to add a copy of The Catcher in the Rye to the list because my old one suffered an accidental coffee dump about two years ago. It was a sad day. Any suggestions of other items I should add? A fantastic movie or television show I may have missed out on. A must read novel. A truly great knitting book.

I'm still tempted to add a Kitchenaid mixer. That's so not going to happen. At least the parents would understand that more than the complete sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel. Sadly.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wordy Shipmates

Just when I couldn't decide what I wanted to read, my library request for The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell came in. I haven't picked it up yet but I'm really excited. I enjoyed her previous books a lot and I'm excited to read her take on the Massachusetts Bay Puritans. I realize this makes me a big huge history dork (goes well with all of my other flavors of dork) but I have a feeling this is going to be awesome.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Think I'm Becoming My Mother

Is that the beginning of a crocheted ripple afghan made out of random acrylic worsted weight yarn I had lying about? I believe it is. It's addicting. It's also an afghan that has been made in many variations by my mother and her sisters over the year. This new afghan crocheting is a frightening development.

Also, the picture is crappier than usual as I seem to have misplaced my digital camera. I took it with my phone. I transferred it to my laptop using Bluetooth. Embracing technology in this way reassures me that I am, imperically, not my mother.

Freud would have some kind of field day with all of the feelings I have associated with one crappy cell phone picture.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Reading Tastes Need to Grow Up

I can't decide what to read lately so I've turned to children's books. I've been alternating between reading my old Anne of Green Gables books and listening to Harry Potter. I've managed to get my hands on the Stephen Fry-narrated ones which are a lot more straight forward than the Jim Dale ones. Dale's reading is good if you want voices for all of the characters but I think my tastes are more suited to Fry's interpretation.

Speaking of Jim Dale, I do enjoy his narration of Pushing Daisies. It's such a good show but all of the cancellation rumors I've heard make me nervous. Here's to hoping that Ned, Chuck, Emerson (a PI that knits!), et al get to live beyond episode 13 of this season.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quick Post

I almost forgot to blog today so this is going to be really fast.

There is something that I see that grates on my nerves every time it crosses my visual field. It's petty and ridiculous that I care this much about this thing but I can't help it. I cannot stand Comic Sans MS font.

It looks silly and cutesy to an unhealthy degree. It reminds me of the bubble letters I used to use when playing M. A. S. H. in elementary school. I mean, take the pound symbol in that picture. Who can take that pound symbol seriously? This is international finance we're talking about here, people. Just say no to Comic Sans MS, my friends. My optic nerve will thank you.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I Have an Earworm

Nothing wrong with singing along with The Supremes on a Friday evening. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mouth of a Sailor

I'm not in the mood to blog much and I made no sock progress last night due to swatching various crochet stitches It really is quite frightening how much time I spent crocheting last night. Tonight, I'm going to knitting so I thought I'd blog now. I took a quiz about my dirty, filthy mouth.

Your result for The Verbal Obscenity Test...

Champion Cusser

You are 67% capable of making other people's ears hurt!

So, how'd you do?

I'm in awe, since you're clearly not afraid of a little rough language! At
the same time, you don't go completely mad with it, and I'm guessing you know
when to hold your tongue so people don't want to punch you. Which is awesome,
since being beaten up is such a drag anyway. You might pull out the swear words
- and you might know the various slang fairly well - but you probably also
appreciate that its use is mainly just to show that you mean business.

What occasion, I hear you ask? Well, some people find talking dirty arousing.
Sometimes swearing can be helpful in looking tough when one of those
hoodlum-types approaches you. Using some language on your boss may also be
effective in stirring things up, but maybe that's just me. Either way, be
careful, as getting your timing wrong can result in getting fired, or sleeping
alone for the next month. Use your good judgement!

The Verbal Obscenity Test
at HelloQuizzy

I'm generally good at reigning in the swearing but ocassionally I will go on a bit of a tear. I also managed to say fuck in front of my grandmother when she was in my car when my air conditioning went out. I hadn't even noticed until my sister told me I had after the fact. It's actually one of the things I feel worse about having done in my life despite knowing that I have done far worse.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Amateur Hooker

I bit the bullet last night and hauled out my copy of Happy Hooker. I actually managed to get going without once hurling my crochet hook across the room. Result!

Weird Crochet Swatch

Is it more than a little bit shite? Absolutely. But I got over my big crochet block and made a bunch of stitches. Then I did this.

Crochet Circle

Still boring as hell but at least I no longer feel like crochet is mocking me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Whatever your feelings on war, today isn't about that. It's time to remember the men and women that have served in the past and to support those still serving today.

I don't know how to say anything else on the subject without coming of as trite or condescending so I'm just going to leave it at that.

Edit: It also appears that I've become way too anglicized as of late. While poppies are worn in the UK for Remembrance Day (today also), they're worn in the US on Memorial Day. I knew this, too. I still like my red and white poppies, they're staying.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Most Boring "Inspiration" Ever

I had a fair amount of the green alpaca remaining so I decided to pair it with another solid colored fingering weight yarn I had to use as the cuff, heel, and toe of a pair of socks.

Slytherin Leg

It's coming off rather Slytherin-y. Evil mastermind socks!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I May Be Ill

I can't figure out what to knit. I certainly have a few WIPs to complete and I could always just start something new but I just don't know. I guess I'm just in a bit of a funk.

While browsing through books and the internet for inspiration, I watched 10 Things I Hate About You. It's still good, even with it's late-'90s music. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy quite a bit of the soundtrack but for every Letters to Cleo or Semisonic there's also a Barenaked Ladies or Smash Mouth.

Now I'm watching Casanova. I may have come for the David Tennant, but I'm totally staying for the Peter
O'Toole. It's very Russel T. Davies and all of the good and bad which that entails. It's generally good but O'Toole is fantastic.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Lazy Yet Accomplished

Today, I sat around and knit a lot while watching some Arrested Development. That rumored movie really needs to come out (don't be difficult, Michael Cera because I'd like to keep liking you). While I was generally a lazy lump, I did manage to finish the hat.

Finished Hat

I messed with the color a bit to make it look closer to what it actually is but I still don't know if it came out ok. Also, pay more attention to the hat and less to my generally disheveled appearance.


Look, lace close-up!

Lace Close-Up

Much better, yes?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Combating the Winter Blues

It snowed this morning and for awhile it stuck. Fortunately, it warmed up enough to rain and wash it all away. Still, it won't be long until the ground will be covered for months on end. To combat that, I have pretty green lace.

Hat Progress

The is the project I was talking about yesterday and I think it's coming along nicely. The bottom has a picot edge so I'm holding it folding under to show what it will look like when hemmed. Knitwear is definitely the upside of winter.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Not Socks!

I was browsing Ravelry looking for non-sock sock yarn projects since I already have a decent amount of sock yarn and now have a discount for over 11 months. I'm now making this hat in Berocco Ultra Alpaca Fine in Pea Soup Mix that I got from 3 Kittens.

I just got into the lace repeats at lunch today and as far as I can tell it should be OK. I will say this much - Ravelry is the most perfect tool for finding DROPS patterns. I've always found that site a little daunting to navigate through and the patterns are all numbered not named. Everything just seemed to blend together into mush in my head before.

No progress picture now but I may post some at a future date.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Taking Over the World

I have further proof that fiber artists of all sort are taking over the world. Ravelry got a mention in a Slate article about how to waste time online now that the election is over:
If you knit, check out Ravelry, which has attracted tens of thousands of knitters who trade patterns, offer advice for getting through knotty problems, and critique one anothers' creation.
Of course, I'd also like to point out that Ravelry is also for crocheters and that there are in fact hundreds of thousands of us. World fiber domination!

If you're still out of things to look up on the internet, you could always take xkcd's suggestion:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The End of a Marathon

No matter what the outcome of today's elections, we've made it. As I write this entry, the polls are minutes away from closing in Minnesota and I couldn't be happier. Two years of rigorous campaigning and it's all down to watching the returns come in.

I Voted!

My polling place had all of the booths full but there weren't really any lines. I was voter number 1400 which makes me happy. I have no idea what would be considered to be a good turnout in my precinct but it still feels good.

The one thing I was hoping was that I would be able to use a voting machine but it was a Scantron ballot (the only kind I've ever used). Filling in all of the circles for the district court judges running unopposed was tedious but that's a first world problem. I got to vote and that's pretty awesome.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Socks. Again. Some More.

I finished the Trekking Hand Art socks last night and wore them today.

Finished Trekking Hand Art

I am happy to say that the ribbed heel flap didn't cause any discomfort and I was on my feet more than usual today. On the other hand, my next project needs to be more exciting.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

So Long, DST!

Mix recurring insomnia with the end of Daylight Savings Time and you get me out for a walk before 7:00 on a Sunday. I didn't go all that far as the wind was just a bit active and I also had my camera with me. It was a bit of a dreary morning so I didn't take many pictures.

Fall . . . Colors?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

More Socks

So, NaBloPoMo, we meet again. Day 1 and I'm already at a loss for what to blog about so you get more sock pictures. Thrilling, yes?

Trekking Hand Art Progress

These are out of some Trekking Hand Art and have a plain 2x1 rib all the way down because I don't think they could handle much of anything else. I even carried the rib out down the heel flap for some reason.

Ribbed Heel Flap

It was pointed out to me that this might not be the most comfortable thing to wear. I guess I'll find out as long as I don't poke my eyes out with a needle from all of the mind-numbing ribbing. Hopefully I will come up with something more exciting to post about for the next 29 days.