Thursday, March 31, 2005

Knitting and Not Knitting

Ok, first things first, I promised a picture of my rather lame progress on the cardi.

I suppose if you account for the fact that this back piece is twice as wide as each front piece, it's not quite so pathetic, but it's not exactly exciting, either.
I'm still trying to decide how I will continue the lace around the back neck area. I haven't quite worked that logistic out.

Now for the non-knitting portion of my post.

If you have strong conservative leanings, you may find the remainder of this post objectionable. In such a case, I highly recommend you stop reading today's post and return at a later date. Thank you for your courtesy.

So I was walking to my car, after leaving work yesterday and noticed that pamphlets littered the floor. I gave them little notice, presuming they were some sort of promotional for dry cleaning or something.

Much to my chagrin, they were not. They were double-sided, letter sized pamphlets filled with religious rhetoric about a popular topic, these days.

The cover says, "Terri Schiavo says Let Me Live" which, despite it's decidedly politically incorrect irony, is factually wrong and precedes countless inconsistencies. For instance, one line in it, quoted from Mark says, "[God says pray for them] and they shall recover." How this relates to reinserting a feeding tube is beyond me, but it also appears to mean that praying should be sufficient to restore health to an individual.

Personally, it's hard for me to fathom why anyone would want to be kept alive in a vegetative state, knowing he or she would simply be a burden on an individual or the tax payers. Even Fox news reports that most people would opt to disconnect a loved on in Miss Schaivo's case and even more people would want to be disconnected, themselves, in her situation.

Personally, though, I think this whole situation is none of our damn business. This is a matter for the courts, the husband and the family. And while I have strong opinions on the topic, they don't matter. I will say, though, for all the world to read, if I'm ever in that situation, don't put me on TV, unplug me, don't give me communion and donate my body to science.

Ok, I'm done.

Monday, March 28, 2005

I left my heart...

The song is corny, but I completely understand the sentiment. It's really hard to be back home after such a wonderful trip to San Francisco.
You can see the pictures by going here.
In addition to all of that, my mom completely spoiled me with presents.
She gave me a goodie bag full of beauty samples and treats. I didn't take pictures of it, but it's a generous assortment of fun stuff.
She also gave me these beautiful beads.

These are foiled glass beads in an assortment of colors.

And these are a variety of jasper. She had the great idea of sewing them to knit pieces like flower petals, which I think would be striking.

This is a canister of Marie Belle Aztec Hot Chocolate. Imagine melting a gourmet dark chocolate bar in a little bit of milk and drinking it. That's what this tastes like. It's thick, rich and just a little bit bitter in a great way.

She also treated me to an assortment of Lush products which are now partially used and not camera worthy. I love that they are environmentally responsible and use great ingredients, but I do wish they weren't quite so pricy so I could buy them more often.

I also treated myself to a couple items.

Check out this GGH Kid Mohair yarn. I usually have trouble with mohair but this is amazingly soft. I got 5 skeins of a soft sage green and 2 skeins of a mottled chocolate brown. I think they'll look great together.

While we were at the beach, Leo and I gathered some gorgeous sea glass. I want to try to make some jewelry with it. I used to do a lot of jewelry making and I've missed it a bit. This glass has really rekindled my motivation to do it again. I wish the picture showed it to better effect. It's hard to believe these used to be root beer and Budweiser bottles.
I want to try using some of this stuff to set the glass. I've never used it before but I've seen it used on a couple DIY shows and it sounds great.

Well, that's all on this weekend. I didn't make a huge amount of progress on the cardigan, but I'll post pictures soon of what I have done.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Soil + Rain =

Mud...lots and lots of mud.
Leo and I live in a very nice condo we rent from an awfully nice man, in a very nice area of the greater LA area. I feel like I need to preface the post this way because the pictures I'm about to show you may not make those points apparent.
Recently the HOA for these condos voted to do some major renovations to the complex, which involve uprooting all landscaping to do termite and waterproofing work. At least, that's what all the friendly fliers about the complex say. Right now, that's happening around our building, and there has been about 3 feet of earth through all the walkways near us. These mounds obstruct all exits out of our building on at least 2 sides. In truth, only the elevator to the basement acts as a functional entrance and exit for us. This is not a problem except the gods are still angry at LA for releasing Son of the Mask and opted to drench us in rain yesterday.
Here is the aftermath, taken from inside my building on the way to walk Miss Panda.

Note the various flotsam and jetsam from the maintenance crew who needed to pump all the water out of the nice damn created by the sand bags. It stands to reason that making a wall of sandbags might not only hold back mud, but might also hold IN water.

Stepping out this door, we can see what looks like hurricane aftermath of some sort.

This is our main entrance, being pumped away. That wall of dirt used to sit much higher, but apparently the rain packed it down quite nicely.

Heaven forbid someone need to escape a fire on crutches around here.

The skies are clear now, so hopefully things will be sorted out and back to normal soon. I'm off to Orange County to run more training. I'm darn near sick of my own voice at this point, but at least the week is half over.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

One day closer

I'm one day closer to the end of my crazy week, and one day closer to rest and relaxation.
Thanks for all the well wishes. Yesterday went OK, thought tonight will be the real test for the site, as they go live after training.
I did get a little knitting in. Since I'm away from my desk and in another town, I can't do my normal work so I can sneak in a little bit of knitting. Alas, it was reknitting the 10 rows I had done before, because I realized I'd made an error in my notes for knitting the back.

Some of the questions I was asked:

Are you knitting or crocheting?
Are you making a necklace?
Why don't you sell your knitting?

It's all good for a laugh, I think. Knitting, like computers, is all voodoo to the untrained. I think people expect that what you are working on will only take a short period of time, so it should look like what you are making (thus the necklace question) and that the investment is so minimal that one could easily recoup the cost of supplies and production by selling.

In some cases, this might be true. I could knit a chunky hat in a day, and it would look a lot like a hat within an hour of working on it.

I don't mind the misunderstanding. Heck, just try to talk football with me. As far as I'm concerned it's a bunch of oversized men, running up and down a field with a ball and taking a lot of breaks. We all invest our mental energies in those things that interest us, but I do think that the lack of instant results is what makes it hard for some people to catch on to knitting.

I've noticed that some people can accept and work through the potentially arduous task of learning and acclimating to knitting, but others are put out by the investment involved. I suspect that some of this is a byproduct of our culture. It used to be that people spent hours making meals, that you might wait a week to get your photos developed, postal mail was the standard means of corresponding. Life moved more slowly. Don't get me wrong, you can't take my email and digital camera away from me, but it's apparent that few things happen slowly anymore.

I'm just rambling on now. Must be the lack of sleep. I think I may have twittered about the outer reaches of curmudgeonville, though. Must be careful of that.

Monday, March 21, 2005


That's what I'm feeling today. This is going to be a crazy week for me and a lot is on the line. This is the final phase of the giant technology roll out that's been in the making for about a year now. Somehow, I went from being a grunt, to the user end project manager, trainer, documentation writer, tester and support for this baby. And to add aneurism to apprehension, not only is the executive management from my company expecting a smooth roll out, but so is our parent company. No stress, really. We rolled this out to a pilot group two weeks ago who cursed my name for the first week, but seem to have settled in this past week. I'll be going to the other two major offices and training the rest of the staff through the swing and graveyard shifts, which means I'll only see my Leo when I crawl into bed in the middle of the night (or early morning) and when his alarm goes off and he kisses me goodbye in the morning.

On the plus side, though, I'll be taking Friday-Monday off and going to San Francisco with Leo and Panda. I can't wait. We'll actually leave for SF a little after I get home from work the shift starting Thursday night and ending early Friday morning. He'll do most of the driving and I'll try to sleep in the car. We'll leave SF sometime Sunday and recoup on Monday. My mom will be up in SF too, so it should be a full visit with some S&Bing to boot. For me, though, the most important part will be at least one heaping serving of Eggs Benedict. I think I respond, chemically, to hollandaise and bearnaise sauce.

Oh, the cardi is coming along as well. I bet you'd like to see pics of that.

Click the image for a larger view.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

I'm getting closer than I ever thought I might

And I can't fight this feeling anymore...
Ahh, the easy listening pleasure of REO Speedwagon seems to go perfectly with my progress on the cardi, who has yet to be named.

She's cranking along nicely and is still a joy to knit. I'm only about a third of the final length but that's about half of the total number of stitches, based on yarn usage so far.

And Matt, I'll knit you a sweater if you move to LA. Of course, in LA you don't really need a sweater, but that's neither here nor there.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Here I Go Again On My Own

There's just something about cheesy song references that really makes my day. Anyway, now that one side of my cardi is finished, I'm starting on the other side. I definitely suffer from severe bouts of not-again-itis, especially with something that is a big investment in time, but I'm going to fight it since I think the end result will be worth the effort.
Anyway, so you won't think I just flipped an earlier picture around, here's the second side started next to the finished piece.

Eye on the prize, Marnie, eye on the prize.
I had to reverse all shaping so I took my original notes:

And reworked them into something a little more legible and useful:

Both have my handy dandy post-it place keepers.
I suspect I won't have the wealth of free time this weekend that I had last weekend, but I'll still try to crank out another whole piece, if possible.

On an unrelated note, may I just say that I LOVE the Culver City Farmer's Market. I know that most of LA likes to brush elbows with the stars at "THE Farmer's Market" but I can't be bothered with all that. Leo hit the Culver City Farmer's Market last night and I feasted on assorted Greek cheeses, olives and fresh made breads for dinner last night. I'm a very happy girl. And the meal ended with a delicious, juicy orange.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

About 10,000 Stitches Later...

I've finished one front side of the cardigan.

And a here's a detail shot

The yarn is delightful to work with, though it's very loosely spun so you have to be careful to knit the whole strand or you get sloppy looking loose threads. That aside, I am just loving working with this yarn.

For that point where you bind off for the arm pit (armscye if you want to be all technical.) I used the same technique Jody did in this post, from a couple days ago. I had never seen that technique before and I love it.

While I'm pleased to have gotten so much knitting done this weekend, I ended up missing out on a blogger get together. My car needed some service on Saturday and I needed to be able to pick it up that day or not be able to get to work on Monday. It was a hard decision, but "grown up responsibilities" won out over knitting and meeting new people.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Little further

I've knit a little bit more of my super yummy purple yarn.

I know, it's not very exciting, but you can start to see where I'm going with this.
Right now, you are looking at the right front portion of the cardigan. It's got a faux princess seam where the black stitch marker is and a lace border at the front placket, where the blue stitch marker is. I'm hoping that the .5" of garter is enough to keep the piece from rolling, but if not, I'll just pull out the cast on and knit a bit more hem.
In case you are wondering, the faux seam is formed by slipping a particular stitch every other row. I think there are other ways to achieve this result, but I find this the easiest.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Mmmm, tastes like purple

Well, Leo and I ate the artichokes last night and enough of you were curious about them that I thought I'd do a little artichoke review.

Firstly, the packaging says that they have little choke, few thorns and cook faster. The first two items were definitely true. Once we got near the hearts, there was no need to clear out any choke, you could just dip and munch. Additionally, I didn't bother snipping the tips of every leaf, I simply chopped the top off and cooked since there were very few, if any thorns. As for cooking time, the artichokes seemed to cook for about the same time as normal green ones. If there was a time savings, it was negligible.

Regarding the color, it does indeed remain after cooking, though, other artichoke eaters will note that most artichokes become quite dark after cooking, so it's far less apparent. The flavor though is actually nicer. Overall, I would say they are a better value and a nicer experience than normal artichokes and the color is simply frosting on the cake. Yay!

Work has been crazy with very long days and shifts migrating from night to day, so I've done almost no knitting this week, but I did cast on some of my Peruvian Silk yarn, last night. It's not really worth posting, but I'll do so anyway.

Those are US #4 Addis and I'm knitting a potential front portion of a cardigan. Once I've done a few more rows I'll be able to assess if I like it. We'll see.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Purple purple everywhere

Well, I feel like I haven't had much in the way of exciting knit content in a while, but with the final touches put on my submission for Spun I can get back to my public knitting.

Firstly, my order from Elann arrived.

I have 20 balls of this amazing yarn
I really don't know what I'm going to make yet, but if anyone has some suggestions, don't hesitate to comment. I also have that great Optimum I got from Soy Silk in a similar color. Expect a lot of dark purple in my near future.
Actually, I have an embarrassment of yarn I need to put to good use. There's almost so much that I don't know what I want to start with.

I must find time for this all while trying to manage a crazy month ahead in which we will be rolling out a new system to 75 users over 6 sites from The Valley to OC. I'm expecting little "me time" to come.

On the topic of dark purple, check out this artichoke (I have 4 total).

They are purple and allege to have "almost no choke, almost no thorns and cook faster." What more could I ask for?

For those of you who remember that shruggy wrappy thing I made last year, the wedding pics are finally online.
Catch 'em here, here, here and here

I also wanted to throw in a picture of Panda after we ran her ragged at a beach in Ventura.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I have been knitting

I swear, I do still knit, it's just all stuff I can't show you until it's published.
For one thing, I just mailed off my piece to InKnitters with that lovely La Lux I showed you all in an earlier post.
I can only show you a little swatch of what I sent off.

Additionally, I'm working on a piece for Spun Magazine which is coming along nicely. Once again, all you get is a swatch.

I swear it was mere coincidence that both companies sent me the same general color scheme.

I also had a horrible moment of weakness for which I have no excuse. I used some of my Cloche sales money to get myself a whole whopping order of this in Aubergine. *sigh* It's lovely, no?

As soon as I'm done with my current project I plan to do some proper blog worthy knitting for all of you.

In other news, I get my yearly performance appraisal today, at work. Despite the fact that my boss has said nothing but encouraging things to me, I'm terribly nervous about being "appraised". Keep your fingers crossed for me.


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