Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lookie! Pictures!

I got my act together and started uploading pictures! Because, really, who likes a blog post without pictures? :)

First up, impulse purchases. I should not be allowed to go anywhere near anything small and cute in craft stores. That is how I ended up coming back to work with these little guys.

Tiny pots! With tiny bulbs in them! Cute!!!! OK, I'm finished now. I'm trying to grow them at work. We will see if this works. Sometimes I really have a black thumb.

Now we have some pictures of the BSJs. Aren't they cute, too?

Here is the blue one in the middle of the folding magic that is the BSJ. One second it is this blobby mass. . .

Then you start to fold it. . .
And *poof* jacket!
Here is a blob in progress.

On to the next project! The Forest Canopy Shawl in Copper Penny. Here is the skein (the flash gave it a rather pinker hue). I kept meaning to take a picture of it in the natural light but I kept forgetting and then was too impatient to wait to cast on with it.

Seconds after I took the picture of the skein, I cast on and, by the time I went to bed, had a couple of inches done. Guess that is what happens when you start on a Buffy and a Bones marathon. ( has the entire 1st & 2nd seasons of Buffy and just put up the entire 1st season of Bones. Ah, hulu, you must stop (but don't really) because it is getting detrimental to my getting to bed before midnight.) Anyway, this next picture is a couple of days later.

Late last night (darn you, hulu), I was nearing the end of the shawl. Now, keep in mind that I flew in the face of common sense and knit the shawl without any lifelines. Crazy, I know. Especially crazy when you realize that you have 9 rather long rows left to do and only have enough yarn to do 3. So, at 1 am, I ripped out one 7 row pattern repeat very, very carefully. I picked up the stitches and decided, upon consideration, that it would be smarter to go to bed than to try to finish the remaining 9 rows.

So this morning, I finished knitting and bound it all off. It took a bath in woolwash and I stretched it out to block.

I didn't take any pictures of the blocking process because my room is such a disaster area. Remember me posting a picture a while ago about the disaster I call my fiber corner? Well, now it is NOTHING in comparison to the rest of the room. After next week, I'll have to go something about it.

Back to the shawl, I'll take some FO pictures of it tomorrow or the day after. All I can say about it is that I am completely in love with it. The copper/fall colors of the yarn are wonderful! Tricia at Earthly Hues did a great job. The shawl took me only 4 days to make. The pattern is great because you can make it out of any weight yarn. You just choose the needle size you like for a lacey look and do as many pattern repeats as you want. I can't wait to show you the pictures.

This evening, I realized that mom was having her church circle over tomorrow night. Normally that would not present a problem but it does this time. Tuesday is the edible book festival at my practicum library. Edible books, if you haven't heard about it, are edible pieces that represent books or book titles. This is an international event will people all across the world making books from food on or around April 1st (April Fool's day, hehe). My book is going to be Pompeii by Robert Harris. So I'm making a volcano out of round Devil's Food Cakes stacked on top of each other. Then, in the top one, I'm going to be putting a shot glass with a jello mixture that will foam out when you add lemon juice. I definitely couldn't bake the cakes in the middle of the church circle tomorrow so an extra task was added to my evening of finishing homework. The cakes turned out extraordinarily RED didn't they?

I'll take pictures when I start putting them together after the meeting tomorrow. It's so exciting!

In another sidenote, have you ever listened to a radio station where it is like they have reached into your head, found your favorite songs and favorite types of music, and started playing them? A new station came to the area and it is like they know exactly the kinds of music I will like even if I had never heard the artists before. For a while tonight I was listening to playlists on iTunes then I switched to the streaming audio on the station's website and it was like nothing had changed. I had never found a station before that was such a good match for my tastes. Interesting.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Some FOs and WIPs (w/o pictures)

I really need to rip apart my computer tower and get my memory card out of it. I guess I was sleep deprived the last time I was going to upload pictures. My computer has different slots for all different types of memory cards. In my lack of sleep haze I accidentally put the card in the wrong slot and it fell down into the guts of the tower. I've just been too lazy to unscrew the cover and take it apart. So I'm going to blame the lack of pictures on lack of sleep.

Do you remember that I was working on Wicked? Well, I finished it the other day and just had to sew the pocket down. It took me another couple of days to actually do that simple thing. Because it is actually thinking about being spring and getting warm, I needed to get it finished to actually be able to wear it this season. So yesterday morning I sewed the pocket down and wore it all around. I really liked the color. I swear that I will take pictures and post them here.

To answer Kristi's question, I went to the BSJ Wiki for information about the BSJ. It has some really great pictures and suggestions for making them. I found suggestions somewhere (probably a discussion on ravelry) for different weights of yarn and their corresponding needles and age range for the jackets. I'm making my DK weight jackets on a US size 6 needle and it will probably be for a 6-9 month old. The suggestions said you could use either a US 6 or 7 with a DK yarn.

I think my BSJ love might have dulled because I'm not thinking about casing on for another one and the one I was in the middle of has been languishing. Instead, I'm casting on for another Forest Canopy Shawl with the most gorgeous sock yarn from Earthly Hues in the colorway Copper Penny. If you haven't seen Tricia's yarn yet, go over to her Etsy shop or the shop blog or her webpage right now. I'll wait. Back? All of her yarns (and fiber) are dyed with all natural dyes. You wouldn't believe the colors she gets with them! I bet you thought natural dyes only come in browns and greens. I really, really love this one deep red shade. Yummmm. Anyway, the second I saw the Copper Penny color, I instantly thought of leaves in the fall. The subtlety of the colors are perfect for this shawl. The pattern is great because you can use any weight of yarn and make as many repeats as you want. I started it last night and am already a couple of inches in.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Crazy horses

Well, the past couple of days have been all sorts of fun with the horses. My friend just bought a horse, Jazz, in northern Ohio on Sunday. She is an adorable and petite Quarter Horse that looks more Thoroughbred-y than Quarter Horse-y (aka she is a lot more delicate looking than most Quarter Horses).
Jazz looking pretty

Jazz went out with the other 4 horses on Sunday afternoon. We let Java out with her first because he was least likely to bother Jazz. The entire time Java was out there, Cali was screaming in the stall and lunging at the door with her ears back and teeth bared. (She was very jealous of her man talking to a younger woman.) Java looked from Cali to Jazz to us, pondered, and walked to us rather than upset his mare.

Next, we let Bo out and he really wanted to be friends with Jazz. She is much more his size than anyone else and you could tell that he desperately wanted to say "hi." She took it in stride and firmly established that he was not to push her around.

Bo and Jazz

Bo looking very muddy

Capone was the next one to meet Jazz. He tried to bully her but she firmly said "I don't think so!" and threatened to kick him if he pushed her around.

Finally, we got ready to let Cali out. All the humans went to the safety of the stalls to stay out of the horses' way. We expected lots of screaming, kicking and biting between the mares. Cali burst out of the stall and ran straight to Java. She herded Java away from the new mare and refused to let him get anywhere near her. She didn't even say anything to Jazz, didn't sniff her, didn't go anywhere near her except to drive Java away. He looks very resigned to the whole thing.

Cali doing her "Pretty Warmblood" face

Java and Capone

Anyway, yesterday was when the real fun began. Everyone was going to go out to ride which has never happened before with all of our busy schedules. But it was like the perfect storm with everyone getting out of class or off of work at 5. So everyone was planning to be out at the barn at 5:30 and ready to ride by 6. As I was driving to the barn, I got a call from Diana and she said "The horses are gone." It turns out that someone (probably Jazz) ran through the fence in the back, breaking the wire, and let all 5 horses out.

By the time I got to the barn, Diana had heard from her husband that 4 horses had been found a few miles away, trotting down the center of the very busy and hilly road. A passerby was able to (somehow) corral them in a paddock of a run-down barn. Then he started calling horse people in the area. Someone knew that we had 2 greys and 2 bays so he drove to the barn and said where he had put them. All of us were thinking "But we really need that number to be 2 greys and 3 bays." Everyone was worried that the missing horse was going to be the new girl.

Diana's husband and father hitched up my trailer and drove over to the place where the 4 were captured. Greta had luckily gotten to the barn at that point and went with them. She definitely stopped them from trying to capture a horse statue and put it in the trailer :) They put Cali and Capone in the trailer and took them back to our barn.

At this point, I've gotten to the barn and Diana and I are getting all of our saddles and bridles for Bo and Java. We still had to find Jazz so one of our only options is to ride back to the barn the way they might have come. We were definitely blazing our own trails. In two areas we had to ride over fallen wire fences because that was the only way to get home. I'm so glad that neither gelding was stupid while doing that. It could have been a real mess. In another spot we had to go through a creek that had a 2-3 foot drop down into water with a steep (and narrow) deer trail leading to the stream. Bo definitely said "no" to that idea so Java went first. We were headed in the direction of home so there was no stopping Java! He blazed down the incline and ran up the other steep side, luckily avoiding all of the holes along the way. Bo followed right after him because he definitely did not want to get left behind!

While we were riding back and calling for Jazz, Diana's husband and Jazz's owner took a truck and went driving through a neighbor's field to see if they could see Jazz. Greta was saddling up Capone, getting ready to ride toward us to see if she would meet Jazz along the way. Diana's father took off on foot to follow the horse tracks. The people in the car spotted Jazz in the distance in the field behind the barn property. We think that she heard us calling her and started for the voices. They called Greta and she went out there. Jazz wouldn't come to a human on foot but she would follow Capone. Greta was able to get her back through the fence though the mare broke through the fence again in another spot. Once again, we were very lucky that no legs got cut up.

Diana and I were 2 fields away but we were able to see Jazz and Capone so we knew that everyone was safe. When we got back to the barn, everyone realized that Diana's father was still out looking for the mare and that he didn't have a cell phone (he doesn't like them so he never carries one). So Diana, Greta and I rode back out to try to find him. We rode directly to the top of the hill of the field behind the property and were able to see him. So finally we got everyone back to the barn.

None of the horses had a mark on them even after all of their excitement! We were just so lucky!

We kept riding around the arena to cool out our horses and so that Jazz's owner, Carol, would have time to saddle her up. Jazz was not pleased about this idea and started to act up a little bit. I got on her and, after a mini battle, we finally started to go around without popping up or giving little jumps. After a much longer period of time, we put Carol back on Jazz and they had a mini lesson.

Oh, I forgot to mention in all of this excitement that I had locked my keys in my car. Of course, my cell phone was in the car so luckily I was always around someone who had their phone still on them. Greta had to drive me home to pick up the extra set of keys and then back out to the barn. It was definitely a long and eventful day!

When I went out to the barn this morning to take pictures, everyone was thankfully still in the paddock where we had put them! Java is still looking browbeaten with Cali telling him where to go. Bo has definitely taken to Jazz and will stand up to Capone for her. If Capone trys to push her around, Bo will get between them with his ears pinned and head snaking. He is in love :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

BSJ madness

I've become a wee bit obsessed with the Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ) pattern. And by a wee bit I mean that I've made 3 now and am going to be starting with a 4th soon. I hardly ever make a pattern over and over (unless it is something like fingerless gloves or socks, of course) because it bores me. This pattern, however, is the perfect quick thoughtless knit.

I had 2 balls of DK baby yarn in my stash that I wanted to use up in yellow and blue. So I started on an all yellow one. I proceeded to run out of yarn on the button band and had to buy another skein of yellow. (How is this helping to deplete the stash?) While there I decided to buy a pink skein, too. In order to make sure there was enough blue, I put in a stripe of yellow and did the button band in yellow. Wouldn't you know it but there was more than enough blue in the ball to make the added yellow completely unnecessary. Bah! Both the original yellow ball and the blue ball were supposed to be the same yardage but obviously one of them was lying. The next baby sweater I made was pink with yellow stripe and button band. I now have tons of pink left over so I might get one more ball of pink and make a completely pink jacket. Two of my coworkers offered to buy one off of me, one for a new granddaughter and one for a new niece.

If I do sell the jackets, I think I will swear them to secrecy that they got them from me just so I won't have to keep making them for people. There is a possibility that Thalia will be having the BSJ as a class at the Needling Yarn in the summer so I could also point people to that. I just don't want to be stuck making stuff for people. That sounds harsh but is true. After a while the newness and charm of the BSJ will surely wear off and I won't be interested in making another one for a very long while. But that would be the only thing that coworkers would ask for. So, yes, I think swearing them to secrecy is a very good idea.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

So very tired

This post is probably going to be very boring and not about knitting. It is all about tired Anne. What riviting drama. I'm very happy this week is coming to an end. I can't remember if I've talked about my practicum on this blog much. If not, I'll give you a short recap. If I have, please excuse the tired mind. Doing a practicum, or working in a library, is one option for my library science masters. (The other option is writing a thesis. See why I chose to do the practicum?) Practicums are great for people who have never worked in a library setting before. You get to actually work as a librarian and do all sorts of different work depending on your library.

I've been building webpages, working the reference desk, collecting materials for library instruction, coming up with a podcast/series of instructional segments and author talks, and attending staff meetings. I'm sure I've done more but it is hard to think of it right now. As interesting as the work is, I'm just tired.

The praticum is 100 hours with an additional 50 hours on a project or paper. Today I wrapped up 80 hours. I've been working at my practicum site 10 hours a week since the middle of January. Most of the weeks, I've worked one morning 9-12 and then gone to my actual job to work 12:30-9 and then worked 9-4:30 on Friday at the practicum. The past two weeks, however, I've had to work at my job on Friday so that messes up the practicum schedule. So I've been working at least 2 mornings and a couple of hours on Saturday when the reference desk is staffed. This week, however, is even more different because I've worked 3 mornings at the practicum. Three 12 hour days in one week sucks. I don't know how people do it! The library will be closed on Saturday because that is when Spring Break starts.

I can't even tell you how much I am looking forward to it! I will have the whole week off from anything to do with the practicum. Then as a bonus, my practicum supervisor will be out of town the next week so I will have that week off too! (From the practicum, at least. I still have to go to my actual job obviously!) Well, I might have to go in Friday to help record some author book talks but that will be a lot shorter than a 9-4:30 day and will be very interesting.

On Monday, I recorded a sound bite/instructional segment about using the library catalog and requesting books from other institutions. Next, I added screenshots to the sound. It was pretty good if I do say so myself :)

In other library related news, I'm going to be doing a book talk for a group of retired schoolteachers/other influential ladies of the community in April. This will be my first chance to do a booktalk and I'm really excited/nervous. Trying to find books which interest them is really challenging because a) I've never done this before and b) I have no idea what they might like. There is a book called The Booktalker's Bible from which I will be borrowing heavily. I will also be talking about Tom Brokaw's book, Boom, because we are doing that for a One Book, One Community program during National Library Week. I really should get on reading that. How in the world am I going to be able to talk to a group of people who lived through the 60s when I wasn't even born for another 20 years?! Anyway, I hope this book talk will go well. If it does, I will be able to go to a lot of other groups. You would be amazed the number of places that want someone to come to talk to them about books. Now if only I could find a way to combine the knitting and the book talking :)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Shamless switching

I've finished knitting the body of Wicked and have started on the front pocket. Well, I did work on it until I got bored with that. So I put the pocket on an extra needle and started on the sleeves instead. Then I got distracted again by the lure of . . . .

The Baby Surprise Jacket or BSJ as it is known to many. What can I say, Wicked was getting really heavy and the BSJ had the added allure of a fast knit, being much lighter, being able to use some sock yarn that I probably wouldn't make socks out of, and being able to use up some stash yarn. So who cares that I have multiple projects on the verge of being finished? Don't judge me! ;)

I'm simply amazed that something that looks like this could turn out to be a baby jacket. It looks more like an amoeba!

After finishing wicked and some of the other small projects, I'm going to have to make one with two strands of sock yarn together for a slightly larger baby. This could be a perfect way for me to use up some of the sock yarn! In cleaning out my yarn/fiber corner, I've discovered way more than I remembered. I think it is reproducing.