Oh, hi! What am I doing? Oh, I'm vacuuming, thanks for asking.
But how can I be vacuuming and typing at the computer at the same time? Why, with my new Roomba!
We spent the better part of Christmas following the Roomba around the house. It is truly a miraculous machine. Sure, it gets hung up on a few rugs, but boy, is it convenient. And the house is the cleanest it's been in ages.
While you can buy a scheduler for your Roomba, so it will vacuum while you are at work or asleep, our Roomba needs a little supervision, especially on the edges of the living room rug. And sometimes it will get so intent on fitting into a corner of the room it can't fit into that it will ignore a big patch in the center. Having a Roomba doesn't mean you'll never need to vacuum again, but when you do, you'll just be spot-vacuuming areas the Roomba can't reach.
The husband gets big props for the Roomba. And for another gift as well: the tough hockey player bought his little wifey a new sewing machine, because he knew I needed one.
What he didn't know is that a couple of weeks ago, when I was getting ready to sew the zipper in on Rogue, I went out and bought one myself. Oops. But they are very different machines (the one I bought is heavy-duty commercial, the one he bought is lightweight hobby) so I will keep them both and never, ever tell him. It was an incredibly thoughtful gift. I got a little teary-eyed over it. And promptly put the one I bought down in the basement, pretending it was the old, broken one. You are all sworn to double-secret secrecy.
He also bought me a gift certificate to the LYS, which I'm thinking might go toward a sweater's worth of Kid Silk Haze. Remember that lacy scoopneck I was thinking about making? Then I saw this. It's lacy, it's sexy (well, I think so at least), I wouldn't have to massively re-write the pattern.
Now, imagine how guilty I am feeling: Fed Ex has STILL not delivered the only thing my husband wanted for Christmas (hockey equipment). They swear it's not lost, they're just waaaaaaay behind on their deliveries. Luckily I had a few small gifties, and I did manage to finish his Hanukkah gloves. Although not until the third night of Hanukkah.
He says he loves them, but I know he just wants his hockey stuff :(
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Oh, hi! What am I doing? Oh, I'm vacuuming, thanks for asking.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Okay, when you see this picture, repeat to yourself: "He has other skills, he's a good cook, he has a kind heart..."
I do not think we can underestimate what a terrible photographer my husband is. Granted, he's using a cell phone camera, but still. This is a bad picture. But it is a picture, of Rogue and her matching mittens:
Unlike Yarn Harlot, I have not deliberately blurred this picture. I am not trying to hide poor finish work (although I probably should) or a lumpy zipper. How is it that every picture my husband takes turns out to be illegibly blurry? Does he have a palsy I haven't noticed?
Rogue fits so well and is so comfortable it has quickly become my favorite sweater. It's the perfect hanging-out-on-Saturday hoodie. It makes me want to knit more hoodies. I even thought about knitting another Rogue, and I very rarely repeat patterns.
There's another picture stored on the cell phone, showing Rogue's hood, but given the quality of this one, I'll wait until I can get a decent photo. 'Cause I'm guessing that one doesn't really show much of Rogue's hood anyway.
Sorry for the crappy pix. Happy Holidays to you all, whichever and however many holidays you celebrate. There is nothing I can say that others haven't said better already. May we all celebrate our holidays together in peace and harmony.
In my house, we'll be thinking of you all while we eat our turkey and latkes. Keep your fingers away from the food! The hubby and I are like starving wolverines.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
You see, Rogue is finished, and so are the Estonian mittens (and I promise pictures, as soon as my husband and I are in the same place during the day), so I cast on for the hubby's gloves, a merger of two different Estonian patterns. And I thought to myself, the pattern calls for five dpns, and I have the fifth, why don't I try it? I lasted two rows before switching back to four. There were just too many freaking needles. Needles everywhere, needles poking into my clothes, needles flying into space...and the whole thing feels tighter and better-engineered as a triangle, not a square.
I'm all for the diversity, but I can't get behind this newfangled five-needle nonsense. I'm guessing it came from another culture (and isn't "newfangled" at all), and once the needle companies heard about it, they figured they'd throw in the fifth, just in case. Back when I was growing up, when you bought dpns, you only got four, so that's all I ever learned on. I gave five a try, and I just can't stomach them all. Sort of like chicken vindaloo. Too many needles, too many hot spices.
Is there an advantage to using five dpns that would make it worth my while to learn to use them? Or is it just whatever you're used to?
Thursday, December 15, 2005
"I long for Americans to be converted to simpler lives, simpler structures, and preservation of open space. But how do deep, radical conversions come about? Not because some righteous neighbor scolds about herbicide, but because one feels the relentless gnawing of one's own soul."
The Barn at the End of the World , Mary Rose O'Reilley
Such a depressing thought, but I believe it's true. For so long I've been trying to think of how to convince people they don't need to tear down a 300 year-old Colonial cape to build a 8000 s.f. MacMansion, where all the kids will have their own bathrooms and they'll never learn about sharing and aging and human frailties (growing up, I shared a bathroom with my mother, can you tell?). But O'Reilley's right, it can't be done. If people are going to come to that realization, they have to come to it themselves. Maybe historic preservationists should be allying themselves with Buddhists.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
It's been forever since we've had a finished object over here at Martita Rampage. But finally, I can present the finished Dale:
possibly the worst cell phone camera picture ever taken
It's done, people. Whew. And while it is not the most flattering garment, it is comfortable and warm. And lovely. Not that you would know it from that picture.
I have completed mitten #1 of the prettiest mittens ever. Now, I know you all think your mittens are pretty, and of course they are. Just not as pretty as mine. Oh, I'm kidding, they are so. But still, gaze upon the loveliness:
Left: palm; right: back of hand
The hubby likes my mitten so much he wants his own, more manly, pair of gloves now. So I guess I'll have to knit those before I can start the Jaywalkers I have been yearning for.
Having finished Ethan Frome, I am now reading The Barn at the End of the World (a recent Mamacate read). If, like me, you have always harbored a desire to keep sheep, this book should be required reading.
Lastly, I offer you a vision of tropical beauty, my cymbidium orchid. It usually blooms in January and February--when you really need it--but this year it is early. While I wish it had waited until February, it's so cold out that I am still appreciating the blooms. I like to look at it and pretend I am in a nice, humid jungle somewhere south of here.
Isn't it a happy plant?
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Rogue awaits its zipper, the Turkish socks are on indefinite hold, the Dale is having its sleeves sewn in, and the Aran pocket shawl is my at-home knitting. Please allow me to introduce you to my new Take-Your-Knit-To-Work candidate, the Estonian mitten.
(Sorry for the crappy cell phone camera shot; the SIL still has my camera.)
The pattern is Aino's Glove (the first pattern in the book), but I am not a glove wearer, so I am converting it to a mitten.
It uses Roositud inlay, which I have never used before. When I started the mitten I did the inlay incorrectly (didn't bring the book to work with me) and stranded the inlay across the back instead of looping it over the needle to bring it back to the front. You can definitely tell the difference between the correct stitches and the incorrect stitches: the stitches at the bottom, the stranded ones, are loopy and looser than the new, correct stitches at the top. Turns out all that stranding makes it harder to get a snug wrap.
I like the Roositud technique. It's not any easier than knitting the colors, but the unbroken block of color makes the pattern bolder. I suspect Roositud does best for a small pattern on a larger field of background color; where a knitted pattern might be delicate and lost, the Roositud stands up and shouts.
I am knitting it while reading Ethan Frome, creating a Trifecta of chill: mitten pattern from cold land, frosty snowy weather, and cold sad tale. I love it when your book perfectly coincides with whatever-else-you're-doing-while-you-read-it. It just amplifies the book's atmosphere. My previous favorite accidental combination was Jeannette Winterson's The Passion with the Cocteau Twins' The Pink Opaque. Passionate, slightly surreal music combined with a slightly surreal book about passion (both book and music are excellent, by the way).
P.S. Lest you all think I have given up on my stash-busting ways, the mitten's green is leftover from Rogue and the red and a (small) bit of the white are remnants of the Dale. I did have to supplement the white, though.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
and you get crappy cell phone pictures (sorry, lent my camera to the SIL, and the hubby had the cell phone last night).
A steek, for those of you unfamiliar, is where you sew a protective edging onto your sweater and then cut a hole in the wool.
The sleeves of the Dale are finished and now the armholes must be steeked. Now, I've never steeked anything, and am inherently troubled by the idea of taking scissors to knitting. Especially multi-color knitting that has taken 7? years to complete. I had hoped, when I took the sweater body out of the bag, that I had overruled the pattern and knit in armholes, but it seems I was feeling much braver seven years ago. Also, since the sweater calls for dropped shoulders, picked-up stitches and knit-down sleeves would have made sense, but picking up sleeve stitches on a multi-color garment can be a dicey proposition (unless one has left a selvedge). So that's probably why I decided to go with the steeking, but yikes. No wonder I put the sweater down, sleeveless, all those years ago. Guess I lost my nerve.
The first step was clearly a hot cup of cocoa with a generous dollop of Kahlua in it. The second step was to hand-baste a steek line in traffic-cone orange, so I had something to follow while sewing. The third step was to prepare the machine.
Now, I do not have a real sewing machine, I have what could best be described as an anti-sewing machine, morally opposed to sewing. If my machine were a senator, it would pass legislation banning the use of thread. It would erect giant billboards proclaiming "Stop Sewing Now!"
Right off the bat, I could tell my anti-sewing machine planned to eat my sweater, so I followed the suggestion made in Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified and placed a piece of tissue paper between the feed dogs and the knit. It worked, until the machine began to self-destruct on its own principles and the bobbin and shuttle went on strike. (It's always the bobbin and shuttle; they're the troublemakers).
Two hours, twelve complete bobbin-works-disassembly-and-reassemblies and one shot of vanilla vodka later, I had steeks:
And the sewing machine is going to the repair shop before it touches Rogue (the zipper for which has been ordered, but that's another story for another day).
Thursday, December 01, 2005
I said I'd do the Internet questionnaire, so here it is:
10 Things you might not know about me
1. I’m allergic to wool.
2. I am going deaf in my right ear, specifically in the range in which men’s voices lie (well, some of you know that). I found this far more amusing than the technician who tested my hearing did.
3. I love old movies, even bad ones.
4. Sometimes I listen to 1930s radio serials at work on the magical Internet radio.
5. I wish I were funnier.
6. I am prone to vertigo. When I went to see my doctor about it initially, I told her that all that drunk driving I did in college was finally paying off. She did not see the humor. But it’s true.
7. I served on my town’s Historical Commission for six years and chaired it for two.
8. Since I’ve been working at the landscape office, I’ve developed a mouth like a sailor. Or a landscaper, as it turns out. Cussed in front of clients? I sure have!
9. I still get excited about snow. I like it more than my little toddler friends do (so why am I cutting out these #$%&* snowflakes?)
10. When I was little, people thought I was a boy because my mom made me keep my thick unruly hair very short.
9 places I’ve visited
5. Florida (I am quite the world traveler, can you tell?)
6. Pittsburgh (and you thought Florida was exciting)
8. Turks and Caicos
9. Washington D. C.
8 ways to win my heart
1. Be persistent.
2. Give me a puppy.
3. Be unapologetically quirky.
4. Have a hearty appetite.
5. Like the occasional glass of wine.
6. Eat dessert first.
7. Know which rules are important and which ones are silly.
8. Cut out snowflakes for small children for me.
7 things I want to do before I die
1. Go to Egypt and Morroco.
2. Write a book. I used to think it had to be great literature; now I think it can be any crappy dreck as long as I get it done. Publication would be nice, but I’m realistic. Although I think my odds are better with crappy dreck.
3. See Machu Picchu. Thanks to my asthma, it will require a helicopter drop and lots of money.
(Honestly, I don’t have a lot on this list, and I’ll tell you why. Both my parents died young, so about 20 years ago I made a “things I want to do before I die” list and started checking it off. Take mandolin lessons? Check. Make a quilt? Decided not to. Learn to watercolor paint? Done (not well, but done). There’s not much left. That “write a book” thing, it’s time to get that done.)
6 things I’m afraid of
1. Being hungry.
2. Being cold.
3. Pandemic disease, because the hubby drives an airport limo in the winter.
6. Evil crazy people.
5 things I don’t like
1. Cutting out snowflakes.
2. When my boss pees behind the hydroseeder. We have bathrooms.
3. Chatting on the phone.
5. Conservative talk shows. Yes, that’s right, my husband swears by Fox News. We are an odd couple.
4 ways to turn me off
1. Be rude.
2. Think you know everything in the world, when in fact… not so much.
3. Slap your small child across the face. (I am not necessarily anti-spanking, though)
4. Yammer endlessly at Town Meeting, on every single warrant article. Like our townspeople care what you think about every issue before town government, and like we can’t make a decision without hearing your opinion first.
3 things I do every day
1. Drink two cups of coffee, usually 100% decaf, sometimes 25% caf.
2. Read the morning paper.
3. Eat three squares. Not negotiable. It is an understatement to say that I do not handle hunger well.
2 things that make me happy
1. Internet radio. A godsend at work, where I’m alone in an office all day, with not an iota of radio reception.
2. Hiking in the woods with my dog before work.
1 thing on my mind right now
1. Cutting out snowflakes.
I'm not tagging anyone, because in the holiday spirit of inclusiveness Maryse and Crazy Aunt Purl have pretty much tagged everyone in the universe! Are you breathing? You've already been tagged.