Monday, July 30, 2007

Believe it or not....

The yarn fast is intact. With encouragement from Jessi and some friends on the Knitter's Review Forums, I rescued some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted (in square basket on right) from my box of yarns to destash, and it is slowly but surely becoming a Baby Surprise Jacket. I had worried that the colors were too girly, so I didn't even consider using it until the KR folks urged me to rethink my stash and see if I could come up with alternatives to falling off the wagon.

Why slowly on the BSJ? Because I am consumed by reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It didn't arrive until FRIDAY due to some shipping slo-mo. I thought I was being smart, the whole pre-ordering thing, getting it cheaper than I thought I could locally, avoiding lines and stuff. Turns out, all of my local bookstores had it at the same price as online, and as long as I waited a day or two, I easily could have avoided the crowds. Oh well.

I actually didn't start reading in earnest until Sunday, though. I went to a party on Friday and spent most of Saturday recovering from the party (and going to the SF Zoo with DH). Sunday after our errands, however, I dug in and read nearly 400 pages from the afternoon to bedtime.

Anyway, the yarn is working up so nicely in the BSJ (pix to follow soon, promise), I can't imagine why I wanted to destash it. I am actually rethinking a couple of other things in the destash box. I am embarrassed to say, all Colinette yarns I bought on an expensive whim (a ribbon I loathed working with, and a chenille that I semi-disliked working with, and a mohair I liked well enough, but didn't see using on its own). I am now thinking they would be nice ones to include in the Ruana from Folk Shawls - just a little bit of sparkle amid some more traditional wools/wool blends.

Not only am I fasting, I am on the verge of actually using things that were firmly in the layer of stash I might not ever use. I can't believe it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Is it kosher?

We just found out that some friends of ours are pregnant! YAY! Naturally, the happy parents divulged all of the pertinent details with little prodding (boy, due in January). Now, I have a question for you all.

Can I make an ex post facto exception to my yarn fast and buy something boyish for a baby surprise jacket? I am not exaggerating when I say I don't have anything remotely appropriate in the stash. I swear on a stack of addi turbos that I won't buy anything else. Just something lovely for the new boy in our lives? What do we think?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Shawly, you jest!

If there is some kind of therapy for compulsive punning, let me know. I will voluntarily check myself in, as long as I can bring my knitting with me, and DH can visit any time.

I have three shawls on the go. Is that crazy? I cast on Icarus (scroll down) last night, with some Schaefer Andrea that has been burning a hole in my stash ever since I bought it on impulse at Urban Knitting Studio several months ago. As impulse purchases go, a 1000 yard hank of laceweight isn't a bad deal, even at 60 bucks a pop. The thing that sold me is that the color is called Renata Tebaldi. I love yarn, I love opera. It was in my basket faster than you can say "La Boheme." The colorway is a beautiful blend of deep pink, red and greeny-brown, and I think it will work up nicely, since Icarus has those bands of stockinette before you get to the lace edging.

The Cap Shawl is going well. I am nearly done with the center spiral -- only 18 more rounds to go before I start the second chart. In a way, I think of this as my first "real lace" shawl. The others were in heavier yarns on bigger needles, and this one is true laceweight on smaller needles. It even looks different: more rumpled and Ramen-like than my fingering and sportweight shawls. I think the magic of blocking will be even more evident with this one, and I am looking forward to it. I might give Russian string-blocking a whirl this time.

Finally, my Alfabeto shawl is a nice, easy one to pick up when I don't feel like concentrating, but really want to work on a shawl. I am following Clara's pattern in plain stockinette until I get bored with stockinette, at which point I will probably switch to dear old Feather and Fan to create a lacy, scalloped edge. I adore how the colorway is working up: no flashing or pooling, just a pretty shaded, dappled effect. It's gorgeous.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Resistance is Successful

No new yarn will be assimilated.

I frogged the Cardigan for Arwen. It is a lovely pattern, and I surely will get around to making it one of these days. I liked the yarn, too (KnitPicks Andean Silk in Cornflower), but after I blocked the back (ages ago, mind you) and realized it blocked out way bigger than the size I was making, I knew I was courting, if not outright disaster, than at least a really humongous sweater.

No, I didn't swatch. I cast on 20 or so stitches, did a few rows, and measured that. I didn't block the swatchlet, because I pulled the thing out and cast on the back.

In thinking of what I would do with the yarn (because, y'know, I don't have enough WIPs...), it occured to me that I could make EZ's Surprise Jacket (adult version), but wouldn't it be more fun with some other colors of Andean Silk for stripes? Off I go to the KnitPicks website, to check out the other colors. And, miracle! I didn't buy any. Even I couldn't stretch the "to finish a WIP" rule to cover additional yarn for a project that was not truly in progress, and indeed, I might not actually follow through with. Also, I didn't think any of the other colors went that well with the Cornflower.

I want to do the Surprise Jacket in a hand-dyed multi anyway. From stash.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

Cheesy as it sounds, that might be my favorite Elvis song. Not on its merits as a song (which are admittedly few), but more for the celebratory sense of a trip to Vegas.

We're back. We left Wednesday night and got back yesterday afternoon. It was a great trip. In no particular order, nine highlights:

1. The room was great. We had a spa room at the Excalibur, which in addition to the joy of soaking in our own hot tub whenever we darned well pleased, is a perfect location for other attractions.

2. We saw a baby dolphin at the Mirage. He was.... just ridiculously cute. They named him Sergeant Pepper, which... eh. I guess you would have to be a Beatles fan (which I am not). We nicknamed him Boing Boing which definitely fit his bouncy, playful demeanor.

3. We got to pet stingrays at Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef. They were sooooooooooooooo cute! Not that into being petted, quite honestly, but most of them were okay with a little stroke on their backs. I think the handlers trim their barbs so they can't sting people. The Shark Reef is actually a very cool aquarium, with lots of interesting creatures. The eponymous sharks are plentiful and scary, but there are also sea turtles (huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge!) and a lot of pretty little fish.

4. Finally went on the Manhattan Express, the roller coaster at New York New York, which I hadn't gotten to on any previous trips to Vegas. It is scarier than it looks. Not the scariest coaster I have ever been on, by any means (I famously repeated Hail Marys on one at Six Flags), but pretty freaking scary for a 30-something who hasn't been on a roller coaster in about a decade. I was totally game up until we sat in the car, and it occurred to me that this might not have been such a hot idea after all. The same thought occurred to me as we approached the foot of the first hill. I stated, very matter-of-fact as if discussing the weather, "oh shit!" and off we went. After two big drops, a corkscrew thingy, and two sets of several little hills, we wobbled off the ride, with jimmy legs and a powerful thirst after screaming ourselves dry.

5. Had quite possibly the best dinner of my life at StripSteak in Mandalay Bay. This is a Michael Mina restaurant that very successfully marries haute cuisine with classic American dishes. DH's prime rib was a perfect example: accompanying the meat were a demi-glace "au jus," and horseradish creme fraiche. DH asked me what the au jus was, being thicker, richer and glossier than the usual au jus you get with prime rib. I tasted it and geeked out on how you make demi-glace, why it tastes like that, and why it is so shiny.

Me, I got a big filet mignon with a veritable slab of foie gras on top. Not just a wee little slice, but a piece the size of a toddler's fist, grilled just until the inside was gooey and plopped atop my steak.

They started us off with a complimentary appetizer of french fries deep-fried in duck fat, which I must sadly report were absolutely fabulous. There were three versions, each with a different seasoning and paired with a coordinating dip -- the truffled one was my favorite, of course.

6. Agent Provocateur makes the best bras ever (Forum Shops at Caesar's). So beautiful, such a perfect fit, and so expensive that I was nearly moved to tears.

7. There are wine bars on the strip, believe it or not. The best one is 55 Degrees at Mandalay Bay. Details will follow on our wine blog later in the week.

8. We aren't big gamblers, actually. Other than a couple of sports bets, we didn't do much gambling. We finally resorted to it in earnest to kill time before dinner at Stripsteak on Saturday night. I played video poker for about an hour on the same 20 bucks. We didn't win anything, but it was a good run.

9. We saw Jubilee at Bally's, which was very good. The production was high quality, and it struck me as a very classic Vegas show. And, really, when all the showgirls line up and do that kicking thing in perfect unison, it is quite impressive.

And now, for the obligatory knitting content. I haven't been knitting much lately. I have had some wrist and hand pain, and am trying not to stress them more than is strictly necessary. Accordingly, I didn't bring any knitting for the plane, and I am probably going to be knitting less over the coming weeks until I get some strength back.

I am also officially on a yarn fast, due to the aforementioned shopping at Agent Provocateur and the decrease in knitting. I will not be purchasing any yarn for myself for the rest of the year. Two exceptions: 1. running out of yarn on a WIP; 2. the Knit and Crochet Show in September , for which I already registered, and then only for a (as in one) planned project. No impulse buys. I will keep you posted!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Monday. No, Thursday. It's Thursday, right?

Free Online Dating

Really? I am pretty sure I have said the F-word, and there is a pic of a middle finger, too. Hunh.