Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Further Proof

I just want to clarify and reiterate that I think that Crocs are a wonderful choice for gardening (their intended purpose) or hanging out in your house or backyard or heading to a theme park or other casual event. I object to them as everyday wear (unless your days keep you in the aforementioned places, in which, go on). I object to them as office wear (when your office is not in your house) and I object to them as going out wear or cocktail wear.
But, it seems that in addition to causing problems when worn in hospitals, they apparently create a higher risk for "shoe entrapment" in escalators.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Another Level of Shopaholism

I love to shop - as my bank account can attest. In my teens I could take twenty bucks and spend the whole day at the mall (admittedly it was more fun when I had more than twenty bucks). It is the whole process that I love, although certainly the purchasing is fun too.
But, I have to say, I have never once thought: I am having so much fun that I wish I could just sleep here so I could get a quick start tomorrow.
And yet, I'm a bit jealous that the first Ikea hostel, allowing one to sleep over at Ikea, is in Norway. Hopefully the idea will catch on enough to head over here long enough for me to test it out. Just once. After all, their meatballs are really good.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My Two Cents

I love music. I love songs. I am totally the person who listens to the lyrics and tends to eschew the stuff where you can't hear the lyrics. (I am not the person who knows all the lyrics to all the songs, however.) So, I am the person who snickers on the call in shows when people dedicate "I'll Make Love to You" to the person they met in the coffee shop or "I Will Always Love You" to the person they are marrying the next day. So, of course I have stuff to say about Entertainment Weekly's Best Love Songs list.
I tried to first come up with songs I thought had to be on the list. (I don't know that I could come up with twenty five without serious angst.) This was also the point where I realized I can come up with a lot more break up songs that I love than love songs. (I'm not a bitter person, but I do have a schmoopy threshold.)
"If I Could Make a Day For You"
"Grow Old With Me"
"God Bless the Broken Road"
"Perfect"
Then I scrolled through the list - eh, eh, okay, - "Your Song" - total agreement.
"Time After Time" gave me pause, not because I don't like it, but because I never really considered it a love song, but okay.
Eh - Dylan.
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" - Love it.
Eh - Beyonce
I agree that lyrically "Unchained Melody" is a great love song (and really a better choice for serenading someone you want to impress than "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling") but - as they mention - it's got a very dark feel to it. But this isn't love songs that you can dance to, so okay.
"These Arms of Mine" - Very nice.
"You Send Me" - Sure.
"At Last" - Ah, yes.
"When a Man Loves a Woman" - Sure. A bit like "Unchained Melody" for me - good on paper, but eh.
"Ring of Fire" -Again I say, huh. It is indeed about love, I just didn't have it in my head as a love song.
"In Your Eyes" - Agreed.
U2 - eh.
"Sweet Child O' Mine" - Sure.
"Wild Horses" - Eh.
"I Will Always Love You". And now - it's one. Is this a great song about the end of love? Sure. But then, this list is desperately missing "Kerosene", and "I'm The Only One" and all sorts of other our love is ending songs. If we are talking about love songs in the more standard schmoopy sense, this song about leaving the one you love does not belong.
Eh.
"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" - Okay.
"Can't Help Falling in Love" - Always a good one.
"God Only Knows" - Hmmm. Okay.
I guess, even though my own teeny list has stuff that people don't all know, I feel life I should have had more of a reaction to more of these. Ah well.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mystery Stole 3 - Glacial Progress

The MST3 and I had a bit of a falling out when I had to rip back past several lifelines. We finally agreed that while the intended design is likely much prettier than the mistakes design features I have put in, that given the length of the stole, and given the fact I plan to wear it rather than hang it on the wall where people could stare endlessly and remark on it's lack of symmetry, that really, we are close enough here and forward progress is - at this point - better than no progress. And if I wanted it to look machine done, well, I wouldn't be doing this, right. (Work with me here).
I take heart. After all while there are all these annoying gifted people who's stoles turn out perfectly - they just read the yarn and hardly need to glance at their chart at all - there are froggers and slow bees and those of us who have decided to put an individual flair on the design. And I just want to finish Clue 1. So I picked it back up, repaired some of the damage and am continuing on.
There are folks coming up with strategies to deal with the long stretches of knit stitches, right now - that sounds like heaven.
This badge was created by the lovely Suzan.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Not Kauni

I decided to make my Kauni with Noro Kureyon, so I am referring to it as a Not Kauni. I am still using Ruth Sorenson's excellent pattern, although I haven't decided what will happen with the sleeves.
So, I swatched and figured out the gauge calculations. And then I cast on. Things were going along great. And then I got to the second sections of blocks. And the color changes were coming a little fast. So, I thought about it. And I decided that I need to shorten up the space between transitions, so I tinked back and came up with a small pattern adjustment, essentially shortening the spaces between the blocks. Since it is being knit in the round, the color transitions on the Kureyon still don't quite make it through the whole block, but I love my color changing blocks, so I am good with this.
By the way, since my adjustments alone are not enough crazy, I am using two colorways - I have three skeins of 95 and two of 138. While I like the way it is turning out, I can only blame yarn fumes for why I thought either of these colorways was not enough on its own.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pretty Yarn

So, the Starbucks I stopped at Saturday happened to be right near a LYS, that happened to be having a storewide sale, and I popped in and, well, the inevitable happened.

There was all this beautiful Nature Cotton.

And some Savannah Cotton too. And I might have gotten a little mohair that went with one of the cottons. I'm still figuring out my plan, but - yummy cotton.

I Shall Now Be Known as...

With the post-RWA discussion about costumes as marketing, the Smart Bitches have come up with the awesome pseudonym and costume generator.
Accordingly I will be adopting the nom de plume Karissa Caravaggio, so if you run across someone in a hot pink Hello Kitty catsuit, say hi.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Books: Pretty Little Mistakes

Okay, I don't know how I missed this, but this is so much fun. I picked up a copy of Pretty Little Mistakes by Heather McElhatton. It is so much fun. It's a choose your own adventure type thing for adults. You go to college with your boyfriend or go off to Europe. Dumb choices sometimes lead to great things, responsible choices sometimes get you dead (and isn't that just a little to real). The first to times I died overseas in little shacks with no access to medical care. Then I was murdered. I have now managed to end up happily twice. (Phew!)
If you click the link it takes you to the website where you can try it for yourself. Honestly I may take this to a cocktail party and make everyone try it. (Yes, I am that person.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Just a Little Something

Yeah, so Gnorm made me buy some of the Nikki yarn. You may recall I had a great time swatching with it a while back. So, Gnorm and I happened to be at the store on knit night and so there were quite a few folks there and we chatted about the yarn. Still in the first flush of love with my Not Kauni, I had thought that the color transitions come a bit slower in Nikki, so it might make a really neat Kauni. (The colors are also a bit more subtle in Nikki than most Noro.) Or I could make that mitred square thing I keep thinking about. (Any of them, there are quite a few patterns out there.) I mentioned I was making my Not Kauni with Noro and a knitter (whose name escapes me now) led me back to the table to show me her gorgeous Sonnet that she was making out of Noro (Blossom I think).
And an idea was born. As much as I love the idea of a Not Kauni with Nikki, I had been planning to make a Sonnet (I am apparently on a Kristi Porter kick, she's the designer for Intoxicating and Askew) and the idea stuck.

I decided I wasn't feeling very moss stitchy, so i flipped through the stitch calendar and came up with the little cable fabric (which happens to be on opposite side from the moss stitch). Because it is a little cabley, I added a stitch each time I switched to the cable section and took it back when I changed to garter stitch. It will probably still require an edging on the bottom to even things out. Chunky yarn is so much fun.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Books: Sex Talk

Yay! I just read High Noon by Nora Roberts and the characters have an oops where they go sans condom. They actually, you know, talk about it after word, clarifying that female is on the pill and male is disease free* but yes to condoms for the future. And really, this is all done in a few sentences, it's not a big deal, but it just makes sense. It doesn't take away from the pretty afterglow, it just makes them sound like responsible adults.
And that's been my point, I know there are authors out there who agree with me (thanks, guys). But, as with the book I read where a character painted her nails and then jumped in the shower, I start to wonder if your characters' lack intelligence. Or are careless. Or stupid. And since, generally, I expect that is not what the author wants me to think about their character, it's is a problem. A really easily fixable one, however.
*I'm not sure why it seems there is typically only a need to determine that the male is disease free, but that seems to be fairly common on Romance-landia.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Things I Should Not Admit

I was standing behind a nice looking guy in the line at Starbucks yesterday. I stepped up to check out the sandwich selection and when I returned to my space said guy turned around and said, "Apologies if this is intentional, but you have a sticker on your pants."
Ah, yes. I had the sizing sticker that they slap on pants in just the right place so that it will be completely useless as you paw through stacks of pants in search of your size. But apparently it does make people talk to you in Starbucks.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mystery Stole 3 - Minimal Progress

I feel like this week has been about me learning my knit limitations. Or something. Anyway, I blithely cast on for Mystery Stole 3 last week. It is a chart (and I hate charts). But, I figured, eh, I used a chart for some of the No Sheep patterns, so no big. I was trucking along, and then somewhere realized i had gotten far enough out of wack that I needed to frog.
Mystery Stole 3
So, started again. And somewhere, got lost and frogged again. So, I started using lifelines. (Yeah - I can be slow.) And I was feeling good. And I made it past the first page of the first clue, and last night realized one of my yarn overs is off one, screwing up the pattern. It is within rage of a lifeline, although I am annoyed I didn't notice it before now - so now I am going to attempt just tinking those few stitches and see what I can do. Overall, it's a really cool pattern, it just takes me a while before I translate what the chart means I should be seeing in the knitting.
Mystery Stole 3 - A little bigger

Thursday, July 12, 2007

No Drinking!

I was watching "Good Morning America" this morning, and as with most news shows, it seems that many of the stories I need to know are things I already knew, or things that involve common sense. (I'm possibly not their target audience.) But anyway, this morning's alert was about garden hoses. It turns out that most water passed through a garden hose contains lead, such that most garden hoses have a warning suggesting you not drink any water from the hose and wash your hands after handling it.
As those who paid attention during the DC lead issue may recall, most water contains small amounts of lead, but certain materials can cause a reaction increasing those levels as water passes through. So the PVC and the brass fittings used on many garden hoses are increasing the lead, in some cases to dangerous levels, in the water.
It is probably safe for watering plants and the lawn, although there is a small risk for the person handling the hose. But if you are using your hose to fill pet dishes, fill pools - kiddie or otherwise, or for water games, you may want to consider getting a lead free hose.
Wisegeek has some suggestions of brands that are safe. GMA also recommended that a lot of camping hoses are safe too.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Intoxicating Sleeves

I am still working on Intoxicating. I have made it to the sleeves and the lace patterns helps, but I still have some sleeve ennui. I am knitting up both at once and discovered that, despite that, I had made an error with the decreases that shifted the lace pattern.

Sleeve - Intoxicating
Originally uploaded by RandomRanter



Sleeves - oops!
Originally uploaded by RandomRanter


Here's the thing. I did not make the same error in each one. So I cast on a third, and of course made no error in that one. So, I have frogged the more heinous of the error-ful. (Hey, how often are you going to look that closely at both sleeves together.)

Intoxicating Sleeves
Originally uploaded by RandomRanter

Ch-Ch-Changes

I was with a group of people over the weekend, and it turned out all of us were experiencing major life change. Every one of us was planning, expecting or had just completed one of the following: moving, changing jobs, starting school or finishing school, in the next year. I found this incredibly refreshing. I had been emailing with a friend that my current theory is that mid-life crisis people have just been suppressing their crises. It was said partly in jest, but I was under some impression that as an adult there were periods of stability in your life - I am still waiting for mine. Sure, I've moved more than most in the last few years. Sure, I've been at the same company for a while (although there have been plenty of changes just in staying.) I think, to a certain extent, as children we expect change, you enter a new grade each year in school, your classes change. And comparatively, it seems that adult life has less of this. But instead I find that time moves exceedingly fast, and slows only when crazy change is imminent.
I don't mean to sound depressing or even to imply that anything particularly hard or tragic is going on in my life right now. But, I found a slightly twisted peace in recognizing that my life was no more scattered or in disarray than most.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday, July 09, 2007

Yet Again

I know. I just finished saying that I was into slip stitch patterns and yet, I joined a knit-along for a lace stole. Yeah - that one. The Mystery Stole that everyone and their brother seems to have joined. It's Yarn Harlot's fault. (Actually, that's where I first saw the Kauni sweater too. So clearly I am under a Harlot spell.)
So, Yarn Harlot was talking about the stages of succumbing to the temptation that is the Mystery Stole.
They include:
Everyone is doing it. (Sometimes this works on me.)
It could be a present for someone else - early start on the fall present-ing.
It's one clue per week, so it is a pleasant break from other things you may be working on.
You have the yarn. I checked, it was true for me too. In fact, when I bought the Noro I also picked up circular fours, and I have been trying to figure out what to use the Claudia Hand Painted Silk Lace for. It was like Fate.

And Again.

Yep, I joined another knit-along. This one for Kauni. However, in part due to laziness and all, I am going to try it with Noro. Which I guess makes it a Not Kauni. Yes, I know, for someone who keeps saying I don't like scratchy yarn I sure use a lot of Noro with it's twiggy bits. I have thoughts of tweaking the pattern a bit - mostly because while I find the stitch pattern gorgeous, I fall asleep just thinking of doing that on the sleeves. I applaud those who can, but my love of knitting has not crossed the sleeve barrier and part of the allure of Intoxicating was that the sleeves were lacy so they would theoretically go faster and definitely be different. Or I could make a Kauni (Not Kauni) vest.
The color transitions come a little sooner in Noro. One solution would be to do it in pieces, but then they wouldn't match and I am actually intrigued by steeking, having only done it one before. So we shall see. I actually did some swatching to work out the different measurements since the Noro is also chunkier than the Kauni yarn. Last year I was on a lace kick, now it seems to be slip stitch mosaic patterns, and modular knits that are calling to me.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Your Own Words

I'm a little tired of this, so I apologize if you are too. But, despite having talked about the incident before, I find myself compelled to revisit Isaiah Washington's use of words. Because, we all say things when we are mad that we don't mean. Or when we are sick, or cranky. But it doesn't negate your responsibility for what you say, and the words you use to express yourself. I almost see Washington's frustration here, he was angry because a co-worker was late and in expressing his anger over this he became the story and not the co-worker's behavior. (I am not trying to suggest that any of this behavior was intended to garner media attention.) So, here he is, unemployed while the - in his mind - badly behaving co-worker still has a job and the public's adoration. I can see why he might feel it was unfair.
But I'm not sure why he think it is better for him to have used a homophobic slur and to have aimed it at a heterosexual co-worker than a homosexual co-worker. And I have no idea why he would say that the homosexual co-worker only said he was slighted to get more money. (Dear Mr. Washington, if you are wondering why you are unemployed, I have some theories.) That is one of those things that even if it is completely true - you get nowhere by stating it in the press. And I also imagine if, for example, Knight was having a conversation with Dempsey and used a racial slur while Washington was standing right there, Washington might get the impression the racial slur was about him.
But anyway, I know it's boring but my suggestion is this: I used words that were inappropriate and I apologize to anyone who was hurt or offended. I was angry, but should have expressed myself differently. I will not do it again.

Thanks to EW for the link.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

And Yarn!

I was having a yarn craving. Silly bills had kept me from buying new yarn for at least two weeks. Two weeks, people. So what if I didn't have a specific project I knew I needed yarn for. So what if I had a bunch of projects on the needles such that I have no idea where all my sevens and eights are. These are nothing. Unfortunately the spend/don't spend battle lasted late into the day (and it may have been influenced by a sleep/don't sleep battle too, followed by a veg on the couch/don't veg battle - weekends are hard work people!) So all this meant I was on the road looking anxiously at the clock trying to figure out if there was still time to get to a yarn store and which one. Problem resolved, I decided I was looking for silk. Well, this yarn store did not have silk that called to me. And I was good when called by a variegated mercerized cotton. But the Noro Kureyon, I was weak. It wasn't even the Silk Garden which has, you know, silk and could be said to fall into my predetermined category. Ah well. It's pretty. So pretty.

Noro Kureyon
Originally uploaded by RandomRanter

Pretty Lights

Not a great title, but I avoided the cliche. The DC area welcomes many transplants each year. Many of them seem surprised that I have never joined the hordes down on the Mall for the fireworks. Now, I love fireworks. We used to celebrate as a family, several times we rented a hotel room or, once, did a dinner cruise so that we had a great view of the fireworks, and then a great view of the traffic jams heading home. There are lots of places to view the displays that are not the Mall. Now, I love the Mall. It is a beautiful place, but even before the new security restrictions, the idea of camping out in the July weather (which was very nice this year, but that is atypical) for many hours surrounded by progressively drunker hordes to watch an hour of pretty sparkles and then spend almost several hours getting home - still surrounded by drunken hordes, but now moving drunken hordes - has never appealed.
While the hotel room option is not an every year thing, I have several times watch the displays from less crowded venues - such as the Georgetown waterfront. I hear the Cathedral grounds is a another great one too.
But this year, I watched them from the top of my building which was so cool. Our location and relative height meant that we saw at least four different displays. I tried to work my geography and figure out which ones, my best guess is DC, Alexandria, Silver Spring, and I can't figure out the other. Anyway, it was great fun.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Free Tomato!

If you are all jealous of my Tomato (or anyone else's) but were for some reason on the fence about the book (although I highly recommend it) - you can dip your toe in by heading over to Interweave new, better, cooler site Knitting Daily. They have cool Interweave-y stuff, including the Tomato pattern. And all you have to give up is your email address.

Combo Corset Tee

I cast on for the Annie Modisett's Combo Corset Tee with the Brooks Farm Four Play I picked up at the Sheep and Wool Fest. I like the pattern although I may play with the stitching, after the lace bit, it's 2x2 ribbing and that will bore me so I'm playing with ideas on that.


Combo Corset Tee
Originally uploaded by RnadomRanter


I love the yarn, it is soft and seems pretty durable. However, I am having an attitude adjustment about the color. The colorway is knitting up a bit Thanksgiving like for me. And that's gorgeous and all, I just had seen it as more fire colors when I bought it. So, I'm just adjusting to the reality away from the fumes. And really, if I wanted predictable, I should stay away from the variegated. (Never happen.)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Books: The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes

The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes is by Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer and Anne Stuart. I have read singular works by each of these authors, and in Crusie's case I have also read Don't Look Down her collaborative work with Bob Mayer.
First off, it is my understanding that one review referred to The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes (UMF) as an anthology. It is my theory that someone could not remember the word collaboration, since this book clearly reads as one story. Yes, there are three sisters, each with their own magical power, their own personalities, and their own love interests, but it is one story that takes place over three days.
Dee, Lizzie and Mare are the Fortune sisters. Their parents, also magical, had been the stars of a television show until a scandal hit and they ended up dead. Fearing for their safety, Dee, the eldest, had packed them up and moved them away where they lived under a fake last name, keeping their magical sides secret. Their powers are a bit rough, since they've been keeping them on the down low.
But now, their Aunt Xan has decided that if the sisters aren't going to make good use of their powers, then she will. And, as a bonus, she has put together a little true love spell so their their soul mates will head to town, hopefully giving the sisters something else to think about once she's got their powers.
The elements I associate with each of these authors are clearly present in the book - there is great wit, a ton of movie quotes (especially since Mare works at Value Video!!), and strong, sassy heroines. The three sisters and their men are great fun. They are distinct without being extreme in the way that some books with trios can be as the author(s) try too hard to demonstrate their distinctness. Oh, and did I mention the guys are hot - yeah, they are.
While in romance it is typical to find accelerated love stories, for whatever reason, I find it more believable when the supernatural is involved. I don't think the supernatural should be exempt from considering the need for safe sex, even if they are working with the help of a true love spell but, I'll get over it.
I hate to spoil some of the great moments in this book, but there is a little snag with the love spell leading to the fabulous line, "If [he] is my soul mate, I'm putting in for a a new soul."
It was a great read, taking me just over twenty four hours to complete. And it ended with me feeling a bit sad, since I had enjoyed hanging out with Dee, Lizzie and Mare.