I may already be a winner!

September 18, 2008

I won!

Lolly over at Lolly Knitting Around had a contest this week – and I’m a winner!  The contest was for a skein of Malabrigo and some River John needles – but due to the large number of entries, she decided to have a second giveaway for a skein of Peace Fleece worsted – which is coming to me!

I’m beyond excited – a.  I’ve never won a contest before and b. I’ve been wanting to try Peace Fleece forever, so I am way thrilled.  Thank you, Lolly!

And, I’m not just saying this because I won a contest there, but if you don’t read it, you should really check out Lolly’s blog.  Lovely, lovely photography, occasional recipes (I want to try the baba ghanoush), and inspiring projects.  Do yourself a favor and head over.  You’ll be glad you did!

This ‘n’ That

August 2, 2008

So sorry, my dears, for the loooooong delay between posts. What have I been up to? A short summary:

1. Vacation. Or, as the pundits are calling it, a “staycation.” Not being particularly in the black financially at this point in time, hubby and I decided to stay home for vacation this year. And it was lovely. We painted our den – from a hideous aqua-type color to a delicious chocolate-cranberry type color:

It’s a little hard to tell the color in the picture because this room gets no direct light, but this is pretty close.  Much like Jessica’s new house, we needed to repaint pretty much every room, we’re just going about it much more slowly.  I have to say, I took some inspiration from reading about her adventures in paint – I’ve always been pretty conservative about paint colors – you know, white, beige, etc – but I loved the bold colors she was picking out and that helped push me over the edge to something a little more daring.

Other than that, we relaxed quite a bit and hosted a cookout for our friends on the last Saturday of our vacation. I made two pitchers of mojitos – sooooo delicious, and quite a hit at the party.

2. Work. Preparing for vacation and then making up for vacation. Last night, we hosted our Breaking Dawn release party, and, while lots of fun, kept me at work until 2:00 a.m. I have never seen so many teenage girls in one place at the same time in my life. Or heard so many high-pitched screams! I just love it that these girls (and some boys, too!) are so excited about a book release. Lots of familiar faces from our previous Harry Potter release parties, too.

3. Food. I have to share a new find. Well, new for me, anyway. But first, some background. Last year, prompted by being in my best friend’s wedding, I decided that it was time to get some control around my eating habits. I wasn’t obese yet, but honestly, I wasn’t too far. But it wasn’t so much about losing the weight (although that was a nice side benefit!) as learning how to eat healthy, be healthy, and adjust my attitudes about food. Over the course of about a year, I lost 40 pounds and got a whole new attitude about food that I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life. I try not to rely too much on “diet” foods – although I did switch to light mayo, 1% milk, and things like that (honestly, you can’t tell the difference). One of the things that helped me stay on track was not denying myself treats, but treating myself sensibly – believe it or not, I had (and still have) dessert every single night. Pre-lifestyle change (I refuse to call it a diet), dessert meant most of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, and I’ve been searching for an acceptable substitute ever since. Well, just recently I discovered Breyer’s Double Churn Free – I had tried the light ice cream and it was really good, but I was always skeptical about the fat free ice cream – really, can fat free ice cream be any good at all? But let me tell you, I picked up the Chocolate Brownie Free – and it is AWESOME. So good. I seriously could not believe how good it was! So if you are an ice cream fan, give it a try – you may be surprised!

4. Shopping. Well, today, anyway. I don’t shop very much – I hate trying on clothes, it’s always crowded and hard to park, but my sister in law’s birthday is tomorrow, and she loves Yankee Candle, so that necessitated a trip to the mall. While there, I dropped into our brand-new Sephora – I’m not much of a makeup girl, but I do like to poke around. I found some perfumes I liked (wow, perfume is expensive!) and tried on (I have to wear them for a while – perfumes don’t smell on me like they do in the bottle – really at all, sometimes it’s shocking – and they change the longer I wear them) and bought a lip gloss. Then went to the Gap and found a cute pair of navy pants for $16 – can’t beat that!

5. Knitting. Honestly, not so much going on here. Oddly enough, I didn’t knit hardly at all on vacation. But here’s what I’ve been working on:

I’ve branched out from dishcloths into dishtowels!

Not a great picture (lack o’light) and you can see my dirty stove, but a fun knit.  You can find it here should you want to make one of your very own!

I’ve completed one of my stripey socks:

People, it is hard to take a picture of your own feet.  This was taken with me bent in half, doing almost a toe touch to get to the right level.  Also, you can see dog hair on the floor.  Maybe time to sweep?

Not much progress made on Lutea:

But a little.  I decided to add the lace pattern around the bottom border – to add some length (I’m tall and always need to do this), and because I thought it would be a pretty detail:

I also hoped it would help stop the hem from rolling, but it doesn’t look like it will accomplish that aim completely.  Hopefully a good blocking will stop that – the yarn does have some wool content, so let’s cross our fingers.

It has been hot hot hot here – and I’ve been loving it.  I’m truly a warm weather gal – in fact, I’m already dreading winter.  So I’m going to go out and enjoy some of this beautiful hot weather and the rest of my weekend -you do the same!

Cool stuff…

July 10, 2008

While I’m waiting for a few cds to rip onto my I-Tunes (Billie Holiday Remixed, the Indigo Girls Swamp Ophelia, and Elton John’s Greatest Hits [the old one from 1974], if you’re curious) here is some fun stuff that I’ve been into…

Interweave Press’ Hurt Book Sale.  Love it.  Just like last year, I managed to contain myself and only get two books – Nancy Bush’s Knitting on the Road and Louisa Harding’s Knitting Little Luxuries – you really can’t beat this sale.  50% off and the books are only slightly damaged.  The sale started yesterday and ends tomorrow – but I would look quickly as stuff tends to go fast!

I had a rare day off in the middle of the week today (at the expense of working Saturday and Sunday – gah) and went to my LYS – I needed one more skein of Cascade Sierra for the Lutea top I’m working on.  I walked immediately to where they store it and saw only.  one.  skein.  I was petrified – what were the chances it would be the dye lot I needed?  Clearly the knitting gods were smiling on me, because that one lonely skein was the right dye lot!

And the icing on the cake?  I’ve been wanting to make the Boteh Scarf (scroll down) from the Spring 2007 Interweave Crochet for forever, but have been balking at paying $5 for the pattern download.  I was thumbing through their back issues of magazines, and lo and behold, they had that issue!  So I got the whole magazine (which I’d rather have anyway) for just a little more than the download!

I gave in and joined Facebook – all my friends were doing it!  And discovered Scrabulous – online Scrabble.  It is too much fun!

And finally, my new tv obsession -Battlestar Galactica.  A friend of ours loaned us the first season, and we were hooked from the first episode.  It is soooooo good – I promise you.  In fact, it’s about time to go watch another!

July already?

July 5, 2008

Really?  Where did June go?  I’m not sure I was finished with it!

Sorry about the long gap between posts – things have been busy here at Casa de RachelKnits.  Let’s see…what has been going on?

Last weekend, hubby and I drove up to Columbus to take in a show.  It’s about a three hour drive from here, so we decided to spend the night.  I was hopeful of hitting some yarn shops, but we got a later start than we liked, so that didn’t happen.  But that was ok – it was still a great trip.  We went to see one of our favorites - Tom Waits.  If you are a fan at all, then you know this is kind of a big deal.  Mr. Waits doesn’t tour very often, plays limited dates when he does, and tickets can be hard to get.  He is very anti-scalping, so tickets are paperless, and I think can only be purchased on line.  They went on sale at 10:00 am one morning a few months back, so I went in late to work, got ticketmaster up on the screen at about 9:50, and started hitting refresh.  At 10:02 I had my tickets – and they were in the second balcony.  2 minutes after that, they were sold out.  Hey, I didn’t care where the seats were – if they were IN the theater, I was a happy camper.

So last Saturday, my wonderful mom spent the night at the house to dog-sit, and we trekked up to Ohio to see the show – and it was awesome, of course.  Hubby saw him about ten years ago in Texas, and I saw him two years ago in Louisville, but we had never seen him together, so that was a treat.  He really puts on a show – over two hours (with encores), 27 songs – and one incredibly happy audience.  He did a few of my favorites – “Falling Down,” “Innocent When You Dream,” and “Time,” and some rearrangements of old songs that I really enjoyed.  Plus two from the most recent record (Real Gone) that I love – “Make It Rain” and “Hoist That Rag.”  Such a treat to get to see him live.

I think Tom is a bit of an acquired taste for some – especially his more recent output – it’s rough and raw and decidedly odd in places, but I truly think the man might be the pre-eminent songwriter of this generation.  If you haven’t heard him before but are interested, check out his early stuff like Closing Time or Heart of Saturday Night and then move forward.  I think my favorite is probably Rain Dogs – it’s a mix of what I once heard him say in an interview of “grand weepers and grim reapers.”

While in Columbus, however, we did squeeze in a visit to Jeni’s – if you read any blogs of folks who went to TNNA this year (which was in Columbus) then you heard about Jeni’s.  The rumors are true – this stuff is the bomb.  Hubby had I think what was called Queen City Chocolate – chocolate ice cream with cayenne pepper and cinnamon (which was amazing) and I had Gravel Road – which was salty caramel with smoked almonds.  Oh.  My.  God.  Seriously, this is the best ice cream in the entire world.  If you are ever anywhere near Columbus, it is totally worth a detour to have this stuff.  I’m actually going back to Columbus in August for a three day weekend, and I’m fully planning on having it every day.

Oh, and yes, I do still knit – since this is at least nominally a knitting blog, I should probably talk about what I’ve been knitting!

A few entries ago, I mentioned my desire to knit up some dishcloths – well, that turned into a thing.

Pictured clockwise from top:

Petal Dishcloth – both in Lion Cotton Ease

DW Dishcloth in Peaches & Creme

Grandmother’s Favorite in Peaches & Creme

DW Dishcloth in Peaches & Creme

Center – Ball-Band Dishcloth in Peaches & Creme

Not shown is the Garterlac Dishcloth that is currently on the needles.  Clearly this project has not extended thus far to actually FINISHING the dishcloths – as you can see, none of the ends have been woven in yet.  I have to say, I’m a fan of the dishcloth – it’s a fun way to try out a new pattern and get something useful out of it.  At least I think it will be useful – hubby keeps saying they are to pretty to scrub dishes with, and while that’s flattering, they won’t do much good otherwise!

I’ve also been working on my stripey sock:

These are my purse knitting.  But what I really want to get to is this:

My first fancy sock yarn purchase!  I stumbled across Woolgirl whilst poking around online – she’s got a great selection of sock yarn, including sale yarn, which is what this was.  You’re looking at Cherry Blossom Fibers hand-dyed superwash nylon in Cherry Truffle on top, and Painted Skeins Superwash Merino in Nest on the bottom.  They are both soooo soft and soooo pretty – I’ve been storing them on the dining room table just so I can pet them whenever I walk by.  I think the Painted Skeins is destined to become Monkeys (which I’ve been wanting to make for forever – I’m pretty sure they are the first thing I queued on Ravelry), not sure about the reddish one.  Any suggestions?  However, I’m trying to make myself wait til I finish a PAIR of socks – I currently have four singles.  Kind of silly, eh?  But I guess that’s why they call it Second Sock Syndrome.  I just don’t want my case to be fatal!

New meme = longest post ever

June 21, 2008

Hey, I just made up my own meme (well, at least I think I did – I haven’t seen this one before, but it might well be out there in the ether)! I was poking around on Ravelry the other day, and started looking at the top 20 patterns in Ravelry. After a brief perusal, I noticed that I had made or queued almost all of them – evidently I’m a sucker for the trends. But really, when you look through the list, the top items are really good patterns – practical or pretty or constructed in really cool ways. So here are the rules that I set up for myself:

1. List the top 20 patterns on Ravelry.

2. Note whether you have made or queued the item, or neither.

3. Post a picture if you have made it.

4. Any notes?

Here’s mine -

1. Fetching by Cheryl Niamath

Made

I’ve actually made these a few times – I think there is a reason they are the #1 pattern! I made myself a super-warm and snuggly pair out of alpaca yarn, a pair for my friend Brooke, and I have a pair on the needles for my mom.

2. Monkey by Cookie A.

Queued

I’ve been wanting to make these for a while; I’ve just been waiting for the appropriate yarn. I got two beautiful variegated skeins from Woolgirl (more on this awesomeness next time) yesterday, and I think one of these will fit the bill.

3. Calorimetry by

Made

I made this, but I’m not crazy about it. I don’t know if my head is shaped weirdly, or if I made it too wide, but it just looks like I’m wearing a stocking cap when I have it on.

4. Clapotis by Kate Gilbert

Queued

I’ve wanted to make one of these for forever, but haven’t found the yarn I want to use for it or the patience to knit all those miles of stockinette!

5. Jaywalker (Ravelry link) by Grumperina

Made

Well, I made one. It was my first sock, and there were some critical gauge errors. As in, it’s huge and might fit an elephant. Plus, I was less than enchanted about the lack of stretch.

6. Felted Clogs (AC-33) (Ravelry Link) by Bev Galeskas

None

I doubt that I will ever make these – I have no interest in felting whatsoever.

7. Baby Surprise Jacket (Ravelry link) by Elizabeth Zimmerman

None

I don’t have this queued, nor do I have a baby or know anyone with a baby that needs me to make this for them, but I will probably make it some day, just because I’m so fascinated by the construction.

8. My So-Called Scarf by Allison Isaacs

Queued

I’ll make this one day.

9. Ball-Band Dishcloth by Kay Gardiner & Ann Shayne

Made

Made a few of these, and use them!

10. Saartje’s Booties (Ravelry Link) by Saartje de Bruijn

None

See #7 re lack of baby issue.

11. Koolhaas by Jared Flood

Started

I started on this with some highly inappropriate yarn. One of these days I’ll pick out some better yarn and try again.

12. Foliage by Emilee Mooney

Queued

I like this hat a lot – once it turns cold again I will probably make it.

13. Dashing by Cheryl Niamath

Made

Made for my husband. As a side note, he poked some gentle fun at me when I was making my Fetchings – he called them my “fancy hobo gloves.” Once I started wearing them though, he saw how practical they were and wanted a pair of his own – hence the Dashings!

14. Odessa (Ravelry Link) by Grumperina

Queued

I love the spirals – again, when it gets cold out, this will probably get made. But without the beads.

15. Irish Hiking Scarf (Ravelry link) by Adrian Bizilia

None

I like this just fine, but I’ve already got one cabled scarf on the needles that is not too dissimilar.

16. Branching Out by Susan Lawrence

Made

Yup. Made 1 ½ times, actually, the first time in some horrid, squeaky, hairy acrylic that I picked out before I knew any better, then in Silky Wool (much better). Another aside – lots of people tout this as a good first lace project. I’m inclined to disagree. While it does get you familiar with all the standards decreases and such, and the pattern is not too difficult, it’s really not that easy, either – I was never able to memorize the pattern, plus, it’s like a ten row repeat or something. If I were recommending something to someone just starting with lace, I’d pick an easily memorizable, two-four row repeat pattern. But that’s just me.

17. An Unoriginal Hat by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

None

I actually had this in my queue until just a couple of days ago, but I made a different but similar bulky hat of my own. And I think one is plenty for now.

18. Basic Sock Recipe by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Well, I haven’t followed this per se, but I have definitely used the guidelines. My last two socks I just picked a stitch pattern I liked for the cuff, and used Stephanie’s notes to shape the heel and toe.

19. One Row Handspun Scarf by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Made

For my husband again. I really like this – I may make another one for me.

20. Embossed Leaves (Ravelry link) by Mona Schmidt

None

Not queued, but I like them and own this book, so I may make them someday.

I would love to see what some other folks have done – if you are so inspired, please do so and leave me a comment so I can check out your list!

Just one word?

June 14, 2008

I saw this on Smariek‘s blog and it intrigued me – it is difficult to just write one word for some of these! My natural tendency to expound kept getting in the way!

Answer the following questions using one word only:

1. Where is your cell phone? ………….. purse

2. Your significant other?………………….. honey

3. Your hair? …………………………………….. brown

4. Your mother? ………………………………..awesome
5. Your father?…………………………………….. busy
6. Your favorite thing?……………………….. reading
7. Your dream last night?………………….. odd
8. Your favorite drink? ………………………..diet
9. Your dream/goal?………………………….. harmony
10. The room you’re in?……………………..study
11. Your ex?………………………………………..insignificant
12. Your fear?……………………………………..enclosure
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years?……..here
14. Where were you last night?…………..work
15. What you’re not?………………………….. short
16. Muffins?……………………………………….. yep!
17. One of your wish list items?………….. yarn
18. Where you grew up?…………………….. Kentucky
19. The last thing you did?………………….. peruse
20. What are you wearing?………………….. jammies
21. Your TV?……………………………………….. off
22. Your pets?…………………………………….. dogs
23. Your computer? …………………………….. laptop
24. Your life?……………………………………….. content
25. Your mood?………………………………….. calm
26. Missing someone?……………………….. no
27. Your car?……………………………………….. truck
28. Something you’re not wearing?…….. makeup
29. Favorite Store?……………………………….. expensive
30. Your summer?……………………………….. muggy
31. Like(love) someone?…………………………….. hubby
32. Your favorite color?……………………….. blue
33. Last time you laughed?……………….. yesterday
34. Last time you cried?……………………….. unknown

35. Who will re-post this?…………………….. unknown

Give it a try if you are interested and leave a comment with your blog address – I’d love to see other responses!

And while you are poking around on the internet today, stop in and see Amanda - she lost her kitty, Pirate Max, today, and could use a hug.

Fun with Flickr

June 13, 2008

Sorry about the long time between posts – I’ve been working more nights and weekends than usual which hasn’t left much time for blogging. :(

But check out this cool thing! It’s a photomosaic from a sort of game I found on Knitting Kninja’s blog. Hers looked so cool, I had to try it out. Here’s what you do:

Use fd’s flickr toys (specifically the mosaic maker), do the following:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into the mosaic maker).

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Here is mine:

//www.flickr.com/photos/8671022@N05/2318961160/

Way fun -

Weekend Wrap-up

May 26, 2008

Now that was a good weekend!

It’s funny, lots of people asked us what we were planning for our big tenth anniversary weekend – apparently you are supposed to go out of town or do something fancy. All I wanted to do was hang out at home with my husband and dogs for two days in a row (we normally only have one day off together per week) and enjoy the beautiful weather – and that’s exactly what we did!

Saturday was a big lazy day – mostly we just hung out in the yard, played with the dogs, and chilled out. We had a delicious dinner at Jean Farris Winery – I highly recommend it (and have the Guwerztraminer - difficult to pronounce, but a delicious sweet white wine). We had Chateaubriand for two – yum, yum, yum. One big hunk of meat with Bearnaise sauce and lump crabmeat – one of the many reasons I’m not a vegetarian!

And Sunday was our big do stuff to the house day – again, probably doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to many people, but I always love that first spring day when it’s time to fix up the yard and house. We made two trips to Lowe’s (you can never seem to get it all in one trip, can you?) and did the following:

1. Re-mulched in the front of the house

2. Trimmed back the jungle in the back of our yard

3. Replaced our ghetto front porch light with a much nicer one

4. Planted some flowers – a lily plant in the back yard and some Balloon Sentimentals out front (I had never seen these before, but they looked pretty in the picture)

5. Potted a habanero plant and an aloe vera plant (I historically have a brown thumb so it will be interesting to see how all these plants will work out!)

6. Put on a new gutter-extender thing so hopefully rainwater won’t pool in the front of our house any more

7. Did some experimental fencing in the back of the yard in an attempt to keep Ruby from jumping the fence

I think that’s it – I may be leaving out a project or two. I was rewarded with a sunburn for my efforts – I’m fairly dark complected and don’t burn easily, so I always forget to put on sunscreen when I’m going to be out in the sun a long time. The back of my neck is really red; hubby keeps teasing me and calling me a redneck.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend – and I hope anyone reading this had a great weekend, too!

Quickly, quickly

May 24, 2008

I feel kind of silly that my last full post was entitled “Saturdays are for blogging” and I didn’t blog last Saturday, and this will be a very abbreviated post!  But I have a good excuse – as I mentioned in my last entry, this is mine and hubby’s tenth anniversary weekend (the official day was yesterday) and we’ve been chilling out and enjoying the beautiful weather and each other’s company all day today.  And tonight we are going to have our celebratory dinner at Jean Farris Winery, which I’ve been wanting to try forever.  So the FO update on Shetland Triangle will have to wait.

But, oh – here’s a tiny new FO:

I determined last night we need some new pretty dishrags up in here, so I cast on for this sucker at about 11:00 p.m. and finished it up early this morning.

Pattern:  Petal Dishcloth by Hazel Schrock

Yarn:  Lion Cotton-Ease

I love how in this picture it actually looks like a flower:

I’ve decided since making it that it another another one just like it in lime green are going to go to our totally awesome neighbors who gave us a pretty basket of impatiens for our anniversary.

And one more thing – check out Ridiculous Obsession for a super-easy contest - just tell her what you like about summer and you are entered!

I’m it!

May 21, 2008

I got tagged! It’s my first ever tag, so please excuse my excitement. IWishIWereBuffy tagged me for a fun one – I’ve been seeing it on a lot of the blogs lately.

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

Getting ready to get married. This is a fun question for this week, as my 10 year anniversary is this weekend!

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

1. Take Ruby to a photo shoot. For real! Ruby, our little dog, a rescue from Woodford Humane Society, has been chosen to be a featured portrait in the 2009 Limited Editions Calendar – I am ridiculously excited about this.

2. Go to my mom’s to pick up a pork roast. Fully cooked. She made one last night, but has since determined she has a gall bladder infection and doesn’t want to eat pork.

3. About eight million things at work that I won’t even go into here but that mostly involved getting caught up after spending the last couple of weeks planning a big event.

4. Think about blocking my completed Shetland Triangle. I’d really like to say “Block my Shetland Triangle” but I know there’s no way I’ll get to it before the weekend.

5. Research invisible fences so Ruby will quit hopping our chain link fence and giving me a heart attack when she doesn’t come back immediately.

3) Snacks I enjoy:

Wow, I’m a big snacker. I’ll try to narrow it down:

Roasted Garlic Triscuits (I eat about three boxes of these a week)

100 calorie packs – I love these, too – my favorite varieties are the Pecan Sandies, Flavor Blasted Goldfish, Cheez-It Party Mix, and some others I’m forgetting

Light Twinkies (I just discovered these.  To me, they taste just the same as regular twinkies – ie, incredibly sugary with vaguely chemical undertones – and have like, half the fat and calories.

Rold Gold Honey Wheat Pretzels

Wasabi Soy Almonds

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Pay off our credit card debt. It’s not too bad, but I’d sure like to be shed of it. Also pay off our house and cars. Buy my parents a new house. Travel extensively (Europe for me, Africa and Asia for hubby). Donate a pile of money to my favorite charities. Buy lots of yarn.

5) Places I have lived:

Born in Belleville, Illinois. Moved to London, Kentucky when I was four, stayed there six months, then moved to Lexington and have been here ever since.

Thanks for the tag, WishIWereBuffy!

P.S. You may have noticed I sneaked in an FO reference in this list – I’ll post on it more fully this weekend!


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