How I spent my summer vacation…

Lighthouseview Gorilla_1 We had a couple of days before Tom starts back to school and free airfare provided by his mom, so where did we go for our family vacation?  The southernmost tip of Texas.  Yep, it wasn’t hot enough in Central Texas, we had to kiss the southern border in the hottest month of the year.  And yes, it was really hot.  We practically melted at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, spending an inordinate amount of time in the Reptiles and Aquatic buildings (can you say “air-conditioning”?)  But all I wanted to do was watch their amazing gorilla family.

We stayed in a quaint old 12-unit motel on South Padre Island just a quick walk from the beach.  It had a pool which was like bathwater, but that’s the way I like it.  I started teaching Abby about swimming.  BeachShe has mastered floating and is working on perfecting her dog-paddle. Maybe next year we take off the water wings.  She loved the beach, and we spent a lot of time there Fk4_1 on Saturday, but on Sunday, a fish kill along the beach kept us at the pool.   It didn’t stop others, folks plopped their babies right down on the sand next to decaying fish carcasses and excessive wads of seagrass that also washed up. Typically this is the prettiest, most pristine beach in all of Texas’ extensive coastline, but a few thousand dead fish can really change the impression. Since I work for a bunch of Harmful Algal Bloom scientists, I called the kill in. I’m still waiting for them to determine the cause. Beach2

It was a short trip, on the cheap, but it was nice to have a change of scenery and find out once and for all, can I take my knitting on the plane? Answer: Yes.  2 pair of socks on needle sizes 1 and 2.  But I packed extras in the checked bags in case they made me surrender them. Tom, however had to be wanded and patted down at every security check point.  He has an artificial hip that sets off the alarm every time.   This was it for our summer vacation, except for a few more weekends that we might drag out the wading pool, Tom is back in school and I have some holiday knitting to get after.

Finally, finished something!

Bookworm2 I finished the Bookworm Vest from Folk Vests by Cheryl Oberle. I have some issues with the errata, which was incomplete (even the one I pulled up from the publishers web site).  These errors could be a project wrecker for someone less experienced. The length of the vest is 30 inches – the instructions say to pick up and knit 79 stitches along the front using a needle 2 sizes smaller than is used for the body. Wrong.  Try 133.  I tried several different needle sizes and arrangements of the picked up stitches and ripped and ripped and ripped. Finally I fell back to a formula I learned while knitting the Must Have cardi – pick up 3 of every 4 stitches.  That worked fine, though I had to do some math gyrations to reconfigure the buttonhole locations.  Also, on the neckband, which is shown clearly in the photo in the book, is the same width as the front bands, yet the instructions say to knit 6 rows before the buttonhole, though in the photo it is actually 6 garter ridges (12 rows) so I ignored the instructions and did what made sense. I suppose I have been Bookworm_vest_1 fortunate that I haven’t run into more problems with patterns since I tend to follow them rather than experiment.  I will tread carefully with any of the other patterns in this book which I really do want to knit.  This vest was knit in the smallest size, (44, Bookworm_closeupyet it came out to 42 for me and my gauge was spot on) with Gedifra English Tweed in ecru: 70% merino, 20% nylon and 10% angora.

In other news, we just got back from a quickie vacation at the beach and pictures will be coming soon. 

Happy Birthday to the Man I Love!

Cake Today is Tom’s birthday.  I find that I get excited about other people’s birthdays even more than my own.  Maybe it’s the cake.  Which I did not make – but since German Chocolate is his favorite, here is a picture of the cake I didn’t make for Tom’s birthday.  We’re taking him to dinner tonight since there is no way after working all day I can produce a dinner fit for a birthday.  He is the best thing that ever happened to me.  I wish I could knit him something, but he never gets cold, even in the winter.  Born in Ann Arbor, MI and raised on Long Island, NY, he finds Texas too warm to wear sweaters, or even wool socks.  So, though I knit obsessively, non-stop and to the point of distraction, I can’t make anything for Tom that he wants or needs.  So, what to give him?  Let’s see…I gave him a daughter, actually two, but he didn’t have the change diapers on the first one, but he did teach her how to drive a stickshift.  I frequently give him a piece of my mind.  I often give him the benefit of the doubt. And as I pledged on our wedding day, I give him my undying love.  Happy 44th Birthday, Sweetie, I love you completely.

Sometimes it’s just hard to blog

I mean really!  Life seems to be sucking up all my free time.  Yeah, yeah, everybody has a life, but some people still find time to blog about it. Copiously.  But I suck at it right  now.  There’s this four year old.  and her dad.  and the job.  and the other child. who isn’t really that much trouble any more since she lives with her husband now.  who just turned 30(him)!  And then there’s the sewing (finished a dress for Abby on Sunday) and the cooking and cleaning.  And then there’s the four year old.  and the grocery shopping.  and the girls night out parties (hey, I deserve a little fun too).  And then there’s the planning for our vacation.  Booking the flights, rental car, room.  Crossing fingers for no hurricanes for the weekend of the 20th.  And then, I’m taking a spinning class this Saturday at the LYS AND it’s the MIL birthday, so I’ll be cooking.  She requested lasagna.  Did I mention I have a four year old?  oh yeah.  Well, I have been knitting.  I blew through a pair of Magic Stripes socks (Jelly Bean colorway, picot cuff) for a friend in the hospital and a little baby sweater for a shower gift and since they were both beating deadlines, I didn’t even photograph them, so you must take my word for it.  Then there’s the trip to the camera shop to have them look at it.  They can’t find anything wrong with it.  I must be losing my mind, but I had two other people, much smarter and more techy than I am look at it and they didn’t know how to fix it but they knew it wasn’t working.  So apparently, it’s fine.  Sent the computer to our favorite geek and he can’t get it to crash.  Can’t find anything wrong with it but for a bit of spyware.  Our house must be situated on some sort of anomaly. 

Anyway, blogging is sometimes hard.  I don’t wish to bore anyone with the mundane events of my day, but they seem to be getting the best of my time these days.  I have several projects planned and two big items to finish and then I might have something blogworthy to talk about.

Oh, I guess there are a couple of things: a)After I left a comment on her blog about qiviut, Catherine offered to send me a sample – it arrived on Saturday.  It is incredibly soft, I mean amazing!  I think I have to buy some of this stuff and knit with it.  I cannot imagine what it takes to harvest it. b)I bought some art from Abby.  I can’t wait for it to arrive.  You must go see her site, she has more. 

So, you hear from me when I have the time and when you don’t, just assume that I have no will of my own and will return as soon as possible, or I have something to show for my absence.

Fie, fie! Unknit that threatening unkind brow

Shrew_1  I have always loved that line.  It’s from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and it’s the last speech of the play delivered by Kate to her sister Bianca and other assorted females gathered.  It’s a fun read, a fun play, but you mustn’t take this speech out of context, it carries little weight if you didn’t catch the beginning. In fact, if you haven’t seen it or read it, the last speech will completely give you the wrong idea about the whole thing. Anyway, it’s what was running through my head last night as I ripped the uncompleted Clapotis I started months ago for my oldest daughter. I needed some mindless knitting and picked it back up.  But somehow, somewhere along the way, I had done something to throw off the stitch count and since I had already started dropping stitches, there was no tinking that would fix it so…it was unknit into several lovely balls. And begun again.  I always get that look on my face when I have to rip – the vexed, retched scowl.  Threatening, unkind brow indeed. 

I finished Mariah, though it is a couple of inches too long in the body.  I thought of ripping from the bottom and then knitting the band upside down, but then someone on the Mariah-along suggested just ripping out part of the st st body (above the band) and grafting it back together. Pure genius – I can kitchener for sure, however, it does take a bit of concentration and I haven’t had that particular environment in a week or more, so I wait for the opportunity. 

I am still without a functioning camera and may just take that sucker to the repair shop, since a replacement is unlikely for a while. But, there really wasn’t anything to show you anyway. 

So, it’s still summertime.  Who’s seen any Shakespeare lately?