For the Sake of Science

Rete posted this meme.  I don’t understand all the details of the research, but I love the concept and so, I’m helping to spread this meme because it’s for science.  And I’m curious.  How often do knitbloggers get to participate in meaningful research regarding their medium?  So here is is:

Scott Eric Kaufman is conducting research to be presented at a conference(MLA).  He is trying to measure the speed of a meme.  I’m asking my readers, both of you, to do your part for science

  1. Write a post linking to Scott in which you explain the experiment. (All blogs count, be they TypePad, Blogger, MySpace, Facebook, etc.)
  2. Ask your readers to do the same. Beg them. Relate sob stories about poor graduate students in desperate circumstances.
  3. Ping Technorati.  (For all those wondering how to ping Technorati, if you follow the link, this will take you to a form where you can enter your home page URL, which will have the effect of causing Technorati to come have a look at what you’ve been up to…)

And may the noble act of knitblogging take it’s rightful place in academia.

Striped_bag Bag_handle So, who’s knitting what? I finished the first gift of the season.  But it hasn’t been felted yet.  No, it’s not a seat cushion, though it is definitely big enough.  Since I can’t felt in my washer (front-loader), I will save up all the felting things and felt them all at one time – hopefully at Kandis‘ house.  Then there will be "after" photos.  This bag is from the One Skein book.  All stash yarn.  Some of it vintage.  REALLY vintage.  But I like it and hope there is enough stash left when I am finished gift-knitting to make me one.

I signed up for a class at the LYS for the first time.  Normally their classes are for less experienced knitters or they are for specific projects I am not interested in.  Or they are really expensive.  But this one is special.  It’s held on Sunday before the store opens and it’s with the owner and we are supposed to bring our stash (or respresentations thereof, with yardage totals) and she is going to help us figure out how or what (in her store) to combine with it to create fabulous knitting projects.  I am psyched.  I suck at combining colors and have lots of "almost enough yarn for a project" yarns.  And it’s limited to 8 people and it’s affordably priced.  Yeah, I’ll probably buy some yarn, but heck, I was gonna do that anyway.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

IKEA

Successful shopping at Ikea requires a special strategy.  Every time I go, I learn a new trick to making it through with what I came for plus enough cash to buy gas to get home with it.  Yesterday was my first trip alone.  This goes on my list of things to reconsider UNLESS it’s just a scouting trip.  We decided to get Abby a shelf thing (it has different colored bins of varying sizes that slide in) for her room to help organize the crap/junk/toy flotsam.  A new Ikea opened up in Round Rock about 10 days ago.  Apparently the NEW has not yet worn off.  I got what I wanted, sort of, and a couple of other things – who doesn’t need a toilet brush and holder for $1.99.  I almost got many more things, but reason and the reality of the amount of cash in my pocket returned before I got to the checkout.  I failed to get something I meant to because I left it in the basket when I realized I needed a flat cart and had to transfer everything to that.

I can understand bringing children and the whole family to Ikea once, I mean, they have a restaurant and there are precious few employees to restrict the children from climbing on every single piece of furniture in the place, but surely they wouldn’t do it a second time.  And what is up with those damn roller shoes?  I nearly got run over several times?  Honest to god, parents, don’t you think you’re being just a little bit indulgent?  Yeah, I got room to talk – I can’t get my 5 year old – soon to be 6 year old (re: birthday and more stuff) to give up her giant pile of toys and crap so she can walk in her room.  I have to buy furniture to put the stuff in.  I know I’m going to pay for this if something doesn’t happen quick.

Anyway, I think I may have a plan for the next trip to Ikea, and it involves the spouse even though I realize he will probably go into some sort of involuntary spasm at the sensory overload.

Ikea Shopping Planner

Things to remember:

  • Try going any day but a weekend or holiday – blow off work and go during the week.  It has to be less crowded then.  At least the kids with the roller shoes will be in school.
  • Go as early in the day as you can so you have enough energy and stamina.
  • Measure BEFORE you go.  They have handy little measuring tapes all over the store, but it won’t help you if you don’t know the dims of the space at home.
  • Make a list from the catalog.  If you know you want it and don’t need to look at it set up in 17 different room arrangements, you’ll save yourself some time – go straight to the warehouse section and load it up.
  • Eat before you go and carry a snack and water – you will get weak and tired and you don’t want to eat there!
  • 2 people in the shopping party – one is two few and more than two is too many people to keep up with or get input from.
  • Stay away from any section that you think you don’t need items from(kitchen, bedding), trust me on this.  It will be your undoing. – You can always come back when you have a new plan.
  • If you know you are buying furniture or something large packed in a heavy box, bring a truck or van.  Even when it’s flat packed, that desk is not going to fit in your Mini-Cooper.  If you are certain you don’t need furniture – drive whatever you want.
  • If you need someome elses opinion about a purchase, bring them or bring a camera-phone.  You do not want to be returning anything to this place, that has to be a nightmare.
  • Make sure you have a social engagement to attend aproximately 4-5 hours after you enter Ikea, it will keep you focused if you are constantly looking at the time – because it evaporates!
  • Pick up the map at the front door and Look at It!  Plot your route or you will wander aimlessly to your detriment.
  • Bring cash or credit/debit cards – they don’t take checks.

The good points

Considering the self-service nature of Ikea and the dearth of employees you can actually ask a question (low overhead), they really have done some things to make the whole experience a little easier.  But successful Ikea shopping takes a confident and savvy big box shopper.  They have catalogs around the store if you need to look something up.  They have phones where you can talk to employees about some of the more complicated stuff like re-doing your entire kitchen ala Ikea. They have maps measuring tapes and notecards and pencils for writing down the warehouse locations of the stuff you want.  They have organized stuff by room or function pretty darn well.  If you fail to write down the warehouse location of stuff – it’s real easy to figure out where your prize is located because they stage the endcaps with pertinent items.  You can get help in the warehouse if you need it, but they still won’t assemble that coffee table for you.  They have loading lanes and spaces at the front door for you to pull in a vehicle to load your haul and they have complimentary twine dispencers mounted to the wall outside so you can tie down the trunk because you don’t have that spacial relationship thing going on.  Since the employees are not over-worked, they are actually kind of pleasant and helpful when you find them.

I have bought several things from Ikea I have been very happy with.  I don’t mind putting things together and I seem to have a knack for it, though I often get a bruised hand or a broken nail in the process.  Some of their stuff is quite durable and very affordable.  I really do love Ikea, but it really isn’t a family outing.  Send the kids to grandma’s or hire a sitter.  Now, I’m going back to the catalog to plan my Kitchen visit.  Y’all shop safely now.

Scarf up the Squash

Ftl_scarf_1 It took me all of last week, but I finished the fish tail lace scarf in Brooks Farms Yarn, Duet, and this is the best photo I came up with by myself.  I love the scarf!  I want more Brooks Farm!  But first, I have to tend to other obligations.  Like Thanksgiving.  I do the cooking.  I love turkey and all the stuff that goes with it and my mom came for a visit and to look for a house in the area. 

Last year, at Thanksgiving, I offered my Banana Nut Bread Recipe.  This year I offer my Squash Casserole recipe.  It seems to be a southern thing, but everybody at our table enjoys it, and they are from all over.

Squash_casserole_1 Squash Casserole

4-6 yellow squash cut in cubes or slices
1 onion diced
2-3 eggs
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
packaged or homemade bread crumbs
1/2 stick butter
salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pan saute the onions in the butter over low heat till translucent.  Add the squash, cover pan and simmer till squash is cooked soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow hot mixture to cool slightly.  Slowly add the cheese to the hot mixture stirring as it melts.  Beat eggs  well in a small bowl.  Add to the eggs a spoonful or two of the hot mixture and stir thoroughly.  Add eggs to the hot mixture and stir.  Add salt and pepper.  Pour the hot mixture in a greased casserole dish.  Top with bread crumbs.  Cook dish in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until the top begins to brown and the center of the casserole is no longer liquid.  Remove from heat and serve.

Some people add cans of condensed soup to the dish, but I prefer simpler more essential ingredients. The stewing squash produces a good bit of moisture if you don’t over-cook it.  You could add a bit of milk if you think it’s too dry.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and eat lots of turkey or tofu – whatever you like and don’t forget the pie! 

Putting Kid & Ewe to Bed

Hc_sock_yarn Such fun!  So tired!  So gonna do this again next year – but better!  If you missed Kid & Ewe (Angie? What up?) you missed a great time.  Just plan on next year in November.  The event organizer, Grady, let us set up our pot luck luncheon right next to Brooks Farm Yarns.  What better or more wallet-damaging location could we have gotten?  The weather was crisp but gorgeous and we had a whack of knitters/spinners show up and play from Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin.  And I even got to meet in person PoorMary (of the comments, sadly blogless) because she hunted me down and introduced herself to me.  She’s from the Canyon Lake area not far from Boerne.  How nice to be able to put a face with an email addy. 

All my photos of knitters at the event were all blurry – they must have been in constant motion, spinning, knitting, eating, buying, honestly, I didn’t even sit down till around 3pm.  The grub was great and it was so much fun giving away "barn door" prizes.  I even managed to win one(pretty sock yarn from Hill County Yarns), though I don’t know how that happened.  Staci learned to spin.  David won a spindle.  And Christine DID NOT buy a spinning wheel.  We were under orders to prevent her from doing so, besides it would not have fit in the car on the way home.  The vendors at the show were great about donating their wares for our drawings.

Chenille_yarn See this yarn cake?  I bought it and the 3 others in the bag with it (from here).  It’s teal rayon chenille.  2 pounds of it.  For the staggering sum of one. dollar. a. pound.  Yep, I’m gonna get an awesome wrap or two for 2 bucks!

Bfy_scarf I also bought some Brooks Farm Duet.  They make a lot of beautiful luscious yarn, but the Duet (55 mohar/45 fine wool) is my favorite.  I love the color though the photo isn’t doing it justice – Katy Blogless says it’s Brick, I was afraid it was too bright for me but I couldn’t put it down.  I only saw one 500 yd skein of it. I’ve already started a fishtail lace scarf with it.  What a distraction!  I have tons more things to finish – I didn’t need to start another project, but oh my the feel of this stuff and the color.  Well, it’s just a scarf, how long could it take? 

Next year, we want to stay in Boerne for a night or two.  I missed most of the demonstrations and workshops tending to the meetup, though we did get to meet Michael, the guy who taught workshops in rendering and spinning silk – that was fascinating!  And I did get to touch some of the softest bunny crack you could ever imagine – the stuff felt just like air.  I never got to the barns to see the alpacas, but they brought them into the building for us.  Such well behaved animals.  I think every home should have a couple.

Spindle Top_whorl Oh yeah, and this little guy followed me home.  Native mesquite wood.  And I don’t even know what to do with it.  yet. 

I am still basking in the after-glow of the whole day.  There were rumors going around of a knitblogger gathering in Houston, but I don’t have any details. 

I learned something over the weekend completely unrelated to the knitters road trip.  I can’t have 2 different lace projects going at the same time.  No, I get confused and do the wrong pattern on the wrong sweater.  Ariann had to be ripped.  It was too big anyway.  I will begin again AFTER I finish my mom’s Cece.  But first…I am one with the fishtail…ohmmmm.
Fishtail

Kid & Ewe

Kne2006_1
Are you coming to Kid & Ewe?
If so, here are the details:

  • We eat around noon on Saturday.
  • Bring something to drink.
  • Wear comfy clothes, we are likely to be on a patio outside.
  • Forecast says highs in the low 70′s.
  • When you pick up your program, ask where the knitbloggers are meeting.
  • More info on the wiki.

See you there!

WTF Wednseday

It appears that Julia Roberts has cut a deal to star in and co-produce a movie adapted from the book, "The Friday Night Knitting Club"(due to be released in January). 

Here is a link to the Hollywood Hitlist announcement:

http://movies.msn.com/movies/hitlist/11-07-06_4?GT1=7701

Does it bother anyone else that the rube that wrote this blurb thought Manhattan was too damn cool to have more than one Knitting Store, if that?  Well, Manhattan has 24 yarn stores

And they (the publishers I presume, to hype the book/movie) have even created a whole web site for the fictional yarn shop on the book web site.  Check it out.  Heck, I was ready to buy yarn, if they had posted their inventory online.  Looks like Art imitating Life to me.

The first one to buy the flick when it goes to DVD is holding a KnitFlix night at their place, deal?  Who says knitter’s don’t know how to have a good time?

Don’t forget about Kid & Ewe!

Rant-free Public Service Announcement

Voted Today is the day!  Vote like your future depended on it.

And just in case you run into "any problems voting (electronic voting machines that malfunction, officials that wrongly prevent you from casting a ballot, whatever), the National Campaign for Fair Elections has set up a toll-free hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE. The group has monitors and attorneys on-hand to help deal with problems as they arise, so it’s probably worth giving them a call with any issues." Please post this on your blog and pass it on." (via Rebecca’s Pocket)

Quitting

My posts have been sporadic lately.  I’ve been posting only if I had an image or an issue.  It seems I always have issues, but I have resisted the temptation to turn this here knittin’ blog into a decidedly political rant space.  Though the impending election tomorrow has me pretty much on edge right now.  I have a funtion to attend tomorrow night and will not be able to watch the returns until after 10pm.  For this political junkie that is tantamount to torture.  Anyone out there who has my cell phone number, please text me with any major breaking news.

With the weather changing to intermittant miserable and the shortness of the days and the approach of the holiday season which tends to make me crazy regardless, I decided it was time to quit.  Smoking.  Again.  Now, the last time I quit, I didn’t tell anyone.  No public announcement for which I might be called to account if I failed.  I didn’t even tell my husband.  I guess the whole smoking thing with me is so steeped in guilt that I just didn’t want to talk about it.  I still don’t want to talk about it.  Quitting is hard.  And it takes a lot of head work.  And it has side effects which I almost hate more than smoking.  But honestly, I can’t afford to smoke.  I have developed the yucky hack that usually dissappears within days of quitting.  I hate being outside when it’s cold and wet and windy and I don’t smoke indoors.  My family hates my smoking and I know it’s a poor example for my daughter.  Nobody likes a smoker, except other smokers – we are social outcasts.  Knowing all this stuff doesn’t make it any easier to quit.  The patches help.  But the patches aren’t cheap, but worth it in the long run.  I can’t do cold turkey.  I have to accept that there is no good time to quit, there is always stress in my life. 

Smoking has not had a major impact on my health, save the cough.  I am healthy and energetic and can get more done in a given time than some people half my age.  My grandmother smoked right up until she died – at 94.  I think I have good genes, but the reality of the smoking life is getting me down.  If you have never smoked, all of this sounds like nonesense.  I will not have a pity party for myself.  I don’t want to wear a button or try to convert another smoker to a non-smoker.  I just want to survive the quitting process without any major upheaval in my life.  I have quit before.  I can quit again.  But the process is no fun.

To the person who is coming to KNE so she can smoke with me(and you know who you are): I’ll still hang out with you while you smoke – I know what it’s like to feel like an outsider (no pun intended). 

I have started Ariann, and another baby sweater – the next door neighbor is due any minute and I haven’t done anything for her yet.  I also started the sleeves of my mom’s Cece, she’getting 3/4 sleeves, so I need to call and order more yarn.  If you have not yet added yourself to the Kid & Ewe Wiki and plan on coming…What are you waiting for?  Oh, okay, the password is: kidnewe.  Join us, we are gonna have a blast!