Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2004

Yay! One of my favourite holidays!

I actually dressed up this year, as we were invited to a costume party. It's good to know that I'm not too old. I went as a Girl Guide (really, I just wish they'd still let me earn badges. They're so pretty.) in my uniform from fifth grade. The thing's a tent, so it wasn't too tight a squeeze. :-) I bought some age-appropriate rainbow colored ribbon to replace the belt, popped into knee socks and sneakers and was good to go. I still say the best costumes permit sneakers. :-) True when I was five, still true now.

Kevin went as Johnny Damon (woohoo red sox!!!). In the pictures below, you can see the yarn wig, beard, and mustache I made him in the hour before the party. I'm way proud of them. :-)

We only got a pair of trick-or-treaters tonight, and they looked to be in middle school. Is that custom completely dead, or do we just live in a block with no kids?? It made me sad. And now we have to eat all the candy. No love.

In other news:
  • I've sewn both sleeves to Rogue and attached one. One more attachment and sewing the sleeve and bottom hems and then I'm done!!

  • We set up the fishtank tonight for real! It looks great, but we need to buy salt mix, powerheads, a pump, live rock, and substrate before we're really in business. Also, our second-hand heater isn't acting like it's doing anything. Keep your fingers crossed.

  • Went to Lowe's to buy stuff for the fishtank (plywood, a tarp, a ground fault interupter) and also stuff for our bookshelf-to-be. I would like to personally thank Colin for making approximately 25,000 cuts in our plywood with his electric saw. Seriously. The kid rocks.

  • My parents are coming out in a week and two days! Yay!!


October 30, 2004

Kevin and I went to Essential Bakery tonight to read and get coffee, and I just have to say that it was delicious. I got a salad, he got tomato soup, I got a cinnamon roll, he got a chocolat pain thing, (we were there for a while) and mmmmm. All great. Plus it's a great atmosphere, PLUS the chairs and tables are comfortable, *PLUS* they gave us a free loaf of Pan de las Muertos for the day of the dead (nov 1st?). I give them five stars. :-)

Once in a Red (Sox) Moon

October 28, 2004

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An inning after my Dad called to tell me to go out and look at the moon (which I didn't capture at all in the photo above), the Red Sox won the series. :-) I really have nothing else to say that hasn't been said: it's an awesome team, they played so hard, and I'll miss watching them in the evenings. Here's hoping that they're back to watch next year, and that all of my boys with up for grabs contracts (Veritek, Lowe and Cabrera especially) stay with the team. Yay for believing!

While the Red Sox were winning their final game, I was forced to dig my sports scarf out of the box it's been relegated to since football season ended last winter. I didn't have anything left to knit on Rogue, and needed something for my fingers to do. The red scarf seemed to work for the Patriots, so it got the green light. At the very last out of the ninth inning, I cabled the wrong way (As can be seen in the photo below). I'm leaving it, as a reminder of the night the sox won. Red moon, red scarf, red sox, woohoo!

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This morning, I've been reading all of the commentary, and hoopla, and plans for the parade. It sounds like it will be a huge city-wide group hug. I wish that I was there to join in. For me and for anyone else who wishes that they could be there on Saturday, here's a picture of the Patriots rally in City Hall Plaza (right outside my old office!) last winter:

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October 27, 2004

The sleeves for Rogue are finally finished!! (and by finished, I mean "no more knitting", not "done") I tried wet-blocking them, so here they are drying:

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The different blocking options for wool mystify me. From this article, I kind of think you should wet block wool unless it has tons of cables, and then you should pin it out and spritz it. This may just be superstition and confusion on my part however. I have no idea.

Regardless, the sleeves are all laid out, smelling like wet wool, and working on drying. I also did the body & hood (no pix, it doesn't look like anything new), and despite my initial fear that I'd greatly elongated it, everything's looking good. The stitches are even, the issues are worked out, and I'm ready to sew it all together. Woohoo!

S-M-R-T, I am so smart.

October 26, 2004

Well, the vinegar did the trick on the protein skimmer, and now it's all shining and new... with one little problem. You're supposed to run non-vinegar water through to rinse the thing out. So, we did.

(Quick protein skimmer background, before continuing the story: The way the thing works is it sucks in water through a big pipe, air from a little pipe, and churns them together with a motor to make very fine bubbles. All of the nasty things in your water stick to the bubbles, which rise up a tube to form foam. Then, every few days, you skim off the top few inches of foam, and thus all of the nastiness. Voila, clean tank.)

Our formerly foam-producing filter suddenly only spat out large bubbles. Kevin (aka, Mr. MIT Electrical Engineering degree) spent a long time playing with it, not wanting help, only to decide that somewhere along the way we must have lost a spacer and the bubble motor was now positioned too far forward to work. Sadness.

So, fast forward to tonight, when I was reading the fish book where it talks about filtration. It mentioned that protein skimmers can only be used in marine tanks because there isn't enough surface tension in non-salt water to form the fine bubbles that make the contraption work. (Vinegar also provides this surface tension, apparently.) Mystery solved! And I found it! :-P It's nice to come up with the answer sometimes.

In up to my neck

October 25, 2004

You know how every now and then you have a brilliant idea, but lack some of the skills needed to execute it? Well, I have this sweater that my parents gave me for Christmas a few years ago that's a great color, a great shape, and a great weight... except that it has poufy, ruffled shoulders. Due to these, I've never actually worn it. I've put it on several times meaning to, but they just got in my mind's way. I'm not a fashion plate by any means (ask my sister...), but still, too much:

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So, enter the brilliant idea:

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I'll just rip back, reshape the sleeve cap, and sew it all back together.

I'll let you know how it goes. :-P

Halloween madhouse

October 23, 2004

I took a jaunt over to JoAnn fabrics before the game to pick up three things: lining, black grommets, and a magnetic clasp, all for the booga bag. Apparently grommets only come in brass and silver (they have to exist somewhere, right?), and while dear JoAnn believes strongly in bamboo purse handles, she has no interest in magnetic clasps. *gusty sigh*

Luckily, I found a great cotton print for the bag. I'll save pictures of that for when it's all done. I had to get it cut, however, so I grabbed a number (#57), and stood back to wait. The next number they called was 89. It turned out that JoAnn Fabrics holds a two day 50% off sale the weekend before Halloween. A smarter girl would have cut her losses and gone home. Instead, I spent the next two hours watching frazzled, angry mothers scream at their children, threatening not to make a costume. Ouch. It really seems like the world is out of order when adults make children cry over their costumes. Supposed to be fun, anyone?

There were several bright spots: a great conversation with an octogenarian quilter, free time in an enormous craft store (paint! buttons! sparkly things!), and a huge collection of fat quarters, some of which found their way home with me:

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When I get low on projects, these are slated to become a small bag. :-)

Closer by the Day

October 21, 2004

This has been a difficult week for progress. My main purpose in life right now is supposed to be finding a job, which has been going slowly. I have quite the list of places to apply, but only one resume out. However, all of my non-main-purposes have been going well: the Red Sox (woohoo! I believe!), baking things out of the bananas in the kitchen, the fish tank, Rogue. So, I think I'm going to focus on the positives instead of whining about the negative. Here are the Rogue sleeves that I worked on during games 3-7:

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Amazingly, the stitches are pretty uniform. I feel like they should go in waves of looser-to-tighter ("oh, they're in extra innings again") -- the baseball & knitting equivalent of tree rings.

I've never knit two sleeves, mittens, etc on the same needle before. It makes counting so much easier!! Thanks to the many eastside stitchers that suggested it. The going feels slightly slower but I'm definitely a fan.

Right now the sleeves have a vicious curl at the bottom -- luckily sewing should take care of the worst of it. :-)

Also, I have to share the new trick I learned from Needles On Fire in her 10/13/04 "Progress Every Day" post: she wrote about how to make M1 either right or left slanting, and wow! I love it. You can see the bottom 4 increases on the right sides of the cabled triangle are *very* visible. The top four are so much neater. If I was feeling more type A this week, I would have torn down to my old increases and replaced them. As is, I'm just going to leave them in for contrast, so that I can appreciate how much I've learned. :-P

One Step Closer to Fish!!

October 18, 2004

Last Monday night, we drove down to SeaTac to buy a 55 gallon tank, a stand, and a hood with lights and a heater from a guy who listed on Craigslist. We paid $200, which felt like a pretty good deal. Due to a certain baseball team, among other things, we hadn't gotten around to cleaning everything off and testing the setup for leaks. After a suspenseful 14 innings tonight, we finally got the salt off of everything and started putting water in. Kevin manned the bucket:

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I mostly manned the sponge. Ahh, the glory. :-) We were both having fun just watching the tank half full of water. Fish may be too much excitement for us. :-)

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We also finally found a way to clean out the protein filter. Apparently running it with a 3-1 water/vinegar mix is supposed to be safe and effective. Kevin got it all set up and running, and after admiring it for a while, we've left it to do its work overnight. We have a slight dilemma with the skimmer because it's about an inch too tall to fit in the stand. For a while we were going to put it behind the tank, but it sits in a sump that needs about a foot of clearance. Now I suppose it will have to go next to, but I'm not happy about either the sight or sound of it... We'll keep thinking -- maybe we should just find a cabinet for it?


Short of my last-year's apartment four blocks from Fenway, the west coast has definitely been the right place to watch the Red Sox-Yankees series. Late games!! Friday got rained out (massively disappointing), Saturday went to the wee hours, and last night, we didn't start to make dinner until after 10:30. Everyone in Boston must be so sleepy!

There was an article in the Boston Globe around this time last year on the weird semi-religious tics that Red Sox fans develop this time of the season. Apparently, there was some group of people who jabbed each other with forks every time Damon came up to bat because it had happened once accidently right before he hit a home run. There were countless examples of what to say, what not to say, knocking on wood, who sat where, etc. I love it. The best part is that there's no way to keep yourself from doing it. Kevin and I were bribing the Red Sox with drinks: they bat well when offered red jello shots, but crack up on blue. David Ortiz hit his game-winning run after I mixed buttery nipples using the last of the Boston-bought butterscotch schnapps in Kevin's MIT martini glasses.

I'm just glad that they have at least one more game... I'm not ready for the season to be over.

Finally feeling like October

October 17, 2004

Between church and the Red Sox game, Kevin and I headed over to a farm stand in Woodinville to go pick up pumpkins. Their pumpkin patch was great, the kettle corn smelled awesome, and even though it was too cold to stay for long, I'm finally feeling like it's October.

Here's a shot of our pumpkins, waiting to become jackolanterns. We're taking our chances with pumpkin smashers and leaving them outside...

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And here are our mini pumpkins and gourds. I like the green, yellow and orange one on the left the best, even if its stem DID fall off:

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Mad Rogue Progress

October 15, 2004

I finally finished the hood this morning! This is some sort of record for me: look how much I've gotten through in the last 3 weeks and one day. Certainly all of the baseball and debates have been helping, but I'm still pretty pleased. I obviously haven't blocked yet, since this is curling all over the place (esp the shoulders), and I haven't sewn the hem in place, but all of the ends are at least woven in. Yay for progress!

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The best part of this is that I finally made myself attempt the kitchener stitch to bind together the cable at the top of the hood. My verdict on the stitch: not impossible, but certainly worth its reputation. I loved the result. I think grafting this way would be a breeze for stockinette now that I have the rhythm down, but figuring out how to make it flow with the cables was something of a trick. I ended up (after a bit of trial and error) just turning it inside out for the purl stitches and working from the inside. It took a bit of work to figure out where to make the turn to make it look right, but on the whole, I think it worked out well. You can only see the seam on two stitches, so i'm pretty happy. :-) Hopefully in the detailed hood shot, you won't even be able to make it out at all!

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Token Sunset Photo

October 13, 2004

Last night, we had one of our best sunsets yet. I was in the car driving to Diana's to help paint, and Kevin was in the car driving home from work, and we both thought it was stunning (especially the reflection off of Rainier! Wow!). Neither of us had the means to take a photo, though. Tonight's sunset wasn't spectacular, but it was still quite pretty. This is the view from a few houses up our street. Lake Washington and the Olympic Mountains. You can't see it here, but my favourite part was watching all of the lights glittering on the hills across the lake. Washington is a beautiful state.

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Why I'm not a scientist...

October 11, 2004

I think I'm about as enchanted with Mt. St. Helens as everyone else is the vicinity, and so I've been dutifully checking the VolcanoCam every day. I'm not as bad as the guys who set up with their lounge chairs and coolers of beer to watch the mountain through binoculars, but, as I said, I check.

This morning I actually woke up early (7:05 -- wow!), and so I got to my morning internet rounds a bit before usual. When, what should appear, but THIS:

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My first reaction was, "It's exploding! And I'm the first to know!!" Reason kicked in a few seconds later when I realized that all the clouds outside were that color, too. It's called "sunrise." :-P

Ooh, buttons!

October 10, 2004

Today was just a beautiful and crisp fall day, so I took a late afternoon jaunt over to Queen Anne to see what Nancy's Sewing Basket had to offer. I was looking for a button and some ribbon for my new needle case, black grommets for my felted bag, and possibly material for curtains. No dice on the grommets or curtains (there was some gorgeous blue fabric, but it cost $10.70 a yard... oof, no thanks.), but I found awesome buttons, and passable ivory ribbon, so I'm a happy camper.

First of all, the needle case button: irridescent green and blue loveliness.

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It works wonderfully with my hard-to-match fabric:

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Just "ooooh".

And then, while I was looking, I came across these great blue stars... Some say tacky, I say Beautiful. :-)

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October 09, 2004

The pacific northwest has very large and determined spiders. They seem to come in waves, where I'll see 4 or 5 huge spiders indoors over the course of a day, followed by a month of peace. Meanwhile, this guy has set up shop in the pine tree right next to our front door... I know that he isn't technically doing any harm there, but I get goosebumps walking by him.

The sympathy shot:

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Red Sox heart attack

I take full responsibility for what happened in the seventh inning... everyone in the Angels dugout looked so *sad* and I started to think that it would be sporting if they at least got a few more runs in before losing. Within the inning, Myers and Timlin loaded the bases, walked one guy home, and then Guerrero hit a grand slam and the 6-1 lead was gone. Luckily the Sox overcame my misplaced sympathy for the Angels and finished strong. Good job, guys. I promise to focus from here on in.

I had to take a break from Rogue (I can't work on that when I'm concentrating on something else or my hood increases go all awry). Since I had a bunch of cascade left over from my booga bag (pictures to come as soon as I find black grommets and can put the thing together), I figured I would make a few felted potholders. I already have a small blue&black collection, but people were coming over for the debate and it got me motivated. I didn't get them trimmed in time for the evening, but they'll be ready and waiting for the next time:

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The wrong kind of progress

October 01, 2004

Instead of brushing up on my C++ or prepping for job interviews, I've been knitting. Oops. :-P

Here's rogue so far, with the side cables a row and a half away from completion and the markers in place for the beginning of the neck cables:

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I know everyone else has said it before, but it's so fun to watch the cables grow! I found the repeat on rows 33-38 of Chart A incredibly confusing, but I'm past it now, and it all looks great. Here's a little zoom on the side cables:

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