A Good Yarn

Monday, August 29, 2005

Weekend Wrap Up

As usual, I wasn't able to do everything I wanted over the weekend. I was able to get some work done on Saturday, but not everything I wanted to. I just didn't want to spend hours on end in the office on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, though! I got home in time to make the Saigon Beef and it was delicious! I was also smart enough to wear rubber gloves while handling the habanero pepper this time.

I also was able to finish the buttonhole bag:

This is a very quick and easy knit, so I highly recommend it! I need your advice, though. As you can see, I needle-felted a little flower onto my bag. I originally was planning on putting a few flowers all over that side of the bag, but leaving the other side blank. But, perhaps only the one flower is better. What do you think?

I did not make it to Book Club yesterday - my first time missing since we started 4 years ago, I believe. I felt bad, because it was my selection and I really wanted to hear everyone's thoughts on this book. But, I felt like it was more important to spend time with Jessica on her birthday and we didn't finish up our day until book club was nearly over. I did manage to read almost all the book - I have to finish up the last couple of chapters, but I'm pretty sure I've read all the important parts. I really liked "Samaritan" and would recommend it to you. It really made me think about my own need to solve everyone else's problems and my tendency to throw money at things without really thinking about how that effects others. It's a good choice for book clubs because besides those issues, you can also talk about race issues, the challenges of single parenting, the criminal justice system and all sorts of other things. Since I didn't go to book club, I also didn't make the roast peppers and crostini. I make the red peppers into this yummy soup I have a recipe for instead.

And, just because I haven't posted pictures of them lately, here are some snaps of Finbar and Fiona, waiting for me to hurry up and let them in the house so they can have a treat:

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Spice of Life

I was FORCED to do it. I cast on a new project for the first time since March.

It's a buttonhole bag! I decided to do the TC SnB BHB exchange, so I needed to knit one up. I originally thought I'd be able to finish one of my current projects in time to cast on and make the bag, but I'm slower than I thought. The exchange may be done next week, so I need to get it done. As you can see, I got most of it knit last night. I am up to the top area in the pattern, but I'm thinking about making it just a little longer. Happily, I had this Lamb's Pride in stash already (originally intended to make another felted bag with a funky fur trim).

I also blocked the heart sweater sleeve last night:

Isn't it cute? So short and chubby, just like real baby arms!

I got a great RAOK yesterday.

Tori sent me this book, which I've been wanting to read for a while. She also included those very cute stitch markers that you see on the cover - you know how much I love stitch markers!!

Yesterday I left work a bit early to catch a matinee:

Very cute, sweet movie. This would be a great movie to take a teen girl to. These young women are very good actresses! Since I left work before I was finished with everything I need to do, I'll have to go into the office this weekend. I also need to finish up my book for Book Club, finish up the buttonhole bag and make the peppers and crostini for book club. It's also my niece, Jessica's, birthday tomorrow, so we'll be doing something to celebrate. It'll be a busy weekend!!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Farmer's Market

I finished the first sleeve on the hearts sweater. I had planned to block it last night and post a picture here, but I didn't feel well, so I didn't feel like going down to the basement to do the blocking. It'd be great to finish the other sleeve this weekend so I can have it almost all done when I see Saralee next week.

Yesterday I went to the downtown Minneapolis farmer's market. I found a lot of good stuff:

I'm going to use the peppers to make a roasted peppers on crostini dish for Book Club this weekend.

I cut up a couple of the heirloom tomatoes and mixed them with fresh mozarella and basil from my own plants for dinner last night. They were delicious! Heirloom tomatoes are so easy to cut up.

I got the grapes to snack on because all of that food was making me hungry! I had the raspberries on a brownie for dessert last night. I'll use the leeks with a Habanero pepper from my own plant to make Saigon beef this weekend. The honey is from bees fed orange blossoms. Extra sharp cheddar from Wisconsin. I used the bread with my Caprese salad last night and was disappointed. It was a bit stale already. I'll use the rest for the crostini.

Couldn't resist those beauties!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I Love Minnesota

People who frequent this space already know how much I love the Twin Cities. One of the reasons I love it, believe it or not, is the weather. I know those of you from more moderate climes will think I'm crazy. I just love how things are different from day to day. A week or so ago, it was just unbearably hot and humid. Last night, when I was out in the backyard with the dogs, I could see my breath. That's crazy - and I love it! I love fall and that crisp air is a tonic to me. I bought a new leather jacket and had to wear it on Sunday night, even though it really wasn't that chilly. In the spring I can't wait to ditch the coats and feel free, but the summer doesn't have to be too long before I'm ready to pull out the coats and sweaters again.

As promised, I finished the left front of Lucky and started the first sleeve. I was a little worried about the sleeves being too tight for my sausage-like arms, even though there are new, larger sizes available. My gauge is off just a little bit after I block out the body, which will give me enough ease in the sleeves - nice! After the MN AK Knitting I went to Needlework Unlimited with a couple of the girls and bought a couple of things, even though I need more yarn like I need a hole in the head. First, I picked up the Sock Calendar:

I saw this booklet in my sock class at Yarnover last spring and I'm happy to finally have it. Even though I don't knit socks all that often, I do like making them and like having so many options. I also picked up a "kit"

It's the Shapely Shawlette pattern and some chocolate brown Koigu to make one with beads. There was a sample in the store that was just gorgeous and I hardly ever knit with brown. Plus y'all know how much I love knitting with beads!

Sunday I spent cleaning the house and I'm so happy with how things are starting to look! This whole spring and summer have just flown by and I hardly have finished any knitting projects and have been very lax in my housekeeping. It had gotten very bad around here. With two Sundays in a row with some time to clean, I've made a good dent. Almost every article of clothing in the house is clean, which is pretty amazing. The kitchen, dining room and living room are pretty clean too. I replaced all the burned out light bulbs in the house and it's amazing how much lighter the rooms are now! It's the little things that make you happy. Sunday night Greg and I saw this:

Oh boy! I really liked this and thought it was hilarious, but it's definitely not for everyone. It's a documentary about a joke that comedians often tell each other, which is called "The Aristocrats." The joke itself really isn't funny, at least to me. Here's the joke if you're interested. Every comedian puts his or her own spin on the joke and they try to outdo each other in being more obscene and more outrageous. What's funny is the way each person brings something different and it reflects his or her personality and act. Some of them are just hilarious and some of them were just incredibly dirty. My own personal favorite was Jake Johannsen, but I'm a huge fan of his, so it probably depends on your own personal taste. There are interviews with dozens of comics. If you're not really familiar with stand up comedy, it's probably not going to be that enjoyable to you. There's no name labels during the interviews, although at the end they have names and pictures. I recognized about 90% of them, but those I didn't I really wanted to know who they were.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Knitting Content

For those who are strictly interested in knitting content and bored with all the rest, this blog has been pretty barren. I've been working on the same projects all spring and summer and progress pictures have been too boring, so no knitting content. So, I thought I'd just update things.

I have the MN AK Monthly Knit Together today and I'll finish up the left front of the Lucky Clover Wrap Sweater. Here's the right front I finished a while ago, being blocked:

I can't wait to finish this up and wear it this fall. This yarn is so soft and cuddly. Here's a close up of the lace pattern:

I've finished the front of the Hearts sweater and it's blocking:

I'm meeting Saralee for lunch next week, so I think I'll sew the shoulders together so she can get a little bit of an idea of what it'll look like put together. I also have started the first sleeve, so maybe I can get that done by the lunch too.

Mariah is my last active project. I finished up the yoke and started on the hood. It's hard to take a good picture because it's so huge, so no photos for that one. So, I'm getting closer to the end than the beginning on all of these projects and may actually be able to cast on a new project this fall!

Yesterday I saw this movie:

Very funny movie! It's also very sweet, though. There are a few crass moments here and there, but it's not a dirty movie.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

More Markers!

Yes, I'm obssessed with stitch markers. I got my first batch of markers in the Stitch Marker Swap. Once again, I apologize for the fuzziness of these pictures. I need to start taking these home and using my home digital camera. Or, you know, figure out how to use my camera.

These are some very pretty emerald green and some nice brown ones.

Very nice green ones! I don't have many with the big ring, so the ones on the left will be good if I'm doing some felting or something.

I just got these today. I'm very taken with these. Probably the colors - my old favorites. Purple and red. I love the swirls on the red beads too.

Thanks Stitch Marker Swappers!! I love them!

I forgot to mention I finished HP and the Goblet of Fire. Loved it! I can't wait to see the movie this winter. I feel very left out on the HP6 mania, but I've gotta read HP5 first. I've been trying to read them just before the movie comes out, so that it's still fresh in my mind when I see the film. I started our next Book Club Selection:

This was my suggestion to the Club. I chose it because it sounds pretty interesting and it was a Book of the Year from Entertainment Weekly a couple of years ago. Every year I try to read the EW best book (either fiction or non-fiction) and usually enjoy them immensely.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Marker Mania!

I got another set of Stitch Markers in the Marker Mania exchange. These are from Emily:

Sorry the picture is so blurry. I swear it looked clear in the camera display. I'm too lazy to go through the process of re-taking and downloading the picture. These are lovely! It's hard to see, but the purple beads are just a very pretty lavender, which looks great with the little pink beads. Emily also included that little flower sticky notepad. Cute!! Thanks, Emily!!

Over the weekend I saw another great documentary:

So good! There's the great drama and excitement of the quad rugby games. But this film shows why I love documentaries so much - people are so interesting and complicated. The people shown in this movie are incredibly articulate and in touch with their feelings. But the main people are not saints. There's a really interesting story about a former player who is now a coach and his relationship with his non-athletic son. One scene with a man who is returning home for the first time after his spinal injury and is suddenly hit with the finality of it and the changes in his life is just killer.

I went to the Irish Fair on both Friday and Saturday. On Friday, Greg and I went to see Flogging Molly. They were pretty good. It was really crowded and difficult to get food or beer, which decreased our enjoyment of the evening. I went back on Saturday to look at the vendors and check out the James Joyce exhibit. I almost bought a cabled cardigan. It was gorgeous and I loved the color. The sleeves were way too long and I really should just knit one like it myself to fit better.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Your Unfaithful Correspondent

I've taken a few days off, so no posting. Nothing so exciting as a vacation or anything, just a little down time. Last weekend I went to the Washington County Fair and petted some sheep and checked out the knitting entries. The blue and purple ribbons were actually pretty cute and somewhat difficult - sometimes that's not the case with the State Fair.

I've also been attending the Fringe Festival. 10 days of theater around a number of different Minneapolis venues - everything is around an hour each. I loved everything I saw. These were the shows I went to:

Corleone: Take the plot and characters of "The Godfather" and throw in the language and some other touches of Shakespeare. Really funny and clever.

Adventures in Mating: This was super fun. A play about a couple on a first date with a "Choose Your Own Adventure" twist thrown in. The acting was great, especially the guy who played the waiter. If I had gotten a full pass (which I will do next year, I think), I would have seen this more than once to see how it turned out with a different audience. Unfortunately, it was hotter than Hades in the theater, which detracted from my enjoyment of the show.

Inspector Rex: This is the story of Oedipus set as a British parlor mystery. Also very funny and clever. This was a young group of actors and I really enjoyed them.

Why Actors Can't Love: A writer and an actress, former lovers, talk about their former relationship and how it ended. Love this type of play and the actors were stellar.

Michigan Disasters: This was a one-man show that weaves together his own family history, the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and a mine that flooded. At first I was a little iffy on this one, but it really grew on me.

Man Saved By Condiments: Based on a true story, it the story of a man who is pinned in his car for several days when it goes off the road. Luckily, he's a total pig and manages to scrounge a lot of little packets of condiments to keep him alive until he's found. This was written by Mary Jo Pehl, from MST3K. She did a great job - very funny.

The Princeton Seventh: An author of thrillers encounters a famous reclusive author in a hotel bar. Or does he? Loved the twisty nature of reality in this one and the cast was great.

Please Don't Blow Up Mr. Boban: This was the best show that I saw. I was just a wreck when I left the theater. Again based on a true story of a restaurant in Baghdad that continued to stay open despite several bombings. It's at times hilariously funny, a moving love story and an anti-war parable. They're going to try to tour with this and if you see it in your town, go immediately!

I received a nice package from my Secret Pal while I was out of the office. Look how pretty it was:

I love Gerbera daisies, so I took that one off the card and hung it next to my desk. Here's what was in the package:

Of course, the first thing you notice is that beautiful hand-painted yarn. They are "Wool in the Woods" in the Rio colorway. One is a chenille and the other is a rayon-cotton thick and thin. Very nice! Also enclosed was the very cute black sheep - love it! There's also a note pad with doggies and fire hydrants on it. Thanks again Secret Pal!!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Cool Idea!

I must not read any blogs from Seattle, because I didn't hear about Stitch n Pitch, but I think it's a great idea! If the Twins did that, I would so be there - even though they've gone in the tank. Thank goodness football has started!!!

Last night I went out for dinner at Puerta Azul for a little arroz con pollo, which hit the spot! Then we saw this movie:

LOVED this film! So charming and funny and uplifting. It's a documentary about ballroom dancing classes in NYC that end in a city-wide championship. It's sort of similar to "Spellbound" or "Born into Brothels". The dancing is awesome - the kids end up being really good dancers and it looks like so much fun. But the personalities of the children are the attraction. They're all fifth graders, so just entering that time where they are becoming independent of their parents, thinking about what it means to be an adult and the choices they want to make, trying to figure out how to interact with the opposite sex. They're funny and insightful and sometimes heartbreaking. Go see it!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Another Week

Friday I went to a matinee with a friend:

This one is strictly for romantic comedy junkies. I didn't hate it, but I would never watch it again. I just thought the dialog was too unrealistic, the situations were too convoluted and the solutions were too pat. Plus, who in the hell believes that Diane Lane and John Cusack are such losers? Diane was absolutely gorgeous and funny and charming. There's no way anyone wouldn't immediately fall in love with her. And John Cusack was some mythical creature who only exists in movies. I've never met anyone who watched Doctor Zhivago over and over and hand crafted boats which he refused to sell unless the buyer was sufficiently pure (how the hell did he live without any income, anyway?) and gave everything to his ex-wife who left him and didn't feel any bitterness toward her, only sadness and regret. Yeah, I know, these are the things that romantic comedies are made of, but this one just didn't have anything slightly different or appealing about it. Except the dogs and of course, I felt like they were using the dogs just to manipulate the audience - these people didn't even own the dogs. They just showed up when it was convenient for the convoluted plot. Hey, it sounds like I hated it. I didn't. My love of romantic comedies and the satisfaction I find in the formula was enough to overcome the rest of the reasons I hated it.

I also spent the weekend helping my brother move. He had a bunch of his buddies there, so it wasn't too rigorous, but it was definitely hard work and too stinking hot. I relaxed afterward with a little beading. I finally figured out how to finish up my turquoise nuggets necklace:

This thing has just been a PITA. At least it's finally done. I also made some more stitch markers for the Stitch Marker Swap: