A Good Yarn

Monday, July 28, 2008


I finally finished my first pair of Summer of Socks socks:

Project Name: Leyburn Socks
Designer: Mintyfresh
Pattern Source: Pepperknit Blog
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug
Yarn Source: Needlework Unlimited
Date Started: 6/21/08
Date Completed: 7/27/08

Comments: I like these socks quite a bit. The pattern is kind of neat and easy to knit. I was afraid about the fit, because it doesn't have much stretch, but they fit me perfectly. It is my first time knitting with Jitterbug and I really like it. Beautiful colors and very soft. I had only a small ball of yarn left, so if you have larger feet or want long legs, you may want to pick up an extra skein. It was also my first time knitting with Knitpicks Harmony needles and I love them too! Very smooth wood with a nice sharp tip, but not as hard on my hands as the Knitpicks Options DPNs. Here's the obligatory sole to sole pose:

and a top view:

I also saw this last weekend:

Let me start by saying I'm a HUGE X-Files fanatic. Like, top five all time favorite show fanatic. I love, love, love Mulder and Scully. So from that point of view, I enjoyed the movie. Duchovny and Anderson slipped right back into their old roles and it was thrilling seeing them interact and hearing some of the old dialog. The story itself was decent, though a bit out there (no pun intended). There is nothing from the alien mythology of the show in the film - it's a stand alone monster episode. It was like a pretty decent episode of the show. But I really would have loved it more if it had explored the mythology and continued from the first film. I'm sure they wanted to draw in people who didn't watch the show and make it watchable to that audience. They were fairly successful - I think you could enjoy it as a summer matinee if you'd never seen the show before and had no idea who these characters were. But if you're in that position, I don't think it's anything special. Not bad, but not fantastic either. I think this will be last X-Files movie, because there were a grand total of 12 people in the theater I saw the film on opening night. Not good box office. I guess it's time for me to put away all those X-Files action figures, books, trading cards and posters for the last time....

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

More of the same

More knitting for KFO group done, this time a ballband washcloth:

I also finished up a pair of socks, but it doesn't count as part of the official Summer of Socks total because they've been in progress for quite a while:

Project Name: Feather and Fan Socks
Designer: Judy Sumner
Pattern Source: Socks, Socks, Socks
Yarn: Panda Wool
Yarn Source: Needlework Unlimited
Date Started: 5/10/07
Date Completed: 7/17/08

Comments: These were my "car knitting" project for the last year (knitting I keep in the trunk of my car for when I need something to work on when I'm out and about). As you may recall, I've been working my way through the Socks, Socks, Socks book. I knit them mostly at CLEs and watching the kids at the park on Tuesday nights. These are constructed a little differently than your basic sock and I think they fit pretty well. It was my first time using Panda Wool and I really liked it. Very soft, but the bamboo gives it a little shine. I bought three skeins because the balls are pretty small, but with the lace pattern and my preference for 4" legs, I only needed two balls. I would definitely use this yarn again, either for socks or for baby garments.

and the obligatory sole-to-sole shot:

I also saw one of the films I've been looking forward to all summer long:

It lived up to my expectations. As you've probably heard, it's the sequel to Batman Begins, with Christian Bale returning as Batman and Heath Ledger as The Joker. Gary Oldman returns as James Gordon, Michael Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox. Besides Joker, we get Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. There was one cast change - Maggie Gyllenhal takes over for Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. I mention everyone because this truly is an ensemble effort. Of course it's a Batman movie and Batman/Bruce Wayne are the lead and Joker is the primary villain, but you really get a lot true ensemble scenes and really, really strong performances all around. Oldman is exactly as I pictured/heard Lt. Gordon when I read "Batman: Year One". Bale is fantastic as the dark and depressed Batman as well as the playboy cad putting on a show for the world, Bruce Wayne. But the most amazing performance is of course, Heath Ledger at The Joker. He's just incredible. You don't want him to ever leave the screen, because he's magnetic every time he's on there. It's pretty much a lock that he'll be nominated for an Academy Award, but I really wouldn't be surprised to see the film nominated as well. It's really a good, gripping movie that's got some great special effects, but is also intellectually satisfying. If the lead characters weren't in a bat costume and crazy makeup, this would still be a fantastic action thriller. I also have to warn the parents out there. It's pretty dark, violent and scary. I think if it wasn't a Batman movie, it'd be rated R instead of PG-13. I think it's probably too intense for younger kids and borderline for 10-13 year olds, depending on how sensitive your child is. This Batman is about as far away as you can get from the old Batman tv show and even most of the previous Batman movies.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Knitting and Wall-E

I finished another piece for the Knitters for Obama, but this time it's part of another KFO project:

Project Name: South Dakota Square (50-State Afghan)
Designer: Rhonda White
Pattern Source: http://www.knittingknonsense.com/people_places.html
Yarn: Vanna's Choice
Yarn Source: Another KFO knitter
Date Started: 7/5/08
Date Completed: 7/12/08

Comments: This is my contribution to the 50-State Afghan, which is going to be a prize in a fundraising drawing by the Knitters for Obama group on Ravelry. There are a ton of fantastic prizes, so if you're so inclined, the details are here.

I've also finished the first of my Leyburn socks:

and here's the side, heel view:

This pattern isn't super stretchy, but it fits me perfectly. You increase once you start the legs since you have the pattern stitch all the way around, but it also made it much wider than the foot, so I was a little worried it would be too big and droopy. But my thick calves came in handy - it fits exactly as I would want it to fit.

I finally got to see the movie that's been raved about so much, too:

Everyone else has probably already seen it, so I won't get into too much detail, but a quick synopsis - Wall-E is that adorable robot. He seems to be alone on Earth (except for his indestructible pet cockroach) after it's been abandoned by us human after we trashed the place like a rockstar in a hotel room. He's eventually joined by another robot, Eve, and they end up both joining the humans on their endless vacation. I absolutely adored this movie. It's funny, sad, exciting, wise, everything you want in a film. It's absolutely gorgeous. The animation is so detailed and beautiful that there were times where I completely forgot it was animated. I really wanted to get into Wall-E's "room" and look through all the little bins of things he had found and saved. Even though Wall-E never says a word and is a machine, you could completely read his every thought and emotion (and he definitely had both). If you haven't seen this yet, please do. I really think it's a movie that's begging to be seen on the big screen so you could truly appreciate the beauty of the animation.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

The celebrating continued this weekend with my sister and nephew and her mom coming up to visit me. We had a fantastic day on the 4th. We went to a carnival in Richfield (where my brother lives) and enjoyed a beautiful sunny day. Jason and Greg were having some high powered discussions that I wasn't privvy to:

Jason is getting so big! He can even walk all by himself now:

And he enjoyed going on a few rides with his mommy - including this big slide:

I think Michael liked the rides better than Jason, though. He's still a little too young to really think it's neat. We all got plenty of sun and junk food, but we saved room for a nice birthday dinner for Greg and I (just like the old days. My brother's birthday is today, so we often had joint birthday parties with the family over the 4th of July). After dinner we cooled off in the pool:

We capped off the evening watching the great fireworks at the Taste of Minnesota. Kim and Kerry were staying in the Crowne Plaza in downtown St. Paul, so we were able to enjoy the fireworks from the air conditioned comfort of the hotel room and sip on a few cocktails, too. It was a fantastic day.

I didn't knit much on the 4th, but yesterday I finished up a scarf that I'm knitting for the Knitters for Obama project:

Project Name: Striped Scarf
Designer: Lion Brand
Pattern Source: lionbrand.com
Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun
Yarn Source: Probably Joann's or Michael's
Date Started: 6/7/08
Date Completed: 7/5/08

Comments: We are knitting warm winter wear for homeless veterans in several key election states. I had these two colors left over from another project and thought they looked ok together and appropriately manly. The darker blue knits up at a slightly smaller gauge than the lighter blue, which is annoying. I thought about changing needles for each color, but decided it wasn’t a big enough problem to have to remember to do that, as I’d invariably forget to change at least half the time.

One of the states we are knitting for is Minnesota, so if you're interested in contributing something, let me know. I'm going to be the coordinator, gathering up all the knitted or crocheted goodies and delivering them to the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Forty is Fun

Last weekend Greg, Michael and I went to the Star Wars exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota:

We all really enjoyed it. There are a lot of artifacts from the Star Wars movies:

That's (of course) R2-D2 and Princess Leia's costume from the beginning of the first movie. There are also really fun activities and games to play:

That one was an activity where you build a vehicle that uses magnets to travel from point to point. Very cool and very fun. I'd highly recommend the exhibit if you're a fan of the movies or just like science. We also saw the IMAX movie about Special Effects. It's ok, but not one of the best Imax films I've ever scene. It's a bit dated since it was made a few years ago and there are so many more great FX techniques now.

Then yesterday was my 40th birthday. I had one day a few weeks ago where I kind of freaked out and thought 40 sounded really old, but the panic passed after a couple of hours and otherwise it really hasn't been that big of a deal for me. I guess I'm just pretty satisfied with where I'm at with my life now, so getting older doesn't seem like anything major. There's something about the mid-decades that are harder for me. At 25 I was the most freaked out about where I was and how my life was turning out. At 35 I had a little adjustment to realize that the picture I made for myself and how I thought my life would be wasn't going to be the same. But by now I've come to terms with my life choices and how things turned out and I really am pretty happy with everything. I guess we'll see where I'm at when I'm 45 :-)

I wasn't even sure whether to post about it, but I had to share the big surprise I had. I got up and got ready for work as usual in the morning. I walked out the door, thinking about what was on my schedule, etc. and I catch sight of a man in a suit standing right outside the door:

I'll admit I was really startled and frightened at first because he looked so lifelike and I thought maybe someone was stalking me, but after a second I noticed the face and realized it wasn't REALLY Barack Obama delivering some birthday balloons, just a life size cardboard cutout. Then I started laughing. It was fantastic! Thanks, Kerry - you got me good!

She also gave me a beautiful birthday cake tape measure for my collection:

And some of my co-workers had a real cake for me:

Yes, one of my co-workers calls me "Nae" for short, or sometimes Nae Nae. We're a little silly in our office sometimes.

I also had a gorgeous present from Deb sitting on my desk when I came in:

She hand-dyed some gorgeous merino sock yarn for me. My problems capturing purple on my camera are well-documented in this space, so I won't bore you again, but trust me, it's a gorgeous purple color. That birthday cake also had purple and yellow flowers, not blue.

After work I had a fun little party over at Senor Wong's with a bunch of people from work and some other friends. I really had a great time - it was so nice to feel so celebrated and loved all day long.

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