Thursday, July 19, 2007

Revelling in Ravelry

I got my Ravelry invite today!! It's SO cool! I can see that I will lose many many hours, just looking! I signed up about a month or 2 ago, so don't be shy, sign up!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cuckoo for cocoa

I've been at my new job for a week now, and today, for the first time, I feel like I work there instead of visiting from another planet. Sure, I'm still a little wigged out when I see my reflection in the polished elevator doors every morning ("Who's that chick in the suit and heels?"), but I'm so busy that the day just flies by and I have to make myself leave at night. Thoughts from the day linger when I come home, so I've been trying to occupy my mind with activities to remind myself not only that I have a life outside of work, but that I am still the same crafty beer drinking wench I've always been.

One would think that this would be the perfect time to knit, but my knitting has gone all to hell. I did run out of Rowan Summer Tweed while knitting the back of Ginger as I had suspected I would. I bought another skein on Saturday, and finished the back but don't have any interest in finishing it right now. I also tried, yet again, to cast on for Fifi. Six rows into it and I discovered that I had twisted my join again. WTF!? That's 3 times now!! I haven't given up entirely; the next time I'm going to use my usual long tail cast on. Screw the cable cast on. I am convinced that it is the culprit of my mobius madness. Knitting will have to wait until the bad mojo has passed.

Instead of knitting, I've been quilting! I finished the Cobblestone quilt top and handed it off to a machine quilter on Monday. No photos to show. I'm going to wait for the big dramatic reveal! Tonight I started cutting out fabric for a new quilt, "Triple Treat" from Atkinson's Happy Hour book.
Most of the fabrics are from either Amy Butler's Belle Collection or Joel Dewberry's Aviary and Chestnut Hill Collection.

I added a few other fabrics, the teal, green and two brown prints, that read like "solid" colors, to break up all the bolds prints.

Mr. Strange and I went to Portsmouth on Sunday to have the best corn beef hash in the world at Isis on Penhallow only to discover that the chef (creator of the extraordinary hash) had left, leaving a very unimpressive, hash-less menu behind. Poo! Mr. S was very disappointed, but I took comfort in the fact that Portsmouth Fabric Company was only a few doors down.

I picked up the fabrics above and these for the Amy Butler Madison Bags.
The top fabrics are for the outside bags and the bottom fabrics are for the linings. I plan on making both the Uptown and Downtown Bags.
Even if you had never read this blog before and didn't know me, by now you would realize 3 things about me:

1. I love brown/orange/teal combinations
2. I love bags
3. I spoil myself

So, it wouldn't be surprising for me to also tell you that I bought myself this Angela Adams bag on clearance at a local consignment shop.
Dark chocolate wool, surrounded by turquoise and bronze faux patent leather orange lining.
I'm making myself save it for Fall. Love love love love it.

Just soze you knowz, other people spoil me too. For the Half Birthday update, I present my most recent gifts:

Today's gift was the colorful "Cheers" coasters from an unknown person (Renee?). Yesterday I received the bracelet, accented with purple rhinestones, from Jill. On Monday I opened the steel lariat from Dee, which is actually a note/photo holder that you hang up. Along the lariat are the tiniest, strongest little magnets I've ever seen (this is going in my office as soon as it's ready). Sunday I received pink socks from Jill with talking kitties - lift the pink flap and underneath it says "Meow". OOOPS! Forgot Winnie's gift from Saturday - I'll show it next time.

On Friday morning, I opened this from Mary.
I didn't have to eat all those chocolates to see what was under the plate (although I did have a mini binge). What is it about being in a new place that makes one want to eat like there's no tomorrow?
Ha ha! I can say that hanging around with fun older women who like to bake and eat might make you fat, but will keep you young forever. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

First Day

Today was my first day at my new job. Oddly, I thought that I would be very nervous going in today, but I was totally calm. That is, until I realized that I'd forgotten my umbrella, decided to turn around and run back home, tried to pull into what used to be an open driveway near my street, and ran my passenger front end over a big fat curb. It made a bit of a mess of my right front bumper. Mr. Strange set it straight when I got home, but in the back of my mind, all day I was thinking "I just bought my car" (I'm leasing). What a way to start the day!! By the time I arrived at work, I was so overwrought by the car that I didn't have time to be nervous!

I shook hands with so many people that I gave up trying to remember names after the second floor (the firm occupies 3 full floors and maintains an office on a fourth). I can say one thing: ladies, learn how to shake hands. Too many limp, flaccid hands out there! Just a suggestion. My overall impression is that I feel like I have "arrived". Today I spent hours in a computer class with my company issued laptop (!!!) and was then taken to lunch by my colleagues (paid for by the firm) (!!!). I don't have my own office yet, but will soon, in addition to a company credit card (!!!). Many years ago, when I was in college and studying for my profession, this is the sort of "dream job" I envisioned. Now it's real. Pinch me! Later, when I complain about how stressed I am from work.

Yesterday was my last day at my old company. They threw a farewell lunch with strawberry rhubarb pie (my request) after which, I was told I could go home early. Bwaaah! I burst into tears. I wasn't ready! It was really hard, after 9 and a half years to leave. I felt like a kid leaving home and going away to college. When I got home, I didn't know what to do with myself, so I sewed all my quilt blocks together. I plan on picking out my border fabrics this weekend, and then it's off to the machine quilter. I will finish this. Really.

I've also made significant progress on Ginger. The front is done, and I'm just beginning the right back after the neck divide. See that tiny ball of yarn? That's all I have left. Hmph! We'll see if it's enough. If it isn't, I'm going to curse Rowan.
This past weekend, my mom and I went to Mariner's Compass in Bath at it's new location, where I found a new pattern book, Happy Hour by Atkinson Designs, Amy Butler's Madison Bag Pattern, and a Moda Jelly Roll in a new fabric, Fresh Air, coming out in the fall. Note to self: stop buying things!
I'm dying to make the quilt on the cover of the Happy Hour book, but am forcing myself to wait until the Maine Quilt Show at the end of the month. OH! One of my new co-workers is a quilter! I can't wait to find out if there are any knitters! Maybe during the winter, I'll find them in the lunchroom.

In the middle of all of this job excitement, I've been enjoying my half birthday gifts:

Day 8 from Jill: a fun plate and some Stonewall Kitchen Red Pepper Jelly. If you see this jelly anywhere, buy some. It tastes great when poured over cream cheese and served with wheat crackers!
Day 9 from Linda: 2 Buttermilk Basin patterns with sheep (baaaa, love sheepy things) and a machine quilting book.
Day 10 from Winnie: a beach mat, reflector mat and the world's largest thermometer! Is that so I can see it when my eyes go bad? ;)
Day 11 from Dee: A cute little photo/note holder. I was recently admiring these at the store!!!
Day 12 from Annie: A Halloween plate (which happens to match the mug Annie gave me last year!), Crackers and salsaaaaaaah!
Day 13 from Dee: A sassy mug with attitude!
Speaking of attitude, earlier this evening, I hemmed a new pair of slacks to wear to work tomorrow. The only thing worse than hemming pants? Hemming pants that are sized "petite".

Friday, July 06, 2007

R is for Racy, Red, Restricted and Ravenous

OMG! Who would have guessed my little knitting blog would be rated R???

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Apparently, it's due to my use of the words "semen, gun, sexy and fondle"

Ha ha!

Thanks to Shell, I now know that I am one racy knitter!!

Just for fun, here's something else to snack on from Friday's Feast (#148)

Appetizer: The best thing about where I live is ________________.

An abundance of great microbreweries!

Soup: Create a new name for a deodorant:

Sweat Nothing

Salad: What was the last piece of software you installed on your computer:

AVG Anti Virus Free Software

Main Course: If you were to receive a superlative award today beginning with the words "Most likely to...." what would the rest of the phrase say?

get a sunburn (The sun does very bad things to me)

Dessert: What two colors do you like to wear together?

Brown and turquoise

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Life is like...

Even though today is a national holiday, it feels like Saturday, but on Wednesday instead. This afternoon I dropped Mr. Strange off at the airport so he could visit his mum - she is recovering very well - so it felt even less holiday-ish. Just to give myself a little summer treat, I bought cherries and have been eating them all day. But wait! Lets rewind a bit...

Yesterday after work, I needed to kill some time before my Pilates class, so I drove over to Knit Wits to see if they were open (they were) with the thought that I would buy the Mission Falls 1824 Wool I need to finish LTL. Well, they had the exact color I wanted, a dark eggplant, that goes perfectly with the squares and Kaffe Fassett fabric I bought a few weeks ago.
Since I was in no rush, I decided to browse and fondle. At one point, as I was hovering near the cash register, chatting with the owner, I spotted a skein of Rowan Calmer in the clearance bin (50% off!!!) in a lovely shade of lavender that I have been looking for. I kept talking and found another skein, oh! and another! and another! oh boy! more! I found 8 skeins in all. The owner said that she'd just put them in there before I arrived. Get this, the color (#484) is called Lucky! Since I was feeling pretty lucky and delirious from yarn fumes, I also snagged 3 skeins of Rowan Summer Tweed in Summer Berry (#537). More on that in a minute.
As soon as I got home from class, I rifled through all my patterns, magazines and books for a summer sweater to use with the Calmer and had no success. I then turned to my favorite knitting pattern resource, Google. I briefly entertained Audrey, but then remembered that an entirely ribbed sweater made me look like a pinup girl (lesson learned thanks to Tempting). I also liked this free pattern (pdf link) from Tahki Stacy Charles, Inc. (courtesy of Knit Powers to Peace). But suddenly I clicked on a link to the Sexy Knitter's Club, and wouldn't you know, their next KAL is Fifi from French Girl Knits using Calmer?! Before you could say "charge", I downloaded the pattern and cast on. In the middle of all this excitement, Mr. Strange offered me a beer (trouble).

Without giving away any tricks, the pattern recommends the cable cast-on method. Now I personally dislike this method and disagree wholeheartedly with claims that it is "very flexible". I find it difficult to maintain even stitches and anything buy flexible. Even so, I followed the directions.

At this point I should mention that I've been reading Yarn Harlot's new book and recently finished the chapter "Interesting Sights" where she cautions knitters:

double-checking a circular cast-on for a twist is not "totally lame"...

I also should confess that these words were uttered from my very own mouth, "Honey, can you bring me another beer?"

Yes, I twisted my first join. Dang! I frogged the first round, cast on again and, satisfied with my ability to follow directions and join circular knitting, I proceeded to finish 6 rows and a third beer before I noticed that I was knitting a mobius.

Yes, I know. The beer. Obviously Mr. Strange does not know that he is not supposed to let me knit after one beer.

This morning I decided that my mojo was still out of whack and cast on for Ginger from The Rowan Summer Tweed Collection. I knit Rosehip a few years ago from this book, so I was prepared for knitting with the Summer Tweed. It's lovely to look at and wears well, but is a bit like knitting with cork. I'm willing to suffer for short periods because the color is just! It reminds me of cayenne pepper. Despite that, this is really mean yarn, so before long I had to work on something totally different...

I finished the 80 blocks for my Cobblestone quilt!
After seeing the photo in my last post, I decided that I didn't want so much of that dark rose color and substituted some more neutrals instead. This isn't the final layout. I've switched some squares around since taking the picture, and I still need to square them up. This is the easy part. I have no problem making quilt tops, I have a problem finishing them. I swear that I will finish this one. Really.

Half birthday update:

Day 5 brought me purple suede mocks and a cute pen from Annie
along with a pair of socks (they call me "Princess" - it's a long story).
For day 6, Winnie gave me a freezer pack and divided plastic containers - perfect for a picnic!
My mom just called to tell me that the Yardgoods Center in Waterville is having their summer sale. She's such an enabler! Can I resist? We'll see...

In celebration of independence, I rented 2 movies from Videoport, my favorite independent store in Portland: Closer and The Painted Veil (two films that Mr. Strange doesn't want to see).

I leave you with this (an unfinished wall quilt started in 2001):

Happy 4th of July!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Lost and Found: Mojo

In an attempt to summon warmer weather, I begin my sun salutation with downward dog wearing my newly finished Sahara!

Yes! It is done! There is a reason why this pattern was chosen by the Sexy Knitters Club.
A very booby sweater. For more views of my ample bosom and pattern details, visit my Show and Tell.

Day #4 of my 39 and 1/2 birthday brought a new tote pattern and charm squares from Mary. This gal sure knows my taste! Speaking of the half birthday, if you haven't (or have) read my previous post, I added some pictures from the party that Jill sent me, including party hats and my geeky look of surprise when I saw the cake.
Since finishing Sahara on Saturday, I've been trying to start a new project, but it seems that my knitting mojo is visiting someone else these days. I spent 3 (yes, three) hours at Korner Knitters Saturday afternoon trying to find yarn for a new project. Of course I found plenty of yarn (porn for another day), and had a grand time chatting with Darrin. I even learned some neat tricks from one of Lucy Neatby's DVD's - like how to put a stitch in it's "proper station in life" (This lady ROCKS!). Even so, every gauge swatch I knit is too small or too big. I feel like Goldilocks! Instead of fighting it, I decided to turn my attention elsewhere.

Tonight I sewed 40 (at least I thought there were 40) blocks for my neutral/blush Cobblestone quilt.
Oddly, when I went to lay the blocks out, there were only 39. It must be my magic number!
Here are 36 of the blocks, placed somewhat randomly. See that one dark rose center? There will be 6 more blocks with that print as the outside and 4 more centers. Right now, being the only spot of color, it really pops. Each block finishes 6 inches, so I'm planning on 80 blocks laid 8 across and 10 down for a total size of 60 x 48. I'll add a small inner border (about 1.5 inches) and a wider outer border - maybe a light pink and beige floral - to make a lap quilt. If I were a good little quilter, I'd square the first 39 blocks now, but I like squaring blocks as much as I like blocking sweater pieces. Must be a mental block of some kind (snort).

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Semen in toothpaste and other not-so-divine secrets of the A-Team

Overheard at a recent gathering of girlfriends:

Renee: "I heard that some of the goods that are imported have poisonous substances in them, so you need to be really careful what you buy."

Us: "Poison? Like what?

Renee: "Like in toothpaste. They put bad stuff in it."

Us: "Yeah, but what kind of poison?"

Renee: "You know, like semen."

A moment of silence

Us: "Semen? They put semen in toothpaste!!??" (the collective unspoken question being, 'Is semen poisonous?')

Renee: "No no! Sement you know, like 'sement pond'."

Us: "Huh? Oh! You mean Cement!!"

(This is the same girl who told me at the Getaway that my belly ache was caused by all the 'grace' I ate.)

I am not making this up. I have a group of girlfriends that I met through my quilting group. Self-named the "A-Team " because of our power to get things done, whenever we get together, we have a rip-roaring, pants-peeing, laugh-until-it-hurts good time. We range in ages from 39 (me) to 60 something. For the past several years, as three gals have turned 50, we have given them 50 gifts 50 days before their birthday, with the instruction that they can only open one a day (This past year, no one trusted our friend Mary, so her neighbor Tracy was recruited to put one in her mailbox every day until Mary noticed footprints in the snow leading from her mailbox to Tracy's house). In the middle of Mary's days of gifts, I jokingly commented to my friend Linda that by the time I turn 50, everyone would be giving me gifts recycled from the nursing home like Depends, denture cream and butt wipes. There are no secrets in a group of women, and being the 'vicious crowd' that we are, it wasn't long before I was teased.
"Tarilyn I bought you a gift today and I'll make sure I put it somewhere that I won't forget when I'm in the nursing home!" Ha ha! I secretly hoped that maybe they would do mine when I turn 40 this December.

It occurred to me on Friday that Charlie's birthday was exactly 6 months before mine. To celebrate such a landmark (and to pat myself on the back for getting the job I wanted), I bought myself a new watch. As it turns out, I wasn't the only one who was aware that I had just turned 39 1/2...

After work, I headed off to what I thought was a housewarming party with the "A-Team" for our friend Linda. After an hour of scintillating adult conversation (see above) and a fabulous meal, I noticed my friend Jill making a weird gesture above her head with her fingers, that looked like she was making horns. I looked at her and asked what she was doing. "Oh, my head itches. I think I have cooties!". Having had a particularly itchy head day myself, I exclaimed "Me too!" and we launched into a discussion about shampoo and eczema. After a few minutes, I saw something in my peripheral vision. It looked like Linda bringing over some large bags. Everyone was looking at me with silly grins on their faces. It took me a second. I looked at my friend Annie and said "OH! Who is it?!!". I looked at each one, "Who? Who is it"? I turned to look at the bags of gifts, and looked back at the table. That's when someone placed a cake in front of me.


"Happy 39 and a half!!" they all said.

Oh my god. They got me. They really did. As it turns out, Jill did not have cooties. She was trying to signal Mary not to forget the party hats. They all decided that they would have a better chance surprising me now than waiting until December. They were right. I couldn't have been more surprised.

Here are the bags of gifts I toted home Friday night.
Here they are all laid out. No! I did not peek or fondle any of them. I did notice several bags from Folly 101 (oh boy!). I rearranged them in numerical order so I don't have to search each day.
This is my day 1 gift from Renee. A sweet little potted Geranium that will live on the windowsill in my sewing room until I forget to water it and then Mr. Strange will rescue it.

This was yesterday's gift. They are all numbered for me! Yes, there is one that is 39 1/2.
Inside #2 was an adorable Vera Bradley jewelry case with a ring in it from Linda! In my new favorite fabric!
As party favors, Mary gave everyone jelly rolls of fabric in neutral colors to make a quilt with. It's a quilt that a member of our group made in neutrals that we haven't been able to stop talking about. Now we each have the fabric to make our own!
I was so inspired by the pink ribbon that I couldn't resist adding a little blush to mine.
This morning, I opened a Blossom Crown from Dee! Isn't it lovely?
It seems that we can keep secrets after all! The other evening, after the big surprise, I decided it was time to confess that I'd been keeping a secret of my own. Friends, meet the blog. Blog, meet my friends:

Last summer in Cape Cod - left to right: (me), Renee (our southern belle), Annie, and WinnieAt the Getaway - left to right: Annie, Jill, Winnie, me, Mary and Linda Betsy at the Getaway
Dee at Cape Cod
With the big job change, I've been feeling a little untethered. This was the perfect reminder that work is just work, but the rest of my life is still here. I feel so blessed these days. As far as the age, after all is said and done, it doesn't matter how old you are; good friends are always the best gift of all.