Monthly Archives: May 2007

Quick n’ Dirty

I can’t believe it’s been a week since I’ve posted. Deadline always puts me in a tailspin. Sometimes I have the energy and time to post, sometimes I don’t. This deadline was definitely a ‘don’t’. For some reason, I felt extreme pressure at the beginning of the week — you know, a sort of “OMG, I just realized I have all this shit to do!” Um, hello? You knew you had all of it to do last week too.

Anyway, I tend to let myself get stressed out in an unhealthy way but I’ve been consciously trying to rein it in a bit. It’s unfair to everyone around me (especially Hubbo) but also to me. I had one meltdown during this deadline and then stopped. No more. It’ll all get done because it has to. If that means missing the American Idol finale, so be it (we all knew who was gonna win anyway, right? I mean after my girl Melinda was booted off — she was robbed!). Yesterday was deadline and the day before I actually took a long lunch with Hubbo and wasn’t even in a hurry to get back to work. Now that’s progress!

Speaking of progress, I’m whittling away on my Faux sweater. Getting close to connecting the two front pieces and beginning on the back. No pix but what’s there to see? I will say that swapping yarn every two rows is working very well to blend the different hued handpainted yarns.

But I did want to share a cool thing I just found. Lion Brand has free knitting e-cards featuring classic paintings of women knitting. One thing I noticed while perusing the selections was that all of these ladies are gonna need some serious chiropractic adjustments if they continue to hold their heads down like that! I do my best to keep my head up — that’s one reason why I taught myself to blindly knit (purling or patterns are a different thing altogether).

We’re taking our big boat to Half Moon Bay this weekend — we haven’t had her out of the slip for months — so have a great one and be safe!

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I Be Illin’

I’ve been blue for the past several days — probably a combination of Marnie’s death, stress from work and planning my folks 50th wedding anniversary — and couldn’t pull myself out of it. It wasn’t a ‘kill me now’ kind of depression, just a funk.

In the meantime, I’ve been faithfully plugging away on Faux. The left front is complete and I’m several inches into the right front. Construction on this sweater is interesting in that the front two pieces are knit flat, then joined at the neck and then you continue with the back. I have all my fingers and toes crossed that it comes out right!

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Just casting on for this sweater has opened a whole world to me. I now have no (well, very little) fear of making a “real” garment so I see patterns with new eyes. Something I wouldn’t have dreamed possible just a year ago is now within reach. All I need is the yarn.

So when I got KnitPicks weekly newsletter featuring their new On Deck Pullover, I knew what my next project would be. Holy cow! I was planning my next sweater just inches after casting on my first!

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But what yarn to use? I just assumed I’d use Shine, as it’s affordable and pretty (though I will admit that none of the colors were really ‘me’). But last Sunday, Laura said she wasn’t pleased with how her Shine sweater is wearing and that she had high hopes for the piece she was working on in Lion Brand Cotton Ease. That sent me on another of my silly quests. I needed the absolute perfect yarn, dammit!

I just love the Knitty Coffeeshop. There are so many experienced knitters there and they’re all willing to share ideas and opinions. After asking for suggestions, several people recommended TLC Cotton Plus over Cotton Ease. Cotton Plus has more of a cable construction than a plied one and apparently it feels softer, though I thought Cotton Ease was quite soft.

Ok, so now that I know which yarn to use, I now need to find it at the absolute cheapest price. I tell you, I am not well. Hours of searching site after site — and just maybe getting distracted by other yarns — I found that Joann‘s has the best price on the whole innernet. Funny, when I went to their store, they didn’t have a single skein of Cotton Plus but they had every color imaginable on their site and at a great price ($2.49). Not only that, if you buy more than eight skeins, you get an additional 5% off. But wait, there’s more! A quick Google for “joann coupon” gave me a code (MAYFSA735) for free shipping for purchases over $35!

So I went a little crazy yesterday. I ordered the 7 skeins for my pullover ($16.56), 4 skeins for a highly confidential special something for my seester ($9.46), and 14 skeins of Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick (in boring old Denim — the man loves him some blue) for an extra long ‘throw‘ for Hubbo’s new boat ($66.37).

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Interestingly, I noticed last night what a good mood I was in. I certainly wasn’t earlier in the day, but buy $100 worth of yarn and I perk right up! You see? I really am ill.

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Goodbye, Marnie

I’ve never been particularly close with my mom’s mom. Family dynamics, plus about a kajillion grandkids, allowed only a basic relationship — neither bad nor extraordinary. I wish I’d had a grandma like my mom is to my niece (spoiled rotten!) but it wasn’t in the cards and I’m fine with that.

That said, Marnie was a little dynamo. She weighed all of 98 lbs soaking wet (why, oh, why didn’t I get her genes?!) and had AAA wide shoes — that’s two sized narrower than an A! She dressed to the nines at all times, but especially if a man was coming for a visit. Marnie had a thing about looking nice for men — not for romantic reasons, it was just in her nature.

Marnie was all sass. While she deferred to men in nearly all things, they respected her and never messed with her. She was one of those ‘southern ladies’ who allowed guys to think they were in charge but she really pulled all the strings. And man, did that woman know how to flirt! She taught more than one of her many granddaughters how to flirt shamelessly and successfully.

A few years ago, Marnie was diagnosed with heart problems. Normally, 86-year-olds aren’t even considered for open heart surgery but the doctor — a man — was dazzled by her “spark” and agreed to do it. While she made it through the operation, she didn’t come out of the anesthesia for about a week. She never fully recovered and had to be moved from her house to a small ‘apartment’ in a retirement community.

She did well there but recently went downhill very quickly. She was taken to the hospital for uncontrollable diarrhea (not pleasant, under any circumstance, but particularly devastating for my fashion conscious Marnie) and a sore on her foot that wouldn’t heal. The sore turned to dry gangrene and she was sent to hospice to die. Thankfully, for her family, her departure came relatively quickly — just about a week after entering hospice.

My beautiful and spunky grandmother, Ruth ‘Marnie’ Hayes, passed away today around 2 p.m. at the age of 89. It comforts me to think she’s being greeted by Don, her husband of 60 years, and her only two sons, Dan and Phil, who both died before reaching 40.

These two photos were taken just three years apart — ’03 to ’06 — and show how quickly she went from an ‘old gal’ to a ‘little old lady’. I’ll miss her.

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Humble Pie . . . mmmmmm.

I guess I must’ve used an old email addy when I signed up for Classmates because as soon as I re-registered, I received a lovely note from coodinator Corie. She’s one of those gems I talked about. I’m still not going but it was nice to hear from someone. Do I act like a four year old, or what? Don’t answer that.

Look at all the wonderful progress I’ve made on my sweater:

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Ok, it’s not huge but now I have TWO inches instead of ONE. I’ve picked up a few handy tips so far that I’d like to pass along (though most of you already know them):

  1. When casting on a large number of stitches, place stitch markers on your needles every 20 sts or so. Makes it much easier to count at the end. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to count and recount a large number of stitches. “Did I miss one?” Grrr!
  2. If using handpainted yarn, switch between two balls of yarn every couple rows. You don’t have to cut the yarn, just carry it up on the WS, but it does help with pooling. At first I thought I might like how Faux pools, then I realized that the pooling wouldn’t match when I switched skeins (what I like to call a “DOH! Moment”). You can see distinct pooling at the bottom of the hem, then it switches to more of a random look.
  3. STOP STOP STOP looking at other sweater patterns after you cast on! I’m insane, I truly am. I hate Lion Brand Yarn but they have about a kajillion free patterns and I’ve found two that I like better than Banff. The first is a little bolero out of Homespun, which is a bulky yarn and I don’t want to bother with converting the pattern, but the second is this:

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THIS is the sweater I was looking for. To a T. Wide arms, longish, sorta swingy cardigan-style and, best of all, patterned in worsted. So now I’m seriously contemplating frogging everything and starting over with this. What do ya’ll think? About the sweaters, not my sanity . . .

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’87 RULES!

My best friend from high school emailed the other day — the ONLY person from HS that I’m still in contact with and she gets all the credit for that — asking if the ‘reunion people’ had found me yet. Huh? What reunion? Holy crap! It’s 2007. That’s 20 years folks. ’87 RULES!

I was living in Portland when my 10 year rolled around. I was thin, gorgeous, had a good-paying job and had just started dating this sailing stud named Hubbo. I had absolutely no intention of going to the affair, though I’d received an invite, but Hubbo talked me into it — I mean, let’s get honest here. Who doesn’t go to a high school reunion to show off a little? Seriously, if you’d been such great friends with these people, you would have stayed in touch in the first place and wouldn’t need a reunion to reconnect.

We passed on the dinner portion of the gathering, meeting up with everyone after for drinks. I was nervous I wouldn’t remember anyone’s names (I’m terrible with names) but I suprised myself. “Hey, Chris! Devin, wassup! Looking good, Kari!” We had a great time connecting with everyone and I felt good about going. And, as I suspected, I didn’t stay in touch with one person there for the next ten years.

Long story short, I won’t be going to this one. First of all, I haven’t heard from a soul about it. That could be forgiven if:

  1. My parents hadn’t lived in the same house and had the same phone number for the last 30 years.
  2. I wasn’t so easily found on a simple Google search (try it out: LaDonna Bubak — FIVE pages of results, at least half of which lead to an active email address).
  3. I hadn’t posted on Classmates.com (the reunion’s official site) to send me info.
  4. We didn’t have just 85 graduates to track down!

Secondly, we’ll be traveling up to Oregon for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary on June 2 and I have no desire to drive up again two weeks later. Thirdly, June 16 is the beginning of our deadline, so there’s just no way. Lastly, even if all of the above was moot, I really don’t care about hanging out with those folks again. Don’t get me wrong, there are some terrific gems there but, like I said, I haven’t talked to a single one in 20 years and I doubt I’ll start now.

To be really honest with myself (and all the internet), there is still a teensy tinsy part of me that would like to ‘show off’ a little, but, for the most part, I don’t feel like I need to prove anything anymore. Those people had little influence on me in HS and have even less now — betchya a dollar most of them feel the same way.

Still, it would’ve been nice to have been invited to my own reunion . . .

PS: I started Banff last night and managed to knock off a couple inches. I transferred it to some scrap yarn and ‘tried it on’. It’ll definitely have less ease than the pattern calls for but it’ll still be plenty baggy.

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It’s My Perogative

That Bobby Brown song keeps running through my head. Isn’t it a woman’s perogative to changer her mind? Well, I did it. I changed my mind. After three hours of hurting my brain with math (and watching Idol), I gave up on figuring out how to use Faux for the Starsky pattern. I hope to knit it up someday but not today. I’ve since switched back to Knitty’s Banff.

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I grabbed Stitch N’ Bitch Nation for guidance and figured that my stitch ration (between what the pattern’s gauge is and mine) was 1.4 and the row ratio was 1.3. That would have me casting on 120 sts instead of 80-something for the S/M size. The patterns L/XL size calls for 98 cast on sts. My swatch was about 25 sts and ended up being about 3.5″ wide. I could handle losing a few inches of gauge, I think, so I’m just going to use the large sizing and follow the pattern, adjusting for length, of course (I’ll be sure to check after a few rows to see if it’ll work). I think my weary brain can handle it. Still scary and not my preferred way of doing it but I just can’t find a pattern for a sweater I like with the same gauge as my yarn.

Cross your fingers . . .

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Dorkus Malorkus

My only goal for this weekend’s race was to NOT finish dead last. I suppose by quitting early, I didn’t technically finish so my birthday wish came true! Instead of beating against the wind the whole way — unusual for this event — we just tucked into China Camp State Park and had a Cinco de Mayo potluck on the beach with some friends. WAAAAY more fun! I can’t believe I didn’t take my camera – dorkus malorkus. Luckily, not everyone was as absent minded as I was. Emmy got this shot of Rob and his buddy The Pirate Pinata.

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He was #7 to take a whack at the tiny terror and blew it to smithereens! Half the candy shattered and all that was left of the poor guy was his head.  (Yes, that’s Black Sabbath on his shirt – so proud!)

We had a terrible night’s sleep. The wind had calmed by the time we all stumbled home so the anchorage was pleasant and just slightly rolly. We were gently rocked to sleep, only to be awoken two hours later by waves slapping and wind howling. The chop grew and kept us bouncing around all over the cabin. At 4:30, we both were awake and had a heart-warming conversation about our relationship and chatted about various stuff. I guess we finally fell back to sleep because next thing I knew it was 8:30 and we had to GO if we were planning on catching the tide. I’ll spare the nautical detail but suffice it to say, sailing WITH a strong current is much faster and more comfy than sailing AGAINST a strong current (think salmon swimming upstream).

We had a beautiful sail under Barbie (I named our pretty pink and purple spinnaker), had a fantastic brunch at The Anchorage restaurant, took a nap and lazed about. A perfect birthday, if you ask me! On top of that, no one forgot my birthday! Even my dorky brother, who didn’t actually call me till the next day, thought about it and decided he didn’t want my opinion of him to improve. Now who’s the dorkus?

I dropped by the PO yesterday on a whim and there was a package from Nosy1. Inside was a little birthday cupcake candle and cute little card. She’s so rad!

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Now on to some important stuff. That darn sweater is totally buggin’ me. I’ve ‘decided on’ no fewer than SIX different patterns only to reject them for one reason or another.

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I feel like the cats on Seinfeld who kept breaking up with perfectly nice people for stupid reasons. The problem is that I don’t want to spend all that time knitting a sweater that I’ll never wear and don’t absolutely love. But I feel like I may have found “The One”. I’ve always liked Knitty’s Starsky but the suggested yarn is bulky and I don’t have enough Faux to double-strand it. Besides, it’d probably be too bulky then. But today I found Lara’s podcast on reconstructing Starsky for worsted weight yarn. Two changes: use the XXL size and decrease 18 times instead of 14. That may just be the ticket! I’ll prolly change my mind tomorrow. . .

For now, I’ll leave you with one cat who’s totally satisfied with his life:

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