Saturday, January 31, 2009

bitten by gauge and other things

I knitted up about 100 yards of yarn on Best Friend's sweater before I realized that gauge was wrong.

I'm making another Emerald. Since I made one for Sister last year, I went ahead and cast on with the same yarn (Lamb's Pride Bulky) and the same size needle (US10). The sweater's knitted in the round from the bottom up and starts with 20 rows of ribbing. Partway through the ribbing I realized that I cast on 114 sts and not 118 but I'd make up for it when I knit on the shawl collar.

It wasn't until I knit about an inch of stockingnette that I checked the gauge and realized that it 4 stitches to the inch instead of 3 stitches. That's a big difference when we're talking 114 (or 118) stitches around.

I did a swatch on US size 13 and got 2.5 stitches to the inch, plus it was rather open so wouldn't be quite as warm as intended. The mohair content didn't bloom enough to make it a solid fabric.

It looks like I'll have to use size 11s but both of my size 11 needles are in use, in a commissioned baby blanket and a take-along shawl. I could either buy another needle, or finish one of those projects. I'm opting to finish the baby blanket.

So sorry Best Friend! Your sweater has been preempted by a baby blanket, again.

In other news, I lost my handknit beret, which I think of as my Obama beret, since I made it with the trip to the inauguration in mind. I think I left it at the state capitol when I went yesterday for a By the People lobby day on immigrant rights.

I really liked the yarn. It was Sheep Shop 2 in the G43 colorway (lovely name, eh?). It's like Manos del Uruguay and costs about the same, but softer and with less yardage. I bought the yarn from Lakeside Fibers in Madison, Wis, using a gift certificate given to me by Mother-in-law.

Last night I pulled out a skein of purple Manos with the idea of cranking out another hat but worked on the baby blanket instead. The receipient is waiting for it and I do have other hats. Plus, it's easier to do the blanket while reading the Twilight series.

Yes, I've been bitten by the Twilight bug. They're such fast and fun reads. I'm in Team Jacob and love that part of Book 4 is written from his point of view instead of Bella's. The sociologist in me is really interested in finding out how his culture(s) work. Plus he's got a better sense of humor and more light-hearted than Edward. Even the titles of his chapters are funny.

And lastly, Husband and I traded in our cellphones and computer for iPhones. I love it. I have been posting pretty easily onto Facebook from the iPhone but for some reason can't blog from it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Big Day

On Jan 20, 2009 I got up at 6am in the predawn and put on all my clothes and then some. Walked with many, many, many others towards the National Mall.
This was a close as we ever got to the Capitol. We were closer to the Washington Monument than the Capitol. That's the Smithonian castle to the right.
We staked out our place near a Jumbotron by 8am. Sister decided to take a nap while we waited.
By 8:30am I could no longer feel my toes and we still had 2 hours until the inauguration. I thought "a Jumbotron's nothing more than a big TV. There's a big TV (not as big but big) at the apt. Let's go back to the apt." So Sister and I left, leaving our friends. Here's our view looking towards the Wash monument and way off in the distance to the right is the Lincoln memorial.

We had breakfast and coffee to warm up. When we left the restaurant, there were still huge numbers of people streaming toward the Mall. I was a bit surprised. I guess in my head, I thought of the Mall experience as being over and it was for me, but not for them. Everyone was so happy and excited!
We walked 2 miles back to the apt and watched the footage on CNN. The pictures of the entire mall just filled with people all the way back to the Lincoln Memorial was just amazing. I still get a bit verklempt thinking about it.
So, so, so, so many of us have been waiting for this day and here it is, "At Last."

New Media

While in DC, I attended the first speaker was Paul Soulellis who talked about how new media, like the internet, changes the way people think about time, space, and information. You can get his presentation at

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Red's Excellent DC Adventure, Jan 2009

I have grant proposals and reports due, but I can't focus, because I'm thinking about my upcoming most-excellent adventure.

A friend of mine has organized Salon 2009, a roundtable to discuss the roles culture, politics, economics, sustainability, the built environment and information will play in shaping the coming years. More info below.

Well, that sounds like fun, so I signed up and plan to drive. I'm staying with Sister, of course. Then I thought, well, if I'm driving, I might as well make plans to see friends along the way. So I e-mailed everyone I know in NC and said "hey, I'm driving through your state on Jan 17 and 21. Let's meet up!"

Long story short, here's my itinerary, so far.

Jan 17: Drive from Atlanta to Falls Church, VA where Sister lives. Take a dinner break 6pm to 8pm in Raleigh, NC with friends from European trip. Estimated to arrive at Sister’s place at 1am.
Jan 18: Hang out with Sister. Meet an old college friend for coffee in the afternoon. Dinner with other friends from European trip who are in town for Salon 2009 and/or Inauguration.
Jan 19: Salon 2009 in the afternoon. Chad is a friend from my European trip and about 5 other fellows from that trip are going too. 2 of them are speakers. Salon 2009 goes from 1pm to 5 or 6pm, then we’ll be going out for drinks afterwards. Some of them are going to balls and such after that, but not me.
Jan 20: Whatever Sister has planned. Very low probability that we will actually be outside on the Mall for the Inauguration. More likely on our butts with a beverage in hand watching it on TV. And warm.
Jan 21: Drive from Falls Church to Atlanta, with a coffee break in Greensboro, NC with Miss Violet from the Lime and Violet knitting podcast! She's from Omaha, NE, but on the latest podcast, she mentioned that she'll be in NC next week, so I contacted her to say "Hey, I'm going to be in NC that time too. Let's meet for a coffee and knitting break." And she said "sure." Estimated to arrive at home at 1am.
Jan 22: sleep
Jan 23: work

I'm really psyched about seeing all these friends I haven't seen a while because we all live in different places. And I'll get the indulge in different passions in my life: sociology, politics, eating and drinking, and knitting.

So, instead of working on, oh, work, I've been surfing the net for knitting projects. I've got a sweater on the needles for Best Friend, and a sweater for me, but I want something new, a small quick project just for this occasion. I'm leaning towards the Bainbridge scarf. I have one skein of silk/merino yarn from Cherry Tree Hill yarn, in the Spring Frost colorway that I got years ago. I'm thinking when the Bainbridge scarf is not folded and tied up against the neck, it can lay flat, like a big necklace/cowl. That's what I'm hoping anyway.

The Inaugural Salon: a gathering on the eve of change - January 19

Dear friend,The German Marshall Fund would like to remind you of an interesting opportunity for those people coming into Washington, DC for the upcoming Inauguration.

Last December, one of our American Marshall Memorial Fellows, Chad Evans (Spring 2007) -- inspired by the coming change in Washington, DC and across the US -- decided to create an event with his close colleague, Paul Soulellis, to celebrate and directly involve you in that change.On January 19, 2009 Chad and Paul will host "The Inaugural Salon: a gathering on the eve of change." Please join them -- and the German Marshall Fund. (
The Inaugural Salon will bring together brilliant and talented friends and colleagues (including several Marshall Memorial Fellows and GMF experts), who are converging on DC to be a part of this historical moment. To catalyze the conversation, a group of incredible speakers will present their personal passion and their hopes for America and the world in 2009.

They are creating an intimate space to engage in conversations about the roles culture, politics, economics, sustainability, the built environment and information will play in shaping the coming years.

But they are also giving back – with a goal to raise $10,000 and give it to an organization that is working to strengthen the future of Washington, DC. They will donate ALL proceeds from The Inaugural Salon to City Year DC -- reflecting the spirit of community and grassroots giving they hope the event will inspire ( please join all of us on the afternoon of January 19, 2009 in Washington, DC at the House of Sweden.

And even if you cannot be with us, please consider giving to City Year at (simply click the big yellow "Register" button and follow the simple directions). Your contribution at any level would make a tremendous difference to the cause and to the spirit they are trying to instill with The Inaugural Salon.Thank you. And please contact Chad if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you later this month!
Chad Evans and Paul Soulellis
The Inaugural Salon January 19, 2009Contact:
Details and registration:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

falling out of love with KnitPicks options

I really liked the KnitPicks options circular needle set. But today, for the second time, the flexible cable part came apart from the metal part. Plus, the zippered pouches the set comes in keep breaking. Gah.

I think I'm going to go back to my collection of regular circular needles. I have a ton already; they're listed at the bottom of the sidebar here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

First Finished Objects of 2009

This is the Wool Peddler Shawl from Folk Shawls. It's for my mom. Her birthday was Dec 23, but better late than never, eh?
This is a baby blanket for a friend in San Diego. I started the middle section, in linen stitch, possibly my favorite stitch. I like how the alternating the yarns gives it a subtle striping look. The borders in garter stitch, finished off with a row of single crochet. Simple and nice.

Usually I'm not a big fan of garter stitch, but this project changed my mind. I may do future blankets in garter stitch.
Tonight, I'm going to cast on for Best Friend's Emerald sweater from Knitty. She says she's in no hurry, but it was supposed to be her birthday present, back in Nov '08.

New year, new hair

I asked for something short, something professional, and with a dash of emo-boy. When my bangs get a little longer and with a little more product, I might get the emo-boy look. But until then, Rihanna will be my inspiration.

eta: here's a link to a pic of an emo-boy. 0boy.JPG . They have the hair flopping in the face. They look kind of like goths, but not as depressing. Think Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy.

Sister, on the other hand, says I reminded her of Trinity from the Matrix movies. Ah hahahahahahaha. There's no way you'd ever get me in a cat suit.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Forget it!

Pretty much, no lender will lend us money to buy the condo because 23% of the HOA fees are late and there so many foreclosures in the area.

So we are going to ask for our earnest money back since we're not the reason for the rejection and then take a break from the condo hunting thing.

Dang. We both really, really liked the unit, the area, etc. I was really looking forward to having no yard and to cutting my commute from 26 miles one way to 10 miles one way.

Double dang.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Not again

Our mortgage application has been turned down again. Something about too many foreclosures (including the unit we want, hmmm) in a 2 mile radius, etc. Commencing Operation Lowering Expectations now.

I have to remind myself that this condo is a want, not a need. Yes, it's a great deal (if we could get a loan!) but the building won't disappear. At some point, the housing market will stabilize and we can take a look at it again.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The old waiting game

Still haven't closed on the condo. The mortgage broker is saying that the as of January 1st 2009 there have been 500 changes to the guidelines of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The mortgage lender we're going with is not approved by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or any government lenders and they are the only ones doing loans right now. Plus, the condo property we're looking at is in a declining market with 15 foreclosures within a 2 mile radius of the condo and there are also 25% of residence in that specific building that are defaulting on there HOA dues.

All kinds of happy news, eh? At least we do have a house already, and have no pressing need to move, so all in all, it's not a stressful situation. Unless you consider waiting stressful in and of itself.

What is stressful, on the other hand, is work. A funder is coming to do a monitoring visit at the end of the month and we have not been meeting our client numbers (duh, it's a recession! No one's starting businesses now). Plus I'm trying to balance our organization's budget and again, the recession is making it hard. I have nightmares that all our funding is pulled and we have no money and I have to lay everyone off and I'll lose my job. The impending visit from the funder is not helping my stress levels.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Aaaaaaaaand I'm back!

From Dec 24, 2008 to Jan 4, 2009, I was on staycation. Loved it and didn't want to come back. I slept in every day, watched hours of TV, finished knitting projects, read "trashy" novels, started a painting, and did some packing. I packed up the wedding china, the wine glasses, and all the small pictures. The walls are looking a bit bare.

Sorted through the jewelry, paring it down to the stuff I wear regularly and the special occasion pieces, and ended up with only about a third of what I had before. The rest is stuff like $12 earrings from Kohl's or clip-ons my mom gave me. Not really anything with any resale value. I'm thinking of donating it to Dress for Success or something.

There were days I didn't leave the house, not even to walk to the end of the driveway to get the mail. Towards the end, the computer at home conked out so I didn't even have internet access. It was kind of nice to be all cocooned and incommunicado with the rest of the world, except through the TV.

Husband was very jealous. He did not have a staycation, and he was sick.

Good thing we didn't go anywhere. We still haven't closed on the condo and every few days I had to make copies of our personal documents and run them over to the mortgage broker. Gah.