Friday, May 27, 2011

Never Stop Knitting

Recently, it came up in conversation that a friend thought I had stopped knitting. Well, as it turns out, I never stopped knitting; I just stopped finishing things. Here's the current lineup of what is on my needles (and spindle and hook.)

Spring Forward socks: I cast on for these immediately after Sheep & Wool in a moment of renewed knitting motivation. Surprisingly, it's kept up, and I'm almost finished with sock #1. It also helps to have really tiny feet. (Yarn: Tess Designer Yarns Super Socks)

Haruni Shawl: I don't have much of a yarn stash, but the stash I do have is largely made up of sock yarn. Shawls it is! I'm slowly plugging away on this one; do any of you knitters feel that shawls get slightly less exciting each time a row gets slightly longer? (Malabrigo sock)

First spinning project: Two years ago I learned to spin on a borrowed spindle, but at the time I didn't want to start any new hobbies. Whatevs. I bought myself a spindle at Sheep & Wool this year, along with some really cheap practice roving. I also got some nice BFL roving, but I'm saving that for when I get my singles a little more even.

Lakeside Knee-highs: I can't even remember when I started these, and this sock has been sitting in this state for quite a while now. I considered ripping it out and using the yarn for something else, but it is pretty good looking. I'll just let it sit around for a while, reminding me of my failure. (Knitpicks Essentials sock)

Crocheted granny square blanket: Inspired by Attic24's colorful blankets, I ordered 12 different colors of wool yarn. I'm using this tutorial, and so far have about 35 squares. It'll probably take me the rest of my life to finish this, but when it's done, it will embody awesomeness.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rocky Gap, Maryland & Pennsylvania

A few weekends ago Jason and I went to explore the "skinny part" of Maryland (aka Western Maryland), and nearby Pennsylvania. Of course, because this happens on all of my vacations, it rained most of the time. Because I know my luck, I planned ahead and bought myself a new rain jacket. Go me! We stayed at the Rocky Gap Resort near Cumberland, Maryland. The hotel is actually in a state park, which is great: we could just walk to trails. And also a random cemetery in the woods:

Even though it was raining, we decided on the Evitt's Homesite Trail, which would take us through a canyon and up a mountain. This trail was marked "difficult", but it wasn't really. There was a 1000' elevation change, but it was spread out over many miles. There's no way this was actually 5 miles, like the trail map claimed. If you add up the numbers on the signs, you get more like 6 or 6.5. So, who knows. After hiking down into the canyon, we crossed a small stream. There was a pretty impressive waterfall leading from the dam enclosing the lake, but it was hard to see through the trees.

The trail was marked quite well, with white blazes on what seemed like every other tree. This is a far cry from a lot of western trails that use rock cairns, which cause you to panic every time you see a small mound of stones. "Wait, is that a cairn? Or a pile of rocks? OH GOD I AM GOING TO DIE THE MOUNTAIN LIONS ARE GOING TO EAT ME."

Then, all of the sudden, we were in Pennsylvania! We walked to another state! Here I am hugging the Maryland side of the Mason-Dixon line, which I took to add to my collection of "people hugging Mason-Dixon markers." Right now there is only one other picture in this collection, taken in Delaware, but we're working on it.

Hmm, how about proofreading your signs before making them and lugging them up a mountain? Can you spot the error?

The next day we decided to act more civilized (i.e., shower), and drove up to Pennsylvania to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. I can't really think of anything funny or cynical to say about this house (other than you really have to have some balls to build a house over a waterfall) because it really was pretty impressive. I loved the walk-out from the living room down to the water... but see how close it is to the waterfall? Super dangerous! They don't allow photography inside, but to me it seemed like this house was built for small people. Sign me up! Also, extremely humid. The whole place was very damp, and the upholstered furniture gave off a musty smell.

So, Cumberland, Maryland? Totally like this.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Kitty

For my 13th birthday, my parents got me a kitten, who we named Snickers. We brought her home in a laundry basket in the backseat of our minivan. For the first few weeks, Snickers stayed in my room, and would wake me up in the middle of the night, mewling for me to pick her up and put her on the bed. When I went away to college, Snickers stayed with my parents, and I looked forward to seeing her every time I went back home.

Yesterday morning Snickers passed away at the age of 17. She was a sweet cat, and I can't think of anything mischievous that she ever did (unlike my cat Kiska, who added eating all my pepper plant seedlings to her list of misdeeds this week). She was quiet and sneaky, but always left reminders of her presence on all of our clothes in the form of long, white hairs. Thanks for spending your life with us. We'll miss you, Snick.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Home Improvement: Craft Room

Jason always gets after me for saying, in regard to the house, "I love the colors, I'm not changing any of them!" and then proceeding to change them all. I have now repainted the entire basement. No matter what I say, I will never be "done" decorating the house.
The final room was my craft bunker (so-called because it is in the basement and does not have any windows). The green on the walls and the florescent light made everything look sickly. In incarnation one, I had a Target bookcase that literally fell apart, and a kitchen table for a workspace.

Then, I got a larger Ikea desk on craiglist from a guy who was moving to Norway the next day. I don't know, maybe in Norway your neighbors will scoff at you for owning Ikea stuff. "Sweden? Really Erik? Have some self-respect."

The panels on the bottom were straight-up glued to the wall. I have no idea what was going on there. I did a ton of cutting in and priming.

Before you have a heart attack that I painted something gray instead of a bright color, remember what I said about this room not having any windows? I don't want to feel like I'm sewing in a coffin. The walls are Martha Stewart Whetstone Gray (color matched to Behr), and the white is off-the-shelf Behr white in semi-gloss. It took 4, FOUR coats to cover up the dark green.

I replaced the light, as you saw in my previous post, and covered a bulletin board (more on that later.) The result is a craft bunker that I actually want to be in, and will be a pleasant place should we ever have to take cover from a tornado.
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