Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hotdogs, Peanuts and $8 Beers

What else could that be but Stitch n Pitch? It seems like I've been gearing up for this event for a while. 60+ pairs of Hometeam Sock Yarn, a newly designed hat pattern and knitting up a bench warmer pillow for Hilltop East kits.

Now that it's game day and I'm a little uninspired on what to take to the game. I really should take a WIP like my Montego Bay Scarf or my other toe-up sock. Or maybe the Jaywalker. Oh, the list goes on. However, what I'd really like to do is cast on for another pair of Hooray for Me gloves. I knit my first pair of these at the first annual Stitch n Pitch. They were fun to knit and I loved them. Then I lost them. Hmmm... decisions, decisions.

While I'm thinking about this, I'll give you these to look at:

Pillow before:

Two stockinette panels attached together with an applied I-cord:

And a little crocheted appliqué:

All felted and stuffed:

Easy peasy. My first design was a charted intarsia pattern. Then I got nervous about the felting and the fact I didn't really have time to do a test run. If the felting made the chart all wonky I'd be screwed. So I settled on appliqué. The second design was appliqués all over the pillow, but then I realized it would be all bumpy on your tushy. So, I settled for plain and simple. When I have more time (perhaps for Seahawks) I'll redesign this to have a handle and bench warmer blanket. But not anytime soon. I've had it with stockinette for a while.

It's a little hard to tell in this picture - the grass is out of control. Um, yeah. A little learning curve for our first "adult" lawn. Both Flynn-o and I grew up with massive lawns that we had to mow. The difference is back then we got PAID for mowing the grass (oh, the days - $5 for the front yard, $3 for the back yard. If I saved all summer I could get NIKES for school.) Anyway, Flynn-o has been the grass keeper this summer. After he left for CT it rained for a week straight and the warmed up quickly. And the grass grew and grew. I tried mowing it yesterday and the reel mower is so not going to cut it (um, literally). I need to come up with plan B - and soon. If this jungle exists when Flynn-o gets home, I've got a little 'xplainin' to do!

Ok, the pictures are over and no decisions on what to take to the game. Guess I'll have to surprise... myself!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Eye Candy Friday

From a funky garden in Georgetown, Seattle.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The apron that didn't want to be made

It's quiet here. The rain is pouring down and dampening the usual summer sounds that I've grown accustomed to since starting to work from home. The evenings have been quiet too - I'm bacheloretting it and am happy to have some time at home to concentrate on projects that have fallen by the wayside.

So, on Monday evening I made myself this tasty meal:

It's been a long time since this Idaho girl has had such a yummy spud!

Then I began cutting some of this tasty fabric:

To make an apron for this lovely friend,
Whose getting married (to this dude) in September. (YES, THIS IS A GIFT UPDATE / Shannon received a lovely Lantern Moon clutch for her 30th.)

Although I was working from a simple pattern, there was a new technique that I haven't used - "stitch in the ditch". I guess this is a popular quilting term, but I couldn't find it in any of my sewing books. No sweat - I have internet! I love you internets!

So after some research, mental cheerleading and a beer, I carefully cut all the pieces. Yay - the hard part is over. Heh. I start sewing and my sewing machine will. not. work. The thread coming from the bobbin was consistently jamming up - every single pass. So I proceed to take apart the under carriage and clean out all the fuzzies, do some oiling and after some tense moments figuring out the reassembly I put it back together again. And no change. Damn!

Yesterday I took my machine into the quilt shop and it takes them about 30 seconds to diagnose the problem. I'm using the wrong bobbin. Holy hell - how did that happen? I don't even know where this random Singer bobbin came from, but it happened to be the one I grabbed for this project. Off to the sewing shop at the other end of town in rush hour traffic. Yay!

Last night after our neighborhood block watch meeting I sat down to finish this sucker up. There was some seam rippage. Ok, a lot of seam rippage. But when it was all said and done I was extremely proud of my first attempt of stitching in the ditch.

But then, on the home stretch, the very last seam, I run out of thread in the bobbin. Right in the focal part of the apron. Riiippp! On the next pass the machine starts skipping stitches. Riiipppp! Insert new needle. Then the unthinkable happens:

Um, yeah. That's a problem. Seriously, folks. I ripped the very last seam out THREE times. WHATEVER!

At last, I present the finished apron, modeled by my giant dye pot.

I hope she likes it!

Our block watch meeting was interesting. The community relations coordinator for SPD came to talk to us about concerns in the neighborhood. He was very personable and I really feel like he cares about south Seattle. Crime is down in our little corner of the hood. This is good news, as in the last two years we've had two car thefts, one big drug bust (with narcotics dogs and the whole works), two major police chases - one involving a car that crashed into two police cars (this happened during the drug bust) and one dude fleeing on foot that took police through our back yard. This was all in a four HOUSE radius. Bizarre, huh? The rest of the time it is completely quiet here and I've never, ever felt unsafe about walking around at night or any other time. Personally I think all of these incidents were linked to one house. The house is now somewhat quiet - thus the neighborhood is quiet.

Anyway, the officer at our meeting did a good job reminding us about stranger danger for adults, property protection (i.e. keeping your windows closed when you leave the house) and preventing crime. He also helped us organize our community block party. Did you know that on August 7th on Seattle you are allowed to block off a neighborhood street without permits to host a neighborhood party? Pretty cool, huh? Perhaps you'd like to organize your own Night Out. You can register (before July 27th) here:

Also, just a reminder - if you haven't got your Stitch n Pitch tickets yet, you can still get them from Hilltop Yarn East. We are offering $30 kits that include the ticket and a skein of the Mariner's colored sock yarn by Hazel Knits. What a deal! If you already have your tickets and want some of the yarn, let me know - I'll hook you up!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Flynn completes his ROCI checklist...

Flynn-o leaves for his "ROCI" (Reserve Officer Candidate Indoctrination - U.S. Coast Guard) program in two weeks. He's been faithfully doing his sit-ups, push-ups and workouts for the last couple of months to get in shape for his physical and he's got a list of things to get ready. This an exciting opportunity for him, and maybe even more importantly (well to me) it allows him to transfer out of his 72-hour-ready-deployable unit into a stateside only position. Just in the nick of time - from what the rumor mill is churning about.

Flynn grew up in a counter-culture household. He was born in a barn (literally - this is a little joke of ours. But it's true - his parents lived in an apartment in the loft of a barn. He was born at home with a midwife assisting.) His family lived off the land and they made a little extra cash selling hand-dyed batik work and produce at the market. It was a simple life out on an island. Up with nakedness, dancing, music. Down with guns, war and violence. You get the picture.
I love this photo of his parents wedding. So late 60's / early 70's!

He spent his young adult life working on and eventually driving small passenger / eco cruise type boats in Alaska in the summer and snowboarding all winter.

When I met him in his late 20's he was a fun loving, unstructured flirt just starting college. (Now he's a fun loving, structured flirt!:) After a while he began to miss driving boats something fierce and he loved the idea of search and rescue so he decided to join the Coast Guard reserves to get his boat driving fix, serve his fellow mariners and get a little $$ for school.

He signed his joining papers on August 29, 2001. On August 31st we left for a 10 day trip to Manhattan. On September 9th I caught the red eye back to Seattle and he went to Cape May, NJ. His first day of training was September 10, 2001. You can see where this is heading... Next thing we know planes are crashing into buildings we just visited and he was pretty much automatically on active duty. On his second day of Coast Guard school. He was "officially" called up two days after returning home from training. He stayed on active duty for almost a year. Away from home. Yeah, it really caught us off guard. He went back to reserve status for 5 months and then he was off to Iraq and Kuwait for a 9 month mission - starting in February 2003 - eight days after our first anniversary, one month before the start of the Iraq war.


Prior to joining the reserves Flynn had never even held a gun before - let alone shoot one.

So fast forward a few years. He's a career guy now with a fancy-pants job at a good company. And, it turns out Flynn loves the Coast Guard. I mean really loves it. He loves the traditions, rituals, camaraderie and probably most of all - the gear! Sure it's a little hard for him to bite his tongue about things like, oh, THE #@$!-ing WAR and other *uh-hem* reckless decisions our administration makes, but he feels like he's trying to be part of the process and progress and he's contributing in an effort to serve his country. Really it's more than me and my big opinionated mouth can say for myself. And that's the kind of guy he is - he'd much rather be part of the solution and that's one of the reasons I dig him.

And now here we are. With his checklist for the ROCI program.
  • New boots - check
  • Medal bar updated - check
  • Formal blues fitted, cleaned and pressed - check
  • New tattoo - check
Hey, wait! What? Yep, he's been talking about getting some new ink for the last 7 years. And all my stalling tactics have been worn thin. Since his life in the Coast Guard has impacted his life so much I guess it's fitting he chose something CG related. Here it is - fresh and new, red and ouchy:

He loves it when I call him a boats-wain (rather than a "bose-an". Heh.) I just found out today he likes it when people call him just "boats". Hmmm, a new nickname, perhaps?

This week in pictures

BLTs are better in the summer
Even though it's not officially tomato season, I'm convinced that BLTs taste better in the summer.

painty hands
The house project is coming along nicely.

Flynno giving the grass it's second haircut. Note to self: get mower blades sharpened.

Put some flowers in the bare planters. These will look much better filled in. I was super proud of myself to put this one together from mostly from plants off the 99 cent table.

front step planter
This one will be fun when it fills out - a little fuschia, a little coleus, some impatients, a begonia and some grassy thing that starts with "drac_ _ _ _".

Oh faithful dahlias. You keep coming back to that neglected little bed.

Easy care perennial bed. Top down view.
My goodies came from Wende at thriftygoodness. (She's been working on a big update - go get yourself some yummies!)

M's fever yarn
I worked on a large order of M's fever sock yarn for Hazel Knits...

gardening books
and looked through some books.

montego bay scarf
I started a the Montego Bay Scarf from the latest Interweave Magazine...

Hazelknits sock yarn
and detangled the sock yarn mess.

What a busy week around here! I'm looking a just about more of the same this week. Cheers!