Monday, February 25, 2008

Look at me I’m stranding hats!

I did not post the hat I finished on Friday night. It is Lillehammer from Cider Moon.
So here it is now.

It was a great pattern and I really liked how it came out. I knit this for a friend’s birthday. It is tomorrow, same as mine. Of course, I did not mail it out in time, because, well I was too lazy to go Saturday before the movies or to the airport post office on Sunday. He is only one state over, so he will probably get it on Wednesday. However, who knows, maybe the mail gods are looking over me and he will get it tomorrow. I really like this stranding business and I think I am doing a pretty good job. Who woulda thunk it? Maybe I will make a wooly vest. I have started working on a design for a hat. Just need to do the gauge swatch and figure it all out. It is times like this that I like knitting best of all… when the creative ideas start pouring out of my little brain. So many projects, so little time.

Other knitting news, I ripped out the partial arm on the Sweater of Doom and have started turning it into a vest. I am almost done with the arm holes and then will just have the neck to do. Possibly could finish it tonight. It is very exciting. I have been thinking I should look over all of my WIPs and figure out what I will finish and what I should frog. I feel like I have started stuff I will never finish and maybe I could use the yarn for something else. Well, whatever I decide, I am going to try to alternate between projects that I have started and new projects so I get some stuff completed, but I do not feel like I can not be creative. I usually am doing more than one thing at a time anyway. I get bored easily.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar Movie reviews

Yesterday the hubby and I went to see all 5 Best Picture nominees. We did this last year as well. I enjoy it, although it is a long time in the theatre and I do not drink enough water, so by the end of the evening I am feeling a little off. I will say this year’s nominees are not as strong as last year’s movies.
I will review them in the order we saw them, not in the order of which I like best.

1) “Michael Clayton” This is a solid film. It is not wondrous, but it is enjoyable. It is about Michael Clayton, who is a “fixer” for gigantic law firm. He is sent to fix a lawyer who has gone off his meds. However, they mess around with the timeline at the beginning. So the stuff at the beginning actually happens in the middle of the narrative. There did not seem to be a reason for this. I do not mind messing with time if it matters to the story, like in “Memento”, but I did not see the point of it in “Michael Clayton”. It is a good movie, but not a phenomenal movie. I will be the first to admit I am not a huge George Clooney fan. He does a good job in the movie. However, Tom Wilkinson does a great job as a lawyer gone rouge. There were no really nice knits in which of course also knocks it down a bit. I am giving it 2 ½ knitting needles out of 4.

2) “There Will Be Blood” This is old school drama. It is a period piece that takes place in the western US at the turn of the last century. It tells the story of Daniel Plainview, Oil Man. It is based on the book “Oil!” by Upton Sinclair. I have not read this book but I have read other Sinclair novels. Sinclair was a socialist so the character of Daniel Plainview is a villain because all he cares about is money. This movie is great because of Daniel Day-Lewis. He puts in a phenomenal performance. I liked this movie a lot. It is well made and the acting superb. There were people who complained about the ending, but I am sure that was the ending in the book. I am also sure there was a lot more stuff in the book which no doubt contributed to the ending. However, the movie was 2 ½ hours long as it was and I think whatever they did not put in did not take away from the film a great deal. There were no nice knits, but there some great lamps so it sort of evens out. I am giving it 3 ½ knitting needles.

3) “Atonement” I am not sure why this movie made it to the top 5, I know I saw better movies than this last year, “3:10 to Yuma”, “Waitress”, and “Lars and The Real Girl” to name a few. It is about a girl who lies and what damage it causes. They also mess with the time line. Why? I assume so at the end we can be shocked and stunned, but I reality it was just sort of irritating. The movie was okay, it is watchable, but there are parts which seem to drag and other parts that seem to be missing. It is trying too hard to be arty and beautiful and meaningful and it really does succeed as a movie. Although Keira Knightly and James McAvoy are very pretty. Plus there are very few knits, which is wrong since this is England in the 30’s and 40’s and there would have been a lot of people wear hand knits. I give it 2 knitting needles.

4) “Juno” This was the only film I had seen before so it has already been rated and I am sticking to that rating. It is a good film, funny, touching etc. However, seeing it again, I noticed a couple of things. Juno is wearing some really cute fair isle vests at the start of the movie. Also, there is a driving scene and you can see mountains in the background. Now this movie is supposedly taking place in MN, there are no mountains any where near MN. I have lived here all my life, it is pretty flat, there are some parts of the state which have rolling hills, but nothing that you could mistake for mountains. This is something that bothers me, just because I think it can be avoided by being careful with the shots.

5) “No Country for Old Men” This is a great film about a guy who stumbles across a crime scene and gets himself involved. It is a tight film, has great acting and it is wonderfully shot. I love the Coen brothers movies and this one does not disappoint. Javier Bardem is amazing as a hired gun. As is Tommy Lee Jones as the sheriff who has seen more than he cares to of humanity. This is my pick for the academy award. It is excellent and I give it 4 knitting needles.

I also discovered that I can knit in the movies, but I can not tink in the dark.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Two Fisted Knitting

Okay, I love stranded knitting. I was able to cruise through all the color work on my hat in under a 24 hr period. That includes sleeping and reading the Sunday paper and playing some solitaire on the computer. Woohoo! I finished my hat for class and cast on for another one last night. I am hoping I can whip it out in the next couple of days and send it to a friend of mine who has a birthday coming up. Of course, the class hat was actually too big for me. I do not think I am very good at reading swatches. It does not matter though, as it fit my hubby to a tee and he looks marvelous in it. I only had one major screw up with the pattern, totally my fault as I charted it wrong, but no one will probably notice anyway. So I am very pleased with myself.
Here is the photo of it. Isn’t swell?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Land of TV shows

I watched both “Lost’ and “Supernatural” last night. They were both stressful. When did TV become so stressful? When I was a kid, there were not shows that caused me to worry or think what will happen next. Well, except Robotech, which I watched when I was in junior high and was really an animated soap opera. But it did not make me wonder what was really going on. There were alien robots trying to invade Earth and we were trying to fight them off. Not exactly overwhelming in possibilities, either we won or not.
I remember reading some article about how “Law and Order” was causing TV shows to become episodic rather than linear since there is little background of the characters and the crimes could happen any time. This was portrayed as a bad thing; however, this is how I remember most of the shows in my youth being like. I do not recall there being much substance to “Beretta” or “Kojak”, I did not have much supervision as a child. Or even something like “All in the Family” or “M*A*S*H” which would deal with some really serious issues, but it would be in one or two episodes. Of course, you did know stuff about the characters so perhaps that is the issue the author had with “Law and Order”.
Regardless, “Lost” was very good. Sayid IS one of the Oceanic 6. Yeah for me in guessing correctly. And there is a time anomaly on The Island. So, I am doing pretty well on my guessing. Sayid is too beautiful. And last night we got to see him in almost no clothes… mmm. However, seeing him being a hired gun is not a great feeling. Although it not like he really was a great humanitarian to start with and since we do not really know who he is eliminating, so it is possible that he is doing the world a favor.
So far, being off the Island seems a lot worse than being on it. As Sawyer pointed out last night it is not such a bad place. There is food and water and electricity and books and you do not get sick. So really, if you did not have any family or friends in the Real World why would you leave? I find it interesting that it is getting to the point on the show where a person watching would start to think that way. I would assume that it is written that way so viewers will not feel so bad for those who get left behind. I have a feeling that in the end, the Oceanic 6 will end up back on the Island. I think it is how it works. The Island keeps what is it considers its own.
In Supernatural, Sam lived the same day over and over again and every day Dean died. It was a trick by a Loki or Coyote like trickster god. Not sure what name they are giving him. However, it did give a glimpse into what Sam will be like when Dean does really die and it was just so depressing. I wonder if they are planning on ending the show this season. I hope not as it is what The Girl and I watch together. It would be nice to have it last a little longer. It is good bonding time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Yesterday I was feeling a little down, as you could probably tell from my blog posting. Sorry. I left work a little early because I just could not concentrate. I decided I would take a walk when I got home, I thought it might improve my mood. I went walking in the nature preserve next to my house. I do not go there very often because they do not let dogs in and when I go out for a walk, it seems like I should take the dogs with, or at least the crazy one. However, I felt like going alone. It was a balmy 16 degrees so it was not very crowded. I took some pictures to share.

About 50 years ago, this area was a lake. Apparently it was several miles wide. It was drained to put in the interstate next to it and now it is just a swamp, although it is still a “lake” in name.

I did not see much Nature. Well, I mean, there was trees and cattails and snow, which I know are technically “nature”, but I saw no animals. I saw evidence of animals. I think these are rabbit tracks, but I do not know for sure, Nature is not my specialty.

Towards the end of my walk I heard birds, but I could not see them. The only birds I saw were the big metal kind with red tails.
Here is a picture of the old people condos they built a few years ago. This used to be a cute little single family home and the VFW. They torn those down and put in these condos and after much fighting, the VFW was made smaller and added to the side of the condo building. Behind these condos are more old people condos which they torn down the local hardware store to put in. Richfield is a 1st ring suburb so it is an aging suburb. We have a lot of old people condos and just a block away from these is an assisted living center which replaced several blocks of single family houses. I always worry that our house will be next on the chopping block of progress.

Anyway, the walk wore me out, but I do not know that it made me feel better. I went home and worked on the Kick Ass-cot from Vikki Howell’s website. I am knitting it with Twize in Twack. I had knit up almost one whole side per her instructions and I did not like it with the fingerling weight yarn in it so I ripped it out and redid using different size needles instead of changing the yarn and I like I a lot better. I practiced knitting with my left hand while watching the Westminster Dog show, which I watch every year. I still do not like knitting with my left hand and my tension is not as even. However, I can do it I guess and that is what my goal was for the class. By the by, the Beagle won the show. It is the 1st time a beagle won at Westminster and he was very happy. He barked and jumped around. It always good to see the dogs excited.
I still did not feel great, especially since during every commercial they played these sad ads about dog in animal shelters. I can not adopt any more pets right now and I just felt bad that I could not bring these ones home too. I know I could end up being one of those crazy people you see on TV with like 100 cats in their house if I am not careful. Only I would have dogs. I know if I lived some where with more room I would have at least 4 dogs, maybe 5. I know, it is a sickness, I just love dogs. I am a responsible pet owner though and all of my pets are spade and neuter, except the littlest one because she has not been old enough until now to get it done. We just need to make an appointment. I take them to the vet every year to get checked out and they really have a pretty good life. I would never leave them behind if I had to move or whatever, not even my crazy dog Strider who has ADD.

The thing that made my night though was an ad I saw while watching the 10:00 news. Here in the fine state of Minnesota we have a “professional” basketball team. They are called the Timberwolves. They have a mascot called Crunch, who is a wolf, presumably one of the timber variety. Well, apparently Crunch’s birthday is fast approaching. Who knew that fictional mascot had birthdays? But the Timberwolves organization does not want to over look the birthday of their most valuable team member and they are having a special event to honor him. That’s right, if you come to February 24th game and are one of the 1st 5000 guests, you get a special gift to honor the birthday boy, A CRUNCH PUNCHING BAG. Who doesn’t celebrate their birthday by giving out images of themselves for others to beat upon? I know I am having a bunch made up of myself for my friends and family! LOL. Sports teams make me laugh. This has got to be the lamest promotion since the turkey drop on WKRP in Cincinnati. As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A wandering mind

I can not concentrate today. First off, I have thought it was Wednesday all day and then when I remember it is only Tuesday I become sad. I don’t know why exactly, but I really am sick of work this week.
I have tons of stuff to do at home.
I need to get my taxes off to my sister; she is a CPA and does my taxes for almost nothing. Normally, I drive down there, but I do not know that I am up to that task this year. One never knows what the weather will bring and I have been crazy busy on the weekends lately. Plus, I must face the fact that her 3 kids are getting to the point that they drive me absolutely nuts.
I have knitting to do. I am taking a class for a Fair Isle hat so I can learn to knit with both hands. I am a thrower, but I am quicker at it than most. Mainly, because I hold my knitting “incorrectly”. It works for me, but it is making learning picking difficult. Our homework this week is to practice knitting with the other hand. Bleah. I can do it, but I am no where near as fast and it hurts my hands. I need to learn how to do it though because I would like to make a Fair Isle tam and I think in the end it would be quicker to use two hands.
I finished up a pair of wristers for The Girl. It is the Little Green Wristers pattern from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders. Of course, she wanted them longer so I repeated the cuff pattern so it is 6 repeats long and they are red, not green. She did like them and she said she would wear them today. I did not take a picture because I was not thinking, so hopefully I will be able to corner her tonight and get picture.
I have been thinking that I should try to finish up the Sweater of Doom. The more I think about, the more I think I should just rip up the sleeve and make into a vest. I would like a vest and I think the sleeve being at the wrong gauge is going to bother me more than I care to admit. I think the bigger problem is that I would have to knit the other sleeve at the same gauge and it took way to stinking long to knit a ¾ sleeve at that gauge.
I have a ton of stuff I have started and never finished. Why do I do that? I know that I should be able finish some of them. So I think before I cast on anything new, I am going to have to finish up at least a couple projects. Some I think I might just rip up. If I haven’t worked on it in a year, will I ever? I doubt it.
Over the weekend, one of the cords on my Knitpicks Options set came out of the metal ends. I was so bummed out. I have asked my husband to give them a holler and get a replacement, but part of me thinks I could just shove some glue in the metal end and stick it back in. Would that work or would it cause problems? I am very disappointed that it does not seem to have any adhesive on it all. It is just stuff in the tube. That does not seem like a quality product in my opinion.
I have to work on The Girl’s rainbow socks. I am worried that they are too small and I will have to rip them up. The sensible thing to do would be to have her try them on so I know, but I am filled with dread at the prospect of being correct.
I also have been working on a vest that I have the entire front and back panels all knit, but I need to stitch them together to finish it up and I have been too lazy to do that. Here it is almost half way through February and I have not finished anything for me to wear for winter. I had better hurry.

Here is a photo of a boat off the coast of Bonaire. I wish I was there right now. Knitting in the sun.

Friday, February 08, 2008

“Lost” in thought

I thought I would spend a little time discussing “Lost”. I am so happy it is back on the air. Although I find each episode leads to more questions. So I am going to put down some of my theories. I will not stand by these if things are revealed to counter them. They are just random thoughts.

1. The Island is in a parallel universe, sort of like Bizarro world in Superman. The electro-magnetic property is what controls the “gates” as it were, to get in and out. Perhaps in this world all of the Oceanic 815 passengers are dead and in the other one they are not. Or perhaps it was supposed to be the other way around and they switched places.

2. The Oceanic Six – Jack, Kate, Hurley and who else? I am guessing Sayid, Sun and Claire. Why? Because I think it is too cruel to abandon a pregnant lady and a baby on the Island. And Sayid because I love him and I want him to survive, plus he can fly a helicopter. My thought process is this: They leave the Island with the intention of going back to get the rest and can not return due to the electro-magnetic “gate” issue. Hence, Charlie telling Hurley that he has to go back to help the others.

3. Who the Hell is Ben? Why does he know so much about everyone? Did he really come to The Island when he was 10? Okay, I am not sure who he is, but I have always thought he had something to do with the Hanso family. Don’t know why, just a gut feeling. Perhaps he is psychic. It would explain why he knows about things that seem to be very private, not just names and crap. Does he have a contact on the “rescue” ship? I doubt it. I think he states what he thinks will help him survive. Why do the guys on the “rescue” ship what to get at him? Because he is a trouble maker, of course. LOL.

4. Time / space continuum – the time that occurs on The Island does not seem to jive with the time line in real life. The plane crashed in September 2004 and Oceanic air just started to fly again in December 2007. And it seems to be after that, that plane is “discovered” at the bottom of the ocean. So, why have the survivors only been on the island for 90 days or whatever it is? Hmmm, perhaps time is slower in The Island universe, which would help to explain why people do not seem to age much. Of course, this could be incorrect.

5. Why has Jack become so irritating? I used to like him, but he really has become such an ass. Maybe it is the whole “I am a doctor” attitude has finally become more than I can bear. Why can’t he listen to anyone? Arrrgh!

6. Can the dead come back to life on the island? Is Jack’s dad still alive? Is he one of the Oceanic 6? This seems like a stretch since I thought Jack’s mom was alive when Jack went to go get his dad’s body. I would think it would cause a scandal for him to come back from the dead in the “real” world. When Jack is ranting for the hospital staff to go get his dad in last season’s finale I think it is just drug induced confusion. However, wouldn’t that be a kick in the head if he was alive? Or perhaps, the Oceanic 6 do not come back to their world, but the parallel one and in that world; Jack’s dad is still alive. Hmmm. That would explain why they would not want to talk about what happened and who was left on the island.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Power to the People

Last night the Hub and I went to caucus. This is the 1st time I have ever done it, so it was quite exciting. There were TONS of people there. 293 people voted for a DFL presidential nominee in our little precinct. I do not know how many voted in the district, but the place was packed. I think we were in line just to get our ballot for about 30 – 40 minutes. I brought some knitting so I was content. We were going to caucus so we placed our vote for the presidential nominee and sat down. The room itself was packed too. I think it may have discouraged some from staying to actually caucus, but it was really heartwarming to see so many people doing their civic duty. There were high school kids there and a lot of other 1st timers like us. We did caucus and we were there until about 9:30. DH got a resolution past on to the next level and we both signed up to be delegates. Plus, I got a lot of knitting done. It was win / win.

If you had not yet had your primary / caucus in your state, I highly recommend you do it when it comes up. It is very empowering.