Monday, July 29, 2013

Pinterest and ADHD Don't Mix!

Your friendly warning, Pinterest should be completely forbidden to those crafters with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Scattered Projects

Like I didn't have enough projects going on (the Koigu Interlocking Scarf, the Mini Mochi Baby Blanket, the Fortissima Socks...and of course, the grave blanket and hexapuff blanket, etc., etc.).

It occurs to me, like a squirrel in the periphery of a dog's vision, that I need another winter accessory for my contest submission photo for the My Mountain US, so I do a quick version of the Shachenmayer bulky cowl  shown on the yarn wrap.


It did help the photo submission look a bit more realistic (and those are EVERGREENS in the background).

I considered using this new Winter accessory that I kind of knit up in my off minutes.




Just a narrow garter stitch scarf with leftover wool I had sitting at my TV chair.

But then I see this cool knitted fabric on Pinterest:


And I love how the squares make a circle (kind of like my snowball quilt!).  So I go searching for a yarn to swatch this.  I find the perfect yarn, but for the life of me, I can't find an unused pair of US 5 needles.

So I went back to working on my Koigu Interlocking Scarf.  Sheesh, I'm tired.

August Blog Challenge

Next month, I will attempt to post at least one photo a day to the blog.

Actual blog content will remain around 2 or 3 blog entries a week, but I will post at least one photo each day, even if I have no blog content associated with it.

Can't wait...my Photo-A-Day month will focus primarily on color.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Neon Is The New Black

At this year's past Men's Spring Knitting Retreat, we had a great presentation on yarn trends by one of the major yarn buyers in the industry, who told us that neon yarns have been big in Europe and will soon start to make it big here in the states.


European Invasion

He was exactly right.  Shachenmayr yarns and many others, have started promoting some of their bright and funky yarns that have been raging for about a year in Europe.

In fact, they started a contest called My Mountain US, which is a hat design/knit/crochet contest using their yarns to create unique hats the make a statement.




It's super bulky yarn, so I was able to design and knit a hat in a little over a day.

Current Knitting

Meet Cherry Pie!




I know I should have accessorized with a scarf and ski jacket, but it was about 98 degrees when I took these photos.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer Garden Pasta and Baby Blanket

Today, I thought I'd focus a bit on a dinner I had recently.  My brother and sister-in-law were up from Texas, and she cooked dinner one night, and it was excellent.


Here's the Recipe

Ina Garten's - Summer Garden Pasta
3 pints cherry tomatoes/sliced in half
2 heaping Tbls chopped garlic
18 julienned basil leaves/extra for garnish
1/2 heaping tsp black pepper
1/2-3/4 heaping tsp red pepper flakes
2 heaping tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup good olive oil

1 lb angel hair pasta
1.5 cups grated parmesan cheese

Mix all but the last two ingredients in a large bowl. Cover with Saran wrap and let sit un-refrigerated for 4 hours.

Cook angel hair pasta 3-4 mins (use al dente directions). Drain but keep wet and pour tomato mixture over hot pasta mix.
And 3/4 - 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese and toss. Add extra cheese and basil garnish on top of each serving.




My sister-in-law, Lori raved about this dish, and she was right...it's fresh, delicious and incredibly satisfying.

Current Knitting
I've been knitting quite a bit, but for today's blog entry, I only have my progress on the Mini Mochi baby blanket to show.


I'm almost through the third ball of five.  I love knitting on this project...it's perfect television knitting, even if we're watching something with sub-titles.  The yarn is soft and I love the colors.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Full House

With all the accumulation of things, when do you consider a house officially full?

Two New Acquisition Events

Recently, we've brought more "stuff" into the house in two very different events.  The first was a few of my purchases from my local yarn store (Twist Knitting and Spinning) and the second was another mushroom foraging adventure that yielded pounds of mushrooms.

First the stash acquisition...


This is:
The second acquisition was actually made by Thaddeus and a friend of his.


This is just one of two baskets overflowing with chanterelles.  The other basket was bigger and equally as filled beyond the brim with meaty fresh mushrooms.

I think our house is now officially full.

Current Knitting/Crochet/Spinning

I still have the three projects I'm working on in progress.

I've added another row to the crochet scarf.

I've added a couple of inches to the Mini Mochi baby blanket.

And I've ripped back the sock I found in my WIP's pile back to the foot and re-worked the heel using  a modified Andersson Heel.


The yarn is some Fortissima sock yarn, but you'll note I am using my new Karbonz needles and I'm loving them.



Monday, July 15, 2013

Zimmermania

Having lived through the inane OJ trial, I found the Zimmerman trial to be less than compelling, and only caught snippets as Thaddeus changed channels.



What It Means

The jury decision means that when there's a case that's difficult to prove, people who can afford lawyers better than our prosecuting attorneys, will usually be found not-guilty.

Do I think justice was done?  I do not.

Do I think Zimmerman was guilty of murder.  I do.

Do I think the prosecutors proved that Zimmerman was guilty of either murder or manslaughter?  I do not.

Do I think the verdict means that racism is alive and well in this country?  I do.

So, in case you wondered where I stood on this issue, now you know.  I'm very sad for the Martin family.  Trayvon's death was tragic.

Current Knitting

I have three projects actively going at the moment.  A pair of socks (that were started months ago), the Koigu Interlocking Scarf, and the Mini Mochi baby blanket.

Since  I made the most progress on the baby blanket, you get photos of that today.




I'm using Garter Rib with garter stitch edging all around.  When I'm finished, I will machine wash the blanket, to determine how washable (or not) Mini Mochi is.  I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Youthful Enthusiasm

A number of years ago, a young man (14 or 15 years old) walked into the yarn store where I was working (volunteering for yarn, is more like it) and asked "Do you sell those knitting sticks for making the cool hats?"


Proselytizing

This past May, we had a complete knitting newbie at the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat and in the course of four days, he had learned the basics of knitting and he was completing his own knitted hat.

Schachenmayr yarns has started up a new challenge, reaching out to the adventurous non-knitter who cares to challenge her/himself to knit a hat of their own, called the My Mountain challenge.

If you know of any creative, adventurous person who might like to express themselves creatively, and might find the challenge of learning to knit or crochet to do it, I have a feeling the wonderful designs from this project might just be the ticket.

Stay tuned here for more information, or like My Mountain US on Facebook.

It would be great to see a new influx of enthusiastic new knitters.

Current Crocheting/Spinning

I've been able to add a few more ounces of spinning on the Merino/Tencel yarn I'm spinning up from Black Bunny Fibers.


I love this photo of my spinning...it shows the luster of the singles and also the beauty of the wood that my Robin wheel is made from...worth clicking/expanding the photo.

I've also added a row or two to the Koigu Interlocking Scarf (although the photos no where near as good).


One of the things I love about Koigu, is that I can combine any colorways I have on hand, and the bursts of color comes together incredibly well in designs like this one.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Cupcake Expertise

And no, that's not a euphemism.  And it's my niece who gave me the greatest advice on eating cupcakes.

Watch and Learn

How many of you like cupcakes?  Okay, all of you (I know I'm generalizing again).

When you go into one of those newfangled cupcake stores and buy a large cupcake, do you ever struggle getting your mouth open enough to take the first bite?  Do you ever knock sprinkles off all over your blouse?  Do you get a roof-of-the-mouth-full of icing?

My niece Meg showed me a life-altering way of eating cupcakes...it's simple, easy, neat and eliminates any reasons for eating cupcakes.


She removes the muffin-top/icing portion, flips it over, and eats it like a cupcake sandwich.

Brilliant, right?

In doing a google search (cupcake sandwich worked as a search term),  I found Liz Lemon, one of the smartest characters on television today, also does this technique.



My life will never be the same (and neither will my waistline).

Current Knitting

Started a new baby blanket this past weekend and made quite a bit of progress on it.



The yarn is Mini Mochi (soft, warm and superwash) in a nice bright colorway (105 in case you care).  The blanket will be about 30 inches wide and about 32 inches tall when all is said and done, and I'm thinking about making a pair of booties in the same yarn...these booties:



Saturday, July 06, 2013

DOMA - Personal and Professional

For those of you who don't know what I do for a living, I help large companies implement a software package that helps them manage their Human Resources, Payroll and Benefits functions...almost exclusively helping them implement the Benefits portion of this software package.

Impact Of SCOTUS and DOMA

Note:  If you get bored with details, make sure you read the last paragagraph...most peoples ears bleed when I discuss this.

My current client allows Same-Sex Domestic Partners (SSDP) to be covered under their employees' medical, dental and vision plan, but not under their dependent life insurance plans.  Further, let's say, the total cost of medical for an employee and spouse is $100, and the employee pays $25 to subsidize the cost, approximately half of that $25 subsidy is added to the employee's taxable income, since it's considered a taxable "benefit" to the employee to pay for a portion of their non-spousal medical coverage.  The Federal government requires them to do this.

That's how it currently works here...and it's very similar in most large companies that offer medical benefits.

So now, what do they do?

  • Do they open up coverage for dependent life insurance plans to all SSDP and same-sex married employees, or just married employees in the states that allow it?
  • Do they ask employees with SSDP to declare that they're married (in States where it's legal) and cover them as a spouse?
  • If so, what date do they use to stop adding taxable income to them?
  • If someone is married in a state that allows it, but lives in a state that doesn't, can they declare married benefits, or is it still taxable.
  • If someone is married to their same-sex spouse while living in a state that allows it, and then moves to a state that doesn't, do they switch them back to taxable status and take away their eligibility for dependent life insurance?
All these questions need to be answered and systems need to be modified to allow for whatever choices are made.  The determination of how same-sex couples are handled individually in each state needs to be reviewed on a state-by-state basis and will change as various state laws change.  Companies are required to comply with state laws, federal laws and their own policies.  It is complex, confusing and will be in a state of flux for a while.

How much you want to bet, there is a huge push to make marriage equality the rule of the country from every Fortune-500 company in the country?  It's going to be expensive to configure systems and administer widely varying rules from state-to-state and they're not going to want to do it.  I couldn't be happier about all the chaos.

Current Foraging

I know I don't forage for wild mushrooms often, but I went with Thaddeus yesterday to find a basketful of beautiful.

Yes, it's Chanterelle season (just starting) and we found quite a few (about 3 pounds in total) of nice small ones. 

Finally a photo of the elusive Thaddeus with the not-so-elusive mushrooms.


 Here's what they looked like in their natural habitat.


And here's what they look like in their non-natural habitat.



Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Videoverload

I'm coining a new term for how I feel about the fact that every possible activity seems to need to be documented via video lately.




Now that's a minute of your life that you'll never get back.

Good or Bad?

Videos can be great.  Tutorials for crocheting a scarf, catching Romney talking about the 47%, providing evidence and protection against police brutality, etc.

But there comes a time when you realized you don't need to see a video of some stranger's co-rider drinking water, or the perfect golf swing of a co-worker.  Add pets into the fray, and videos can get downright tiresome (even my own pets and videos thereof).

Current Spinning
I started a new spinning project.  Not because of the Tour de Fleece (which I'm not really even sure what it is), but because I saw this incredible roving in my stash....


...and I just had to start spinning it.


It's 50/50 Superwash Merino and Tencel and has a silky sheen to it, that I just love.  I'm trying to spin this a bit thicker than I usually do, so we'll see how it turns out.