Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday the Thirtieth

Good news - the Slytherin scarf is 99.9% done. All I have left is the fringe. The bad news? I ran out of the Knit Picks yarn I was using for the gray stripes. I could finish it with just green fringe instead of the green and gray fringe I was planning on, but that seems boring to me. Unfortunately Knit Picks no longer has any yarn in that that shade of gray available in Telemark. In fact, they seem to have all the Telemark marked as sell out, so I think they're getting rid of that brand. Knit Pick's Wool of the Andes has a similar shade, and it's the same weight and fiber, but they aren't going to have any more until February. I haven't been able to go to Michaels or Joanns yet to see if they have anything close. 

Several months ago I told a friend that I would make a baby blanket for her. Between working on the scarves and the wedding, I just didn't have time. Since it could possibly be awhile before the Slytherin scarf is done, I went ahead and finally started the blanket over the weekend. I, personally, LOVE granny squares, but I didn't want to do another one, and I didn't feel like another granny stripe. Then I found the granny ripple and I just knew I had to try it. 

It's actually pretty easy. However, I had some problem starting it because this pattern here said a baby blanket sized granny ripple afghan should be a 133 long chain, but that seemed too small. I did a 188 chain instead (which is supposed to be an adult sized blanket) They also said to keep your chain to length that is multiples of 11, but I had at least 5 left over when I started the first row, so I'm thinking they did the math wrong. But it could also be that I made a mistake when I was counting because I had this guy begging for my attention:

(Even now he is curled up on my arm as I type this blog)

Thankfully the left over stitches can be hidden by the trim. 

The other problem I've had is figuring out how to start the new color of yarn when it's time for a color change. When I did the granny square blanket and the granny stripe I had a certain way where I would tie things off and hide the left over yarn by the next row - I can't really do that on this one though, so I've been having to tie things off and weave the ends in as I go. It's a bit more work, but it looks nice!

The boys have also been good the past couple of days about being loving without attacking whatever I might be doing, so I've been able to get a lot done on the blanket even though I just started it.

You know how I said the boys were being loving but good? Well, I think they sense its been a rough couple of days for me. See, I was let go from my job yesterday. I had a feeling it was going to happen and I was already looking for a new job, so I'm not as upset about it as I have been when I've lost jobs in the past. It still sucks though. I'm hopeful that something will happen soon - that I'll either get a new job that's better then what I had before or that EDD will come through quickly.

There are upsides to being let go though: now I have more time to apply for jobs and now I don't have to worry about taking time off from work to go to interviews when I get them. Plus I'll be able to finally unpack those last couple of boxes from when we moved in April (there's always one or two) and I can work out (I plan to start walking every day) and knit, crochet and write of course. Maybe this is the opportunity I need to get one of my stories finally done, edited, and sent out to publishers (or self published as an ebook) So it's not all bad.

Who knows, like I said, something will happen. Something's got to. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

To my readers...

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Unfortunately I'm at work, so I can't celebrate with my family, but the phones seem to be dead despite the fact that there's only half of us here, so I should be able to get some knitting done.

Gotta celebrate the good things right?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday the Twenty Ninth

I am four rows away from completing the Slytherin Scarf. It's been slow going lately though because the cats have been very clingy lately, and they do not approve of me knitting when they feel I should be petting them.

Since I'm so close to the end, I realized that I had no idea how to bind off (it never occurred to me to practice that like I was practicing the other stitches) and the little 'how to knit' booklet I have from Red Heart doesn't really explain binding off clearly. I'll be checking out Knit Pick's tutorials later, but if anyone knows of any other tutorials with clear instructions (preferably step by step with pictures) please let me know!

On the Gryffindor scarf I seem to have mastered the k2tog stitch. Obviously the scarf just calls for round after round of stockinette, so I shouldn't have to k2tog - but on a couple of stitches I apparently forgot to drop the old stitch and ended up with something like this:

Of course, by the time I realized what I had done I was already on the next row, and there was no way in hell I was going to pull the scarf off of the needles, frog those rows and then put everything back onto the needles. It's one thing to do that on the Slytherin scarf since that's on straights, but it's quite another thing when you're doing it on circulars. I ended up doing the k2tog and then moving on with the project only to discover a few rows later I had done the same thing again. 

In my defense, last week was rather rough - so I'm going to blame the screw ups on that. 

But in the end, none of them show up, so no one would notice them (except for me)

There hasn't been any progress on the job search front. I do get calls from prospective employers who are interested in talking to me - but they all seem to be offering me sales jobs where you just get paid on commission, or they're going to train you and give you enough money to start your own office up but after that you're on your own. No thank you.

In regards to reading, I highly suggest picking up The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. It's not your average paranormal teen book in that a girl meets a vampire, or ghost and falls in love with them. No, in this book an American girl travels to London for her last year in High School (her parents have taken up teaching positions at a college in England) right when a copy cat serial killer decides to mimic the Jack the Ripper murders. There's a smidge of romance, but it's mostly a mystery as the girl tries to figure out who the new Jack the Ripper is, and, in the midst of all that she discovers that she can see people her friends can't. It's a bit slow at first, but the last 2/3rds of the book make up for it. 

I started The Beauty Bride by Claire Delacroix last night. I had read some of her other novels when I was younger, and I figured that this one would be just as good. I was wrong. It started off strong, but then after the heroine agrees to marry the man who just bought her at an auction, and they consumate their relationship, the man tells her that she better give him a son or else he's going to start sleeping around with other women just like his dad did in order to get one. I understand the novel is set during the medieval period, and that society was very different then, and it wouldn't be a good book if there wasn't a bit of conflict between the heroine and her man, but still! Ugh. 

So, if anyone has any good books to suggest, please do so! My own good book finding mojo seems to have failed me. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday the Twenty Eighth

No pictures this week - but I can tell you that on my Husbands Slytherin Scarf I'm half way through the last green stripe. YAY! It's almost done!

I was also reminded recently that I myself am a work in progress. I'm still employed at my current job, but I've been applying for other jobs because I would like to find a place where there's room for advancement, better pay, and a normal schedule. Thankfully there seem to be a lot of customer service jobs out there - but then I realized that I might be looking for a long long time because silly me forgot to update the email address on my cover letter and resume. I had applied for at least 5 jobs with that outdated information without realizing it. And then once I fixed that I realized that there was a line in the cover letter about a letter of recommendation from my supervisor (I had been copying an old cover letter and tweaking it according to the job I was applying for, and somehow completely missed that line) and I had applied for 5 more jobs with that.

This all has been fixed now, but, man oh man, am I so embarrassed! I can't believe I didn't catch that!

I'm going to go hide now. But while I hide make sure to check out Tami's Amis for less mortifying works in progress!

Monday, November 14, 2011

He's Hell on Wheels alright...

This week's Meatlocker Monday post goes to Anson Mount - star of the new AMC drama Hell on Wheels. Anson plays a former plantation owner who has been tracking down the men involved in his wife's murder (the good type of plantation owner who rarely gets mentioned: he didn't have much land and he had only owned a few slaves - slaves that he had actually freed and was paying for their work prior to the Civil War breaking out) Just when he thinks he found the last one, the man reveals that there's another - and he's a worker for the railroad as well. However, before the old codger can tell Anson's character the name, or give him any other information regarding the guy, he is killed by an African American who is avenging the death of his friend earlier in the day.

It's a rough and tough show like Deadwood, but it's not as pretty as Deadwood and the conversation doesn't flow as well. Despite that, it still looks like it'll be interesting, so we'll be tuning in every week; the husband will watch so he can get his old west fix and I'll watch because, well, Anson Mount is a very handsome gruff man.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday the Twenty Seventh...

Yesterday I started on the final gray stripe on the Slytherin Scarf:

I'm only one row in, but still - it's the final gray stripe! That means I'm only two stripes away from being finished! 48 rows! Whoo-hoo!

The Gryffindor will probably be a little while longer. The coworker who I am making it for is going on a mini vacation this weekend to someplace cold, and I'm trying to get it done in time, but I'm afraid I won't. I'm still going to try though!

I already have the next project lined up - a baby blanket I promised to someone in the spring that didn't get made because of the wedding chaos. I'm thinking I might try a rectangular granny square or a granny zig-zag (I have a thing for granny squares and granny square-esque stuff)

I also got caught off guard by a yarn sale at Michaels. I walked in to see if they had any Halloween stuff on sale (they did, but nothing interesting) went to the yarn aisle just to look at stuff and pet the yarn and ended up walking out with 8 skeins of yarn. 

Surprisingly the maker of the yarn is Red Heart! I couldn't believe it the first time I saw it! Normally Red Heart has the worst stuff ever - it just feels so nasty, like it's been treated with something. This new brand of Red Heart, aptly named Red Heart Soft, is so nice and they have some really awesome colors. I can't wait to use it!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The return of the Meatlocker...

The last Meatlocker Monday post happened in August, and the meatlocker hasn't been updated since, because, well, I kinda ran out of guys.

And then Once Upon a Time started. The concept of the show is that Prince Charming and Snow White got married and had a baby. The Evil Queen couldn't let them live happily ever after, so she cast a spell that made everyone forget who they were and she forced everyone into the Real World - because you know, living in the Real World is SO much worse then living in a land where your stepmother is trying to kill you. Anywho, it turns out that Snow's baby survived and her destiny is to destroy the Evil Queen. It also turns out that she had a child of her own who she had given up for adoption years ago. The kid decides to hunt her down on her 28th birthday and she makes the decision to take him back to Storybrook where he lives with his adoptive mother... who happens to be the Evil Queen.

So far it's been a pretty fun little show.

But, of course, rather than drooling over Prince Charming like any normal girl, I ended up being a bit distracted by the Sheriff instead. He's dark, scruffy, is played by an Irish actor, and I suspect he may be the Big Bad Wolf of Little Red Riding Hood fame. Can you blame me?

Anywho, for your viewing pleasure, here is Mr. Jamie Dornan!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Guy Fawkes day...

When I was in Jr High (or was it High School? Oh well, it was sometime around then) I remember reading a book called Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging. In it, in the very first chapters, the girl character talks about Guy Fawkes day and burning effigies. What in the world? I thought to myself. Those English people are weird

But at the same time, I was a bit of a pyro who liked to watch things burn - and by watch things burn I mean things like old checks from my Mom's bank account that she didn't plan on using, leaves and old newspapers, stuff like that. I was a pyro who respected fire, knew how to handle it safely, and knew that burning down houses was bad. In fact, I was the one my Girl Scout Leader turned to when other troops wanted someone to talk to their troop about fire. 

That said, a holiday that was all about burning a straw man sounded pretty awesome to me. Now that I'm older, and I understand who Guy Fawkes was and what he was all about (and I'm not talking about the V for Vendetta version, but the truth) I still think it's a pretty cool holiday because fire is still pretty awesome.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WIP Wednesday the Twenty Sixth...

The Slytherin scarf is ALMOST done - just two and a half more stripes to do! I feel rather proud of my proguress considering that I screwed up on the scarf this past week and had to frog about two rows. See, the Gryffindor scarf I'm working on has stripes that are 22 rows long. Since the Slytherin scarf is being knit out of sport weight yarn, I decided to make the stripes 24 rows long. Well, last week I finished a stripe on my Gryffindor scarf, went home, started work on the Slytherin scarf (it's become to big to carry in my purse so it's a strictly at home only project now) and finished a stripe on that. I realized two rows into the next stripe on the Slytherin scarf that I had started the new stripe too early, so I had to go back, frog it, and then tie the old color in, knit in that for a few more rows, and then start the next stripe like I was supposed to do. 

On the writing front I did not get my story done in time to meet my personal deadline. I ended up getting pretty nasty writers block, and then, because that's how it ALWAYS works, I ended up getting ideas for other stories while I was trying to finish the first story, which just messed with the flow of things. I am sure my muses, whoever they may be, are laughing at my suffering right now. However, by missing the deadline that means I now have more time to 1) finish the short story 2) get beta readers for it 3) edit it and 4) design a cover and publish it. So, I guess it all works out in the end. 

Let me tell you, all these ideas make me look forward to the day when I can just stay home and write as much as I want every day without any interruptions (like having to get back on the phones after work)