Friday, September 16, 2016

Wedding In Kentucky

Connor and I were in Kentucky earlier this month for a wedding. I'm not a big fan of weddings (I find them overwhelming), but there is a short list of ones that I am committed to go to. Luckily that list got shorter now that Joe has gotten hitched. We last saw Joe earlier in the year when he came out and saw Sequoia, the Alabama Hills, and Death Valley with us. At the time he hadn't proposed just yet, but he told us a good story about he and his now wife, Emily. When we learned the wedding date, I felt that our wedding gift needed to be inspired by that story. Although I was a little nervous about going a slightly less traditional route for a wedding gift, the reaction they had when they opened it made it all worth while.

And the gift? Well, early in their relationship, Emily agreed to play Joe's all time favorite video game series: Mass Effect. In the first one, there is a vehicle called the Mako that you drive around for parts of the story. Using that vehicle can best be described as trying to drive a drunken rhino. It just isn't easy. Joe told us about how Emily would drive the Mako as if it was invincible; driving into lava (instant death), driving into oncoming fire (near instant death), without a second thought. He said it was like she was a member of the Cult of the V8 from Mad Max Fury Road. She might as well have been screaming "Witness Me" while facing down hundreds of space pirates. The thought was irresistible, so I drew this for them. 
This picture wouldn't have been completed without Connor's help. He kept encouraging me even after the third and fourth drafts of this picture didn't work out. 

Two days after giving the gift, the love birds were married. It was a beautiful wedding with neat touches. Each table had a book theme. I got to sit at the Lord of the Rings table with Connor's family. Joe sat us there on purpose since Connor and I had an accidental Lord of the Rings themed wedding. Connor delivered his best man speech, explaining how he and Joe were soul mates. He went on to let everyone know that they were so close that the two of them got to the point where they would finish each others..... sandwiches. Things like that.  It was a great speech. As the reception was winding down, Joe and Connor got a last moment to themselves. Then Joe was off with his lady love.
Soul mates to the end

Friday, September 9, 2016

Walk Like An Egyptian

In my last post I was deciding which pair of socks I would knit next. Woollenwilderness liked Roll The Bones while Kiwiyarns liked the Diamondback Socks.... so of course I started the Hieroglyphic Socks. I knew that I wouldn't get very far with these socks since Connor and I were out of town for the last week. I much prefer to absorb my surroundings in new places rather than knit.

The little that I did knit was while we were on the plane. I had cast on at home, but that was it. As I was stitching away on the plane I started to get the feeling that they were looking a little big. Usually with color work socks, I knit 72 stitches with size US 1 needles, which works great for me. If there is a plain cuff, I'll knit 64 stitches with size US 0 needles before increasing 8 stitches and switching needles. I've never knit corrugated ribbing before, so I didn't know what to expect. I figured I'd go with my default color work needle/stitch count combo. 
Sometimes socks look big with just three rounds knit, so I put a few more rounds in. Well, at six rounds in I decided to put the needles down. More rounds wasn't going to make it look smaller. When we got back home I did what any knitter who is too lazy to check their gauge would do: I compared the new sock to an old pair that fits. 

The picture doesn't lie. The Hieroglyphic Socks are an easy 9 stitches too wide. I guess I knit color work a little looser when there are purl stitches involved. I'm thinking I'll just cast on 64 stitches, but keep using the size US 1 needles. Hopefully there won't be too much ripping in my future.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Yarn... Yarn... Sock!

I've been pretty disciplined about not buying new yarn since May. Since my knitting is still going rather slowly, I was planning to continue being disciplined... but then a skein of skein of Tosh Sock in the Void color way showed up at my LYS and, well... I fell. I had been on the lookout of a skein in the Onyx color way since February, but hadn't been able to locate one. Void is close enough for what I want to do with it. The problem was that there was a lone skein in the Neon Peach color way next to Void that I've eyed for the last few months. It had been a hard week so I figured if one skein of yarn was going to make me feel good, two skeins would probably make me feel better. Plus I had saved up enough "fun money" to go ahead and splurge.
Loud sock yarn, just the way I like it

Meanwhile, I've been knitting away on vanilla socks for a few months now and I'm ready for a slightly more complicated sock. I'm currently debating whether to knit Hieroglyphic SocksRoll The Bones, or Diamondback Socks. I've got the yarn selected. The Hieroglyphic Socks would be knit with Lisa Souza's Hardtwist Petite in St. Louis Blues and Coachella; Roll the Bones would be knit with Tosh Sock in Filtered Light and Baah! La Jolla in California Poppy; Diamondback Socks would be know with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Zombie BBQ. What would each of you choose to knit first?
Left to right: St. Louis Blues, Coachella, Filtered Light, California Poppy, and Zombie BBQ 

Of course you would think that I would want to cast on with the new yarn in the stash. Sometimes I do, but often I like the new yarn to marinate a bit in the stash before I'm ready to knit with it. Does anyone else like to gaze at their new acquisitions before casting on?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mr. Bear Ears Has Warm Hands

I'm so proud of Connor. Just last week he finished his third knitting project: a pair of fingerless mitts.

When he knit his first project, a scarf, he learned all about knit and purl. With his second project, a cowl, he got comfortable knitting in the round. With this project, Connor really stretched himself; he learned how to use the magic loop method of knitting in the round. He had to start over several times, which I didn't even know about because he was able to restart the magic loop all by himself. Connor conquered the m1L and m1R increases. He also wove in all the ends himself this time around. (I helped him out with his first two projects.) Connor used the Lambing Mitts pattern, but ultimately decided not to add the garter stitch band at the top of the hand. He felt that it would be too bulky when typing.

Although we are still experiencing summer, the mornings are cool, so Connor is already using his mitts when he drives to work in the morning. He mentioned that he felt a bit like Link from the Legend of Zelda games while wearing them.
It was a happy accident that he was wearing his Link shirt when we took the pictures of his mitts

There has been some discussion over what might occupy Connor's needles next. He likes a challenge, so it came down between socks or a sweater. Socks have won out... this time.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Putty In Your Paws

I'm sorry to disturb you, Scooter, but did you know that you have traveled 8.176 billion miles? Today marks your 14th birthday.

You have had some changes in your life. You sleep more and your hearing isn't what it used to be. Luckily your sense of smell remains the same. You still know when the chicken is out.
Dad had chicken inside and Scooter was just waiting for me to open the door so he could rush in and beg

Your poor old bones require more coddling. Luckily we are like putty in your paws, so there will always be a pillow brought out for you when we sit outside.

Happy Birthday little buddy. I'm glad that we get to be your people and you are our dog. Every year is a good year with you.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Grand Canyon Adventure

A few weeks ago I joined Connor on his business trip to Las Vegas. After last year's experience, we knew that Vegas isn't really our thing... that and the 108°F/ 42°C heat that Vegas was experiencing. This year we decide to go a few days earlier and visit the Grand Canyon. Although, the night we landed, we chose to see another Cirque de Soleil show: Ka. It was very good. We also learned that if you plan on walking to a show, it is best to get a hotel close to it. Last year we walked nearly an hour from the Luxor to the Bellagio. This year we walked 15 mins from the Excalibur to the MGM Grand.
 Being in the Excalibur feels like walking into a Super Nintento game... like Knights Of The Round.

The next day we rented a car and drove four hours to the Grand Canyon. Four hours is a long time, so we did have a stop in Williams Arizona and popped into a few shops before finishing our drive. It's a cute town that is along the historical Route 66.

Despite a bit of a late start from Vegas and spending some time checking in our hotel in Tusayan, we were still able to see the canyon at sunset.
It was a glorious 84°F/ 29°C

They say that each angle of light changes the colors of the canyon. I don't know who "they" are, but they are right.
If you look closely, you can see clouds from a wild fire in the top center of the image

The next day we drove out to Desert View Watchtower. Don't let the photo fool you. It was high season and there were zillions of people around. But it rained a little and everyone ran inside.

The views from the tower were phenomenal. I wish we had more time to enjoy the Grand Canyon, unfortunately we had to drive back to Las Vegas so Connor could get signed in for the conference.

We did manage to get a few patches and magnets to add to our collection. We also found a Sheriff's badge for my brother. It was a bit of a joke gift, but he had just introduced us to the game, Bang. For those not in the know, when you play, one person is the sheriff and gets to wear a sheriff's badge. All we had to do was insist that he be sheriff when we played again so that we could pin him. He likes his new badge.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sock Life

I've been catching up on reading a bunch of blogs and I was impressed with all the socks that have been finished and blogged about recently. Angela at Pans & Needles has two pair: one pair for herself and one secret pair for her beloved's Christmas gift this year. Monica at Sweet Purls has just finished a fun purple pair of socks. And Tahnee over at Woollen Wilderness has finished not just one, but two pairs of socks in just the last month: Pixel Socks and Spring Fern Socks. And those are just the finished ones. Andi at My Sister's Knitter has a cute pair on the needles while Wei Siew at Kiwiyarns is knitting a party for her feet. (She also just finished her Southern Skies... so you should all go "ooo and ahh" it.)

I have not been as successful in the knitting arena. I had hoped to have a finished something to show off by now, but it just hasn't worked out.

What I do have is one almost finished first sock and a second sock that is almost ready for its heel to be put in. Why an "almost finished first sock" you ask. Well, I am a perfectionist, especially in the self-striping sock arena. They joke about it at knit night. Not only do I need my socks to match perfectly... apparently I have a thing about having a tiny bit of a new stripe showing up on the toe. This almost happened on my Geographer socks, but there was more than one row of the hot pink on the toe, so I let it go. But just one tiny row of orange on a sea of purple? No thank-you!

I got halfway through grafting the first sock before deciding that I was going to knit the second sock to see if the orange showed up in the exact same spot. "What if the orange shows up in the exact same spot and matches perfectly?" you wonder. Good question. I don't care if it matches perfectly. It is still the same orange problem and I'm going to remove it one way or another.

In other knitting news, I've completely abandoned Mum's cowl for now (sorry Mum) in favor of working on a wedding gift and baby shower gift. But in between that, it's all about these socks.
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