Tuesday, August 29, 2006

still traveling...

Woah! What a long week it has been!! So much to say, so much to show you, so much to write about, so much sleep to catch up on. I am currently in Amsterdam, having arrived earlier today, and the AIDS Vaccine 2006 meeting is due to begin in less than a half hour. In the meantime, the organizers are pacifying everyone with coffee, tea, yummy sandwiches, and delicious cakes. I'm a happy camper, especially since my hand bag is also full of Swiss chocolate that is pretty cheap in German grocery stores.

Pictures and stories to come eventually. I even made it to a yarn store!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

one last rush of activity

I really need to stop reading about rabbits. The more I read about the behavioral and medical problems they are prone to, the more Joelle suddenly acquires those problems. For example, Joelle certainly had no interest in digging at the carpet for quite a few days. It wasn't until I read in one of my rabbity books that they might destroy the carpet with their digging that she started - all of a sudden! And then last night... The night before I had read about sneezing, sometimes it's allergies, sometimes it's a serious illness. And what does Joelle start doing on our Friday night together? Sneezing. A lot. So much that I tried checking her nose to see if it was runny (that made her mad) and then this morning dug out my thermometer and took her temperature (that made her really mad!). I can't tell, but I decided I just had better stop worrying about it right now, because if she's really sick, the pet-sitter will take care of her, and if she's really into digging up the carpet, the pet-sitter will stop her, and if she discovers some other way to be the bad bunny she's prone to be, the pet-sitter will take care of her. There's nothing I can do when I'm on a different continent!

And that is where I will be within about 36 hours!! Aak! I still have to finish packing and hemming my pants and cleaning the house and figuring out what I'm doing once I land and which knitting to take along and...!! Gotta stay calm. Maybe Joelle is rubbing off on me - we're both being rather high-strung this week, though understandably so.

Ta-ta for now. I will try to post things when I can get Internet access, but no promises, at least not until August 29.

Friday, August 18, 2006

the forgotten fish

Sheamus has been feeling a little bit left out and ignored what with the frenzy about the new bunny. So here's a picture of him.He's currently on a diet because I thought he was looking fat. About a month ago, when we moved to the new apartment, he suddenly refused to eat his previous food - flakes. He now insists on little pellets. It's amazing how fish seem to have personalities. Of all creatures...fish! Almost makes me want to become a vegetarian.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

stitch n' pitch

At a recent Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game, I glanced at the big huge score/message board and noticed an announcement about something called "Stitch 'n Pitch." I saw the word "knitting" and quickly scribbled down the phone number of the person to contact. Soon I learned that the Pirates are participating in the nationwide baseball-meets-needle-arts event where knitters, crocheters, needlepointers, cross-stitchers, etc. bring their projects along to show off and work on during a baseball game. It's the marriage of two pasttimes! Splendid!!

I got my tickets and promptly missed all of the pre-game festivities associated with the event because I was on my way back from camping and then cleaning up after Joelle. But I did manage to stop by the area where there had once been various yarn and supply stores showing off their wares and projects. And, although there were no more vendors left around, I did get my Stitch 'n Pitch bag.It was filled with lovely presents......including some yarn from Valley Yarns (the line from WEBS), which very seriously makes me much more apt to buy some yarn from them (go marketing people!). There's even enough Amherst yarn to make a little black and gold scarf - appropriate for supporting Pittsburgh sports teams or, in my case, the house of Hufflepuff, into which I got sorted.

I did also watch part of the game. I even saw two home runs! And, when I had to go, I realized I needed a picture of the Stitch 'n Pitch event, so...There are a few of the nice people I met. Everyone had just set down their projects, and a bunch of the crew left to seek shade because it was HOT and very sunny. (In addition to my goody bag, I also got a slight sun-burn.)

In other knitting news, I got this tin double-pointed needle holder in the mail yesterday from Woolworks, Ltd.
and look, i even cast on the second sock!
These things are so simple and so useful and so awesome. I saw them in the latest issue of Vogue Knitting and thought, "I have to have those!" (Please see my previous post, "want vs. need" for why I don't really HAVE to have them!) I don't know why nobody else makes these - they are so awesome! I contacted the sweet people at Woolworks and they said they'd ship one out before my trip to Europe. I was planning to use the holder to keep my pointy little sock needles from poking things in my luggage in between flights, but it looks like now I will have a little bit more trouble even being able to bring my knitting on the airplane. Still trying to figure out what to do about that...and what to do on my trans-Atlantic flights!

Monday, August 14, 2006

what's in the box

This weekend was insane. First, I went camping. Sort of. I drove down to Ohiopyle on Friday night with a group of people, and then I set up a tent and ate a s'more and went to sleep. Then I woke up and drove back to Pittsburgh. I got a box, I went to Ren's wedding, I ate amazing food (that she made!) at her reception, and I stopped by the apartment briefly. Then I drove back to Ohiopyle and ate another s'more and went to sleep. Then I woke up, ate breakfast, took down a tent, and drove back to Pittsburgh.

Don't ask.

But, do ask about the box. I got a box!! Check it out.Can you guess what's inside? Seriously, take a guess.




If you guessed an Angora rabbit from the Beaver County Humane Society, you're right!!Okay, so she doesn't look much like an Angora right now. Except for those crazy ears, she's missing the long hair that Angoras are known for. That's because she got all shaved to get rid of mats (and fleas) when she got to the Humane Society. So I'm thinking she's going to look very different in a few months.

Now, how did this all start? Did I just pick up one day and say, "Hey, I'd like to get a rabbit?" Well, it doesn't seem like I would do that, and I certainly do not think that people should do that, but in essence: I did. I had been thinking about it on and off for several months, but never very seriously. More like, "Hm, at my new apartment, I actually could have a cat or a rabbit of my own. Hm." And then last week someone mentioned me perhaps taking their cat that they were allergic to. And then, after seeing pictures of people spinning Angora wool as I was browsing the web for information on fiber festivals in the fall, I happened upon a listing for an Angora at the Humane Society, which is located about an hour away from where I live in Pittsburgh.

Begin ridiculousness... (Again -- I would not recommend anyone ever do this! It's not very responsible.) That was Thursday. I got home as fast as I could, jumped in the car and drove to the Humane Society to check out the bunny and fill out an application for adoption and check if I could wait until I get back from Europe to adopt it. Of course I couldn't. But I liked the bunny. So they told me it would get spayed on Friday and I would have to come get it on Saturday. When I was supposed to be camping/at a wedding. Ugh. And so of course I made the rash decision to go for it.

And that also meant I needed the zillion bunny things that any good house rabbit needs, the main item being a cage. And cages that have sufficient room and flooring are expensive. BUT then I found out about "NIC Condos" - these build-it-yourself cages that are made from inexpensive materials. So...Friday I went out and bought all most of the stuff I needed except for the floor because when I was at Lowe's to get the floor their saw was broken, so I would have had to take home a gigantic piece of plywood and an even giganticer piece of panelboard. I then raced to the campground to set up the tent in the dark.

I awoke at 6 on Saturday and jumped in the car and drove back to my apartment to assemble the cage. Then I stopped by a different Lowe's that did have a working saw to get flooring materials. Then I drove to get the bunny. Then I drove back. Then I put the bunny in the cage without the floor on the vinyl in the kitchen while I finished making the floor. The bunny thought this a great opportunity to urinate everywhere except in the lovely litter box. And then she flipped over her food and her water dishes.

I cleaned everything up, moved the cage to the new floor, and found heavier dishes for the food and water. Then I cleaned myself up and went to the wedding and the reception. Then I stopped by the apartment to change into camping clothes (and clean up after the bunny, since she was still not using the litter box...I was beginning to doubt that she was actually litter trained as had been reported)...and I went back to the campsite...and had to walk the half mile from the parking lot to the site in the pitch dark since I had not remembered to grab my flashlight at 6a.m.

Ah. Well, that is how to not acquire a bunny!

At any rate, this new addition to my household is great. She doesn't like being brushed or handled very much, so she and I will be working on that. That food-and-wather dumping thing continued even with the heavier bowls, so I decided to get a water bottle and a pretty cool clamp-to-the-cage bowl so she can't make such a mess. And she finally settled down and uses the litter box like a good bunny. She doesn't chew on the electrical cords, but she does seem to have a fondness for one corner of the couch slipcover. Again...some work will be done.

So...here's Joelle!!And here she is in her cage, displaying how she uses the litter box and has convenient access to her non-tippable food and is in view of the non-tippable water...And tomorrow I will answer the question: what's in the bag?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

a finished sock

I did it - I finished the first of the two Retro Rib socks last night. See:
note the vogue knitting book in the background. yeah...needed that because i always forget how to do kitchener stitch on the toe...
It's a fairly good sock. The instep could due to be a bit tighter around my foot, and I managed to make it too long. But...oh well! It's a sock, and it's purple, and I find it rather pretty.

I told myself I really needed to cast on the second sock so the first one doesn't just get hung out to dry without a partner, but as I was rummaging around to get out some larger needles to cast on with, I realized that I don't know where the stitch marker I had been using on the leg of the sock went. I had it until I started the heel. And it seems that I would have put the stitch marker somewhere secure, like in a pocket of a purse or something, but I can't seem to find it. Pity, because it had little blue and purple beads that even coordinated beautifully with the yarn. So if you happen to see it...let me know! And I guess the loss of the stitch marker is my excuse for why I did not start the second sock. ...Could be bad news, especially since I have been thinking about starting a different pair of socks...!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I'm still in the process of unpacking my belongings and finding places to put new belongings that I am acquiring that weren't claimed by any of the four of us who lived in the old house, and actually that hasn't left me much time to be at my new home. However, last night I finally said goodbye to the old landlord, loaded up my car one last time with the rest of the stuff from the house, and set to work attempting to enjoy my new place. I felt so domestic, because I...

baked bread in my bread machine!
and it tastes good!
...and I vacuumed with the new vacuum I had to buy because of a Long, Bad, Aggravating Story!
it's little, it's green, and it weighs less than 12 pounds
...and I - well, I didn't actually knit last night, but I have been knitting my sock on the bus!
it feels a little funny
This is the Retro Rib Sock from Interweave Knits, and it is sure taking me a long time, but I like it. It even fits, so far. The bad update about this sock is I just had to join a new skein of yarn. Note that the sock is not finished yet. Also note that I only bought two skeins of the yarn when I purchased it last summer from the yarn store that closed. Uh oh...! I really had told myself I should make a toe-up sock so I wouldn't run out of yarn, but I really like this pattern and already had to change a lot of the figures because the Wildfoote yarn is a lot thinner than the yarn the pattern calls for. Not the best idea.

I weighed my current options and decided to just buy another skein. It would have been great if I could have matched dye-lots, but when I learned that Paradise Fibersactually had a skein of my Little Lilac and would send it to me for a small sum of money, I did it. Why? Because Wildfoote is made by Brown Sheep, and I once had to wait several months to get my Brown Sheep yarn. I do not want to wait a few months to get this yarn. Although...in all honesty, it may take me a few months to get to where I need that third skein... Nah, I bet I'll get pretty far on it if I take it with me to Europe. See all the thought that goes into these little decisions?

And...so that's what I've been doing at home! Of other interest, yesterday I also decided to burn some candles, because I never do and it's stupid that I have so many that just sit around. I learned why you shouldn't put a candle on a shelf, because I made a really beautiful dark brown singe spot on the shelf -- just below where Sheamus's tank is!!! Oops. You'd think I'd be a little smarter than that. Wonders never cease.