Sunday, February 28, 2010

Winter knits

What's a girl to do when she's sick and snowbound? She knits!

And these have a story. I like yarn with stories.

Not long ago, my mother in law got me The Book of Wool. I totally fell in love with this book. It talked about many of the different kinds of sheep that make wool for wool yarn, going into the specific characteristics of each type, what kinds of garments will work well with each, and so on. I read it from cover to cover.

It just so happened that we hit up a yarn store while we were visiting, and there was a basket of random wool yarn for a great price. The label said it was Corriedale wool, handspun from a local farm. I bought a couple of hanks and headed home.

I can't tell you exactly what my book told me about Corriedale, but I thought it was cool I could see what the sheep looked like, and the book said the yarn felted well. So I found a pattern for a simple felted wool hat and started knitting.

Here is my hat. It is way softer (and not very scratchy) than I thought it would be. And that's not a trick of the light--the top is darker than the bottom, because I got 2 unrelated balls of yarn, I don't care, I think it gives it character.

So while I was making the hat, I started thinking about another 2 balls of yarn up in the craft room. I picked them up at an antique and consignment store in the Finger Lakes when we were there last October. Since that was yellow yarn as well, and I just got another book with a mitten pattern, I figured I'd make some mittens to (sorta) match the hat.

These were really fun to make, and only took me a few hours.

Now I have a sunny winter hat and mitten set. I'm pretty stoked.

I think I have enough of the mitten yarn to make socks. I've never made socks. And then I'd have a real winter wool set. Hmmm....

We survived the snowicane

So when we got home from our unexpected hotel stay, we had to deal with this:

And note how heavy the snow was on the trees:

And all of the forecasters were predicting 12-24" of snow on Thursday, followed by snow and wind on Friday. So much wind, they started calling it a snowicane. And the radar made it look just like a hurricane--a nice circular storm making its way up the east coast. Gee, we couldn't wait. Both of our companies started warning us that work was going to most likely happen remotely.

And that's exactly what happened. It snowed all day Thursday. And it snowed, with wind gusts up to 50mph, all day on Friday. It finally started to calm down Friday afternoon.

In the middle of all of this, I was sick. So I guess it was good that I couldn't make it in to work. I'd hate to be coughy and congested on a snow-covered highway, when I could do that in my living room. J didn't feel that great either. We were quite the pair.

This morning we puttered around the house, getting ready to finally go into work after almost a week. Of course, I saw this sight late this morning:

You have GOT to be kidding me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An evening to remember

Weather here has been sloppy, and is expected to be that way all week. We woke up this morning to sleet and a light dusting of snow, but nothing we couldn't handle. We have warnings of more to come throughout the week. I took the 4WD drive car and headed in. At work it's all rain. It rained

As I was getting in my car to come home, J called and said there were whiteout conditions near our house. Great, this was going to be a fun commute. He was just heading home, and promised to let me know what it was like by the time he got there.

For the next 2+ hours I puttered along in rain, then sleet, then snow, as the roads became more covered and the traffic increased. J called about an hour in and said he couldn't get up the hill to our development. So he was parked at a local car dealership waiting for me to come get him. He figured we'd eat dinner downtown, hope someone plowed the roads, and head home.

By the time I got to him, plans changed. It was apparent that no one was going to plow anytime soon, so we gave up and got a room at our local Hampton Inn. It's about a block or so from downtown, so we planned to walk to dinner. Worse case, we'd have a meatball sandwich from the hotel kitchen.

As we were leaving, a guy in the lobby told us that Main St lost power and the restaurants had kicked everyone out. And the hotel was out of sandwiches. *sigh* We decided to chance it, walk into town, and see what was available. Our only option was...
Dunkin Donuts.

So J and I had flatbread sandwiches and egg and bacon croissants for dinner. And watched the snow fall. And hoped that poor local news guy reporting on the snow asked us what we thought of it, since we had some choice words we thought we could use ;)

So now we're firmly ensconced in our room, with no change of clothes, no toothbrush, and no contact lens solution. I guess we'll sleep in the contacts.

I'm working from home tomorrow...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Not the weekend we had in mind

J's birthday was yesterday. And he caught a cold. So I went off to work while he essentially slept the day away. And ate a lot of cold medication. He's doing more of the same today. Though he says he is starting to feel better. But I can locate him by his cough no matter where he is in the house.

I have a ton of work that I had to bring home. One assignment is done for the moment, and 3 more left by tomorrow night. Joy.

In the meantime, it's laundry and cooking. I finally got a hold of the Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book, and I'm proud to say my podunk grocery store carries vital wheat gluten (who knew?). So I'm making my first healthy whole wheat bread dough as we speak. And there's a pork tenderloin in the crock pot. Yum.

Something tells me that, in between work assignments tomorrow, I should make some cookies.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Adoption update

We have a potential situation with a birthmother in another state.

A friend of the family has been in contact with me since she and her husband adopted about 18 months ago. She let me know there is a woman due in March or April and has decided to make an adoption plan. I called her contact for information, but all we know at the moment is that she just decided on adoption. We obviously have a lot of questions, and want to make sure this is the right situation for everyone involved. I'm really hoping the young lady is talking to an agency or a lawyer, and that she is getting counseling for what is a monumental decision.

We're hoping to hear more this week so we can find out if this is something we want to pursue. If so, we would still work with our agency but in a slightly different capacity. And we'd have to link up with an agency or adoption attorney in the other state. So there is a lot to think about.

Just as a technical FYI, an interstate adoption works like this (in a nutshell): the baby is born in state A, and the adoptive parents go to state A. Legal paperwork must be filed so that the baby can go to state B with the adoptive parents. More legal paperwork must be filed so that state B will accept the baby into the state. The adoptive parents must stay in state A until all of this paperwork goes through, which usually takes several days.

Please send good thoughts and prayers that this will work out well for everyone.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happiness is...knitting progress

As I have mentioned way too often, I was busy working on a knitting project for a Secret Santa recipient, and I got a late start. But I finished it. And it is awesome.

That's right, it's a bacon scarf. Meant to look like a giant slab of bacon. It's using a technique called double knitting that makes it reversible, which is one reason it took so long.

But it was so worth it. It is beautiful. And my Secret Santa got it this week, and loved it.

If you ever want to give this a try, the pattern is free here.

I also finished one of my baby sweater projects, for a friend who is due in March.

I love this sweater. The alpaca I used is buttery soft, the tonal blues are gorgeous, and I just want to sit and hold it. I still need buttons for the wrap part, and then it will be ready to send off.

This next project has a story (Dr. L, you're going to tell another story? I'm shocked!).

I started making this hat sometime last year with some leftover yarn from a sweater I made. I think part of me wanted a matching sweater/hat set. It was my first attempt at knitting in the round, and it was going well. Until I got to the that dark brown part in the middle and realized I was running out of yarn. Quickly.
I hit my local yarn store and the owner helped me find a nice red wool that would go with the brim. I took it home and it disappeared into my yarn stash. When I looked for it 2 months later, it was nowhere to be found.
Last weekend was the yarn store's Super Bowl sale, and I knew I was going to get some yarn and finish the damn hat. I found the gold stuff that now makes up the top of it, and a woman there convinced me to buy a second skein so I'd have a matching pair of mittens. Being drunk on wool and silk fumes, I went for it. So now I have to sit down at some point and make mittens.
Speaking of mittens, my only frustration this weekend was my mitten attempt using some amazing merino that I have. I screwed up the pattern twice and got lost while frogging it, so I tore the whole thing out and will re-try when I'm in a better frame of mind.
In the meantime, I have a Celtic knot shawl that I started several months ago, and it's calling my name. I need to make some progress on that.
By the way, if anyone knows where to find a good pair of size 1 knitting needles for a good price, let me know. I have a silk sweater pattern tempting me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Anatomy of a snow storm

After dodging a bullet twice this snow season, we were finally in for it yesterday. They were forecasting anywhere from 6 to 18 inches, both here and at work. J and I awakened yesterday morning to a few inches and closures for both of our worksites. I settled in to work from home, and decided to take pictures of the deluge on an hourly (give or take) basis. Don't worry, I won't bore you with all the pictures. And I don't know how to do a slide show.
The little gargoyle on our front porch seemed to be a good gauge of what we were getting.

Here is Mr Gargoyle at 8:15-ish.

So I worked on some projects, sat in on some conference calls, had some lunch, and took some more pictures.

Mr Gargoyle around 1-ish. Note his base is covered, though you can still see the bottom of the pillar.

About 2, I decided to add our Christmas tree as a reference point.

I got work wrapped up around 5, and took the last of my outdoor pictures for the day.

Things were getting pretty active.

BTW, that's our Subaru at the bottom of our driveway, covered in snow. The wind started to blow a lot of it near the bottom of the hill, so we ended up with a 2' drift.

Mr Gargoyle, looking pretty much unrecognizable.
I spent the rest of my evening doing this:
New mittens for me!
We got up early this morning to find that J's work had a normal schedule, and mine was delayed until 10:30. Yeah, right. After digging out and trying to get out of the development, I turned around and came right home, since my car is not a sled. Apparently half of my co-workers were in the same boat. So it was another work from home day.
The roads seem to have cleared up nicely since 9am, so I'll head into NJ tomorrow and see what kind of winter wonderland there is in store.
No more snow until at least Monday. Huzzah.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Back to knitting

I've been working on a project that kicked my butt from mid-December on. But it's finally finished, so I can start working on some new stuff that's been sitting in the backlog pile.

((Pssst...I'll show a picture of the butt-kicking project when it reaches its recipient))

I knitted up all the pieces to a baby sweater I want to finish by March. It's buttery soft alpaca in tonal shades of dark blue. I might have enough to make another one a lot like it! I'll finish it off this coming weekend. And I'll post pictures, I promise.

I'm also starting a pair of mittens for me. They're the Bella's mittens I did here, but using the same yarn as for this scarf. Yes, I will have a matching scarf and mitten set that I made all by myself.

I have another baby sweater in mind that needs to be done by June, I need to work on that Celtic knot shawl I took a class for in September, and there are some crochet projects lying around too. Oh, and I scored big at my yarn store's Super Bowl Sale, so there will be more stuff coming up.


Snow day tomorrow!

We may have missed the last 2 big storms to hit our southern neighbors, but we won't be so lucky this time. They're forecasting anywhere from 6 to 18 inches of snow, depending on location. It's starting overnight tonight and there will be whiteout conditions tomorrow due to the wind. We might even get to experience our first snow thunderstorm.

Work has already told us we're closed for the day. I still have some work to do, but I'm happy knowing I'm able to do it in my PJs from the comfort of my own home.

Now I just cross my fingers that my wireless connection works in the morning...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Scenes from a Super Bowl

Super Bowl meal

Super Bowl dessert (sensing a theme?)


Hobbes celebrates a Saints win

Saturday, February 6, 2010

No snowpocalypse for us

Since Wednesday or so, the TV stations have been all over the latest approaching snow event. Massive snow down DC way, maybe reaching up here, to the tune of 1-3". Or 2-4". Depending on whether you believed the weather girl or the meteorologist.

J and I hit the grocery store on Friday to beat the rush, and planned to hunker down today and ride out the storm. For what it's worth, the grocery store was a ghost town on Thursday. But the parking lot was packed on Friday when I drove by on my way home.

We slept in, and I woke up about 9-ish to check out the weather.

We have nothing. Not a flake. The driveway is black as night, the roads are clear. There are low clouds, but that's pretty much how it's going to stay today.

J got up a little later and told me there were 16" outside. Little did he know I'd already taken and peek and knew how nice it was out there.

We're still staying homebound, because there are some things we need to do around the house, and it's cold, and it's more entertaining to put on The Weather Channel and watch the Snowpocalypse going on down in DC. My Baltimore friends are surely snowbound for the whole weekend. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed they all have power.

Happy February!