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July 31, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

I'm 25 today, and I actually do feel older. Odd. It's been sort of a weird birthday - I celebrated with my parents a few weeks ago, and with some friends last weekend, but the day itself has been quiet. Some coworkers took me out for ice cream. On the way home, I got a stack of library books and my favorite pizza, and I'm spending the evening reading, knitting, and maybe watching a movie later. Quiet, but nice.

Posted by Kat at 07:31 PM | Comments (27)

July 27, 2007

Whoa. Where did this week GO?

What the heck happened to this week? I can't believe I haven't had a chance to blog all week. Although, looking back, I guess I can believe it. I've been way busier than usual at work, and working more hours than usual, and fairly busy in non-work time as well. Here are some of the things I've been doing instead of blogging this week:

1. Reading the new Harry Potter. (Well, okay, I finished that the day it came out.)
2. Watching the debate and discussing it and related matters ad nauseum.
3. Eating fondue at the Melting Pot with my dad, who was in town for business.
4. Doing preliminary research on starting a business.
5. Doing data entry for the Edwards campaign. (Honestly, I'm still undecided, but I'm leaning toward Edwards, not least because I think he stands a better chance in the general election than do the other Democrat frontrunners.)
6. Enjoying my new air conditioner.
6. Teaching myself SQL.
7. Knitting, occasionally. Should have some finished things to show you next week.

And because the above didn't allow for much time for blog reading this week, either... what have you all been up to this week?

Posted by Kat at 09:11 PM | Comments (4)

July 20, 2007

Perfect Evening

Yesterday after work, I'd planned to go to the library, make some stir-fry, maybe watch a DVD. But by 3:30 or so, it was raining, hard, and cooling off, and I realized that I was going to be useless that evening for anything but making soup, drinking tea, knitting, and reading a British novel. So when I got home I ransacked the cupboards for vegetable stock and barley, dug random CSA veggies out the fridge, and threw together some vegetable barley soup:

Veggie Soup

While the soup spent most of the evening simmering, I drank tea, knit a sock, and reread the sixth Harry Potter book in preparation for the new one tomorrow.

Perfect Evening

Ahhh. Lovely.

Posted by Kat at 09:52 AM | Comments (8)

UFO Resurrection Challenge: Procedure Update

Okay, here's the thing. I do want the challenge to keep going. But I don't think that will happen if I keep feeling like I have to properly catch up on the months where I got behind because of school. I think I'll be able to keep up at this point, due to the lack of school and some other stuff. So we're going to basically split it into two six-month things. Here's what well do...

For January-June:

1. If you participated in those months, e-mail me. If you have pictures or blog post links of what you did, that's great. If not, it's fine. Just tell me what the project was and what you did (ripped out or worked on it). Please e-mail by July 31.

2. I will post blog/picture links for everyone else to see. If you do not want your link posted, please mention that in your e-mail.

3. By August 5, I will have a prize drawing among those who participated all six months.

For July-December:

1. We're basically back to the original plan. Post on your blog and/or e-mail me each month with your project and what you're doing with it.

2. By the weekend after the end of each month, I will post a list (with links) of those who participated that month and have a drawing for a small prize.

3. In early January, I will have the prize drawing for people who participated in all six months (July-December).

General Notes

1. If you didn't sign up at the beginning but want to sign up for the July-December section, go for it. Just e-mail me by July 31.

2. Are any of you on Ravelry? If there's enough interest, I'll start a UFO Resurrection Challenge group there, just for fun.

Edited to add:
3. If your name isn't in the sidebar and should be, let me know.

Okay. Does that all sound reasonable? I'm very sorry that I didn't manage to keep up with this during the spring semester, and this is the best way I've come up with to get it restarted. Thanks for your patience.

Posted by Kat at 08:59 AM | Comments (6)

July 19, 2007

Linen Stitch Scarf

Hey, look, something else I finished while I was photo-less.

Linen Stitch Scarf

It's the Linen Stitch Scarf from the Pattern-a-Day calendar, a few months back. Patons Classic Wool in Wedgewood. It looks smashing with my new denim jacket. This pattern was fun, and I'll probably be doing more of them - I'd make the next a bit wider, though.

Posted by Kat at 06:18 PM | Comments (5)

July 18, 2007

Rainy Wednesday Randoms

1. Apparently this is the day of not being at my desk. I have a "walk around and help people" thing from 10-10:30, meetings from 11:30-1 and 1-2, a celebration for a coworker's upcoming wedding from 2:30-3, and another meeting from 3:30-4:30. Sheesh. The 11:30 meeting includes lunch, so let's hope it's something vegetarian-friendly.

2. I got a massage on Monday. It was amazing. Things that had been hurting for weeks or months aren't hurting anymore. Between that and the air conditioner, I've been sleeping much better the past few nights.

3. This week is suddenly crazy busy. I have things to do every weeknight, and three nights (so far) next week. I think on Saturday I'll do some errands and then spend the rest of the weekend relaxing, reading Harry Potter, knitting, and catching up on chores. Oh, except I'll probably manage to leave the house for knitting group on Sunday. :)

4. I discovered last night that the correct length of sock for myself (up to the toe decreases) is the span of my outstretched hand, from thumb to pinky, minus the thumb nail. I feel very clever.

5. I. Just. Want. To. Knit. I mean, I always want to knit, but I'm in one of those knitting-obsessed moods. It's nice because I'm getting a lot done, but it's somewhat driving me crazy at the same time.

6. The Holiday Knitting list? Very very long. As a friend said yesterday, "If you're at the point at which my mom is on your list, you must be planning a lot." Um, yeah. We'll see how that goes.

Posted by Kat at 09:19 AM | Comments (5)

July 17, 2007

Dishcloth Delight

As I mentioned a few days (weeks?) ago, I've been bitten by the dishcloth bug. I think it's a combination of needing quick gratification while in the midst of a bunch of big projects and actually needing dishcloths.

First I made this Bunny Cloth for friends who have bunnies:

Bunny Cloth

And then I did an Alien Cloth for myself, while watching Doctor Who (appropriately enough):

Alien Cloth

Boy, it's hard to get decent pictures of these texture-based things. I promise I'll try to get better at it, though, because you're going to be seeing a lot of dishcloths around here over the next few months...

Posted by Kat at 04:39 PM | Comments (2)

July 16, 2007

More holiday planning questions

I started the Holiday Knitting Wish List today - not a list of what I want to receive, but a list of what I'd like to knit and give, given unlimited knitting time and budget. At least it's a starting place. During the process, I came up with some more questions for the collective brain:

1. Is it bad to give the same type of pattern to a recipient more than once? i.e. Do I have to remember who got scarves two years ago to make sure they don't get (different types of) scarves again?
2. Anyone know a resource for mittens for kids of different ages? A few of my recipients are 3-ish, and baby would be too small but regular "kid" would be too big, I'd think.
3. Dog people: tips on dog blankets? My hard-to-knit-for brother has mentioned that his dog might like a handknit blanket. Suggestions on fibers? (I was thinking maybe something like the thicker Woolease?) Size? Mickey's a golden retriever.
4. Bookmark pattern suggestions? I'm looking at Waves from the Top so far.
5. I realized that a lot of my angst over starting multiple gifts at a time was because I have on occasion bought lots of yarn for gifts that never got finished. So I think that my policy this year will be that I can buy yarn for a new gift each time I finish a gift. (I already have yarn for at least three of the things I'm planning.) The exception to this will be dishcloth cotton, because I'm planning a whole bunch of dishcloths and want to start knitting one a week, or something.
6. Is thinking about this so much so early insane, or just practical?
Posted by Kat at 10:03 PM | Comments (10)

July 15, 2007


As of tonight, I'm on Ravelry! Yay! I don't want to go on about it and annoy those still on the waiting list. So, for now, I'll just say: if you're there, friend me! I'm KatwithaK.

Posted by Kat at 09:37 PM | Comments (2)

Pretty much the best day ever.

My bedroom looks very different this morning than it did yesterday morning. My parents came to visit yesterday, and look what they brought me!

New Air Conditioner!

Yes, an air conditioner! Yay! My birthday is in a few weeks, so this is my early birthday present from them. My dad even installed it for me.

And as if that weren't enough, look what else came from CT with them:

New-old Dresser

A dresser! This is part of the bedroom set that my mom used from childhood until a few years ago, and I've always loved this dresser, so when my parents got new bedroom furniture a few years ago, I begged for it. I am so excited at the prospect of actually putting my clothes in drawers, I can't even tell you.

Posted by Kat at 09:08 AM | Comments (7)

July 14, 2007

Take me out to the ballgame...

Last Wednesday, I went to a Lowell Spinners game with my SnB group:

Baseball with Knitters

I'll admit that a few of us didn't exactly pay tons of attention to the game... we were more of the "hey, an excuse to drink beer and knit!" mindset. But we had fun.

This is what 1 outdoor concert + 1 ballgame =, in sock:

Swizzle Sock
Posted by Kat at 10:10 PM | Comments (2)

July 13, 2007

Christmas (Planning) in July

Well, it's all sunny and warm out, which means that I'm dreaming of cool weather... and Christmas knitting. I'm at the point at which I'm thinking "Well, I'm not in school anymore, and I won't be working retail around the holidays, and I'm not even going to do NaNoWriMo in November... so I'll have plenty of time!" Yeah. We'll see how that works out. Although I have been finishing more projects recently, so I suppose there's a chance. I will soon have my very own Long-Range Planning Box (thanks to Steph for the term) for storing up generic gifts, like hats and scarves and baby things. (I have a few things just laying around in my WIP box or storage room now, so it will be nice to have them in one place.) So that should help.

There are a bunch of things I'm currently trying to decide about, in this pre-planning stage. Opinions?

1. How much to do at once? Do I start a bunch of things and switch around so as not to get bored, or should I try to focus on one gift project at a time (rotating with other non-holiday stuff, of course) so I don't end up with everything half-finished on Christmas Eve? The answer to this is probably some sort of happy medium...
2. Is it okay to give more complicated/larger projects to some people, even if those who got smaller/simpler things will be receiving their gifts at the same gathering? This happens because a) even I am not crazy enough to think I can knit sweaters or afghans for everyone and b) my Official Gift Recipient Vetting Process*.
3. What about people who just aren't crazy about knitted things? I'd like to knit for those I love most, of course, but my dad and brother, say, just don't wear the kinds of things one knits. They never wear sweaters and only rarely scarves. Hats are possible, but they'd both tend more toward fleece or something than wool, I think. My brother liked the school-color scarf I made him last year, but by this Christmas he will be done with high school football and I'm not sure we'll know yet which college he'll be attending. Hmm. Ideas? (I'm leaning toward hats at the moment, because I think even they wear hats when it's really cold.) Strategies for their conversion? Or should I just buy them something they actually want?
4. How to blog it? Many of my gift recipients at least stop by the blog occasionally. Should I just call everything "Holiday Project #whatever" and not post any pictures until the gifts have been given? Or can I post the more generic things and just say they're going into the Long-Range Planning Box and not who they're for? Other options?

I'll probably have more questions later, but that's all for the moment...

* Official Gift Recipient Vetting Process: People to whom I have never before given a knitted gift get something small and quick first. A bulky-yarn scarf, a hat, a dishcloth. Something like that. If and only if they express an appropriate amount of appreciation, they may receive a sweater or shawl or afghan in the future. If not, they will get a book or CD or something else that they will like more. I think it saves everyone involved a lot of angst and possibly heartache.

Posted by Kat at 12:13 PM | Comments (7)

July 12, 2007

Can you see this?

If this worked correctly, you should be able to see a cute kitten in a box...

Kitten in Box
Posted by Kat at 07:04 PM | Comments (7)

Blog Reader Survey!

Have a few minutes to spare? Please take my Blog Reader Project survey. Thanks!

Posted by Kat at 09:54 AM | Comments (1)

July 10, 2007

Hooded Baby Jacket


Pattern: Plymouth P630 Baby Cardigan and Hat or Hooded Jacket
Yarn: Plymouth Oh My!, color 72
Needles: US 10

First: isn't it cute? It's even cuter in person. And it has wee Beatrix Potter buttons. And it's all soft and fuzzy and cozy and I love it.

Second: oh my GOD was this awful to knit. If it hadn't been so cute, I probably would have given up. I'm having trouble imagining what could possibly induce me to use this yarn again. It split and pulled horribly, and I'm a bit worried about how the finished object will hold up. I do really like the pattern, though, so I will keep it and possibly try it with another yarn sometime.

Posted by Kat at 08:06 PM | Comments (8)

July 09, 2007

Yay!!!! and State of the Knitting

It's too dark in here to get a decent picture right now, but I had to tell you all immediately that I just finished the baby sweater I've been working on on and off for months. I am SO excited. I've been in a finishing mood the last few days... the WIPs were getting out of control again.

Aside from the above sweater, here's what I've been working on:

1. Dishcloths Thanks to Jennifer, I've been on a dishcloth kick. I've made two in the past week (pictures soon) and have printed out patterns for several more. Wheee.

2. Afghan Squares I'm finishing up my fourth (and probably last) square for Rebuilding Greensburg.

3. Shawls I'm inching along slooowly on an easy lace one for me, to leave at the office, and a harder lace one for the widow of the uncle who passed away in April.

4. Socks I have four socks at various stages. One is on the foot, and moving along nicely except that I messed up the hank-to-ball process somewhere and it keeps tangling, so I've been only working on it at home. Two are about ready for heels, so I have to figure out what I want to do with them. And the fourth I started on Saturday because obviously none of the other three were appropriate for mindless knitting at an outdoor concert.

5. Shrug The "practice" version of I Do (for my friend to wear at her wedding) is somewhere between half and two thirds done. Then the recipient (who lives in another state) has to try it on, and we have to figure out any necessary adjustments, and then we have to find yarn that matches the beading on her gown, and then I can knit it again. Luckily, the wedding isn't until March.

6. Sweater I haven't touched Arwen in months, but this week I've been itching to get back to it. I'm hoping to have it done by fall. I have the back done, and part of one of the fronts.

And, of course, there are a bunch of things I want to start, but I'm trying to finish up a few more first. Let's hope this bout of finishitis lasts...

Posted by Kat at 09:07 PM | Comments (2)

July 07, 2007

I have pictures!

Yay, I can post pictures again! A few random ones of Dewey from the last few months:

Looking pensive:

Helping a friend of mine connect the VCR:

Relaxing in his favorite spot:

Posted by Kat at 08:36 AM | Comments (8)

July 06, 2007

Review: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off
Genre: Knitting humor
Pages: 218
Rating: 4.5

Another book of knitting culture humor from our dear Yarn Harlot. I loved it, but I have to admit that I didn't think it was quite as hilarious as her previous books. This might have been because the "travel guide" format, while very fun, was a bit of a stretch at times. Still, it was great. I'm impressed by the way that Steph has used different formats for all of her books so far, and I'm curious to see what she does next. (But I'd rather another book of hilarious essays, say, than something less funny that's in another format just for the sake of something different. Not that I'm saying that's why this one is in this format, but I'd be afraid of publisher pressure to make her do something different every time.) Knitters should definitely read all of Steph's books, and this one would be particularly good for non-knitters who live with or are otherwise closely associated with knitters and want to try to understand just what the big deal is about this knitting thing.

Posted by Kat at 08:52 AM | Comments (1)

July 04, 2007

Recipe: Easy Tofu Marinara

This is adapted from the various baked tofu recipes in a great vegetarian cookbook called Enemy of the Steak.

1 pound extra firm tofu, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1-1.5 cups marinara sauce (when I don't have time to make my own, my favorite is Newman's)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
optional: minced garlic, to taste
optional: other herbs or spices, to taste (I added fresh basil from the garden)
optional: grated romano or parmigiano cheese (if you leave this out, the recipe is vegan)

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Mix sauce, vinegar, garlic, herbs, and spices.
3. Spread about half of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a shallow baking pan (9x13 or so).
4. Place the tofu in a single layer in the pan.
5. Top with the rest of the sauce mixture. Spread out the sauce so it covers the surface of the tofu - I find it's easiest to do this with a spatula.
6. Optional: Top with grated cheese.
7. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Serve with salad and the grain of your choice (suggestions: pasta, couscous, risotto), or use as a sandwich filling.

Posted by Kat at 07:25 PM | Comments (1)

July 01, 2007

New Computer!

I am writing this from my new computer!! Yay!!! I am so excited. I found it at Office Depot yesterday. For the curious, it's an HP Pavilion dv9334us. The 17" screen seems huge, and it's great to watch things on. The specs are even better than I'd necessarily planned, but it was on sale and therefore within my price range. Very exciting!

Unfortunately, you'll have to wait a few days more for pictures, because the CompactFlash Card adapter I've been using is a PC card, and the new computer doesn't have that slot. I should be getting a new adapter on Friday, though - a friend has a spare he'll be giving me. I have some cute pictures to show you. (Hint: the new computer came with a present for Dewey, too - a box!)

Posted by Kat at 08:32 AM | Comments (5)

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