Sunday, July 29, 2007

By midnight I will no longer have the adventures of Harry Potter, the 2007 Tour de France or the weekend to look forward to.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Designs that fail, part 2

Remember the evil eye hat? I remade it with trees. I feel the hat has suffered in the process. I look at the hat and my overall impression is "meh." If you squint, the design resembles evergreens as seen on a winter's day through a snowstorm. If you squint really hard you'll see sparkles. This means you are squinting too hard and should stop now.

I've worked this design before, much more successfully. For some reason it just doesn't thrill me here. I do like the two-tone curlicue at the top- I'll use that again. I was hoping to enter this in the Montgomery County Fair but I probably won't. Unfortunately, this means I'll have to crochet a replacement, in addition to finishing the pullover I'm working on.

The fair countdown begins!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Not dead yet

The goldfish Rainbow is doing poorly. Rainbow is our last surviving pet. Kiah the cat passed on this winter, a victim of polycystic kidney disease. We got a lovely note from the vet staff on his passing. I am continually amazed at the kindness of vets.

Rainbow and her (his?) sister (brother?) Rosie (I'm not a goldfish sexer) were county fair goldfish. You know, the ones you win by tossing a ping-pong ball into a glass? I hate those games. Those poor fish sitting around all day in the hot sun, cooped up in tiny plastic bags. Ninety percent of the fish taken home don't make it through the next day.

Rosie and Rainbow both beat the odds. We upgraded them to a spacious 10 gallon fishy condo with neon pink gravel, plants, a heater, a oxygenating fountain, and a light. The tank is tastefully bare. I really wanted to get one of those fake treasure chests that blows bubbles when it opens. I was overruled. Brewguy changed the water and the Little Brewers fed them. So much and no more, never more than a spot. By all accounts, Rosie and Rainbow loved their new home. They chewed the plants to oblivion, chased each other around the tank, and gazed at us through the glass as we gazed at them.

Rosie died a few months ago. Quite suddenly. S/he was found floating upside down in the morning and was buried in the garden next to the hosta. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Rainbow started swimming sideways. "Uh oh," I thought to myself. "This can't be good." Rainbow was spending more and more time at the top of the tank, on her* side, as though she was stuck to the surface. Uneaten food began to drift around the bottom (I've never known a goldfish to leave food lying around so I took this as a bad sign). When we would walk past she would flip away as if startled, but eventually she would float back to the top.

We all came to grips with the seemingly unassailable fact that Rainbow was about to pass on, said our goodbyes, and left for the beach, fully intending to find an ex-fish when we returned. That was a week ago. Rainbow is still with us. She is spending less time on her side, although there is still quite a bit of side-hanging going on.

Here is the dilemma: what do we do? Will Rainbow recover or is this just the long road to the end? Is the fish suffering in its current state? (Not to sound heartless, but I am not going to take a county fair goldfish to the vet. That money goes to the college fund. I'm already hyperventilating over the projected cost.)

So we are playing the waiting game. The water is changed, the fish is fed, and we gaze at each other through the glass. And every morning we say to each other, "I'm not dead yet."

*Little Brewer #1 insists Rainbow is a girl, so I'm going with it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Island girl

We took the little brewers on their first camping adventure last weekend to one of my favorite spots in the world, Assateague Island. Sun! Sand! Tents!

Wild ponies!

Bugs! Fiberglass sharks!

In the past, it was easy to get a campsite. Brewguy and I would pack ourselves up and head out across the Bay Bridge Friday night, arriving at the island around 3am. Once there we'd sleep in the car until daybreak, hanging on the beach until the campsite lottery at 11am.

Now you can reserve campsites online in advance. We went online in February for July dates. There were no campsites available for more than two nights in a row. This was in February. Fortunately, once we arrived, we found single night spots. Unfortunately, that meant we had to move the campsite every night. Let me tell you, unpacking and packing gets really old fast.

Brewguy's great idea was to simply pick up the tents and walk them to the next campsite. I was somewhat more skeptical, mostly because carrying a large, fully constructed tent across the campground was way too close to the
Beverly Hillbillies for my taste. In addition, like most great ideas, this one had a fatal flaw: wind. A fully contructed tent acts as a sail.


We gave up on the tent moving and setting for moving the screen house. Campers are a laid-back lot. Upon observing us hauling the screen house, one remarked "moving day?" Gotta love these folks. I did attempt to knit but after constant interruptions for "Mommy, look over there!" and "Mommy, I'm hungry," and "Ew, horse poop!" I surrendered and started reading 1776 instead.

Things learned at the beach:
  • Brewgal needs to reapply her SPF-50 during the day or she will burn in uncomfortable places.

  • Food cooked on the campstove tastes much better than at home.

  • Live mole crabs are cute but dead, disembowled ones are not.

  • Mosquitos piss me off. I mean, really. What is the purpose of mosquitos?

  • Our tent is indeed waterproof, thank goodness.

  • Seagulls (those flying rat bastards) can do an amazing impression of a small child yelling "HEY!"

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Metro Vest

It seems like it has been forever since I've finished anything. Besides crocheted hats for small babies, that is. Althought I certainly do not begrudge the newborn their haberdashery, I felt it was time to make myself a little something. Et voila! An honest-to-goodness finished item. I saw a blue version of this vest about two months ago on a woman riding the Metro. She was across the platform from me at Metro Station. I thought to myself, "Self, I WANT that!" So I designed my own.

It's a low-cut front, racer back vest. It doesn't seem like much on the hanger, but I think it looks great on.

Here's a shot of the back. Sorry about the bathroom clutter.

I didn't measure. I tried out a few stitch patterns until I found one I liked. The 2x2 rib is cute and has a lot of stretch to it. I used one of my old tank tops as a guide for the racer back. I just laid the piece down on the tank and guessed at the shaping. Brewgal is rather slight in the bust (36") and long in the torso, so take these instructions for what they are.

Here is the pattern I worked out.

Yarn: 3 1/2 skeins Plymouth Encore Colorspun DK (wool/acrylic blend)

Needles: size 6 straights

Crochet hook: approximately size F (Wouldn't you know it, I chose the one hook in the house that isn't size labeled. It claims to be non-inflammable, which means it could burst into flames at any moment.)

Finished measurements:

Shoulder to waist = 24 inches

Armhole to waist = 15 inches

Bottom of neckline to waist = 14 inches

Width = 8 3/4 inches (I relied on the stretchy nature of the 2x2 rib)


Cast on 70

First row: knit

Second and succeeding rows: 2 x 2 rib (knit 2, purl 2 to end)

Work in 2x2 rib until armholes

Armhole shaping (back)

Bind off 2 sts at beginning of every other row for 4 rows (this is the outside edge of the piece)

Bind off 1 st at beginning of every other row for 8 rows

Work in pattern for 26 rows

Neck shaping (back)

Work 20 sts in pattern

Bind off 14

Place remaining sts on holder

Work 1 row

Bind off 2 sts at beginning of 1 row (inside edge)

Work 1 row

Bind off 1 st at beginning of every other row for 4 rows.

You should have 14 sts remaining on needle. Work in pattern for 2 more rows, bind off all sts.

Join new yarn to stitches on holder. Repeat shaping for other side.


Cast on 70.

First row: knit

Second and succeeding rows: 2 x 2 rib (knit 2, purl 2 to end)
Work in 2x2 rib until you want to start neck shaping.

You'll be shaping the neck and armholes at the same time.

Neck and armhole shaping (front)

Work 26 sts in pattern

Bind off 18

Place remaining sts on holder.

Work 1 row in pattern

Bind off 2 sts at beginning of 2 rows (this is the inside edge of the neck)

Work in pattern until armhole

Bind off 2 sts at beginning of every other row for 2 rows (this is the outside edge of the armhole)

Bind off 1 st at beginning of every other row for 4 rows. You should have 14 sts on needle.

Work straight until piece is same length as back. For me, this was 40 rows. Bind off all sts.

Join new yarn to stitches on holder. Repeat shaping for other side.

Joining back to front:

You'll be putting these together just like you would if you were sewing; right sides facing each other, sewing on the wrong side. I usually start piecing together at the points hardest to fix if I've made a mistake- the top of the shoulder. I can always go back and fix a crooked hem, but sloppy shoulders make me crazy.

Hold right sides together. Start join at shoulders. Placing the two sides together, take a crochet hook and single crochet through the stitches on both sides.

Next join: armholes, down sides.

Once pieces are joined, turn vest right side out and single crochet around the neckline and armholes. This gives a more finished look.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Playing tic-tac-toe yesterday:

Little Brewer #1: Yay!
Brewguy: She smoked me!
Little Brewer #1: I want to play Mommy next. She's the challenging one.

Friday, July 06, 2007

How We Spent July 4

I received this text message on my phone:

Sent on: 07/04/2007 16:35:23

I have now learned that my wireless connection works in the basement.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

It's the Fourth of July. Indpendence Day for the United States. The Brewers and I will be taking it easy. I will find time to do a little knitting. We may do a little tidy-ing up in preparation for tomorrow's visit by Brewgal's relatives. Grilling of dead animals may be involved. We may travel to observe airborne explosives. It is during these times of peace that my thoughts turn to...

Zombies. The walking dead. In folklore, the zombie might be a dead person reanimated by a sorcerer. In that case the zombie would be under the control of the reanimator, having no will of its own. Alternatively, the zombie could be someone who appears dead but whose consciousness has fled or been otherwise destroyed.

Modern zomibes want to eat you. Who sat around thinking, "Gosh, it would be SUPER scary if the dead came back to life and wanted to eat your brain!"


Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

My strengths: would look for a hideout and fortify the entrances, would run away from loved ones if they turn into zombies.

My weaknesses: have never fired a gun, would go looking for family/loved ones, can't run very far.

The flaw in the zombie apocolypse theory (there's always a flaw, isn't there?) is the same flaw that stalks the vampire theory. Eventually, all the humans would be destroyed and only zombies would remain. Then what? Do the zombies continue to wander around the earth in packs? Do they gather in giant zombie mosh pits singing unhhhhhh and flinging stray limbs?

Happy 4th everyone!

Thanks to Rabbitch for the zombie survival link.