Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Celebrate the 2008 Beijing Olympics!

Let the games begin!

I joined the festivities at Ravelry for the Summer Olympics. Now, I am officially in training and counting down nine days to Cast On.

I will bet you want to know what training for Ravelympics consists of. Well, let me share my approach.

First, I drop lifted my pattern binders to find the proper projects to enter into the events. Since this is my Holiday Gift Knitting season I chose things that I plan to give as gifts for this Christmas. I thought: what better to put some pressure on getting these things done than the chance at a "gold medal."

Next, I did some mental training by reviewing the chosen patterns for needle size, yarn recommended, gauge requirements and suggested tools. I also did a run through of applicable abbreviations and researched any errata that might have occured for the pattern since published.

This accomplished, I went into my closet and did some strength training by lifting and restacking the tubs that hold my stash until I found most of the yarn I will need for these projects. Please note: I said "most." It looks like I do need to purchase at least a couple skeins of the right color for these event hopefuls.

Then, I practiced my tech abilities by adding each of the projects to Ravelry, tagging them as directed and reviewing the rules and regs for the games. After that was accomplished I went to the Team Colorado thread and introduced myself to my team mates.

My plan for the next few days is to assemble tools, wind yarn and package each event's project for ease of identification and mobility. I will be knitting every AM, noon, and PM for 17 days and do not want any down time while looking for things that have gotten scattered by my official score keeper and coach, Pedro.

After that I will be practicing my dexterity with practice trials of the elusive Moebius cast on.

Hopefully with all this training to accomplish I will have time to swatch for gauge on the two new patterns I am knitting for the first time. I would not want to be frogging (do over) during an event. That would be like having to swim the butterfly stroke backwards to start over. :-0

I will be posting an events list and pictures of project beginnings later this week.

Monday, July 28, 2008

July: Things to Celebrate

July has flown by. There were so many things to celebrate this month. Two of the biggies are: National Cheesecake day. I'd say to hot to bake one, so go out and buy at least a slice at your favority bakery to celebrate on July 30th.

And while you are eating your cheesecake say a very special Happy Birthday to one of the best writers of the last decade -- JK Rowling on July 31st. Without her we would not know a thing about quidditch or snarkles or Hogwarts. And we would not know a billionaire author. Way to go!

And a very Happy Anniversary to my folks on July 31st as well.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Updates on Fancy Sock Knitting

Loopy, as seen here, examining the completed top of my BullyWoolies sock.

I came home last night from the Stitch N Pitch, looked over my progress of about 4 inches of knitting in the foot and decided that I was going to have to rip it out and start over from the gusset. This revelation occured after trying it on. It was too large in the foot section. The top of it is a little snug however I will NOT be ripping out all that colorwork. So I decided to sleep on the decision.

This morning I ripped! all the way back to the beginning of the heel turn. Then I spent a diligent hour picking up all the stitches and reknitting the heel turn and picking up the gussett.

Now, the pattern calls for these socks to be knit on size 4 needles. I thought that seemed a bit large and got this far on size 3s. I will be making the matching sock on size 4 for the top and size 2 for the foot from the gussett down. I believe that even the size 2 may be a bit loose and will probably use 4 and 1 on the next pair.

Nothing like a little experimentation with a pattern to help you fully understand sock construction and de-struction.

I hope you are all finding fabulous ways to spend your days!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Stitch N Pitch was a great experience. I understand that they sold 61 ticktes for the event and, from what I could tell, most everyone showed up. We had a great section just off the first base line. At some point in the evening we were referring to is as the "shooting gallery." I have never seen so many foul balls.

Loopy enjoyed the game as well. He was photographed for the Table Rock Ravelry group and the Sky Sox Stitch N Pitch gallery. Go see if you can find him there.

They had fun entertainment between innings with Sox the Fox mascot weaving in and out of the crowd. Most of the time he was being followed by a parade of youngsters all trying to mimic his walk. that was hysterical.
BirdZerk was also visiting from St. Louis. He was very funny and talented.

And I met some new knitterly folks and traded pattern ideas and looked at everyones projects. Knitter's Kove and Table Rock Llamas had tables set up with giveaway items too.

And at the end of the evening the Oklahoma Redhawks, or was that Red Hots, won the game by three runs.
All in all, a fun experience.

Friday, July 25, 2008

More Summer Fare

One of the joys of reading audio books and knitting is every once in a while I am able to get one of my favorite authors from the library. My favorite light reading is a cozy mystery. My library does not always buy those in audio book format. So I am pleased that they happened to have some of Joanne Fluke's series with Hannah Swensen, the cookie bakery amateur sleuth from the frosty north country of Minnesota. I am thoroughly enjoying Carrot Cake Murder, the 10th in the series. Not only does she make crime solving seem fun but she shares a variety of really yummy recipes and not just for cookies.

In this book she had one for Salmon Cakes and I whipped up a batch this evening for supper to go with cold pork and beans and green beans, with the help of Pedro. It was yummy on a hot summer evening supper. You can make these with canned meats as well. They proved to be easy to fix and goes with other summer fare, like salads plus it keeps you and your kitchen cool.

Salmon Cakes :

6-8 ounce package or can of salmon. If you use the canned version be sure to pick out the bones and skin. Add 2 slices bread, any type, decrusted and torn, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon worstershire sauce, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, dash of salt and pepper, sliced green onion or a dash of onion powder. Mix togehter and shape into patties. Fry until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Serve with a dollop of cream of celery soup, undiluted and heated. Meat options include: salad shrimp, chicken, or tuna. Since you cannot possibly use up a whole can of soup for sauce, freeze the remainder in an ice cube tray, then bag and mark for future use. This makes three patties.

And while I experimented with this, Pedro was enjoying the basket he has confiscated from me.
I hope your weekend was full of fun things!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Summer Treats and Small Projects

Record heat and gas prices are keeping me much closer to home this summer. So to entertain myself I have movies to watch and fun knit projects to work on. Smaller projects are better, especially in wool.

Summer farmer's market in Old Colorado City provided the makings for a fun recipe experiment. Summertash. I created this after a radio DJ shared a bit of trivia about the most hated foods. Number 1 is liver. That I will not dispute. The second is Lima Beans. A show of hands, how many of you hate Limas... Good, that leaves more for me. :-)


Cook and cool frozen baby lima beans

Cook, cool and cut off the cob fresh corn (I used Peaches and Cream from eastern Colorado)

Dice red pepper, red onion

Mix 1/4 cup olive oil with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

Toss salad ingredients.

Chill for at least an hour.

Serve with seasonings of your choice - my favorite is Johnny's Seasoning from Safeway or the Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning.

Another summer treat is getting to read (turn pages reading not audio book) a great author like Clive Cussler. His new book, The Chase , is different from his usual NUMA or Oregon File books. It is a historical fiction with lots of facts about Wild West history. A really fun read that I managed to do while knitting.

And I saw Mamma Mia! at the early movie today. It was excellent. Great singing and dancing from all the stars.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pedro's Hitchcockian Experience

The Birds! (hum haunting music to further get yourself into the moody for this spooky post.)

We have baby swallows in our yard. The parents built the nest the first week of June. This weekend began Baby Swallow (Fledgling) Boot Camp.

Throughout this process Pedro has been "cat on alert" everyday. He sits in the window for hours watching the nest activities 20 feet above our porch. In the evenings, when I get home from work, he begs to go out on the porch so he can watch some more.

We have seen the birds chase off the neighborhood squirrel, Squiggy, and other birds and a young fox. Up until Saturday they had not seemed concerned about Pedro. That all changed suddenly at the commencement of Flight School.

So, here is Pedro laying quietly watching the bird activity, and all of a sudden one of the adult birds swoops down to attack him. He did what any self-respecting cat would do and swatted at it. He missed but felt defended. The next attack came in the form of two adult birds and successfully drove him into the house to cower. Now when he goes out he either lays under my chair on the porch or just inside the door to watch.

I know he will miss the excitement once they have all flown the coop.

I hope you are all finding small entertainments in your lives!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And in My Spare Time: I Read

Will Lavender’s debut novel Obedience starts out like a staid college course and, after an unpredictable roller coaster ride, ends with a weirdly satisfying AHA. You come to care about the college students who begin by believing this is just an exercise for their logic class and end by realizing this was far more sinister than any of them imagined.

He uses all the best of the thriller writing techniques, like the deadline which paces the book to make it a real page-turner. Then he incorporates little clues like names you know were mentioned early on to, what are seemingly innocent, meetings with people bearing resemblance to, names sounding the same, life story or ghostly presence.

The premise for the tale is mind-boggling and as it twists and turns you can’t help but formulate your own theories. About the time you think you have the answer it is blown right out of the water.

It proves to be unpredictable right up to the end. For book club participants, I think you should get extra points and brownies for not secretly skipping to the end. The suspense is satisfying and all the loose ends fit together in the end.

It makes you wonder how much energy bad guys must generate to actually come up with some of these evil schemes. Let us hope that this is just fiction.

I suggest you read this with the lights on and large dog for company. It is published by Random House under the Crown Publishing Group’s name and published February 2008.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Quilts in the Gardens

Saturday dawned cooler and bright, a wonderful day to attend the Quilts in the Gardens Show, organized by the Quilters Above the Clouds, in Woodland Park. Loopy and I met Mom there to do the tour and see all the exhibits at the Ute Pass Cultural Center.

There were quilts on display from a vintage 1830's one that looked like something from Williamsburg to whimisical ones featuring cartoon bugs or fantastgormical chickens.

The gardens we visited were lovely with a variety of blooming things. It is an amazing tribute to the high-altitude gardeners. And we even found a garden cat named Pywacket.

Hope everyone is finding beautiful things in their lives!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Afternoon Mini-Break

Loopy was very excited about the possibility of visiting the National ProRodeo Hall of Fame this afternoon after work. He was showing off his frog-busting skills at the last photo shoot for the test frog.

First we headed over to Drifter's Hamburgers for a quiet book-reading lunch and to try out their food. They are fashioned after the In-Out burger places in California because the owner learned all he knows about burger shacks when he worked there as a young man.
The menu is limited to burgers in several styles and some breakfast items. They use Ranch Direct meat and it smells heavenly. The fries are handcut and fried to perfection. It was a cheap and yummy lunch. I think their combos are far superior to MickyD's offerings with a lesser price tag.
We headed over to the NPR headquarters. We were certainly disappointed when we found out it was closed so they could ready for an inducation ceremony on Saturday. Thank goodness it is in the neighborhood so a visit later this summer is possible.

Now at loose ends I pulled out the Escapes section of the Gazette to review what other places of interest were in the area and their hours. Decided that it has been about 18 years since I visited the US Air Force Academy. So I headed for the south gate and hoped that Loopy did not have to produce proper ID or we both might end up in the brig.
We made it in the gate and stopped first at the plane exhibit near the airport. The haze in the background covering the the mountains was product of the smoke haze that has finally gotten to us from California.

Went and parked at the Visitors Center and walked over the nature trail to the Cadet area and Chapel. Loopy thinks it looks really quiet at the Academy in the summer and wishes he could have seen the cadets drilling.
We did see activity in the chapel with three different wedding parties having rehearsals for their upcoming nuptials.

After the hike I went into the Gift Shop and museum area, saw the film about cadet life. It is all very well done and informative.

Now off to the purpose of the staying at the north end of town on this Friday.

Loopy and I went over to the college to lend moral support to our friend, M, during her graduate practicals.

Hope you all are finding fun and exciting ways to fill your summer daze!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Test Frog Lift-Off

And so for the rest of the weekend Pedro and I visited with the neighbors and sat on the porch, read magazines, did laundry and knitted.

I had to finish the test frog to see what and how I can make him better.

The finished project is below and he turned out much larger than I intended. So I have the next one in pieces on my table at home. I am using the matching yarn weight in white which I think will help size him down. As you can see he begins as frog legs and grows from there.

The toughest part was finding the correct eyes for him. I tried the big craft stores here in town and discovered that they mostly carry the wiggle eyes for toys.

So I went online and snooped around until I found Harvey's Hobby Hut. He carries a wide variety of toy and doll making supplies. I ordered eyes size 15 in a bright blue and bright yellow. I think they will be really fun on the other non-green frogs I have planned.

More from the frog pond later. Hope the water is fine and your lily pad floats!

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Fabulous 4th

The day started out with a bang! First, I went across town to the big town center area where the Cinemark Theater is and waited in line for the first show of the day of Hancock. All this for a free T-shirt. Had fun soaking up the crisp air, sunshine and knitting in line. That activity garnered some interest from onlookers and even from those in the theater as I had 45 minutes of wait time until the movie started.

Then I came home to find my shared porch had gone patriotic. So I let Pedro out to show us how he was going to celebrate, and got the camera to show all of you.

It was a stay-at-home 4th for me. I got yarn organization done and some processing on roasted chilis and basil with winter dishes in mind. I love the stuff fresh however cannot buy just a small amount. So I save some fresh for immediate use and batch the rest for the freezer.

And with the gas prices where they are, I was going no further than necessary. At least this has made more jobs for sheep and goats.

And Pedro enjoyed being outside for the majority of three days. He even has his own crossing sign courtesy of our good neighbors.

Saw some fireworks at Memorial Park and called it a night.
Hope your 4th was fabulous!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Above the Clouds Quilt and Garden Show

The 2nd Annual "Quilts in the Gardens" show is being held Saturday, July 12th in Woodland Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

I understand from one of the organizers that this was a BIG hit last year and promises to be even better this year.

It is organized by the Quilters Above the Clouds, a relatively new quilt guild with over 60 members from the surrounding Teller and Park counties.

The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday with a visit to the the Ute Pass Cultural Center at 210 E. Midland in Woodland Park. The map to the three private gardens will be available there as well as quilting demonstrations, historical quilts on display and vendor booths.

The garden portion of the show will be located in three premier private gardens around Woodland Park and will be easily found by the map provided. Admission to this event is free.

Anyone wanting to display one of their own creations must call Aline at 719-686-0121 for more information. Deadline for delivery of quilts to display is July 6 and the entry fee is $5 for the first quilt and $2.50 for each additional.

What a great way to spend a day out of the city heat. I plan to be there for at least a couple hours that day with a possible fun lunch at one of many fine eateries in Woodland Park.

Note: the photo used here was found at Your Hub for Woodland Park and provided to them by Qulters Above the Clouds of last year's show.