Sweater at Last

This knit has actually been done for a while – I just haven’t had a chance to take photos. And by ‘me’ take photos, I mean the boyfriend take photos. There’s only so much you can achieve indoors with an automatic timer.

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All the details are on Ravelry, but in short it is the $1.50 Cardigan from Interweave Knits Spring 2007. I used Classic Elite Classic Silk, which is a Cotton/Silk/Nylon yarn. It is really warm!

I put 4 buttons on it, but the top one is a bit too high for my liking. I think I’ll either take it off, or leave it and just never button it up.

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I sort of wanted to take pictures outside, because all the snow makes a giant light reflector, but -28C (-19F) in just a T-shirt and holey sweater is a recipe for disaster. Disaster named ‘frostbite’ and ‘raging cold’.

The only thing I’m uncertain of (and which has sadly stopped me wearing the sweater as much as I want to) are the buttons. I sewed them on with leftover yarn – and I had to pull out a single ply of the yarn to get it through the buttons. Using just a single ply means that that ply is quite weak, and the buttons do feel a bit wobbly. I may have to find some embroidery thread in just the right brown to sew them on again.

I think I actually finished this in the summer, and just never got around to photos. I’ll try not to do that again!

Spring Cleaning

I love spring cleaning. I love clearing out stuff, making a giveaway pile, a recycling pile, and a garbage pile, and putting everything where it should be.

My boyfriend and I spent today emptying out our storage room. Our apartment-condo has a storage room actually in our house, and a separate storage unit too. Today we tackled the in-house one. I’m always amazed at the junk I think I need to keep. If I didn’t keep all that crap, I wouldn’t need to have clear-outs!

I’ve also been attacking the stash, and my UFOs. I sold 3 skeins of Mountain Colors Bearfoot to a lady in town, and 4 knitting books to her too. I still have a few skeins left up on Ravelry. I’m also doing a trade with another Raveler, we’re trading some yarn. It works out so well, because I get yarn I want, so does she, and we both get rid of stuff we’re tired of!

The thing I’m most proud of though, is dusting off my $1.50 cardigan again, and actually commiting to finish it.

Gold on my $1.50

I started this back when the magazine came out, so Spring 2007. I got most bits done, then stopped. I dusted it off September 2008, and had finished all the bits by November 2008. Then it sat in the box again, until yesterday! I got out the bits, seamed the fronts to the back, and even picked up the button band!

Where do the buttons go?

It was also a great chance to test other functions of my Stitch Marker Revolution markers. I had a hunch they’d be more useful than regular stitch markers, and I was right. They open and close, so it was easy to slip them on the needle at the right points once I’d figured out where the buttons needed to go (the teal ones in the pic above). I also changed the button holes from what the pattern says. Pattern says to do a yarn over, but because I have big buttons, I did a 4-stitch one-row buttonhole instead.

Pick up stitches for a button band evenly?

They were also very useful for dividing up the fronts into quarters so I could pick up stitches evenly for the button band (Lavender in that pic). I usually use safety pins for that, but these are more fun. I found it easiest to stick the connector part through a stitch or between stitches.

I even used them instead of safety pins to baste the pieces together. No pictures of that, I’ll take some when I do the sleeves. But you just poke the connector through the edge of one piece, then the other, click it closed, and there you are!

These are the small size, and they worked very well. I think the big ones would be too loose to baste edges together.

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Upstairs Downstairs Knitting

I’ve been knitting away on two projects recently. I’ve found a system that I can only implement here, in my parents’ big house. My newest project (cast on as soon as the Annetrelacs were done) are my Druid mittens, and they are my basement project. The long-neglected $1.50 cardigan is my upstairs project.

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The mittens get worked on when I go down to the basement to watch TV after dinner. The having cable thing is great; I get to watch Iron Chef, and Mythbusters (I would love to work with Jamie and Adam)! On a side note, these Discovery Channel ads doesn’t get old.

The cardigan gets worked on when I curl up in the chair in my bedroom and listen to podcasts, or watch things on  my computer (like…. all of Heroes Season 2).

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The mittens are fairly slow going, what with all the cabling. I’m using 2mm needles, and the fabric is quite tight, but that’s good in mittens because it will keep the wind out.

What I’m finding interesting is that I seem to have a different row gauge on the back of the mitten than I do on the palm. The back of the hand is all cable-y, and the palm is a slip-stitch pattern, and somehow I am much tighter doing the palm pattern. It is actually causing the mitten to want to curve over. Luckily, that’s the shape hands naturally are, so hopefully it won’t affect the finished product too much.

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I took these photos on the ferry. I had to get away from the house for a day or two, so I went to Vancouver and visited some friends. Waiting for the ferry, and being on the ferry gave me lots of knitting and reading time.

Weekend Startitis

I got a nasty case of start-itis over the weekend.

I had been knitting away on the right front of my $1.50 cardi, when I decided to hold it up against the back piece. The armholes were at totally different heights. I was suddenly thrown off my “this-will-be-the-best-knit-ever” horse. Then I realised that the back was all crinkly and shrunk from the stitch pattern, so I stretched it and measured. The front would also be a different size when blocked, so I tried to stretch that too. I didn’t have enough hands. So I decided to block the back piece to make measuring easier.

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Even with the back all blocked, the front armhole still starts lower. But then again, the front needs to be stretched too, to open up the lace. I hope that between stretching it up and sideways, it’ll grow that little bit it needs. If not, oh well, I’ll just frog back.

I’m also getting slightly concerned about running out of yarn, but we will not speak of that.

Friday these length worries had gotten to me, so I found a ball of sock yarn, and brought that and some needles to work to swatch for the Sidewinder Socks. I got gauge, but couldn’t actually start at work, as I had no waste yarn, and I got gauge on needles I only have as DPNs. That was put away until I could get to my LYS.

So Friday night, my cardi was blocking and awaiting analysis, my LYS closed before I got off work, and my boyfriend was at work. What’s a girl to do? Cast on for a lace shawl, that’s what!

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It’s the Large Rectangle in Leaf and Trellis pattern from Victorian Lace Today (on page 54). The pattern calls for a size 6 needle, but my yarn is a bit thinner, so I started on size 5s. I knit a bit that night, and a bit more at work on Saturday. I got 9 rows done.

Sunday, I went to my LYS to pick up a needle for those Sidewinders, and a needle for the shawl (my Denises were snagging the yarn at the joins). Addi (which is the circular line they have) doesn’t do 2.25mm needles. bah. I picked up a 2.0mm instead, as with socks, you should probably err on tighter gauge than looser. Then, while looking at the bit of shawl I had knit with Amy, I realised it was much, much too open for my tastes, so I bought a 3.25mm (US 3) for that one. Sadly, they had none of the lace Addis in that size. I bought a Natura, because I do like the bamboo.

So I got home, and cast on for the Sidewinders, and worked on that for most of the rest of the day.

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I don’t want to leave the cardi behind in the dust, but the different sizes and stitch patterns and blocking sizes were making my head all exsplody.

Shortness of Yarn

When I left the house this morning, I swept my knitting into my purse. I had put it on the coffee table last night, in a neat pile, so I wouldn’t forget anything. I had done a good bit of knitting the night before!

I arrived at work, and found a Post-It informing me that I would essentially be on my own all day. I was happy, and pulled out the knitting. Then I realised that I only had a very small fraction of a ball left. All this morning, I’d knit a few rows, then surf the internet, the knit a row or two more. I just ran out of yarn, and I have 3 hours left in my day. ‘Tis tragic.

The good news is, I’m doing the neckline shaping on the right (cabled) front of the $1.50 cardi, and now I’m also ready to start the sleeve decreases too. It’s looking a little long, but I console myself with the fact that the lace needs to be pulled/blocked sideways, which will make it shorter. I hope it all works out.

I bought a watch yesterday, which was exciting. A pretty one, not just one that has all the functions I used to ‘need’ (glowing hands or face, date display). I’ve got my cell phone for that type of thing. I discovered this when my old watch broke back in October, and I didn’t have the money for a new one. Cell phones are wonderful, they glow, they have times, they tell you the date. So I bought a pretty watch. :) The face is pale woodgrain, and about an inch wide and framed in brushed stainless steel. The band is pale brown leather, and also about an inch wide. It’s sort of cuff-like.

I’ve been trying to find stuff to entertain myself with now that I’m out of knitting. Can you tell? Ramble ramble.

Something cool I want: I’ve thought Blik wall graphics are very cool for a while now, but I could never quite decide which I wanted. I was always leaning towards the Paisleys, or the Flock designs, but they just put out a new one that eclipses all others: Me, Myshelf, and I. I think our bedroom needs it. Not sure my boyfriend would agree though, so I’ll refrain from buying.

If you like your decor a bit more indie, there’s an Etsy seller doing similar work (love the chandelier!)

I’m still pining over Yarn School. Sadly, flights to Kansas City are about $400-500.

I think if I get out of the office today without buying anything over the internet out of boredom, it will be a miracle.

The Importance of Reading Patterns

I’ve been working on one of the fronts of the $1.50 cardi, the cabled side. But for some reason, every time I look at it, I think it is a sleeve, and then I think ‘that’s too small for a sleeve!’, and wondering why the directions tell me to knit for something like 15″ without any shaping for my little arms. Then I remember that I am in fact knitting the front of a cardigan. Then the next time I pick it up, I go through it all again. It’s a vicious cycle.

The other mistake I made was in the lace pattern. There are no stripes on this side, just a cable and lace around it. For the stripey part of the sweater, you do the lace rows in a certain sequence. I did that for the lacey part of this front, and found I was getting an odd stockingette stripe in my lace, for just one row (well, rows 7 & 1). It was small, but noticeable. I re-read the front directions, and it seemed like I was doing it right. Then I re-read the lace directions, and found that it said ‘repeat rows 3-6 for pattern’. I see now that you just do the other rows when you’re about to finish the lace pattern, so it isn’t lopsided or anything. At some point in my knitting life, I would’ve just left it, because it wasn’t a glaring thing. But I want to have more confidence in my knitting, and be more likely to wear things out, so I ripped back. It felt good! I’m not scared of ripping out any more either, I now have enough faith in my self to rip back to the right place, and pick up all the stitches.

I’ve been good about not buying yarn. It’s hard now that I know Pudding Yarn is so close to me. I practically walk by it every time I go to rehearsal. It’s hard not to stop in, but I haven’t. The last thing I bought there was Rowan 40. I love the foresty rustic style of the the cover photo, and the ‘story’ that piece belongs to. I want to be more woodland in my style of dress. (I also find I like a kind of Victorian street urchin style for winter. Men’s style trousers, vests, fingerless mitts, leather shoes, all very pretty. Not that I have much like that, but I like to imagine. I want a good pair of brown leather boots for next winter. See also HotPatterns’ Artful Dodger line).

Has anyone heard about Yarn School? I would love to go, but I either have to fork out $400 airfare, or drive for 25+ hours. ick to both! If it was within a day’s driving distance, I would so go, it looks like it’d be wonderful. I wouldn’t pay the fee plus the airfare, even though it would be fun. If I’m spending that much on a vacation, I want to spend it with my loving boyfriend. :)

And because no post is complete without pictures, here is some All Things Heather sock yarn:
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I donated to a book fund on her blog a few months back, and I got this in the mail in return a little while ago. Green and purple, two of my fav colours! yay! I’m thinking of Horcrux socks. Vinnlands first though, and I’m not casting on for those until I have at least this front of the $1.50 done.

Status update

IMG_2605.JPGSo I didn’t get much knitting done over the weekend, I was too distracted by my wonderful new blog. :) I still can’t believe I have my own domain name! This is endlessly amusing to me.

I’ve got about 5 pattern repeats to go on the foot of my 2nd Monkey sock. I’ve been doing 6 repeats, and I have about size 8 (sometimes 8.5) feet. For reference, about 9.5″ long. I hope to finish that sock this week. My next sock project will use the wonderful Fleece Artist yarn you see to the left. It is going to become the Vinnland socks from the Anti-Craft.

But first, I think I’ll work some more on the $1.50 cardi. The Monkey socks weren’t supposed to take all my attention away from it, but they did. I’m at the start of the shoulder decreases at the back, so I’m almost done the big annoying piece. The fronts are different, so that’ll be fun to do, and then I just have one sleeve left! I think putting all that time inbetween sleeves helps eliminate that boredom of Sleeve Island. As long as you take good notes on the first one, so they can match.

I also want to tell you about a wonderful thing I discovered for printing patterns off the internet. The booklet function on my work printer. I was poking around, trying to find the ‘print double-sided’ setting, when I noticed a box that said ‘booklet’, I tried that, it is is great! It prints it out, 2 pages to a sheet (so yes, the text is kinda small. I can still read it easily though) and double-sided, so if a pattern would be four pages normally, this uses only one piece of paper. You just need to fold in half, and possible staple if it has more than 4 pages. They’re just such cute little books! And they fit better in a knitting bag than an 8.5″x11″, they’re little 8.5″x5.5″ booklets that are just too cute. And so far, on all the ones I’ve printed, the cover page has worked out perfectly with just the title, picture, and designer’s blurb.

So if you have a fancy printer with a booklet setting, I say use it! You’re saving paper too!

I bought buttons!

I wandered out for a walk today, to the knitting store that is 4 (sigh) blocks away from my house, and bought me some buttons. I haven’t worn my Rambling Rose sweater at all since I finished it, partly because I really didn’t like the buttons I put on it. I got them in a grab bag of cream-coloured buttons from a local quilting store. Today I went in to the knitting store (Pudding Yarn) and spread my sweater out on the table, and played with all their tins of buttons. I picked out some replacements. Here are the before buttons:
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They aren’t bad buttons, they just don’t look quite right.
Here are the new buttons, placed out (not sewn yet, maybe tomorrow night!):
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Genuine horn, apparently. I think they look much nicer. The others were just that much too light. In the store, it came down to these horn ones, and some shell ones. The lady in the store really liked the shell buttons. Because of the reflective surface, they picked up the red, and there is a shell pattern along the cuffs. I almost went with those, but at the last minute decided they were too shiny. I think I like my choice.

I also took a sleeve of the $1.50 cardi, to check out some buttons for that project. Found some gorgeous ones. I realised when I got there that I just had the sleeve, and no pattern, so I didn’t know how many or what size to get. Then the lady pointed out I could just pick ones I liked, and then make as many button holes as I need. Smart knitting lady. :)

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They’re rustic and wonderful. And more than I’d ever expected to pay for buttons, so I only got 4. The store has a whole range of these buttons, not a size range, but a colour range. They all have the dark brown bark around the edge, but the inside can be blue, green, red, orange, the natural I bought, and I think a few other colours. I was very tempted by the green, but the brown buttons will make the final sweater more wearable, I think.

Then I came home and sat down to finish my Monkey sock. I think it is a tiny bit long. You can start the toe on either row 1, 10, or 11 of the pattern. I started on 10 (well, 9) but I think row 4 or 5 would have been perfect. It’s not too big, and this way it’ll fit perfectly once I’ve washed it.
As soon as I had grafted the toe, I put it on the scale. Finished sock = 1.7oz. Leftover yarn (for sock #2): 1.8oz. Hurrah!! For the record, that was with only 1/2″ of ribbing, and 5 (instead of 6) leg repeats.

Still obsessing over Ravelry, I can’t wait till it…

Still obsessing over Ravelry, I can’t wait till it goes live and even more people are on it. It is just the best resource in the world for knitters and crocheters. Network people, network!
I mean, I was looking at my projects today, and decided to click and see who else has made Monkey socks. That was great, seeing all the colours.
Then I wanted to see what else people have done with Classic Elite Classic silk, what I’m making my $1.50 cardi out of. I found someone else making it with the same yarn! She had put it on hold because of the puckering. I left her a comment on it, saying the puckering on mine blocked out.

It’s just great to see what other people can do with the same pattern, or what else you can do with a certain yarn.

In other wonderful news, I am getting a raise that starts on Monday. Starting Monday I’ll be making $2.00 more per hour. 😀 But I’ve promised myself, no more yarn over the summer. Stash only. Only on yarn though, if I can sew a few tops and feel happy, I am free to buy all the fabric I want. :)

All the Ravelry-ness has also had me go back to CraftMemo. I’ve started putting more stuff in there, and taking the knitting stuff out. I think it works well, as Ravelry is tailored to knitters and is a networking spot. CraftMemo doesn’t have the networking, but when you do stuff, you can create you own categories, which is great for all the random craft stuff I’ve collected over the years. And recently. All my sewing patterns are in there, and if I get the dishes done quick after I post, I may manage to get my fabric in there too.

Finally some photos

I suddenly have free time in the evenings again, so I took a few photos to share, and update everyone on the (riveting, I know) status of my various knits-in-progress.
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Finally photos of the Roza Socks! I love them. :) Haven’t worn them yet, as it hasn’t quite been wool sock weather (for which I am very thankful).
Springy pinks and greens
While I was knitting, I kept thinking that the greens were very similar. Once they’re together I realise they aren’t, but I just had to show these shoes. I love these shoes. They’re springy and pointy and that wonderful shade of green.
A photo with a couple notes and the wonderful gaping-ribbing-thing fixed is here.

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Progress on my Dollar and a Half cardi. The sleeve was a sort of uber-swatch. I blocked it when done, just to make sure the sizing would be all right. It’ll make a sweater that is between the two smallest sizes in the magazine, which is just right for me. You can see the lifeline I put in, in case I had to rip back. Any excuse for less ribbing. :)
You can see the difference in the blocked vs. unblocked fabric. The big wobbly thing is about half of the back. There are 4 lace stripes on it at the moment, so if you look at the sleeve, you can see how much length is all squashed up in there, waiting to be blocked.
I think I may end up pining this out. When I blocked the sleeve, I soaked it, then just patted it out on a towel. It got rid of most of the Michellin-man effect, but not all. Either that or an iron? But ironing a knit sounds wrong.

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Blocked vs. Unblocked.

In other news, it is gorgeous outside, and I’m freezing in an over-air-conditioned office. There was a natural gas leak this earlier this morning apparently, and while it is safe to be in here now, there is still a lingering smell. We’ve been told to turn the heat right down so the AC comes on, which will bring in fresh air. brr.

Earlier in the year I said I was going to knit from my stash. I did. Then I got bored with said stash, so I ordered yarn. My yarn km count is now ebarassingly high, but all that new yarn is for specific projects, and the list of projects will last me quite a while, even with this knit-friendly job, so I’m happy. Some time in March (the last time I updated my stash tracking spreadsheet) I had about 6.2km of yarn. Now I have, well, almost double that. But it isn’t like I’m broke or can’t pay the bills or anything (thank you, job), and I won’t need yarn for at least another year, probably two.

It’s been busy…

I survived tech week, the show opened well, we’re back in our own house, mum has come and gone and all is well. :) Although I have done close to 0 knitting in the time I’ve been “away”. I’m very sad, but I’m back at work now, so hopefully I’ll get some more done. I currently have about half a sleeve of the Dollar and a Half Cardi.

I have been thinking a lot about food an exercise. Now, I am in no way a large person. I hesitate to even call myself a medium person, as most clothes I buy are small (I seem to have outgrown extra-small though, except in some shirts). That said, I eat what I want and I don’t exercise. Sure, I walk to work, but I feel like I need to do more. My thighs and tummy are starting to be a worry. I’m not too big for any of my clothes or anything, but mum always warns me about getting chubby, because at my age, she was much thinner than me and now… isn’t.

While we were out mum saw a purse she wanted to buy, and while she was in the store I spotted these lunchbags in the same line. She bought me one (in the elephant pattern) as we had been talking about good food and eating well. It’s silly how something like a cute lunchbag got me all excited about having healthy foods to put in said lunchbag, but there you are. I just crazy. Later that day we had a quick stop at Wal-mart and I bought some small Gladware thingys for my lunches. Before, we just had sandwich-shaped ones, and bigger ones for leftovers.
Today, I had a salad with greens, grapes, and a chopped up hardboiled egg, some fruit salad (pineapple, mango, peaches, mandarins), and a yogurt. Much better that my usual bagel (blueberry, and therefore not wholewheat) and slathering of cream cheese. I even had less Miniwheats than normal this morning (it will take a while to wean me off those).

I am also on a waitlist for a workout program called Bikini Bootcamp: 8 weeks to fabulous. I really just need that kick in the pants to get moving, and I think if I stick with all 8 weeks, I’ll be used to it and want to continue, although only time will tell.

For me, all this is about being more healthy and more toned, not really about losing weight.

PS: SO EXCITED about Ravelry.

Hotel Blogifornia

At the hotel, been here since Tuesday. It’s not bad, we have a teeny kitchen, which is nice, and two double beds, which is silly. I’d much rather have another table, as the current kitchen table is hidden under a desktop computer, and my laptop.
Today was a day off for me, which was exciting. I don’t get many of those. Tech week starts soon, which means almost no knitting, blogging, or sleeping time.
I didn’t take pictures of the Roza socks today, I didn’t want a hotel bedspread as the background. Those things all look the same, no matter what hotel.

I’m about halfway up my Dollar and a Half Cardi sleeve. My gauge is a bit small, so I’m making the 36″ size, and it should come out somewhere between the 32″ and the 36″, which is perfect. I also haven’t blocked my swatch (gasp!) because the sleeve is my swatch (double-gasp!) I figure a sleeve doesn’t take terribly long, and if I manage to block it to the size and look I want, I’ve got one of the 5 bits done already. :)

I’ve half been thinking about taking up podcasting. I know. Scary. I’ve found all sorts of links recently that I like and want to share. As I don’t have a mic, or the know-how (the actual recording and content stuff doesn’t scare me, but what do I do with the file when I’m done? I have no clue) right now, I want to share some links. Maybe I’ll just make the blog more podcast-y, and have sections. This can be my first linksharing bit. I just need to think up a clever name. The Link Menagerie? Possibly.

Knits a Beautiful Life a blog by a fellow Canadian! We’re in the same province even! I’d say ‘a fellow Albertan’, but still consider myself a West Coaster. Tangent aside, she has just finished a project from Fitted Knits that looks very nice. And the website! Beautiful. I wish I knew more about such things. Although, I’m fairly happy with this layout.

Kathryn Ivy another new-ish blog on the block, but this one sprang up with free patterns and a pattern for sale already there! Again, I love the layout of this one, and I love the tabs across the top so you can look at reviews or patterns. I want to review more things.

Pieces of String an online shop, with the BEST price around for Mountain Colours Bearfoot. Yes, I have ordered yarn for the Swedish Heartwarmer Shawl. I’m not entirely sure how the colourwork will be done (stranded? intarsia? a combination?) but I figure I’ll cast on and figure it out from there. That’s how I approach most projects.

CROQ Zine I just heard about this on CraftyPod and I’m so tempted to subscribe. And order the back issues. It’s quite cheap, which is what is tempting me…

Etsy.com. We all know Etsy, but I have just rediscovered my love for it. So many amazing things! How cool is having an old hardcover rebuilt into a journal? I love the inclusion of pages that aren’t blank. And couldn’t you just plotz from the cute of these knitted-then-felted critters? I have to admit… I did buy those patterns. They were too adorable to pass up. I also think that you could practice needle felting on them, for the faces and things. That’s something else I want to try.

Buying from Etsy always makes me feel good, because the money is going to someone like me, just a random person who likes to make things. It’s like spending money on myself!

Not my week… but socks make it better

So this week was the whole moving-to-a-hotel fiasco. I won’t get in to moving day, apart from asking what MOVING company shows up with NO boxes? Yeah, I thought so. But all that aside, the long day, the sitting in the empty house, the problems at check-in (damn tiny credit card limit) etc, Tuesday was stressful and I was kinda late for rehearsal.
Yesterday, we had a nice meal in the restaurant downstairs, and then I went out to my car to get to rehearsal on time this time. As I approach my car in the parking garage, I can see something funny about the driver side door. It doesn’t look quite… closed. True enough, I didn’t slam it hard enough the night before, so the little light inside stayed on until the battery ran out. I turned the key and it didn’t even make a peep. So I waffled about waiting for someone to drive by in this parkade that would actually stop (and it was rush hour so everyone was in a hurry to go sit in traffic) and know how to jump the car.
I talked to my wonderful boy, and he suggested a taxi to rehearsal, followed by bumming a ride home, and he would get his car and jump me (heh) the next day. That seemed better than my waiting idea, so I went and stood outside the hotel to wait for a taxi. In rush hour, it’s hard to get a taxi. They are either (a) full or (b) on the wrong side of the street. But that eventually happened, and me, the one who is supposed to be in charge and on time, straggled in to rehearsal late.
Oh, and did I mention the terrible wind and rain/snow mix that was going on? Yeah.

But in better news, I have a pair of finished Roza socks! I Kitchenered the toe just this very minute. Pictures some time on Saturday. I knew I would finish soon after we moved out, so I brought yarn for the Dollar and a Half cardigan from the same magazine. I’m going to start on that now. :)