The after

So here’s my after picture of my nail decals after two days of work that included in no particular order:

  • two airport closures while enroute (simultaneously at one point)
  • a passenger having a mild heart attack – he was ok and we got him to the paramedics quickly
  • a 14 hour duty period (well a bit more actually but that’s the max we can work so we stopped counting)
  • a plane struck by lightning – actually quite common and not a problem, it’s just loud and weird sounding

So all in all, those nails don’t look too bad.  Also, that photo is my right hand (I’m right handed) which did all the heavy work.  The left hand looks pretty good.  I’ll try and fix the “chips” with my leftovers and see if that’s easily do-able.

My opinion of these Sally Hansen Nail Strips are a big pink sparkly thumbs up.  While the wear I see is the same as nail polish, I’m much more likely to put use these strips than to put on four coats of polish.  That doesn’t mean I’ll stop getting mani/pedis, but it’s a nice alternative for people like me who don’t like painting their own nails.  Also these strips wore as well as my $50 Shellac manis and are much more convenient.  I’ve got another CVS coupon so expect to see another color on my short and stumpy nails for this weekend’s trip.  The only thing that would not make me use these strips constantly is price.  They are $10 which is a bit more than a bottle of polish, but the same price as a manicure (where I live) so I’ll probably just switch off between manis, strips and nothing.  I’m going to try another color of the Sally Hansen Polish strips and apply them more carefully using nail scissors since you could easily get more than one application from a box.  Maybe the butterflies or one of the geometrics???

Just in time for spring

Doesn’t that golden color just make you think of spring and new leaves and sunshine?  Am I right in thinking that lots of you live in places with none of these items in abundance – yet?  I visited quite a few still defrosting cities last week, bleak bleak bleak.

So what could be better than bringing a bit of my California sunshine with me in the form of this adorable hat?  The hat pattern is the wonderfully addictive Miyake (by Jenn Jarvis and a free download!) and the yarn is MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light in the Candle Wick colorway.  Very golden and happy.

This hat pattern is super easy, but keeps you interested with the occasional cable.  Perfect for knitting on the road, this hat has already been coast to coast during the knitting up.  I followed the pattern as written although I inadvertently mixed up the left and right cables.  Also, I used double points instead of short circs since short circs give me horrible tendonitis.  I also went down a needle size since I’m the queen of loose knitters.  Because I’m such a loosey my ribbing isn’t as tight as I wanted after blocking so I ran one row of elastic thread where the ribbing turns to pattern stitch and that worked perfectly.  That gives my hat the slight slouch I wanted and will keep it on my head during those freezing San Francisco windy summer days.

I’m already thinking about making another one of these for a gift and going down one more needle size, but will have to see if the fabric produced is as nice as this hat’s.  I can heartily recommend this hat pattern with the proviso that it’s addictive.  The Cheetos of hats?!

This one’s hard to spell

My unbeaded version of Romi’s Celaeno is done!  It’s been pretty much done for awhile, but I just didn’t have time to finish the last of the knitting and block this.  But now that I’m back home I got on that.  I broke out the Thomas the Tank Engine blocking mat and went for it.  I even remembered to block points on this scarf (I forgot on the last scarf – Maia) and I think it’s a winner.  Romi’s patterns are just lacy enough for my taste and very wearable, plus they’re good travel projects.  This is from her 7 Small Shawls ebook, so next up is Elektra.  I guess I’ll be forced to yarn shop to find an appropriate yarn for Elektra…

What else is happening at casa de Sil?  I’m celebrating Christmas way early this year since I have to work from the 18th through the 31st with no time off for good behavior.  I’ve got to fit all my “must dos” into the next week and a half.  It can be done.  I started my “must” list with making SpindleRose’s caramels, these delicious candies are only made once a year.  This years batch came out super yummy because I finally figured out my candy thermometer is a bit slow.  This batch is chewy and rich.  Perfect!  Now I’m off to the gym to work off one or two of the pieces I had to taste test.  Had to!

Fails, snails and automobiles

I’d hoped to show you finished pix of a cute skirt I’d made, but it was such a horror show that I’m super glad it’s trash night tomorrow.  No joke.  At least the fabric wasn’t expensive.  Lesson learned.

Instead I’ll share the excitement of sleeve number 1 from my grey Nordic yoke sweater.  Elizabeth Zimmermann is so right when she says in Knitting Without Tears that the body will take some time, so start a sleeve.  Too true, that body better fit ok or I may go nuts if I have to rip and reknit.  Again.

The more delicious part of my above photo mashup is the Pumpkin Cranberry Bread I made the other day.  It’s so easy and so yummy, I’d suggest you bookmark this recipe.  Just saying, and it gets better every day (what’s this unheard of cake ageing thing?).  And it’s not too sweet, which is so perfect with coffee.

My next sewing project is a simple sheath dress which hopefully won’t end up in the trash bin.  The muslin has been cut, so tomorrow we shall see if I can fit that mofo into something resembling a flattering garment.  If not, at least it’s trash day.

The good and the bad

Rhinebeck in the fall is a seriously beautiful place.  The leaves are dramatic, especially viewed with these California eyes.  Our leaves just aren’t THAT dramatic.  We saw many friends and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Then there is the food.  I make a point to get the CIA for a fab dinner.  The students are wonderful and the food and wine are top notch.  This year I had foie gras (no emails please – it is damn delicious), warm spinach salad and duck.  Our table ordered four desserts so we could taste a variety.  My fave was the pumpkin bread pudding with cinnamon ice cream.

Claudia made me work out twice over the weekend. Note:  I brought workout clothes with me, so it wasn’t really that much of an arm twisting situation.  I just want to nudge her like a little sister does.

Then there is the New York Sheep and Wool Festival.  This year was not as butt-ass freezing as last year, but there was no way you were getting that down coat off me on Saturday.  Hells to the no.  The fairgrounds are lovely, the vendors had tons of great stuff and there is warm apple cider.  I love warm apple cider and the festival is the only place I drink it.  I bought a few great skeins of sock yarn and a bit of alplaca blend fingering for small projects.  I don’t really need much yarn, but I do always take a small project along when I travel.

I also bought a bunch of soap, this is the only soap I use and drag it all over the world – truly.  I forgot when packing yesterday that a mass of soap in your suitcase must look a tad suspicious to the TSA.  I got tagged for a check (my fault for not pulling it out).  When the TSA guy opened my bag he couldn’t help but say “oooh, it smells good in there”.  I guess c4 doesn’t have natural herbal essences.  The soap passed the recheck with flying colors and made the xray machine smell like heaven.

Silhouette / proportion / fit.  What does that refer to?  A fiber gathering pasttime is seeing knits in person that you’ve only seen online/in print.  Many are lovely, even the ones not your own personal taste.  You can admire the skill, even if you wouldn’t wear them.  Then there are the “head scratchers”.  Truly what-the-fuck creations that leave you blinking.  Hence Mr. Gunn’s mantra.  He also advises that your outfit not cut you in half visually, and a 2/3 – 1/3 proportion is more flattering to the eye.  That is a good guideline no matter your taste level.  A subset of the what-the-fuck is the knitter who appears to be wearing everything they’ve ever knit – all at once.  Most of us have a mental line in the sand of the number of knits we’ll don, it’s situational and a bit fluid depending upon weather conditions, but there is a line which we will not cross.  Clearly that notion is lacking in some and we’ll just assume you ran naked through your clothesline and wore everything that stuck to you.  That’s my mental picture and I’m sticking with it.

So a good trip to Rhinebeck, a lovely time with family and friends and a bit of fiber on top.  I love vacation.

I didn’t take many photos, but I’ll get the few up the flickr pole labelled Rhinebeck 2010 if you’re bored at work soonish.

Blocked and loaded

Merope is done!  It was a fun project, not too hard but easy enough to knit on when I’m travelling and sleep deprived.  This project was the first time I could use my new blocking wires.  I think I need to practice more with blocking wires, but they sure do nice points.

Specs:  Hand Jive Knits Nature’s Palette Fingering approximately 2.5 skeins, 3.75mm needles and no mods.  My shawl blocked to 61″ x 28″.

Now would it be wrong to gently suggest to Romi that she put her creative mind to a rectangular scarf (my personal preference)?  Please please please!  Fingers crossed she takes requests!

Why isn’t this colorway called hydrangea?

I’ve finished the knitting part of Merope, now I just need my blocking wires to arrive and this project is done!  Rosemary helpfully posted the other day about blocking and killing a shawl made from sock yarn to foil the nylon in the yarn from springing back to the place you’re trying to coax  it out of.  It involves blocking, pinning and a steam iron.  I can do that, I love the steam iron!

Of course now my problem is that I’m working for the next three days and have nothing to knit upon.  Hmm, what ever can I do? <insert giggling here>

Instead of a lace picture

Since my crafty efforts of Merope knitting are none to interesting to photograph, I give you my rustic little nosegay to enjoy.  This is courtesy of the garden and me wandering around the yard shamelessly in my pajamas halfway through the morning.  The hydrangea is almost the same color as my Merope, but my knowledge of camera settings is too slight to show you this.  If you want to see some really pretty blog pics, may I direct you to this blog.  Gorgeous photos.

Because I am knitting lace, I thought investing in some lace blocking wires would be a good thing.  Joann.com has some blocking wires online and with my coupon (DFS198) I got 50% off.  With shipping and tax, the whole total was under $20.  I hope it’s a decent setup since Merope should be done by the time it arrives.  I hope.