Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tropicana Socks

Tropicana Socks
Originally uploaded by solslett.

Well, they are finally done. This languished in the knitting basket for a while. Maybe it had something to do with the color. Red, purple and blue a typical combination for me, and they remind me of the Red Hat Society.

I found the pattern at It's by Sabine Riefler. I used Opal Neon, color 3 1935. Because of the fine gauge and tugging required for the feather and fan pattern, I used metal needles in a size 2.5mm. I figured if I used ANY of my wooden needles, they would snap like twigs! They yarn was a gift from The Loopy Ewe when I became a groupie.

I misspoke in my last post. I thought these would be pair number 27, when in fact they are pair number 26. I miscounted. Oh well.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Feeling a little blah

See, there's this site called Ravelry. It's this place where knitters, and crocheters, hang out on the net. It's like an exclusive club right now, because you have to be invited to join (beta testing - can only add so many at a time, otherwise, crash!). It's very cool, and a total time drain. I'm loving it.

What's the problem? I have project envy. I see all the cool stuff people are doing and my stuff looks boring. It is boring. Hats and squares and snuggle blankets are boring. Yes, they benefit others, but they are b-o-r-i-n-g. The socks are cool - they are not boring. I have finished a couple since I started Ravelry, and at least I have evidence that I knit something other than stockinette and garter stitch.

I've gotten stuck in a production knitting rut. I need to break out - but I also want to finish the stuff I've started. Like some others whose blogs I frequent, I am suffering from startitis.

I've cast on a new sock, and I'll post about that later. It's toe up (yuck) on two circs (yuck) and lace work (ok). It's not that I can't knit toe up, or on circs, I just think my socks look better using 4 to5 dpns and cuff down. It's probably the short row heels that I dislike the most, and they don't fit me as well as a heel flap.

I think I want to knit a lace shawl. Yeah, I think that's what's bugging me. But for now, I will go finish a sock. All I have left is the toe. Pair 27 for 2007 nearing completion!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Full Plate - job hunting, a new car and endless squares

There are days when I would love to say that I am swamped at work, or work has been keeping me really busy. No such luck. Those close to me know that I have been looking for work for some time now. It has been very stressful, very depressing, and very aggravating.


Why is it that common courtesy has gone out the window? For every 10 jobs I submit an application or resume I receive some type of response, such as "we've received your resume". Of all the jobs that I have applied for, I have received less than two dozen letters/emails saying thank you, but no thank you. How difficult is it to just send off an email saying that they have received the resume and will contact if interested? At least I would know that someone looked at it. Idiots.

I have been in the mortgage and real estate industry for 15 years. My last position was as a Vice President of Operations for a Mortgage Brokerage. I think I have industry leprosy. I am overqualified/under qualified. My background is too "specialized". They won't be able to pay me what I was accustomed to, so I won't be happy. Because of my previous position, a manager may feel that I will not be happy as a subordinate. I would be happy just getting a job, and if I didn't want to do the job I applied for, I WOULDN'T HAVE APPLIED FOR IT!!!!! As a grown woman, I find it slightly annoying that so many people are concerned for what would make me happy. Idiots.

Every morning, I start my current job of finding a job. I have several search engines set up within the various job seeking websites. These are emailed to me, sometime several times a day. I review them, send out the resumes with the customized cover letters, and have come to expect nothing. I have created 8 different resumes, so as to appeal to that specific employer or industry. On only one of the resumes does it mention my VP title. Otherwise, I list it as Operations or Office Manager. I can't change the company name or the industry, but I don't use industry lingo on 6 of them. I don't know what else to do. Idiots.

If anyone has any suggestions, email me at solslett at gmail dot com, or post something here. There's something missing and I need fresh perspective. And yes, I have gone the route of Employment Agencies, and even they have waffled on what they can do. 40,000 people in the mortgage industry have lost their jobs THIS YEAR. That doesn't take into account those laid off last year, or those that were on commission only. In the SF Bay Area, I would say that close to 10,000 industry related positions have gone by the wayside since Summer 2006. It's worse than most people think, and we're not done yet.


So, what else is new.....

Kevin got his new car! Here it is .....

Kev, Civic & Iron Rex

It is so pretty, with all kinds of modern gadgets like key less entry, cruise control, power windows, car alarm and an iPod Jack. I think this iron works and pottery shop were in American Canyon, but if we had enough "throw-away" money, we would have a T-Rex in our yard. Kevin thinks that a mail box in his mouth would be pretty cool. It would be the talk of the neighborhood.

As part of our day trip to the Napa Wine Country this past weekend, we visited my favorite winery, V. Sattui

V. Sattui Winery

and tried Taylors Refresher in St. Helena.

Taylor's Refresher
Lunch at Taylors Automatic Refresher

Contrary to the expression posted here, Kevin was enjoying himself. We did have to stand in line for almost 45 minutes, but how many places are there that serve Ahi Burgers? If you didn't catch it on the Food Network, Taylor's has the #2 rated Hamburger in the US. That's what I had. It was tasty. It was a lovely day. The car is a dream. If only there weren't car payments.

So, what else have I been up to since my last post? We took a trip to Sacramento to see my prize winning entries. Here I am with my first place winner..

First Prize Winner

The ribbon is huge!!! And it is so cool!!! The 3rd prize winner was in the same display as the Best in Show. It was a seasonal keepsake box; the lids were interchangeable. I know what I have to do to get Best in Show next year. I have it in me!

I've been knitting squares again. This time in the shape of dishcloths, burp cloths and small 4.5" squares for a blanket. They look something like this:

Ballband Dishcloths

Baby Genius Burp Cloth

A Whole Bunch of Little Squares

There were also the hats:

Watch Cap in Paton's CanadianChemo Hat in Knit Picks Shine Sport - Cloud
Chemo Hat in Knit Picks Shine Sport - Butter

There were more, but it starts to look the same after a while. And I worked on a blanket for the Linus Project, am trying to finish up a pair of socks (I'm turning the heel tonight on the 2nd sock), and in general trying to reduce the stash. I am making progress, so I have no complaints.

If you want to see some more photos, check out Flickr, or if you are a member of Ravelry you'll find me there under the user name solslett.

I promise it won't be two weeks before I post again.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Simple Note

Last Thursday was my Dad's birthday. He would have been 88. I didn't realize what day it was until much later, many hours after I found the note.

A Simple Note from Dad

I had grabbed a notebook out of the filing cabinet. Most of the stuff in there was related to a job search I was doing back in 1997. I ripped out those pages and started to make a list I needed. I filled up a few pages, and that's when I notice that something had been written a few pages ahead.

Mom and Dad were here for Dad's birthday in August of 1997. We blew the main breaker when I forgot the air conditioner and the dryer were both running when I turned on the microwave. Kevin had to go to the store to get a replacement - we have glass fuses. I'd taken Mom and Dad up to the Wine Country, which they enjoyed. There is a picture I took of them in front of V. Sattui (my favorite "watering" hole) that Mom has in the her living room. It's one of her favorites.

Sutter Home May 1998

This is the two of them in front of Sutter Home in May of 1998. I wish Mom would laugh like that again.

Anyway - the note. Kevin had gone off to work, and Dad felt bad about not being able to say goodbye - or thank you. Ever the gentleman, he wanted to leave Kevin a note. And for some reason, it ended up in a drawer, forgotten, for ten years.

To say that I miss my father would be the biggest understatement ever made. The fact that his death could have been averted, makes it even worse. Knowing that a part of my mom died with him, and that she will be forever bitter about being alone, just compounds the whole mess.

So, on my Dad's birthday I find a note from him, a very rare thing. Dad never wrote much of anything, it was important that he say it, so you would know that it was important and that he meant it. Just a silly, little note because it was the right thing to do. And it felt like he had just died all over again.

He wasn't perfect. He had his faults. He always tried to do his best. He was a wonderful, gentle, gracious man. I was very lucky to be his daughter.

Me and Dad 1974

I love you, Papa. I always will.

Bellatrix LeStrange

Bellatrix Detail
Originally uploaded by solslett.

I finished the first of the pair in less than 3 days. It took me 2 weeks to finish the other. I did finish a few things in between, though. It's not like I sat on my hands and did nothing. As if that could be done. I should cut back a little. My knuckles are a little achy in the morning when I get up. How do we solve this problem? Knit for half an hour. It's an illness, I tell ya.

Detail Bellatrix

Anyway - back to Bellatrix. These are the second in my self proclaimed Potter-mania series. The first were Fawkes, which I finished last month. The pattern is from Socktopia and the yarn is from Mackintosh Yarns and they are both named for the same character. It seemed natural.

I really like how these turned out - they may be the closest fitting Bella's out there, since I knit them on 0US needles, but I like my socks snug. The yarn was a pleasure to knit with.

Bellatrix Done!

Brown Cap

Brown Cap
Originally uploaded by solslett.

Hat - check

Rowan Wool Cotton - check

Made for an adult this time - yes, she can make stuff for grownups other than herself.

5US needles - not worsted or bulky? Wow.

Going to charity - check

Little Olive Cap

Little Olive Cap
Originally uploaded by solslett.


Child size

Debbie Bliss Merino Aran #325104

8US needles

Going to charity

The Berry Checkerboard Blanket

Detail Berry Checkerboard Blanket
Originally uploaded by solslett.

I love this yarn. It is soft, and warm and it's the kind of throw you want to wrap yourself in on a cold winter's night with a cup of tea and a good book. I like the color because it was on sale, and I never would have done this otherwise.

It's about 60" square, which is a good size. It will be great to take with us on car trips - especially when I want to curl up and sleep because Interstate 5 is even more boring in the dark then it is in the daytime. Other than Harris Ranch (mmm, Steak) there is nothing between Santa Nella and the Grapevine. Talk about road hypnosis. Sorry - didn't mean to go off on a tangent.

Stats: Sensations Angel Hair ("Jo-Ann Exclusive"), colorway Berry, knit on size 15US needles.

Wooly Green Hat

Wooly Green Hat
Originally uploaded by solslett.

Yes - another hat. I seem to stuck in an internal rut when it comes to hats. However, they are for a good cause, so why not? I haven't decided who this will go to yet.

Stats: Good Norwegian sheep gave their wool for this hat! Gjestal Naturspunn No. 1, 100% moth proof wool. Size 5mm needles were used in the making of this hat.

A Black Stole

Black Stole
Originally uploaded by solslett.

It doesn't look like much, but it's got quite a lot of texture when you see it in person. It's nubby, with little flecks of sparkle. It's a basic black evening stole. Maybe someday I will wear it to the theater.

Stats: Trendsetter Yarns Eclipse, bulky weight knit on size 14US needles. 7 skeins total.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Debbie Bliss Cream Cap

Debbie Bliss Cream Cap
Originally uploaded by solslett.

Another quickie cap. This time, I just used a simple k1 p1 rib throughout. These skeins don't have a lot of yardage (85 yds), so with just one skien, you can only make a small cap. This is also being donated to Afghans for Afghans, and they have requested items for children.

The yarn used in this project was Debbie Bliss Merino Aran and knitted on 5mm needles.

Gold Cap

Gold Cap
Originally uploaded by solslett.

I just decided to play around with stitch patterns on this one. I started out with a stockinette, to accomplish the roll brim. Then I went to a k1, p1 row then back to a knit row. When I got closer to the crown, I switched to p1, k1 then a knit row, then back to k1 p1. To shape the top, I decreased every other row, starting with the multiple of 8 - knit 6, k2 together. I barely had enough to finish, but it will fit a child's head, which was the intention.

The yarn used for this project was Debbie Bliss Merino Aran, one skein, and knit on 5mm dpns.

Twisted Red Cap

Red Cap
Originally uploaded by solslett.

Having recently finished a watchman's cap in a twisted rib pattern, I thought it would be interesting to try it with a wool. Overall, it looks nice. This is another item being donated to charity, namely Afghans for Afghans.

The yarn used for this project was Rowan Felted Tweed and knitted on size 3.25mm needles.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Triangular Wash Cloth

Wash cloth
Originally uploaded by solslett.

When I was done with the burp cloth, I still didn't feel like going to bed, so I cast on another ball of Peaches & Cream dishcloth cotton. This is done in a triangle pattern. Again, a Walmart purchase for $1.29. You can't buy a decent, thick wash cloth for $1.29.

Maybe not as mindless as the burp cloth, but I finished 2 things in one night!

Burp cloth - Peaches & Cream

Burp cloth
Originally uploaded by solslett.

I love Mason-Dixon Knitting. I have gotten so many ideas from this book, and the patterns are easy to remember. I have fallen in love with this slip stitch garter pattern, and have used it primarily for the squares I have been knitting for Warm Up America.

I wanted some mindless knitting the other night, and figured I would pull out a ball of dishcloth cotton and knit something. The yarn, Peaches & Cream, was purchased at Walmart for $1.29. A few hours later, tada, a burp cloth. It goes into the emergency gift pile. One can never know when such things come in handy.