A side of mercury with your fries? Wednesday, Jan 28 2009 

Surprise, surprise, those corn refiner’s association ad extolling the harmlessness of high-fructose corn syrup? Well, it turns out they’re not exactly true. A report from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy tested 55 common products containing high-fructose corn syrup and found–guess what?–mercury in several of them.
Green LA girl posted a full list, and I was pretty stunned. Here’s the list:

  • Quaker Oatmeal to Go
  • Jack Daniel’s Barbeque Sauce
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • Kraft Original Barbeque Sauce
  • Nutri-Grain Strawberry Cereal Bars
  • Manwich Bold Sloppy Joe
  • Market Pantry Grape Jelly
  • Smucker’s Strawberry Jelly
  • Pop-Tarts Frosted Blueberry
  • Hunt’s Tomato Ketchup
  • Wish-Bone Western Sweet & Smooth Dressing
  • Coca-Cola Classic
  • Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt
  • Minute Maid Berry Punch
  • Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink
  • Nesquik Chocolate Milk
  • Kemps Fat Free Chocolate Milk

Now, I admit to not using most of these, but I do use ketchup. And jelly. I’m pretty horrified at the idea of mercury being in those foods, since I (sadly) drastically reduced my tuna consumption to avoid mercury. I guess I’m going to have to work on making my own ketchup and jam, because I’m really beginning to distrust any product that I don’t make myself.

Tarot Card of the Day: The Devil

Sew What? Monday, Jan 26 2009 

This weekend, I didn’t get much knitting done. I did, however, decide it was time to get over my fear of my sewing machine.

(Turns out, reading the manual actually helps.)

First up, I sewed a curtain for my bathroom. I have frosted windows, but the previous tenants had a paper blind up. It was very pretty, but paper + moisture and heat = torn blind. So I’ve been meaning to put up a curtain for a while.

Curtain

I goofed, because I actually bought this fabric for a skirt. Oops! Oh well, it looks cute as a curtain too. The seams are a bit puckered, and I didn’t take, um, gravity into account, so the edges are tacked up with nails.

I did get to use my grommet maker though. It was fun.

I think, eventually, I’ll use the actual curtain material and sew up another one, sans puckered seams, that has a dowel on top, with the grommets underneat so that it hangs more evenly.

I also sewed–a skirt!

Imbolc 2009 Skirt

I actually sewed two skirts, because the first one failed to take into account, you know, my hips. I’m used to knitting, where things stretch more! It’s still a cute skirt, so I’ll probably end up giving it to someone who has a daughter who’s still skinny enough to wear it.

365.25 (Skirt)

The skirt is a tiered skirt, white with sparkles. It’s for Imbolc, and I really like how it turned out. I’d do some things differently, if I do another one, but it was pretty easy to sew once I got the hang of it. And it’s cute!

I also worked on a few other sewing projects, but didn’t quite get finished…I have the feeling this is going to be a new hobby.

Tarot Card of the Day: Nine of Swords

Sock Progress Thursday, Jan 22 2009 

So, I’m making some headway on my main project right now. They’re lacy  mock cable socks knit in my STR yarn, and it was quite an adventure getting there.

Lace mock cable close up

First, I had planned to knit Brigit, by  Monkey Toes. I love those socks, and they’re perfect for Imbolc. And I wanted to do them in white. (Or maybe pale pink, but I settled on white.) So I got my yarn, and based on gauge info on the website I ordered the medium weight.  And I swatched. And swatched. And swatched. I finally managed to get gauge on size US0s, but once I started the socks I realized that the fabric had moved past dense and was verging on bullet-proof.

So, onto plan B. I wandered over to Article Pract, and picked out some Noro Silk Garden Sock in a white/neutral colorway. And I swatched. And swatched. And swatched.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

I couldn’t get gauge on either yarn! Finally, I decided to embrace the yarn and find a new Imbolc-y pattern. So, I still wanted cables because cables say Irish to me, and Brigid being an Celtic Goddess and the one I associate most with Imbolc…well, it just made sense. I finally settled on the Lacy Mock Cable socks, partially for speed (also why I didn’t design my own) and partially because I liked the little lace circles–it just feels right.

Lace Mock Cable Sock

So, I finished sock number 1. Now, all I have to do is speed through sock 2, and oh yeah, sew a skirt before the 31st. I can totally do that, right?

In other news, I’m contemplating my upcoming birthday. I am not, as it turns out, that happy about it. I feel like my social life is in quite a sorry state for turning 26, and I’m also facing my annual delemna about celebrating.

See, the thing about being born in late January? Is that your birthdays don’t generally go so well. I don’t think I’ve had a birthday party where people actually showed up since I was….I don’t know? Twelve? Thirteen? All the big birthdays–16, 18, 21–I did  pretty much nothing. It’s always, maybe 1 or 2 people that can make it. Thing is, it’s not even that people are purposefully blowing me off. It’s just this time of year. People get sick, they’re tired from the holidays, they’re busy with new projects at work.  So I can never decide–plan something and hope for the best (and be disappointed if it doesn’t work out?) or just give up and be lame and go home to watch Grey’s Anatomy with the cats?

Sigh. Who knows?

Tarot Card of the Day: Two of Pentacles

FO: Filigree Scarf Tuesday, Jan 20 2009 

On to my 2nd finished object of 2009! I actually finished this last week, but I didn’t have a chance to take pictures. And, honestly, the photo isn’t that great, because self-portraits taken at 6 am when you’re heading out the door are, as it turns out, not the best.

Filligree Scarf

I love, love, love this scarf! I wish I could actually wear it today, but it’s supposed to be a lovely 67 degrees outside, so not really scarf weather. The yarn is Golden Chai from ArtFibers, and the lovelyy pattern is Kira K. Design’s Filigree Scarf.

It really is perfect–I can dress this up or down with jeans or nicer clothes, and the yarn is delicious to touch. I almost want it to cool down just so I can wear it….but then again, maybe not!

Tarot Card of the Day: Eight of Pentacles

Odd girl out? Monday, Jan 19 2009 

So, I offically declared this weekend the weekend of Bad Teen Movies. I got sucked into “Odd Girl Out” on Lifetime, and things just went downhill from there. (I’m not going to name names here, or anything, but it may or may not have involved a movie that featured Hillary Duff. Now that I’ve confessed this, let’s never speak of it again.)

I must say, however, that despite my general affinity for movies where lots of things explode and people are eaten by dinosaurs/hacked up by serial killers/shot at by bad guys/battling aliens sometimes there is nothing like a bad teen movie. You know, where everything is super perky and cute and gets tied up in a neat little bow at the end, with the heroine and her cute-yet-non-threatening crush wind up together. All set to a catchy soundtrack featuring some singer who hasn’t even hit puberty yet.

Anyway, as I was watching these movies, I started feeling pretty nostalgic. I don’t know about all of you, but I didn’t exactly have the best time in high school. And I’m okay with most of it–as far as I can tell, crappy teachers and cliques and mean girls are pretty much par for the course. But what I really miss was friends.

I’m not saying I didn’t have friends, but we all went through some pretty tough times in high school, and it just sort of fell apart. And I guess I just never really started up again; I have friends here and there, but I don’t really have that group, you know? The kind of friends you see in just about every girls/women’s movie known to man, from “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” to “Sex in the City.” I realize that’s partly my fault–I’ve met some really awesome people out here, but I’m never quite sure that they actually want to hang out with me, you know, they aren’t just being polite. So I never pick up the phone and call. But it’s also hard–everyone’s busy with their own lifes, with spouses and kids and partners and families.  And even if you can round people up, how do you know people will get along? And do you want them to? What’s the etiquette in introducing your coworker to someone you met at your pagan group? Or knitting group? Or LGBT meetup? Can those people all coexist–and should they?

So, it got me thinking…are these movies reflections of something that other women have, and I’m just missing out on? Or is it just wishful thinking on the part of screenwriters? And if that’s the case, what can we do to start making this kind of bond a reality?

Tarot Card of the Day: Two of Cups

I can haz yarn! Friday, Jan 16 2009 

So, after much impatient waiting, I finally got my yarn!

365.14 (yarn love)

It’s Socks That Rock medium weight in Moirae from the Spirits line. I chose it to make socks which I HOPE to have finished by Imbolc/Initiation. (Eek!) I need white socks, and I loved the idea of it being called Moirae, since I’m very drawn to the spinning/weaving goddess. Can’t imagine why that would be. ;) And I finally get to see what all the fuss is about, since this is my very first Socks That Rock.

Naturally, I got the yarn and started swatching and of course I didn’t have the right gague! I tried on 2s, then 1s, then the smaller 1s and still couldn’t get 8 stitches to the inch. I probably should have gone with the lightweight, but I wasn’t sure; I went to Article Pract yesterday and got 0s and 00s to try.

Thankfully, I got gauge on 0s, because 00s still scare me. It’s a pretty dense fabric, and will be even more so since it’s cabled, but I think that works for a late winter/early spring sock. It’s a time of year when warm is good–except that San Francisco currently thinks it’s summer, but whatever, we get winter in August so who the hell knows?

Tarot Card of the Day: Princess of Pentacles

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated Wednesday, Jan 14 2009 

No, I have not disappeared from the blogosphere, I’ve just been very busy! Mary (aka, she-who-never-updates-her-blog) visited for the last few days of my vacation, and we were busy frolicking through San Francisco and Oakland, knitting, eating and napping in public. (It’s fun, you should try it!) Then, I headed back to work just in time to get hit by food poisoning, and have been super busy ever since.

Not much news on knitting; I finished the Filligree Scarf, and promise pictures once I look less like death warmed over…I’ve also been slogging along on Snow White and (im)patiently waiting for my first order of Socks That Rock! I’m still hoping to be able to finish a pair of socks by the 31st, for my CAYA initation. I’ve been stalking it (and my Amazon order!) on the USPS website and I’m hoping I’ll have it today or tomorrow. I’ve also been playing around with swatching my design for Chief Tyrol’s Stealth Socks, but there’s no way I can work on two projects at once that are mostly 2×2 rib without going absolutely bonkers, so that’s on hold at least until Snow White is done.

Not much else to say; I have a feeling this is going to be a very interesting  year for me. I can already feel the Hanged Man influence receding (my tarot for the year; it won’t actually end until my birthday later this month) and Death is coming next so I’m sure change is afoot! I’ve already been drawing different cards than normal; The Sun, The High Priestess (I NEVER get those) and lots and lots of twos so I’m guessing balance is something I need to be working on….but I’m really looking forward to it!

Tarot Card of the Day: Ace of Wands

First FO of 2009! Wednesday, Jan 7 2009 

See, 2009 is totally about the finishing. Totally.

365.7 (First FO of 2009)

Pattern: Fawkes by Monkey Toes
Yarn: Gryffindor yarn from unknown Etsy seller (it was a gift)

I really liked this pattern, though my row gauge was off so the legs are a bit shorter than I’d like. I also forgot to do the toe decreases every row at the end (as oppposed to every other row) but with the row gauge difference it all worked out for the best.

Tarot Card of the Day: Seven of Cups

Zipping along Tuesday, Jan 6 2009 

I’m zipping along on Snow White, and I’ve just started the sleeves.

Snow White Sleeve

I know that ribbing stretches quite a bit, and I’m trusting the pattern will fit but I’m still a little bit worried. Right now, it looks like the only thing this will fit is  very large snake, or possibly a small supermodel. Since I am neither, this is a bit concerning. I suppose I could put the body on waste yarn and try it on, but I like to live dangerously.

Tarot Card of the Day: Queen of Pentacles

Mirror, mirror on the wall… Monday, Jan 5 2009 

As you might guess from the title, I’ve cast on for Snow White.

I know, I had this vague sense of project monogamy for 2009, but I’ve decided to considerably broaden the definition of the word monogamy. Really, I should probably think about it as limited projects, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. At any rate, my goal is to limit my projects to 1) a commuter sock (plain vanilla with interesting yarn) 2) a more complex sock (most probably related to my Wheel of the Year knitting plans) 3) a larger, yet simple project that can function as social knitting (currently, my hibernating Clapotis, and the Filigree Scarf) and 4) a larger, more complex project that requires concentration (Snow White). So, if you look at it that way, I’m really not doing so badly….

Anyway. I started casting on for Snow White on New Year’s Eve. I say started, because I tried about four times and could not master any variety of tubular cast on. Around 11, I put it aside and took my frustation out on some simple knitting, and picked it up again on New Year’s Day. Where  I proceeded to try the tubular cast on two more times, before I finally said fuck-all and did a long-tail cast on over two needles. It’s much stretchier than my tubular cast on using the provisional method, and I was able to join the round without everything going all wonky like it was when I tried Ysolda’s method.

Snow White Body

It’s not  much to look at right now–mostly, it looks like a very long tube. I’m sure that will change when I add sleeves and put it on. But so far I’m enjoying knitting it (I’ve decided to pretend that the cast on was nothing but a misunderstanding), and the Andean silk yarn from Knit Picks is lovely and soft. I may even be able to wear this next to my skin (though I’m afraid the ribbing may stretch to show too much skin in this pattern).

Tarot Card of the Day: Two of Wands

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