My current work in progress:

Corrugated Shawl, designed by Cecelia Campochiaro, knit from Crave Caravan in the Tilly colorway, using U.S. size 4 needles.

Did I Ever Tell You the One About the Flat Rat?

Vermin. Oy.

One of the “joys” of working in a large building in a city is the ever-present vermin. This morning when I came into work I surprised a mouse in the hallway. And further down the same hall I passed a squashed cockroach that was a good inch and a half long. (Now I know that being in a squashed state rendered said cockroach longer than if it were in a three-dimensional state, but still.)

I had a brief encounter last week that so skeeved me out that it is likely I will never recover. I went down to the snack bar in my building to get a pre-packaged salad that they keep in a refrigerated case, and brought it back to my desk. I popped the lid on the plastic container. And watched in horror as a cockroach crawled out from under a lettuce leave and started to saunter across the cucumbers, slowly waving his antennae at me in a jaunty manner.

Needless to say, I popped the lid back on and threw the whole thing into the trash can out in the hall. Ew! Ew! Ew!

I know that stuff like this happens. I know that if I could see the place where the salads are made I might run screaming into the night. Ditto for plants where stuff I buy in the grocery store is processed. But it’s a lot easier to ignore when you don’t have Mister Cockroach smiling and waving to you from your salad.

So I’ve been bringing my lunch since then. This is a challenge because I don’t have access to a refrigerator or a microwave. And I detest making lunches. Today I had a peanut butter sandwich (reduced fat Jiff peanut butter on low-carb whole wheat) and an apple. I am not a fan of sandwiches. Anyone have any brilliant ideas for healthful lunches that don’t take a lot of at-home preparation and don’t need to be refrigerated or microwaved?

I don’t ask for much, huh?

Okay. Enough with the self-pity. On to some Q&A.

Cathy-Cate commented:
I scored some ‘lace weight’ yarn on eBay – 1760 yards of gorgeous slowly changing shades of orange, meant for a shawl for a friend who’s getting married and whose favorite color is orange. However, I think it’s what might be called ‘cobweb’? — it’s finer than the ‘lace weight’ I previously used, which I think I knitted on size 2-ish Addi Turbos and did fine with. (I guess I need to keep track when I’m making things up as I go along….)

I have tried swatching this very fine yarn, and the Addi needle tips are too big & blunt to pick up the stitches readily, the yarn skitters all over the place, and the stitches look sloppy big on even size 2 needles. Halp, halp! So: along with Siouxz, I am interested in what kind of needle is your personal favorite for very fine lace yarn, and also, are you aware of any books/pattern resources for this extremely fine yarn? I’ve found a couple shawl patterns that call for ‘jumper weight’ and ‘Shetland’, but being ignorant of this particular area of the knitting world, I don’t know exactly what that translates to; my guess is that weight is rather heavier (?more like fingering weight?).

A couple of you asked about needles for lace. My favorites so far are the Knitpicks Options. I read about the Addi lace needles last week, but likely will not get any, because the Knitpicks needles work so nicely for me. Back in the Summer of ’05 (the Summer of Lace) I yapped about needles for lace a lot, and as I recall, liked the old Boye metal needles and Inox and Aero needles for lace. But I do like the Knitpicks needles better. They are slippery, so you have to remain vigilant. Wooden needles work better at grabbing the stitches, but I’ve yet to find a wooden needle with a cord and join I like quite as much as the Knitpicks needles.

Now about that laceweight yarn you got . . .

There is quite a range of weights in what is considered laceweight, I think. From yarn that feels like a sewing thread to almost-fingering weight. The only thing I’ve knitted in “true” shetland cobweb weight is a lace handkerchief that I’ve blogged about before. And I knitted that on size 0000 needles. I know Jamieson & Smith has a laceweight shetland (finger than the fingering weight jumperweight wool), and then the cobweb weight that is finer still.

DeeAnn commented:
Kidsilk haze makes me itch fiercely, but there are so many beautiful patterns that are enhanced dramatically by the halo. Would you consider alpaca laceweight to be an acceptable substitution or have any other recommendations for the “mohair challenged”?

That would definitely work for me. I used the Cherry Tree Hill suri alpaca for the Inky Dinky Spider Stole and it had a slight halo and was lovely to knit with. Ditto for the Misti Alpaca for the Tina Shawl.

Count Sassy asked:
I have a (possibly stupid) blocking question. I have a scarf with Crystal Palace Kid Mohair I need to block. Did the iron actually touch the shawl? Or was there a towel between the two?

It may be wrong of me, but yeah, the iron touched the shawl. But I was pretty freaking careful, and had no mishaps.

And in my continuing series of Still Life With Sock in Progress . . .

sip022007 Did I Ever Tell You the One About the Flat Rat?

Emma, do you recognize this scarf? ๐Ÿ™‚

Lucy

lucy022007 Did I Ever Tell You the One About the Flat Rat?

Lucy thanks you for all your good wishes and would like you to know that she does get off her Cozy Cushion from time to time.

Comments

  1. When people say “blue ice”, I’m sure they mean those freezer packs, but all I can think of is the chunky frozen toilet water that falls from planes and randomly lands on cars from time to time.

  2. When people say “blue ice”, I’m sure they mean those freezer packs, but all I can think of is the chunky frozen toilet water that falls from planes and randomly lands on cars from time to time.

  3. Hi,

    Sorry about the cockroach thing. I found one in my food at a restaurant once and have never been back, even though the restaurant has changed hands many times since then.

    I pack this for my daughter for lunch everyday (she’s a creature of habit ๐Ÿ™‚ whole wheat burrito (lightly dampened and microwaved to make it pliable) filled with romaine lettuce mix, shredded cheese and sliced red peppers. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. It’s fast to make and filling enough to get her back home. Good luck

  4. Hi,

    Sorry about the cockroach thing. I found one in my food at a restaurant once and have never been back, even though the restaurant has changed hands many times since then.

    I pack this for my daughter for lunch everyday (she’s a creature of habit ๐Ÿ™‚ whole wheat burrito (lightly dampened and microwaved to make it pliable) filled with romaine lettuce mix, shredded cheese and sliced red peppers. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. It’s fast to make and filling enough to get her back home. Good luck

  5. Have been there with the salad “protein” and ECK, YUCK, Phooey!
    I bring lunch daily – I do have a microwave at work – I do canned soups and crackers in winter. A thermos would handle the heating issue (wide-mouthed if you like soups that are thick and substantial). Or how about one of those little electric pots you can get for your desk?

    I like the hummus & pita idea for summer. I also make pasta salad (with fat free Italian dressing) in the summer with tons of vegies – freeze an 8 oz water bottle & tuck it in. Everything stays cool. Peanut butter gets old fast!
    (((hugs)))

  6. Have been there with the salad “protein” and ECK, YUCK, Phooey!
    I bring lunch daily – I do have a microwave at work – I do canned soups and crackers in winter. A thermos would handle the heating issue (wide-mouthed if you like soups that are thick and substantial). Or how about one of those little electric pots you can get for your desk?

    I like the hummus & pita idea for summer. I also make pasta salad (with fat free Italian dressing) in the summer with tons of vegies – freeze an 8 oz water bottle & tuck it in. Everything stays cool. Peanut butter gets old fast!
    (((hugs)))

  7. We lived in the south for about 17 years, so I know what you mean about the roaches. Our first apartment in New Orleans was a real shock since I had never even seen one, and the first time I went out to the kitchen for a drink of water at night and turned on the light the floor was carpeted with them, all heading for the corners at lightening speed. As far as non-refrig lunches, you can get little packs or cans of tuna or chicken or shrimp that are shelf safe, and you could bring a little lemon or whatever to put on them. Also, you can get those little lunch sized coolers that keep cold things cold, and those should get you through until lunch.

  8. We lived in the south for about 17 years, so I know what you mean about the roaches. Our first apartment in New Orleans was a real shock since I had never even seen one, and the first time I went out to the kitchen for a drink of water at night and turned on the light the floor was carpeted with them, all heading for the corners at lightening speed. As far as non-refrig lunches, you can get little packs or cans of tuna or chicken or shrimp that are shelf safe, and you could bring a little lemon or whatever to put on them. Also, you can get those little lunch sized coolers that keep cold things cold, and those should get you through until lunch.

  9. One-cup lunches are handy and you can make several at a time. I like cottage cheese or yogurt “sundaes” which are healthier than they sound. Layer the dairy ingredient with fruit (banana, pineapple, peach, pear, berry, etc) (fresh, dried, canned, or frozen), chopped nuts, granola, flax or other seeds. Or try a savory version with tomato, beans, salsa, etc and a handfull of tortilla chips or crackers. The whole lunch thing is far easier if you don’t require a lot of variety! The blue ice is available with hard plastic covering (as opposed to “bag” plastic) which is much more durable. I saw a nifty felted lunch bag on Knitty a while back; it looks like a brown paper bag! http://www.knitty.com/issuewinter06/PATTbrownbag.html

  10. One-cup lunches are handy and you can make several at a time. I like cottage cheese or yogurt “sundaes” which are healthier than they sound. Layer the dairy ingredient with fruit (banana, pineapple, peach, pear, berry, etc) (fresh, dried, canned, or frozen), chopped nuts, granola, flax or other seeds. Or try a savory version with tomato, beans, salsa, etc and a handfull of tortilla chips or crackers. The whole lunch thing is far easier if you don’t require a lot of variety! The blue ice is available with hard plastic covering (as opposed to “bag” plastic) which is much more durable. I saw a nifty felted lunch bag on Knitty a while back; it looks like a brown paper bag! http://www.knitty.com/issuewinter06/PATTbrownbag.html

  11. Phyllis in Minneapolis MN says:

    Wendy, Get a small insulated lunch size cloth bag for your lunches. This is what I did when I was working. If it’s hot in the summer, I would add a frozen pack and that kept lunch cool. You won’t have to keep eating sandwiches. I made salads all the time and it worked. Enjoy.
    Phyllis in Minneapolis MN

  12. Phyllis in Minneapolis MN says:

    Wendy, Get a small insulated lunch size cloth bag for your lunches. This is what I did when I was working. If it’s hot in the summer, I would add a frozen pack and that kept lunch cool. You won’t have to keep eating sandwiches. I made salads all the time and it worked. Enjoy.
    Phyllis in Minneapolis MN

  13. Would your building allow you to have a plug-in cooler in your office? That way, you can keep 2-3 days worth of food and snacks at a time. They’re smaller and better looking than a mini-fridge. You could put it under your desk and nobody would know.

    I have a 1-cup coffee maker (Elite 1-for-the-road, about $10) in my office that I don’t use for coffee but for making hot water for instant oatmeal and hot tea.

    More than twenty years ago, I was waitressing and a patron called me over to their table and said “It seems that a little vegetarian has decided to join us” and pointed to his salad. There was a litte gray snail-thing (no shell) hanging out on a lettuce leaf wiggling it’s antennae. Nothing compared to a cockroach and I was amazed at how nice the people were about it!

  14. Would your building allow you to have a plug-in cooler in your office? That way, you can keep 2-3 days worth of food and snacks at a time. They’re smaller and better looking than a mini-fridge. You could put it under your desk and nobody would know.

    I have a 1-cup coffee maker (Elite 1-for-the-road, about $10) in my office that I don’t use for coffee but for making hot water for instant oatmeal and hot tea.

    More than twenty years ago, I was waitressing and a patron called me over to their table and said “It seems that a little vegetarian has decided to join us” and pointed to his salad. There was a litte gray snail-thing (no shell) hanging out on a lettuce leaf wiggling it’s antennae. Nothing compared to a cockroach and I was amazed at how nice the people were about it!

  15. Buy a mini refrigerator to plug in under your desk! See #SI714SL2 Hot + Cold Mini Fridge at Sharper Image for $99.95, or a 1.8 s.f. model at Office Depot, which also has other models, all reasonably priced.

    No, I’m not a salesperson — I just happened to think that there are small refrigerators! Can you have it sent directly to your office?

    Let us know if this is a good sugggestion!

    Joanne

  16. Buy a mini refrigerator to plug in under your desk! See #SI714SL2 Hot + Cold Mini Fridge at Sharper Image for $99.95, or a 1.8 s.f. model at Office Depot, which also has other models, all reasonably priced.

    No, I’m not a salesperson — I just happened to think that there are small refrigerators! Can you have it sent directly to your office?

    Let us know if this is a good sugggestion!

    Joanne

  17. Enough about lunches. I would recommend Susanne needles for lace knitting. I was trying to knit a scarf in Zephyr on Addi turbos and was losing my mind and my stitches. Switching to Susanne ebonies saved the project. I’ve also used, and loved, the rosewoods.

  18. Enough about lunches. I would recommend Susanne needles for lace knitting. I was trying to knit a scarf in Zephyr on Addi turbos and was losing my mind and my stitches. Switching to Susanne ebonies saved the project. I’ve also used, and loved, the rosewoods.

  19. Wendy, when I worked at a hospital here in town, I only had 30 minutes for lunch, and the cafeteria was two buildings away and the lines were always long, so I brought my lunch. In fact, I’d bring a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and leave them in my locker, and that would last me a couple weeks. Cheap, fast, convenient, easy, no-brainer lunches.

  20. Wendy, when I worked at a hospital here in town, I only had 30 minutes for lunch, and the cafeteria was two buildings away and the lines were always long, so I brought my lunch. In fact, I’d bring a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and leave them in my locker, and that would last me a couple weeks. Cheap, fast, convenient, easy, no-brainer lunches.

  21. Good luck on the bagged lunches. And hopefully there will be no more unpleasant surprises from the cafeteria, should you decide to go back.

    My worst story of an unexpected surprise was of a (mostly flat) mouse that I saw get dispensed from an ATM instead of cash…

  22. Good luck on the bagged lunches. And hopefully there will be no more unpleasant surprises from the cafeteria, should you decide to go back.

    My worst story of an unexpected surprise was of a (mostly flat) mouse that I saw get dispensed from an ATM instead of cash…

  23. Cathy-Cate says:

    Thank you, THANK YOU for all the suggestions & input, Wendy, and also Lorri, EricaLynn, Stephanie & Ellen! Wendy, this does look like it would knit up similarly to your Wedding Handkerchief, which I remember. I have till November, but even though I’m reasonably fast, a shawl could still take a very long time on 0000s! But perhaps it could happen!
    I’ll definitely check out Victorian Lace Today which was on my wishlist anyway (love knitting books!) & Lorri’s suggestions. I have not cared for my KnitPicks Options needles as using them made me painfully aware that I seem to use a fingertip to assist the stitch off the needle. Ow. So that will be a personal problem with many needles suitable for fine yarn/lace knitting, obviously (and the Options set only goes down to size 4, as you know; their classic circs go to 0, but only 32″ long & may be too big for the yarn still. I do have a 0 circ of theirs & may swatch again as I don’t think the circs are quite as sharp tho still pointy).

    If all else fails, I can try carrying this very fine yarn with KSH, maybe their Marmalade or Swish shade, or something similar for a thicker overall yarn, which could be cool too. But I’m feeling the urge to challenge myself!

    I share the universal response to the cockroach story – EW. Bugs don’t usually freak me out, but cockroaches? yes. Sauntering through my lunch? Gag and scream!

  24. Cathy-Cate says:

    Thank you, THANK YOU for all the suggestions & input, Wendy, and also Lorri, EricaLynn, Stephanie & Ellen! Wendy, this does look like it would knit up similarly to your Wedding Handkerchief, which I remember. I have till November, but even though I’m reasonably fast, a shawl could still take a very long time on 0000s! But perhaps it could happen!
    I’ll definitely check out Victorian Lace Today which was on my wishlist anyway (love knitting books!) & Lorri’s suggestions. I have not cared for my KnitPicks Options needles as using them made me painfully aware that I seem to use a fingertip to assist the stitch off the needle. Ow. So that will be a personal problem with many needles suitable for fine yarn/lace knitting, obviously (and the Options set only goes down to size 4, as you know; their classic circs go to 0, but only 32″ long & may be too big for the yarn still. I do have a 0 circ of theirs & may swatch again as I don’t think the circs are quite as sharp tho still pointy).

    If all else fails, I can try carrying this very fine yarn with KSH, maybe their Marmalade or Swish shade, or something similar for a thicker overall yarn, which could be cool too. But I’m feeling the urge to challenge myself!

    I share the universal response to the cockroach story – EW. Bugs don’t usually freak me out, but cockroaches? yes. Sauntering through my lunch? Gag and scream!

  25. Cathy-Cate says:

    And thanks to Beth from yesterday; I posted my comment so late, I hadn’t yet read the last few comments after mine. Doubling the very fine yarn might well work; would probably give a more heathered/variegated look rather than the color-changing look, which might be nice. Swatch, swatch! And swatch again!

  26. Cathy-Cate says:

    And thanks to Beth from yesterday; I posted my comment so late, I hadn’t yet read the last few comments after mine. Doubling the very fine yarn might well work; would probably give a more heathered/variegated look rather than the color-changing look, which might be nice. Swatch, swatch! And swatch again!

  27. Thanks Wendy! I think you’ve inspired me to try some lace that is just a bit more complex, very exciting. I swore I’d checked your list for references to the alpaca but I must have missed those two and became distracted by Forest Canopy. Now to find something that is a ‘step up’ so to speak.

    Working downtown is definitely challenging – croutons are one thing but that’s bit more crunch than you bargain for!

    Ok, all of your lunch suggestions are making me hungry! Hope you find something that suits ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Thanks Wendy! I think you’ve inspired me to try some lace that is just a bit more complex, very exciting. I swore I’d checked your list for references to the alpaca but I must have missed those two and became distracted by Forest Canopy. Now to find something that is a ‘step up’ so to speak.

    Working downtown is definitely challenging – croutons are one thing but that’s bit more crunch than you bargain for!

    Ok, all of your lunch suggestions are making me hungry! Hope you find something that suits ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Yuck. I mean, just yuck. I can’t imagine how the person who made the salad in question couldn’t have noticed a huge frikking cockroach crawling around, either, but then, I haven’t made many salads in my life, and don’t know much about the cockroach’s ability to disguise itself as lettuce leaves.

    As for food suggestions, my roommate has recently fallen in love with Soup-at-Hands. I think it’s Campbell’s soup, as far as I can remember, and it is really handy. It does need to be microwaved, though, unless you enjoy cold soup. Me, I’m always a fan of leftover pizza for lunch!

  30. Yuck. I mean, just yuck. I can’t imagine how the person who made the salad in question couldn’t have noticed a huge frikking cockroach crawling around, either, but then, I haven’t made many salads in my life, and don’t know much about the cockroach’s ability to disguise itself as lettuce leaves.

    As for food suggestions, my roommate has recently fallen in love with Soup-at-Hands. I think it’s Campbell’s soup, as far as I can remember, and it is really handy. It does need to be microwaved, though, unless you enjoy cold soup. Me, I’m always a fan of leftover pizza for lunch!

  31. Sheesh, I’m away for a day and all hell breaks loose! What a disgusting lunch companion!! EEK!

    My fabulous suggestions is this

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000246GSE/ref=wl_it_dp/104-6990890-2590362?ie=UTF8&coliid=IX8JNB68XIFHQ&colid=36NDWC0OMBBBB

    No need for ice packs, it keeps hot ot cold stuff perfect for hours! And you’re a gadget girl Wendy, this is right up your alley! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Plus you’ll look so cool!

  32. Sheesh, I’m away for a day and all hell breaks loose! What a disgusting lunch companion!! EEK!

    My fabulous suggestions is this

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000246GSE/ref=wl_it_dp/104-6990890-2590362?ie=UTF8&coliid=IX8JNB68XIFHQ&colid=36NDWC0OMBBBB

    No need for ice packs, it keeps hot ot cold stuff perfect for hours! And you’re a gadget girl Wendy, this is right up your alley! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Plus you’ll look so cool!

  33. And obviously I’m not alone in my fabulous suggestion now that I’ve actually read the comments ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have a bento box now but I used to have a “cube” made by thermos made of some shiny insulated material but I always had to add an icepack which made things quite heavy!

  34. And obviously I’m not alone in my fabulous suggestion now that I’ve actually read the comments ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have a bento box now but I used to have a “cube” made by thermos made of some shiny insulated material but I always had to add an icepack which made things quite heavy!

  35. Late to this string, but wanted to add to those suggesting yogurt. If you buy the active culture kind, it has a ROOM TEMPERATURE shelf life of up to 4 days or so before the taste starts to degrade…and longer before it actually goes bad. No, I’m not making this up — it’s confirmed by my Ph.D. in bio-chemistry sister who was part of the team that helped develop some of the products in a major brand-name yogurt line…available at your neighborhood grocer! After she told me this it opened my horizons for lunch and snack options in those jobs where I’ve been refrigeratorless. Same holds true for yogurt smoothies, but they start going off flavor a little faster.

  36. Late to this string, but wanted to add to those suggesting yogurt. If you buy the active culture kind, it has a ROOM TEMPERATURE shelf life of up to 4 days or so before the taste starts to degrade…and longer before it actually goes bad. No, I’m not making this up — it’s confirmed by my Ph.D. in bio-chemistry sister who was part of the team that helped develop some of the products in a major brand-name yogurt line…available at your neighborhood grocer! After she told me this it opened my horizons for lunch and snack options in those jobs where I’ve been refrigeratorless. Same holds true for yogurt smoothies, but they start going off flavor a little faster.