Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Doing My Part

Here are the 2 newest members of our little club:

That's Michelle on the left and Britt on the right. We were discussing knitting at our holiday party last week and Britt mentioned that she'd always wanted to learn. I told her that I'd be happy to teach her and a knitting circle was born. We had quite a few people walking past the conference room stop and chat about knitting.

I was very sad to hear one nurse talk about her fear of knitting circularly. She said, "Oh my friends told me that it's just too hard. So I want to knit mittens, but I can't." I told her to come next Tuesday and I'll get her started. Too hard! What kind of teacher says that??

Here's what I've been working on:

The picture is a little disappointing - you can't really see the depth of the pattern. This is the Lisa Knits scarf. I'm knitting it in the Canadian singles I bought in Baltimore. It's making a lumpy, bumpy scarf that's really interesting. The yarn is a little harsh, but I think washing will work wonders.

I need a new, big project to take to Antarctica with me. Jillian and I are taking a trip over to Threadbear next week. Should it be a sweater? I imagine I could get quite a few pairs of socks done. Nancy wants to knit these. I'm sure one or two of them will come home with me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I guess he can stay - but no crackers in bed!

So I get home from work last night and the Hub immediately begins to tease me. "I bought your present. I bought your present," in the sing-songy voice that makes me crazy. I figured I'd shut him up quickly and said, "I'll give you yours if you give me mine," thinking he'd nix the idea right there.

To my surprise, he said, "Sure." Then I remembered that I'd sent his gift to my mother's house (wrapped) ready to slip under the tree for him to open on the 24th. He wanted me to have my gift so badly that he said, "Just tell me what it is and you can have yours." This is what he got me...

Is that a little small? Here's a bigger picture...

He told me, "I looked at the 40 gig ones, but they just seemed too big." ! Then he said, "but if you want to upgrade, here." He pulled out cash from his pocket and handed it over. What a guy! I'm a little frightened about what toy he might bring home next. Brochures for these have been showing up around the house lately.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I can breath again

On Friday, I took the GRE. For the uninitiated, that's the General Record Exam and almost every graduate program requires that you spend $115 and 2 months of your life in preparation. It's all computerized, so I got my score right away (600 verbal and 560 quantitative - if you're interested). There's also an analytical writing section which won't be graded for a couple of weeks. Overall, I'm pleased with the score and really, really, really glad it's over.

To celebrate, I bought some of these:

I love dark chocolate - the darker the better. Whenever I travel, I try to find the darkest chocolate in the region. My favorite up to this point has been Finnish. Scharffen Berger is now officially the best damn chocolate I've ever had. I also got a bar of the baking chocolate and showed Little Big Man the brownie recipe (he's a slave to brownies). He wanted to bake last night at 10:00 pm - I made him wait.

On the knitting front - Clapotis is done. She's just waiting for a bath and slight blocking. I love Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb. I have 8 skeins in a lovely brown that I'm eyeing. I don't know what I'll do with it, but I want to work with it now.

I also started the Victorian Lace Scarf from Lisa Knits. It's a 28 row pattern, but is fairly simple - just what I need right now. I must say the pattern is extremely well written with easy to follow instructions. I will be knitting one of her patterns again.

Happy Thanksgiving (and 3 day week) to those of you in the US. Pass the pumpkin cheesecake!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Best Little Yarn Shop in Michigan

Okay, so it's not so little, but Threadbear is really the best yarn shop I've been in (and I've been in a lot of yarn shops). Never mind that it's the biggest yarn shop I've been in. Rob and Matt carry all my favorite yarns and quite a few of my least favorite too! I think it's a shop that would make any knitter happy.

On Saturday, I tripped up there with Jillian and Amy to attend a signing of KnitWit and hang out at the shop. Here's J waiting patiently for her total:

And here's Amy - who only likes candid shots of herself:

And who else was there? Shannon of Bitter Girl fame:

I also met the Cakers' mom, Marcia (of Purls before Swine fame). A very nice woman. Go have a look at her blog and see her progress on a very Knitty scarf.

Here's the image I can't get out of my head, Rob dancing around with 3 skeins of incredibly lovely Lion & Lamb, singing, "She's gonna catch the Clap, she's gonna catch the Clap!" Here's what I've done with the first skein:

This is the very beginning of Clapotis, another very Knitty scarf. I love the feel of this yarn. It has a bit of a funky smell, but feels divine. It's the first real knitting I've done in months. I think being in the shop, surrounded by all that yarn and all that creativity just made me want to knit again. Whatever the reason - I'm glad to oblige the urge.

Monday, November 08, 2004


Has a very nice yarn shop called A Good Yarn. It is the tiniest shop I've ever been in, but it's packed with stuff like this:

What you see is 4 skeins of lovely Canadian single-spun yarn and a skein of Noro Iro (75% wool and 25% silk). The Canadian yarn is sheepy smelling - very yummy. I picked up a skein of it to buy and then went around looking for a pattern to go with it.

I must say that everytime I picked up a skein of yarn, Phyllis (who was working at the counter) showed me something that she had made from it. I was impressed with her knowledge and her knitting skills.

When I asked where I could get a bite to eat, Phyllis checked with Lorraine (the shop owner). Lorraine pulled Floyd (her husband) out of the back room to walk me over to their favorite beer and burger joint - Kooper's. She said, "This lady is from out of town and we don't want her walking over there by herself - do we?" Floyd and I had a nice chat and the Guinness and burger were terrific!!

I was in Baltimore for a work conference and really dreaded going. I remembered it as being dirty and not a nice place. I'm happy to say that my opinion has changed. The people in A Good Yarn were absolutely lovely and the cab drivers that took me back and forth that night were chatty and friendly in a good way. I'm not clammoring to go back, but if I have to - I know where to go.

Monday, November 01, 2004


On Saturday I took Sassy to see this man:

dance. I expected ballet - silent leaps, powerful arabesques, classical music. I got something better. We saw Forbidden Christmas or the Doctor and the Patient.

Initially, I must admit that I was a little disappointed. The sets and costumes were very simple (a car was painted on a backdrop and was dragged across stage on a set of wires - when the car reappeared to travel in the opposite direction - the painting was still facing the original direction). The action was a little slow and even though it was only 90 minutes long, I was worried that Sassy was getting antsy.

The play has a very Russian sensibility. Once I realized that, the simplicity of the sets made sense. For me, it's a feeling of not only making do with what you have, but creating something extraordinary. Because I was not distracted by amazing scenery and costumes, I paid more attention to the actors and what they were telling me.

Forbidden Christmas refers to the way the Communists tried to stamp out any signs of Christianity in their people. They actually cut all power on Christmas Eve, thinking that this would stop people from celebrating. I have to admire people who continued to believe despite the obstacles.

It was worth sitting though the dogma just to see the grace and beauty Baryshnikov brings to the stage. I'm very glad we went and even more pleased that Sassy enjoyed herself so much. If you have the chance to see the show - go.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Driving in Michigan




equals approximately $5,000 in damage.

It happened on the way into work on Monday morning. Sassy was in the car and didn't see a thing, but heard the horrific noise. She was pretty shaken up and cried a bit, leading me to think she hit her head or something. Once I figured out she was fine, it was all okay. No airbags went off, but the left front quarter of the brand-new-only-made-one-payment-on-it vehicle is toast. Thank the goddess for decent insurance.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

It's no secret

that when I get interested in something that it becomes almost an obsession. For some reason, I've been checking in on the Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam several times a day. I'm in the Eastern time zone, so when I get into work the vocano cam is pretty much black - sort of like this:

Does this stop me from checking every morning? No. The camera updates every 5 minutes, so it's several hours before I can actually see anything, but I continue to look anyway. For some reason, this whole eruption thing fascinates me.

I'll share one more obsession this morning - Tyler Hamilton. I can't believe that after everything he's gone through to reach the pinnacle of racing success that he would knowingly jeopardize his career and his life. I hope these allegations are cleared up quickly and he can get back to the business at hand. I'm looking forward to an epic race at the Tour next year.

Send me good vibes this evening. What's the probability that I'll forget everything I've studied in the last 2 weeks and fail my statistics exam?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Reports of My Death

are greatly exaggerated. I'm not dead - just exhausted. Every September, I brace myself for the chaos that is "back to school." This year, I had the outlay of cash well in hand, but couldn't get myself into schedule mode. We have ballet, ice hockey, homework, various social groups, etc (you know it doesn't look like so much when it's written down...). I also have taken the plunge and am taking a Statistics course to ramp up to graduate school. I want to transfer the grade, so I'm being extra special anal about doing all the homework and being teacher's pet. I'm quite sure everyone in the class hates me - do I care? (okay, maybe a little) Anyway, there are dirty dishes all over the house, the laundry isn't done, and the dust bunnies are very threatening. Go check out Curlypurl - she's done a few entries that could have been written by me (if I were that together).

As a result of the chaos, I haven't been working on much. I do have a finished sweater! Okay, it's a baby sweater that I started back in May - but it's progress.

It's for my newest friend Bobby (here's where I would insert the picture of a very cute baby, but my e-mail's down right now - maybe you'll get to see him later).

I also dyed the silk fabric I got for my Lance handbag.

The fabric on the right was dyed with weld and those on the left were done with Osage orange. I love the clarity of the weld, but the Osage has such depth. I think that will be the inside fabric of the bag. Now, I need to get busy and re-work the top of the bag to fit in the handle I bought. Will it be done before the next Tour de France? Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Bag it

I must admit to procrastinating about my Spinning Study Group project. It's been so long, I wouldn't be surprised if you'd forgotten that I was in a spinning study group. I haven't forgotten, I just was avoiding it. I had to rewash my merino wool as I hadn't gotten all the grease out of it and I didn't want to do it. Well, we had a meeting last Saturday and I had to come with something done - some sort of progress.

So, at the beginning of last week, I started washing a batch at a time in a bowl in my kitchen sink. I boiled water for 2 soapy washes and 3 rinses (okay, sometimes 4 rinses because I got a little carried away with the soap). Anyway, I got the wool clean and took it to the meeting to use my friend's motorized carder. The batts come off the carder and look like little loaves of wool:

I fell in love with this wool all over again. The batt on the left came off Nancy's carder and the one on the right came off my hand cranked one. Aren't they lovely? They're fluffy and soft and I can't wait to get spinning. Maybe I can spend some time with the wheel this weekend.

Here's my other project right now:

That is one side of my Tour de France beaded knitting bag (second side is up to the pattern area at the top). I have some silk fabric on order from Aurora Silk - okay I ordered some weld too. I have in my mind exactly what I want for the lining of this bag and I can't find it in any of the fabric stores around here. Sooo, I ordered the weld and I'm going to try my hand at fabric dyeing.

However, do you see my problem illustrated in the photo? I ordered a frame from Bag Lady and mis-calculated. When I looked at the measurements on the website, I was thinking that the measurement was taken across the top of the frame only. It's not. It's a measurement from one end to the other (which makes perfect sense, I just didn't think of it that way). Since I don't want to make the bag fit into this frame (I think it would be a little scrunched), I need to order a bigger size. I hate when that happens.

Incidentally, I had a dream that Sheryl Crow saw this bag and wanted it. I told her no. She begged and pleaded with me. She may even have shed a tear. I told her to go away. Delusions of grandeur? Ummmm, yeah.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Yarn Photos and a Contest!

Here is the lovely Koigu I picked up from Threadbear on Friday. Does it remind you of anything??

If not, you haven't been reading carefully.

Here's the other yarn I picked up on Friday:

That's Cascade 220 on the left. The photo doesn't show it well, but this yarn has a lot of color in it (yellow, teal, deep green). I love Cascade in the first place, but when Matt showed me a felted bag made with the purple version of this yarn, I knew I had to have some. The depth of color is amazing - go have a look.

The other yarn is Misti Alpaca from Peru - it's 100% baby alpaca and it's soooooo soft. I can't remember who brought it over for us to fondle, but I knew I had to have some right away. This company also makes a bulky alpaca that is just as gorgeous. I never know what to do with bulky yarn, so I passed on that, but I'm expecting something gorgeous from Jillian made from it!

Okay, here's the contest. The Koigu above (go look again, I'll wait) wants to be Tour de Lance socks. Come up with a stitch pattern for me to use that incorporates those colors and you will win this:

That's a yellow wrist band (maybe you saw all those cyclists wearing them in the Tour?). I bought them from the Lance Armstrong Foundation website during the race. They're now all on backorder, so you can wait to get one from them - or get creative with Barbara Walker and get your very own right now. I'll also throw in a copy of The Race: A Novel of Grit, Tactics, and the Tour de France, by Dave Shields.

So here's the pithy version: show me a stitch pattern that looks good for socks incorporating the Koigu organized in attractive stripes and you walk away with a great book and a yellow "Live Strong" wristband. The contest will run for 2 weeks - so have your suggestions to me by August 17 and have fun!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Fiber Fun

I took the day off on Friday and went to Threadbear with Jillian. Originally, we were going to shop, but the store isn't actually open yet. We went to help sort and count. I must say that Rob and Matt are really nice people. Not that I'm surprised, but I liked them both very much. I even liked the dogs - in spite of Tate's persistance in trying to kiss me.

The space is absolutely huge!! If you go look on Sarah's blog, you can see some pictures of how it's all coming together. Sarah has been helping set things up by spending lots of time with balls of yarn and price tags. Go Sarah!

So J and I spent several hours there, but I don't feel like I helped much. It was really more social than work. Besides, we were counting in Koigu land - that's not work at all. I did leave with some Koigu to make a pair of socks. I'll post the picture of the yarn and you can guess what I'll be calling the socks when they're done.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Let's Sing a Song of Six

How many is six????

Taken from Graham Watson's website. Go have a look, he's got some amazing stuff over there!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

What's This?

Why, that's my boy winning Stage 15 yesterday. He pulled on the yellow jersey (his 61st!) at the end of this stage. Today, it's the uphill time trial. I'm listening right now.

I do have to say how sorry I am for Thomas Voeckler. The guy has worn the maillot jaune for the last 10 days. He's been a lot of fun to watch. I'm going out on a limb here to say that we'll be seeing a lot of him in the years to come. He's made his mark this year, but he has a lot of years left. Allez Thomas!!

Also, I want to extend sympathy to everyone who was hoping Tyler Hamilton would win the Tour this year. It was a sad moment on Saturday when OLN showed him riding up the row of team cars and waving to each one. I couldn't believe he was abandoning. He finished the Tour fourth last year (one place off the podium) with a broken collarbone. Now, that's worth repeating - he finished fourth with a broken bone!! Here's a picture of his back after the race on Saturday:

Now, it may look like just a couple of bruises, but read his entry on his website to find out what was really going on. He took a big fall in Stage 6 and landed on his lower back. Basically, he had no power in those muscles and with no power in your lower back, you can't climb the mountains. I have no doubt that he'll be back next year. Heal well Ty, we'll see you next year!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Ya think?!??

The Hermit Card
You are the Hermit card. The Hermit has chosen a
solitary spiritual path. He shines light on his
inner self and, by this means, gains wisdom.
The Hermit's home is the natural world and it
is by being in tune with that world that he
learns the laws of nature and learn how they
operate within himself. His path is a lonely
one as he lives in silence and has for
companionship only his own internal rhythms.
But those crossing his path are touched by his
light and wisdom. Though often alone, he
manages nevertheless to instruct those who meet
him and guides those who chose to follow him on
a path towards enlightenment. Image from The Aleister Crowley tarot deck.

Which Tarot Card Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

What? This is a knitting blog???

So, yes, I've been knitting. Here's the most recently completed project.

This is the scarf made from Fonty Velourine (54% cotton/46% viscose). I picked up a ball of this yarn just because I loved the color. I knew it would worm, doesn't all chenille worm? Nope, not this. It's lovely and cushy and feels great next to my neck. I went back and bought 2 more balls (lucky girl - they were 10% off!) to get a decent sized scarf. My sister claimed it. I think it's a Pavlovian response that when she sees me knitting something, she automatically asks, "Who's it for?" Since I just wanted to knit this, I didn't care who got it. She asked first, she gets it. My mother was not amused - she needs to be a little quicker on the draw.

Here's what else I've been playing with:

It's pretty much a swatch. I want to make a bag with this:

but I'm not sure what sort of pattern to do. I want a bag that's approximately 4" wide and I want one of those big silver handle thingies that the Bag Lady sells, but beyond that I'm lost. So I started a swatch with some left over perl cotton that was already strung with beads. The bottom section is 5 beads with 3 stitches in between the bead sections. The middle section is 5 beads with 5 stitches between the bead sections. The top is 1 bead, 3 stitches staggered to the left every other row. I'm actually having fun just swatching for this. However, these yellow beads were purchased for Tour de France knitting and I don't even have them strung yet.

What? What's the update on the Tour? How kind of you to ask. My boy is 9' 35" behind the leader (who is the way cute Frenchman Thomas Voeckler, see?...)

There's been pretty much no change in the overall standings of the race for about 5 days now. They rode their first mountain stage today in the Massif Central region of France. Tomorrow they head down toward the Pyrenees. All the main contenders (Jan Ullrich, Tyler Hamilton, Levi Leipheimer, and of course, Lance) are within a couple of minutes of each other. This should begin shaking out very soon.

Knitting and TdF updates on the same day...will wonders never cease?

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Let me hear you say it...


Maillot jaune...maillot jaune...maillot jaune (for the uninitiated, that means yellow jersey). The Posties pulled it off yesterday and beat all the other teams to finish the team time trial on top. Yeah, Lance will be giving the jersey to someone else within the next couple of days, but the mountains are coming.

(*Graham Watson photo from LAF - Lance's official website)

PS - Sheryl? Your 15 minutes of TdF fame are OVER. Please crawl back under your off-key singing, bad music writing rock now.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

I hope you're watching...

The early stages of the Tour de France have been very exciting. At my house, we're all TdF all the time. I've been listening to the live coverage at work and then comparing notes with Hub as we watch later in the evening. OLN's coverage has been superb. Although I will take exception to the ugly American image the Cutters have been giving us. They're doing "color" commentary on the 5:00-7:00 show and they suck out loud. They've been harrassing people and generally giving us all a bad name.

Today is team time trial day so send up good thoughts for the Blue Train.

In other news, I received an advance copy of this:

I read it in one afternoon. I wanted to finish it before the Tour started and it was a very quick read. The story was okay (boy meets girl, confronts personal crisis, realizes how much girl means to him, triumphs over personal crisis). The surrounding story was fabulous! The writer was involved in cycling at some point in his life and gives a real sense of the politics, the comaraderie, and the feel of the peleton. The race scenes are very exciting and even Hub finished it in under 8 hours. If someone happens to have a copy or you can get a used copy or you're a TdF freak (like us) - go ahead and read it.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Can You Stand It??

This is what I've been doing for the last 2 days at my parents' house. This is my niece Stella dressed like Lady Liberty. My nephew is marching in a 4th of July parade on Saturday with his Boy Scout Troop and since my sister is involved with the troop, she's marching and she wanted Stella to march too.

Of course you can't march without a costume...

My sister doesn't do sewing, so she talked me into "helping" her. She's so damn cute, I can't stand it.

Friday, June 25, 2004

It's that time of year again...

Strap yourselves in folks, the Tour starts in less than 8 days. July 3-25 - I'm glued to the live feed from OLN during the day and watching the coverage on OLN at night. Woohoo!! Go Lance!

Friday, June 18, 2004

Will I get Little Big Man's teacher's socks done in time? No. I knew I wouldn't, but I did give it a half-assed attempt. Here's my progress:

It's a lovely colorway of Mountain Colors Bearfoot. I love this yarn. It's yummy to knit with and I can see myself making lots of socks from this stuff.

This is the other thing I've been working on:

It's basically a big swatch that's going to be a scarf when I get more yarn. It's Fonty Velourine (I never heard of it either), but it's 54% cotton and 46% viscose. A cotton chenille with a synthetic binder. Not a worm in site and it's lovely to work with.

What's in this package?

Ask Jillian later. Sassy decorated the package for me (how very Martha Stewart). I had no cute little gift bags and she said, "Mommy, I can make one!" So, there it is. Isn't she talented?

This is my favorite tree in the whole world:

It's a catalpa tree in my back yard. When we first moved into this house (12 years ago) I said to Hub, "We're going to have to take that dead tree out. It's going to fall on the house." He said, "It's not dead, it just takes a long time to leaf out." He was right. It is always the last tree in the yard to get leaves, but then it's gorgeous. I especially love the white flowers.

Lastly, I treated myself yesterday.

Aren't they lovely? Big thanks go out to June for showing me the value of a pedicure!

Friday, June 11, 2004


It's Friday, and I don't want to be at work. Technically, I shouldn't be at work. See I work on a research project that's government funded (even though I work for a university). Since all government workers have been given the day off, I should have the day off too. Technically...yeah, it didn't work with my boss either.

So anyway, I thought I'd share my opinion on the 2 movies I've seen this week. The first one was this:

The best part was, we have an IMax screen pretty close to us. We got to see Harry Potter on a 65 foot tall screen! Sassy grabbed my arm several times (and nearly cut off the circulation) to tell me she was afraid. The werewolf scenes bothered her the most. I have to admit, it was a pretty scary werewolf. The three teens who play Harry, Hermione, and Ron are certainly growing up. They get better every film. I will say that Michael Gambon (who played Dumbledore) did an admirable job, but I really miss Richard Harris. He was the quintessential Dumbledore and anyone who comes after him has very big shoes to fill. All in all, we'd give it 2 thumbs up.

Wednesday night, I took the kids to see this:

Okay, I really wanted to see it too. I liked it better than the first one. There was more for adults in this movie and I enjoyed the inside humor. Little Big Man is old enough to "get" most of the jokes (nearly peed himself when the knights pulled the catnip off Puss in Boots). Sassy was just along for the ride - but she laughed as loudly as Little Big Man in some spots. A friend told me, "See it with another adult so you can laugh at the jokes with them." That was good advice, so I'm passing it along. Very enjoyable film, and another 2 thumbs up.

I also recently finished this book:

A couple of months ago I was bored with everything I was reading and asked for suggestions. I think it was Carolyn who suggested this book. It was hysterical. I was laughing so much reading this book that the Hub stole it from me when I put it down for a minute. He chewed through it in 2 days...and then taunted me with the knowledge.

Many years ago, when the Last Temptation of Christ came out, my mother and I had a huge debate about whether Jesus would have suffered from temptations at all. Her argument was that he was god and therefore above the sins that tempted human beings. My argument was that he was sent down here to be human - not a god. Therefore, he had to be tempted by everything that humans are tempted by; only in that way would he know what it was like.

Lamb had the ring of truth for me. Who knows what Jesus' childhood was like, but I really liked this version of it. He struggled, he made bad choices, in short, he was a human being. The book tells the story of Jesus' life, through the eyes of his childhood friend. Christopher Moore had a piece at the end of the book where he talked about the research he did and I think it shows in the reading. I was raised an Episcopalian and remember some of my Sunday school lessons. I did consider digging up a Bible and reading through it, just to catch some of the things I missed. It was an entertaining read and I highly recommend it whether you're a believer or not. I have a short list of reasons why you should read it.

1. you find out where the Shroud of Turin comes from
2. you find out what the "H" stands for in "Jesus H. Christ."

Go forth and read.

Thursday, June 10, 2004


Yes, I have been, thanks. I just haven't been talking about it. Last week was the week from hell - the last week of school. Plus, my sister-in-law (the normal one from Colorado) was in town visiting. What that added up to was something going every night, followed by 2 hours of chit-chat.

Sister-in-law just returned from a trip to Italy. Did you know that limonata is lemon soda? I do, after she told me 15 times in an hour. After the first 2 hour chat I looked at Hub and started bitching. He put his hand up and said, "Would you rather spend time with the normal one or the crazy one?" I couldn't argue, so I put up with it. She only comes once a year, so I guess I can be nice for a week (although it was a stretch).

Here's what I worked on:

That's my new orange sock from Skacel Trekking XXL. It's 75% wool and 25% nylon (I think). This was the sock yarn I bought in DC from Knit Happens. I'm working it on US 2s and it's been a little splitty with my Inox needles. They will be a welcome addition to my knit sock drawer when they're done. I'm at the gusset decrease on the second sock.

My next project is...socks. Little Big Man decided to leave the charter school he's been at for the last 5 years (stealing from me the pleasure of sobbing at the 8th grade graduation next year). Anyway, I've been in denial for the last couple of months, thinking that he would change his mind at the last minute. This left me with nothing to give his primary teacher at the end of the year. LBM picked some nice yarn from my Mountain Colors Bearfoot stash for the gifting socks. The teacher is leaving in 3 weeks to work in the slums of Bankok for 6 weeks. Will he want to take wool socks to Thailand? I don't know, but I plan on having them to him so he can make the choice. There's nothing like crunch knitting to get me going.

One more thing...Reagan - enough. He sucked when he was president and now he's dead. Bury him already.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

As promised

Here's the new yarn I bought on Friday with Jillian:

The Interlacements is stretched across the left side of the photo. The pink looks electric in this photo and I guess it is a bit bright, but not quite so shocking.

The new Maggi's Irish Yarn is in the 12 o'clock position. Maggi's Rags followed by Maggi's Linen (cotton/linen blend). I can't wait to get started on this yarn. It's going to be fun to work with. The tag on Rag says to use US 10 and the Linen says to use US 8. I think I'll be combining these in the same project and I'm going to be switching back and forth between the 2 needles - this should keep the gauge similar. Any thoughts?

Last, but certainly not least, is the new Koigu. It's one of the new colors (in the 800s). I'm getting quite a stash of this yarn. This is a good thing.

Had a fabulous weekend! We really did nothing but socialize, eat, and drink all weekend long. Okay, I did knit. I've been working on a gorgeous little Miss Bea's cable sweater and all the pieces are finished. I'll be seaming it up and I'll post a picture when it's finished. The baby's not due until July - I guess I'm early with this!

Also got Hub to help me stain the pieces for my new desk. I bought a 2-drawer file cabinet and a CPU cabinet with 3 drawers from Naked Furniture and they came in last week. My plan is to get rid of the old metal/rusty file cabinet and dining room table I'm currently using as a desk. So, stain is finished, 2 coats of varnish to go.

Lastly, I'm officially the parent of a teenager. Little Big Man turns 13 today. I can't believe what a whirlwind trip it's been so far. Strange times still ahead.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Crab cake

It's official, I need a long weekend. All week long, my co-workers have driven me so crazy. This is what I put up on my desktop yesterday after all the annoyances:

Yeah, it's time for a long weekend. We're going shopping tonight to stock up on food, so we won't have to leave our house all weekend long. You can bet that this will be in the cart:

I did have a lovely fibery lunch with Jillian today. It's always fun to see what other people are working on and J has the greatest ideas. I muddle along making swatch after swatch and have a good time, but don't come up with anything fabulous. J throws the coolest stuff together and it always looks great. She's my knit design inspiration.

She talked me into buying some new Maggie Jackson yarns (yeah, twist my arm). I left them in the car, but I'll snap some pictures this weekend. One of them is a cotton/linen blend - very cool. It's a triple strand yarn that feels a little harsh, but I saw a swatch and it knits up soft. With that blend, it will only get softer as it's washed and worn.

Saw some new colors of Koigu - gorgeous purples and oranges. I'm also an Interlacements slut. The colors they put together are so amazing. The skein I picked up has purple, pink, orange, and blends of those colors. I am in my glory with all the fabulous oranges I've been seeing. You can't have too many orange yarns - that's my motto these days. Interlacements has also cut their skeins in half. Instead of spending $40, the skein was only $15.

Now I just want to go home and knit.

In other news, I had this dream last night (don't you just hate when people start a conversation with this?). I weighed 700 pounds - don't ask me how I knew the number, it was just in my head. I was a pyramid of fat with my head on top. My hands were sticking out my sides (think Violet Beauregard in Willie Wonka) and my feet were buried under suet. All I could think about was "how am I going to drive to work like this?" I think that means I need to go back to the gym. I've been using my allergy attacks as an excuse to "baby" myself. I eat whatever I want and haven't worked out...well, in a while (months). Time to step up and be the stud that I am and start sweating again. Who's with me?

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Pioneer, schmioneer

Yeah, we lost power in the gigantic storms last week. It went out on Friday afternoon. Let me just mention that I live in the frickin' country. My husband's criteria for living in a house is that we have so few neighbors that he can pee off the back deck, at any time, without anyone seeing him. Yes, my mother-in-law lives right next door to us - he doesn't actually pee off the back deck, but he wants the option.

So, when you live out in BFE and there are only about 12 other houses on your dirt road, the power company doesn't care about you. Not when there are 899,999 other customers (who all live in neighborhoods) without power. We had 3 field hockey games, 2 ice hockey games, 1 dress rehersal, 2 dance recitals, and a study group going on this last weekend.

On Saturday night, I told Hub that he'd better get his quarters together, we were going to the laundramat and then to the health club for a shower first thing in the morning. We were very lucky. There was no one in the laundramat and we sailed in and got everything washed and dried in an hour and a half. By the time we left, people were lining up their baskets of dirty clothes waiting for the washers to be open.

The community center/health club isn't. They wouldn't let me bring Sassy in for a shower because she was underage. Besides, "half the town would be bringing their kids in here for showers if we let yours in."

"Hmmm," I said, "I thought that was part of being a community center."

Sassy had a sponge bath in the kitchen with water we heated up on the grill. I'm not a pioneer woman. Give me water or give me death.

Needless to say, there wasn't much fiber going on at my house this weekend. I did have the lovely experience of reading by candle light (and managed to avoid singing my hair). I finished up The Well of Lost Plots on Friday. What an amazing book. I'm in love with Jasper Fforde. Also started and finished Black Rubber Dress, by Lauren Henderson. I can't wait to read the other adventures of Sam Jones!

Mac, over at Go Fish has put together a summer reading list. Thinking this is a good idea, I've cribbed it and have put together a small list of my own. Of course, I still have several books in a bag at my house courtesy of Jillian - so those are really at the top of the list (there's another Sam Jones mystery in there somewhere), but here's my official summer reading list:

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore
Not Wanted on the Voyage, Timothy Findley
For Rabbit, With Love and Squalor: An American Read, Anne Richardson
House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus III

What's everyone else reading this summer?

Friday, May 21, 2004

There's so much to tell...

DC last week was fabulous! I was also very HOT!! I'm a wuss, I'll admit. I came from Michigan and nice 60 degree weather and was dropped into high humidity and 90 degree days. I hate walking out of the hotel to hail a cab and having pit stains from the (minimal) effort. And what's with federal buildings? They all said, "The air's on...", if that's what passes for air in those buildings, I'm glad I don't work for the government.

Other than the business I was there to attend to, the trip was great. I met a friend on Wednesday for a trip to Knit Happens. It's really a cute little shop. I had heard so much about it from other bloggers that it just seemed too good to be true. I'm always amazed when small shops manage to pack a ton of yarn into a place and not have it feel crowded and junky looking. (I'm amazed, because this is what I attempt at my house and it always looks crowded and junky looking.) Anyway, yes, it's a small shop, but they have great stuff - Rowan, Debbie Bliss, Trendsetter, some pretty cool sock yarn that I forget the name of, and tons more.

Who was in the shop when we arrived? None other than Wendy! I approached her and mentioned a mutual friend and we chatted for a few minutes. I didn't introduce myself - which I didn't think about until later, so I'm sure she thought I was some weird blogger stalker.

I was looking for a cabled baby sweater pattern and the clerk (I think it was one of the owners) gave me a stack of Miss Bea books to page through. Found just what I was looking for here . If you haven't seen the Miss Bea books - go look, they're wonderful, very well written and the pictures are just so damn cute!

On Friday, I had the whole day to myself! As an aside, my boss always apologizes to me for making me travel to these meetings. Um, right...5 nights alone in a hotel room, eating fabulous meals in places where the Hub and kids would never cross the threshold, and a whole day to do whatever I want...I laugh at him every time.

Anyway, back to my Friday. Started off at the Textile Museum. It is, by far, my favorite place in the city. The people are so nice and the exhibits are well organized and interesting. There was a group of school children there while I was going through. I could hear these kids wherever I was in the museum (it's a very open design). They were having the best time trying on wrappers from different parts of the world and figuring out how they looked best. Every now and again, the docent would shush them a little, but they were having such a good time. It was a lot of fun listening to them.

Took the metro over to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. This place is huge!! Three floors of art by women. I must admit, I was a little disappointed when I first went in. I love paintings as much as the next person (okay, maybe a little less), but how many of the Madonna and Child can one person look at?

They do have a great exhibit running right now called Nordic Cool: Hot Women Designers. It features women designers from Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway. There were paintings, photos, textiles, furniture - all kinds of things. It was a very nice exhibit - well put together and interesting.

After that I was exhausted and wanted to go someplace to sit down and eat. I kept telling myself, "you haven't been to the third floor yet" - that's where parts of the permanent collection are. So, I went back up the stairs and saw this:

It's The Springs by Lee Krasner. I know it doesn't look like much on the screen. In person, it's 43 x 66 inches and just fills your field of vision when you stand close to it. What I most love about museums is how close you can get to the paintings and really see what they're made from. This painting is lovely and I've found something new to go visit while I'm in DC. (Please tell me I'm not the only one who returns to visit things I've seen in museums. My other favorite is a Rodin sculpture called She Who Was the Helmet Maker's Beautiful Wife on display in the Hirschhorn. You can go see her for yourself

There's more, but I've gone on a bit long already. I'll be back with pictures of what I've done in this busy, catch up week.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Lazy Alert

Okay for 2 days now, I've schlepped in my ball of Rowan Calmer and the attached swatch...but I'm too damn lazy to make my way to the scanner and scan the thing. So, I finally pick up the goods and make my way across the office to the computer with the scanner attached and someone's using it. I feel a little funny asking someone to stop working so I can goof off. You're going to have to wait to see it. Trust me, it's gorgeous. The yarn is lovely and I really like working with it. Now I just have to sell my first born to be able to afford a sweater's worth.

Have a fabbo lunch with Jillian and kidlets yesterday. Mr. Henry cracks me up! J told me he loves the backpack and when she put him in it, he got the most contented smile on his face I've ever seen. After about 10 minutes of walking around, his little lids were very heavy and he drifted right off to slumberland. My friend Isobel wasn't having a very good day. She did demonstrate a very nice handstand for me and showed me how she dressed up Shaggy in Velma's dress (I love it when little girls giggle). Don't worry J, in a few days, she'll be right as rain.

I'm off this afternoon to have my hair highlighted and cut. I feel like I'm letting Gloria Steinem down by admitting it's because I'm going on a business trip next week. I can't have these people (most of whom I see 3 times a year) thinking I walk around like a sheepdog most of the time (which I do - but I can't let them think that!). I knew once I started highlighting that it would be one of those "personal hygiene until I die" things, but it didn't stop me from doing it.

I'm also taking a couple pairs of pants to be shortened. Do I leave things until the last minute? Does the Pope wear a funny hat?

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Wait till I get started!!!!


Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

The Princess Bride has got to be one of my favorite movies of all time. Rob Reiner is a genius.

Swatch Yarns

Here is the small collection of swatching yarns I've purchased recently:

Let's work clockwise, shall we? The red in the upper left is Rowan Calmer, which is 75% cotton and 25% microfiber. Next is Dale Svale, 50% cotton, 40% viscose, and 10% silk. Then comes Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool, 65% wool, 35% silk (notice I bought the green and not the muted yellow - I really wanted the yellow as well). Lastly is Maggi's Aran Tweed, 100% wool.

I'm currently working on a swatch with the Calmer. It's really lovely yarn - lots of bounce and very cushiony. The microfiber addition to cotton was a good idea. This yarn will have some memory, but will drape nicely. I'll show that swatch tomorrow - I'm about halfway through a pattern repeat of the Elann Dancing Vines Tunic. I'm not sure it will work quite right for this sweater (a little too bouncy), but it does show off the pattern stitches well. Also, it's a little pricey ($11.25/ball) for a giant tunic sweater.

Here's my other swatch-in-progress

This is Jaeger Trinity, 40% silk, 35% cotton, 25% polyamide. The swatch is knit on 3.5 mm needles, which may look a little big, but anything smaller and I think the swatch would be boardy. One weird thing about this yarn is that periodically, I would have a huge stitch. I don't think I was doing anything differently. Just every now and again I noticed a huge stitch, like I wrapped twice and then dropped a wrap. Very strange.

I like the hand of the swatch, a little crisp and crunchy, but also drapey enough to make a nice summer sweater. I did a seed stitch boarder and then did an increase on either side of a 10 stitch panel every other row. You can see that the piece has a pouch - too many increases. Next time, I'll allow a couple of rows in between the increases to make a nice gentle slope.

I also threw in a pleat (which doesn't quite show up in the photo). I've never made a knitted pleat before - I don't think this was the yarn to try it with. The swatch pleated nicely and the yarn falls beautifully into the folds, but the pleat itself looks like the dog's breakfast. I put 16 stitches on a double pointed needle, placed that behind 16 stitches on my working needle and k2tog for 8 stitches and then ssk for 8 stitches. My problem is with the "join" area. Here's a close up:

Apologies for "over-exposing" but I think you can see the area I'm talking about now. See how the stitches on either side of the join pull away from each other. I know it's because of the decrease stitches, but how can I make it look more, well, pleat-like? Next time, I think I'll try it with 15 stitches behind and do a triple decrease in the center - slip 1, k2tog, psso. The Elsebeth Lavold skein will be a similar looking swatch. I'll keep you posted.