Thursday, January 29, 2004

Comment Day

So, what's the etiquette of comment commenting? Is there etiquette? I don't know, but since you all asked some good questions, I'll be like All Things Considered on Thursday and "read from your comments."

Tracy asked "How will you be traveling around Antarctica?" We'll be flying to Argentina and then boarding a small cruise ship. Small means that there will be 49 passengers total on the ship. The tour guide I spoke with was on this trip last year. She said, "These are not luxury accommodations. These ships were originally used for expeditions. They're comfortable though - you'll be well taken care of." I honestly have to say that I never once thought about going to Antarctica, but when Nancy asked if I wanted to go, I jumped at the chance. I keep telling Hub, "I'd rather be well travelled than have a huge house."

Both Emma and Lera commented on my bale of aran yarn. Emma wanted to know what I'll make from it. I don't have a clue. I do have a pattern for this
It's the Red Rocks Pullover from Black Water Abbey. I can't decide if that's what this yarn will be or not. I think maybe it needs to age a little and then I'll decide.

Emma also recommended the extra short double point needles for doing fingers on gloves. I was at the Elann website yesterday (just looking) and saw that they're out of the short Bryspun needles. Oh well, I'll have to go back soon and see if they've restocked.

Amelia and Carolyn recommended a couple of books to combat my boredom. I've put Kitchen Confidential, Girl with a Pearl Earring, and The God of Small Things on my wishlist. Jillian recommended a couple of mystery series to me as well - yup, on the list. I finished The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. What a fun book! I must admit that I was disappointed that Mma Ramotswe decided to marry the mechanic. It's not that I'm against marriage, I just love to find strong women characters who live alone and enjoy it. Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire is on my bedside table now. I absolutely loved Wicked and this one is shaping up to be a good read.

Janice asked if I had a spinning wheel in addition to my drop spindles. Janice, I'm a little embarrased to admit that I have 2. I've been spinning on a single treadle Schact for a couple of years. At Spin-Off, I bought a Journey Wheel. They're both wonderful and I'd recommend them to anyone. Well worth the money I had to spend.

Big thanks to all of you you made me feel good by commenting on my recent accomplishments. I picked Sassy up from the hockey rink last night and when I told her to put on her hat and mittens, she pulled the pink wonders out of her pockets. I said, "Oh, you're wearing your new mittens." "A course - you made 'em for me," she replied.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

At least I made good use of my time...

These are finished:

I did take a picture of Sassy actually wearing these, however it was snapped after she dropped the camera. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, so she doesn't look very happy in them. (I love that you can immediately delete any picture you hate with these things!)

I must admit, I didn't much like making these mittens. They're knit with Koigu (thanks again Jillian) on US #1s. I really like the density of the fabric on ones. I think they're perfect for keeping little hands warm. What I didn't like was knitting around on 19 stitches for the thumb. Either I need to get shorter DPNs or make bigger mittens. Next up is a pair of gloves for me. (I may go insane knitting all those fingers.)

I also used the old drop spindle yesterday. Here's why:

I was going through some stash to pick out what I wanted to include in the Great Stash Redistribution Project (I should be getting the Slip Stitch box soon). I came across this gorgeous wool and tencel blend that I bought in Boston (I think, but I have no idea when). I want to spin it now!! Puritan that I am, I have to finish spinning the maroon roving that I started back in November. I swear this stuff breeds in the bag. There isn't that much left, but I filled the drop spindle last night and it didn't look like it made a dent in the fiber mass. I do have some lovely skeins of this - once I'm finished, I'll post a picture. Still tempted Amy?

I'm going to work today, come hell or ice and snow. I had to give myself a time out yesterday when I found myself thinking, "maybe John List wasn't crazy after all."

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I am officially in hell

We got that freezing drizzle last night, so everything I can see is covered in a sheet of ice. (It's extremely pretty, yes - but what a pain in the ass!) School is called off, so the kids are home. Hub is self employed, so it's not a problem for him to stay with the kids. Here's the hell part, I can't get down my driveway. I'm stuck in the house with no caffeine (Hub drank the last of the Coke last night and we're out of coffee).

Now, it's snowing...

I completed something!!

Sassy is happy. Turns out, she wanted to know exactly when the stocking was done so she could try it on. I kept telling her, "It's not a sock. It's a stocking!"

"I know that mommy! I just want to see if it fits!" Here she is trying it on to see if it fits:

Then I took both hers and Little Big-Man's stockings down to the washing machine. I think they could use a little more felting than this, but I was tired of standing by the machine.

For some reason, hers looks a little fuzzier than his and his felted a little more firmly than hers. I'm not sure why this is. It could be the dyes, it could be my gauge. Who knows. I'm pretty pleased with them. When Hub looked at them, he said, "The foot looks funny. The leg part is too long and the foot part is too short." I told him to stuff it.

Here's one thing I forgot to mention yesterday...

Yup, that's more Koigu. Would I leave town without finding a place to buy yarn? There's a very cute shop in Holland, Michigan, called Friends of Wool. Small space, but she has the most gorgeous yarns you'd want. She had Philsopher's Wool kits, Interlacements, Mountain Colors, Manos, just about anything you'd need - okay want. Took a good look at her Charlotte's Web shawl. She told me to get going, "It's not as difficult as it looks." Plus, her pre-teen grandson was in there helping people. He never got far from the cash register - ringing people up is his favorite thing to do apparently; and he was pretty good at it.

So the green yarn is for me and the other is for Hub. He actually me to knit him a pair of socks. This asking took place about 6 months ago and I've waited this long to see if he's really serious. The last 2 pairs of socks were given away and the 2 sweaters I've knit for him languish in the closet. I'm willing to give him another chance - Republican or not.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Isn't a spear a kind of pickle?

Little Big-Man had a hockey tournament this weekend. I usually go to his home games because it's kind of fun to watch him skate and see how much he's improved in the 3 years (or so) that he's played. I don't usually go to the away games because it's a little painful to travel for over an hour each way to watch his team get shellacked. Anyway, we traveled on Friday over 3 hours away for a weekend long tournament.

His team got beaten (not terribly, but they lost) on Friday evening. They were in the process of winning the first game on Saturday when the referee blows his whistle and points at my kid. Then he makes a hand signal that I don't recognize. (Let me just interject here that I've been watching hockey for a very long time, but never really learned all the rules.) My kid skates over to the penalty box and the referee waves him out of the rink. Now I'm pissed. There's less than 2 minutes left in the game, but let the kid sit with his team at least.

Then I hear what the call is, "spearing." I think to myself, "He couldn't have speared the kid, he was hooking him!" (Spearing is when you take the blade of your stick and hit another player with it - usually near the ankle or knee in an attempt to take him down. It is very serious and can hurt someone pretty badly. Hooking is when you use your stick like a - well, like a hook - usually on the arm or body. Sometimes you pull them down, sometimes you just distract them enought to get past them.)

Anyway the referee said he "chased the other player down the ice and speared him. That kid went down immediately." Not true, I was watching and the kid never hit the ice. But, the call was made, a 5 minute major with a 1 game suspension. Little Big-Man had to sit out the second game on Saturday. He took it all pretty well and his team shellacked the other team in a 5 to 0 victory. They let him sit in the penalty box with his helmet on, so at least he was with his teammates.

I was feeling kind of bad because during the second half of the game, his head was bent down and he was sitting in there looking dejected. Then Hub told me, "Yeah, he was a little bored, so he was playing with someone's GameBoy." So much for object lessons.

Here's what I learned this weekend, I really do knit faster and tighter watching my kid play. I had to rip out part of Sassy's stocking, because I was paying more attention to the hockey game than to the knitting. Here's an updated photo:

Sassy checks my progress and says, "Well, let me know when it's done." Should be sometime this week. I also (finally) finished one mitten. Since it's been so cold here, maybe I should finish the second one before spring. Too much to do!

Friday, January 23, 2004

Please Mr. Postman

I went to the post office today to sign for this:

What could it be??

Yes, I know you guessed, you're very smart.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I'm bored

It occurred to me today as I worked my way around my blogroll, that lots of you are bored as well. Bored and cranky - those seem to be the words of the day. Even Little Big-Man's teacher is sending cranky e-mails out. It's the usual middle school stuff, "Are you making sure your children are doing their homework? I'm tired of them coming in on Mondays and bragging about how much time they spent on video games over the weekend. Yet, they aren't turning in their homework assignments." I think everyone has a big case of cabin fever. Of course, the sub-zero temperatures aren't making anyone happy either.

In an effort to combat this boredom, today I bought . I think it was AJ who suggested it. As you may remember, I'm coming up short with book suggestions. Nothing is keeping my interest these days. I am in dire straits, because this morning I walked out of the house without my knitting bag. It's huge and yellow - what made me overlook it? Anyway, I have Sassy's ballet class to sit through - so I had to get something. I also shelled out for the new issue of one of my favorite magazines, Piecework. I've loved this mag since they started publishing it. You just never know what they're going to feature next.

In other news, I found out last night that my Hub is a closet fascist Republican. I was making fun of Dubya giving his State of the Union speech and Hub got downright defensive and, I hesitate only slightly, bitchy! I knew that he came from that sort of background, but I really thought that I had won him over to our side. Not so much. Oh well, he'll get over it or he won't, but it sure will be quiet at my house for the next few days.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

It's Official

I put down a deposit today that guarantees this time next year, I'll be in Antarctica. I'm traveling with my friend Nancy on a 20 day trip that starts in Ushuaia, Argentina. We will be stopping on the Falklands, South Georgia, and the South Shetland Islands as well as Antarctica. We're going with a group called Elder Treks. They book specialized trips all over the world for the over 50 set. (Nancy got me a special dispensation to travel with them.) Woohoo! I love having a big trip to look forward to. My one problem is saving the $$ needed to pay for the trip and also have spending money. Hmmm, should I go on a yarn diet? Nah, just cut back a little - life's too short for yarn diets.

Speaking of which, I finally won an eBay auction for some Donegal Tweed yarn. I've been bidding on one woman's auctions for at least 2 months. And because I'm a lazy bidder (I never pay attention to when the auction ends), someone always swoops in at the last minute and steals the yarn from me! This time, I paid attention and I won - someone did try to sneak in the last 2 minutes - but I kicked her auction butt. The yarn is winging it's way to me right now. I guess I should finish up the Emerald Isle sweater soon.

I'm still gazing longingly at my Koigu for Charlotte's Web. I've been plugging along on Sassy's stocking - almost finished with the entrelac part. I'm looking forward to doing something besides entrelac. It does get old after a while. At least this puppy will be ready for ChrisTmas - and no guilt!

Friday, January 16, 2004

Hey Judy, I just took your picture

It's picture day here in blog land. Here's the progress on Sassy's stocking:

It's coming along slowly, but nicely. I love entrelac, because you see big chunks of progress as you finish each row of squares.

These are the colors Jillian and I chose for my Charlotte's Web shawl:

They look juicy to me in the photo. I did write down what the numbers of the colorways were, but I left it at home. (Look, I remembered to bring in the pictures - I can't be expected to remember everything!) I think the skeins will become balls at some point this weekend. Once Sassy's stocking is done, this baby is on the needles. Oh, and Amy made a Charlotte button. Isn't it lovely?

For Amy, here is a picture of my Ashford Charka:

I bought it on eBay about a year ago. Ashford doesn't make this model anymore and it's kind of a shame, because it works pretty well. I love the way the book charkas look, but I was always afraid to buy one because they look delicate. Anything that lives at my house has to be butch because of all the abuse we hand out. Even Hub had a go at this one - he just wanted to see if he could make it work.

Lastly, although certainly not least-ly, these are my newest pieces of jewelry:

They came from Kathy of Kitchen Logic fame. Her jewelry site is called Kitsch In Art - but take my word for it, there is no kitsch to be seen in these beauties. She said people were complaining that her jewelry was too expensive. I sent her an e-mail and said, "No way, it's not too expensive. I have peasant wrists and need a longer bracelet!" She sized these babies up for me and I got them in the mail yesterday. That little hand in the second photo is Sassy wanting a closer look. I said, "Hey! What are you doing?"

"I didn't know you were taking a picture!"

"What, I'm standing here with the camera pointed at it for my health?"

She giggled. Silly kid.

Thursday, January 15, 2004


When I think about knitting the Charlotte's Web shawl in Koigu, this small bit of the song from Charlotte's Web goes through my head,

There in the warp and the woof is the proof of it...Charlotte's Web.

I pulled out the digital camera to take a snap of the colors Jillian and I picked out on Friday and find the batteries are dead. Do we have any fresh batteries? No. Why is this? My son, the Gameboy freak, has taken every AA battery in the house. I found a pile (seriously, probably 24 batteries) in his bedroom - they're all dead. The kid needs to spend his own $$ on batteries from now on - it has been decreed. So, you're going to have to wait at least one more day to see these gorgeous colors (I know, can you stand it?).

I, um, also just sent Matt at Threadbear an e-mail requesting 5 other colors for another shawl. I'm trying to decide if I'm going to actually knit 2 of these things, or not. My other choice is to go back to my LYS and just get pairs for the other skeins I bought and make a ton of socks. I figure it's all good, no matter what I choose.

Sassy's ChrisTmas stocking is coming along nicely. She came in last night while I was knitting and spoke about all the colors, "I really like this dark blue. I don't know if I've ever seen a blue quite that color before. And those purples, they look really nice together. I especially like the dark purple. You know, I really like dark colors..." You know how 8-year-olds can go on and on and if you don't know this particular fact you're going to have to trust me. This kid talks more than any 3 people I know.

Okay, enough stream of consciousness from me for one day. I'm up early to see if school has been called for a snow day (5-7" yesterday and last night). Nothing so far, but it's still early.

*This is how the goose from Charlotte's Web spelled terrific. "T, double e, double r, double i, double f, double i, double c c c." I can hear her voice in my head as I type. Charlotte said, "What kind of acrobat do you think I am?" I guess i'm a bit of a freak for this movie. It was the first literature I can remember reading. I thought E.B. White was god for a very long time - until I read Stuart LIttle and hated it!

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Once again, I'm lucky girl

I got to have lunch with Jillian and Henry on Friday and make a trip to the yarn shop (where I picked up new yarn for Sassy's stocking - she deemed it appropriate). When I got home, this was in the mail:

It's from Yentala who knows of my obsession with all things Lance. Thanks so much Deb - I kiss you on both cheeks!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I guess my 2 weeks off for the holidays did me more good than I thought. I've been extremely productive at work for the past 3 days - to the point where I turn around and say, "My god, it's 4:30 - where did the day go???" It's a good thing. I'm sure the productivity is helped by the fact that I had no less than 3 projects due by Friday. In case you're keeping track, 1 is done, 1 is 1/2 done, and 1 hasn't been started (a little wiggle room please).

Here's Little Big Man's stocking:

The tiny blue sock is one of my favorite socks of the Koigu variety. I don't think a little judicious felting is out of order here. The kid sure has delusions of grandeur. I think the foot part looks a little awkward, but they aren't supposed to look like they'd fit someone's foot are they? All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. I pulled out the yarn for Sassy's stocking (2 shades of purple and 1 of pink). I didn't like the way the 2 purples look together. One's a smoky purple and the other is a brighter shade. She also informed me that she's "not really into pink anymore." {sigh} Too bad, I'll have to go back to the yarn shop.

While I was knitting LBM's stocking over New Years, I asked my sister if she wanted stockings for her kids too. She said, "Is that some sort of comment on my children and their lack of stockings?!" "Um, no," I replied, "it was an offer of hand knitting stockings." I think she's a little on edge these days. I do have lots of time to get them finished though. Once more, public thanks to Sweatergirl for giving me permission not to make these things before ChrisTmas! I'm at least enjoying them.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

What kind of freak am I?

We had to go out this afternoon. In case you didn't know, it's about -40 degrees F here. Even my cashmere scarf can't keep me warm. On the way back, we stopped to get gelato. There's a cute little place across the street from my office where you can mix and match flavors (today, I got lemon and lime). What kind of freak eats gelato in -40 weather? We hurried across the street carrying our treat in gloved hands, walked into our office and turned on the space heater. Freak.

So, I went back to Border's. I'm having concentration problems lately. I want to read, but nothing looks good. When this happens, I buy magazines. There's something soothing about a magazine. I think it's the commitment thing - it's not much of a commitment when all the stories/articles/essays are only 5 pages long. I was delighted to find this:

Can you read the subtitle? It says feminist response to pop culture. I admit to being a pop culture 'ho as well as a feminist. You gotta love a magazine with an article titled "Dear Carnie Wilson: Your stomach's the size of a peanut. Shut up, already." The ubiquitous quiz is "Which Coppola are you?" What a scream. And I thought it was going to be about lesbians with pure bred dogs - go figure.

Monday, January 05, 2004

ChrisTmas is officially over least at my house. The Border's workers have stopped striking and since my gift cards were burning a hole in my pocket, I stopped over there while I was out for lunch. Here was my dilemma, do I buy this book or do I buy this book?

I stood in the store and pulled them both out. They both have some really cool patterns - no help there. SNB was cheaper (which would allow me to pick up a magazine as well as the book and still not pay extra). I really love the recipes and other fun things sprinkled in Weekend Knitting (knitting and movies, when guests want to knit, etc.). You know what made up my mind which one to buy? (I hesitate to say this for fear you'll think me shallow.) The anorexic chick in the red bikini in SNB just grossed me out. The whole cowboy hat and boots with the teeny, tiny bikini - please someone make her eat something. So, I sit here at work with my new copy of Weekend Knitting, I'm a happy girl.

I finished Little Big Man's stocking this morning - Kitchener stitched up the toe. When I showed it to him and told him I was going to full it a bit, he asked, "Will that make it shrink?"

I said, "A little bit, but..."

"NO, NO, don't make it any smaller." Now, I didn't take a picture of it this morning, but take my word for it - it's huge. I used 3 skeins of Cascade 220 in this thing. Sassy picked it up and said, "Who's this for?" When I told her, she said, "Are you going to make one for me too?" I told her no, then she pouted. After letting her stew for a little bit, I asked, "Why would you think I'd make something for him and not do the same for you? Has that ever happened?" Once she debated the wisdom of that comment, she was happy. Her's will be 2 shades of purple and 1 of pink - if I can stand it.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Happy New Year!!

I hope everyone has the happiest and healthiest of new years. At my house, we are breathing a sigh of relief that 2003 - the Year of Surgery - is over. Hub says we are now entering the "10 Year Cycle of Good Health." I'm lighting a candle.

I got the warm fuzzies from my nieces last night. We were all at my parents' house for the New Years celebration and 2 of them came in wearing the horrible mohair scarves they got for ChrisTmas. They love the scarves! The oldest one (16 years old)came over to me and asked for the pattern (it came from the ball band). She wants to make the scarves for her friends for next year. I was really pleased with this.

The youngest one (12 years old) is just learning to knit. My sister-in-law (brother's wife) had given her a teeny, tiny ball of leftover kitchen cotten to knit a bookmark. When I asked why she didn't get a whole ball (to the tune of $1.29) my sister-in-law replied, "Well, I start her with 20 stitches and she ends up with 39. So, I have to rip it out and make her do it all over again. It just ruins the yarn." WTF?!

I pulled my niece aside and told her "Next time you come to Auntie Carla's house, you can have your pick of my yarn. I have lots and you can find something that will be just yours." I told the kid to hide her little swatch of knitting away and that way "when you get really good, you can take it out and see how much you've improved." This child will be receiving a goodie package with some cool yarn in it next week.

Here's what I've been doing with my time off this week:

That's Hub holding Little Big Man's entrelac stocking. I figured if I got started on it now, it's sure to be done by next ChrisTmas. It's huge and I think a little judicious fulling will make it shrink to a more manageable filling size as well as tightening up some of the holes (I always get holes with entrelac).

This is what I ordered myself on Christmas day:

It's an ounce of qiviut from Mountain Shadow Farm in Vermont. It came very quickly and it's incredibly soft and beautiful. I hope I can do it justice.

Okay, we're off to see if we missed anything at JoAnne's on the day after ChrisTmas.