Jul 29, 2006

Sunset and a Little Contest

Saturday Sky 7-29-06
The sun is going down here and it’s not the dramatic sunset that you see elsewhere – more of a gentle fade out. It’s actually rather like the purple socks. They’re coming along well and I expect to have a lot to say about them when they're finished because I experimented a bit here and there. Unfortunately I slept funny on Thursday night and I’ve had horrible pain in my neck and left shoulder since. I’ve tried to knit through it but, in the interest of healing before the big vacation, I’ve put the knitting away till the pain subsides.

I’m hoping that this pair of socks will be just one of a few projects that are completed or make notable progress during the coming week. I’ll be bringing ALL of the projects in the sidebar with me… and then some. Ambitious? You betcha! Cross your fingers.

I’ve been a little vague about the upcoming vacation for a reason. I thought that it might be fun to do a little contest. It’ll be my first. I’ve thought about it before but I always chickened out. Not this time. It’s the middle of a great summer and I'm on vacation so I’d like to commemorate the good feeling by sharing a little joy in the form of a knitterly gift.

Since it’s the first time I’m trying this, I’ll keep it simple. I invite you all to guess where I’ll be on vacation. Feel free to be as specific or as general as you’d like. I’m kind of curious to see what you have to say. I’ll give you a little hint. I’m going to a state I’ve never been to before. According to my trusty Shopfinder, there aren’t many yarn stores near our destination but, as you know, I’ll be prepared with plenty of my own. I’m hoping that the river we’ll be canoeing on won’t be too wild and I’m sure that my girls will have a wonderful time with the horses. Weather permitting we’ll have a fabulous time. That's it - that's all I'm going to say.

Do you have a guess? Please leave it in the comments and I’ll pick one at random when I return 8/7. By the way, I’ll need to contact you if you win so please don’t sign in as “anonymous” .

Jul 28, 2006

Gray haired assassins

I’m feeling so happy today because not only is it Friday but it’s the Friday before vacation. Woo Hoo! I can barely contain myself and get any work at all done today. I’m trying though. Really I am. *wink*

Actually the vacation is just a small part of what’s got me off the walls today. We are going away during most of this vacation and, as I mentioned in Monday’s post, the Drama Queen will be with us. We pick her up in the middle of the vacation week. In preparation for her return I went and got my hair done yesterday. You may not think it matters to a tween but I offer you this conversation which took place immediately prior to her departure:

DQ: Mommy, you need to go see (insert name of fab hairstylist here).
Me: Yes, I know. My hair is way too long. I need to get it cut.
DQ: Yeah, and your gray is showing really bad too.

When I mentioned the exchange to hubbo he agreed with DQ. I was a little distressed. There was a time when I would complain about my gray hair and everyone would look at me funny and tell me it was nonexistent. I miss those days.

Never fear! I’ll have the last laugh this time. I went shopping and found the perfect outfit to wear when I pick DQ up at camp. I can just hear it now – “Mom, you’re so embarrassing!”


Have you seen this yet? It sounds so cool. I just love the kill or be killed aspect of it – and the fact that I’ll get a pair of handmade socks that I didn’t knit.

Somebody tried to talk me out of it but I signed up anyway. The naysayer was worried that I might get assassinated quickly by some knitter with lightning fast needles. I’m thinking that stuff happens and it’s just as likely that the person with my name will be delayed by some unforeseen situation that prevents them from knitting for days or weeks. It could happen! Needles snap. Yarn gets tangled. I’m not wishing anyone ill – I’m just saying that sometimes life throws us a curve… and I hope that this time it curves in my favor.

I’m almost ready to turn the heel on the second squishy purple sock so it’s very likely that I can finish it by tomorrow. I hope to post it tomorrow along with my Saturday Sky.

Jul 27, 2006


Squish sockAs promised, here is the first Squishy Purple sock. I started it on Saturday (while I got my toes done – ahhhh) using my new love – the Turkish cast on. I’m finding this super-easy method to be very freeing in my sock knitting. I pick a number to start with – increase until I have achieved the right size – and away I go. Easy as pie! How did I not figure this out earlier? All I can say is that eventually things have a way of clicking and sometimes, the click is more like a huge clap of thunder that rocks you to the core and changes everything.

Squish sock detail This is a detail of the leg. I wanted to show off how well the pattern turned out. I agonized over what to do because I was so afraid that the texture of the yarn would mask any pattern I used. As you can see that just isn’t the case. There are certainly changes I’d make to the pattern if I did it again - like eliminating some of the yarn-overs where I transition from the pattern to the rib – but mostly I’m happy. Stink is too and that’s the most important thing. My girls wear Keens (super cool shoes) year round and I suspect that these will be perfect with them. If all goes well and I remain focused, this pair of socks will be finished on Saturday which would make them my fastest pair ever.

purple office suppliesMDS&W shirt

We’re nearing the end of July so here are two more purple shots. I couldn’t finish without showing the new stash of purple office supplies that hubbo recently scored for me. You may recall that I have a thing for purple pens. Naturally I use them with purple steno pads. Perfect! I’m sure that many of you will recognize the logo on the t-shirt. I waited on line for an hour at Maryland Sheep and Wool to get this shirt. I do love it though and I wore it when I did my recent Asheville yarn crawl and one of the women working at Earth Guild commented on it and how she wished she got one. She said that by the time she got to the counter all the best colors were gone. I suppose that hour on line was well spent.

Jul 26, 2006


Didja miss me? Please say yes.

I really wanted to post yesterday but I had to go out of town for the day and I couldn’t get to a computer. Really! More on that in a moment… but first I have really happy news to report for those of you who may have been worried about the Drama Queen. It turns out that I will not be required to mete out cruel and unusual punishments after all. On Monday night I went home and found 2 postcards from her - one was for Stink and one was for me. Not only that - but I got reports from a few other people who also received mail from her the same day. Hooray! She can hear me after all! I just knew that the minute I told you all about the mail situation that letters would arrive. It’s like some weird variation on Murphy’s Law.

Union Station As I said, I was on the road yesterday. I manage the library materials for several offices on a remote basis but occasionally I need to go out and handle stuff in person. That’s why I was up at 5 am yesterday. Ewww! That’s really not an hour of the day that I want anything to do with.

30th Street Station I arrived in Philadelphia after a lovely ride on the train. I took the Acela for the first time and I found it really nice. The seats were really comfy and great for knitting.

Philly The really cool thing about my day yesterday was that the work to be done in the office wasn’t as bad as I feared. It’s either that or I’m really efficient. (heeheehee fat chance!) Anyway, I got up there and dove into the projects and by lunch time I was mostly finished which allowed me to take a very leisurely lunch.

I wandered about the city on the wicked heat and humidity. I stopped for lunch at at the
Continental Mid-town where I had a salad with goat cheese. Yum! It’s a very neat place with interesting décor. I really loved the cracked glass globes hanging in the middle of the room over the sunken eating area. Very cool!

Philly After lunch I consulted my handy Shopfinder from Knitters Magazine and started walking. I passed through Rittenhouse Square which was full of people out enjoying the day. It was so pretty and inviting. The socks in my bag were begging me to stop and sit for a while. I could easily have planted myself under a tree and knit but I had a yarn store to explore so I pressed on.

Philly I found Rosie’s Yarn Cellar with no trouble at all. It’s very cute! I wandered about the store for a while and petted the yarn. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I’ve been on a bit of a quest this year to acquire and try new yarns. It seems a shame to keep working with the same thing over and over when there are so many yarns to try. This store had a few that I hadn’t seen before and many were calling my name. I really wanted to take home some Schaefer Anne or Andrea but I resisted.

Great Adirondack After endless deliberating I settled on 2 purchases but only one is for me. This is my new Great Adirondack Silky Sock yarn. Merino, Silk and Nylon in colors to die for… yum! Hubbo tried to claim it but this is probably mine. It’s only 360 yards and his pontoon feet require more than that. The other purchase is for my Yarn Aboard pal so I can’t show it to you yet.

As usual my travel was marred by issues. I arrived at the station in time to make the 4:09 train but that meant changing my ticket and the ticketing agents were super slow. By the time I got to the window where the agent informed me of the $18 change fee, I had under 3 minutes to get the new ticket and race for the train. Paying the extra and missing the train anyway would’ve ticked me off so I opted not to change the ticket. Bad choice! My train was delayed over an hour! While I would have preferred to get home fast, the extra time spent on my return home allowed me to finish the first of Stinkerbelle’s squishy purple socks. I’ll show it off tomorrow after I get a good picture.

Jul 24, 2006

Summer Blah's

On Saturday night DH and I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean. I enjoyed it and I’m sure that I’ll see the next one as well but I was a little disappointed. I’m not sure that it’s anything that I can put my finger on besides resenting the obvious set up for the sequel. It just wasn’t “all that.” I think that Cars (which we saw last week) was better. It was familiar but in a good way.

I also finished reading “Possible Side Effects” by Augusten Burroughs recently. It was good and I’m glad that I read it but I had a little feeling of déjà vu as I read it. Many of the themes were ones that he’s covered before and many if the stories were very familiar.

Am I becoming jaded? Aside from knitting so many things just seem so blah. Maybe it’s the summer heat that’s addled my brain. I need a little excitement.

bowling On Saturday we went to the pool as usual and the water was wonderful. It’s been so warm lately that the pool never really cools down much. I love the pool and can never get enough but the family needed a break so, on Sunday, I took Stink and her friend bowling. We all had fun and it was a nice change of pace. I even managed to do my signature shot - flinging the ball backwards towards the seating area. I am just that talented! At right is a shot of the score from our last game. Yeah – I suck at bowling. The “D’s” are Stink and her buddy. As you can see, I lost to two 7-year-olds. Go me!

log cabin

Here is a picture of the Log Cabin Blankie as it appeared last night. I didn’t get as much work done on it as I expected since I cast on for another sock on Saturday. I just couldn’t help myself. I had 2 balls of Elann Esprit in purple that were begging to be knit. Blame it on Project Spectrum. Blame it on the soft squishiness of the yarn. I started them while I was getting my toes done and they are marvelous. The sock will belong to Stinkerbelle when they’re done and when she stuck her toes in them last night to check the size she said that they feel really good. I’m almost at the heel of the first sock so I need to work out a plan for the leg pattern quickly.

By the way, for anyone who cares, DQ has been away for 2 weeks now. I miss her and her tween certainty that she knows more than I do. I went shoe shopping recently and found myself unable to make a purchase without her constant commentary on the relative “trendiness” of the shoes I admired. Woe is me!

All that aside I should admit that I am plotting ways to express my extreme annoyance upon her return. Why? Lack of correspondence WITH ANYONE! I have received exactly 2 terse e-mails with demands for goggles, better headphones, stamps etc. I probably shouldn’t be so shocked but she has 8 more e-mail forms with which she could send me hearts, flowers and love. That is on top of the FOURTY stamps (very cute ones) that I sent to camp with her. We carefully placed them in a drawer after I advised her for the eleventy-millionth time that I expected her to write to everyone. I even sent her a second batch of stamps this past Monday (at her request). You’d think that somebody would’ve received a letter from her.

Unless her hand has been broken (again) or all the pens and pencils at camp mysteriously disappeared she has no plausible excuse.

Here’s my final thought on the matter. We will be taking her directly from camp to a cabin in the woods with no TV or telephone. This retreat was planned as a family get-away but this could easily become the perfect place for DQ torture. I envision chaining her to a table while she churns out letters to all those who have written to her at camp. Of course this would be done while horses trot by without her (she loves horses) and the rest of the family would giggle and frolic about in the bright sunshine outside.

I must keep reminding myself that I love DQ very much and there is a rational excuse beyond general tween orneriness to explain this.

Jul 21, 2006


Earlier this week I said that I’d post log cabin progress at the end of the week – I lied. Well… maybe not exactly lied but I’m not going to show that today anyway. I have a good excuse though. (Don’t I always?) I have another finished object – a pair actually.

I was knitting at a really good pace and feeling very focused on Seraphim and the LC when my Trek sock started calling to me. Considering that I started them back in June – they’ve been quite patient. Anyway, it seemed high time to show them some love.

Secret Hug sock inspiration At left is a sock of the boring variety. It’s notable only because it was the inspiration for the new pair of socks. How so? Because I have a thing about my arches. I like to feel my shoes and socks snugly on them. This boring white sock has ribbing around the middle which totally works for me. It's just not interesting in any way. Isn't it a lucky thing that i know how to make socks now?

Sercret Hug sock - reality Here is a shot of how I translated the ribbing onto the new socks. I just used a twisted rib on the bottom of the socks and – voila – a secret arch hug on an otherwise cool pair of socks. I started the rib just beyond the ball of my foot and stopped a bit before the heel. I'm not stepping on it and I don't really feel the ribs at all. It makes them look a little wonky off the foot because they pull in a little bit around the middle but that's really not a problem. Who cares as long as they feel and look good ON the foot? Right?

See how they hug the contours of my feet – so comfy!
Secret Hug Socks

Is there any question about these twins? They are absolutely fraternal!
Secret Hug Socks

Secret Hug Socks This was my first time using Trekking XXL and the yarn doesn’t offer the same tactile joy as Koigu or Sundara or others but the constant surprises provided by the way the colors change really makes up for it. I was so happy that the same blue naturally occurred on both heels. How cool is that? If I tried to arrange that it would never have worked.

Other firsts involved in these socks would be my first time using the Turkish cast on. I love that! It’s also the first pair of socks that I totally did myself. I just used the lessons from the past few pairs and created my own. I did get the leg pattern from a book but otherwise I just winged it. Woo hoo!

Jul 20, 2006

The Summer of '86

Me in IsraelTwenty years ago, in the summer of 1986, I was in Israel. This is a picture of me taken over there. I know it’s not terribly flattering but please be kind – remember, I was young and it was the ‘80’s. (I'm sparing you the shots of my mullet)

I wish I could tell you where that picture was taken but, until I started this blog, my track record with diaries and journals was pitiful. I’ve always been one to dive in and “just do it” without a whole lot of record keeping. Consequently, I have a large album at home full of pictures taken during my trip and, for most of them, I have only the most vague recollection of where or what they depict.
As with any trip there were highlights – moments that I will remember forever. Our time in Jerusalem provided many of these memories like drinking in a back alley bar with friends while “Born in the USA” blared. (Clearly the Israelis knew their clientele. ;) ) That’s where I was introduced to Long Island Iced Teas – a drink that my parents had never even heard of. (They were shocked when they learned what was in it.) I also recall the youth hostel at which we stayed and visiting The Wall.

Another moment that I remember fondly was the morning that we climbed
Masada. As the sun rose and we reached the top I suddenly heard my name. It was being called by friends from home who were also touring Israel that summer. If we’d tried to coordinate our trips and arranged to meet on Masada that morning it never would have worked. It was pure serendipity and very welcome to see familiar faces so far from home.

All of these events, and others that I could tell you about, pale in comparison to one stop on our tour. This spot was so shocking to me, as an American child who got my sense of the world from the US media, that it was seared into my memory and I can remember it like it was yesterday.

The place is called
Rosh Hanikra - on the border of Israel and Lebanon.

In 1986 the news was still full of the fighting in Lebanon. Many people thought my parents were crazy to let me go to Israel due to the danger they perceived but I never felt safer. As we toured we’d see soldiers with guns but it wasn’t scary. They were just walking around like anyone else. For the most part, touring Israel was not much different than touring anywhere else. We saw the sites. We felt the history. We shopped and played.

The day we went to Rosh Hanikra was different. We stepped off the buses and walked along a fence to get to the grottoes. On the other side of the fence we saw this sign:

Sign on the border

We were just a stones throw away from Lebanon – and it was so incredibly quiet. We walked along the fence and I remember being stunned by how quiet it was. I’m sure that there was fighting elsewhere but there, right on the border, it was peaceful. There was no feeling of danger or fear. It was just a fence in the hills with tall grass growing on either side of it. I can’t help but think of that day as I hear about the current events in Lebanon and Israel.

Here is more of what I saw that day. Sadly, these are pictures of pictures and they weren’t very good to start with.

Rosh Hanikra

Rosh Hanikra

Rosh Hanikra

Jul 19, 2006

PS Yarn - Purple

I had a little bit of extra time so I collected a bunch of the purple yarn that I could find to display for Project Spectrum. I didn’t put all of it in the basket but this is sort of representative. It’s rather difficult to photograph this stuff and I’m not sure how true to colors are but you get the idea.

Purple Yarn

Starting on the left you can see three skeins of Elsebeth Lavold that I just bought in Asheville. To the right of it (partially obscured by the basket handle) are 2 skeins of Manos De Uroguay. The yarn surrounding this is mostly cotton that I obtained from Elann. Theres a bit of Elann Sonata some Austermann ciao ribbon, Elann Lara and a ball of Reynolds Saucy. In the back right is the flip side of a skein of STR that I showed you in my PS “blue” basket. The color is Lapis and includes blue, green and purple. To the immediate left of the STR are 2 skeins of Manos Stria. In front of that is one of my balls of Elann Highland Wool which sits next to my Elann Esprit, still wrapped in plastic, in the bottom right corner.

I’m sure that there is more purple yarn in the house – like the yarn I’m currently using for Stink’s blanket. There are also countless skeins that have purple mixed with other things – like the yarn for Seraphim. The yarn in the basket just represents the skeins/balls where purple is featured prominently.

Speaking of Seraphim and the Log Cabin – I worked on both of then last night. It was much better when I worked on Seraphim first. I’m about 18 increases (sets of rows) away from starting the charts and it’s getting very tedious. I grow more and more impatient for the “fun part” to start.

I am making real progress on the blanket too. I have now used all nine of the colors at least once and the blanket is roughly 11” by 13”. (One side has 3 strips and the rest only have 2) A commenter yesterday asked about the ultimate shape of this blanket and how I plan to finish it off. Truly I have no idea. I just bought the yarn and dove in. I was more concerned with the color relationships than the shape. I suspect that I’ll finish the blanket off with a crochet edge – only because the thought of picking up stitches around the whole perimeter makes me shudder and quake with fear and dread.

The shape is a vexing question. As it stands right now, this will be a square blanket of indeterminate size. Will that be boring? I don’t think that Stinkerbelle will be terribly picky. As long as it’s soft, correctly colored and big enough to snuggle up with – she’ll be happy. I’m just not sure that a square blanket feels right. Any thoughts?

Jul 18, 2006


I was log cabining again last night. I am loving this project. I’m also moving right along so by the end of the week I will probably be ready to show it off again. It’s growing so fast!

The downside to working on the Log Cabin Blanket is that the yarn is much thicker than what I’m using for Seraphim, so when I switch from the blanket to the shawl it feels weird and throws me off. It just isn’t working for me. Tonight I’ll try to work on Seraphim first and see if that’s better.

Knit kit 1 I really don’t have any exciting knitting progress to show you today so I’ll show a little purple in honor of project Spectrum. The first item is a case from a Cl*n*que bonus that, until recently, held my travel knit kit. A recent bonus provided an even better case – a little smaller with a floral pattern on it. I am a bit of a slave to the Cl*n*que bonuses but it’s kind of hard to say why since I eBay a lot of what comes in them. I also don’t wear a lot of makeup but I guess I like to think that someday I’ll become a glamour gal and when that day comes I’ll be ready.

African Violets The second shot is of my African violets. Actually I bought these for Stinkerbelle but, prior to the recent renovation, she didn’t have a good place to keep them in her room so I put them in my kitchen and I’ve been doing my best not to kill them. Before I had children I had a house filled with plants including many African violets. I love them but they can be difficult and I’m not terribly consistent or knowledgeable with my plants. Plants in our house are required to survive with the care/neglect that I deem appropriate.

I took several other pictures of purple but they were all in Stink’s room so, really, they’re more about her purple than mine and therefore not really blog fodder.

Jul 17, 2006

Stink's Log Cabin

It seems like, lately, every time I finish a project, I feel compelled to start many more. It doesn’t matter how many UFO’s are already on the needles. I must start more. Often I need to start many more all at once. Heaven forbid there should be a naked pair of needles in the house. Even then - I can still buy more needles.

After finishing the U-Neck Top for the Drama Queen, I asked Stinkerbelle what kind of sweater she’d like me to make for her. She said that she didn’t want a sweater. This was surprising to me since she wore the other 2 that I made for her a lot. In fact she was reluctant to give them up. She still wears one of them although it’s too short to go out of the house now.

Anyway, I asked what I could make for her and she requested a blanket. Actually she said that she wants a blanket to remind her of me after I’m gone. Sweet thought. I assured her that I’m not going anywhere soon but I still agreed to make a blanket for her. Even as I spoke the wheels were turning in my head. I was hearing a steady drumbeat – log cabin, log cabin, log cabin… I just had to obey.

Saturday we went to the AC Moore and stood in front of the selection of Sugar & Crème yarn. Stink picked the colors that she wanted and I started knitting. Here is the beginning of the blanket. I don’t know how big it’ll get but I can say that there are 9 colors (aside from the center) and I have 3 balls of each. She just wants it to be as big as the baby blankie she sleeps with but I think I’ll keep going until I run out of one of the colors or needle space or I just get bored of it.

7 and the Ragged Yarn

This is so addictive. Since I took the picture I added another strip before putting it down to work on Seraphim.

Jul 16, 2006

Amazing Lace Challenge #4

Amazing Lace challenge number four goes something like this:

Your question: If you bound off your lace RIGHT NOW - what could it be used for?

Well, as you can see I’m getting this one in just under the wire. When I first saw the challenge it seemed like a piece of cake. The more I thought about it though, the more troubled I was. I pondered my poor, neglected lace and I imagined how sad it must be. Since I started it, projects have been begun and projects have been finished. A lesser lace might feel threatened by this. Some insecure lace may even take such events personally – as a sign of disinterest, an indicator of a lifetime spent on the needles. Certain exceedingly anxious lace may even fear that such inattention might portend an imminent trip to the dreaded frog pond.

Lace such as this might be driven to drastic measures. It might retreat into the bottom of a basket to hide. It might, in it’s resentment become splitty or knotty. It might unravel.

Not my stellar teammate MM Cozy!

MM Cozy is brave. She has the courage to take the sneaky projects that have taken her place on my needles under her wing. If I bound her off today – she’d be out there taking one for the team as she camouflaged the interlopers to protect them from the wrath of members of the household who may be less welcoming to the steady stream of new arrivals.

MM Cozy protects the infant Seraphim Shawl.

Lace protecting Seraphim

MM Cozy safeguards the nascent Elsebeth Lavold Sweater that’s just been swatched.

Lace protecting a sweater to be

The newborn Log cabin blanket is even feeling the warmth of MM Cozy’s embrace.

Lace protecting 7 and the ragged yarn

Jul 15, 2006

Saturday Sky 7-15-06

Here is my Saturday sky. It's grey and hazy looking. The lack of sun to mitigate the heat and humidity coupled with the threat of rain are the perfect inducement to getting me to do my errands today. We'll do a little shopping and visit my dad before going to see a movie this evening. (Cars I think)

Saturday Sky 7-15-06

D gets her white belt We do have a little bit of god news to report though. Stink tested again last night and got a new belt. Now she's a white stripe. Super!

Have a great day and please send sunny vibes my way. With any luck I'll be sunning and swimming with Stinkette tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by!

Jul 14, 2006

Seraphim Starts

Last night I swatched for Tilia. I’m so excited to start this sweater! As I worked on it I commented to DH that it was nice to be using the yarn specified in the pattern. He asked if that was unusual. Well, for me it’s very unusual.

When I first started knitting I knew nothing about the fibers and weights and how they behave. I was also very worried about spending a lot of money on my new endeavor since I wasn’t likely to stay with it long. (My basement has a series of shelves full of paints, fabrics, clay, glue, beads etc. In short, a quick survey of the materials found there would illustrate just how many crafts I have cast aside.) Due to this fiber ignorance and my recognition of my crafty ADD tended to substitute cheaper or more readily available yarns for the ones specified in the patterns.

These days, I know better and I can appreciate the finer yarns. (perhaps a little too well) I’m also convinced that I will be knitting for a long time. Still, I often find myself substituting yarns (with varying degrees of success) due to cost or my own pickiness. This pickiness is a problem.

One of the beautiful things about knitting is that you can create a wearable object that is exactly what you want it to be. You decide the fiber. You decide the fit. You decide the details. Most of all – you decide the color.

Seraphim starts

Here is the beginning of my Seraphim Shawl. I bought the pattern quite a while ago. A few months maybe. For a while it just sat because I couldn’t decide what yarn I wanted to use. Then inspiration hit and I knew just what color I was looking for but, predictably, it didn’t exist. Thankfully, Sundara was able to decipher my crazy description of what the yarn should look like and this is the result. I think it’s beautiful. It’s just really hard to photograph well. It’s a dark, midnight blue with bit of blue, purple, and green dancing across the surface like an oil slick. What do you think? Can you see it?

By the way - Stink is testing for another belt tonight. Wish her luck!

Jul 13, 2006

Trekking at Biltmore

We arrived at Biltmore on a gorgeous, sunny day. The sock was surprised to find that, from a distance, it really doesn’t look so huge. It’s big but not as imposing as you’d expect. On the inside it just goes on and on and on.
Biltmore & Sock

I wish I could show you more of the inside but there is no photography allowed. This is the Winter Garden that is right inside the building – just off the main entry. It’s so grand. The thing that struck me about Biltmore is that it is huge and fabulously well appointed but not uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but think of Hearst Castle which I found cold and uninviting. Here I felt warmth. It’s easy to imagine this house as a home. It must have been a wonderful place to be back in the day.
Winter gardenWinter garden ceiling

As we all know, rules are made to be broken. How could I not take a picture of this? Proof of knitting at Biltmore! (It was in the sitting area of the 4th floor servant’s quarters.)
Biltmore yarn

Unfortunately, there really wasn’t enough time for us to see all of Biltmore. When the tour was over we went outside to peek at the gardens and gasped when we saw the posted directory. There was just enough time to take a quick stroll along this lovely covered walk.
B-more stroll

And see this statue on the patio outside the main building.
B-more statue

You could wander the grounds for days and not see it all! Thankfully, the route that you have to take to the exit winds throughout the landscape and took us right past the conservatory where I snapped these pictures. They’ll serve as a reminder of all that I missed and why I must go back.
B-more gardensb-more gardens 2

Jul 12, 2006

Trekking in Asheville

Asheville Yarn On Sunday, after attending the opening day festivities at camp, we moved on to Asheville. Naturally we started our sightseeing with a few yarn stores. The first was Yarn Paradise which set the bar quite high. I didn’t take any pictures in the store so you’re just going to have to imagine a bright setting full of fabulous yarn from floor to ceiling. There was lots of Noro, Koigu, Cascade and others but one thing really caught my eye. It wasn’t the ball of Lana Grossa sock yarn that I bought during our first visit. The thing that really grabbed me was the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in gorgeous, deep, rich, colors. This stuff is fabulous! I needed to think about it over night because it was a little expensive. In the end I just couldn’t resist and had to go back and get enough of the deep purple color to make Tilia from the Enchanted Garden Collection. I’ll show it to you another time – right now I’ve got more Asheville trekking to share.

Asheville yarn 2 The next stop was Purl’s Yarn Emporium. This is in downtown Asheville around the corner from Earth Guild. It’s one of those stores that are arranged by color rather than by brand or type of yarn. I’d never really encountered this scheme before and I’m not sure it worked for me. I did find the sock yarn though, which was collected in one place and I bought a ball of Sockotta. The store was pretty big with a nice selection and the staff was helpful. I got to see Malabrigo up close and personal for the first time – oooooh soooo soft.
I don’t have any pictures of Earth Guild but it’s not really a picture taking kind of a place. It’s a huge storefront filled with all kinds of crafty stuff. Back in the day, when I was an art major, I could’ve happily spent lots of my parent’s cash there and justified it all as necessary to my fine arts education. Screen printing, basket weaving, wood working… it’s all there. There are also a good deal of yarn and wheels. I was reasonably well behaved though and I only bought a little bit of Cotton Fine in a dreamy turquoise shade and an in-house pattern for a gorgeous shawl.

While the yarn crawl alone made Asheville a great place to visit, there is so much more to see in Asheville. After dinner on Sunday, Felicia and I walked around and found tons of people out enjoying the night. There were galleries full of local art everywhere and I’ll definitely go back to check them out since, sadly, most of them were closed when we were there. Notably there are very few chain stores. It was a little odd to be in a city which doesn’t have a St*rbucks on every corner. Here are a few quick shots of downtown Asheville – a taste if you will.

The Asheville Courthouse. Don’t you think this building is way too beautiful for such unpleasantness?
Asheville Courthouse

I love the gothic details on this building. Can you see the gargoyles? They look like they’re trying to break free.

This bronze statue of a young girl getting a drink of water is in Pack Square. The picture I took really doesn’t do it justice. There are statues and sculptures like this throughout the city. How cool!
Girl in Pack Square

Tomorrow – Biltmore!

Jul 11, 2006

Trekking on a Sunny Saturday

I returned from my trip late last night. It was good but way too short. The main purpose was to drop the Drama Queen off at sleep away camp. As she settled in I heard her sigh and remark that she was home. I don’t think that I was supposed to hear that but it was nice anyway.

state lineI took a bunch of pictures during the trip and I’ll post a bunch of them over the next few days. We left northern Virginia early Saturday morning and drove down 81 to Tennessee. I tend to have a bit of a lead foot but I heard on the news that there was a special push to catch speeders so I slowed down a lot. I've made this trip a few times before and this is the longest it's ever taken.

We stopped a few times along the way for gas and meals and such. Lunch found us in Bristol Tennessee/Virginia. This town straddles the state line which, at one point, runs right down State Street and it’s delineated with brass markers like this one. It’s kind of cool and the street isn’t very busy so I let the sock have a look.

P7091125P7091124After lunch we cut across Tennessee and began to climb through the mountains. It was a beautiful Saturday so we stopped at a rest area on the side of the road as we made our way from Tennessee into North Carolina to take in the view of the mountains around us. Naturally, I took a bunch of pictures. I couldn’t post them at the time but here they are.
Better late than never – right?

mtn view

Most of the drive was done under skies that looked exactly like this. There were pretty, puffy clouds and blue skies as far as the eye could see. It was easy to get lost in the scenery and forget that I was driving 9 hours! It was long but the company was good.

Our day ended in the town where the Drama Queen goes to camp. It's in North Carolina but I'd rather not say exactly where it is. As I noted in an earlier post, the kids who attend her camp come from near and far and many of them stay at the same hotel we do the night befor Opening Day. It's a zoo! There were parties to attend, lugguge to drop off and THREE trips to W*l M*rt to buy stuff she forgot. Ugh! After all that I still have a box to send today of stuff she left in the car. Double Ugh!