Sep 29, 2006

Tilia and Eye Candy

Pretty purple flowers

Tilia - the start

Can you tell which one is the eye candy? I’m posting a little late today because the pictures that I took of Tilia late night were really lame. I think that the deep purple is to blame. Certainly it can’t be my crappy photography skills.

I am enjoying working on this sweater very much. Obviously I haven’t gotten very far but the pattern is simple and the yarn is to die for – the color, the feel, the fabric it creates – all fabulous. It’s Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool and I can’t wait to wear it.

The picture of the flowers is from this afternoon. It’s a little cool here and the flowers were waving in the wind so some of them are a little out of focus. I kind of like it though.

The cool weather is just right for this time of year and right in line with tonight’s activity. We’re going to see a little pre-season hockey. The dealer we bought our most recent car from called hubbo earlier this week to offer him tickets in the company’s box. Four tickets in the executive suite which, I believe, includes food. Would we like to go? Hell yes!

Have a great weekend!

Sep 28, 2006

Wildflower Museums

WildflowersThere are a lot of things about Northern Virginia that amuse me. The “Kiss & Ride” signs at Metro are a good example. So are the wildflower museums. Do you have these where you live? Basically, they throw a bunch of seeds in the middle of the medians on many of our roads and let wildflowers grow. It’s a little unkempt looking at some times of the year because there are signs up that prohibit mowing in the “wildflower museums” but, when they’re in bloom they’re kind of pretty in a whimsical way and, as you sit in traffic a little whimsy is a welcome thing. Right?

I’ve often noticed and pondered these floral displays but more so since last weekend when I discovered the true depth of hubbo’s appreciation of the flowers. We were in the car and, instead of going the usual way that he always insists is faster, he took the longer route. I asked why and he admitted that it was the flowers. All together now… awwww. It was definitely a moment.

median garden 2
This morning I was thinking about it again and noting a different roadside floral display. Naturally, I took a few pictures to share. Aren’t they pretty? Guess what – they’re gone. I took that picture on my way into work this morning and at lunch I saw the landscapers pulling them out. Truly I can understand the desire to freshen things up but they looked so pretty. Surely they had a little more life left.

Anyway, I don’t have any photographic evidence but I started Tilia last night. I decided that there was nothing I could do to ensure the speedy arrival of my completion yarn than starting a long-awaited project. Now that I have begun Tilia and I’m really enjoying the feel of the yarn and the developing pattern, I’m sure that I’ll be pulled away by something right away. I may provide pictures tomorrow. Then again, I may not.

By the way - I'm still standing. No Socks of Doom in my mailbox yet. Heeheehee!

Sep 27, 2006

The Math

I have never, ever been good at math. I’m not complaining - just stating a fact of life. There are things I’m quite good at like cooking and crafty stuff. I’m also voracious reader and I’m proud to say that I’ve shared the fruit of that obsession – a fairly large vocabulary - with my daughters. It makes me feel fabulous when people comment on their command of the language. It’s something that we share and it makes as all feel connected. The math is another story.

It’s really not a stretch to say that, as a 5th grader, the Drama Queen is a far better mathematician than I am as an adult. She can put numbers together in her head lightening fast (before I can get them on paper) and is in a special program for children who are gifted in math. Given all of this, I think that perhaps she ought to be buying the yarn for me because clearly I just can’t get it right.

I still have 2 extra balls of yarn that are left over from the first scarf I ever made and there are many other extra balls in the stash from other finished objects. The waste is a little troubling (Hello! I could’ve used that money to but yarn I actually needed) but not something I’m going to shed tears over. The projects that are currently languishing while I await the second batch of the yarn are far more upsetting. Seraphim sits pitifully – one skein away from completion. She was supposed to adorn my shoulders during the High Holidays. Sadly, not so much. Maybe next year.

Not Enough Yarn The newest casualty of my inability to do simple addition and multiplication is the funky scarf. You can see the obvious problem. It’s currently about 4 feet long and I’m nearly out of yarn again. I ordered the extra balls on Monday so I’ll need to put this aside while I wait for its arrival. Thankfully, when I called KnitPicks, they said that the dyelots I used were still available and I’m not to far from the end so I’m pretty sure that I’ll still finish on time. Whew!
While I wait for the necessary yarn deliveries I’m tempted to start a sweater for me but, of course, there are issues. I really want to do Green Gable and I have both the appropriate yarn and the pattern at home. The problem is (here comes the math again) the sizes don’t go as high as I need. Of course I knew that before I bought the pattern but I was I a state of wild denial and decided that I could make the necessary adjustments. Math! Assuming that I can make the adjustments correctly I’d also have to adjust the amount of yarn required. Drat - math once more! Maybe DQ can figure it out for me while I make Tilia – a project with correct sizing for which I’ve purchased the correct amount of yarn.

More numbers:
1 – today marks exactly one month that my dad has been living with us
2 – number of days till the National Book Festival
3 – months till the next big family vacation – officially on the books as of yesterday.
4 – weeks (give or take a few days) 'till my favorite day of the year.

I could go on but you get the picture – overall, life is good!

Sep 26, 2006


I’m still alive! There were no socks in my mailbox yesterday so I can still call myself a warrior. I checked my assassin’s blog and she claims that she hasn’t even started the second sock yet but… I dunno. She could just be messin’ with me. I would if I were her. She could be lulling me into a false sense of security so that I’ll be really and truly shocked when the socks arrive.

I’ve been very busy with the knitting but I don’t have any progress to report that’s really worthwhile and I’d rather talk about the National Book Festival. I mentioned it in a posting in August but it’s much closer now. In fact, it’s this Saturday and I really can’t wait.

Hi 67°F

See that? Doesn’t that sound like the perfect weather for a stroll on the National Mall… with books! It just doesn’t get much better than that unless there is fiber involved and obviously there will be. Let me know if you plan to be there. Maybe we can arrange a meet up. I’m not sure which project(s) will come with me. Understandably, it depends a lot on what the mailman brings.

I’ve been reading a bit of what’s been said on the Sock Wars forum and I have to say that it’s a little alarming at times. Not just because some people are superfast knitters. I’m more troubled by the lengths that people will go to win. Seriously! There was a discussion of whether or not to send your assassin your snail mail address when requested. Of course you do! It’s just good sportsmanship.

I’ve told my girls for ages that I’m just a mean mommy. I may even have claimed to be evil on occasion but perhaps I’m not as evil as I thought. Here’s proof.
You Are 22% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Sep 25, 2006

International Socks of Doom

The pattern for the Socks of Doom was finally released late on Friday afternoon. It was after lunch and there really was no graceful way to excuse myself from work early to go start the socks. *sigh* I rode home on the train itching to start the socks but certain that starting on the metro was a bad idea – so I waited.

Flowers I arrived home to find that hubbo had set the table for the holiday (remembering to use the good china) complete with a festive bouquet of flowers. Aren’t they lovely? The bouquet is huge, including lots of my beloved lilies and irises. It’s also really fragrant and the scent of the flowers has invaded every corner of the house. It’s wonderful even if it is wreaking havoc on my allergies.

After dinner the family was kind enough to excuse me quickly to go start the Socks of Doom. Shouldn’t that have an ominous soundtrack playing every time I say the name? Perhaps the same music that accompanies Darth Vader as he enters the room. Anyway, I started them over and over again. In the end, the dpns and I were still unable to get along and I realized that I could do a cable cast on OR a loose cast on – not both. For the 5th and final cast on I elected to use the old familiar long tail cast on super loosely. It was perfect.

Socks of Doom The pattern is very simple and once I resolved my cast on issues (after 5 tries) I was able to move quickly though the pattern. I did not knit in Temple and I did stop to eat and do other essential chores but still, by Saturday afternoon the first sock was done.

I stopped occasionally to check the Sock Wars forum and I was amazed to see that some people sent their socks off on Saturday. Yikes! Do they sleep? I usually do but this weekend there was much less sleeping and much more knitting. In the end I was rewarded by completing the socks on Sunday night. I created a few stitch markers to send with them, wrapped them up, and today they are on their way to my victim on the west coast. Hooray!

Socks of Doom Dressed Up

As I finished them off last night I started thinking about taking a breather or starting something new but then the Drama Queen innocently asked when the Funky scarf was due. Oh, right – the funky scarf. Isn’t it amazing how quickly I’m distracted? I pulled it out last night and, as I started knitting on it again I was instantly reminded of why I put it down. I still need to order more yarn for it. Ugh!

Sep 22, 2006

Ready, set... wait

Yarn – Check
Needles – Check
Pattern - … um, not yet

Even though I haven’t got a hope in hell of killing anyone off and I’m certainly not going to win Sock Wars, I am gonna give it my all. Surely there must be someone out there with a busier schedule than me. Maybe there’s someone who’s never knit socks before. Please let that person receive my name today. I brought my arsenal with me and, upon receipt of the dossier, I plan to furtively whip out my needles and cast on. Two hour lunch anyone?

Anyway, although I am eagerly awaiting the start of sock wars, I have been able to focus on a few other things. Mostly stuff on television – Grey’s Anatomy and Shark. Grey’s was good but a little jumpier than I’d have liked. I liked seeing Steve Harris (who I loved as Eugene on The Practice) in the episode although I wish it had been a bigger role. I know, I know… I should skip the small stuff and just address the big issue – McDreamy or Finn? I like Finn but wasn’t his response a little wimpy. Exclusive or not, it’s bad form to invite a date to the prom and then go off and get intimate with someone else at the event. Period! He had every right to be angry at Meredith but he wasn't. That said, we all know he never really had a shot anyway. Right? Clearly she chooses McDreamy. But then what?

After Grey’s we watched Shark, the new James Woods show. It was great. I saw a review somewhere that called it House with lawyers. I think that captures it well. I really liked the show and James Woods was fabulous. He really makes the show.

Ok, enough about the Premieres. I saw something else yesterday that made me pause for a moment. The space shuttle landed. I was so happy that it landed safely but am I the only one who thinks it’s odd that the shuttle uses that little parachute to brake after landing. With all the advances in technology and all the fancy gadgets developed specifically for space travel, is it really possible that a little parachute is the best method? I mean – really – a parachute? Just sayin’!

Apples and Honey

Last but not least, this weekend is Rosh Hashanah and I want to wish all of those who’ll be celebrating the New Year with me… L’Shanah Tovah!

Sep 21, 2006


I stopped for a bagel on the way to work this morning and I’m sorry that I did. It was an asiago bagel, while I’ve enjoyed asiago bagels from other places, this one had a nasty surprise. They put pepper in it. Who does that and… better yet, why? This was not a good start to the day.


I wrote that a hew hours ago and I’m feeling better now. Thank goodness for the nice people around this office who keep well-stocked candy dishes full of chocolate on their desks. I love them! It’s amazing what a little Hershey kiss will do for your disposition.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been working on UFO’s this week. Last night I was diligently working on Stinkerbelle’s Blankie and this morning I gave the sock of shame a little love. Oddly, after all of the recent whining about these projects, I’m not minding them as much. Go figure.

Then again, the improvement in my knitterly disposition can probably be summed up in one word – Premieres. Yep, the Tivo has been working overtime in our house. I watched Studio 60 the other night and I liked it. I’m not sure I’m in love yet but I’ll certainly watch it again. Last night was the season premiere of criminal Minds (good) and a new show – Kidnapped. I watched Kidnapped even though I hate the idea of getting involved in yet another because the reviews intrigued me and I like Jeremy Sisto. I loved him as Brenda’s screwed up brother on Six Feet Under (I miss that show) and he’s pretty good here. So far this show is working for me. Tonight I’ll definitely watch Grey’s Anatomy. How could you not?

Sep 20, 2006

UFO Guilt

I was working on the scarf a lot yesterday but I finally forced myself to put it down. I was looking at my site – specifically at the incredibly sad list of neglected projects in the sidebar – and feeling guilty. There are the two at a time socks that are very cute but still languishing together on the needles. Lily has been moving forward ever so slowly but – achh the linen – it makes my hands hurt to think about it. Stinko is still waiting patiently for her new blankie as her current one disintegrates before our eyes. It’s all just too dreadful for words.

D's Log Cabin Blankie I tried to assuage the guilt by pulling out Stink’s Blankie and giving it a little love. How pathetic is it that I’ve only added 3 strips since the last time I took a picture of this? As I worked on it last night I wondered if it would’ve been quicker to do individual blocks and sew them together at the end. I’m thinking yes – except for the sewing part. That gets me every time. If I’d have done this in pieces then it’s likely that the blocks would’ve traveled with me and that means they’d have seen more knitting time. I also feel much more successful and productive when I work on smaller projects. You know – short rows go fast so the inches add up and before you know it you’re done. Right? Or is that just me? Nah, can’t be.

The scarf will still get done well ahead of the deadline (pending more yarn ‘cause I’m short again) but I feel the need to wipe out a few more UFO’s. Maybe it’s the recently completed Fair Isle hat. Maybe it’s the cabinet full of yarn that I face while I sit and knit each night. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m going to the Fall Fiber Festival here in Virginia in just a few short weeks and I’d like to make room on the roster. I’m sure it’s all of that and one more thing.

The impending start of Sock Wars is weighing on me. I signed up a while ago and put it out of my mind but now it’s almost here and reality sets in. My girls are excited about it and I think that hubbo thinks it’s cool too but… oh the pressure! It’s horrible. There just aren’t enough hours in a day for me to have a chance at really competing. We all know that there are folks out there who have mad skills and knit super-quick and/or have time to knit uninterrupted. I have neither. I’m not really complaining – I’m just being realistic. My only hope is that whoever gets my name is more pathetic than I am or… then again… maybe not because if a knitter with mad skills gets my name then I’ll likely receive a very wonderful pair of socks – right? Hmmm…

Yarn of Doom Anyway, I went out over the past weekend and got the yarn I’ll need. The arsenal requires dk yarn which, naturally, I didn’t have. How is that possible? Anyway, without knowing who will her the socks it’s hard to choose a color but I found some nice Jaeger Matchmaker in a color I’ll call Pearl Grey. It’s superwash so I think it’s a winner. Last night I went to find my size 5 dpns (also required for the arsenal) and, apparently I don’t own any. Again I ask – how is that even possible? Although I hate them, I have many sets of dpns in every size - except 5 apparently. AC Moore here I come!

Sep 19, 2006

Second Sock Syndrome Strikes

SSS definedI’ve never really suffered from Second Sock Syndrome before but I suppose that it was bound to strike at some point. Is anyone really immune? I checked my list of finished objects for this year and counted 10 pairs of socks so far. Perhaps I was due.

I’ve tried to get on with it but this is as far as I've gotten. I blamed the needles and, during the knitting of this toe I’ve changed from Addi’s to Inox to Knit Picks. How sad is that? I’m still not feeling the love. It’s kind of sad too because when hubbo tried the first one on he was so happy. He said it was the most comfortable sock. I’ll keep carrying it around in my pocketbook and try to get it finished in the next week or so. At this point I really just want it off my needles. It’s not a bad sock – I’m just tired of it.

Funky defined I am not tired of the funky scarf though. I took this picture yesterday afternoon as I knit on it during my lunch in the bright sunshine. I think that it shows up better here. I included the ball of Paris Nights so that you could see it better. It’s got slubs in purple, wine and gold wrapped loosely by metallic green. Now that I’m writing that down it sounds horrible but, in person, in the scarf, it’s very funky. It’s also a quick knit. I put another foot on it yesterday so it’s about halfway finished now.

I’ve got back to school night for the Drama Queen tonight. I can only imagine what her teacher will have to say. I’ll be racing from work to the school in the rain while hubbo runs the religious school carpool and takes DQ to dance. The fun never stops!

Sep 18, 2006

Finding Funkiness

I was very busy knitting this weekend. There is a sale going on at my LYS so I went on Saturday afternoon and found the perfect yarn to dial up the funk on my Funky Scarf for the FS swap. I felt a little guilty going in there with the Knit Picks yarn but I reasoned that I was only bringing it in order to buy something to coordinate with it and that the purchase made it ok. No sooner had I walked in the door than the owner had me pulling all of the scarf yarn out of the Ziploc and was suggesting options for funkifying it. The second thing she showed me was perfect! I looked at it and knew instantly that it would work – and it does.

funky scarf

The colors aren’t showing up terribly true here but trust me – it looks better in person. The winning yarn is Paris Nights by Ironstone (color #10 I think) and it’s not something I’d usually use but it’s working so well here. It’s got a metallic strand that runs through it which would normally bother me terribly but the Andean Silk is so soft and puffy that it’s balancing out the potential scratchiness of the metallic strand well. I keep petting the scarf as I knit. I just love it.

DQ likes it too and has asked me to make one for her. I may just do that since this scarf is flying along. I switched to a new pair of size 8 Brittany’s to accommodate the extra strand so the scarf is a little looser and it’s growing fast. I ripped out the first scarf and restarted it when I returned from the LYS around 4:30 on Saturday. By the time I put it away late last night I had over 2 feet done and I still can’t put it down. There is something about the way the pattern twists and turns that is just so pleasing to the eye. I think it’s very graceful.

The rest of the weekend can be summed up thusly: shopping. I bought Stinkerbelle a whole bunch of new clothes for school in August and she tried them on but somehow, now that school has started, they are all too big. How does that happen? No worries – they’ll fit at some point in the future. For now I went and did back-to-school shopping round 2.

Sep 15, 2006

A Return to Yarn

I'm back from my meetings. It was a work related thing and it went really well. I managed to stay awake through it all (no small accomplishment)and not to embarrass myself (also impressive). They fed us really well and there was some really good news for me personally. I wish I could say more about it but it's a long story for another day and, for now, it's enough to say that I'll be celebrating a wee bit this weekend.

eyecandyfridayI saw this flower last weekend and I took a picture of it because I though it was kind of cool in a funky kind of way. It looks like it could be missing a bunch of petals or something but, whatever the story is, it’s just doing its own wild little thing. Maybe I’m just feeling more appreciative since it dares to get out there and look springy when fall is breathing down its neck. A rebel flower! Not a bad start for an Eye Candy Friday post – right?

flower 9/06

Kp yarn & more Then again, this is eye candy of a sort too. This fiber arrived on Monday in 2 separate packages. In the front is a beautiful skein of sock yarn that was my prize for winning Risa’s contest. Isn’t it great? The rest is all from Knit Picks. In the back are 3 balls of red superwash for a scarf destined for the Red Scarf Project. You can also see a skein of the new Bare superwash sock yarn. It feels good and I’m hoping that it turns out well because I hated the way the soles of the socks I made with the non-superwash felted. Yuck! I also got some essential in burgundy for socks and some Andean Silk.

The Andean Silk is for the Funky Scarf Swap and I love it. It is soft, soft, soft and the colors are gorgeous. If this scarf were for me, I’d be happy to have this around my neck. I just hope that my swap pal feels the same. I just wish that there was a variegated version that I could mix in. They do offer the tweed but I’m not really loving it.
Funky Scarf I can’t tell you how I’ve agonized over this swap. I totally get my pal and I’m into the colors she favors so I’m not sure why this is so hard. She sounds pretty easy to please too – no strong fiber aversions and she’s open to any interpretation of funky. Maybe it’s another case of too much choice. Maybe I’m just being a little too picky myself – I want to do something great for her. This is what I have so far. I’m starting with the Kureopatora’s Snake pattern because I like the movement in it. I’m just not sure that it’s funky enough for me. I need to find a way to dial up the funk a little. I was thinking of adding eyelets and weaving an I-cord through the length of the scarf but I’m not sure about that. The eyelets weren’t fitting into the rib nicely and I though it might be too much. Then I thought about adding beads. I just don’t have the right ones right now. Time for a little shopping! That could be cool if I added them in a way that either accentuated the curve or prettied up the edges. What do you think?

joins I may not be sure about the direction of the scarf but I have a definite opinion about the Knit Picks needles that came in this order. Perfect! I know that some other people were less than enthusiastic but for me, these are all good. If you’ve been reading for a while then you know that I hate I despise I loathe I’m not a fan of DPNs. I do all of my socks on 2 circs and, until recently it was mostly on a set of #2 Addi’s. They started to frustrate me because of the blunt points and the long cords. The latter problem was my own fault because I didn’t know any better when I bought them... but the blunt tips – that’s just the price of using Addi’s. I went and got Inox and tried them out but I hated them! If you look at the picture you’ll see why. What the hell is up with that join? (see the added arrows) There’s a weird little bump right before the join and I just found it maddening. It slowed me up every time I got to it and drove me nuts. The Addi’s didn’t have a bump like that and neither do the Knit Picks. After using them on the current sock a little bit I’m pretty happy with the new KP needles. They’ve got the right length, sharp tips and the right length cords. I’m a happy girl again.

Sep 13, 2006

Fair Isle Hat

Triple Pattern Watch Hat I finished the hat last night. Very, very late. I really had to finish it in order to preserve my sanity. I got home yesterday and, between hubbo’s birthday and all of the other stuff going on it was pandemonium! The phone kept ringing and there was an extra kid in the house and homework to be done and kids to take places and… argh! It was way too much for me so I sat and knit.

Hat on L I had already begun the crown and I knew when I sat down to knit that I would not get up until the hat was done. Nothing could stop me. The hat that I couldn’t figure out last year is a finished object this year – and in time for fall too! It could definitely use a bit of blocking and there is a fairly obvious error in it but I’m happy anyway. The Drama Queen is happy too. She tried it on before I left for work so that I could see that it fits.

This project never made it to the sidebar so here are a few stats:
Pattern: Triple Patterned Watch Hat from Hats On! By Charlene Schurch
Yarn: Elann Highland Wool – one and a half balls of white and less than one of blue. This is really nice and soft and I like it much more than I expected to.
Time: I started it last fall but I didn’t get far at all and what I did do had to be mostly ripped out. I re-started it 9/4 at row 3 so it took just over a week to complete. Not my best but not bad either!
Notes: I’m sure that I must have measured DQ’s head last fall and chosen the size to knit based on that measurement but it translated to an XL. She really doesn’t have a big head so the fact that I was knitting a hat in a size XL kept freaking me out as I knit. I was so worried that it would be too big. As you can see in the pictures, it’s perfect and I needn’t have worried. It leaves me wondering who the small size is meant for. Hmmm….

I’m not sure that I’ll be able to write tomorrow because I have a Very Important Meeting to attend for the next 2 days. In a less than amusing turn of events, my face has started peeling from the nasty sunburn I got on Sunday – just in time for this meeting. Showing up to the meeting with my face coming off is not exactly the definition of putting my best foot forward. Eeew!

Sep 12, 2006

Happy Birthday Bruce!

Today is hubbo’s birthday. I’d show you a picture but I don’t think that I have any that he’d want to share. He would be especially nonplussed if showed you the picture that I took on Saturday when he made his acting debut. Hee, hee, hee! Actually, at the Craft Fair they have entertainment and this time it included something called interactive children’s theater which was actually fun for the whole family. My dear husband was a “Springun” which was the name for the villains. He got to wear a tail and a hood with enormous ears. It was hysterical.

P9101444Naturally Stinkerbelle and the Drama Queen got into the act. In this picture you can see DQ in character as the queen along with other un-named actors. She turned many shades of red when they announced that, in the story, the queen was having a baby. P9101445 Stinkerbelle stayed true to her inner superhero and chose to be a knight in this production. You can see her with her sword raised right next to the director of the show. Thank goodness the sword didn’t come home. I chose not to exercise my acting abilities and, instead, sat in the audience to capture the show on camera and applaud wildly.

P9101448 Look who else was at the fair! We saw this sheep being shorn. She wasn't too happy about it either. It’s not a fair without a little fiber but I didn’t buy any! None at all! The booth had lots of beautiful handspun yarn in colors I loved but I plan on going to the Fall Fiber Festival in a few short weeks and I’m trying not to buy anything before that. It's hard but if I stay away from the LYS and Elann then I should be ok. (There is also a box of yarn that arrived yesterday from KnitPicks to keep me busy for a little while. I did have a chance to observe the spinning for a while and I asked many questions. I really want to try it myself. All in good time.

After the craft show we went over to check out the sate of my dad’s house. He lives about 20 minutes away so we hadn’t been out to see it yet. Lovely – isn’t it? My dad actually says that this is a huge improvement over the way he initially saw it with water everywhere and the saturated ceiling in pieces on the furniture. It’s a little hard to see in the pictures but there are plenty of spots where the walls are completely gone. That freaked Stinkerbelle out. We’re still waiting to hear more definitive word – they may need to rip out more – but we think it may be inhabitable again by Halloween. We also haven’t heard anything about the furniture and how much of that needs to be replaced. Apparently saturated sheetrock resting on the surface may not be good for leather couches. Who knew?

Bristow Flood Damage

After all of the fun we had on Saturday, we spent Sunday at the Girl Scout tag sale. It was a bright, sunny day and we had a great spot in a parking lot along a busy road which all added up to an afternoon full of steady traffic at out sale. We sold all kinds of toys, books, furniture and household goods and, at the end of the day, we had earned over $900. Not too shabby! In case I didn’t mention it before, the sale was intended to raise money for DQ’s junior troop so that they can go to Savannah, GA this spring to visit the birthplace of the founder of Girl Scouts. The sale made a huge dent in the funds they’ll need for the trip.

All that is great but it’s not the best part of the weekend. What was? I’m so happy that you asked. We had a lot of Hispanic shoppers and many of them had limited English so DQ helped out by translating for them. She has been in a special language immersion program at school for the past 4 years and she is fluent in Spanish. But that’s not all. Her Spanish is so good that one of the shoppers complimented her on it. I’m still feeling the glow from it 2 days later.

Sep 11, 2006

Flags Flying High

This weekend was a really good one. I did a lot of knitting - and reading too. (For all of you who asked, the book that kept me in the car last Thursday was Orchid Beach by Stuart Woods.) I can’t wait to tell you all about the craft fair, seeing the damage at my dad’s place and the tag sale (oh am I ever sunburned) but not today. Today is for remembering.

9-11-05 1 On Friday, as I walked around near my office I saw flags being installed on many of the buildings around Arlington. Today is an overcast day, full of big grey storm clouds and the flags wave in the breeze. I am reminded of the flags that were mounted similarly on the Pentagon and many other buildings nearby in the wake of the attacks. Seeing them today sends me back in time to that day five years ago when we were all shocked by events we never imagined possible.

9-11-05 3 Five years. It sounds like a long time ago and in some ways – it is. The Drama Queen had just started first grade and Stinkerbelle was still a toddler. They’ve grown and changed a lot since then as we all have. We may feel a little bit of apprehension when we fly. We may worry more often that there are people out there who wish us ill. Most of us just feel just a little more vulnerable. I do.

I also feel hopeful. How can we not? The essence of life is hoping that tomorrow is just a little better than today and trying to make it so. It’s why we have children and why we create. It’s there in almost everything we do – the need to improve upon the past.

Today, as the flags fly, I am looking at them and thinking about the past while I hope for good things ahead.

Sep 8, 2006

Late for Dinner

A funny thing happened on my way home from work last night. I got to my car in the commuter garage and started it but then I turned it right back off and I went nowhere for an hour and a half. Yep - an hour and a half. That’s how long it took me to finish the book I was reading. I had been reading it on the train and I was at a really good part. I picked it up with the intent of finishing the few pages left in the chapter and the next thing I knew the book was finished and I no longer needed my sunglasses on.

I felt somewhat sheepish because the family had been waiting, with dinner on the table, for me to get home. Oooops! In my defense I can only say that it was a really good book. Most of the family groaned and looked at me funny but one person was proud of me. The Drama Queen assured me that she understood. That’s my girl! She’s a reader just like me and she’s proud of it.
I worked on the hat again last night. It was easy since the book was all finished. I won’t bore you with another picture though. I’ll wait until it’s finished for that. It shouldn’t be long.

This weekend wasn’t supposed to be a busy one but it’s shaping up that way. Stinkette starts swimming lessons tomorrow morning (translation = knitting time for me) and both girls start Sunday school again. There is also a rummage sale for DQ’s Girl Scout Troop that I need to help out at on Sunday. Oh, and let’s not forget that my favorite craft fair is in town this weekend. That’s a must!

Sep 7, 2006

Is it Live...

… or is it Memorex?

Do you remember those commercials? Now cassette tapes of any kind are just so passé. When we ask if it’s live these days it generally refers to the shows we’re watching. Are they live or is it T*VO? For us it’s the difference between watching our shows uninterrupted by commercials and getting up to do household chores during those advertisements. It sounds like such a small thing and yet – it’s addictive and, like so many other things, there is a tendency to become dependent on it. Not convinced? Just ask my dad.

Yes, my dad is still living with us and it’s likely that he’ll be here for some time to come. They’re still cleaning up his house and I’m not sure when the rebuilding will start. For now he has settled in at our place and, after spending the first week of his stay telling us about how he lives very nicely without T*VO, he has now joined the crew asking – if the shows we’re watching are “live” or if we have the "power" to fast forward.

One of the shows that we watched “live” last night was Project Runway. I was very happy to see Vincent voted out. He was really annoying me but not as much as Jeffrey who irritates me each and every time he’s on. Why does he have to be such a dick? No matter what I thought of Angela, he was needlessly unkind to her mom and gloating after she was voted out is just totally uncool. I have to say that I’m enjoying this show much more than I ever expected.

3 pattern hat - day 2On the same note, I’m totally amazed at how much I’m enjoying knitting the 3-pattern hat. I worked on it all night (between all my mommy activities) and now the cuff is finished. I’m so into it that I took it for my commuter knitting instead of the usual sock. What a shock! 3-pattern hat - insideI probably would’ve gotten even further on the hat except that I kept looking at the wrong side and admiring it. I’m sure it’s not as neat and tidy as some people but it looks way better than I expected it to. I think I may even be doing this right. Is that possible?

orchidbeachwoodsThe only thing that threatens to distract me from the hat right now is this book. I read Kristi’s review of it the other day and it sounded great so I went to the library and picked it up right away. I finally started reading it on Monday and I just can’t put it down. It's just my speed and I’d be finished by now but work has been getting in the way. I just hate when that happens. It’s ok though because I’m near the end and I’m sure that I’ll finish it today. Then I’ll just have to go get the next one from the library.

Sep 6, 2006

Lucky Me!

One of the benefits of a serious stash organization effort is that you find all kinds of stuff that you may have forgotten. One of the things I found the other day is the very beginning of a hat I started to make for the Drama Queen last fall. It was one of those things where I took a book out of the library and liked a bunch of stuff so I showed it to DQ and let her pick out something she liked. Big mistake! Naturally, she chose a hat that was way over my head (pun intended).

FI hat This is called the Triple Patterned Watch Hat (from a book I can’t recall) and, when I pulled it out on Monday night, I had only completed 2 rows beyond the cast on. That’s it! Looking at it reminded me of how I sat with that pattern forever and just couldn’t figure out how it worked. I read it forwards and backwards and it made no sense to me. Monday night, I pulled out one of the 2 rows I completed last fall and started knitting. After a few hours this is what I have. It’s Fair Isle and I usually stay away from that because of tension issues but so far I think this looks ok. If anything it may be a touch too loose but that's better than too tight - right? I took my copy of Vogue Knitting and read the tiny section on FI to get a little help on carrying the yarn properly. I’m still not sure I’m doing it right though.

Just like with Lily, this is making perfect sense now although I know it was totally confusing before. I didn’t realize that my understanding of knitting had changed so much. Maybe it’s just a case of fresh eyes seeing things differently. Whatever the reason, this hat is moving right along and actually stands a chance of being completed before the weather gets really cold. Imagine that! I may get a project finished just in time for it to be useful.

Aside from the huge progress that I’m making on all of these old UFO’s I had another reason to be super happy yesterday. Actually, I had two reasons – I won 2 contests. I rarely win anything and usually, when I do, it’s not something that I’d actually buy. You know what I mean? Sometimes you win something and it feels really good to win but the prize itself isn’t something super exciting – like a mug, or a logo t-shirt you’d never wear. Not this time! This time I won stuff that has me totally stoked! First, I won the contest that One Crazy Fiber Lady was having in honor of her 2000th comment. I can’t even imagine 2000 comments. That sounds huge. Anyway, if you look on the page there is beautiful pink and green yarn that’s coming my way. Woo hoo! Then, I found out that I won Susan’s contest over at I’m Knitting as Fast as I Can. She sent me a copy of her new pattern for the Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl. I was just talking about that pattern with a friend over the weekend and now I have a copy. Hooray!

Sep 5, 2006

Weekend Wrap Up with Yarn Aboard Loot!

H Hudson As I mentioned on Saturday, Henry Hudson (of Yarn Aboard fame) showed up on my doorstep. I was so surprised because I thought it would be a little while till he arrived. I was also not completely prepared for his arrival. Naturally, he came bearing gifts, as any good visitor does.

Along with a lovely skein of Interlacements Toasty Toes, there were a bunch of cool treats – a bookmark that says “Serenity”, foot lotion (for my nightly foot rubs), an eye mask, cute post-its, and Junior Mints lip balm. Detect a theme? It seems to be relaxation and, when the package arrived I was really stressed – so the timing couldn't have been more perfect.

lootSaturday was just a mess. There was so much to do in preparation for our huge BBQ on Sunday and, instead of going out to do the last minute shopping, I got stuck at home waiting for someone who never showed up. She had sent out an e-mail saying that she’d stop by to tag items in preparation for a tag sale that my daughter’s troop is running next Sunday. Unfortunately she put the wrong date on the e-mail and never contacted anyone to correct the error.

I could have done some cooking while I waited but I was missing key ingredients for most of the recipes. It’s also hard to settle in to cooking when you know that you’re going to have to stop in the middle. Ugh! It was so frustrating and threw my whole day off. In the end I got almost everything done on time except for the poor blueberry pie that still – 2 days later – needs to be assembled.

I made cole slaw, potato salad, carrot salad, chicken kabobs, steak, chocolate cake, molasses cookies, and brownies. It all came out well and I forgot to take any pictures at all. You’ll just have to trust me – it was good and, at the end of the day, it was mostly gone. I was really thankful that the party was held on the only good day of the weekend. My house is not big but, with good weather, I set up tables inside and out and it works well.

On Monday I rested. At least, I planned on resting. As I sat down to work on a project I looked over at the mess of knitting stuff that was threatening to take over the living room and felt the spark of inspiration. I dragged all of it out of the baskets and cabinets and sat with a box of Ziploc bags for most of the afternoon – organizing and taming the stash. Hubbo, my dad and the girls all watched at times. I think I saw fear in their eyes. I have to admit it was a little overwhelming.


girls 1st day of school 2006 Today is the first day of school here and it’s raining. Not just any rain but horrendous, soak-you-to-the-bones, torrential downpours. At least Stinkerbelle and DQ are starting 2nd and 5th grades (respectively) with style. In this picture, taken at o-dark-thirty this morning, DQ is wearing her trademarked "Mom, you're embarrassing me" look and Stink is too cool for school because she's wearing her new vans.


Sep 2, 2006

Ernesto Was Here - Saturday Sky 9/2/06

broken umbrellaYesterday was cold, windy, and wet as Ernesto blew through Northern Virginia. There are many people in areas that are flooded or powerless. Although my lawn is covered with random branches and leaves that were liberated from the trees, I’m pleased to report that the only casualty at my home is my umbrella. I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to look like this.

Today started off pretty gloomy but, as you can see from my Saturday sky, it’s starting to clear. If I look down my street to the right, the sky is still dark and cloudy but to the left, the clouds are fluffy and white with patches of blue peeking through.

clearing sky

This picture is taken as I look straight ahead. You can see hints of the grey clouds and the blue sky. While the weather is far from perfect, it shows plenty of promise for tomorrow which is an incredible relief. Sounds like we’ll have perfect weather for our BBQ. I’d better start cooking!

Thanks to everyone who left suggestions about how to chase away the end of summer blahs. Naturally, I started by placing an oder with Knit Picks. Yarn is a great picker uppper. Last night we watched Mr. & Mrs. Smith which was fun and lifted my spirits a bit too but the best boost to my morale arrived in the mail today. This former New Yorker got a visit from none other than Henry Hudson of Yarn Aboard fame. Woo hoo! I'll have to tell you all about it on Monday. We're still getting acquainted.

Sep 1, 2006

End of Summer Blahs

I am exhausted today and, since I have a very busy weekend ahead of me, this is a bad sign. I’m not even sure why I’m so damn tired. I didn’t stay up to see the end of the Agassi match because it was just too painful to watch. (I’m so happy he won) I went to sleep at my usual time and had a pretty good night’s sleep. I did leave work early to get a bunch of errands done yesterday afternoon - but no more than normal. Besides, I was tired when I got to work yesterday too. I think I may have the end of summer blahs.

Anyone have a surefire cure? I could really use one.

As I said, this will be a very busy weekend. I invited a whole bunch of friends over for a BBQ on Sunday. This was before I found out that my dad was going to be living in our downstairs rec room for and extended period of time. The rec room is usually my fail-safe because I tend to fill the house to maximum capacity. The logic goes that, in the event of bad weather, we can send all of the kids downstairs. Ummmm… not so much this time. It’s ok though, I’ll just have to work it out creatively – and pray for a sunny day!

Naturally, with a whole bunch of people coming over, I’ll be busy cooking too. Tonight it’s likely that I’ll break out the cookbooks to choose just the right mix of salads, seasonings, and desserts. I’ll likely fall back on old favorites but I usually find one or two new things to try. Cooking will commence and hubbo will begin the tradition of running to the store for all the stuff I forgot. I’m guessing 3-5 trips this time.

I’m getting tired just thinking about it all. It reminds me of a former friend who’d invite over a house full of people, prepare for the party, and then, while the guests were eating, drinking and conversing – she’d fall asleep on the floor or the couch in the middle of it all. She thought this was perfectly normal behavior – I begged to differ. Proper behavior or not, in my current, exhausted state, it’s starting to sound rational.

Lily continues Never fear – with yarn all things are possible! I suspect that I’ll sneak in some down time to work on Lily this weekend. If that doesn’t put me firmly to sleep then it’ll certainly take the edge off. As promised, I’ve made a bit of progress since I picked it up on Monday night. It’s really tedious though. It’s knit in the round so each round has eleventy-million stitches and takes an eternity. Maybe it just feels that way because the linen is so harsh and nasty to work with. It had better soften up considerably and amaze me with its beauty when it’s done to make all of this unpleasantness worth it. Humpf!

On the positive side, that fact that this sucker is knit in the round means that when I’m done – I’m done. I can also say that about one of the other UFO’s that I picked up again last night - the 2 at a time Elfine socks. I doubt that I’ll ever do 2 socks at once again. I’m doing them on 2 circular needles but it’s just no fun. I also think that I may hate my new Inox needles. I’m doing the mate to hubbo’s Trekking sock on them and, while the points are great – the joins are bothering me enormously. My yarn keeps getting caught on them. Maybe they’d behave differently with other, squishier yarns.

Whoa! It’s just not right to end the week, and start a long weekend, with a whine, so how about a little Eye Candy – in a literal sense!

Kids & Candy Moo

This was taken last December in the “Sweetest Place on Earth” – Hershey, PA. The kids are my girls and their cousins, Jake and Sam. As you can see, they were feeling a little silly at the time – wouldn’t you?

Have a great weekend. I wish all of you good friends, good food and lots of silliness!