May 30, 2007

The Garden Report

Blueberries - 5/30/07I came home tonight and checked out my fruits and veggies. They all look pretty good or, at the very least, alive. Here are my blueberries again. They're still not blue and they're still not fenced off. That would be one of the things I didn't get around to last weekend. Thankfully, they are still looking very promising.

In a surprising turn of events, I actually got a little knitting done. It wasn't what I planned on. I thought that I'd start a new shawl for DQ out of my handspun or some teacher gifts. I got as far as sitting down with my books and yarn before Stinkette stopped me in my tracks. Remember this?

Log Cabin ReappearsStink does. It's the log cabin blankie I started for her a really long time ago and she's still waiting for me to finish it. She's been really patient but firm. She wants her blankie and she's not going to let me forget about it. I have been feeling the urge to finish up some of my UFO's - I guess this will be the next on the list.

I did another section last night and I have to say that I really like the way this is turning out. The colors work and the yarn is sturdy but soft. I'm just not sure how many sections I can do before it makes me want to tear my hair out. I'm wondering if there is some cool edge that I can put on this thing that will not require me to do wicked amounts of knitty math. I'm thinking that a bit of lacy crochet might be cool. Who knows, maybe I'll just keep knitting till I run out of one of the colors but, I have a boatload of this yarn in the house so I'm not sure how likely that is.

Random Thoughts

No matter how great a weekend is, it’s always too short and even the best visits leave me feeling like there was more to say and do. It always seems that I should have planned better and done more. Thankfully, there is always next time but right now the feeling of let down is intense.

Maybe it’s just the approach of Summer that’s throwing things off. My calendar is filled with end of school year events for all of the activities that my girls take part in. There are dance recitals, parties, and musical productions. My oven will be in use constantly to provide food for all of the events (when did I volunteer to make scones?). As if that wasn’t enough, the Drama Queen told me yesterday that there are only 15 days left to the school year. How can we be that close to the end of the year?

Is it any wonder that I’m feeling a little random? Hmmm… perhaps it’s time for 7 Random Things. Someone has promised (threatened?) to nag me until I do mine. Ok! Since I’ve got no exciting knitting content and I’m feeling rather random anyway, here they are.

The Rules: Each person tagged gives seven random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs seven facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and need to read your blog.

  • I love decorating my house and I think I’m not bad at it but… I’m really slow to make decisions about it. How slow? When we bought our house I told hubbo that it was my “house with possibilities”. Eight year later it’s still mostly the same as it was when we bought it because I can’t decide on where to start my upgrades.

  • Once I make up my mind – look out. It may take me a while to get there but once I figure out how a big project will work, hubbo had better run for cover because it’s gonna happen fast. Many years ago, I wondered aloud one night about how hard it world be to remove all of the carpet (as I started to pull up an edge) and expose all the wood floors in the house. Suddenly, at 9:30 on a Monday night, hubbo found himself joining me on the floor removing all of the carpet, padding, and countless staples. He never knew what hit him.

  • I love road trips. Every year I drive my daughters to sleep away camp in North Carolina. Its 9 hours each way and I don’t mind it one bit. On the way down we talk and enjoy each other’s company. On the way home I listen to the radio, enjoy the scenery and think about stuff. It’s nice to have a little time alone – as long as it isn’t raining. I hate driving in the rain.

  • I drive too fast. I love to drive and I’m pretty good at it but I have a bit of a lead foot. It’s a little odd though because I don’t drive fast because I’m in a hurry. I can sit in traffic without too much stress just as long as it’s not caused by people doing dumb stuff like putting on makeup or talking on the phone. I drive fast because I like the speed. I think that I may have been a race car driver in another life.

  • I also listen to my music too loud (except when my kids are around – I’d hate to damage their precious ears). How loud? Well, if I’m driving down the street there’s a good chance that you’ll hear me before you see me. Just be thankful if it’s the radio you hear because I sing with the radio in the car and it’s pretty scary.

  • I love the veggies that most people hate. Broccoli, spinach and brussels sprouts are my favorites.

  • I’m a people watcher. I think it comes from all of the years I spent as an art major, learning to carefully observe those around me. I just find people pretty funny. There are the people who wear clothes that are too old, or young for them. And there are the people who wear stuff that is too big or small for them. People carrying kids in tote bags, people who take off their shoes and socks in inappropriate places. These are all very funny and terribly amusing to me.

I'm not going to tag anyone because I suspect that I may be the last person to do this. If you wanna do it then feel free.

May 28, 2007

The Reveal

D with tons of hairDo you remember this picture? I took it on Stinkerbelle's recent birthday.
A week ago I told you that someone around here had a bit of an extreme makeover. My dear Stinkerbelle has wanted to cut her hair for over a year and last week I finally gave in and let her cut it. She wanted a "boy cut" so that she could spike it on the top but I just couldn't bear to cut her beautiful red hair so I kept putting it off and hoping that she'd change her mind. As the summer grew near I realized that it was the best thing to do because it'll be much easier for her to take care of.
I couldn't share this with you right away because Stink-o wanted to suprise a few people. This weekend my family was here to visit and we showed off th new 'do so I can show you now. Ready for it? Check it out.

Stink's boy cut

From this angle it looks a little like she's wearing it in a pony tail but trust me - it's really all gone. The response she's gotten has been great. The new look really suits her personality better. You can see her smiley face with the lightly freckled nose and green eyes much better now. Most importantly, she's thrilled with it. She has mousse and gel and she gets a thrill out of carefully arranging her hair each morning.

I suspect that hearing about my fabulous weekend won't be too terribly exciting unless you're family but here's a little collage of scenes from our little holiday.

Memorial Day Weekend 2007

As you can see, our weekend was filled with fun family stuff. My brother and his wife were here from NYC and my sister also visited with my niece and nephew. As I've mentioned before, my sister shares Stinkerbelle's birthday and my brother's birthday is 3 days after that so we celebrated them all at once this weekend. We also has Stink's long-awaited party which was more special because her cousins were able to attend.
These past few days were hot and sunny so we made liberal use of the pool which opened on Saturday. Throw in a BBQ with friends and a little bit of shopping and you've got a general idea of how I spent my time at home. I didn't have much time for fiber play but I did spin a bit. It was a novelty for my family and they all (except for my sister who doesn't properly appreciate the fiber arts) wanted to see how it's done. Thanks to that I'm on my second bobbin of the navy BFL now.

May 24, 2007

ECF - Limes & Lemons Edition

I took this picture a few weeks ago and nearly forgot all about it until I was cleaning out the card in my camera today.

Key Limes and Meyer Lemons

Those are Key Limes and Meyer Lemons. Want to know I made with them? Nothing! I bought them at one of my favorite stores - Trader Joes. It's one of those places that I go to for a block of cheese and walk out with half the store in my basket because it all looks so good. Unfortunately, I couldn't think of what to do with them before they went bad. They did make a lovely centerpiece though.
I am so ready for the long holiday weekend. My brother and my sister will be coming to visit with their families. We'll spend time at the pool after it opens, we'll barbeque and we'll celebrate. Both of my siblings have May birthdays as does Stinkerbelle and my buddy Felicia so we'll have a big party for all of them on Sunday. My house will be quite full.
I hope that you all have wonderful weekend plans!Have a great one!

May 23, 2007

Frogged Monkeys

Picot JaywalkerLast week I started a pair of Monkey socks. Yesterday I frogged them. The yarn made me do it. At first it was just a whispered protest but it got louder and louder till I just couldn't ignore it any longer. That yarn did not want to be Monkey socks. It needed to be Jaywalkers!

Once I gave in and frogged the sock I felt so much better and, don't you think it looks better like this? I did crave a little something new so I did a picot edge on this sock. Believe it or not, I've never done that on a sock before but I really like it. DQ was watching me knit it and she commented on the edge. I'll have to file that information away for the next pair I make for her. The only drawback to the picot edge is that I had to do this sock top down instead of my usual toe up.

I do a lot of my fiber play while I watch the TV with the family. Lot's of knitting and spinning means lots of shows watched. Lately and I have to say that its been a real mixed bag. I loved the season finale of Desperate Housewives. It was just what it sould be. It was great that Mike and Susan finally got married and the surprise ending was quite unexpected. I'm sure that there will be a last minute "save" when the show returns in the fall but it's fun to ponder what would happen if there isn't. Grey's was a little annoying. I'm very over the on again off again thing between Mer and McDreamy. Enough already. Is it me or does it seem like they just keep covering the same ground and going nowhere?

The reality shows have been frustrating as well. I do watch the Amazing Race and Survivor (and I admit to it). I thought that both of them had pretty good seasons and ended well. The perfrmance shows - Dancing with the Stars and American Idol - they're becoming so overly padded with nonsense that, for me, they're nearly unwatchable. In fact, I didn't watch. Last night we watched stuff on Tivo. I figured that it was just as easy to find out who won afterward. We watched a little Law & Order and The Riches and we were much happier.

Blue Feast

Unripe BlueberriesLately I’ve added a bit to my morning routine. Before I hop in my car to do battle with the insane, nasty and rude drivers on the road (Seriously, what makes a person cut you off so close that you can barely avoid hitting them and then turn and smile proudly at you?) , I often stop briefly to check the various things growing around the house. Things change so fast and I don't want to miss anything. Right now the blueberry bushes are a must-check because there is fruit ripening there. Look at all these blueberries! Doesn’t it make your mouth water? I must get a little chicken wire up around them quick or there will be quite a feast for the birds.
Navy BFLHere is a little BFL that I dyed recently. It’s part of my MDS&W haul and I hope to combine it with the violet BFL to create a set of yarns for a shawl. I think that the lustrous, silky properties will be wonderful.

I was thinking of navy blue and there is a little of that represented but I added other shades of blue too so there ought to be subtle variation in the color. Of course, as I’m learning, the color of the roving doesn’t necessarily predict what it will look like all spun up. This picture, taken on my sunny lawn doesn’t help much either.

IMG_1078After I finished plying the Targhee I started spinning this BFL and I have to say that it took me a while to get in the groove. I don’t remember having this much trouble with the violet batch. After many adjustments and quite a bit of cursing Charlotte and I finally got in sync and the BFL started to flow smoothly onto the bobbin. Because of the color, I needed to use the flash to get a true-ish picture. What do you think of it?

May 21, 2007

When is B*rbie Cool?

Pink PrincessMy daughter recieved a belated birthday gift today. It was from my sister-in-law who, aside from being late, is often way off base in her choice of gifts. As we opened the box and I saw that very special shade of trademarked pink, I thought for sure I'd be sending this back pretty quickly. Neither of my girls has been into B*rbie in years. They have them but they don't play with them at all.

Imagine my surprise when Stinkerbelle (who's not into pink or anything girly at all) started to open the box. She was all excited! I took a closer look and saw that it was a Hard Rock Barbie and she's got black nail polish, cool sneakers, a nifty guitar and SKULLS!!! She's got a skull tattoo, skulls on the wristbands, skulls on her shirt, her guitar, her necklace - everywhere! My Stinkette is all about the skulls.

Yesterday I said that I was working on my first project from my handspun. Here it is. This hat is made of the first roving that I dyed and spun on my wheel. I think it was corriedale and it was a total experiment. I had a big bunch and I dyed half purple and left half alone. Then I spun them together and hoped that it would produce a tweedy effect but when it was done I really wasn't sure about the yarn. It was a little questionable. It wasn't bad but it was very thick and thin and the color didn't blend as much as I thought it might.

First Handspun Creation

This past weekend I really felt like knitting a little handspun. It was partly due to all the questions about what I'm gonna do with it and partly curiosity. What to make? I thought about it a lot before settling on a hat for Dulaan. It seemed like only good things could happen if I started this new endeavour by giving back a little bit so I reached for the purple and white and hoped for the best. I thought that the roughness of the yarn just felt right for Dulaan.

The result is a hat that is really soft and fluffy. I started at the top and worked my way down. I did 1x1 ribbing all around so it's really stretchy and I ended with a rolled stockinette edge in another, more purpley, version of the same yarn for contrast. I really like it and I'm surprised to find that the yarn looks exactly as I hoped it would when I knit it up. I still have a bunch so maybe I'll make another and gift it so someone local so that I can see it from time to time.
Prezzies from Aija

Here is another picture of something making me happy today. I won a contest over at Aija's and look what she sent me. STR in a really amazing colorway called Henpecked and some of her lovely stitch markers. I posed all the loot by my snapdragons. I planted these months ago during a fabulous warm weekend before it got really cold around here again and snowed. I thought for sure that these were gone but they came back. I love that!

May 20, 2007

Handspun Plans

Isn't it nice to have a little garden full of growing veggies to use as props and blog fodder?

Roses &  Squash for You

Here is the latest yarn Charlotte and I created. I am very proud of it. This is the Roses for You Targhee. I felt really good while spinning it and I think that the fun I had spinning it is reflected well in the finished product. It's a little overspun but not too bad. I plied this using a slightly different method. I turned it into a yarn cake first and pulled from the inside and the outside at the same time. I think I read somewhere that I should have taken one more step and rewound the yarn cake so that it the yarn cake itself was doubled. I'll try that next time. The way that I did it was a little tangley at points but the end result was worth it - 100% of the singles got plied.

I suppose that the natural next question is - what will you do with it? Until now, I've just been spinning away with little though as to what I'd do with the finished yarn. That has a lot to do with low expectations for the yarn I produced. As I get better at it, I find that I want to create with it. The yarn above turned out to be about 216 yards and I've decided to make fingerless gloves for the Drama Queen from it. I just need to choose a pattern and get to work. I'll do it right after I finish the first item made from my handspun. It's on the needles right now and nearly complete.

I know that DQ will appreciate the handspun properly. She just loves the hand knits and I shocked her this weekend by letting her wear one of mine. Seraphim! She was going to Saturday services at the synagogue in a blue dress that looks fatastic on her and I noticed one of her ratty old hoodies over her arm. I could not let her wear it and spoil the look so I offered to let her borrow Seraphim. She was shocked and thrilled! I may have said something to her on the way out about not returning home if she damaged my new shawl but, not to worry - she brought it home looking just as perfect as when it left. She was so proud that she was allowed to wear it that it gave me an idea about what to do with some of my other handspun. Hmmm....

Speaking of mommy pride... I have a picture that I am just dying to show you all but I've been sworn to secrecy. This coming weekend is going to be super busy and exciting around my house because my sister will be here with my niece and nephew. As if that wasn't enough - my brother and his wife will be here too! Over the long weekend we'll celebrate all of the May birthdays - Stinkerbelle, my sister and my brother. One of my daughters has big plans to unveil a new look but she wants to surprise the family so I can't post pictures yet. It's a radical change and I'm dying to show you but I promised so my lips are sealed for now.

May 17, 2007

ECF - Floral Edition

I really thought I'd have something other than flowers today but... not so much.

I took this picture at my friends house recently. It was the early evening and it was getting dark and the flower looked so ghostly white. I thought it was pretty cool.

White Flower

But wait, there's more! A few weeks ago I had a picture of a closed peony. This past week the pretty pink flower opened and I took a picture but then a few days later I looked at it again and noticed that the pink was all bleached out from the sun. For some reason I really like that bleached out flower. It's got a little character or something.

Fresh PeonySun Bleached Peony

Have a great weekend!

May 16, 2007

Seraphim !!!

I got home tonight and it was still a little overcast but not bad for taking pictures so the Drama Queen took a short break from her homework to do a quick photo shoot.

Seraphim 2

Do you think it makes my ass look huge? Just kidding.

The pattern is Seraphim by Miriam Felton and I love it. It's super simple and mindless at first and then the lace starts. I don't always find lace to be the easiest thing to do - some have that gift but not me. This lace worked for me though. I could read it really well so on the rare occasion that I madea mistake I could see it easily and, more importantly, clearly see how to fix it. This pattern was very friendly to me.

Seraphim on the fence

What can I say about the yarn I used? I love it! I should because Sundara dyed it just for me! I'm sure it wasn't easy for her either because I'm prone to flights of fancy where I get an idea in my head and then I feel compelled to translate it into reality. This was one of those times.

It was about a year ago (or longer) when I first sent her a request to create some yarn that looked like an oil slick without the usual coppery tones. I wanted yarn that would be predominantly a dark blue but with greens and purples playing accross the surface. She probably should have told me I was nuts and called it a day but instead she created a yarn that I love.

Seraphim Close up on the fence

Sadly, all good things must come to an end and the yarn did... way too soon. It was last August and I had about 22 rows left when my worst fears were confirmed and I had to start working on a solution with Sundara. We discussed many possibilities before arriving at the idea of expanding one of the existing colors into a semi-solid. I chose the purple and late in the Fall the final skein arrived.

I've been pondering that skein since it's arrival. I loved it on it's own but I couldn't decide if it would work or not. Finally, last weekend the pull became too strong and I decided to try it. Just to be safe, I put in a lifeline so that I could pull it out if it didn't work for me and try something else. Thankfully, it worked for me.


I think that the dark purple actually adds something. That surprised me. It makes the shawl a litle more grounded and shows up the lace a little more. The pictures don't do it justice. In person, the line where the color changes blends a little more.

Some of you may notice that I blocked the shawl a little funky - only pulling out every other point. I'll fix that by re-blocking at a later date when I can find the rest of my pins.

Pondering Productivity

I’ve been feeling very unproductive lately so I took a quick look at my Flickr galleries to see what’s up. There are 43 finished objects in the 2006 gallery but in the gallery for this year there are only 6 so far. How pathetic! My impression was clearly correct – I haven’t been finishing much lately.

IMG_1041The interesting thing is that, even before I realized what a slacker I’ve been lately, I was hearing the call of the UFO’s. I even picked one up and finished it off. This is Seraphim which I began about a year ago. As I write this she is blocking and I hope that when I get home from work today I can take her out for a photo shoot if the weather cooperates. I’ll tell you more about her when the official photos are ready but I will say for now that I’m in love with her and so pleased at the way it all worked out.

Targhee SinglesBut wait – there’s more. See this lovely little yarn cake? This is the Roses for You Targhee that I spun recently. My friend Felicia was at the house last weekend and saw it sitting near my wheel and commented on how nice it looked. Now that I look at it all wound up in a cute little yarn cake I see how pretty it was. Yes… I said was.

IMG_1039It was sitting near the wheel because it was attached to the wheel in the process of being plied against itself. I’m not sure yet if plying it was a fabulous idea or a huge mistake. As it was, the singles were pretty attractive (if I do say so myself) and plied they look nice but I’m not sure if it’s an improvement. I’m thinking that maybe I should have left them alone. I’ll get back to plying it tonight and when it’s finished I’ll ponder it a bit.

May 15, 2007

Have you ever....

We’ve had a few issues at home that have stalled my knitting a little. It’s nothing major – just the usual kid stuff. I’m thisclose to finishing the UFO I mentioned yesterday and I expect it to be blocking by the time the sun goes down today. I have something fun on my wheel too and I plan to finish it off just as soon as I to the blocking. As if that wasn’t enough, the fiber that I dyed last weekend should be dry by now too. I can’t wait to start spinning it up.

Since I have nothing really exciting to share knitwise (and few brain cells to dedicate to coming up with something) I’m falling back on a meme. I guess that’s kind of lame. I saw it at Margene’s first and now Kristi did it too. The rules are that you use bold for stuff you've done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you're not planning on doing. What about the stuff you’re not sure about? Hmmm…


Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down (never considered it but it sounds like fun)
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with bananafiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffitti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money (does bartering count?)
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colours
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items)on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone elses handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Entrelac Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Not too shabby for a relatively new knitter.

May 13, 2007

The Best Things in Life

How was your weekend? I hope it was as nice as mine was.

Mothers Day Gifts

Hubbo got me a really nice gift but the real treasures I received for Mother’s Day are these gifts that my daughters gave me. Is there anything better than a poem from your child or a coupon good for snuggles from an 8-year-old? Not for me. Notice that the Drama Queen decorated the frame of her poem with fiber that she got at Mud Fest last fall.

This weekend was so nice. We had great weather and I planted a whole bunch of herbs and veggies. I’d show you the patch but it doesn’t look like much right now. It’s kind of a loose garden with improper spacing and a random assortment of things. I’ve never been good at these things so I’ll be thrilled if anything remotely edible results from our efforts. One nice zucchini or one perfect pepper would be great.

I knit a lot this weekend and I’m really close to having a finished object. I’ll show it to you as soon as it’s completed but meanwhile, feel free to guess what it could be. It’s a UFO from last year that I was feeling indecisive about for quite a long time. It was a nice break from socks.

Speaking of socks, Sock Madness finished off this weekend. Kristi R was the ultimate winner. She is wicked fast and I think she may knit in her sleep. I’m sure that I’ll have more to say about that soon but not today. I think that after all of the effort that I put into Sock Madness, it’s still kind of hard to imagine that it’s complete

May 10, 2007

ECF - Mystery Flower Edition

Hooray! It's Eye Candy Friday once again.

Bearded Iris'

Yes, once again I'm using an iris from my yard. Do you remember the patch of mystery flowers that I showed you the other day? This is what appeared there. How could I have forgotten these?
Surprise Iris'

Hopefully, I'll have time to appreciate these flowers more fully over the weekend. I plan to spin and knit and spend lots of quality time with my boyfriend Bob. Don't worry, hubbo knows all about my infatuation and he's totally ok with it. Bob is Bob Edwards, one of the very best things about XM radio. When I got XM a few years ago I expected to spend most of my time listening to the 80's station and Lucy, the alternative rock station among others. Ummm... not so much. I'm all about Bob! His voice is easy on my ears and he can make anything at all sound scintillating. I cannot tell you how many books I've purchased after listening to his conversation with an author. I finally figured out what makes his style so fab - he's a listener. He asks a question and then lets his guest answer fully rather than in sound bites. When he does comment it is so obvious that he's done his research and knows his subject better than they know themselves. This weekend, in honor of his 60th birthday, they're having a Bob-a-thon - 48 hours of Bob! I can't wait!

To all of those who are celebrating - Happy Mother's Day!

Startitis Strikes Again

StartitisIsn't it funny how, sometimes, knitting something that you are required to knit isn't as much fun as something that you want to knit? For example, I may see a sock pattern and feel like it would be so much fun to knit it but, if I am asked to knit it for someone else then it becomes less enjoyable - more chore-like. It may still be a great pattern and I'll love gifting it to hwhomever I knit it for but I think that I enjoy the knitting more when I'm just doing it because I wanna and I have the luxury of picking it up and putting it down as often as I like.

Lately I've seen a lot of patterns that I want to knit but I committed myself to certain things so I've been trying to stay focused on my responsibilities. Startitis may have gotten the best of me though. Above is a picture of 2 projects that inexplicably appeared on my needles over the last week or so. At the top is the very beginning of a Monkey sock in Plymouth Sockotta. The yarn is a wool/cotton blend and I've never used it before. It's got an interesting feel to it and I really can't say yet if I like it or not. I'll keep going and see how it develops.

The other item is the start of Latoya. it's one of the free Berroco patterns and it says Drama Queen all over it. I love the asymmetry in the design but i'm not sure that the neckline will be quite right for DQ so I expect to adjust that. I've got a little while to figure it out since I'm knitting the back first. The yarn is a little bit of a question mark too. It's a cotton called Venezia and the color and gauge are totally working for me. What I'm not so certain about is the yardage. I bought this stuff from Elann about 3 years ago (maybe more) to make a baby gift. This was when I still found wool scary. I made a blanket and a sweater for the baby and I still had 5 full skeins left plus an undetermined amount already would into balls. I have no Idea how much I have! There is a label that was applied over the original label and I suspect that the yardage is incorrect. I cannot imagine knowingly overbuying by this much. Because of the yardage question, I'm not 100% sure how this top will turn out. We'll see.

Here's an update about something that I an certain about. My Bloomin Feet pal, OzKnitter, received the box I sent last week and she loves the socks. I am so relieved that they fit her. You can go here if you want to see the contents of the box I sent her and the socks on her feet. Maybe now I'll feel more confident when I start to work on the socks for my Sockapalooza 4 pal. Probably not though.

May 9, 2007

Fiber Stash Enhancement

I may only have bought a litle bit of yarn but I made up for it by buying quite a bit of fiber.

MDS&W Fiber

This isn't all of it but it's the exciting part. What you see above is (clockwise from the left) a Grafton Batt in fabulous reddish orangey shades. I was just dying to get one of these to play with. Next is some teal Colonial fiber with other colors mixed in. This is obviously another entry in my survey of different fibers.

Below that is an item from my wish list. It's a Sheep to Shoe kit from Blue Moon. I heard about these and thought that it sounded like such a cool idea. How lucky that this is what I wanted from The Fold rather than Socks that Rock. There was a crazy line at that booth all day long and by the time we got there the wall of pegs that held the STR was nearly bare - just 6 skeins of left and Felicia grabbed one. It'll be a while before I break this out but I opened the bag and felt the fiber and it is sooooo soft! I can't wait.

The last item, down in the corner, is a braid of Bonkers Superwash which will become socks for Stinkerbelle. Those are totally her colors.

In addition to what you see here, I got a pound each of BFL and Superwash Merino that are undyed. These are for me to play with. I have plans to dye up some of the BFL to go with the stuff I dyed and spun recently. I added to my collection of Cushings dye at MDS&W so, if the weather cooperates, I'll try to do the dyeing this weekend.

I have to say that so far this has been a kick-ass week and it's so tempting to shout from the rooftops but I can't do that yet so I'm gonna publish and run before I slip.

Have a great day!

May 7, 2007

Shopping and Eating My Foot at MDS&W

Thanks for all of the lovely birthday wishes. I read them to Stinkerbelle last night and she enjoyed them very much.

So, do you wanna see what I got at MDS&W? I'd love to share.

Last year I went to MDS&W and I bought all kinds of yarn and I'm a little embarrassesd to admit that most of it is still sitting in my stash. I love all of the stuff I bought and I intend to knit it up at some point but I haven't gotten to it yet. This year I prepared a shopping list and I stuck to it pretty well. There were must and wishes and I addressed both.

Super DealThe very first purchase of the day (after the festival merchandise) was pure impulse. We stopped at a booth with great looking yarns and even better prices and the next thing I knew I had bought this pretty green yarn. It was in a bin of mill ends and it has no label but it's really soft, it's got great colors and these 2 skeins only cost $6 together. A steal! I even have a plan for it.

Brooks FarmStopping at the Brooks Farm booth was on my mental list. It wasn't a must but it was definitely a wish. I stopped there and I drooled for a while before seeing a sample Clapotis that was knit up in their Four Play yarn. It was gorgeous and soft and I could just see myself all wrapped (pun intended) up in it. It was meant to be because I recently printed off a copy of that pattern to knit and I was hoping to buy more Four Play since I really love this yarn.

The Brooks Farm booth was not only the source of fab yarn. It was also the only place I ran into anyone I knew and the person I saw there was someone I know from the local library association - not from knitting or blogging. Can you believe that? MDS&W was packed. There were people everywhere but I didn't really see anyone I knew. I guess I was just very focused on the shopping.

Spinning chairOne of the things I was really looking for was a spinning chair. I know that I can use other chairs and I have been using a dining room chair till now but the chair I grabbed most often was the Drama Queen's and she objected. It was also a bit of a pain because it was very heavy. I looked for a replacement but most of the chairs available in my house were heavy or padded or just not right. If my beautiful Charlotte is going to sit in my living room then the chair with her should be beautiful as well.
signature on chair

This chair is perfect! It's cherry wood which is one of my favorites and it feels so good. It's signed on the back too. I' just love things that are signed by the artist because they feel a little more special. I also got an orifice hook made of curly maple from the same vendor. He just gave it to me when I bought the chair. It turns out that he lives very close to my house. How funny! It's such a small world.

The other item on my must list was a new Lazy Kate. Charlotte came with one but I wasn't crazy about it. Every time I ply it starts out well but, as the bobbins get lighter, they start to bounce around and plying becomes awkward. I was on a quest to find a new one. I asked a few Lendrum dealers for suggestions and they agreed that the Lendrum Kate needs to be improved. At the Mannings, I was speaking with tom about this when a woman approached. She also noted the same thing and suggested the Kate a go-go from Nancy's Knit Knacks. I got one from the Mannings and I think it'll solve the problem well - and it packs up nice and small so I can take it places too!

As I searched for a new Kate, people kept telling me that Mr. Lendrum was there. It seemed that everywhere I went, he had just been there. Finally, I stopped at the Yarn Barn of Kansas to check out the Ashford spinning chair they had and guess who was there! Mr, Lendrum! I should have just moved on but.... it was late in the day and I was feeling a little punchy and.... I walked up and said hello. Then I started gushing about how much I love my wheel. (Yes, I am a complete dork. I admit it.) Finally, I mentioned the Kate. He asked what the problem was and I told him. To his credit, he didn't look at me like I was nuts. He said that he'd look into it but I'm quite certain that he thinks I'm a crazy. Wouldn't you?

Happy Birthday Stinkerbelle and Jessica!

Thirty four years ago today I became a big sister for the first time. I was not much more than 3 at the time so you'll have to excuse me if i don't recall too much about the event. I love my sister, Jessica, and I'm sure it was very exciting.

I remember the events of this date eight years ago far better. That's the day that I became a mother for the second time. I remember that before by Stinkerbelle arrived, I worried a lot. I think all parents do. When you have the first child you just know that you're going to adore them. Child number two is a little more interesting because you feel like the first is so incredibly wonderful that you could never quite repeat that success.

D with tons of hair

The Drama Queen was such a great baby. Very easy and so amazing in every way and I couldn't imagine how any other baby could be as wonderful. Then Stink arrived and she was a surprise from the moment I saw her red hair. She is as different from her sister as night and day but so marvelous in her own right.

D in the sun

She's so full of the joy of life. She's strong and independent. She has so much empathy and concern for others but, at the same time, she's not motivated by external influences and she doesn't let stuff get her down. She is one of the most amazing people I know.

Elemental CupcakesEvery year, for my girls' birthdays, I make way too many cupcakes and I try to decorate them in a way that reflects my daughters' interests and personality. This year, Stinkerbelle wanted fire and water - the elements. I hope this works for her. I made about 40 of them. Yes, I know that there are only 23 kids in her class but better too many than too few. Right? And of course half are chocolate and half are vanilla - something for everyone.

Happy Birthday to my sister and my daughter. To everyone else, I'll start to tell you all about MDS&W and why Mr. Lendrum must think I'm a loon tomorrow.

May 3, 2007

ECF - Peony Edition

I took this picture earlier this week.

Peonie on the Verge

This is one of the plants I transplanted a few weeks ago. It was getting squeezed out of it's old location. I'm so happy to see that it's doing well.

Have a great weekend!

Breakin' It All

Monday I broke one of my favorite sandals. Thankfully, it can be fixed easily.
Tuesday my favorite sunglasses broke. I think that they can be fixed too.
Yesterday, it was the bulb in the fridge, the hook on a picture frame in the front hall and a few very special reminders that the cleaning people had paid us a visit. All very fixable but a little irritating.

Do you see a trend in my week? What will it be today?

At least the knitting hasn't been affected by this trend. *knocks on wood*


Do you see the cardinal hanging out way up there in the trees? I saw it this morning as I got in my car and immediately whipped out my camera. Sadly, as you can see, it's a nasty grey day here but the forecast for this weekend (MDS&W, MDS&W, MDS&W) is great. Sunny with highs around 70. How perfect is that?

May 1, 2007

Still Spinning

Thanks to everyone for your nice comments about the Here There Be Dragon Socks. I'll try to answer you all individually but Blogger really doesn't make it easy. I just wanted you all to see the results and be confident that I'd never send anything I felt was not up to snuff. I'm so happy you agree.

Moving on...

I bet you all expected me to be full of excitement about Maryland Sheep and Wool this week. You probably thought I'd be unbearable (like some people are when they go to Rhinebeck *ahem*) Normally I'd be every bit as bad as you expect. I'd tease you nonstop but, the truth is that there are quite a few things on my mind right now so I haven't had the luxury of obsessing over MDS&W. There's work stuff, happy family stuff, Sock Madness stuff etc...

That doesn't mean that I'm not looking forward to it and preparing - I totally am. For example, much thought has been given to the various commitments my family has next weekend. There are dance showcases to attend, playdates to arrange, sleepovers to plan, school projects to be worked on, sporting events to take part in - the list goes on and on and on. I've been very helpful with it all, offering my standard "It's all you dude!" to my poor hubbo at regular intervals as I giggle like a woman posessed.

All kidding aside, I'm preparing for MDS&W in other ways too. My survey of different fibers continues. This past weekend I started spinning the Targhee that I bought a few months ago. You can put this on the list of fibers I love.

Roses For You Targhee

When I opened it up I wasn't sure if it was going to work for me. It's very fluffy and it seemed dull but, for me, it spins like a dream. I was afraid of stickiness like the Finn but it's not sticky at all. My spinning is still not perfect but this is absolutely the best result I've had so far. You know how I usually say that the pretty on top hides ugly underneath? There's no ugly on this bobbin. It's really pretty consistent.

Surprises Everywhere

IMG_0956[1]Every year I plant a few bulbs or move a few things in my landscape from here to there in an ongoing effort to get it all just right. I move the peonies to one spot, I move the rosemary to another and I plant a few mystery bulbs along the way.

IMG_0955[1]Some things, like my favorite bed of irises never move. They are perfect just as they are and I always know exactly what to expect when I see that area of the yard begin to come to life. In other areas, I find surprises. I just noticed these buds this morning on the way out of the house. I have no recollection at all of what they are but I'm sure that I'll love them because I chose to plant them in that spot. They'll be a pleasant surprise.

It's not just the landscape around the house that's surprising me lately. Sock Madness is a constant source of surprises for me and for the players. As I mentioned yesterday, we're down to the final four now and the sentiment that they all seem to share is surprise at making it this far. There have been injuries, illnesses, pattern mistakes (oops!), and countless froggings but, through it all, this bunch of knitters has helped each other through.


Sometimes I surprise myself. The obstacle that I ran into completing the Here There Be Dragons socks is a great example of this. The picture above is the finished product. I really do love them and I'm happy to share them. (They ought to be reaching their destination really soon.) You may recall that, as I prepared to send them to my pal last week, I noted an error in one sock. I had forgotten a repeat on the leg of it. My first thought was to frog the sock and re-do it but I really didn't want it to be too late and the rest of the sock looked great. I hated the thought of frogging it.

The next idea was to knit up another repeat and graft it to the rest of the sock. It seemed like a workable solution except that I never did a graft before - ever! My thought was that if the graft worked I'd go with it and if it didn't then I'd frog it and re-knit. The graft did work and I did send the socks out last Friday but it occurred to me that some of you may hear about this and be skeptical. I'd hate for anyone to think that I'd send off socks that were less than my best work so I took a few pictures before I sent them.

This pair of pictures shows the outside and inside of the socks. The graft line is definitely in these pictures. Can you see it? Can you tell which sock was grafted?

I think I remember which is which but I'm not sure anymore. After blocking, I don't think that the graft line is obvious at all. If it had been then I wouldn't have sent them. I was very careful about weaving in the ends too so I think that a person woould have to really examine these socks to see where the error was.

I'd never send something that I wouldn't be proud to wear myself and I have to say that i was still sad to send these away. I'd love to have them on my feet.