Jun 30, 2008

All Filled Up

Look at this. When I decided to follow Carole and commit myself to spinning 10 minutes a day, the pink bobbin was full and I had just begun the purple one but they had been sitting for a really long time. It was kind of pathetic.

DSC_0061Since I pulled my wheel out of the corner and dedicated myself to spinning more, I've finished the purple, spun the entire Loop batt (green), and I'm nearly finished spinning some roving in a color called Sour Grapes from Spunky Eclectic. The last of my 6 bobbins is on the wheel right now, partially filled with more of the Sour Grapes so as soon as I finish that I'll start plying this all up. I just can't wait to see how it all turns out.

I took this picture in a hurry last night so it's blurry and crappy and generally lame but, if the picture was better you'd see that the sppinning has been much better lately. I still have my moments where Charlotte gets ahead of me and much cursing ensues but they happen much less often. Mostly, I just sit and spin for way longer than ten minutes while hearing about what my girls did in camp or watching tv. The biggest problem I have now is deciding what to spin next. Another Loop batt? My Sheep to Shoe kit? Merino tencel? Should I finally try the Cormo? Decisions, decisions. I could just take out the drum carder and make up a batt of my own. Hmmmmm....

It Was All New to Me

They held a Stitch & Pitch at Nationals Park about a week ago and I missed it because it conflicted with DQ's dance recital. Gotta keep those priorities straight. It was quite a coincidence that the following week some friends of ours with really good season tickets invited us to be their guests.

We attended the game last Friday night and had so much fun. It was our first game at the new ballpark and the stadium is really nice. It's open and airy with a cool new screen, not that we needed it since we were just a few rows behind the visiting teams dugout. The food was good (Ben's Chili Bowl) and best of all - the Nats won.


It was kind of touch and go before the game because they were predicting thundershowers. This complicated things for me just a bit because I had about 2 hours to kill before meeting DH and our friends at the stadium. Being a resourceful type, I looked up a LYS in DC that I'd never been to and decided to wait out the rain there since it wasn't too far from the game.

Stitch DC had been on my list of places to check out for a while but this was my first opportunity. It was quiet when got there so I was able to browse happily and chat with the staff. The yarn was very nice but, without a specific project in mind, I had to stick to sock yarn so I brought some Koigu in shades of light blue and pink home. Mostly, I just sat and knit. Sure enough, the downpour came with thunder and lightning and when it finally finished I walked over to meet everyone. It was perfect.

Also good was the other new LYS I visited this weekend. With Yarn in Front (no web site yet) is only 2 weeks old but it's already well on it's way to being a new favorite shop. It's got lot's of space, it's reasonably close and... it's got spinning stuff as well as a nice (and growing) selection of yarn. I got some Plymouth Happy Feet and some Fibranatura Yummy - neither of which I 'd seen before. Stinkerbelle gave it a thumbs up too because they've got and X-Box for the kids. Happy kids equals a happy shopping experience.

The yarn at With Yarn in Front was nice but I was most excited by the wheels. They don't have a huge variety of wheels or fiber yet but they did have a few Kromskis and I'd never tried one before. I didn't care for the Mazurka because it's a single treadle but the Minstrel was really nice. I treadled on that one for a while and I think I could get used to it although the look of the Sonata was more my style. The Sonata just felt weird to me.

The wheel I enjoyed most was not for sale though. It was a Jensen Tina that belonged to one of the owners. She was so nice and let me spin on it for a while and I have to say that I've never spun better, more consistently. I'm not sure if it was the wheel or the fiber but both felt so good in my hands. The wheel needed a bit of oil but even so - it was one very sweet wheel. It made me want to go home and spin, spin, spin... so I did.

All of these places were new to me and all of them are places I'd like to go again. So much fun!

Jun 26, 2008

My DC - Week 22

One of the fun things that many offices in DC offer are rooftop decks. For this week's My DC I've got a series of pictures that I took from mine.

I went up there to take pictures of my socks in progress. On a hot sunny day the roof deck is often sparsely populated. There is an awning, chairs and some greenery but it's not the most inviting place. We also don't have the most stellar views but I like them.

Above is a view of K Street looking east and below are some buildings across the park from me. They're kind of neat in their own way.


Have a great weekend!

Jun 25, 2008

Ten Percent

A little over 3 weeks ago I posted my K is for kippah and the response to it was more than I ever imagined. It's ironic that a post that I almost didn't do would be the one to hit such a nerve. I'm so happy to have all of the support and encouragement.


Many expressed interest in watching the project progress so here's where I am so far. I've completed 9 kippot and there is one more on my hook. As a percentage I've completed just over 10 percent and once the 10th is completed later today I'll have finished 1/8 of them. If you state it in either of those terms it sounds so good but, in reality, I still have 70 more to make. Seventy still sounds like a huge task and it is but I'm feeling good about the progress I've made and the odds of my finishing on time are pretty good if I can maintain this pace. Even better, I finally ordered the labels for them - royal blue with silver writing - so once they arrive I can start sending them to my mom to be attached. Yay!

So far they are turning out well and I'm happy with them but there is a small issue with the edges. The pattern calls for theedges to be finished with French single crochet which is actually a backwards single crochet with a twist. It makes for a neat and finished looking edge but they are rollong a little. I can smooth them out but they go back to rolling if I leave them alone. Anyone know anything about this?
Some have inquired about grandma's pattern. I need to look at it and see if I can share it. I'm not sure that any of the copies she made has any attribution and I suspect that my grandmother would've been fine sharing it with anyone that asked.

There's No Food in Your Food*

Would anyone like one devious but very cute redhead with lousy eating habits?

My morning has not started well today. As I dropped my girls off at camp I suddenly had the presence of mind to check Stinkerbelle's lunchbag to see what she packed herself. The tally was a boatload of popcorn, 4 fruit snacks, and a sleeve of crackers. No lunch! I quickly remove most of the snacks and replaced it with a bagel and string cheese from a supermarket nearby but she is so lucky that I'll have all day to cool down and ponder the appropriate punishment. I was so angry. Not only because she was so sneaky but because this episode made me very late for work too. Ugh!

I was planning a totally different post for today but I'm not in the right frame of mind for it right now so we'll go with plan B - socks on my needles right now.

DSC_0024This has been listed in my Ravelry projects for quite a while but I only started concentrating on it last week although I'd been carrying it around for weeks. This is based on the plain version of Widdershins but, as of last night, it's been modified by the addition of a twisted stitch cable panel running up the back of the sock. I've only completed one repeat of the cable so it's too soon to tell how it will work. I suspect that it may be obscured a little by the yarn which is Hallmark from the Flock Bransonas. It's kind of bright but not bad. What's nifty about this yarn is that the colors have very short rus on the yarn so there's no pooling - just brightness everywhere.

DSC_0057You can't see the yarn cake that I'm working from in the picture above because it's hidden in one of the side pockets of my new Haiku bag. It was an anniversary gift from hubbo along with my sweet new needle sizer (which he ordered from somewhere else) seen at right. How perfect are they?

I have to say a huge thank you to Carole who inspired my DH to buy the bag. I'm a bit of a bag snob - my other bags are mostly Coach and Kate Spade. I rarely even consider a bag that's not leather but I love this bag so much. It's not as heavy as my others and it holds all of my stuff really well. DQ loves my bag too so when my M-I-L asked her what she wanted as a reward for her academic honors she asked for a Haiku bag. Hubbo said that Scout was fabulous when he ordered mine so we'll get DQ's frm her as well and maybe I can finally order myself some of her amazing yarn. Woot!

DSC_0023Finally, here is the debut of Monkey the Second. Don't you love it? The yarn is Tess Designer Super Sock & Baby in colors that are totally not me but I love the colors and the yarn and I just wish I had more of it. Not only are the colors beautiful but the yarn has a really nice feel to it as well. It's springy and round and solid. It's some of the nicest yarn I've ever knit with.

This will be my first pair of sock for the Summer of Socks because, due to poor planning on my part, the others currently on my needles were started before the SOS officially began. No worries, these are the perfect socks to start my Summer of Socks so I'm happy.

*Yet another of the wonderful quotes from Say Anything, one of my favorite movies.

Jun 24, 2008

Between the Showers

DSC_0002There was a lot of gardening going on around my house last weekend. With all the rain we've had it's been challenging to keep up with the weeding and planting. You grab the moment when you find it. On the other hand, we haven't really needed to do any watering and all of the plants look really lush and green so I'm not complaining.

As I was pulling out weeds and otherwise tending to my garden, spied this. A little blue egg that was lying in pieces beneath a large shrub. Up in the shrub, a euonymus, I saw the nest. Can you see it hidden way up in the top of the leafy canopy.

DSC_0003The remains of another egg were nearby and I was kind of sad to see them there. It would've been so cool to see baby birds in the nest instead. But, on the other hand, isn't the shell a gorgeous shade of blue. Isn't it amazing that nature produces such beauty in such a simple thing?

I took those pictures between rain showers yesterday evening. While I had my camera out, I tried once again to get a decent shot of one of the other lilies in my front yard. The color of this one is very similar to the stole I'm working on right now.

I think that if it were up to me I'd have a rainbow of lilies covering my entire property. They may be some of the prettiest flowers around. I especially love to look at them after the rain. There is a freshness to things just after the showers end.


Jun 23, 2008

Monkey Socks!

I finished yet another pair of socks last week. Monkey Socks!


This pattern is such fun and so easy. I memorized the full repeat before I even finished the first repeat and that made it the perfect walking around project. Just enough fun to be interesting and yet, easy to read so I didn't worry about getting lost if I out it down. This is about the definition of a good walking around knit.
Others have already extolled the virtues of this pattern much better than I ever could so I'll keep this short. The only change I made was to do an eye of partrige heel instead of the plain one that was prescribed. I just like the eye of partridge heel a lot.
DQ was kind enough to model these socks for me yet again and since she really liked them a lot I let her have them. She's wearing them today. What will I do when she goes away to camp... and then to my sister's house. She'll be gone for about 6 weeks! Who will model my socks then?


So, how much did I really love this pattern? Well, before I even finished this pair I cast on for my second pair of Monkeys using Jojoland Melody Superwash but the color shifts were too subtle for this pattern. This is one of the few patterns that really demands strong color shifts to help define the directional changes. I frogged that version after 2 or 3 complete repeats and stash dove for better choice. I found it and cast on again last night. This time i'm using Tess Super Socks & baby in a gorgeous, nameless, colorway that is waaaay brighter than my norm in bold yellow, peach, raspberry and purple. I am in love but I didn't have a chance to get pictures yet so stay tuned for that.

Jun 20, 2008

My DC - Week 22

This is the Willard Intercontinental Hotel.
The Willard
I had a friend whho wanted desperately to get married here. She worked the numbers backwards and forwards right up until she walked down the aisle... somewhere else. The Willard is not a budget hotel.
DSC_1078You can't blame her for trying. It's a great place, full of history and presence. My favorite feature of the facade is the series of round windows. For me, they add a little something that sets it apart.

It was built in 1901 in a prime location one block from the White House. Lot's of dignitaries stay there and it's not unusual to see secret service waiting at the rear entrance or a limo with diplomatic flags flying.

Across the street from the Willard is a little park called Pershing Park. There is a fountain there that turns into an ice rink in the winter although I've never seen it used as such.

It's named for John J. Pershing, the General of the Armies in World War I and there is a statue of him in the park. He looks very serious and authoritative doesn't he?


There's also an eagle. Just because.


Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by.

Jun 18, 2008

Aim For Ten

DSC_1336Is this not the most boring bobbin of singles ever?

Inspired by spinners I love, I started spinning 10 minutes a day on Monday and it's been great. There was purple BFL already in progress so I started by finishing it off. There's actually quite a bit of variation in the color but this bobbin was the last in a very large project and I'm just happy that it's finished. I'll ply it with a bobbin of pink BFL soon and then I can really go to town knitting it all up.

As a reward for finishing the BFL, I allowed myself to pick something fun to spin from my stash last night. What caught my eyes was a Spontaneous Spinning Batt (3.7 oz. of Alpaca, wool, bamboo, mohair, tussah silk, recycled sari silk, silk noils, and angelina) that I bought from Loop a few months ago at the Homespun Yarn Party. I bought 2 of them but the other one is a deep purpley red which was too close to the boring purple so I pulled out this pretty, soft, green one. Isn't it yummy?

This stuff is fabulous! It's beautiful and soft and just delicious. I've never spun anything like it before. Being a new spinner, most of my experience is with very simple, unblended, fiber - Corriedale, BFL, Targhee, Finn, Romney - I've tried each of them straight up. Compared to that, this batt, with it's crazy mix of fibers, is super exotic and a kick to spin.

DSC_1343I had heard that Loop batts were fun to spin and they are. The colors are marvelous and the feel is nice and smooth and sooooooo soft. (It also loves to cling to stuff) It took me a little while to get a feel for the fiber because it was so foreign to me. The beginning of this bobbin is a little rough but by the time I stopped last night my spinning was looking much better.

I have one small issue with it. Angelina. The glittery stuff is vey pretty to look at but I really don't like spinning it. It doesn't feel nice and it gets in the way of my spinning enjoyment. If you look at the stuff spun up on my bobbin there are spots that look golden - that's not angelina, it's one of the other components in this batt and it's fabulous. My point is that if I can get that kind of sparkle without angelina then I will. That said, I did buy a little bit of angelina to play with on my drum carder and I'm sure I'll use it but very sparingly.

Jun 17, 2008

State of Lace

I started this stole a week ago and this is what it looked like when I went to be last night. Not bad, eh? I have finished the bottom border and tonight I hope to start the mid section. I'm hoping that if I do a repeat every night or 2 then I ought to have this done in plenty of time to wear it with my new dress to the party at the end of August and the one in September too.

So far I'm very happy with this project and I'm finding it an easy knit even though there are no rest rows. It's very intuitive and any errors have been caught pretty quickly. The yarn is lovely to work with too. It's Fino from Alpaca With a Twist and it's perfect. The color and feel are wonderful.


I also like the beads I chose and I think that they add just the right amount of sparkle. I'm just not sure if I placed them correctly. Overall they're fine in the middle of the diamonds but the spot where I added them is a SK2P and I'm not sure that I chose the right stitch to attach them to. The problem is that they seem to want to sink into the stitches. At this point, I've come too far to rip and re-do so I'm going to go with it and hope that it's all set right in the blocking.

Not sure what I'll post tomorrow because I'm thisclose to finishing a pair of socks AND I've been getting my 10 minutes a day of spinning in lately too. I can't remember the last time that I was so productive.

Thriving in Spite of My Black Thumb

There are good things happening in our sad, neglected, little, garden this summer. The lavender that I planted last summer is thriving and lovely. The butterflies are loving it too. They are constantly hovering around it.


Our mild success in the garden spurred DQ and I to stop at a local garden center over the weekend to pick up a few things. Precictably, we came home with more than we planned. There are some things that you just can't resist... like a peanut plant. Virginia is one of the major peanut producers so we'll give it a try.


How about some roses? These were a special request from DQ. I'm more into lilies and irises but she tells me that roses are her favorite so we got these which are called Double Knock Out. The guy at the nursery said that they're more or less idiot proof. Good thing!

Double Knock Out

We also bought mint while we were at the garden center. None of that was on the shopping list at all. What was on the list were tomato cages. When I was setting them up I realized that our timing was perfect because we have several blossoms and a baby tomato. Yay!


Jun 15, 2008

L is for...

Lindsey! You know her better as DQ which, depending on who you ask, stands for either Drama Queen or Dancing Queen. She's both.


This L is very well timed because the past week or so has been full of events to celebrate her completion of elementary school. Very often at these things, she begs me to put the camera away and occasionally hides behind stuff. Like here at the band concert. This would be one of the rare moments that she was not hiding behind a music stand or rolling her eyes at me.


I can forgive her though because at the awards assembly on Friday - my girl rocked the house! She got many honors and awards recognizing her participation in various clubs and activities but there were 2 that stood out. She received an award for being on the straight A honor roll all year and the President's Award for Educational Excellence. (For obvious reasons we're going with presidential in the abstract.) I was glowing all weekend long.

L at MV

That was a little immodest and show-offy and I apologize but I may never get another moment like this so please forgive if I bask in the glow for a little while. Even without the awards I'm super proud of my girl. She is helpful and responsible and really down to earth.


In short, L is for Lindsey, my first born who never fails to amaze and inspire me. I love her very much.

Jun 13, 2008

My DC - Week 21

People never know what this building is. They always guess wrong.


It's got turrets and gorgeous details. There's a clock tower that you can go up in too. I haven't but my daughters have.


It's also got a really creepy statue of Ben Franklin in front of it. It would be an ok representation if I wasn't totally bleached out. The lack of color is a little freaky.


It's the Old Post Office building. FYI, there's a big food court inside with a Ben & Jerry's. Yum!

Jun 12, 2008


I've got a bunch of random stuff today. Updates, short takes and stuff that didn't fit anywhere else.
1. I started a few things lately. I just seem to be compelled to fill all the empty needles in the house with stuff.
2. This is the beginning of the Alpine Lace Scarf from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby. I'm using Fino from Alpaca With a Twist and so far it's working out just fine. This lace is very easy to read and after just one night with it I'm starting to feel the flow. Right now I wish it was here instead of at home. My fingers are itching for lace.

3. This is the first time I'm adding beads to a shawl. I'm using the crochet hook method to add them and I really like it.
4. I have no illusions of finishing this on time to wear it with the dress to the August event. It would be nice... but not likely.
5. A little project monogamy would probably help but I don't see that happening at all.
6. There are 3 socks actively on the needles right now. This picture shows the second Monkey sock in the light green, Francie by Rebekkah Kerner in the coral, and Widdershins by Brooke Creel in the dark green.

7. The yarn for the Francie socks is Dream in Color Smooshy in Lipstick Lava. In the skein, and even balled up, it didn't look like much and I wasn't excited by it. Some parts looked kind of grey and blah. As I knit it up my appreciation grows. This stuff is lovely!
8. I also started a summer top for DQ recently. I'm using Elann Esprit and the pattern is the Esprit V-Neck Summer Tank by Flora Yang, a free pattern from the Elann website but it's a little weird to me and I've been stalled. I think that it's the dropped stitches. Maybe I just need to focus.

9. Kippah #7 is half way finished. Crochet is so simple, quick, and easy compared to knitting. I'm still not sure I'll finish on time. There's still at least 73 more kippot to make.
10. Here's a Stella D'Oro lily from my yard. We've got a lot of these in front of my house. When they're blooming I'm tempted to add even more.

11. This is a statue of Lieutenant-Colonel John By that overlooks the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. He supervised the construction of the canal which played a pivotal role in the development of Canada. According to a plaque near this statue, Ottawa was originally called Bytown in his honor.


13. Look at that second picture. Is that a happy face? A proud face? The face of a man you'd name a city for? The way that he's smirking looks kind of wry to me. It looks like he's thinking "Let's get this over with."
14. Today is my fourteenth anniversary. Who'd a thunk it? Happy anniversary B!
B at Car Show

Jun 10, 2008

Reed's Red Leaves

Don't fall over now but I've finished something and it's not a sock or a kippah. Are you shocked?


I should've had this sweater done a long time ago but, apparently my mojo wasn't quite fired up yet when I started it and I could not get a flow going with that leaf lace panel. I picked it up and put it down a zillion times. I finally decided about a week ago that I really needed to concentrate on getting it done so I worked on it a bit every night and now it's done. Yay!

The knitting was just fine on this sweater. It's a very nice pattern full of nifty stuff like the leaf detail tucked into the rib. Surprisingly, the aspect of this sweater that makes me smile most is the finishing. Instead of winging it as usual, I took out my copy of The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie Wiseman and actually read what it said about seams. What a difference it makes when you do a thing correctly. So pretty and neat! I'm not going to think about what this means about sweaters I made in the past. Look to the future and the positive implications!

DSC_1241It wasn't all smiles with this sweater. One of the more obvious problems was a forgotten buttonhole at the neck. I'm not sure if it was the instructions or knitter error - I suspect the latter. Anyway, I fixed this by adding an offset button and a little crochet loop. Unfortunately I suck at sewing on buttons (ok, sewing in general) and the placement on the placket is not nearly as straight as it ought to be and don't look at the wrong side because it's just not pretty. It's a shame because the rest of the sweater is lovely.

DSC_1240Of course the yarn has a lot to do with the appearance of this sweater. I used KP Cotlin which is a cotton linen blend because this is going to California and wool didn't seem nearly as useful out there. I love the color of this yarn. It's called Moroccan Red and it's a rich, deep red that is warm and just wonderful. Knitting with this yarn was very pleasant and it behaved perfectly. Then came the seaming and I had a bit of trial and error. While pulling out a row of stitches along a seam this stuff shredded like nothing I've ever seen. It was ugly in the extreme. On the positive side, I had plenty left over so I just discarded the shredded bits and cut a new piece but I will keep this in mind in the future.

I'll block this out a little tonight and get a little gift for the big brother and away this will go. I hope they like it... and it still fits.

Jun 9, 2008


Earlier this year I was invited to take part in the Special Swap and the theme of the forst one for me was Sweet Treats. I really wasn't sure what to expect at all but it was fun putting together a package for my pal. Friday afternoon I got home and found that my treats had arrived. It was obvious because Stacy had decorated the box with a big sheep and a yarn ball. The whole family was curious about the contents.
The treats that Stacy collected for me were perfect and what you see here is only part of it. Not pictured is a tin of hand balm and a copy of The Knitters Book of Yarn. I actually had that book out from the library and returned it the following day. My daughters marvelled at how Stacy got me so perfectly. I love Smarties, Twizzlers and all things lemon. And don't you love the sheep Pez? It is almost as cute as the little tape measure dressed up as a cake and the stitch markers with cupcakes on them. Then there's the yarn. I adore this yarn. It is so beautiful and soft. I could go on and on but the bottom line is that this package was perfect and it made my day.

I also think that a certain meme making the rounds right now is a bit of a treat. It's fun because it's all about pictures and as someone observed recently - I like pictures. I went into flickr to do the meme and I was amazed at some of the creativity that I saw there. It's kind of inspiring.

The variety of pictures to choose from was wonderful. For some answers I was very literal and for others I just went for pretty or fanciful. It was great fun and I strongly recommend it if you haven't done it already.

The Concept:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.
Flickr Meme
The Questions:
1. What is your first name? Hillary
2. What is your favorite food? Goat Cheese
3. What high school did you go to? Commack South
4. What is your favorite color? Green
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Johnny Depp
6. Favorite drink? Iced tea
7. Dream vacation? Greece
8. Favorite dessert? Ice Cream
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Happy
10. What do you love most in life? My girls
11. One Word to describe you. Creative
12. Your flickr name. I had to get a little creative with this one.

I Still Love Rock and Roll

This past weekend was one of my favorite local events - Celebrate Fairfax - the fair. It was wicked hot and we felt like we could easily melt in the sun but Stinkerbelle and I went anyway. DQ and hubbo couldn't join us because DQ's recital rehearsals ran all through the afternoon.

Here you see Stink on her favorite ride of the day - the swings. Can you blame her? I bet that it must've felt amazing to have the wind shooshing by here as the swings flew around and around. Another big hit for us was the booth set up by the Water Authority. Every year they offer a different cup or water bottle (free) that they cheerfully fill and fill again with ice and water all through the day. We were very good customers.

DSC_1187There were all kinds of things to see. In the Sci-Tech tent Stinkerbelle learned about robots and successfully completed the egg drop without cracking hers. All of the municipal agencies have booths to convey information and tchotckes. We were very good at collecting the stuff. Squeeze balls, frisbees, pencils, flashlights and more. You name it - we hauled it home.

There was lots of other entertainment. There was a laser light show which had the extra benefit of being inside the air conditioned building. There were shows for children and this guy who was playing with fire. It was all great fun and kept us super busy.

One of the highlights of the fair are the bands. These guys are called Bowling For Soup and they were a lot of fun. I felt kind of bad for them because they played during the heat of the day. They had a big hit a few years ago with a sog called 1985 but so much of their stuff is great. It's upbeat with clever lyrics. They tend to banter back and forth a lot - juvenile but in a good way.DSC_1181

The biggest band playing the fair this year was Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Remember them? The chick at the pizza counter had no clue. I felt old. Anyway, they rocked the house despite the lightning that was flashing in the distance. Hubbo and DQ finally arrived just as their set started and we all enjoyed the show. I took much better pictures than this but not of the whole band.

How was your weekend?