Nov 26, 2008

DQ's Lace

DSC_0472Here's yet another thing that's currently on my needles. This is the beginning of a cashmere lace shawl/wrap in a pattern called Petals by Jeanne Abel. I bought it as a kit (something I rarely do) at the Virginia Fiber Festival in October. It's not my colors at all but that's ok because I didn't choose it... DQ did. Yes, my daughter asked me to make her a cashmere lace shawl and I said ok. It was a weak moment. Or maybe I was caught up in the joy of spending the day with my daughter in the cool crispness of a perfect fall day. Maybe it was simply the fiber fumes affecting my already addled brain.

I'm joking of course. I bought the kit because DQ asked for it and I know that she'll love it and appreciate it and wear it proudly. So far it's been kind of slow going. I'm always so happy with the results of lace knitting that I forget how challenging I find it to knit with laceweight. I think it's the contrast with the heavier weight stuff that I usually use.

The pattern itself has been a little slow to set up. It's a U-shaped shawl and you start knitting at the bottom of the U and increase the stitch count while incorporating the new stitches into the pattern. I can see the pattern becoming much easier to knit once I get beyond the increases. It's not difficult and intuition is already starting to kick in.

One thing that is a little vexing is the needles. I used my usual KP Options when knitting the Alpine Lace stole and had no problem but this time I feel, for the first time, that these just aren't pointy enough. I'm thinking that it may be time to try the Addi Lace needles.

Nov 25, 2008


Yesterday I mentioned my struggles with Knitty ADD and here is just a sample of the evidence. Believe it or not - there are a few more things I haven't documented. These shorter days are really inconvenient. By the time I get home - the sun is down and the light in our house is just not the greatest.

DSC_0460Anyway, the first item on the list is a scarf for hubbo. It's the same entrelac pattern as the one I just made but the yarn is a little different. I was going to use Noro again but then, at Stitches, I saw this Poems yarn. It's got a similar look but a smoother feel. It's also way cheaper than Noro which clinched the deal. In iffy financial times a knitter has to be flexible.

Obviously I haven't gotten very far with this scarf yet but so far it's working just fine. The yarn is very loosely spun so knitting it has a different feel and I need to be careful not to split it. So far - so good though.

DSC_0461The next item on the list is for Stinkerbelle. It's wicked cold here lately and they're predicting more of the same all winter so many warm things will be coming off my needles this season. I want everyone around me to stay nice and tosty and that mostly means wool... except for Stinky. she's got sensitive skin like me so I try to stay away from wool when I knit for her.

This is a cowl made out of Fiesta Zuni that I picked up a few years ago in Florida. The colors should make her happy and the yarn is a nubby cotton. The pattern this time around is the Chickadee Cowl by Kirsten Kapur. It's done in linen stitch and with this yarn it's turning out nice and dense. I'm hoping that the structure of the fabric will be good for keeping the wind away from my girl's tender throat.


The last item on today's post is only semi-new. I think that the picture tells the story well. In it you can see one sweater being knit from the wreckage of another. The new is a February Lady Sweater and the old was the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. If you look for it, even the saddest of events often has a ray of light piercing the darkness.

Last week, when we went to NY for the funeral the ray of light was an unexpected overnight visit with my grandparents. DQ got to quiz them on family history and collect pictures and documents for a school project. Hubbo and Stinky got to hang out and visit. I got to check my grandmother's sweater against her for size. It came up short. There was just no denying that the finished sweater had little chance of working for my grandmother so I did a little research and realized with a bit of surprise that the weight and yardage was perfect for the February Lady. I actually think it'll work better for her anyway due to the shape of the sweater. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be a NaKniSweMo failure due to the restart but it'll be worth it to have a successful finished product.

Nov 24, 2008

Gifty Stuff

DSC_0455Another weekend - another craft show. I know that a lot of people get tired of them and sometimes it does seem like we see the same stuff over and over again but each time I go I find that my focus is a little different and I stop at different booths. This time we had 2 specific gifts in mind and happily we made 2 perfect purchases. It is so wonderful when you have that "Aha!" moment and find the perfect thing for someone. The hard part is hold on to your treasure until the time is right to give the gift.

It was a frigid weekend. It was so cold that my eyes teared up and actually hurt as we walked back to the car. It was really not fit for anyone to be outside and yet people were. We even stood outside to watch a glass blowing demo. Stink-o insisted on seeing it.

DSC_0462Another thing I did last weekend was start the next baby gift. It's bad louck to get stuff for a baby before it's here so I generally wait until the baby arrives to start knitting for it. My girls gained another cousin on Friday - Riley Tess - so I broke out the yarn that DQ chose and got to work.

This time around I'm doing a Drops pattern but naturally, I'm going to modify it a bit. The colors are a bit off in the picture but they're close enough to get an idea of where it's going. The strawberry red will keep things from getting too babyish so now the trick is to avoid looking like a 4th of July costume. I'm hoping that the pink will help that.

My knitters ADD has been running rampant lately so I've got a bunch of other stuff to share this week too. More spinning, lace, and warm things.

Nov 21, 2008

My DC - Week 39

I took the day off on Wednesday to do errands. Most of them were pretty mundane but we finished the day at a meeting in a place with a spectacular view of DC. Today I'll share pictures from a vantage point that most people don't get to experience.

If you look straight down you can see the Marine Corps War Memorial (better known as the Iwo Jima Memorial) which is actually in Arlington but I'll include it anyway.

Also on the Virginia side of the river is the Air Force Memorial. It's supposed to represent the "bomb burst" maneuver and evoke the feeling of flight. I can feel it. Can you?

AI also took a series of distance shots to give you all a sense of the city as a whole. I started by looking off to the right towards the Pentagon (technically in VA - sue me). The little white dots in the forground are grave stones in Arlington National Cemetary.

Shifting to the left and into DC proper you can see the Jefferson perched on the edge of the tidal basin. The 14th Street Bridge is in the top right of the picture and at the bottom left is the Memorial Bridge.

This one really needs no explanation. Isn't it cool how the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Capitol line up so perfectly? To the right of the Lincoln you see the Memorial Bridge again.

Moving to the left yet again you can see the Key Bridge. On the left is the bright white marble of the Kennedy Center.

In this last picture in the series you can see the Kennedy Center again and to it's left is the infamous Watergate.

One thing that you may notice looking at these pictures isthe flatness of the city. It really has no skyline. This is due to the Heights of Buildings Act of 1899 (amended in 1910) which says in part that no building in DC can be higher than the Capitol.
Have a great weekend!

Nov 20, 2008

Spinning It Out

I've been knitting and crocheting up a storm lately. I just finished kippah number 60 which means that I have finished 75% of them. I still have a way to go but I can't help feeling like the end is in sight. So exciting!

DSC_0374I've finished a pair if fingerless gloves for DQ and a sweet little Ami for Stinkerbelle and I don't have pictures of either of them yet. Ditto for the newest cowl I started or the restart of a certain sweater. All that will have to wait for next week.

Although I can't share any knitting today I do have fiber content. I'm spinning again. I fell hard off the 10 Minutes a Day wagon but I'm getting back to it little by little. One really good reason to start spinning regularly is the fiber stash that has accumulated. It's exploded in my house and that stash seriously needs to be tamed.

I just finished spinning a bobbin of fiber that I got at MDS&W earlier this year. It's a 50/50 blend of silk and Merino from Cloverleaf Farm. I just couldn't resist the shine. It's hard to photograph but, to me, it looks kind of metallic in person. That's what drew me to it in the first place. I pulled something out of the stash to spin up and ply with it but there is much in the stash that's calling my name right now. Who knows what I'll spin next?

By the way, I put yesterday's post together really fast and I neglected to mention that all of the sculptures we saw in that exhibit were made of Legos. That was the draw since Stinkerbelle is a Lego junky. Sadly she was a little underwhelmed. I think she was hoping that the exhibit would be more like Legoland. Not quite.

Nov 19, 2008

The Art of the Brick

Thanks for all of the good wishes. We really appreciate them and hope that it will be quite a long time before anyone needs to offer us condolences again.
Before we had to head to New York for the funeral we were having a really nice weekend full of family and fun. We were in Philadelphia to visit Hubbo's cousins. We were greeted with ice cream and warm brownies late Friday night and we all had a blast laughing and talking and snacking.

The excuse for the visit was seeing an exhibit called the Art of the Brick at the American Swedish Historical Museum. It was very cool but smaller than we expected. The whole exhibit was contained in one room.

DQ was even able to get some work done on her family history project for school. She questioned our cousins, an aunt and uncle. We were amazed to find out that she shares a birthday with Hubbo's grandfather. We couldn't believe that nobody mentioned it until now.

Isn't this cool?


Nov 18, 2008


I was too slow. I'm not sure why I didn't think to make a chemo cap for Toby sooner. Denial maybe. An unwillingness to believe what I knew.

The day that I posted my progress shot of the Shedir was the day that my S-I-L took a turn for the worse. Pain took over and the family gathered to comfort her over her final days. On Sunday, just before noon, she was gone.

Toby was one of the sweetest people. She was funny and kind. She left behind a husband and 2 children who are lost without her. Her father and brother are just devastated. She was 45 and had so much to live for. We'll all miss her very much.

I've put aside the chemo cap for now. It just feels weird to work on it now. I'll finish it at a later date and donate it to an organization that can get it to someone who needs it.

Nov 14, 2008

My DC - Week 38

Here's another building I've been saving for quite a while. Can you guess what attracts me to it? Ummmm... red brick anyone?

How beautiful and ornate.

Can you imagine what those windows must look like from inside?


Here's a statue of Martin Luther that stands in front of it.

Have a great weekend!

Nov 13, 2008

Just a Progress Report

It occurred to me the other day as I uploaded pictures and data into Ravelry that I have a few projects going right now that have gotten little or no blog time so here's a post dedicated to progress.
DSC_0351This is the first of a pair of Axel Fingerless Mitts. What a quick and easy pattern! The first mitt is nearly complete now and I hope that by the end of the weekend I can give these to DQ. The yarn is KP Cadena, a bulky wool/alpaca yarn.

I originally planned to use this for a different pattern but I can no longer recall what it was. Then I tried to turn it into Chevalier Mittens but after lots of cabling I realized that I really didn't have enough. Ugh. I am so happy that this pattern is working with the yarn.

DSC_0369The next thing on my needles, my nighttime knit, is the Tangled Yoke Cardi that I'm making for my grandmother. This too is not without drama. My grandmother requested a sweater last year at this time so I took measurements and by January I had chosen a pattern and bought the yarn. Now that I've finally cast on for it my grandfather has done his best to freak me out by ointing out that my grandmother may be taking on a softer, rounder appearance.

This is not what I want to hear at all. I am comitted to this sweater and I really want it to work for my grandmother but I'm a realist so I've come up with a plan B. I bought the Miss Babs yarn at Stitches with the thought of making a February Lady Sweater for my grandmother is this doesn't work. That pattern looks more forgiving so I'm sure that it'll work.

Anyway, this is my NaKniSweMo project and right now it's unlikely that I'll finish on time. As of last night I'm still about 2 inches short of the split for the sleeves. On the positive side, the sleeves are knit separately so they'll be more portable so maybe they'll go faster. I'm not counting on it.

DSC_0367The most recent project to appear on my needles is also the most pressing one. This is a Shedir in Brooks Farms Four Play. I found the yarn at Stitches and knew it would make a perfect Chemo Cap for my S-I-L in NYC. She's in the fight of her life and it's not going well so I really want to get this to her fast. She could use all the support she can get. She's too weak to climb stairs or shower but, when hubbo called her yesterday, she asked if she can help with DQ's Bat Mitzvah prep in any way. I'm speechless. My M-I-L tells me that even though she can barely move, she still plans to be here in Virginia in January. I really do hope so.

Nov 12, 2008

S is for...


No, not the icky, slimy, kind that come out after the rain only to be salted by my sister and I some evil people. I'm takling about the 2 leggged variety of slug that looks a whole lot like me.

I expect that most people reading this have no idea what I'm talking about and that's to be expected because it's a form of commute that's only practiced in a few places. I'm fortunate enough to live in one of them.

Slugging is best described as organized hitchhiking. People like myself are referred to as riders and we line up in the morning and afternoon at specified locations where drivers go to pick people up. As cars arrive, the person at the head of the line will ask the driver their destination and then broadcast it to the rest of the line. It helps a lot if the caller has a loud, clear, voice. If the destination sounds good to a rider and they are next in line then they go hop in the car and they're on their way.

Slug MediaThe benefit to the riders is clear - you get a free ride to and from work and, as an added bonus, you don't have to deal with crowded Metro busses and trains. It helps the drivers out too because they get to drive in the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes that move way faster than the regular lanes. It's a win-win for everyone.

I've spoken to people who have been slugging for about 30 years and, according to them, nothing really bad has ever happened. Oh, occasionally a driver will have a fender bender or a car will break down although I've never personally experienced it. The worst thing that I've experienced is a bad or aggressive driver or, more often, a nasty or small car.

Minis are cute but not really meant to have adults riding in the back seat. Ditto for most 2 door vehicles - especially convertibles. Not fun at all. Work vans and family cars with equipment, toys, and mess are not fun either but as long as I don't have to clean it up I can deal with it because it's really pretty rare. Most drivers have smallish SUVs and family sedans.

Occasionally we get really nice rides. BMWs and Mercedes are not unusual and I've ridden to work in Jaguars and even a Rolls. Talk about riding in style!

Slug InterviewsThere are rules for slugging and you can find them and much more information on websites dedicated to slugging like In a nutshell, a good slug is a quiet, undemanding slug. Don't speak unless spoken to. Don't make requests regarding the radio or climate of the car unless absolutely necessary.

Of course there are drivers who love to talk. I've ridden in with one guy who was on his way to appear on TV and comment on the election. He used the slugs in his car as a focus group. Political discussion is not uncommon but there was one day that I got stuck in traffic on the way home with a driver who really wanted to discuss her boyfriend issues. So not fun but what's a slug to do?

Lately, the media has been very interested in slugging. In this post you see pictures of a media truck and an interviewer speaking with people on line at the commuter lot in the morning. The recent spike in gas prices has drawn attention to slugging but I wish they'd stop focusing atention on us. It only increases the number of folks looking for rides and the whole supply and demand thing goes out of whack. Waiting longer for rides sucks.

Nov 11, 2008

Helena With Leaves

I finished another baby gift last week. Just 2 more to go.

DSC_0261I love this sweater from start to finish. The pattern is Helena by Alison Green Will and I loved it as soon as I saw it. It hasn't disappointed me at all. It is well written and super easy. All good things.

You may recall that the last time I discussed this project I was pondering the finishing details. It was nice but as it neared completion I felt like it was missing something to move it from nice to outstanding. My first thought was a contrast edging so I took the sweater to my LYS in search of a cream or shell pink yarn to set it off. I got solidly shot down. The woman at Uniquities said that a contrast would make the sweater more sporty and cause it to loose something. Looking at it with the cream yarn next to it I could see it was true. I decided to stick with the burgundy but I still felt like there was something missing.

The more I looked at the sweater, the clearer it became that the problem was the closures. Those little ties weren't doing a thing for me but my aversion to installing buttons in things is well documented. What to do? I vaguely recalled seeing some knit closures so I ordered up Nicky Epstein's Knitting Beyond the Edge and started the finishing work while I waited for it to arrive.


DSC_0219I've got to say that I enjoyed the finish work on this sweater. Picking up the stitches for the garter edge was fine and sewing down the picot hem was really satisfying. Isn't that a bizarre admission from someone who really hates to sew? I think that the difference is doing it correctly. Now that I've studied the finishing books a little and I work things in the proper way, it's kind of fun. The frustration is gone and all that remains is neat edges.

After a short hiatus the new book arrived and in no time at all the right closure was identified. The whole family got in on the act and agreed that the Leaf Frog closure was the right one for the job. It was so much easier than I expected and now that it's finished I love it. With the fancier closure this sweater looks just a bit more polished and elegant. Let's hope it fits.


Nov 10, 2008

Three Bags Full

DSC_0324Stitches was held in Baltimore last weekend and I went with a list. This is one of those good news - bad news situations. The good news is that I mostly stuck to my list. The bad news is that the list was kind of long. Um, embarrassingly long.

Part of the list was mental. Get some Mmmmalabrigo. Check! 4 Skeins of pretty blue Malabrigo are in my stash now. I also wanted a shawl pin and Norah Gaughan 3. Happily I brought all of these things home.

DSC_0320Most of the list was written out and notated. I spent a good part of last week editing my queue and making notes on what was for whom. The bulk of that list is for gifts and I managed to knock out quite a lot of it. I got a whack of Miss Babs in a nice, deep blue for Grandma's plan B sweater. (More on that later this week) I got the yarn for Hubbo's entrelac scarf, the final 2 skeins for Stinkerbelles next sweater and a bunch of other, mostly secret, stuff.

DSC_0322I wasn't perfect though and there were some things at stitches that I just couldn't leave behind. This skein of Kraemer Silk & Silver is a good example. It's so pretty and it's got great yardage. I have no idea at all what I'll do with it but I see it as a fabulous accent on something. Other things I didn't plan on that fell in my bag included leather handles for felted bags and one... just one, oops, two skeins of sock yarn. Those don't really count though because not only are they sock yarn, they were from friends. One was from Tess Yarns where we stopped to say hello to Melinda and visited for quite a while. The other was from Dianne of Creatively Dyed who is the reason that DQ insisted on accompanying me to Stitches this year.

In the past I attended Stitches with my buddy Felicia so it was a big switch having DQ along. More mother-daughter and less buddies hanging out. I loved having DQ's company and her advice on colors etc was great. Another cool thing about having her with me at Stitches was that I was able to get her into a "Learn to Knit" class and she had a lot of fun. She's all kinds of excited to start some small projects. She may be hooked.


The best thing about attending this or any fiber event is the company. You meet new people and reconnect with others. Here we are with Mama-E. I wish you could see the rest of her sweater. It had two shades of green and it was very cool. We saw her in the Neighborhood Yarns booth where we also saw Karida who remembers the dragon socks I knit with her yarn. Yay. It's so cool when people recognize and remember the stuff you made.

How was your weekend?

Nov 7, 2008

My DC - Week 37

In the days following the election I roamed the city looking for scenes that would express the post election state of DC. There is a feeling in the air, a vibe, an excitement. It's hard to put your finger on or photograph.
That's what I was thinking about on Wednesday when I came upon a huge, electric, line of people along 15th street. People were taking pictures of the line and the media was there to record the scene as well. What was it?

They were outside the Washington Post building waiting for the commemorative colies of the post election paper to go on sale. The release had been pushed back all day and police were arriving to make sure that everyone remained calm and peaceful.

A few blocks from my office in the opposite direction you'll see a buzz of activity. Right outside the White House preparations for the inauguration are underway. I believe that they're building the grandstand on that spot.


Nov 6, 2008

The Coveted Noro Scarf

As promised, after briefly being sidetracked by the election I'm back with some real knitting content and it's good.

I finished the Coveted Noro Scarf last friday and hubbo immediately picked it up and threw it around his neck - just to see how it looked. It's not his and he knows it but that hasn't stopped him from casting longing looks and wistful glances each and every time I pulled it out to work on it. You think I'm joking? Think again.

It's understandable that hubbo would love the scarf. What's not to love? The pattern was easy to remember which made this the perfect pattern to take with me everywhere. I knit on it while watching TV and commuting to work. In a busy schedule like mine you grab a minute or 2 to knit anywhere you can so patterns that are easy to follow and don't require an hour of figuring to pick up where you left off are priceless.

Some people would be put off by entrelac and all of the picking up. Normally I would too but this is just 8 stitches at a time. Easy Peasy! I could totally make another one of these and that brings us back to hubbo because the only way he'll keep his hands off of this one is if I make one for him. Seriously. He has never, ever had this reaction to anything I made before.

So this weekend when I go to Stitches East a few balls of Noro will be on my list. I have never worked with it before this project but now that I have I get it. I'm not usually into such rustic yarn but the colors in the Noro are fabulous. This yarn is art. As I worked on the scarf I kept choosing new squares as favorites. Sometimes it was the rusty one with the green flecks, at others it was the bright pink or maybe the blue. What surprised me most was how much I loved the multicolored squares that should've been muddy with so many colors in them but, instead, were beautiful.

The success of this scarf also owes quite a lot to Ravelry. That's where I found the perfect pattern for the 3 balls of Noro that had been marinating in my stash for at least 3 (4?) years. That's also where I went when I realized that the pattern needed 4 balls. Ooops! After such a long time I had no hope of getting another ball in the right dye lot from my LYS so I trolled through Ravelry and found someone with one perfect ball. Amazingly, SinCitykitty said that she'd got it for free from someone on Ravelry and sent it on to me for the same price. How awesome is that?!
This has been a great project for me and I hope that all the good vibes knit into this scarf will stay with it when I gift it to an unnamed friend/family member at the holidays this year. I also hope they have the good sense to keep it away from my husband because he just can't keep his hands off it.

Nov 5, 2008

Today I Am A Blue State Girl

BlueI cannot tell you how happy it makes me to be a blue stater. Last night we were riveted by the election coverage. DQ didn't want to go to bed until she saw Virginia declared BLUE. Of course it happened moments after her head hit the pillow but my brother was still up and he called to thank us for turning Virginia BLUE. ;)

This was such a historic election and the feeling of hope that is in the air today is undeniable. Wouldn't it be great if this excitement was just the start of a positive change in our country?

You may recall that DQ and I went to see President-elect Obama in July when he spoke at what is now her school. What I didn't mention is that Stinkerbelle went out canvassing for Obama with Hubbo a few weeks ago. Both of my girls feel like they were a part of something wonderful and I hope that they remember this moment forever. After all, they are the next generation of voters.

Senator Obama - July 10, 2008

Tomorrow I promise some actual knitting content.

Nov 4, 2008

Counting For Better or Worse

I voted this morning. Did you?

I could tell you all about my excitement at the potential for having my vote count this year as opposed to the past where it was a foregone conclusion that Virginia would go Red. And I could tell you about waiting on line to vote this morning just a few feet away from where we saw Obama in July.

There is much to be said about today's historic vote but for me, the most telling thing are the people. They are turning out in droves and waiting patiently in long lines to be heard and I find that encouraging. People are inspired.

Yes, there have been way too many commercials on television and many of them have been full of lies and half-truths. I'll be really happy to see them stop and I can't wait for them to retire Robo-call. It'll also be a relief to see all of the campaign signs disappear.

What I hope remains is the feeling of inspiration and being engaged. For one moment in our country's history people are excited about an election in a way I've never seen before. With such a tight election and so many of the expectations of the past turned on their heads people feel like they could make a difference. Regardless of how the election goes I find it somewhat refreshing not to hear people using the excuse that they're not voting because their vote doesn't matter.

Of course I'll be happiest of the Old Dominion goes Blue and Obama is elected. Go vote!

Nov 3, 2008

Scary Stuff

DSC_0240After a really cold week it warmed up to create the perfect setting for some of our weekend activities. Trick or treating on Friday night was great. We were joined by a bunch of friends and had so much fun. The kids collected candy and we all saw some really spooky stuff.

DSC_0247We live in a neighborhood where there are lots of kids and many families get really into decorating for Halloween. We saw yards full of tombstones, tons of gaudy lights and bats flying in trees. There was even one house with an elaborate haunted garage complete with strobe lights, smoke, a maze and costumed figures jumping out at us. It was spooky but not nearly as scary as this display in one yard. Supposedly the man of the house is a righty and is convinced that his wife will vote with him but I sense a bit of denial. Can you imagine the tension in this house today, on the eve of the election? Oy!

The weather was also wonderful for Stinkerbelle's last softball game of the fall season. They didn't have a fabulously successful season. Ok, they lost every game. But still, they all improved quite a lot and they had fun. Most importantly, Stinky is looking forward to playing again in the Spring.


Sadly the weather got quite a bit colder on Sunday and it put a damper on DQ's enjoyment of her weekend outing with the Girl Scouts. They went for a horseback tour of Gettysburg. I think the thrill of staying in a hotel with her 2 friends and NO ADULT CHAPERONE in their room made up for it. (Their were adults in the rooms with the younger girls nearby)

I achieved a few personal goals this weekend too. One of them relates to NaKniSweMo. I cast on Saturday night and went to bed exasperated because I ran out of yarn befoe I got 220 stitches. The next morning I woke up and ripped it back and tried again and was sucessful his time. Yay! then I consulted the pattern and realized that I only needed 202 stitches which I had the night before. Ugh! The moral of the story is not to cast on for stuff while watching SNL. It's too late and too distracting.


Thankfully now I'm chugging along so we'll see how it goes.