Jan 28, 2009

First Snow, Then Ice

Yesterday it snowed. It wasn't nearly as voluminous as they've had in some places but it was certainly enough to make Stinkerbelle happy. She's been quite busy making forts and snowballs and just generally playing in the snow. Look at our birdbath. Not mach bathing going on here for a while.

This morning we awoke to a very different landscape. Ice was everywhere. The sidewalks and parking lots were treacherous and each step I took was more tentative than the last. I was just sure that I was going to wind up on my ass. I didn't.

With a mass of family arriving in the next 2 days I could easily be freaking out over this turn in the weather but I consulted the forecast and I am reassured. Sun and highs that approach 40 degrees. By the time they start to arrive they'll be little sign on the snow left.

Jan 27, 2009

It's a Wrap

With just 2 more days before things explode around my house it was time to assess the state of the various projects. My daughter's Bat Mitzvah has really gotten my creative juices flowing (I just couldn't seem to stop them) and aside from the kippot and DQ's wrap, I also made a memory book, a photo display of DQ through the years, table signs and all of the place cards. Those last 2 items each required multiple steps - cutting, pasting, outlining, lettering and applying glitter. Thankfully all of that is done.


What I did not finish is my wrap and over the weekend I admitted that it's just not going to get finished in time. The picture above was taken last night right before I put the lace away. It's sitting atop the wrap that I bought to wear in it's place. It's not beaded and it's not lacey but it is cashmere and silk and it'll work just fine and, best of all, I am not stressing over it at all. Not one little bit.
IMG_0496[1]As a funny aside I should say that I'm the only chick in my little family that won't be wearing lace that I made. Stinkette found another silk shawl that I made in early 2007 (seen in the picture at the right) and asked if she could wear it. Of course I said yes. I just love that my girls enjoy my hand knits so much. It's like they're wrapping themselves in my love .

Jan 26, 2009

Finally Snowing

IMG_2627[1]After waiting for it all winter it finally started snowing here today. I knew it was going to happen. If there is one week that I would not welcome snow - that's when it would arrive.

My girls are thrilled although they're out of school today and tomorrow anyway for teacher work days. Stinkette is watching and waiting and hoping for a decent accumulation. I hate to disappoint her but this is hardly going to be a major event. Yes, the wintry mix will probably bring traffic here to a standstill but, then again, it doesn't take much. The inportnant thing is that by next weekend it'll be gone and the weather is predicted to be sunny and in the 40's. That's more like it.

Jan 23, 2009

ECF - Accomplished Edition

This is my first Eye Candy Friday for 2009 and it's one that makes me smile because I've wanted to take this picture for quite a long time. This is a stack of all 80 kippot that I made over the past year. It's about 6 inches high and gives me an unbelievable feeling of accomplishment.


Most of them had been in New York having labels sewn in by my mother. I am eternally grateful to her for volunteering to sew in the labels because having to do that myself would send me right over the edge.
Now they are finished and ready to go and I feel nothing but joy. Looking at that stack of kippot is so reassuring to me. It was a big job.

Here is a closeup of the top of the pile where I placed the three beaded kippot that are for my daughters and I. Mine is the one with the white lacey edge. Kippot are traditionally for the men although many women wear them too but it's more common to see women wearing doilies on their heads. Yuck. I thought thaere had to be a better option so I created a hybrid that marries the kippot with a lacey edge and I really love it. I hope that my mom, my M-I-L and my grandmother like them too because I made one for each of them too.
Have a great weekend!

Jan 21, 2009

Breathing In and Out

Do you think it's possible to have too many 4-day weekends? Me neither. I think that it's far more likely that my problems stem from system overload. In about a week and a half we'll be visited by family from all over and the perfectionist in me really wants to get it all right - as if there even is such a thing. Never-the-less I am very busy crafting, making lists, and generally keeping all the balls in the air. It seems that there are an endless stream of appointments and deadlines and I just need to keep reminding myself to breathe... in... and... out. And repeat.

On the positive side, most of the house painting is done. By that I mean that if it isn't done now it can wait. It's kind of weird and sad because, as one of my girls noted yesterday, we've lived in this house for nearly a decade and it finally looks like home.

Jan 20, 2009

Warm Inside

I would love to be on the mall today watching the inauguration but most highways and all the bridges from Virginia into DC are closed today and the reports of the crowding expected on Metro were dire. Truly we'd have a better chance of getting there from any other state or country. With that in mind we decided to stay home and watch on television. We are so happy and so warm.

Here's the seal on the viewing stand in front of the White House where our new president will watch the parade later today.

Here's the viewing stand itself. Let's hope it keeps our new President nice and warm. It's cold out there today.


It's a very good day.

Jan 19, 2009

One Down!

DQ's cashmere wrap is finished - including the beads - and blocking. Now I have a bit less than 2 weeks to finish mine. Ugh!


Jan 16, 2009

My DC - Cheesy Edition

DSC_0683What a cheese-fest!

I headed over to the Inauguration souvenir store again the other day to pick up treats for a friend and one of the people working in the store was allowing people to take pictures in this little vignette they have set up in the entry to the store. I'm not sure if the desk is authentic or a replica but I can say that we were told not to touch anything. Don't I look good in the seat of power? Nah.

One of the lovely things about working in DC is that we get a 4 day weekend because the city is going to be locked down tight for the festivities. The list of Metro stations, highways, streets and bridges being shut down is about 10 pages long and it sends a message loud and clear to all of us locals... STAY HOME! Noted.

So I will be watching the Inauguration in the warmth of my livingroom just as many of you will be. It's a little sad that they've made it so difficult for those of us who live here to attend the events. It's ok though because with just 2 weeks until our next big family event there are lot's of things for me to do.

Have a great weekend!

Jan 15, 2009

Just a Hat

Red Hat with HomespunI really shouldn't even be thinking about other projects right now but I just can't help it. I have yarns for a bunch of stuff pulled out for projects and I am itching to cast on for all of them RIGHT NOW!

As you can see I am weak and couldn't totally resist. It's only a hat and they go really fast but I feel a little guilty ever moment I work on this instead of the mass of lace. In reality though, this hat is helping me because there is only so much itty bitty knitting I can do and this provides a nice mindless respite. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Jan 14, 2009

Last FO of '08

Here is Stinkette rocking my last finished object of 2008.


If it looks kind of familiar it's because it was made to match the cowl I recently made for her. Please ignore the nasty look on her face. My girl is not a morning person at all. The picture above was taken over the weekend when the light was good but the cowl was lost. Hubbo finally found it and I convinced her to model the set for effect but her cooperation didn't extend to smiling.


I started with Kirsten Kapur's Chickadee Cowl pattern but I reduced it to 67 stitches (I could've used about 4 more) and knit the linen stitch for 2 inches before purling 3 rows. Then I switched to Manos Del Uruguay Cotton Stria in black wich I held double while knitting in stockinette for about 6 inches before decreasing through the crown of the hat.

I'd never used the Cotton Stria before and found it very nice and soft. The texture of it also worked well with the Fiesta Zuni. Although you can't tell from the pictures, Stinkette really likes both pieces and now that we've hit a serious cold snap she's using them happily. That's the point anyway.

Jan 13, 2009

Laceuary Continues

Aside fron completing the last of the kippot I concentrated heavily on lace this weekend. Beacause the yarn is such a dark color, my Juno Regina is hard to photograph so you'll have to take my word for it that significant progress was made. I have completed the first 4 charts and I'm now a few inches into the midsection.

Petals is a bit easier to capture. This is a "U" shaped piece and this picture shows the completed bottom of the U. The middle stitches have been bound off and now I'm starting one arm. It should move faster now because the shaping is done and I only have to knit across 2 repeats.


I suggested to DQ that we'll call this a wrap because a shawl sounds too old for a young girl. She replied that it doesn't matter what we call it because it's cashmere and that's all that matters. She's got a point. The pastels on this yarn aren't me at all but the feel of the yarn is enough to make me want to swipe it and roll around in it a bit. Happily it's also pretty sturdy yarn. You may recall that I frogged the whole thing about a third through the bottom of the U and I can say that the yarn held up just fine. It really is gorgeous stuff.


I've got a little less than 3 weeks left to finish these. I feel much more confident today about my chances than I did last week at this time but you never know. Anything can happen and I must allow enough time to block them. Soon I'll be knitting lace in my sleep.

Jan 12, 2009

80 !!!

Need I say more? Over the weekend I completed the last of the 80 kippot and immediately sent it off to New York to be labeled. Yay! I was doing happy dances all over the place. I was just so relieved to have completed on time.

DSC_0650It feels a little weird to have lost my constant companion. Since last May (the 28th to be exact) this side pocket of my Haiku bag has been the home of the kippah in progress and the ball of yarn that it was born of. Now it's empty. Empty!

Later today I suspect that I'll fill it with the current sock in progress but it won't be quite the same. It seems like everywhere I went over the past few months I would take out a kippah and add a few stitches. It'll be interesting to see the reaction of the people I see daily on my commute. They're so used to following the progress and many ask me how it's going.

Here are the last 6 displayed on my kitchen floor.


I'm happy I did this and I have to say that I learned quite a bit during the course of it. First I learned to crochet a bit. My deepest thanks go to Linda Hurt who was a huge help in figuring out my grandmother's pattern. When I started I had no idea how to read a crochet pattern at all. Now my skills have grown to where I can see myself tackling other bits of crochet but on a limited basis.

Along the way I adjusted the way I worked and modified the pattern on occasion. IAbout a quarter of the way through I discovered that a short length of a drinking straw was very helpful in starting the inner ring of crochet and then later I had a duh moment when I realized that pulling the end of the cast on yarn (that had been crocheted into the inner ring) would help close up the center hole. Some of the kippot needed to be bigger than most and others had beads or lace added.

On the whole it was a great learning experience and I'm sure that knowing how to crochet will help to make my knitting more interesting. I'm very happt that I did this and thankful that I don't have to do it again for 3 years.

Jan 9, 2009

My DC - Disruptive Edition

Over the past year I've really enjoyed presenting My DC every Friday. It was fun to share my perspective on a city I love and it was incredibly gratifying to hear from so many of you who really enjoyed it. You are what drove me to take long, meandering, walks in search of cool stuff to share and my health is all the better for it. Thank you.

That said, in 2009 My DC will alternate randomly with Eye Candy Fridays depending on what I see around me. Of course whenever there is something exciting going on here I'll do my best to share whatever insight I can. Today is just such a day.

I'm sure that you are all hearing about the preparations for the Inauguration and how President-Elect Obama has moved to DC. The hotel where they are staying, the Hay-Adams, is very close to my office and the disruption caused is something I face every day. That hotel was one of the local landmarks that I considered sharing as part of My DC but I chose to share the church across the street instead.

Talk about disruption, imagine being one of the folks with reservations at the hotel. Instead of arriving in style and pulling up under the porte cochere to have the bellman unload your bags, you are met at a barricade a block aaway. Can you say classy?

As you stroll down the block to the entrance this is what you see. A maze of barricades under the watchful eye of police and secret service. There are news crews too and you're lucky if you're not accosted by them. You can barely see it but there is another white tent on the far side of the porte cochere in H Street. That's how the new first family arrives without being seen by paparazzi.

What's their view from the hotel? Here it is. Beyond the barriers is Lafayette Park and if you go through the park you'll see the grandstand which is obstructing the White House from sight. You can just barely see it's roof over the grandstand. I suspect that the Obamas can see it better from their room.

Just down the street from the White House there is a new store full of Inauguration souvenirs. I have already been there once and I suspect I'll go again. My girls got commemerative coin keychains and Bruce and I got "Yes We Did" bumper stickers. It was quite crowded and I suspect it'll only be more so in the coming week.

Jan 8, 2009

January Randomness

What's one step beyond random? Whatever it is that's where I am right now. How about unfocused? Here's my unfocused Thursday.

  • Stinkette is learning all about drugs and smoking and peer pressure in school lately. Last night she suddenly launched into a discussion about it as she sat on the couch with me. She was explaining it all to me with such zeal. The peer pressure aspect was especially interesting to her and she gave me several what if's. I was struck by how big my baby is getting and how much I wish she'd stay little for a while longer. It was all I could do not to squeeze her in a huge hug.
  • I hate driving in the rain. Snow is surprisingly fine with me but the rain makes me very nervous and at night.... I worry every minute I'm on the road. Wouldn't you know that the one night of the week that I have the most driving to do it absolutely poured buckets? This is the second recent Wednesday that this has happened to me. I slowed way-the-heck down (which is saying a lot) and turned the radio down. I really, really hope that next Wednesday is dry.
  • I'm so flattered by the confidence everyone has in my ability to finish all my lace on time. I'm going to do my best to live up to expectations.
  • Only 3 kippot to go. I had hoped to have them all done by New Years Eve but I got seriously sidetracked by Grandma's sweater.
  • Speaking of that sweater, Grandma called the other day to say that she finally had a chance to wear it about and it's perfect. Yay! I smiled all day.
  • Why is it that every time I cross something off my to do list something else takes it's place?

Jan 7, 2009


Although my intent for 2009 is to destress my knitting life, it's going to have to wait until February because both DQ and I are wearing sleeveless party dresses on February 1 and that means we both need wraps. Yes, I could buy them but I won't because I'm stubborn and it irks me to buy something hat I can make myself.

I don't have too much else on my plate right now knitting-wise and there is one more 4-day weekend between now and then so it's possible that I could get both of these done but I'm not sure it's likely. Here's why...

This is DQ's wrap. The pattern is Petals (Rav link) by Jeanne Abel and the yarn is amazingly yummy cashmere called Myne. On the positive side, this is not a huge piece and only uses about 500 yards of yarn. However, I frogged this thing completely on Sunday night because I was hopelessly lost and the pattern is still a bit challenging to me. It also calls for a beaded edging to be crocheted on. In a pinch I could let DQ wear it without the edge to the party and go back to add it afterward.

This is the start of Miriam's Juno Regina (Rav link) in Skacel's Merino Lace. I just love her patterns and this one has been typical in that it's very well written and easy to follow. Another thing that this project has going for it is the simple midsection that will make perfect TV knitting. On the flip side, this is a very lonooong piece requiring more than double the yarn for Petals.
Looking at these two projects and my totally ridiculous "to do" list it's really anyones guess if I'll get these finished in time. I hope so and I'll certainly do my best but I will not risk my sanity. If I had to put money on it I'd say that DQ will be rocking the cashmere and I'll be bare shouldered.

Jan 6, 2009

Year in Words and Pictures

DSC_0634My house is a nightmare right now. There is nothing quite like an impending visit from all of your nearest and dearest, some of whom have never been to your home before, to make you look around and say "Ugh!" That's kind of where we're at right now and circumstances prohibit a huge shopping spree to replace everything that is run down and sad. What to do? Paint! Oh yes, this is just a small representation of the many paint cans that we've brought home lately.

I know I don't have to do it and if one more person tells me that things don't have to be perfect I think I'll scream. I know they're just trying to help but, seriously, it's not as if I don't know that the earth won't stop rotating if the flowers aren't just so. I just want it to be right.

So now you know where my head it at and why I have no pictures of what I've been working on. I have a finished object and a bunch of lace to share but no pictures yet due to general disarray in my home and my brain.

Since it's still close enough to the start of the new year to get away with year in review stuff I'm going to re-do a meme I enjoyed last year. I grabbed the first sentence or 2 from the first post of each month and I also went through the pictures posted during the month and chose one that I liked most or felt represented the month best. Note that very few, if any, of these pictures relate to the text. I hope that you enjoy it.

January - Happy New Year!

February - These pictures are really fresh. I took them yesterday during my lunch break.
CIC Guard Shoots

March - Hubbo returned late last night. Whew! I am so relieved.

April - I think that running into your hairdresser on the street when your having a bad hair day has to be a bad sign.

May - I took this picture last night when I got home. The light was just so nice and warm just before sunset.

June - Stinkerbelle and I went shopping on Saturday. We hit a certain home improvement store where we walked up and down the aisles chanting "shower, pipe, cedar, spigot, tile" over and over again.
Green Eyed Girls

July - This has been one of the rainiest seasons in recent memory and, while rain isn't a lot of fun, it's been great for the growth of stuff both inside and out.

August - I was unexpectedly absent from the blog last week because my family suffered another loss. Just 10 months after I lost my father, my husband has lost his.

September - Blah, blah, blah... can't believe the summer is over. Blah, blah, blah... kids are back to school.

October - Today is the second day of Rosh Hashanah, a holiday on which I had hoped to debut Sahara.

November - After a really cold week it warmed up to create the perfect setting for some of our weekend activities.

December - How was your weekend? Mine was not quite as lazy as I had hoped.

There it is, my 2008. Onward into 2009.

Jan 1, 2009

That Time of Year Again

Oy, I totally forgot my Blogoversary last Thursday. This year is off to a fast start and I can't see things slowing down any time soon.

Anyway, when I realzed that I forgot my Blogoversary it got me thinking about last year at this time and the goals I set for myself. Ugh! How pitiful that I missed nearly all of them. Here they are again with notes for 2009. No need to set new goals when I've yet to meet the old ones.

  1. Be good to myself. I enjoy knitting for others but I would love to be a little selfish this year and make a few things for myself. I could use a new scarf, hat, sweaters.... stuff. I'm not abandoning the list of stuff I make for friends and family but I'm going to try not to let myself get lost in the crowd. - I did ok with this. I made a lacey shawl and a sweater (Sahara) for myself. I also added several pairs of socks to my collection. This year I hope to make another shawl, a sweater (Eris) and a summery top for myself. Naturally there will be more socks and, in the true spirit of being good to me I'm looking forward to diving into a pair of gloves in yummy cashmere.

  2. Challenge myself. This really means breaking out the Barbara Walker books and graph paper. I was looking through my books the other day for the perfect pattern and hubbo suggested that I just put something together myself. That stopped me dead in my tracks. Who me? He pointed out that I've been knitting a while and I ought to be able to come up with something myself. He's right, I should. I have ideas in my head and I need to get over myself and work some of them out for better or worse. - I never got around to this at all in '08. There were just too many other things calling my name but I find increasingly that what's in my head doesn't seem to exist in pattern form.

  3. Reduce the stash. You saw this one coming. The stash has become unmanageable and really needs to be addressed. Besides, how can I buy more yarn if I can't find a place to put it? - Let's not even talk about this. I was doing ok to a point and then the wheels came off the wagon. For now I've addressed the exploding stash by purchasing more plastic bins and cedar to line them and removing much of it to the basement. Sadly, fiber keeps arriving like clockwork. Apparently when I see a sweater I'd like to knit the appropriate yarn soon magically appears. I really need to get a handle on this and make some of it disappear.

  4. Find a name for this blog that feels more like me. I've never felt entirely comfortable with the name of the blog. I'm not knitting for anyone else - I'm knitting for me. I knit for many reasons - for comfort, to feel a connection to the past, to honor my grandmother, to express myself, and just because it makes me happy. I need to find something that expresses me better and reflects me. Any ideas? - This was a no go too but it's by design because the current name has apparently developed meaning for some in my family. I can't say that I love it but I'm resigned to it.

  5. Become a better spinner. I need to keep taking classes and use what I learn in classes to inprove the consistency and quality of my spinning. - Yay! Finally a goal that I can claim to have made progress with. I didn't take as many classes as I'd like to but I've spun more and it's definitely improving. Now I have 2 wheels and I feel like I need to justify it by using them often.

My goals for this year are happily mostly confined to stuff I want to knit. In addition to the sweaters for me I'd love to make the Central Park Hoodie for DQ and a modified version of the 1824 Blouson for Stinkette. I also owe Stinky a pair of fingerless gloves and DQ a replacement for her denim summer top. Easy peasy. Mostly I plan to have fun with my knitting this year. It's always been a stress reliever in the past and the recent spate of musts has made it stressful. I will absolutely do something about that.

Happy New Year!

IMG_2611New Years Day is one of the best days of the year. It's a totally lazy, relaxed day. In my house it always starts with the Rose Parade. Oh how I love to watch it and I have for a long time but for the past 3 years we feel a little wistful because 4 years ago we were there in the stands. It was amazing and we'd do it again in a heartbeat. The experience has made this the one day a year that I really feel the need to be somewhere else. Maybe this will be the year we go back. Fingers crossed.

Today we're a little less lazy than usual. We're taking advantage of having all of us home and doing a lot of spruce up jobs around the house. Painting everywhere! We'll start the new year with a fresh new look. Yay!