Jan 31, 2007

KFYS 2007 - January Update

Today is January 31, the end of the first month of Knit From Your Stash 2007. At this point last year I had already bought a signifigant amount of yarn, most of which is still sitting in my stash. So how is KFYS going so far? Very well I think. This month I only bought 2 skeins of sock yarn and 2 skeins of souvenir yarn. Not too bad! Of course that doesn't mean I haven't been tempted. I have - every single day. The worst is hearing about sales. Ouch! I find that doing a quick inventory of projects that are still on my list helps to fight the urge.

Here's a funny little related note. As I mentioned before, I'm the cookie mom for my daughters troop this year. It's a job I've done for the past 4 years. (I apparently need to learn the art of saying no.) This year I'm gonna have a little problem because my stash, and the furniture that houses it, is currently residing in the exact spot where I usually put the cases of cookies. Finding a place for 90+ cases of cookies is no easy task so it's quite the problem. Clearly this is a sign. I'm not sure if it's a sign that the stash is too big or that I need to quit being cookie mom or both.

Forest Canopy BlockingWell, given the mounting evidence that the stash is taking over the house I guess it's a good thing that I'm in a finishing mode. Need proof? Here it is, my Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl blocking as promised. It's pinned out on the futon in our rec room right now and I hope to get some proper photos of it this weekend - if it doesn't snow too much.

Jan 30, 2007

Impatiently Waiting

Thanks for the book suggestions. I'll have to go online tomorrow and place holds on a few of them. I love finding new authors to read.

As a kid I was the impatient type who'd stand by the front door with my nose pressed against the glass door, watching for the mailman or my playdate. Apparently the years have done little to lessen those impulses because for the past few weeks I've been doing the electronic equivalent of waiting by the front door because there is a very special package on the way. For the past week I've been compulsively checking the UPS tracking system. Thankfully they promise delivery on Thursday. Hooray!

Boiled AWhile I wait I've been knitting secret socks and trying to finish the Forest Canoy Shawl. Here it is in it's present form. Doesn't it make a lovely heap on my desk? It really ought to be finished by now but I seem leftoversto be unable to follow simple instructions. Thank goodness I've been using lifelines.

At this point I should be able to finish it off and block it tomorrow night. I just have one concern. It's 100% silk so I don't thing that weaving in the ends will work. Right? They're too slippery to hold. Has anyone got a suggestion. Right now I'm thinking of leaving a really long tail after I bind off and then after I block it I'll secure it with a knot. I'm not sure I love (or even like) this idea but I don't have another solution. Speaking of long ends... do you see that huge ball of yarn? I did a few more repeats than required and I still have lots of yarn left over. I have no idea what I'll do with it. At least I didn't run out this time.

Jan 29, 2007

What are you Reading?

I've always been a big reader but lately you wouldn't know it. Very often I take out books from the library and they sit, mostly untouched, until I return them unread with fines owing. I also buy books, usually when it's an author I really like and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna love the book. Those sit too. Probably because, since childhood I've had an irrational fear that I'd go to the library and there would be nothing there to read. I was so afraid that I'd read everything worth reading. As if!

This year I am starting a new list on my home computer of all the books that I'd like to read. I used to have a file of book reviews that sounded interesting in my desk (more protection against running out of reading material) but, due to a situation with a mouse, the file is gone. My new list will be mouse-proof. I am also hoping that it will be more of a living list with additions AND deletions as I read those books that sound interesting.

I've started the year with two very different books. The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos starts in 1985 with the murder of a young girl but most of the action takes place 20 years later after another teen is found dead under similar circumstances. On the surface this book is about the efforts of 3 men (one current and 2 former officers) to solve both crimes but the way that the author portrays Washington DC and the racial tension found there is what made this story come alive for me. I will definitely read more George Pelecanos soon.

KW Hemingway's HouseRight now I'm reading Ernest Hemingway's To Have and Have Not. I picked it up when we visited Hemingway's house in Key West. I'm not sure what I expected but it wasn't this. I read half of it on the train ride home from New Jersey. I picked it up and just couldn't put it down. The language is easy even though it's a bit dated. The story is about Harry Morgan, a fishing boat captain struggling to take care of his family and the lengths to which he goes to earn a buck during hard times. It's set in Key West and, having been there recently is probably helping me connect with the story. It's pretty dark but I'm enjoying it.

So what are you reading?

Jan 28, 2007

Cars and Un-Candy Canes

Thanks for the compliments on my pictures. I knew I loved that picture of the green hills but I really wasn't sure anyone else would. With a picture from a vacation sometimes it's hard to separate your feelings about the day from your feelings about the picture itself.

Have you ever been to the auto show? It's so much fun if you're a car person - and I am. It was here in DC this past week and hubbo got free tickets so we went. DQ brought a friend along and the girls had a blast "testing" the cars. The took turns behind the wheel and saw some really cool stuff. There were hybrids and other environmentally conscious vehicles all over. Then there were the concept cars. Some of them were really out there! I just love to see the stuff they come up with even if it never makes it to production.

The highlight of the show for all of us was Camp Jeep. They had a course set up where you would ride in a Jeep over obstacles. DQ and her buddy were sure we'd tip over at one point and they squealed as we went up a crazy incline. It was very cool and well worth the hour spent on line.

Auto Show 2007

Did you know that te Camaro is coming back? It is, and that car brings back such memories. It was the first car I ever drove. My friend Dawn had a red one with sheepskin seats and she let me get behind the wheel the day I got my permit. I'm sure there are many people who can remember the first time they hit the brake hard but mine involved chocolate ice cream that flew everwhere and ruined those fancy seat covers. Thankfully she was a really good friend and didn't hold it against me.

Un Candy CaneI didn't knit at the auto show but I did find other times to work on stuff and I found that some of the UFO's in my basket are much closer to completion than I thought. So much so that I may actually finish off one of them later this week.

Meanwhile, I spent more time than I'd like weaving in the ends on this scarf which I've dubbed the Un-Candy Cane. The pattern is the Irish Hiking Scarf. I like the feel of it, I like the look of it but I'll never knit another one. It's not a bad pattern at all but I found it so tedious. There's just not enough action for me. I also found the contract of working with the Wool Ease and the KP Swish to be interesting. Swish is much nicer. It feels more substantial and solid somehow. I would definitely use it again.

I'll leave you with another shot of the Un-Candy Cane.

Un Candy Cane

Jan 25, 2007

ECF - Desktop Edition

This morning I read over at Carole's that Kat wants to know what our desktop wallpaper is. What a great thing to share for Eye Candy Friday!

This picture was taken during a family vacation in California 2 years ago. We spent a fabulous week traveling from San Francisco to Carlsbad. Along the way we enjoyed the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods, Carmel, Monterey, Disneyland, The Madonna Inn, the Rose Parade and Legoland among other sights. It was all fabulous! This is the view we enjoyed on the way out to see San Simeon. It was an overcast day but I loved the drama that the weather lent to the scenery. Now I am reminded of that trip every time I sit down to my computer at home. I look at the green hills and the Pacific shimmering in the distance and smile.

To the Sea

This next picture was taken during the same trip and it graced my screen at my former office. I think of it as girls on the half shell. It was taken at the Monterey Aquarium. As you can see, it was one of those rare occasions that my girls looked like they loved each other. Awwww!
Girls on the half shell

Thanks to Carole & Kat for the inspiration for today's post. Next week I'll be able to show you the Un-Candy Cane Scarf because I finished it tonight. I just have to weave in the ends and then hope that the weather allows for decent photos before I put it in the mail.

Thelma Rhonda?

I got nothing today. I'm still working on the Red Scarf and today I realized that I am officially burnt out on G*rl Sc*ut cookies. This is a bad thing since I'm the cookie mom for my daughter's troop... for the 5th year in a row. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's why I'm burnt out on it. The cookie orders were due today and, predictably, some parents forgot. Now I need to hunt them down and put all the orders together into one big order. Fun, fun, fun! I never thought I 'd say this but I really never want to see another GS cookie again. Except maybe the Thin Mints. Yum!

Anyway, since I have nothing of value to share today here's a quiz or 2.

You Are Impressionism

You think the world is quite beautiful, especially if you look at it in new and interesting ways.
You tend to focus on color and movement in art.
For you, seeing the big picture is much more important than recording every little detail.
You can find inspiration anywhere... especially from nature.

Ok, I'll buy that. I love Impressionism. There are worse thing that I could be I suppose.

Your 1950s Name is:

Thelma Rhonda

Um, Thelma Rhonda - I think not.

Jan 23, 2007

Miles of Red Scarf

DQ singsTonight was a milestone of sorts for us. We attended what I'm sure is just the first of many school concerts. DQ is in the chorus and the band at her school so tonight we attended her winter concert. Naturally she was wonderful. No, I did not knit during the performance. Remember, DQ stands for Drama Queen. She's also a tween. If she saw me knitting during the performance it probably wouldn't be a good thing. I'm just a guessing here but it's an informed guess.

By the way, DQ is front and center.

Pile o scarfThere is just about one week left to January so tonight was all about working on the red scarf. OMG I can't tell you how badly I want it to be done. It's not a bad pattern and the yarn is ok it's just not very exciting. My fingers want to knit lace and they're supposed to be test-knitting socks. Instead they're knitting miles of red scarf. Ugh! At this point I only have about 10 inches left so, if I really put my mind to it, I should be able to finish it tomorrow or Thursday.

Let's hope I find something more exciting than this scarf to discuss tomorrow.

Jan 22, 2007

On Sluggishness and Souvenir Yarn

Did I mention what a slug I was over the weekend? Well I was a total slug. I got home really late Friday night and I felt drained so I spent much of the rest of the weekend doing very little. I didn't knit much. I didn't shop. I didn't clean the house. None of it. I did assist at Stinkerbelle's Brownie troop meeting and I did a bunch of laundry but, other than that - nada.

Steadfast Fibers - Grape IceWhile I don't have any knitting progress to report I do have fiber related news. First, I found a yarn store in Morristown on my way to the train Friday night. Ok, I didn't exactly stumble upon it. A more accurate description would be stalking it. I looked it up in my handy Yarn Store directory (always with me on trips - ALWAYS!) and then I googled and mapquested till I figured out the best way to get there.

At right is the fruit of my labor - Steadfast Fiber worsted in "Grape Ice". The color is nicer in person but the picture isn't too far off. It's not sock yarn but it is yarn that I haven't seen before so it fits the KFYS 2007 carve out for souvenir yarn. I see it becoming a scarf or a hat or mittens.

I hate to complain about a yarn store but I had a really hard time at this one. It was small and crammed full of yarn which ought to be a good thing but not this time. It was in boxes and bins and baskets all over - and not in a good way. Not only that but it was arranged by color. I've decided that I don't care for this arrangement. I wanted to find sock yarn but I couldn't find it in just one spot. There were also certain brands I was looking for but I couldn't locate them either. Not only that but the yarn wasn't labeled - instead you had to take it over to a hanging chart to figure out the price. I've seen this before and I don't find it user-friendly. The last thing about this store that turned me off was the abundance of novelty yarn. I think that I like the selection at my AC Moore better.

In the interest of ending this post on a positive note I draw your attention to the new button in the sidebar for Bloomin Feet. I got my match over the weekend and I am stoked! This is going to be so much fun. More sock knitting but this one I can share! Woohoo!

Jan 21, 2007


Snow on Rocks in BRMy business trip was ok. Not fabulous but ok. My company's online reservation system screwed up and everywhere I went I was welcomed by smiling people who told me apologetically that my reservation in their system had been cancelled. Thankfully I was able to redo them all.

My hotel was truly 4 star and I enjoyed lovely meals. Oh, and the library emergency - I think I managed to mitigate the issues a little. It sounds crazy to say that there was a library emergency but really, there kind of was. People have a tendency to think that you can just throw up a few shelves put a few books on them and call it good. Librarians know this isn't so. There is a right way and a wrong way. The type of shelving matters. Loading and unloading properly matters.

Snow on BirdhouseAnyway, it snowed on Friday when I was in New Jersey and I took a picture of it on some rocks thinking that it could easily be the only snow I saw this season. I'm thrilled to say that it's not. Today winter finally arrived in Northern Virginia and I took the picture with the birdhouse this afternoon. It's blurry because the snow was still falling and my skillz with the new camera are still lacking. My kids were thrilled. Stinkerbelle had a playdate and they spent all afternoon outside playing in the falling snow.

Tonight, before going to bed, my daughters flushed ice cubes down the toilet and performed all of the other rituals to insure a snow day tomorrow. Anywhere else I'd say they're dreaming because there's not really that much snow on the ground and the schools ought to open. This is Northern Virginia though, and the decision to close school rarely has anything to do with what you see outside your window. Anything can happen!

Jan 17, 2007

The Un-Candy Cane

I'm glad that you enjoyed my list yesterday. It was just something that I needed to get off my chest. Please let me be clear though, most of the people I knit for are truly deserving. They call and tell me how warm the socks are, how cuddly the toys are, how they love their gloves, or how they hope the sweaters will fit one day (oops). As with many things, unfortunately, it's often the negative that has the greatest impact. I wish it weren't so.

Flaming Sky

This is the sky I saw recently on my way to work one morning. Obviously I enjoyed it enough to want to share it but, compared to the one I saw last night, it's nothing. Sadly, the light shows put on by nature each day are fleeting and, by the time I got to a point where I could pull over, the show was over and we were just left with a sadly fading, grey sky.

The Un-CandyCaneLast year at this time I was feverishly working on my contribution to the Red Scarf Project. I blamed my tardiness to the fact that I found out about the project rather late in the game. This year I have no such excuse.

Here is this years edition of the red scarf. The pattern is different, the yarn is different but the song remains the same - Under Pressure. Over the next 2 days I'll spend about 5 hours on a train between her and New Jersey so that ought to help my progress a lot. There is a situation in our library up there that requires my attention in person. Who knew that libraries had so many emergencies?

So, what do you think about the scarf so far? I'm working it in random stripes of odd repeats. 3 white, 1 red, 7 white , 5 red etc... I'm hoping that it won't resemble a candy cane too much.

Jan 16, 2007

How to Receive a Hand Knit

The holidays may be over but there is one subject left to be covered. Who stays and who goes? You know what I mean… who received their hand knit holiday gift with an appropriate response and who didn’t. No, I am not going to shame them publicly because that would be mean. I’d rather offer a little bit of constructive criticism in the form of a small list of do’s and don’ts. Besides, there are other knittable occasions coming up so you can consider this a little PSA.

DO – Write us a little note telling us how you loved the hand knit you received. Telling us how you saw us making it, or a picture posted on our blog, and hoped that it was for you – this is like gold.

DON’T – Wait. Ya gotta’ know that we are waiting for some sign that it fits. Don’t make us ask. Countless times we stop to measure and contemplate. Doesn’t it look a little small? Should I add the ruffled cuff or leave it off? This shade of blue isn’t too girly for him – is it? We agonize over these things and wait on pins and needles to hear that it’s just right.

DO – Send pictures of yourself wearing or otherwise enjoying the hand knit. You may be creative just as long as you convey feelings of joy. We knitters like to thing that our gifts spread happiness and evidence on that is always welcome.

DON’T – Say “Oh, how nice” when we tell you we made it ourselves. This is the general equivalent of “that’s interesting” and really, is there any response more deflating than one of obvious disappointment.

DO – Casually wear the hand knits when you see us. This is even better that pictures. Perhaps we’ll spy a glimpse of a brightly colored sock when the cuff of your pants rides up as you sit. Maybe the scarf we made will be thrown jauntily over your shoulder when we pass you in the supermarket. This is all good.

Pro – con – pro… always end on a positive so this list is done. I have made the appropriate edits to the list of those I will knit for and I’m ready to move along. I’m happy to say that those who were redacted from my list don’t know about the blog and will probably never be any the wiser. I hope that all of your giftees responded happily.

By the way, did you see the Golden Globes last night. I was ok with most of them. I love Hugh Laurie in House and Kyra Sedgwick is great on The Closer. Sascha Baron Cohen's acceptance had me rolling. As awards shows go it was fine – not stellar but fine. What gave me a huge kick was watching them with my girls. When Eddie Murphy won, the Drama Queen commented that he’s probably won lots of awards. I told her that I thought it was the first and said that a lot of his earlier work wasn’t really award material. I was thinking of his time on SNL, 48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop etc. Stinkerbelle and DQ were thinking more of Daddy Day Care and Shrek. I reminded them that he did other things before that. So Stink says “Oh, I know, like Dr. Dolittle.”

Jan 15, 2007

Holiday Observance

Today is a holiday - sort of. It's not that I question the worthiness of Martin Luther King because I don't. I think that he is absolutely worthy of an official rememberance. What I wonder about is this business where they declare a federal holiday but most big businesses choose to ignore it. What message does that send? Are we saying that it is of lesser importance than Memorial Day or Labor Day? Maybe we're just saying that those 'days' occur at more opportune time for a celebration. Hmmmm....

If you guessed that I am not off on this holiday, you're right. The very large and well known company that I work for requires my presence today. My daughters' school, on the other hand, is closed. Thankfully hubbo has a more flexible schedule so the girls have someone to watch them - otherwise I'd have a real problem. I cannot imagine that I'm the only person who has noted the disparity in how the holiday is celebrated by various companies and institutions.

Library - closed!
Mail - nope!
School - nobody home
Federal government - lovin' the 3-day weekend of course!
Corporate America - be there or be square

What exactly is the message we're supposed to be getting?

Rant over!

I spent Saturday ironing out issues with my daughter's weaving loom. It's a long drawn out story that would bore you to tears so I'll spare you. What is of note is that I was in 2 yarn stores this weekend and I didn't bring home any new fiber, of any type, at all. None! Are you shocked? I am. This is not to say that I came home emptyhanded. Not a chance!

Treats on a Yarn Diet

At Knit Happens I got 2 sets of #1 Addis (not shown'cuz you've seen Addis before) for a project in progress, Soak in the scent of celebration (Yum!) and samples of the other scents. At Springwater I got their last copy of Victorian Lace Today which prompted hubbo to wonder if my stash diet was going to cause rapid growth in my knitting library. Well, duh, of course! The other object in this picture is a little oil bottle for the wheel that should arrive very soon (can you tell that i'm counting the minutes till it arrives?) - but not today because, unlike me, the post office is observing the holiday. Harrumph!

Jan 12, 2007

ECF - 1/12/2007

Remember how I said that I took an unusually large number of pictures during our recent trip to Key West? Yeah, well I should give you all fair warning that I suspect that I'll be pulling them out on Eye Candy Friday off and on for some time to come. Today is no exception.

KW Bananas

When I was a kid I ate bananas just like everyone else but somewhere along the way they ceased to be enjoyable for me. These days even the smell of a banana makes me ill. Never-the-less I thought it was pretty cool that there were bananas growing right in front of our hotel. I am a little disturbed about the squareness of them though. I'm pretty sure bananas are not suposed to have corners or do they lose their angles as the ripen?

Yarn from LEI'm also pretty sure about another thing - I love The Loopy Ewe! I've seen other people rave about Sheri and they're not wrong. She's great! I ordered from her for the first time in December and was amazed at how quick the delivery was. I also loved the little handwritten note. Such a nice touch! I totally meant to say something but, um, I was a little preoccupied.

This week I had a moment of weakness and I ordered again. No, this is not an infraction of my yarn diet because it's sock yarn but... I was really trying so hard not to buy any yarn at all. Really though, who can blame me? This stuff - "Berry" from Sweet Georgia and "Neon Vegas" from All Things Heather - is gorgeous. I know that others have chosen to include sock yarn in their yarn diets but, although I already have quite a collection at home, I also have plans to knit many socks this year. Not only will I be test knitting all of the patterns for Sock Madness - I've got other things lined up as well. See, I can't actually participate in Sock Madness because it wouldn't be fair. Instead I plan to sign up for some sock swaps to keep me entertained while I supervise Sock Madness. That way everyone wins!

Jan 10, 2007

A Good Report

Today was the follow-up appointment at the major medical center. Although the time scheduled for our appointment turned out to be more of a guess than an absolute and we waited for over 2 hours to see the doctor - in then end it was worth it because the report was good. Hubbo goes back to work tomorrow and my taxi license expires.

While we waited to see the doctor I was working on the current sock in progress and I really wish I could show it to you but I can't. See, it's a potential pattern for Sock Madness that I'm test knitting. You'll just have to wait and see.

As we get closer to the start of Sock Madness things are going to get a little interesting for me. Posting about nothing in one place is hard enough but 2... ugh. I'll have to be creative. I'll just have to do a lot of knitting and spinning (after the wheel arrives) aside from the socks. Busy, busy, busy.

Jan 9, 2007

Dedos en Fuego!

I know that I could have stuck to english but what fun is it to say Fingers on Fire? Dedos en Fuego sounds so much better. Ok, ok, that's not really the whole reaon I chose to call them that. As my dear Drama Queen knows only too well, I'll do anything to get her to speak a little Spanish for me. I am so proud of her fluency.

Dedos en Fuego

Anyway, I have been planning these fingerless gloves for quite a while and, now that they're done I am so happy that I waited and got it right. The first yarn I bought didn't thrill me. iwanted superwash in nice crisp shades. I finally settled on Dale Baby Ull which I doubled throughout.

Dedos en Fuego with attitude

The basics of the pattern are an amalgamation of features from different patterns I've seen. In a nutshell I cast on 32 stitches in the round, did 2 inches of 2x2 rib in red and then began the flame chart that I found on Pink Lemon Twist's blog. It was the perfect fit for what I had in mind. I added a thumb 4 rows from the end by knitting 7 stitches on waste yarn and then slipping them back to the left needle and continuing the pattern. After finishing the chart I did another solid knit row of black before 1 inch of 2x2 rib in black. After that I picked up the stitches held by the waste yarn (7 on bottom & 6 on top) and added 5 more divided between the sides of the hole. The thumb took 5 quick rows of 1x1 rib and I was done!

Dedos en Fuego with joy

Thankfully it finally got cold here today because Stinkerbelle is wearing these gloves to school no matter what. She more or less ordered me to finish them last night. (in a charming and respectful way.) She didn't want me to help with homework or change the channel on the tv - nothing that would interfere with my knitting. Thank goodnes they are superwash wool because I suspect that I'll be washing them often. I also have plenty og yarn left over in case I need to knit a replacement.

Ratty VansDon't they go well with her ratty old Vans and hat - not to mention the flaming red hair? Let's hope that she is gentler with the gloves.

Jan 8, 2007

Red Scarf 2007

Red Scarf 2007The end of last year was filled with projects I wanted to do but just didn't find the time for. I realize that I had good reason to be a little preoccupied but still... I left a lot unfinished. I'm back on track now and here, as proof, I offer the start of my 2007 contribution to the Red Scarf Project. I just love knitting for this cause.

Not only do I love it, my kids think it's cool too. They knew as soon as they saw the red scarf that it was for the Red Scarf Project. I just love that.

I bought this yarn a few months ago specifically for this project. It's KP Swish and I wouldn't be me if I didn't under-purchase. As I finished the first of 3 balls I measured the scarf and it's just over 1 foot. I knew there was no way that I'd be able to make a long enough scarf from this yarn by itself.

I know that it wouldn't really be an infraction of my stash diet to buy a few more balls of Swish but it's a slippery slope. If I put in the order then I'd be tempted to add a few other things "just because". Once the diet is broken once it's doomed. What to do? I dove ito the stash of course and found a lone ball of Lion Brand Wool Ease. It's not exactly the same but it's really close and also washable. My plan now is to alternate at random intervals. I just love random patterns. Simple but random really floats my boat.

I'm sure that everyone will recognize the pattern. I am probably the last person on earth to knit the Irish Hiking Scarf.

It should be no surprise that this is not the only project currently on the needles. In fact, I may even have another finished object tomorrow.

Jan 7, 2007

Dining in Key West and the first F.O. of '07

Pepe'sThis weekend was way too short for me but it was very relaxing for hubbo and he's healing well. I'm really thankful for this because my girls, while they are wonderful, are wearing me out. I'll be happy to be back at work tomorrow. It's somewhat calmer there.

Before the medical issues invaded the blog I was happily telling you all about our trip to Key West. Here is hubbo in front of a restaurant that we'd never have tried if not for the rave review of a woman in a local shop. We asked her for a breakfast suggestion one day and she said Pepe's without hesitation. She insisted that it was the place to go. Outside it looks like nothing but inside the place was hopping. There were lots of people waiting for tables. We had been warned, Pepe's is good but it isn't fast. As with many restaurants in KW, most of the seating is outside and kind of funky.

Special French Toast at Pepe'sWe had orange juice while we waited and it was squeezed on the spot. It's amazing how the pulp, which I normally find icky doesn't bother me when it's fresh squeezed. Finally we were seated and our food arrived and it was so worth waiting for. Hubbo had an italian onlette that was full of peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and sausage. I went for one of the daily specials - french toast with blueberry/raspberry topping and coconut. Yum! I'm very picky about my french toast and this was delish!

Flamingo Crossing Ice CreamWe also found a great place for ice cream while we were in KW. Flamingo Crossing has homemade ice cream that's to die for. The flavors are mostly local fruits and influences. I'd show you a picture except that the flavors I had - ginger, coconut and key lime - all looked exactly the same, white, which doesn' t make for exciting photography. But the taste... ooooh it was divine! The flavors were a little unusual but just right. Ginger ice cream - yum!

The thing that these and most of our dining experiences had in common was that they were based on local recommendations. I did a lot of book and internet based research before the trip but we found that everything was rated well and there was just too much to choose from so we relied on tips from locals and, with only one exception, we were really thrilled that we had.

Now that I've cocluded the trip recap I can move on to my first finished object of the year - a pair of fingerless gloves for me!

Canapone Fingerless Gloves

Finferless gloves againI bought the yarn and the pattern for these from Lanaknits at Stitches East. The yarn is Cashmere canapa and the pattern is Fern Lace Wrist Warmers. The can call them anything they like - they look like fingerless gloves to me. At any rate they were super easy which made them the perfect knit for the plane and the waiting room - interesting but simple.

I think that I like the color and the yarn is ok but I'm not sure if it's right for gloves. It is the exact yarn recommended in the instructions but I think that gloves probably need something a little squishier and perhaps a denser knit. I have a similar color lined up for a pair of mittens for me but who can think of mittens when it's 70 degrees outside?

The feel of the yarn is not ideal but not a dealbreaker. There was one aspect of the pattern as written that didn't sit right with me after finishing off the first glove and I changed it on the second. The thumb bugged me. The pattern called for knitting 2x2 rib over 16 stitches for 3 rounds. For me this was too tight, to short and too bleh. I hated it do on the second glove I did 1x1 ribbing over 18 stitches for 4 rounds and I like it much better. I'm not sure if you can see it in the picture but I haven's gone back and fixed the first one yet. I wanted to ponder it first and be certain that I'd like the change better. I do and I will.

By the way, these pictures were taken by my wonderful Drama Queen.

Jan 5, 2007

ECF - The first one of 2007

Thanks for all the good wishes. I brought hubbo home yesterday and he's doing ok. There's still quite a lot of pain and the mother of all sore throats but he's got some very excellent drugs to help with that. Hehehe. In fact, the drug store accidentally gave us too many when I had the prescription filled and called an hour later in a panic. They have to account for each and every pill. It's that good!

My girls are being so helpful. I had to drag my wonderful Drama Queen out of the kitchen last night where she busily took care of the dishes. Without being asked! The whilrwind that has been this week has left my house loking like a bomb hit. Yikes!

For Eye Candy Friday I give you butterflies:

Key West Butterflies

We went to the Butterfly Conservatory in Key West and it was one of our favorite parts of the trip. There were hundreds of butterflies all around you. Hubbo and I were so enthralled that we we nt through twice! Believe it or not this represents only a fraction of the pictures I took. Be thankful that I self edited a lot.

Happy Friday!

Jan 3, 2007

The Rule of 3

This post has very little to do with knitting. It's mostly a record of my thoughts right now so if that bores you then feel free to visit me another day. I promise not to be offended in the least.

They say that bad stuff comes in threes. If so then I think I'm done for quite a while.

Number 2 was the fall that broke my toe and sprained my ankle.
Number 3 was the unpleasantness at the hotel.

Number 1 has been creeping into the blog for the past two months in weird and cryptic ways (apologies) but, as of this afternoon, it looks like the worst of it is over. Sadly, for the sake of my children who may see this and who we're still trying to shield to some degree, I can't be as candid as I normally would. Bear with me.

In November we heard a word that strikes fear in the hearts of one and all alike. For the sake of the kids let's just call it pudding*. Not the really yummy kind like chocolate or vanilla - this was the kind that you want nothing to do with and it was wrapped around hubbo's thyroid. They say that if you're gonna find it anywhere, that's where you want it but still... you'd rather not find it at all.

For the past 2 months we've been trying to prepare and inform ourselves. This is why I was at the major medical facility where I fell. This is why I've been knitting like a crazy person - it really does relax you and help you get through the rough parts. This is also why the timing of our vacation was just so perfect - the calm before the storm. I thought that I was doing so well, so together and in control until I realized that that daily headaches I've been having were a sign that I wasn't dealing nearly as well as I thought.

Today they removed the offending pudding and the thyroid too. Relief doesn't quite describe what I feel. I'm so happy that it went smoothly even if it took much longer than expected. I'm proud that we were able to guide our daughters through this without trauma. I'm amazed that my brother-in-law got in the car at 5 o'clock this morning and drove for 3 hours to sit with me in a waiting room. I'm thankful that my father was able to come over and get my girls off to school this morning so that their schedules weren't disrupted. I'm touched by all of our friends who volunteered to help out if needed. I feel incredibly lucky right now.

I'm also happy that this terrible triple is over so I can get back to my usual, un-dramatic, life. Oh yeah, and I completed my first FO in the waiting room today. Who says every cloud doesn't have a silver lining?

*As I mentioned in one of my earlier, cryptic posts, calling it pudding is easier for me too. That other 6 letter word still freaks me out a bit.

Jan 2, 2007

The Sites and Sounds of Key West

KW paperKey West was wonderful for the most part but it was marred by one really unfortunate event. Our hotel got evacuated due to the death of a guest. I won't name the hotel chain but you can find out the details by googling "Key West carbon monoxide" if you're interested. It was a horrifying and stressful event but, aside from the difficulty finding an alternate hotel on the island during such a busy time, we're just fine.

Now that the unfortunate part of the trip is out of the way, I can tell you how cool the rest of it was - Super Cool! When I was an undergrad living in in the dorms at FIT in New York City, I would go out for a walk with friends and find myself covering 20 blocks or more effortlessly. Suddely we'd be in Columbus Circle or Soho and wonder where the time went. Key West is a lot like that. Despite my broken toe and sprained ankle (both still very painful) I found myself walking a good deal more than I intended. There was always something one block over that I just had to see.

Scenes From Key West

1. Mallory Sunset, 2. KW Sunlit Roof, 3. Banyan Tree, 4. KW White Rooster, 5. KW House 3, 6. Rooster in Drag Sign, 7. Banyan Resort, 8. KW House 2, 9. Rooster in Drag Statue, 10. KW Porch Rooster, 11. KW Hemingway's House, 12. Charlie Chaplin, 13. KW Porches with Flowers

Here are a sample of the pictures I took. I took more on this trip than on most others in recent memory. The whole island was so alive and inviting. We went to Hemingway's house and saw the famous six-toed cats ( I initially slipped and wrote socks heehee - clearly I've been knitting too many socks). We took the Conch Trolley and enjoyed the narrative talents of "Miss L", the driver of the year. We enjoyed the performers at the sunset celebration in Mallory Square and the squawking of the roosters that followed us everywhere. We cursed the cruise ships that blocked the sunset one night too. We covered Duval Street from end to end multiple times. It was all wonderful and I highly recommend it.

Next up - food, butterflies and... oh yes, there was yarn too.

Jan 1, 2007

Happy Everything!

Happy New Year!

I took this picture on Duval Street in Key West. They told us that on New Years Eve a drag queen sits in the shoe as they lower it.

I got home from Florida yesterday. It was mostly a great trip and there are parts of it that I can't wait to share but today is all about celebrating. Not only is is New Years Day - it's my blogiversary and, since I've never been good at keeping journals, it's a day I never expected to see.

IMG_0151I started the blog without any real direction and no expectations but it has changed me in more ways than I could ever imagine. I have met really great people online and, while most of them are far away, the support and encouragement that they provide is very real and special. These blog friends have offered advice and suggestions and inspiration. Just as importantly they've provided a knitting community full of people with similar interests that enriches my life in general.

Some of the changes over the past year are more visible. My stash has grown by leaps and bounds. Every day I read my favorite blogs and see things that I just have to have. I see gorgeous yarns that I crave. It's not just the pretty things that have caught my eye and lead to the growth of my stash - it's stuff that's new to me. Pre-blog, I stuck mostly to cotton. I was afraid of wool. The only wool I knew was scratchy and rough. Now my stash includes a great amount of wool and, through spinning, I'm learning more about the different types of wool than I ever dreamed.


The types of projects I work on has greatly increased and changed too. I've made hats, scarves and sweaters in the past. This year made my first pair of socks and followed it with 14 more. 15 pairs of socks!

I also made shawls and lace - both new to me. In all, I created 43 finished objects in 2006. The last of them was naturally a pair of socks finished this past Saturday night just before we left Florida. They look ok in the picture but the really great thing about these sock is the feel - 100% cashmere! They are softer than anything I've ever touched. I hope that my M-I-L enjoys them.

I could say so much more about the knit-alongs I participated in, the spinning, the dyeing, the fiber events etc. It's all been great and as I look forward to the new year and I know that it will be even better.

Thanks to everyone out there that makes Blogland great!