Feb 26, 2010

ECF - Celebratory Roses Edition

For today's Eye Candy Friday I offer some celebratory roses because there is much to be happy about. Yesterday I finished my mittens which are blocking right now and then, just at the stroke of midnight I finished a lace shawl. As my daughter would say, "Win!"

Celebratory Roses

Of course these aren't actually my roses. These are the roses that we gave my favorite Drama Queen to celebrate her participation in the Middle School Musical. Let's hope that she is inpired to be in more productions.

Feb 25, 2010

Ravelympics Update - Nearing the End

I am so relieved to say that I am finally nearing the end of my Ravelympic challenge. In fact, I am just one thumb away. One left thumb!

Not only am I close to finishing these mittens, I'm also just 5 rows away from finishing a lace shawl. If I can get these blocked fast enough then maybe I can squeeze in a photo shoot this weekend. No guarantee of that though.

Feb 24, 2010

Manly Socks

I finished my second pair of socks for 2010 a little over 2 weeks ago. These are for my husband Bruce, made from yarn he chose about three years ago. It's Trekking Pro-Natura and my man loves the fact that it has bamboo in it. I'm not sure why but he thinks that's cool. Whatever floats his boat.

There really isn't too much to say about these. They're dead-simple toe-up socks with a 3 x 1 rib around the leg. I think that's kind of manly.

The most interesting thing about these socks is the heel. I used the same recipe for a flap heel that I used on the purple On-Hold socks. I really like this heel and I wish I could commit it to memory so that I could incorporate it into more of my simple commuter socks. Not only does it come out really well, Bruce says these are the best fitting socks I've made for him so far. He can't wait to wear them.

Feb 23, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Places I’ve Been Meaning to Visit

Today Carole has provided us with a topic for today's list that I think we can all get into - 10 places we've been meaning to visit. It's a very timely discussion since I was just thinking about vacations this year and where I might like to go.


  1. The White House - I see it every day but I haven't been on a tour since I was 9 and my girls never have.
  2. Annapolis, MD - I've heard that it's nice and I'd really love to go walk around and check it out.
  3. Savannah, GA - I read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil last year and I guess it made an impression.
  4. Occoquan, VA - It's really close and every time I pass through it reminds me of Northport and Port Jefferson on LI where I used to hang out as a kid. I'd love to check it out.
  5. Fallingwater in Mill Run, PA - Three words: Frank Lloyd Wright
  6. Ocean City, MD - So near and yet so far. I'm in a bit of an aquatic state of mind today.
  7. Skyline Drive - I've never gone but I'd like to.
  8. The Newseum - I hear it's a really cool museum.
  9. Williamsburg, VA - This is definitely on my short list of places to go.
  10. The Southwest - It's so foreign to me and I suppose that's the attaction. A whole new place to explore.

Feb 22, 2010

Annie and an Ooops!

It was an exhausting but really good weekend. There were errands to be done, Olympics to be watched, and GS events to attend but the focus of most of our energy was Annie! After being delayed a week by the snow, my girl (and a bunch of others) finally took the stage and it was great.


I cannot adequately put into words how happy it made me to see my girl do so well. For those of you who don't know her, she's the one with the blue ribbon in her hair during thise scene from Hooverville. She's singing her heart out.

I was amazed at how well the cast did considering how the snow interfered with their rehearsals and set building. Most of the reports I've heard concurred that these kids did a great job.

DSC_1145I had hoped to have lot's of news of finishing to report but it turns out that I was a wee bit off base with that. Part of the trouble was that I had way less time for knitting than expected. The other problem was with the knitting itself.

At left is a picture of the first mitten which I posted a week ago. I felt kind of proud at that point because it was moving along so much faster than I expected.

DSC_1161I was less cocky when I posted the picture at the right because it represented my second attempt at the second mitten. I had gotten up past the thumb before realizing that I'd forgotten a few plain black rounds.

By the time I posted the picture I had once again passed the split for the thumb. Because of the similarity between the pictures of the first and second mitten I noted that it was indeed a picture of mitten two.

Do you see where this is going? I bet you do now but nobody said anything at the time and no warning bells went off in my head.

It wasn't until I finished mitten two and proudly held them up to admire my work that I realized that they were way too similar. Not just similar but identical!


Thankfully I have plenty of yarn and I have started mitten number three. It's such a good thing that I'm enjoying this project so much because I'm not nearly as close to finishing as I thought. Predictably my dear daughter has already offered to take the extra pair off my hands. Such a generous offer - don't you think?

Feb 19, 2010

ECF - Icicle Edition

Just because I'm sick of the snow doesn't mean I can't appreciate it's finer qualities.


Have a great weekend!

Feb 18, 2010

Ravelympic Update

Earlier this week I hit a small bump in the road to a finished pair of gloves. I was just a bit beyond the thumb divide when I stopped to admire my work and noticed an error. It wasn't puckering or a misread of the chart. Nooooooo I missed something dead simple - two rows of plain, one color stockinette. I felt so silly.


I frogged back a few rows and it's all good now. I'm knitting and having fun and, by rights I should be done by now except that I'm restricting myself to working on these while watching the Olympics and who can concentrate on knitting when you're watching such cool stuff? Did you see Shaun White, the Flying Tomato? He is simply amazing. He makes it look so effortless and beautiful. And did you see Lindsey Vonn skiing? What about Apolo Ohno's qualifying skate when he overtook that guy at the last minute? Or Shani Davis winning his race? Go USA! Is it any wonder my knitting pace has slowed? I'm busy cheeering.

By the way, in that picture is the second mitten just before I went to bed last night along with my mitten knitting gear. I got a magnetic guide thingy to keep track of the chart and my yarns are being held in an awesome bag that was made by my friend Jessalu. Isn't it cute? I could use a bunch more for to hold all my projects. Jessalu is celebrating her Blogiversary today with a contest so go on over and wish her a happy one and you can tell her I sent you. Who knows, you might win a bag too!

Feb 17, 2010

Swapping Potholders Again

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was feeling the pull of crochet again. For a few weeks I carried around my hooks and yarn and crocheted at odd moments. Below is the result and the one thing that is clear is that I am so rusty!


The purple one was the first one and, although it probably looks the least wonky, it's the one that I screwed up. I was doing one of the stitches wrong throughout. On the other 2 I got the stitches correct but I think that I was having tension issues because they are seriously wonky. Perhaps blucking would help but I think it's just about practicing. As with anything you need to get the feel of a thing and then it flows.

Happily I have a reason to practice my crochet a lot more because the Potholder Swap is back. You can check out the Rav group or see what everyone is making on flickr. I can't wait to start testing patterns. I think I may need to get more yarn too. I'm pretty excited because last year I got 2 crochet books, Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs by Edie Eckman and 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton. There are so many pretty patterns to try in those two.

Count me in!

Feb 16, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - Favorite Places to Knit

After what seems like a never-ending story of snow and the disruptions it causes things may finally start moving back to normal today. They've got a long way to go.


This is what we saw in our neighborhood yesterday. This team consisting of a plow, a front end loader, and a bobcat went up and down the streets in our neighborhood trying to find the curbs. This is on top of the groups of volunteers who were out with shovels over the weekend clearing sidewalks and bus stops, trying to make it a little safer for the kids who return to school today. There are still many places where the kids have to pass through paths through snow banks twice as tall as the average 2nd grader.

The problems are widespread and even major thoroughfares are missing lanes which makes commuting a nightmare. And forget about parking a car anywhere. The mounds of snow have caused drivers to think outside the box - and the lines, and good common sense. The rule seems to be to park it when you find enough room for it to fit.

Thankfully none of this effects my knitting too much. I've got plenty of yarn, needles, and projects in my queue to keep me busy for a while. I also have plenty of un-snowy places to sit and knit. Here are a few favorites -

  1. My couch - especially the end that's perfectly angled towards the television.
  2. My office - shhhh, don't tell anyone. It's got really good light for intricate stuff and it's very quiet.
  3. Conference calls - since my boss is in NY we have plenty of these and sometimes my knitting is the only thing that makes them bearable.
  4. Fitting rooms - not when I'm trying stuff on of course but when my girls are trying stuff on the knitting helps keep me from losing it.
  5. Commuting to work - there is something to be said for letting someone else do the driving.
  6. Long car trips - ditto! As much as I love to drive I'm always happy to let hubbo drive on long trips so I can knit.
  7. My deck - I can't wait until the spring to take advantage of this again.
  8. Anywhere warm - by the pool is a good place but the beach works too.
  9. Trains and planes - combine the thrill of travel and the relaxation of knitting.
  10. With friends - Most of my local friends don't knit so this usually means going to a festival which is even better.

Where do you like to knit?

Feb 15, 2010

Let the Games Begin

Late last week, actually the night before the Olympics began, I did a bit of swatching for my Ravelympic prject. I instantly started to panic because nothing was working for me. The yarns were wrong and the swatch looked horrible.

DSC_1148So I turned to Ravelry to try to come up with an alternate yarn selection and it only got worse because it seemed like all the project notes were talking about how these mittens took so much longer than people expected. I was convinced that this project was doomed before I even began. Both of my previous attempts at stranded knitting have been failures and neither of them ever crossed the fuinish line.

Because I am a Ravelympian I pressed on. I toyed with the idea of changing it up totally and picking a different pattern and yarn. I may have panicked a little too but I finally chose a new yarn, Dream In Color Smooshy in Spring Tickle, that I hoped would work better with the KP Essential in Soot.

I did a little last minute reading about Fair Isle knitting and yarn dominanace and on Friday night, during the opening ceremonies, I cast on and I was shocked.


I have exceeded my incredibly low expectations by quite a lot. I'm doing stranded knitting and it's working fo me. It's not terribly puckery and it's flying on my needles. This picture is from Saturday morning. I have a mitten now and the second cuff is under way.

Feb 12, 2010

ECF - NYC Sweets Edition

I have lots of pretty pictures of the snow but I think that we could all use a break from that right now. Right? Instead I have a picture taken last weekend at a truly sweet spot in NYC - Dylan's Candy Bar.

ECF at Dylan's
Have a happy and hopefully snow-free Valentines day weekend!

Feb 11, 2010

Stripey Picot Socks

I've had a bunch of time to knit lately. Huge snow storms will do that for you.


This is the first thing I finished. It was actually a test knit of Carole's new pattern for picot edged socks. I loved it and I see many more picot edged socks in my future.

The yarn I used for these was the Kaffe Fassett Regia. I can't imagine why I didn't use this sooner. I had so much fun with the colors and, as usual, Bruce was fascinated by the self striping yarn.


These socks are purposefully, totally, fraternal because I think they're more fun like that. Once they were finished, DQ noticed that the stripes are realy pretty close.


As much as I enjoyed making these socks, I didn't keep them for myself. I sent them to my sister as a little pick-me-up and she says they hit the mark. They have a lot in common with my second pair od finished socks for this year. They're also not for me but perfect for the recipient. I hope to have pictures for a F O post soon.

Feb 10, 2010

No More Horizontal Snow!

Oh the difference a day makes. This is what Stinkette's snow fort looks like today. Kind of buried.


And the driveway that was finally cleared after last weekend's storm looks like this. If you want our snow I'd gladly send it your way. We've had our fill. Especially since this time it was accompanied by winds that threaten to blow everything over. There is nothing good about horizontal snow.


Thankfully we are warm inside with power and food. Not to mention yarn. I'm making good progress on two projects.

DSC_1125At the left is Bitterroot which is moving along nicely. You can just see the remains of the third ball of yarn which is a perfect place to be yarnwise as I work through chart E. Let's see how far I'll get today as I try to balance it with work on the other item in this picture. Last time I featured it here there was just a hint of yellow. now there are 9+ inches of yellow stockinette. Boring but necessary. I think these 2 projects balance each other nicely - one requires focus and the other is totally mindless.

DSC_1126The last thing I can give some thought to today is my Ravelympics project. As you can see I threw another choice into the mix. Maybe today I can wind up some yarn cakes and swatch a bit. Opening ceremonies are coming soon!

Stay warm and safe!

Feb 9, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Favorite Yarns

Look what Stinkette made.

Stinkerbelle's Fort

She is so proud of her snow fort. I bet she'll spend the whole day there since the schools are still closed and will be again tomorrow. You know it's bad when the kids get tired of snow days.

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is more pleasant than the snow. Let's talk about our Ten Favorite Yarns. There are lot's of yarns I love to pet and many in my stash that I adore but haven't used yet. I'm limiting this list to yarns I've used and would love to use again.

  1. Malabrigo - This stuff is so soft I just want to roll in it.
  2. Elann Peruvian Highland Wool/KP Wool of the Andes - These are my favorites for felting. The colors are great and they felt like crazy.
  3. Tess Designer - I just love her colors and the socks I've made from her yarn are some of my favorites.
  4. Noro - The color changes make knitting with this stuff and endless adventure.
  5. Knitterly Things Vesper Sock - I loved knitting with this and I love wearing it even more. best of all - hubbo finds these self striping yarns fascinating.
  6. Shelridge Farms - I've used the sock yarn and the worsted so far and they're both equally lovely.
  7. Oasis Sock Aussi Sock - I used this to make Eclipse socks for DQ nearly a year ago and although my daughter wears then a lot these socks are holding up way better than I expected. They still look like new!
  8. Katia Mississippi 3 - If you're making something for a kid this is the stuff to use. The colors are really nice and it wears amazingly well. I made Stinkette a little belly shirt when she was small and she loved it so much she'd wear it as soon as it came up from the laundry. I still have it and it still looks great and feels soft even though is went through the wash and dryer countless times.
  9. Dream in Color - I love the subtlety of the colors and it feels sooooo good.
  10. Claudia's Hand Paints - My grandfather still tells me on a regular basis about how much he loves these socks.

I could go on and on but these are a few that stand out in my memory.

Feb 8, 2010

Escape From Snowmageddon 2010

This weekend was such and adventure. It's hard to know where to start. Perhaps it's best to take it one thing at a time which was exacty my approach to the great adventure.

Friday was insane. Our bags were packed and ready to go and then the snow started falling. Schools never even opened but my office did and, the satellite tv guys still came out to do the install. Through it all the snow fell and I worried about if we'd actually get to NYC. My stomache was tied up in knots!


By 3pm my office had finally given in to the snow and closed and, with one of out cars secure in the covered garage at Union Station, my little family was on a train bound for NY. We all heaved a huge sigh of relief.

We attended my niece's Sweet Sixteen and it was so worth all the stress to be there with our family for a happy occasion. On Saturday afternoon before the party we even got to squeeze in a visit with my grandparents. DQ, Stinkette, my grandfather and I played Rummy-o. I lost every game but DQ won once, my grandfather one once, and Stinkette kicked our butts twice!


Late Saturday night as the party wound down it was panic time again. Planes weren't flying into DC and many of the trains had been cancelled. Thankfully we got on one of the few trains that did run and we arrived home last night to find streets that hadn't been plowed and cars were stuck everywhere.


Once we did get home we found a driveway that we couldn't get into. Thankfully our neighbor had shoveled hers so we had a place to put our car until we were able to shovel ours.

Now, to add insult to injury, we're under a storm warning again. They expect 6-12 inches to fall.

Feb 4, 2010

ECF - Interpretation Edition

What do you see when you look at this picture? Do you see a lovely, bluish, shadow of a tree displayed upon a pristine blanket of fresh, white, snow? Or do you see an ominous sign that winter is not nearly ready to relinquish it's hold on you? Oh the difference a week makes!


A week ago when I took this picture I had the former view but today, with a massive storm on the way, I'm firmly in the latter camp. I guess it's a bit like a Rorschach test for the winter.

Fluid Situtation

The forecast seems to get worse and worse. Now they're predicting upwards of 12 inches of snow for us this weekend. It's becoming very obvious that we're not going anywhere at all this weekend.

As if that wasn't enough, we learned something this week. A dying DVR behaves a whole lot like a satellite with poor reception. Who knew! Over the past months we've had bits of weirdness but we attributed it to the signal. Early this week our DVR started making weird noises and now it's completely dead. Do you know what that does to our television viewing? It's really not pretty.

They're coming out to install the new DVR and the new dish it requires in Friday morning. The snow is supposed to arrive about mid-day. I have a really bad feeling about this. Something tells me that we may suffer through this storm at home with no DVR.

Happily there is good news in the world of knit. I stared this Bitterroot on Sunday and it's flying on my needles. I'm nearly finished with chart "C" which means that it's decision time. Shawlette or full sized shawl. I'm thinking the latter. Clearly I'll have plenty of time to work on it this weekend.


Possibly the best part of this project is the yarn - Elann Baby Silk in Gentle Violet. I adore the color (as will the recipient) and it feels glorious. Best of all it was stash yarn. Go me! Three cheers for shrinking the stash. This yarn had been in there since March 2005!

I think that I deserve a reward for all these stash busting projects. Perhaps Elann has something fun to offer.

Feb 3, 2010

Staying Warm With a Tuesday Night Cowl

Yesterday I heard one of the weather people say that we have already had more snow so far this winter than in the past 3 winters combined. And that was before we added about 5-ish more inches to the tally last night. The fresh, fluffy, white, snow does look pretty and it's certainly better than seeing my nasty, strawlike lawn.


Usually I welcome the snow. I know that I'm in the minority there but I just love to watch it fall and if it keeps me home watching movies and knitting instead of running around doing errands - so be it. Right now though, the snow is stressing me a little because they're predicting a wicked storm for this weekend which could cause big problems for us. See... we are supposed to be at a family event in another city this weekend. Non-refundable dresses and gifts have been purchased etc, etc. We must be there! I acknowledge that the snow is likely to keep our cars parked at home but, where there's a will there's a way. I'm stubborn like that.


No matter if we stay or go, I know I'll be warm because I have a lovely new cowl to wear. It's the Tuesday Night Cowl by Susan Lawrence.

IMG_3008[1]I already had a cowl, made out of my handspun a little over a year ago, which I was wearing a lot. It was nice and soft and working just well enough to make me wish I had one that worked better.

I know that some people aren't fans of cowls but there are many positives to them. They're small enough to tuck in a pocket or a bag and go on so fast without long ends that might drag or get in the way. Ideally they fit right up against your skin and cover your tender throat so that even if you're running around with your jacket unzipped *ahem* you're not quite as cold and exposed.

The problem with my old one is that the ends - both top and bottom - roll excessively. It's still pretty warm and really nice and soft but I wanted something that would really keep me warm.


I loved the Tuesday Night Cowl immediately. I saw it's poential for keeping me warm and, as an added bonus, I had 2 skeins of Manos that had been marinating in my stash for about 3 years that would be perfect for it. It is and it isn't. It turns out that the Manos is a little scratchy. not fatally so but jus enough to be noticeable.

The pattern is really clear and I knit it up in 3 nights. After a good soak and a few days spent drying it was ready just before last weekend's storm.


I wore it everywhere and I can say without a doubt that this pattern is a winner. The folds created by the cabling are wonderful for trapping heat and keeping my neck warm. Mostly I wear it scrunched down but it could easily be pulled up to shield my lower face too. So versatile!

Stay warm!

Feb 1, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Household Tasks You've Been Avoiding

Ugh, if I admit that I'm avoiding them then do I have to buckle down and do them?

Here's a little something to pretty the post up before I get down to business. On Sunday, I went out to take some pictures of the snow and I noticed this bird's nest in my neighbor's tree.


Here's all the stuff I'm procrastinating on around the house. For all the world to see in black and white. Much of it is familiar from my list of goals for the year.

  1. Clean out my closet - and dresser, and night table, and ... you get the picture.
  2. Clean out the storage area in my basement and sell all the stuff we don't need.
  3. Reorganize the books in the rec room shelves. - Once upon a time they were shelved alphabetically. Hopefully they will be again.
  4. Organize the stash. - It's a little out of control.
  5. Repaint my bedroom - I think that the color isn't quite right. Sadly it's a bold color which will take many coats of paint to cover.
  6. Weed around the mailbox - It just looks sad
  7. Replace the flag and repaint the mailbox - ditto
  8. Divide and replant my irises - one year I'll finally get around to doing this.
  9. Organize all the crafty stuff - Some of it's from college and I'm sure there's a bunch of dried out paint there.
  10. Fix the darned kitchen!

That list includes an awful lot of organizing. Is it any wonder that I keep putting it off. It's soooo daunting.

Define a Dusting

This past weekend was cleared long ago so that I could help out with Tech Weekend for the middle school musical which DQ will be in. I planned to spend most of my time painting sets and I actually got up early (for me) on Saturday and went to the school to get to work. Unfortunately, no sooner had I poured the paint and developed a flow to my work than the school, and our endeavours, were shut down.

Apparently the weather people were wrong again. We didn't get a dusting of snow. We got about 6 inches which, in Virginia, is enough to shut everything down. Being a stubborn New Yawka I decided to go shopping rather than going directly home but after seeing a few cars ahead of me fishtail and go off the sides of the road I gave up and went home.


At home I sat on the couch and knit until the roads were clear again on Sunday afternoon. I got a lot done but none of it will help get the production ready for opening night in 2 weeks! I have a feeling that I may have a few late nights at the school this week.