Oct 29, 2010

ECF - Halloween 2010 Edition

Thanks so much to everyone for the birthday wishes. There's not much that can make you feel special on your birthday like a steady stream of lovely messages.
Moving on... I had the best intentions for Halloween this year but things are just a little too crazy so while the pumpkins in this picture are real, the embellishments are not. Inspired by Carole, I used a little Picnik magic to help them reach their full potential.

Have a great weekend and Happy Halloween!

Oct 28, 2010

Happy Sock Day!

Today is a very good day! The sun is shining, the leaves are bright yellows and reds, my family is happy, and I am officially one year older.

Another good thing is my sock mojo which is flowing freely once again. Late last week I finished a pair of socks for Stinkette so I moved on to the TTL Mystery socks and finished clue #4.


Then because Stinkette wore her newly completed socks for 48 hours straight (ewwww) before we noticed and forced her to put them in the laundry, I started a new pair for her. These are dead-simple commuting socks in Creatively Dyed Calypso in a color called Giant.


Finally, last night I started a little something for me. I stuck to my plan and started a pair of Pointelle socks from Knit.Sock.Love. using a delicious skein of Spirit Trail Sunna. Are you shocked that they're not blue - or purple - or green? This color is called Harvest Moon and it is totally outside my usual palette but it's fabulous and I think it'll be awesome for these socks.


You could say that these are a little gift to myself. All the glow of candles on a cake without the calories.

Oct 27, 2010

Sea Spires

Have you seen Knit.Sock.Love. yet? The hard copy doesn't come out until late next month but the pdf went live on Sunday and I got a copy that day. I gave to say that I think offering the book in pdf is brilliant because now I can just print out the patterns as needed. I'm getting a hard copy too and if you order it now through her website she's got a special deal for getting both.


When you do get the book check out page 173 where you'll see me listed in the credits as one of the test knitters for the Gothic Spire pattern. I was so excited when I was accepted as a test knitter. I may have danced around a little. It was back in June and my M-I-L was visiting and she must've thought I was nuts.


Anyway, after considering a few different, dark and moody skeins of yarn in my stash at the time I settled on something that was happy and light instead. The yarn is Woolen Rabbit Sock Yarn in Sea Dreams and it was so perfect for this project. I love the way the stitches show up in it. With patterns like these you really want to be able to see the details and they kind of pop in this yarn.


Now that the book is finally out I've got so many new patterns to consider. Many patterns in the book were available elsewhere before but I didn't have them so they're new to me. I like having them all in one place and of course the 7 new patterns in the book are pretty cool too. I have a skein of yarn caked up and ready to go and I'm just trying to decide between Stricken and Pointelle. Either way I'll be casting on one of them later today. I can't wait.

Oct 26, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Ways to Enjoy Halloween

So are you ready for Halloween?

We're tring but it's not going so smoothly. The candy is bought but I'm not sure where it went. We have 3 very large pumpkins but they're not carved yet. We did get a scary spider that will drop down and scare people - when prompted.

Then there's the matter of the sign on our front door. Nobody knows where the "V" went. I guess it's ok because DQ was kind of worried about laying out the welcome for the local blood suckers.


Perhaps this weeks list will help me get in the right frame of mind for Halloween. Let's talk about 10 Ways to Enjoy Halloween.

  1. Get a bunch of candy for trick-or-treaters
  2. Make sure to get extra candy for yourself
  3. Get some cool looking gourds. I love how they look in a bowl on the table.
  4. Take the kids around the neighborhood trick-or-treating - it's good exercise.
  5. Eat candy while the kids are going door to door.
  6. Go to the pumpkin patch - you can pick your own pumpkin, eat apple stuff and have good, outdoor fun.
  7. Carve a pumpkin - so much fun
  8. Make pumpkin bread from the stuff you remove from the pumpkin.
  9. Get costumes - I still need to take Stinkette for hers. She is obsessed with finding the right one.
  10. Make your spouse wear something weird. I love to get funny noses, sombreros, Halloween shirts, and other things to make my husband wear when we take the girls trick or treating. What will I do when they get too old to need us to walk with them?

Oct 25, 2010

Homecoming 2010

You know that your life is kind of crazy when , even though you have a months notice, you and your child cannot coordinate the time to go shopping together. This is how I became DQ's personal shopper last week. On Monday and Thursday I spent my lunch hour at a certain department store in DC searching for the perfect Homecoming dress. You wouldn't believe how heavy dresses can be when your dragging 6-10 of them home at a time.


It was worth it though because we found one that my girl instantly fell in love with. Not only was it totally her colors, but it was strapless as well. Thank goodness it fit because prying it away from her would've been difficult.


Let's ignore the obvious fact that my child is taller than me.

She was even able to use the bolero/shrug that I made for her with it. I'm so happy that it's holding up well and she's getting a lot of use out of it.


My girl's school is a secondary which goes from 7th-12th grade which means that for the past 2 years she's been a close observer of the Homecoming excitement but, as part of the middle school, not allowed to participate. She was so excited to go this year and I'm pleased to say that she wasn't disappointed at all. She saw friends and danced 'till she couldn't dance any more.

It was a very good night.

Oct 22, 2010

ECF - Atop the Palisades Cliffs Edition

Just before my recent vacation we did a Ten on Tuesday list of ways to have fun on a roadtrip. Afew of the things on the list weren't possible this time since I was driving but I followed as many as I could - including stopping at a scenic over look or 2.


The State Line scenic overlook is situated at the highest point of the Palisades Cliffs and looks out over the Hudson. Isn't that a view worth stopping for?

Oct 21, 2010

Catching Up and Getting Ahead

I am thisclose to finishing the 3rd clue for the Through The Loops Mystery Sock. Ordinarily this would worry me except that I'm caught up or ahead with a bunch of stuff including the Dazzling Dozen Potholder Swap. It's all about perspective and right now, I think I'm doing ok.

I adore this potholder. In fact, of all the potholders I've made for this swap so far, I'd say that this is the one I'd be most likely to make for myself. There's nothing new or exciting about the yarn. As with all the other potholders, this is a mix of Tahki Cotton Classic and Elann Sonata. I'm not sure that the blue in the middle and the edge was the best choice but it works.


Both of the patterns this time came from Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs by Edie Eckman. For the front I used Motif #54 which created the effect of little tabs catching the breeze.


For the back I used Motif #32 which yielded and nifty, dense, fabric. One thing that I love about both of these patterns is the sense of movement and direction that comes through in both. I think that this should be a really useful potholder.

Now I need to finish the last few rows of sock 2 of my TTL 2010 pairs so that I'll be caught up for a little while... until the next clue drops later tonight.

Oct 20, 2010

Val Kill

It shouldn't be surprising to hear that my trip to Rhinebeck included a little bit of solo touring. Last year you may recall that I went see Hyde Park, the Vanderbilt country home, and Springwood which was the home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Apparently I'm in a Roosevelt state of mind because I went to Sagamore Hill (Teddy Roosevelt's home) last November and now I've been to Val Kill which was Eleanor Roosevelt's (ER) place.


It was an overcast day on Friday so the pictures are kind of moody. They really don't reflect the spirit of ER at all. The more I hear about her the more I admire her. She was so determined and brave. Remind me the next time I plan a fantasy dinner that she would certainly have to be at my table.


Val Kill consists of 2 buildings. Her actual home isn't terribly pretty at all and from the outside it looks very much like the factory that it once was. On the inside it's very cozy and filled with pictures that tell the story of a wonderful, full, life full of friends, family, and accomplishments.


This building is called the stone cottage and it's much more attractive from the outside. It was initially the place where the Roosevelts would go to kick back and relax. Later it became the full time residence of 2 of ER's closest friends, Marion Dickerman, and Nancy Cook. It's about to be restored and opened to the public again after years of use at the offices of the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill. I hope that you get to see it when you go because it's a lovely building.


I really loved touring the Hudson Valley homes that I've seen so far and I was even happier to pass plenty of signs pointing to other historic homes in the area. I may need to go back and see more of them. There's Olana and Clermont and Locust Grove and Boscobel and Kykuit and Sunnyside and ... apparently there's still quite a bit to see.

Oct 19, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Things In Your Freezer Right Now

Today it's all about what's in our freezer. It may seem like a totally innocuous subject to most but for me it feels a wee bit like harassment. See, my freezer isn't as full as it could be because I've been too busy to do the grocery shopping. Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, someone (could've been me) left the freezer slightly ajar last night which has made what is in the freezer kind of a mess. Ugh. Hopefully the elves will come and fix the situation before I get home today.

Anyway, here's the list:

  1. Ice cream - Always! There's cookie dough, mint chocolate chip, black raspberry and more. You can never have too much ice cream.
  2. Tortellinis - DQ loves them as a quick meal before dance or drama practice or anything else she's doing.
  3. Ice - Oh do we have ice! Our ice maker churns it out day and night and we consume it as fast as we can.
  4. Butter - You never know when you'll have a sudden need to bake cookies.
  5. Meat - We keep kosher and buy much of our meat at a butcher in Maryland which is a bit of a hike so we keep a ready supply of meat in the freezer.
  6. Ice packs - We've got more of these now that Stinkette is playing softball. Every weekend we have to load up the cooler and ice packs are a must for keeping the food cold during marathon tournaments.
  7. Blintzes - Cheese and Blueberry. I just love them.
  8. A frozen Quiche from Trader Joes - For lunch of course.
  9. Leftovers - not much but I think that I saw some chili in a container in there. Or was that lasagna? Hmmm... if I don't know what it is then it's probably been in there too long.
  10. Waffles - Until recently this was Stinkette's favorite thing for breakfast but the braces on her teeth have her rethinking the crunchy, toasted, waffles.

Speaking of Stinkette, she was in a softball tournament last weekend while I was away. It was so hard not being there to cheer her on. Instead I got updates after each game telling me how the team did and some highlights.

I should mention that her team is very new and, since they play against more established teams that practice every day (we don't) we expect that it'll be a while before they really start doing well. Mostly we parents try to support the girls and keep their spirits up when they lose and remind them that they're only going to get better.


And then this weekend they won! They beat the team sponsoring the tournament in the championship game. I was so happy for them and I desperately wished that I was out there at the field to witness the unexpected vistory rather than driving down a highway hundreds of miles away. Here is the medal Stinkerbelle got. It looks kind of generic from the front but he really good stuff is on the back. Later this week each player will get to take a picture with the big-ass trophy. Gotta frame that one!

Oct 18, 2010

Rhinebeck Again

Memory is a funny thing. Over time, an event that you enjoyed gets burnished with a certain rosey patina and those events that you loved fairly glow. Is it any wonder that reality rarely lives up to the memory?


Those glowing memories are what inspired me to make reservations for Rhinebeck again this year. Recognition of the way that memory gets distorted is what led me to consider cancelling them but I'm so glad that I resisted. I had a really great time.


My sister joined me again this year and we had even more fun. Here she is making a new friend. She even bought yarn! As she paid for it she commented that she'd never paid that much for yarn before which caused a woman nearby to gasp in surprise. Then I turned to her and explained that my sister doesn't knit and probably had never bought any yarn before.


I bought yarn, I hung out with friends, and I saw some sites. In short my little weekend getaway had all the elements that make a great vacation.


Oct 15, 2010

ECF - D Cupcake Edition

Last weekend we atttended a party for Stinkette's softball team. One thing about select teams is that they're expected to stay together through the years and as the girls bond, they function more as a team and less as a group of individuals. The party was one of the first efforts to have the girls get to know each other better.


I made cupcakes with fancy "D's" on them for the team name. They didn't come out as planned but they were still good.

Oct 14, 2010

Sturdy Stripey Socks

Here is one of the 2 pairs of socks that I finished a bit over 2 weeks ago. I am so happy that the weather and my family's schedule finally allowed me to get pictures.

DQ modeled these socks because they're for her. I have to note that because my girls have begun to fight over who gets to model each pair. Isn't that weird? I understand fighting over who gets the finished socks but battling over who gets to interrupt what they're doing so that they can help their geeky mom take pictures of knit socks is kind of funny and strange - but it makes me very happy.


As DQ modeled the socks - moving this way and that - I noted just how fraternal they are.


Then she moved her feet just a little bit and I realized that the stripes weren't as far off as I thought.


I used ONLine Supersocke for these socks and I was well into these socks before I caught on to the fact that this yarn is sport weight. Incredible attention to detail huh? Anyway, I used my usual US 1 needles so the fabric feels really sturdy while still being soft enough to wear comfortably. I see DQ wearing these for a long time.


Oct 13, 2010

Blue Skies

It is such a good day. The skies ar blue and thre is a crispness in the air that seems perfectly appropriate for fall. It's a great day to hit the road and happily I am.


I am heading to my grandparents house in New York later today for a brief visit. It's part of a long weekend in New York for me. Yay! I had so much fun last year that I'm repeating my trip again this year. Maybe I'll see some of you. I thought about not going but my family insisted. I love that about them.

Oct 12, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Ways to Have Fun on Long Car Rides

Can you see them? Peeking out from the shadows.

Brace Face!

How about now?

Look who got braces!

Stinkerbelle got braces yesterday! She was so excited to get started and, of course, to pick out the band colors. This time she went with purple and black for Halloween.

My husband was the one who made the appointment so I asked him on Sunday night what time our Monday morning appointment was. Eleven was the answer so you can imaging my surprise when I was awakened by a call early Monday morning telling me that he made a mistake and the appointment was actually at NINE! It was 8:50 AM so I threw on the nearest clothes and ran out of the house without my knitting or a book to read. Almost three hours later Stinkette had the first of her braces installed.

Now, as I prepare to go away for a long weekend I hope that I prepare better for this trip than I did yesterday. What better time to discuss 10 Ways to Have Fun on a Long Car Trip?

  1. Listen to good stuff on the radio - Music is good but I prefer podcasts from my iPod or talk shows because I can easily get lost in them. It's nice to have something to disctract you from the traffic.
  2. Knit - not this weekend because I'll be driving, but usually I can get a lot done.
  3. Stop at a scenic overlook - it's a great excuse to stretch out. I especially like to stop in the mountains or the shore.
  4. Bring snacks - Notice I didn't say eat snacks. I often grab a small bag of M&M's or something like that but I get caught up in saving it for later and get to my destination before I eat it. I like to think of eating it though.
  5. Read a good book - I know that not everone can read in the car but I'm thankful that I can. I read when I commute too.
  6. Talk to the people you're with
  7. Look for funny/interesting license plates - I love to try to decipher the really cryptic ones.
  8. Watch videos - it's actually my girls who are watching but it makes the trip more fun for all of us because this fuss less over the duration of the trip when they're entertained.
  9. Bring surprises - sometimes the aforementioned videos are surprises. If we're going on a long trip then I usually gather magazines, books, and other fun stuff to surprise my girls with. On a nine hour drive it makes a big difference.
  10. Watch the scenery go by - not so much when I'm driving of course.

Oct 8, 2010

ECF - Hint of Red Edition

The list earlier this week of our 10 Things To Love About Fall inspired me to go hunting for fall color to use for Eye Candy Friday. Can you believe that this is the best I could do.

It may feel like fall in Virginia but it sure doesn't look like it yet.

Oct 6, 2010


Did you see this article yesterday on CNN? I was all about how researchers in Scotland and Spain have found that adding wool to bricks makes them stronger and more crack-resistant. How do ya like that? We always knew wool was great.

In case it isn't obvious, I'm feeling a little random today. Maybe it's because I've been tired all week. Maybe it's because I've got so many balls in the air. I really can't say.

Anyway, here's a picture that has me feeling happy and amazed. This was taken on Monday and it's proof that my girl really did wear a pink ribbon in her hair. Not only that - she told me that if we got more ribbons in other colors she could see herself wearing them more often. Considering that until recently she was all about super-short hair cuts and basketball shorts, this is shocking. Preferably, Stinkette would like plaid ribbons because that's her new thing. Her back to school wardrobe this year is a sea of plaid in shades of purple, green, and blue with the occasional argyle thrown in for good measure. My baby is becoming preppy!


Speaking of Stinkerbelle, we'll be watching her play softball again this weekend. Did you know that softball games are great for knitting? At the tournament last weekend I managed to polish off the first clue for the TTL Mystery Sock for 2010. I did go with the plum Pagewood Farm yarn and I love it so far. If you'd like to see how the socks look so far you can check my flickr page here. Now I'm ready for the second clue to drop later tonight. Bring it!

Potholder #5

I finished another potholder recently. I have to say that I'm really enjoying this swap. The more I crochet the better I get at it. Since I only have to do one a month I have the time to consider the patterns and work through them thoughtfully. I can try new stitches. I can even stop and check a few resources to be certain that I'm doing the stitches correctly.

Here is one side of the latest one.


And a close-up.


The pattern I used for this one was the Ripple Potholder by Claudia Lowman. The pattern was a good one with nice results but there were spots that I found unclear. I don't know if it's truly and issue with the pattern or if I'm just not familiar enough with crochet patterns. Maybe both.

Challenges aside, I really like the results. The pattern includes instructions to add an embellishment inside the center area but I like it plain. I think it's a strong enough design to stand just as it is.

Here is the flip side.


And a close up of the same side.


One of the most challenging things about this swap is tailoring each potholder to the recipient. This one in particular was fun because the recipient likes jewel tones which really aren't my thing. Stepping out of my comfort zone was a great experience though and it helped to keep things fresh for me.

On to the next one.

Oct 5, 2010

ECF - 10 Things To Love About Fall

I don't know about you but the weather here has been crazy. Just over a week ago we were in the middle of a heat wave with temps in the 90's and today its so cold that I was thinking about breaking out my cute, new, wool, winter coat. I didn't do it though. I'm stubborn like that.


Anyway, the weather puts me in a the perfect fram of mind for today's topic - 10 Things To Love About Fall. Isn't that a great subject?

  1. The crispness in the air - the humidity fades away and instead we get air that feels fresh and envigorating. It's even better when someone has a fire going and you catch a hint of the scent of wood burning.
  2. Changing over to warmer clothes - I love being able to run out the door without a coat all summer but bundling up in my warm woolies is good too. Hello wool socks - I've missed you!
  3. My birthday - deep down inside I'm still a child and I love my birthday even if it's not quite as exciting as it once was.
  4. The colorful leaves - raking leaves is no fun but looking at them is. I love the way the light catches them just so and illuminates the yellows, oranges, and reds. Gorgeous.
  5. Apples - fall seems to go hand in hand with apples. I love apple pie, apple cider, apple sauce etc. It's all good.
  6. Carving pumpkins - I really love decorating the house for Halloween. I can't say that we do a great job of it but we do have fun.
  7. Fall Festivals - Fiber festivals are good, so are craft fests and others.
  8. The new season on TV - Now that we're no longer subjected to a summer full of reruns it's not quite as dramatic as it once was but it's still fun when all the shows we know and love come back - Grey's, Bones, Criminal Minds, Modern Family and more.
  9. Chili - comfort foods in general are a real positive for fall. Sure you can eat a steaming bowl of chili in the summer but in the fall it's extra nice when it warms you from the inside out.
  10. Knitting - Fall really inspires me to knit. In fact, I have so many projects that I just can't wait to knit that I can't seem to decide which to start first. Have you seen all the great sweater patterns out there right now?

Oct 4, 2010

Two Days - Two Uniforms

Oh, the things we do for our children. We get up and out of the house before dawn on a perfectly good Sunday when we ought to be sleeping in. We sit out in the blazing hot sun and the chill of early fall. We devote whole weekends to softball tournaments.

And we enjoy most of it. The cold - not so much.


The theme for this tournament was Playing for a Cure so all the teams got decked out in pink. Some more than others. We added pink numbers to the players helmets - see Stinkerbelle's "8"? The girls also wore pink shoelaces and pink ribbons in their hair. My girl has never, ever, work ribbons in her hair. Ever! But she did so last weekend and she proudly wore it to school again today. So cute.


Since Stinkerbelle's team is fairly new we really didn't expect much but out girls really rose to the occasion. They lost the first game in a heartbreaker that proves that it isn't over until it's over - no matter how far ahead you are. The second game is best not discussed.

Happily, aside from the cold, gloom and the early hour, the games on Sunday were better. We won the first game convincingly and the second went into overtime. That game went on and on and on as more and more people gathered to watch. When it finally ended in a win for our girls we cheeered so hard. It was one of the most exciting sporting events I've been to in a long time.


I didn't get much housework or errands done but I'm perfectly fine with that. I did get a bit of knitting done. Even without the knitting it was great to see my girl doing something she loves so much.

Oct 1, 2010

ECF - Grounds of The Indian Museum Edition

I took a few pictures around the Indian Museum last Saturday. It is an incredibly beautiful building and it's grounds invite visitors to wander around and around and appreciate it from all angles. I had no idea that I'd caught a bee dashing among the flowers until I looked at my pictures later that evening.