Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Only a few days left

Hi! Here I am, trying to squeeze in my monthly post before the month runs out. There has been knitting (two felted bags about to go in the wash as soon as they have handles) and there has been music (playing in the volunteer orchestra for a Messiah sing), not to mention endless to-ing and fro-ing (three concerts among my children - knitting time!) and of course, shopping! And trying to make at least the living room presentable for relatives (people visiting for Christmas do expect a tree!). And now it is December 26th, almost time to go back to ordinary winter life. Even though I have to work the rest of the week (being in retail and all), the kids and the spouse have the rest of the week off, so there will still be general relaxation around here. Maybe I can get them to tidy up a bit more (oh sure).

I wanted to be sure and post my favorite holiday poem for you all. I first read this in a magazine at school when I was in about 5th grade. It spoke to me then and have I saved it all these years. A few years ago I trotted it out and a friend helped me find the author's name. Frank Horne is one of the poets of the Harlem Renaissance; not perhaps the most famous, but remembered just the same. So here it is:

Kid Stuff

The wise guys
tell me
that Christmas
is Kid Stuff...
Maybe they've got
something there --

Two thousand years ago
three wise guys
chased a star
across a continent
to bring
frankincense and myrrh
to a Kid
born in a manger
with an idea in his head...

And as the bombs
all over the world
the real wise guys
that we've all
got to go chasing stars
in the hop
(in the hope)
that we can get back
some of that
Kid Stuff
born two thousand years ago --

Frank Horne
December, 1942

Wishing you all a wonderful winter holiday time (celebrate them all!) and a felicitous and knitterly New Year!

p.s. I will catch up with some photos and other promised details - hopefully later in this leisurely week.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A positive karmic bandwagon to jump on

Geez, this month almost got away without a post! I had been thinking about Random Acts of Kindness and its near-kin, Paying It Forward, when I ran across this blog activity that is (I hope) sweeping the nation (or at least the blogosphere!). I can't resist joining this one - being a positive force for all that is good and helping add some of that to a world in need. So here goes:

I promise to reward the first three commenters with a prize sometime in the next 365ish days if each of them joins me in doing two things: leaving a comment here where they promise to do the second thing, and then doing it - the second thing being writing about Paying It Forward and then offering the same contest on their blog. I hope this helps get all and sundry thinking about what Paying It Forward really means and looking for chances to actually do it.

Remember, the third thing that goes with Paying it Forward and Random Acts of Kindness is: what goes around comes around, and ideally one would like that to be a positive thing.

We now return to our regularly (un)scheduled blog topics. Yes, I still have unblogged Rhinebeck photos (imprisoned on the other computer) and a long-neglected meme to write about. Then I could actually write about some current knitting... The possibilities are endless - but sadly, my time is not. But I shall return!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Additions to the Yarn Treasury

Here is part of what followed me home from Rhinebeck. There are just two more photos, but for some reason uploading is not happening right now (could the uploading fairy be trick or treating already?), so I will have to fix that another time. And since I now have to insure costume happiness among the younger family members, I will leave you with the photos alone. I promise information will appear later.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Okay, get scared, it's twice this month - Rhinebeck and all that

Minor miracle, but there is so much fun to report and photos to show. Just because I went to Rhinebeck doesn't mean that is all I am going to write about. On Friday I accompanied my younger son on a school field trip to someplace called Stonehenge USA in Salem, NH. They were supposed to see aged stone works and find out what an archeological dig was like. I think those educational objectives were accomplished. See, first there was digging - like going in a time machine back to nursery school, but with a slightly longer attention span and no throwing of sand.
Then there was a tape guided tour of all these little stone caves and walls and piles of rubble - with the tape played on a boom box carried by one of the kids (only marginally successful for such a large group).
And then while waiting for the bus the kids amused themselves with trying to touch one of the eight or so alpacas that are raised there. What the alpacas have to do with prehistory and archeology I don't know, but the kids enjoyed them as much as all the other activities, I think. Maybe they are all fiber fanatics and just don't know it yet!

So that was just practice - only a 50 minute bus ride - for my trip to Rhinebeck the next day with the Yarn Safari tour group. That was a five hour bus ride each way. I think there were some things that made it longer than driving oneself - route selection, dropping off the other pick up point people first, riding in a glorified school bus - but if I had driven myself I couldn't have knitted for the whole trip out and half way back! I have never been to Rhinebeck or any other similar festival before, so I didn't know quite what to expect, but I am glad I did some homework. I spent a little time with the Web site looking at the vendor lists, scoping out the ones I already knew and loved, and then printing off a copy of the site map and writing those locations on the back. By the time we got there, the annotated maps at the gate were gone, and there are no maps posted anywhere that I could see. Later on I did get a map from someone who was leaving - maybe they ought to have a recycle bin? Fortunately, another of my knitting buddies had come on the other bus and brought along the entire alphabetical list of vendors by building, so between that list and my map we were pretty well oriented. Besides, there are wonderful lovely things everywhere! Like this (for those who like roving):

and this (Color! Yarn! Pick me!)

Not to mention the chance to people watch (and garment watch):

I saw only one MS#3 (very nice!) and had two sighting of Yarn Harlot and her amazing Kauni cardigan (if it was me I would have been carrying it instead of wearing it, so I hope she was not too warm). And through the wonders of the Internet and cell phone technology I met up with Gryfinitter (her blog is Wandless Knitting, and I would give you a link except I haven't learned how yet) even though we only know each other through exchanging comments in blogland. Amazing!

I managed to come home with an alligator scarf kit from Morehouse, yarn for three pairs of socks (STR, VanCalcar Farms and Sliver Moon FIber Arts), several patterns, some pumpkin scented soap and some stitch markers. This represents remarkable self restraint on my part, and I think I have escaped the spinning bug for now (but some of that roving was so soft and so pretty....).

I will save the yarn photos and the meme response (which I have not forgotten!) for the next post. I have to do the dishes and laundry before they come to life and lock me in a closet!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Posting once a month is better than not posting at all - isn't it?

Back at last! Photos poised and ready to jump into place! This will be a real catch-up effort, although I also have been tagged for the "eight odd things" meme. Since that is fairly recent maybe I will save it for last or (gasp!) another post. So here is the news: I was lucky enough to hear the Yarn Harlot speak again - this time she was appearing at my local Borders, a good 15 minutes or so away. Actually she was here in August but it is still news around here. She had made mention in a recent post of her own about possibly needing clean underwear. What a straight line - of course the knitters of Greater Boston came armed, and the poor Harlot was pelted with panties!

About this same time I received my State Swap parcel from my swap buddy in Arkansas. She sent all manner of lovely state-specific goodies, like barbecue sauce and candy, along with some terrific knitterly things. I now have my first skein of Collinette Jitterbug, and I can't stop admiring the colors - a sort of deep jade green with other colors sprinkled in. I can't wait to to see what sort of (short - why does Colinette put up sock yarn in such a short skein?) socks will result!

Check out the lovely little stitch markers. I love how dainty they are. These are stitch markers I can use and enjoy in real life without them getting in the way of the knitting.

And here lies a photo of my poor lonely MS#3.

Somewhere around the time I went to hear the Yarn Harlot I lost my beads and crochet hook. Fortunately both were easily replaced, but it slowed my momentum considerably. Then the last clue was revealed. I am still in shock and have no idea how I would like to proceed. Actually, that isn't true - I have lots of ideas and no time to spend working them out. Fortunately knitwear is patient, and will rest peacefully in its little zip-loc bag until I find the time to investigate.

And then there was the travel. I visited Swarthmore and Cornell in August with my college seeking son, but sadly had no time there for yarn stores (although I was armed with the necessary information!). Then in September I had the chance to spend a few days in Chicago visiting the University of Chicago (and finally one little yarn store...). Here is the obligatory photo of the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millenium Park.

Well, maybe not quite the obligatory photo; this was taken from inside the sculpture. Some really cool views to be had, what with all the curves and reflections.

For those keeping track of yarn stores to visit, when in Chicago please visit the lovely folks at Loopy Yarns (; 719 South State Street). It is within walking distance of Millenium Park and the Art Institute (places to leave muggles while you shop in peace) and the staff and selection are both fabulous. I was there late on a Sunday afternoon and was not rushed in any way, even though my final decisions were made well after closing time. And I learned that Lorna's Laces is a local yarn for them (dyed nearby), with many of the colourways named for Chicago neighborhoods (Ravenswood being the actual home base, so to speak). I brought home enough Mirasol Miski (100% baby llama and in a good cause!) to make something cozy and shoulder-warming for the winter. Loopy Yarns definitely passes the "if my son goes to college here I will be glad to visit this yarn store again" test!

(I really ought to be sleeping, so I will save the yarn store, and current projects for when Blogger will allow the photos. And by then I should have some photos and news from Rhinebeck!). Pretend I just drew a line through the sentence in the parentheses.

Why? Because I wrote most of this post early this morning when Blogger was avoiding my photos like the plague. Now in light of day I have edited, added, posted the necessary photos (okay, the ones I thought necessary!), and generally beaten the post into shape. But there are still two things I haven't learned - how to draw a line through a sentence I have edited (leaving it visible but alerting the reader that an edited version follows) and how to make a live link (so you can follow my suggestion to a site without the copy and paste action). Well, actually there are more things than that I need to learn, but here I am at the end wishing I could do both of those to improve this post. Something to look forward to!

Anyone going to Rhinebeck - suggest how we might meet. I will be there as part of a bus group on Saturday, so my time is limited, but any hints I can garner about how to have the most fun - and meet some new folks! - are all welcome!

Knit early and often!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hi! I am never going to win any prizes for prolific blogger of the year. There is just not enough time to do all the things I would like to do. I promise to get in some posting about recent knitting - where I am with respect to MS#3, my Heartbeat Sweater, the two different pairs of socks in (slow) progess, plus anything else I can dream up. However, the main purpose of this post is to answer the 25 questions in the Christmas Around the World Swap. I just remembered that I had not done this yet, and there is a deadline looming, so here goes:

Are you religious? Somewhat; some of my holiday fun is church related and some is not.

How long have you been knitting? Would you consider yourself a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced? I have been knitting for something like 40 years (Eeek!). I would call myself a "high intermediate" - I can still find things to learn and ideas I haven't tried, but I can learn from written instructions and work things out when needed.

Do you have any other hobbies besides knitting? Reading, participating in music of many kinds

Favorite color(s)? Jewel tones and sunrise/sunset colors, rainbow things (no faux fair isle - I don't care for the spots)

Do you collect anything? Other than fiber related things, you mean? I have a lot of cookbooks and I did get into collecting/researching Christmas carol music at one time. Did you know "The First Noel" actually has something like 12 verses?

Are you allergic to any fibers or animals? Not that I know of, and I think I have been exposed to most of them by now.
Do you have any pets? Yes, a dog named Pippin. He is a 6 year old Shiba Inu (think miniature Akita). He doesn't knit, but he does shed. Someday I am going to get someone to spin the shedded hair I have been saving - it is very soft!

Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate? I like them all - the hot chocolate needs to be "dark" and not too sweet.
Cookies or Sweets? Yes! - if it's chocolate, it should be dark (or at least not too "sugary")

Do you knit socks? Yes
If not socks then what? (tell us about your favorite knits) I like to try new things, especially with interesting pattern stitches

Do you put up a Christmas tree? If not then what do you do? We generally put up a tree, but often fail to decorate it completely due to all the other holiday activities.
Favorite holiday treats? Hot cider, cookies, truffles, fruitcake (the kind with real dried fruit, not candied "pebbles" disguised as
fruit!); and I know there are others
Favorite holiday smells? Baking spices and pine; the air when it is about to snow

Do you celebrate Christmas in a traditional or unconventional way? Please elaborate. Our celebration is fairly conventional.
We have relatives who mail gifts to us which we often open when they arrive or on Christmas Eve, so they can have their own moment in the sun. The music I get to sing in church choir and listen to on my extensive collection of CD's is a huge part of my holiday.

What are your favorite holiday traditions? I mentioned music - Early in December I get to play the trumpet in a small brass group while all the 5th graders in town sing the songs and the lights on the town common are lit. There are several parties over the next several weeks - open houses, really - that we are invited to each year. One Sunday a group from church goes caroling to folks who are home bound. For the last few years we have been lucky enough to attend the Christmas Revels - a combination of theatre and music that is different every year, yet loaded with traditions...

Finish the sentence: “For me Christmas is all about....” Sharing and experiencing music
If you were a Christmas ornament you would be…….? A glass globe with a rainbow finish (like a soap bubble, only permanent
What was your favorite gift you've ever received? Or given? One year when I was still buying gifts for my son's age mates (there were five of us from church who had our first babies in the space of a few months, and I used to give a gift to all five pus my nephew who is about the same age) I was combing the bookstore for a likely choice (that I could get 6 copies of!). Once of the employees steered me to the first Harry Potter novel - it had not quite taken off yet, but was available in quantity and at a good price. I am pretty sure it was well read in everyone's house that year.

When do you start your Christmas? I suppose the Christmas caroling and tree lighting here in town is sort of the official start.
Do you send Christmas cards? Do you make them or buy them? I used to send Christmas cards - I have made some and bought some, and sometimes we send photo cards (those darling children, you know) but it has been years since I have been able to make the time to do this.

What is your favorite Christmas dish? The lobster lasagne I invented one year. I think I dirtied every pan in the kitchen, but it sure was good. I love trying other people's traditional dishes too. Then there is always fruitcake and chocolate truffles!
Carolers are at your door. What do you do? Sing along and then give them cookies.
When do you open presents? Christmas eve or Christmas morning? Both (and other times - see above)
Do you celebrate with family or friends or both? Both. We have relatives that live near enough to join us on Christmas Day -
and often stay on for a day or two. We also have lots of church friends and musician friends that we visit and party with
throughout the holiday season. And then there is one family here we have been friends with since college - we usually
have dinner with them the evening of Christmas Day.

My holiday mantra? Happy Holidays - celebrate them all early and often!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hi! I would like to say this is a post from your foreign correspondent - which is technically true since I am on vacation. However, I didn't get quite far enough away, so when the choice was to come home for a day or so and keep the dentist appointment or to reschedule it, I decided to come home. My two older children joined me - to help get some house cleaning done or to see their friends - who can say for sure? and it is sort of nice to have the level of chaos cut in half for a day or two. So pretend I am writing this next to a lake in New Hampshire. If I had not left the digital camera there I could even provide a photo, but you will have to use your imagination.

Hope that imagination is up to the task, because the projects I have for show and tell are many rows past the photos I happen to have available (that digital camera thing again). FIrst we have my first pair of Monkey socks ( a Cookie A pattern found on knitty. com - I would make this a link but I have not yet learned how).

Since this photo was taken I have finished the cuffs and turned one of the heels. For this part of the operation the socks are each getting their own Magic Loop, since I couldn't figure out how to make it happen any other way (there's always something new to learn ,eh?).

The other item I have to show is my fledgling MS#3. There are a number of mystery shawl series floating around out there. This one is the (once a year, I think?) design work of Melanie of "" (once again, it would be a link...) I have actually made it to row 103 since this was taken. Still hopelessly behind those who have time and knit fast and finish each Friday's clue by Saturday morning, but I am making some progress. I am learning something as well - that I would rather knit pattern stitches (meaning things that occasionally repeat) than something that reminds me of filet crochet - knitting a picture using solid fabric and space. I guess the hard part for me is keeping my place across the row as I read the chart (I don't really mind reading the chart at all). I am sure that when all is said and knitted I will love the fact that I have something lacy and beautiful with little bright beads in it (could be the coolest thing of all, those beads!). I just might not try it again for a while.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hi! As usual it has been ages since I posted. Life happens - the end of the school year was so crowded with concerts, two promotions (what I would call graduation but when it is only 5th grade and 8th grade they call it promotion around here), assemblies, teacher visits, etc. Then almost right away two of my kids went to camp - lots of shopping and writing names in clothes and then driving them there. One of the end of the year activities included this teacher gift - just a little shawl/scarf made with a skein of Fiesta La Boheme in the colorway Australia (along with some other lavender wool to make it just a tad larger). My youngest daughter's class had spent the last part of the year studying Australia, so when I found this skein on sale at my LYS I knew it had to be something for her teacher.

So the main reason I am finally getting to this post is to talk about my swap buddy and the amazing parcel she sent from Norway as my gift in the Super Sox Box Swap. I am constantly amazed to be part of this world community of knitters who can learn about each other and treat each other with such care and kindness. Us knitters could definitely show the world a thing or two!

As you can see, my swap partner sent me some wonderful things: a hand crocheted bag adorned with cute flowered ties that is almost too pretty to use, some wonderful soft sock yarn in what I call "sunset colors", a range of treats, both chocolate and drinks. She sent not one pattern but a whole book - the mini Vogue books are such fun for their range and creativity (I have some of the others but not this one). Also a set of DPNs (I was just thinking of getting back to my sock knitting roots - my Magic Loop socks always have such ladders at the ends!), some scented candles (not too strong but just right) and lastly some lovely beaded stitch markers. I almost missed those in the box but luckily they jumped out when I went to take the photo. Here they are:

Maybe I will save the madness that is MS#3 for another post. It is always good to quit while you still have something to say!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The magic day finally arrived! Picture five happy knitters in a car, headed west, free of the usual obligations of showing up for work, driving the children here and there, making dinner, etc. After a mere two hours of travel time, ably navigated by Letitia (the GPS system) the intrepid group arrives at yarn heaven, otherwise known as WEBS, for some serious yarn treasury improvement.

As if this wasn't enough fun for one day, the adventuring group wandered down the street to the Calvin Theatre to hear possibly the funniest, most perceptive knitter and blogger extraordinaire in the world expound on the wondrous land of Knit. In case you are still guessing, this would be the Yarn Harlot I am speaking of, seen here being fortified for her efforts by a lovely glass of local craft-brewed beer:

Here she is, keeping us all spellbound and laughing most heartily. while the entire audience knit on, mostly on squares of Cashmerino Aran to be donated to Warm Up America. The sound of clicking needles was audible in that hall, let me tell you!

And what a hall it was, a fine old restored theatre, with screen panels in the walls like this one pictured below. Does this look to you like a bit of knitted lace or what? Quite a worthy location for this intrepid gathering!

After Stephanie's talk and some questions, all wrapped around more laughing than I have done in a long time, it was back to WEBS to wait patiently with a large whack of knitters to have a chance to meet Stephanie in person, have a book or two autographed, and have our group photographed with the Harlot herself and the famous sock. A grand time was had by all, I would say. Hope we can do it again soon!

Our trip was marred only by the loss of a nearly finished sock project. So if any of you out there in blogland happen to have seen an almost completed pair of purple socks in a zip lock bag somewhere around WEBS, the Calvin Theatre or the streets of Northampton, please report in as to its wearabouts. Its knitter is mourning its loss at the moment and would be much cheered by its return.

And in case anyone is checking, it is now 3:35 am on May 31; for some reason the date and time applied to this post are wildly inaccurate and I really have no idea why or how to make it right (same goes for the wasteful and unattractive white spaces around the photos in my post!). Always something new to learn, right?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Contest #1 for the Super Sox Box Swap: the challenge is to write about favorite drinks and snacks while knitting. is so hard to choose! On the one hand, whenever there are cups of something around I live in fear of either spilling something or having someone spill it! Years ago I was knitting a sweater outdoors at my job (lifeguarding at a municipal pool) and a bunch of kids conspired to dump a whole bucket of something wet and disgusting all over me. That is when I learned you can wash a pull skein of yarn in the skein if you are really careful!

I go to a knitting group once a week that meets in a local coffeehouse (yes, it is that place that has millions of shops all over the US, or so it seems) and I admit to carefully enjoying a mocha-type drink (espresso, milk, and a wee bit of chocolate syrup - not too sweet!) with my knitting most evenings. Sometimes by the time I get there I am all "coffee-ed out" for the day and I will have iced tea or iced tea with lemonade. Sometimes if there is something really yummy looking in the bakery case I will have a little sweet, but eating takes away from valuable knitting time - not to mention the possibility of crumbs and sticky fingers!

OTN just now is a version of Knitspot's "Obstacles" shawl (scroll down a bit until you see it):

in an easy care yarn called Marble. Yes, it is synthetic but it is very soft, not at all "squeaky" and has lovely long color repeats in one strand, with the other being solid. This is a prayer shawl for an ongoing project at my church - several of us knit them and then they are given away as needed (hence most of them are done in easy care yarns). I thought it would be "poetic justice" to use a pattern called "Obstacles" - maybe the person who eventually uses this shawl will be encouraged and strengthened to overcome some obstacles of their own. Besides, the pattern is fun to knit and IMHO looks great in this yarn. Perhaps I will have a photo soon - it is so gray and rainy here that I don't think a photo would look like much today!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Here are the facts, folks!

Following instructions, here are my replies to the Super Sox Box Swap Questionnaire. I hope I have given my swap buddy enough information here. If not, send more questions?

1.What are your favorite colors? What colors make you cringe?
My favorites are "jewel tones" - greens, blues, teals, purples, sunset colors. I cringe at most "dusty" colors, especially greens and browns that look dead.
2.Are you a new sock knitter? How long have you been knitting socks?
I have been knitting socks for about a year this time. Years ago I did a whole bunch of Christmas stockings, which are still socks, even if they are huge.
3.Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn?
I prefer multicolor yarn or even a solid that has some mild shading - they just seem more lively to me.
4.What fibers do you prefer in sock yarn?
I have knit happily with wool blends and cotton blends. I haven't tried any of the newer fiber blends, although I look forward to it.
5.Where do you usually knit socks?
I work on socks at knitting group and during breaks at work. I look forward to getting more familiar and taking them everywhere.
6.How do you usually carry/store small projects?
I have a vast collection of bags of many sorts - some good for a sock project, and some that hold several projects, a book to read, things belonging to my children, etc. The right container is important to a project's success!
7.What are your favorite sock knitting patterns? Any favorite designers?
I don't have any favorites just now. I have a lot of patterns that I want to try - mostly things with a little lace or an interesting texture.
8.What are your favorite sock knitting techniques?
I like to knit two socks at once using Magic Loop just so I make sure to actually finish the second sock! I had fun with toe up socks as well, although those were a little hard to get started.
9.What new techniques would you like to try?
I am sure there are lots of heels and toes I haven't tried yet, but mostly I would like to reach the point that I don't have to consult a pattern all the time.
10.Do you prefer circulars or dpns for sock knitting?
Lately I have been using circulars - either two at once or magic loop, but I think I should try DPN's again to see if it makes life simpler for me.
11.What are some of your favorite yarns?
I like the variation and interest of hand dyed yarns, but really as long as the yarn feels nice and has colors I like, anything goes. About the only thing I am not wild about is the yarn with faux fair isle bits (grey and white or black and white specks).
12.What yarn do you adore and yearn for? What yarn makes you happiest?
Yarn that is soft and interesting and is in colors I like. It is fun to receive local yarn from somewhere near the home of my swap buddy!
13.Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object?
Can't think of one - sock knitting is such a reasonable hobby in terms of cost. I guess if time were no object I could find lots of complex cables or lace to fill my hours.
14.Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)?
Currently I am using Addi Turbos for magic loop (since they come in 40 inch length). I also like to knit with bamboo, especially if the yarn is at all slippery.
If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be?
Purple and teal hand-dyed merino/silk/alpaca blend lace weight. Can't think of a brand that makes such a thing, but there probably is one out there.
Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? Sweet or salty?
I am a big fan of dark chocolate anything. It is fun to receive local favorites! Salty is okay, too.
Do you collect anything?
I think I mostly collect yarn and patterns and knitting books! We also have quite a few musical instruments around the house. I also collect cookbooks - I love to read them and then try some of the new recipes.
What is your favorite scent?
I try to stay away from scented things since they are often too strong. I use lavender shower soap sometimes, and I like spices and citrus also, but very low key.
Will you be celebrating a birthday, anniversary, etc. between now and the close of the swap?
Sadly no - my birthday is in December and my anniversary is in October.
What’s your favorite animal?
Do humans count? I like watching the loons on the lake in New Hampshire and also chipmunks racing around the woods.
Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages?
We have one dog - a five year old Shiba Inu named Pippin. Other than that, just the children (ages 16,14,11, and 8) and a number of mice who think this house is theirs.
Tell me the best quote you’ve ever heard or read.
My favorite quote is from a book called "The Once and Future King" by T.H. White; it is a version of the King Arthur legends. It starts like this: “The best thing for being sad,” ... “is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails....I can send you the whole thing sometime if you like.
What is your motto in life?
To try new things whenever I can, and to read lots of books, especially those written about things I am unlikely to do.
Do you have a wishlist? (ie: Amazon, B&N, a LYS, online store, etc.) Please list link here.
Not one that is up to date enough to share.
Anything else you’d like to share with your Sox Box pal?
I am looking forward to getting to know you. This should be a lot of fun!
Any allergies to be aware of for this swap?
None here!
Coffee, Tea?
I am a coffee fan but sometimes drink tea as well - especially iced tea when it is hot.
Anything Else?
Can you give me an idea how long it takes things to arrive there from the US? I don't want to be too late sending my package!

So there it is - probably more than seems strictly necessary, but some of the details should make for some interesting conversations with my buddy. It is a wonderful thing that this elephant known as the Internet makes this kind of fun possible. When I was a kid my mother belonged to the local Eastern Star chapter, and they always had a year long secret pal program going on. It seemed fun to me then too, even though I was on the outside looking in.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Another post! Yippee! At long last here is the saga of the Wedding Shawl (no longer from Hell, as it was finished on time and was a rousing success). Hope that isn't giving too much away.

To recap:
After the lengthy trial and selection process, buying lots of patterns and yarns that went unused, the bride decided on Fiddlesticks Lily of the Valley stole and was convinced to have it made up in an icy blue shade, since natural white yarn was never going to match a wedding dress made of white synthetic fabircs. I ordered two likely shades of Alpaca Cloud from Knitpicks (since the monitor colors were so different from the catalog photos that once again I could not tell which was the color I really wanted, and time was running out). I settled on Horizon Heather, which looks to be a strand of white plyed with a strand of very mildly varying pale blue. I was really tempted by some of the Colourmart yarns and their colors, but I just could not afford the time (and the possibility that on arrival the color would be wrong). I took their advice, however, and got myself a copy of the Online Auction Color Guide, so now I am ready for the next time (all my sisters are married now, so I probably won't need to do this again until my daughters are old enough).

The knitting itself took almost exactly one month. I loved the pattern - a fourteen row repeat, easy to memorize and to read off the knitting I'd already done. I took care of the dreaded "nupps" by keeping a size 1 DPN handy (usually tucked in my hair) for any nupp that I couldn't just purl off with the needles the shawl was on (a size 4 bamboo circular). I had hoped to use something pointier, like my Knitpicks Options or an Addi, but the alpaca seemed too slippery, and I think the time I might have saved on the nupps would have been used up chasing dropped stitches.

As is my usual sort of modus operandi, I finished the knitting itself at about 2:00 am Saturday morning of the wedding. I spent the whole car ride from Massachussetts to Ohio knitting, plus lots of other time the week before, but some of my precious knitting time was taken up by shopping (flower girl dress for my daughter, slips for everyone, etc.) and general fun (taking the adults out for an annual birthday dinner, things like that).

I finished blocking at about 5:00 am. By the time I got up at 8:00ish to start driving people places (hairdresser and the like) the shawl was dry so I could unpin it and deliver it. My sister gamely wore it to the church (fastened with the Leslie Wind shawl pin I gave her) and posed for photos, but then folded it away since the day turned out to be beautiful and not cold enough to require its use. I know that if I had not knitted it, or not gotten it finished, the wedding day would have been gray and chilly!
Here are the photos - I changed the time so perhaps they will appear after the text post after all. I have my fingers crossed!

A detail photo of the unblocked lace:

How fortunate that my mother has a carpeted attic floor! The bad news was that I had fallen and bashed my knee on one of the shopping trips earlier in the week, so crawling around on the floor was less than fun. The good news is that the blocking wires were just great for the short ends, which have points to pull out. I just wish the ends of the wires had a better finish to them.

Here it is stretched out on the sofa after blocking - it gained quite a bit of length (Whew!) and of course that magic thing happened to the lace:

The "magic thing" in detail (ignore the knitting mistakes - they are really just bad repairs to real mistakes, and could never be seen by someone racing by!).

And Herself the Bride. I don't know if she is blushing, but she looks terrific (I am only a little bit prejudiced here).

Now to start thinking about my daughter's eighth grade graduation....she wants a shrug...pattern and yarn already selected, but gauge is proving to be completely elusive...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hi! I have to admit, I am much better at reading other people's blogs than posting to my own. However, I have something truly blogworthy to report at last. After much to-ing and fro-ing, lengthy consultations with my knitting friends, vast amounts of mail order traffic, incredible pattern and yarn acquisitions trying to please Herself the Bride, and much general hassle all the way around, I have finally started the Wedding Shawl from Hell. I am not casting aspersions on the pattern (Lily of the Valley from Fiddlesticks) or the yarn (Alpaca Cloud from Knitpicks, color Horizon) even though I really think a nupp is a Dr. Seuss character and not a knitted object. I am still stunned at what a lengthy process it was to get to finally cast on! One of my yarn shipments was in UPS limbo for six days due to "a late train" - or that was what they claimed anyway. I am now intimately aquainted with how absurdly askew colors on the computer display can be compared to the real thing. I just hope the knitting itself is uneventful, since the wedding is April 21.

On a more positive note, I now have enough patterns and laceweight yarn to last well into the next millenium. I will never run out of things to do!

Hopefully I will get into the true blog swing of things and post some photos as I go along. This is all still new!
Knit in peace.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Hi! It has been a busy few months around here. Between a house with four kids and a full time job at night, there just isn't enough time to knit and blog as much as I would like (forget about cleaning the house and cooking dinner on a regular basis!). Currently I am knitting madly to finish a scarf or three for a shipment going to a middle school in China! The daughter of a friend of mine traveled there last summer and worked at the school; the principal happens to be visiting the US and so this high school student is organizing as many kids (and other "knitters-on") to help out by making scarves so the cold won't be such a distraction to the students. It is a constant source of amazement to me how many ways there are to contribute to the wider world with just a little knitting.

I would throw this project to the mercy of the blogsphere but the deadline is real soon (the principal visits next week, I think) so there is probably not time to drum up help. I promise that if such an effort comes around again I will pester you all relentlessly to help out!