Friday, August 31, 2007

The verdict is in!

She likes it . . . or at least she says she does! Very anti-climactic, of course, because being a non-knitter she doesn't gush, just says it's nice and she loves it. Better than her not liking it, though! She didn't call yesterday because she was at the doctor. . . .she currently has a boot on her foot for a possibe stress fracture. . . . that's fun the week before your wedding, huh?!

New England Summer. . .

has finally come to Virginia! Today is the first day since July 3rd I have had the A/C off and the windows open. It's absolutely lovely!! I love hearing the bugs and the birds rather than the constant hum of the compressor fan. Of course, I'm leaving for Michigan in a day or two so I'm sure it will be back to stifling and miserable when I return.

Tempering my lovely day is a nagging irritation regarding the wedding gift. It was sent Wednesday and delivered yesterday. I sent it DHL so I have the delivery confirmation. It was left on a porch, since Laura & Michael both work pretty late. I got no phone call last night and no email this morning. So of course, this is the type of situation where my imagination runs wild. I'm sure it's benign. . . and either Laura got home after dark and didn't see the envelope on the porch, or didn't open it yet, or is out of town. But I've now convinced myself she opened it and hates the bag and doesn't want to call me. I've also rehearsed the discussion that will take place when I find out she does not like the bag. . .which ends with me demanding the bag back for 'someone who will appreciate it'. Laura would chuckle if she read this, because this jumping to conclusions and making up arguments in my head is not uncommon for me. I'm resisting the urge to call her, because if she doesn't like it, I'd rather hear it in person on Sunday than over the phone today. I hope I'm crazy, but if I'm not, I've already decided I will have a contest here to win the bag. . . . another knitter will certainly appreciate it, right?!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Anticipation. . . .

OK, So I feel like the only person in the blogging world NOT on Ravelry yet. Not that I need another way to procrastinate, but. . . . . I'm so close, but these last few weeks seem to be going SOOOO SLOOOWW! Let me tell you, they are NOT adding 120 people a day. . . I did the math, I would have been on about a week ago if they were. Nevertheless, here is where I stand:

Found you!
You signed up on June 27, 2007
You are #11301 on the list.
770 people are ahead of you in line.
18089 people are behind you in line.
35% of the list has been invited so far

So back to real news. First, here is the sock yarn I bought in NC and the start of the sock I'm knitting with it. I bought it because I loved the bright green (what IS it with me and green these days?!). I don't love the orange so much. I really like how the yarn is knitting up. . . self strip-y sort of, with spurts of other colors.
It is the Undulating Rib pattern from "Favorite Socks". I got the book from the library but am now considering buying it. There are a lot of great patterns in it. I borrowed a few other sock books from Jessica and have narrowed down a pattern for the Delilah yarn. I'm torn between the Stansfield 304 & Broad Spiral Rib in "More Sensational Knitted Socks". She also has "Vintage Socks" which is gorgeous and is also going on my 'to buy' list. So many socks. .. so little time! Literally. . . can you believe Christmas is like 3 months away??!?! Sheesh, I need to get going! I have at least 4 pair of socks and various other assorted projects planned. Other than for Jake, my goal is to not have to buy gifts, just yarn!

This is the Calmer for twinkle toes:

Not to be unpopular, but I don't get what the buzz is about or why this yarn is so expensive! This ball was $12 and it's cotton/polyester. Really?! Maybe I'll change my tune after I knit with it, but I'm avoiding starting because I HATE provisional cast ons.

Just for show, here's the Ballband dishcloth I knit, in homage to my alma mater. I knit it in the car after browsing thru Mason-Dixon Knitting. Super Cute book! (I went a little library crazy with the knitting books!)

This is the two skeins of Malabrigo.

Paris Night:


They are both so pretty I want to keep them. With my current track record, I'm leaning toward keeping the green for me. I am debating if I'm going to send the other to my secret pal with the pattern, or if I'm going to knit it into the scarf for her. Decisions, decisions. . . .

And so FINALLY. . . . the finished wedding present!

I'm not totally thrilled with the end result. I measured the darn think at least 15 times. . I know it was 5.5 inches wide. But for some reason, it seemed small in the frame. The directions for securing the body to the pivoting grommet on the frame tell you to just do one stitch. . . but it's not really hidden, so that bugs me. I also don't like how it was seamed. If I was to do it again, I would have picked up stitches along the edge and done a 3 needle bind off to seam it. I think it would have been neater. Overall, I give it a 7 out of 10. Not my best performance, but certainly still pretty.

And to end the day nicely, a puppy picture :) This is Jake trying to restrain Jimmy Ray for a photo in North Carolina, while Zosia wonders why she doesn't get to be in the picture!

Kroger Scares Me!

Totally not knitting related, but worthy of comment. . . .

In the mail today I got an envelope of coupons from Kroger. That is where I do most of my shopping and, of course, I have a frequent shopper card. The little note that came said 'We've tried to pick coupons that you'll like'. And ALL of the coupons are for things I buy regularly. (Of course, I can't tell you what those are. . .you'll think I'm odd!) I know they track all that stuff and that's the whole point of the cards, but it's kind of freaky to get a list of coupons from the store that are like your shopping list! Good to save the money, I guess, but scary people really know that much about you. What if some link between pickles, chocolate chip cookies and some sinister behavior are found. . .. . am I going to be on the short list of people being examined? Call me paranoid, but strange things happen.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Not for the weak of Heart

I just finished Laura's Bag. Holy Cow! Had I thought it would be 1/2 as difficult as it was, I never would have offered it up. The knitting. . .. that's CAKE! The beading, sewing, finishing. . . . that all sucks! My neck and my back hurt from being all hunched over sewing a bead on every single loop on both sides of the purse hardware. If this wasn't a wedding gift, I would have quit! Maybe my finishing techniques just suck so that's why it was hard. The double-edged sword is that Laura is so not a crafty/do it yourself type. So, she'll either look at it and see all the little things that bother me and think 'this looks really handmade' and hate it, or she'll like it but totally not appreciate that, all combined I spent about 20 hours to make it! Hopefully it will be sunny tomorrow AM so I can take some pictures before I send it out.

Now, I'm going to eat some Chips-Ahoy and milk to reward myself (diet be damned! I had stir-fry for dinner, I can splurge, right?)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Happy Monday!

OK, So typically Monday's suck. . .. and today isn't all that different, but I'm trying to be positive because I have 2 days to finish beading the bag and sewing the lining and assembling it to get it sent out before the wedding. This is causing me some level of stress, on top of the fact that my job turned me upside down with a big problem last week that I'm still trying to navigate resolution to. So, of course, in the face of all of this, rather than 'nose to the grindstone' to get things done, I decided to write a blog entry :-) I feel slightly better, though, as I will not include pictures today. (See a compromise. . . some procrastinating. .. not as much as it could be, though!) OK, who am I kidding. . . it's just another really dreary day and the pictures wouldn't come out anyway!

So Charlotte was nice. Really, we didn't actually go all the way to Charlotte, our friend lives up in Salisbury. I also have a cousin in Concord, so we drove down there to meet them for lunch. Of course, since we were 'close' we had to make a yarn store run :-) Now Jake is used to this, our friend Jim, however, now thinks I'm nuts! We went to The Needlecraft Center. It is fairly small but they carry some beautiful yarns. I escaped without too much injury. . . one ball of Rowan Calmer for Twinkle Toes, and one ball of Schoeller + Stahl Fortissima sock and a set of DPNs. I talked myself out of some Koigu and failed to note the color. . . sure I'll never find it again. It was SOOOOOO beautiful, deep raspberry/purple-y with black. . ., but I couldn't decide if I made socks with it if I would really ever have anything to match the colors, and they only had 2 skeins, so nothing else I could necessarily make with it. I very nearly bought these amazing handmade circs from Nepal made out of some sort of animal tusk. I reconsidered, however, when I couldn't determine if these tusks were used after the animal had been killed for other uses, or if it's some sort of poaching or anything else I wouldn't feel comfortable supporting. They were quite striking, though. The drive to and from NC gave me time for some simple knitting. . . I made a Ballband Dishcloth and another Grandma's dishcloth. (seriously, I need to cutback. . . but I'm totally on a dishcloth binge. . and how many does one REALLY need?). Jake really liked the ballband, though, and I'm considering making a bathroom rug like in Mason-Dixon Knitting out of the pattern. I also started the Undulating Rib Sock with the Fortissima I bought.

The drive home from NC SUCKED! OK, I didn't have to drive, but it still sucked! Pretty much the whole way thru Virginia it poured. Poured is really a generous term. . . . more like torrential vengeance from above. I am unusually paranoid in heavy rain, stemming from a hydroplaning accident 3 years ago in Canada. So, my elevated pulse and the slower than usual progress and lil' Jimmy Ray shaking from being scared of thunder made for a long drive! When I got home, however, I was greeted by the Malabrigo from ImagiKnit! I am pretty much speechless about it. I ADORE both the colors I bought. A teeny-tiny part of me is reconsidering giving one to my SP. That would be bad, though, right?

Then, to round out the weekend, I went to a Roller Derby bout. No, seriously. Who knew, right?! It actually was really fun to watch. Why did I go to roller derby, you might ask?? Well, it just so happens that some derby girls happen to enjoy knitting, too :-) Jess, from my Tuesday knitting group is a derby girl. She is a St. Brawli Girl, part of the Dominion Derby Girls. Our friend David was very excited about the prospect of meeting a Derby girl, so we went. Unfortunately, Jess wasn't playing because of a recent surgery she's recovering from, but her team did win. It took us a good 20 minutes to figure out really what was happening, but once you get the hang of it, it's really fun. Seemingly painful, but fun! I totally suggest you check it out if you have roller derby near you :)

So that's all for today. I'll follow up with some pictures as soon as the weather is sunnier!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Beads

So, I've attacked the beading. . . and I LOVE IT! I feel this may be addicting, if not time consuming. The two lines along the cable I did took about an hour each. Here is a picture.

It's pretty dreary here today, so not the best for knitting photos. . . here is a closer up so hopefully you can see the beads better.

They are subtly sparkly, which is good, since this isn't supposed to be a 'nightclub' bag, it's for a wedding. . . and I think when they're all on and the beads along the frame it will look very elegant.

It really was not that hard. . . I encourage any of you thinking about adding beads to do it! Of course, it helped that I took the project out to a knitting group last night. This was my first time meeting the ladies in this group and so I could show no fear! Of course, it was nice to have everyone fawn over the beautiful yarn, too.

So here is a primer on how I did it:

1) Test your needle to make sure it will fit thru the bead (and no, I didn't do this as MY first step, but I did it after the first needle I threaded didn't work!)

2) Thread your needle in matching thread (I just used a single strand and I used 'plain' sewing thread. I've heard that some people suggest using silk thread because it is stronger, but since this will have a lining with no chance of snagging the thread to pop off beads, I didn't think it was necessary to spend the extra $$).

3) Bring the needle up thru the backside of the knitting where you want the first bead to be. Leave about 2 inches of thread in the back. Slip the bead on the needle and then bring the needle back thru to the backside. Tie a knot with the tail and the working thread to secure it.

4) Run the thread thru the bead a second time and make a sewing knot. (I don't know if that is the technical term. . . .but the kind where you make a loop and bring the thread thru a few times and tighten it. (Check out the overhand knot here. . . doesn't show you HOW, but gives you the idea)

5) Now run the thread thru the back at the next spot you want the bead. Don't pull too tight so as not to pucker the fabric. Thread on the bead, make a second loop thru the bead and secure with a sewing knot.

6) Continue all the way up the work putting beads as you go.

It's really that simple!

In non-bag news, while I was avoiding the beading, I re-knit my Better Sweater. It's all knit and ends woven in. I just need to seam the arms, block it and then add the button to the bottom. Here is a picture today.

It fits so much better than the first one! Now, just to get cooler so I can wear it. Considering it's going to be 100 degrees Saturday, that probably won't be until October!

Finally, for your viewing pleasure, I got the yarn I bought on Etsy from Melanie.

It's more yellow than I thought but I totally dig it. Part of me wants to make Monkey's, but the other part of me hates doing what everyone else is doing and so I have to pick up like 5 sock books from the library to hopefully find a pattern to fit the yarn.

I probably won't post for a few days. . . we're headed down to Charlotte, NC to visit one of Jake's college friends. I got a lead on a few yarn shops down there, so I'm sure I'll come back with something new :-)

SP11 Contest

OK, My SP11 hostess is having a contest to show our stash. In the interest of not having a lot of clutter in my life overall, I have a relatively small stash. All of my knitting stuff hangs out in my sewing room. (Loosely called. . . not a lot of sewing happens, but it does house my sewing machine!)

I don't have a uniform storage system, I keep some stuff in baskets & bags in this cabinet Jake built me a few years ago:

Some stuff lives in this bag:

And some stuff lives in this closet:

(and no, I'm not going to show you the inside!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


OK, So I saw a FABULOUS scarf here and here. . .. I HAD to have it. Problem. . . the pattern is here in San Francisco. . . I am not. Well, a few emails with the lovely owner Allison and a phone call later and I have purchased one skein of Malabrigo in Paris Night and one in Cypress. I can't decide which I like better. Luckily, my SP spoilee likes the same colors as me, so one skein will get shipped to her, along with the awesome pattern.

I got a delivery today. . . not as exciting as yarn, but it was a replacement suitcase for the one Continental melted a few weeks ago. Just in time to go back to Michigan, too!

Monday, August 20, 2007

PRGE Questionnaire

Because I'm crazy, I decided to join another swap on top of SP11. I joined the punk rock gift exchange. (sign ups are open until Sept 1 if you are interested!) Anyway, here is my questionnaire. No other news today.

1. Why are you punk? Besides the fact that I love the music? (it’s all Jake’s influence, though) It’s definitely more a mindset than outward appearance for me, though I do have a tattoo and a couple piercings, but nothing visible in my ‘work clothes’. . . I work for a BIG company, and the eyebrow ring I’ve always wanted surely wouldn’t fly. Anyhow, I think people should be who they want to be and do as they please. As long as you’re honest and not hurting others, no one should try to make you be anything else.

2. What are your five favorite things? (these don't have to be knit related)
cooking a fancy dinner together with Jake, watching the dogs play together, or with other dog park friends, listening to Prairie Home Companion, tap dancing, a great bottle of Italian wine

3. What are your three favorite things that you have made with knitting/crochet? Catherine’s Mini Cardi, Fiber Trends Felted Bag (I use it to carry dance shoes and gave like 10 as gifts!) and dishcloths. . . I know that sounds stupid, but I only learned about dishcloths recently and OMG do they clean so much better than the store bought ones!!

4. What five things would you love to see in a swap box someday?
Besides a million dollars? He he. . . I guess 1 – some things to share with Jake and the puppies 2 – pattern or book or needles or yarn related to learning lace 3 – yarn spun or dyed by my spoiler, or from a local farm near my spoiler (I’m such a sucker for finding little farms & stuff when I’m visiting other places) 4 – fun knitting notions (stitch markers or needle covers or something like that. . . preferably hand made!) 5 – anything unique to the town/state my spoiler is from

5. What are your three favorite yarns? What are your three least favorite yarns?
Favorites – merino, bamboo, cashmere
Least – fun fur/eyelash/any novelty yarns, acrylic/blends. . . they have a place for some projects, but in general I don’t love them, scratchy wool (unless it’s for a felting project – then it’s a necessary evil. . . but I still don’t like it!)

6. What are your five favorite delicacies?
Making brownies from scratch with really good dark chocolate, opening a bottle of Veuve to celebrate a special occasion, a Tangueray gimlet from a bartender who can actually make a good one, a killer pair of heels that AREN’T on sale, great red wine
(goodness, that's 3 alcohol related delicacies. . .I swear. . . I don't have a drinking problem!)

7. What are your three favorite guilty pleasures?
Hmmmmm. . .. aren’t you supposed to keep these secret? I would have to say watching soap operas (Days of our Lives & General Hospital!), eating raw brownie batter (not cookie dough, just brownie batter!) and high heeled shoes. . . if you don’t think the shoes count, then I enjoy grocery shopping more than anyone has a right to!

8. What are the five things you look forward to every week?
Hmmm, well every morning I smile when I let the dogs out into the backyard. Jimmy Ray RUNS like he’s just so freakin’ excited to be awake and able to play. It is a super way to start the day and makes me remember to appreciate the simple stuff. Seriously, I know. .. sappy and cheesy, but you should try it sometime. .. you’d be a convert! OK, So that was one! I’m presently obsessed with Mad Men on AMC, so I look forward to Thursday night to watch it. #3 – Tuesday night SnB. #4 - FRIDAY!! My work week gets REALLY long! #5 – Our Saturday morning routine. . . wake up early, go to the gym, come home to cook breakfast then take the dogs to the park.

9. What do you collect? I used to collect a ton of stuff, but I’ve been on a path to simplification and am trying not to keep stuff that doesn’t have a use. My one vice remains shoes. . . but I don’t consider that something I collect, they are something I need (and sometimes) use!

10. When is your birthday? November 1

11. Do you have any wishlists? No

12. What would you like your pal to know that is not covered here? Hmmmm. . .I love my doggies more than some people love their kids. I am an ex-smoker and, as such, have the worst tolerance for anything smelling remotely smoky. I am learning to sew so I can make things for my house. . . like curtains, pillows, bedspreads, etc.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Jake and I made it to the semi-finals in the Rock & Roy Beer Pong Tournament. It is sometimes quite fun to pretend you are in college again :-)


Why yes.. . yes starting the Better Sweater over again yesterday WAS more procrastination from my scrapbook and beading duties! I have now officially scanned the photos for the scrapbook page and am going upstairs to hook up the photo printer. Of course, while scanning, I had to browse a bit and found this and this and this to knit :-) I told you. . . I'm REALLY good at procrastinating!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The importance of Gauge

OK, I'm officially converted to a swatch knitter. Remember my 4th of July FROG decision? Well, I finally re-wound the alpaca this morning and was ready to start the Better Sweater again. . . hoping it actually would be better this time. So, I decided, I'd knit a swatch. . . 6sts x11 rows should be 4 inches. It only takes me a few minutes to knit this up. . . and what do I have? 6sts x 11 rows = 2in x 4in. NO WONDER THE SLEEVE DIDN'T FIT!! I just took the yarn store's word that the Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande was the same thickness as the suggested Cascade Magnum. Clearly, the Magnum is MUCH bulkier! So, I'm starting over, doubling the stitches. . . haven't quite decided how to increase by 2 at the raglan sleeve each row, but I'll do something. And now I'm excited. . . so I must knit. . . only have 2 hours before we have to leave for Rock & Roy!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Which End is Up?

So I consider myself a pretty good cook. Jake is at least as good, if not better (though I'd never admit that to him. . . and no he doesn't read my blog!). I have roasted a chicken countless times in my life. I made a chicken for dinner yesterday. I stuffed the little guy with an onion and put it on the roasting rack. It looked odd. . . didn't lay right. 'Jacob, is this chicken upside down?' He looks, shrugs, says nothing. The chicken really doesn't look right. . . could I be that stupid that I can't tell where the breast is? Clearly it's upside down. I flip it over. It now lays nice and flat and looks right. I stick the meat thermometer in. Hmmm. . . . it's a little tough to push in, but whatever. Pop it in the oven, prepare to wait about an hour. After an hour, my thermometer is only reading about 130 degrees. . . (I have one of those fabulous digital thermometers that can stay in the oven while you cook. . . a la Alton Brown. . . LOVE IT!) I turn up the oven temp in an attempt to cook it faster. About 30min later the thermometer beeps to indicate I've reached 180 degrees. FINALLY! Chicken rests on the counter while I mash the potatoes and finish the gravy and finally Jake goes to carve it. NO BREAST! Well, we've had chickens that had little breast meat before, maybe that's it. UM, NOPE! He turned the chicken over, tried to carve, and there is the full breast! Not only did I cook the chicken upside down, it is UNDERCOOKED in the breast. We're entirely too hungry to put it back in the oven, so we just ate the dark meat. It was actually quite tasty. . .but I do believe in the culinary world I have lost many points for being unable to recognize the breast of a chicken. . . maybe opening that restaurant isn't a good idea!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

How can beads be so terrifying?!

This little tube is currently the bane of my existence.
This little tube contains the beads I have chosen for Laura's wedding bag.

Here is the bag, innocently saying to me "bead me, bead me, you have to finish me this week". However, all I hear are the noises from the shower curtain scene in Psycho (that would be me murdering this nicely knit rectangle).

I am petrified that I will do something to ruin the purse. . . and of course, that can't happen. It has to be perfect, it's a wedding gift after all. I've been told I must be careful with tension while beading so as not to pucker the bag. . .as if I wasn't worried enough! On top of that, I don't have blocking wires, so I couldn't get the edges of the back super straight. . . so hopefully that works itself out when I sew the bag. Of course, I could *not* bead it, but what fun would that be? Not nearly as fancy. . . so, I sit . . and contemplate. . . and do what I do best. .. PROCRASTINATE! I am half-way thru my 3rd shopping bag of the year (I'll spare you the WIP picture!). . . I chose mindless garter stitch over working on the project that has a VERY DEFINITE due date!! I must get to it this weekend. Also, this weekend, I have to finish (OK start) my scrapbook page. No, I don't scrapbook. . .but the bridesmaid's are making a scrapbook for Laura as a gift. Well it sounds simple, trying to condense 10 or so years of friendship to 4 pictures and a few sappy quotes is hard! And expensive. . . I spent $30 at Michael's yesterday to buy some colored paper and stickers. . . jeez!

In other not so good knitting news. . . I learned you can sort of felt bamboo. Remember the mini-Cardi I knit? Well, I washed it and it didn't work so well :-( I am SO not a handwasher. . . . the gentle cycle has never failed me before. I think I can still wear it, but it's not as nice and crisp as it was. What do you think?


SP11 officially started yesterday. VERY excited! I just found out about the Punk Rock Gift Exchange. . . I'm debating if I want to sign up and have two swaps at the same time. . . decisions decisions. . . .

In non-knitting. .. I FINALLY (after working at home for 1 year) have found a desk! Well, technically I found it two weeks ago, but it was just delivered today. It is an antique library table. . . tres chic :-) if I do say so myself! (well, if you ignore the unpainted window frames and the mess of modem/cables!)

And, a cute story if you've made it to the end. . . well cute & funny if you like doggies :-) We have moles in our yard. They are destroying our yard, so we'd like to get rid of them. . but since we do like the dogs, finding an eradication method is tricky. So, we've chosen a no-kill path (PETA would be proud!). We got these sonic spikes to put in the ground. Supposedly, by making this high pitch sound every 10 seconds, it will drive the moles away. We planted 4 in our yard yesterday. Today, every time Jimmy Ray is outside, he stands beside one. . . and just barks. . . every 10 seconds. It cracks me UP! He hears the noise, cocks his head, and barks. . . just one bark. . . Too early to tell if it will drive the moles away, but it's proven it can annoy the dogs!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Yarn

OK, So I've wanted this yarn since I saw it like two months ago. I've been trying to be good and not spend money on yarn that doesn't have a specific project. Clearly, I don't have much willpower because when Melanie posted on her blog that she was taking her Etsy site down for a few weeks, I caved and bought it. Why? It's not like she wasn't coming back. . .it's not like she wouldn't custom dye an order for me. . . just because I need an excuse! Now, I need to find a fun pattern when I get the yarn. If anyone has a suggestion for a nice variegated pattern, leave me a comment!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Old Friends, New Shoes and Community Service

So I am back and (nearly) recovered from my trip to Vermont. Aside from the ridiculous flight delays (and subsequent melted luggage. . . yup, I said melted!) and then my even MORE ridiculous allergies, I basically spent this entire weekend recovering and doing nothing fun whatsoever. I don't know what is in the air in Vermont that my body hates so much, but it takes less than 24 hours for me to be unable to breathe. I do NOT miss that portion of living there. I do, however, miss my friends. I also miss the fun shopping downtown Burlington. The one thing that results from Vermont's hatred of 'big box' chain stores (and subsequent strict zoning) is fabulous little independent stores like all along Church Street. I've lived several places and visited many more, and I've never really found a spot like this. I love, love, LOVE shopping here. My one indulgence was these shoes:

Pretty fab, huh? And, they were on clearance, so they weren't even that much of an indulgence! (I'm still not going to tell you what I paid, though .. . . he he!)

If I didn't have all that pesky work to do, I could have spent a lot more time doing fun things. As it was, at least, I did get to see all my friends. I had an awesome celebratory dinner with Brittany, who just quit her Vermont job to move to Boston, and Jason, my globe trotting friend who is never in Vermont when I am back. It's not often I will buy a bottle of champagne at dinner, but this seemed fitting for a bottle of Veuve. . YUM! I had dinner and breakfast plans every day, which was nice. I even got most people out of bed for 7am breakfast on the day I left (and trust me, my friends are NOT morning people!) Nikki & Allison got an out of early AM what with having babies and all :-) Here we are at Chef's Corner (starting at Jason clockwise is me, Laurie, Karen & Brittany):

Wednesday my department did a volunteer afternoon at one of the COTS shelters. It was actually a lot of fun, despite the rain and heat. We cleaned out a bunch of stuff for the dump that was in the cellar of the house and we repainted the telephone room & the hallway. It was a little odd, to see the people who lived there. I don't know what I *expected* homeless people to look like, but everyone there looked 'normal'. It was pretty eye opening. Here are a few pictures. . . keep in mind the paint was donated to them, so they didn't get to pick the color!

And now, some knitting :-) Given all the flight delays, I had quite a bit of time for knitting, so I ended up with 4 dishcloths and I started on the Best Friends Bag. Here are the dishcloths (can I tell you how much I liked doing the garterlac ones??).

Since I felt like crap all weekend and did nothing else, I also finished the knitting portion of Laura's bag. And yes, pashmina is as fabulous as you would think it is (however, it smells like rotten garbage when wet). If only it weren't ungodly expensive I'd love to make a scarf out of it! Anyway, here is the bag ready for blocking (sorry, I know it's a pretty crappy picture):

I hope to be able to start beading it tomorrow and finish it completely this weekend to send it off so she has it before I get home.

Finally, I now have the excuse of SP11 to go yarn shopping again. . . so I think I'll get yarn for Twinkle Toes and Isabella while I'm out :-) My match hasn't posted much on her blog this year, so it could be challenging to find things she likes. On the flip side, I'm super stoked by my pal. . . she's not a native English speaker and so I'm on a quest to find her blog among the myriad of participants. I just enjoy the idea of having some fabulous person living somewhere way more exotic than Virginia spoiling me :-) I already can't wait until I find out who she is and can get to know her!

Sorry for the extra long post. . . really, that's all for now :-)

Friday, August 10, 2007

SP11 Questionnaire

No energy for a real post just yet. . . I had 6 hours of flight delays yesterday (3 hours in each plane sitting on the runway. . . waiting to take off!)

But, for my pal, here is my questionnaire!

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I love anything soft! I also like making reusable shopping bags and dishcloths out of cotton. I have never really knit with acrylic outside of making baby items. I guess I’m a quasi-yarn snob :-) I'm not a huge fan of novelty yarns.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I all my circulars in their original bags. I don’t really use straight needles, so the few pair I have are in my knitting bag. I’m working on sewing a case for my DPNs3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn?

3. Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I’ve been knitting about 5 years. I took a class to learn at a LYS during one cold Vermont winter. I would say I’m an intermediate knitter and I'm typically not scared of trying something new on my own. My first project was a felted bag. I never had a long scarf phase and sort of moved right along to sweaters.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?


5. What's your favorite scent?

Hmm, I like lemon, lavendar, vanilla.. . nothing too sweet.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Do I ever!! Baby Ruth & Mounds are my favorite Candy Bar, but I try not too buy them too often. Chewy sweettarts are also a weakness, and caramel. And gummy bears, but ONLY the Haribo brand ones (quasi yarn snob AND a gummy bear brand snob!) And dark chocolate. And milk chocolate hershey kisses. And peanut butter cups. . .. I’m a very equal opportunity sweets lover. All time favorite candy are Morely Candy Pecan Torties.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I am a new sewer. I also know how to crochet, but don’t do it much. We do a lot of ‘home improvement’ do it yourself stuff, like basic upholstery and some small building projects. I don’t spin.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I listen to just about anything except rap/r&b. I don’t listen to it much, though, since I hardly drive anymore working out of the house and never put the radio on in the house. I’m really into Amy Winehouse and Joss Stone right now. And no, no MP3 player.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

My favorite color in general is red, but I don’t knit with it much. I’m currently on a string of green & pink (not together in the same project!) knitting. Green socks for sure (Hey there Delilah is my next want from Etsy!). I don’t think there is really anything I can’t stand. Maybe like mustard/golds. . . not so much for me.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I live with my BF of 6 years, Jake and our 2 dogs. Zosia is a 2 year old beagle/american eskimo mix and Jimmy Ray is a 2 year old beagle.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Scarves & Hats – sometimes, if I go back to Michigan or Vermont in the winter. Not too much need in VA now.
Mittens & poncho’s, not so much.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I am currently mildly obsessed with dishcloths because I’ve just discovered how awesome they are to clean with. I go in fits and spurts on what my ‘favorite’ is at any given time and knit a ton of that item, then move on to something else.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Cashmere purse for a wedding gift, cotton shopping bag, random dishcloths, halter top I’m designing

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

I love handmade things that are purposeful. I’m not a big ‘cutesy’ or ‘just because’ person. Trying to cut down on ‘stuff’ and clutter in general.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I usually use circular needles, even for straight knitting. I like bamboo DPNs but addi Turbo’s and Bryspun by Bryflex circulars.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

I have a BF! he he. . . No, he isn’t a good swift, but he has said he’ll make me one. I don’t mind using my thumb as a ball winder.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

Well, since I FROGGED Stephanie Japel’s better sweater, I actually don’t have anything in UFO status.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Does my birthday count as a holiday? If so, definitely my birthday. If not, Halloween, because it is the day before my birthday!

19. Is there anything that you collect?

If you count shoes, then yes. I have a major weakness for heels!! Other than that, not so much (see answer to #14!)

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I SO want Stephanie Japel’s Fitted Knits! I also want the 'Sizzle' pattern from Knit and Tonic. Nothing else I’m dying for. I don’t subscribe to any magazines, as I generally will look at something once, keep the magazine and never go back to it, so it ends up I just waste the paper. You know, save a tree and all. . .

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I want to try some ‘real’ lace, not just as part of a sock or sweater pattern. I also am semi intrigued by mobeius, but not sure what ‘useful’ items you can make out of it, it’s just kind of neat. I’d sort of like to know Fair Isle, but just to say that I do, not because I would really make something with it.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I am a sock knitter, but not a knitted sock wearer! I try to wear sandals as much as possible, so I really only wear athletic socks at the gym.

23. When is your birthday?
November 1

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

Not yet! (tears up a little at that admission!) There are still like 2700 people ahead of me. I can’t wait though!

Friday, August 3, 2007

You only get married once, right?

I sure hope so. . . since my wedding gift for my best friend Laura is going to be the Best Friends bag from knitty. Well, that bag, in addition to the fact that I'm standing up, spent $200 for my dress, $140 for hair & makeup, hotel room, travelling back to MI for the wedding. . . but I digress. I decided to ask her if she like the bag before I checked out the yarn. Last time I do THAT. Good Lord. . . I knew cashmere would be expensive, but this Joseph Galler Pashmina was even more ridiculous than I could imagine. Of course, it didn't help that I couldn't find it anywhere online to buy so I had a LYS track it down for me. (BTW, if you need a hard to find thing, check out Susan. .. she is amazing at finding stuff! Of the 5 LYS I know, she was the only one who could find it and got it to me in 4 days!). But let's just say, after buying the yarn, the bag closure, satin lining and beads. . . . I could have bought a small Coach bag and called it a day. But it's the thought and handmade part that counts, right? And, since it is the wedding gift, so the groom doesn't feel left out, I'm going to knit up a small pouch to use to hold the rings. All that said, it is the softest most beautiful yarn I have ever seen and I'm super excited to knit with it. Here is a picture, for your viewing pleasure.

Now stop drooling on your computer while you imagine the softness!

I'm heading to Vermont for work on Sunday, so I'm really excited to see all my old friends AND I'll have plenty of plane and airport time to get back into knitting. Plus, I can visit some of my old favorite yarn shops. Golf lessons and family visits and spending freezes have put a cramp on my knitting for sure.

And, to end on a puppy note. . . Finally Jimmy Ray didn't run away from the camera. . so here is our little beagle :-)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I'm in!

OK OK, I know, I haven't been posting. . .mostly because I haven't been knitting. A bunch of other stuff going on to distract me. Today, though, I'm going to pick up the yarn to make my friends wedding bag, so I'll be back on the needles with something interesting to post soon.

Today, I FINALLY got my confirmation for SP11. I'm very excited! Quite frankly, I had given up, given that I signed up like July 3, so it was a pleasant surprise!

TTYL :-)