ImageChef Custom Images

'Cause sometimes I even surprise the knit out of myself.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Return of the knitting mojo results in pre-Rhinebeck FOs!

So I fully recognize I have been an awful blogger this year. Part of my silence has been due to my lack of crafting mojo. I never really intended this blog to just be a diatribe of my daily ramblings, but really my crafty endeavors. The mojo, well it was dormant for almost 7-8 months. You know what I mean when it's there, but it's not there? I begrudgingly got through some projects or was bitten by a lace bug, but the love really wasn't there like it was last year. I'll tell you though, after blowing out 2 sweaters in a month, I think it is safe to say that I am back to my 'ol sweater machine self. The mojo is back with a vengeance! Thanks for bearing with my silence while I "found" myself again.
First order of business, finished thingeys. My very first sweater containing my own handspun. I used the Garter Yoke Cardigan from Knit.1 as reference, but I was otherwise winging this baby. Some of you on Ravelry have probably already seen this, but I never really had a chance to talk about it. The yoke is my Pigeonroof Studios handspun corriedale in "Drift". I will probably wear this on Sunday at Rhinbeck. I did a little KAL with my friend, Sairy. She did the cardigan version with her Pigeonroof Studios in blues and grays. I want to steal it b/c I love the colors so much.


I am especially fond of this sweater for a few reasons. First I adore the colors in this handspun. It's probably my favorite colorwise to date. This was spun at the W.O.O.L. retreat on Lake George at Wiawaka.

The other special reason that I am proud of this sweater is because of this below. I won a ribbon for my spinning at Garden State Sheep Breeders! First place in the novice category!
My dear friend, Jessica, of Zarzuela's Fibers, encouraged me to enter b/c I would at least get some good feedback on what I do correctly and what I can do better. So I decided to pull a few skeins I was proud of together the night before the festival. Unbelievably, I ribboned on all four entries! I still can't believe it. From left to right below: Pigeonroof Studios corriedale won first place in Novice Category, Ramsden Farms Border Leicester won 2nd place in the Wool Plied Category, Pigeonroof Studios superwash merino laceweight won 3rd place in the Wool Plied Category, and last but not least, Zarzuelas's Fibers Merino/Silk won 2nd place in the Wool Blend Category. I received some fantastic feedback. I hope to compete again next year and hone my spinning skills.
Next up and fresh off the needles as of today: Fonn from the Lopi Book #25. Yay colorwork! I'll be wearing this one on Saturday at Rhinebeck. It's blocking and drying now so hopefully I can get some modeled photos before Rhinebeck to post. The yarn is Claudia's Handpainted in Sport weight that I've had in my stash FOREVER.
The colorwork bug strikes again. I had a KAL with my friend, Kelley although she kicked my ass on this one. She's already steeked and done. I'm about up to the armholes now. I'm a little nervous about the steeking part, but one of my new year's goals was to attempt a steek. Take a deep breath and jump in!



Lastly, but not in order of importance, we became fur-parents again. Meet Porterhouse aka Porter. He's a 17 month old English Bulldog that we adopted from a family that could no longer care for him. Trust me he IS a handful, but very lovable. He is playful, which I think can get on Cartman's nerves a bit. Cartman is our 8 yr old Bully. We still have Annie, the Doxie, as well, but she is getting older and started to lose her bladder a bit. Poor little girl.

More pics to come in preparation for Rhinebeck!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

FOs: Swallowtail and Ishbel

Yes, I know, it's been awhile again. Seriously though, I've been a busy, busy girl. I got bit by the lace bug. See what happened?

FO: Swallowtail Shawl
Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in "Solis"
Started: July 5, 2009
Finished: August 17, 2009
Mods: None. I went traditional and did the nupps, but if there is ever a #2, there will be beads instead.

I really enjoyed it, which surprised me. I never thought of myself as a lace knitter, but I am so proud of my skills on this one. The picture below shows the reverse of the shawl.

Of course, there needed to be an arbitrary "shawl in tree picture".

This is probably my greatest knitting achievement to date. I think I am most proud of this project thus far.

Prior to Swallowtail, I finished an Ishbel in 3 Days! I ended up buying a gorgeous dress and then went to a yarn shop with a friend. She put this lovely Blue Heron Rayon Metallic in my face and said, "THIS WOULD MATCH YOUR DRESS!" So I guess you can figure out what happened then....

FO: Ishbel
Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Blue Heron Rayon Metallic (has little flecks of gold in there)
Started: July 22, 2009
Finished: July 25, 2009
Mods: None. Did small stockinette, small lace.

Ok back to work. There are more pics on my Ravelry page. I have so much more show and tell for you if I can find some free-time to right more! Hopefully soon!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

This is for the Soldiers

This post is dedicated to our US service men and women, past and present, that have made unfathomable sacrifices so that I may live as I do. Bless you and your families.



Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

FO- Vogue Twist Top

I know what you must be thinking. She doesn't blog for months and now 3 times in a week! Seriously, I'm back folks. In the spirit of caring less about work, getting a new lease on things, and cleaning some skeletons out of the closet...here's one....a skeleton hanging in my closet since 2005. I swear I forgot about it.
Here is the finished product. I finished it in less than a week since finding this thing in a fiber/stash re-org. This is the #05 Short Sleeve Top from Vogue Knitting Spring 2005. Yes, very descriptive name, huh? So anyway, I bought the yarn at Wild West Wools when I used to travel to Salt Lake City every 4 weeks. At the time, the silk yarn used in the pattern was a wee bit more than I was willing to spend on a summer top....that you are going to sweat in at a temp of 90 degrees. So why not sweat in wool/cotton? I had finished the back of the top and then dumped it for something else.


Pattern: #05 Short Sleeve Top, Vogue Spring 2005

Yarn: 4 skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in "Plum Patina"

Started: sometime in 2005

Finished: June 30, 2009

Needles: Size 6 circs

Mods: None. I will say Cotton Fleece is way low on the list of favorite yarns. It's splitty and bleeds like the dickens.

Next up, I decided to join the Summer of Socks 2009 started by my friend, Zarzuela Knits and Crochets. This is our banner and the theme is "LOW STRESS". That is so up my alley.

My first pair of socks are the Knotty or Knice Socks by Chrissy Gardiner from IK Fall 2008. After several false starts, I settled on this pattern to showcase my lovely Zarzuela's Fibers Shiny Sheep in "DC Sunrise". Seriously people, go get yourself some at her etsy shop.
I've had some progress on my Firestarter socks also in Socks that Rock.
Lastly, I joined yet something else, the Tour de Fleece. It starts this weekend and I'm pushing to spin a pound of natural black BFL I picked up from Twist last month.
Next post, I promise, I owe you birthday pictures, new puppy pics, and all sorts of stash enhancements. Also, to my anonymous commenter on my "Epiphany" post. I hear you girl. I was a mess when Freddie Mercury passed. I adored that man.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

FO- Mickey Socks ----aka Tammy is no longer hopping around on one foot socks

Seriously, the mojo is back and I finally finished the mate to my poor, SIL's Mickey sock. She's been hopping on one foot since February. I just lost any effort to knit and thank goddess it's back. Soooooooooo here they are and they are loud! They were fun to knit. These are my second pair of Leyburns that I've knit now.
Pattern: Have a Magical Day Mickey Socks, otherwise the Leyburn Socks by MintyFresh (Pepperknit)
Yarn: Knitivity Sock in colorway "Rodentia" (get it? get it?)
Needles: Size 2 addi circs (magic loop)
Recipient: MY SIL--her tootsie's modelled here (except the sock blockers, of course).
See how cute they are in Mickey Crocs?
You see I support her Mouse habit.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Epiphany

You know, I've been meaning to blog. I've been thinking of it every night and then that night passes to the next. Not to say I haven't been knitting or spinning. The mojo recently returned, I had a great birthday, new furry addition to the family....but all of those happy pictures and stories I have to share with you seem dull and lifeless like I feel tonight. I need to blog what I feel and sometimes it just isn't about fiber, at least not tonight. With due respect, we'll keep the happy pictures and stories for another night.

Do you know some of the pop-iconic things that defined some of my childhood memories?

I can sing the entire theme song to the Golden Girls. I can recite Bea Arthur's lines in History of the World Part I verbatim. I wanted to be snarky like Dorothy Sbornak. Who wouldn't want to be that witty?
Gary Papa and Jim O'Brien delivered the news to our dinner table every night on Action News without fail for decades. That legacy came to an end last Friday when Gary lost his 5 year battle with cancer. My Mom had a horrible crush on Jim. He died in a skydiving accident in 83 and it was like equivalent to the the day Princess Di was killed in a crash to this local area. It's weird watching Frasier because Roz is Jim's real daughter and I can see him when I look at her.

I watched Star Search on my grandfather's knee and snuck out of bed to hear "Heeeeeeere's Johnny! " on the Tonight Show.
I wanted Farrah-feathered hair in the worst way even though mine was auburn, ragged and curly. I wanted to have a body like that and a smile that could light up the camera. I wanted to be the 4th Charlie's Angel. I'd squeeze right in between Farrah and Kate Jackson. I didn't think they would mind afterall.
I had a sequined glove and penny loafers with white socks that I bought from Trenton Joes. That's where we bought our Wigwams in the 80s, you know. "Soultown" is programmed in on my satellite in my car just to get the old Jackson 5, Jame Brown, and Quincy Jones songs. I know the entire dance to Thriller. I still have the Vincent Price dialogue memorized. It was the first full length LP that I bought with my own allowance money. I still have it and open it up to the man listlessly laying across the two-cardboard panels with a tiger climbing on his leg. I had those posters on my wall and it drove my Mom bonkers although she thought he was adorable. I played "We Are the World" until I broke the cassette tape. I remember sitting on the ugly green floor of our spare bedroom watching the Moonwalk for the first time and thinking it was complete magic (not the NASA-kind of moonwalk, of course I think it was in the desert of Nevada anyway. Another story). I wanted a red leather jacket with a million zippers and clumsily practiced the moonwalk in front of my full-length mirror while dancing to Billy Jean. I wanted to drink Pepsi and became really frightened of fireworks at the same time. A torrid life depicted in the media that never afforded him peace, strange behavior, questionable parenting, mental illness..... but who cares? That's HIS private life and how the media twists it. You can't discount that kind of musical talent nor the contributions to shape music. Janis Joplin was horribly depressed and mentally ill. Do we focus on the musical contributions? Noooo, we focus on the fact she drank herself to death. James Brown, lots of issues....musical contributions? Nooooo, let's focus on his personal life. Rick James, wow boatloads of media issues and substance abuse. Talent? Absolutely. Do we remember the musical contribution? Not so much. Do you get what I am saying here? We have been given a gift in music. Take the time to cherish it. You might never see that kind of talent again....all of them taken too soon, some a result of their own poor or intentional choices.
I guess I never thought I would experience the words that have come across the TV screen tonight. A different kind of shock. Ok, maybe I'm being nostalgic, but a piece of my childhood went dim tonight.
I almost feel like replaying the good earlier parts of my last 33 years of life by pulling out the My Little Pony dolls on the ugly green shag carpet with yellow walls, watch the A-Team on my old 13" TV with the rabbit ears on it, play my Toto "Rosanna" 45 record until my parent's ears bleed, and dress in my Jelly Shoes and snap bracelets. I want to demand my MTV, scream "Where's the Beef?", and yell "you sank my battleship!", and otherwise not have a care or responsibility in the world, except to be able to color in the lines. Simpler times. Maybe we shouldn't be so offended when our parents treat us like children even in adulthood. Maybe that is a gift in itself because I am still lucky enough to have them here to do that. Suddenly the memories of my youth all come flooding back into my consciousness, some drawing smiles, some nostaligic tears...but day by day every little thing becomes just that, a memory...memories on paper...on film...in my head. Shit is starting to get a little scary.
Generation X is all grown-up.
I'm all grown-up...

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Lake Nockamixon

Why hellloooo there. This time my absence was actually because I was doing something good for myself...a mini-vacation. My husband and I were celebrating our 8th anniversary on May 5th so we've had a little mini-vacation/fishing trip planned to Nockamixon State Park in Western Bucks County, PA. Truly only an 1 hr 14 minutes from our house, but you felt like you were much further away than that.
Back about 2 months ago, we were chatting about FINALLY going away to do something. The husband hates traveling, but he's compromising here so I only went a little ways away from home to break him in...LOL. I decided on picking something I knew would pick his interest like a fishing trip. So I went on the hunt for parks with cabins to rent and came across Nockamixon State Park. 1400 + acre "lunker" lake (as in big-ass fishing lake), secluded self-catering cabins, wildlife, a boat, and 3 days off from work...PERFECT. So we left on Sunday, May 2nd and headed off. I had this feeling the weather wasn't going to hold out and it didn't, but I wasn't goin to chance trying to re-book this as I would never get him out of the house again. I'm reasonable, but not stupid. We were going regardless.
We got up to the cabin around 2ish and it was right in the middle of the woods and 300ft from the edge of the lake.

You really can't beat the affordability of these cabins. I booked it right online and only cost about $200 for 4 days and 3 nights. Seriously, try booking the Hilton for less than that. You really don't get the same impact, you know what I mean?

Also, the Hub's bestest fishing buddy insisted (for weeks) that we take his boat instead of renting one at the marina. We finally gave in, but we are thankful because he probably saved us at least $500 for as much and long as we planned to fish everyday.
There was also a grill and fire pit out back. No TV, no civilization for a few miles, new places to eat and more fishing.I just had to get a picture of these wild dogwood trees. On such dreary, rainy days, the pure white blossoms dotted the foliage around the cabin.
That evening we had tickets for the Nightwish show at Crocodile Rock in Allentown, PA. Roland introduced me to them about 7 months ago and I fell hard for them. They are a Finnish/Swedish atmospheric metal band that sells out all over Europe and Asia. Sad that in the US, it's more of a club tour. They are excellent live. I took this video of one of two very Celtic-sounding songs on their latest CD. This is part of "Last of the Wilds". Funny thing is as soon as we rounded the corner we almost mowed down my favorite member of the band, the bassist, Marco when he darted out from the bus and right in front of our truck. Yeah, that would have been bad. I rather like Marco's voice.

video


So the next day was our first jaunt onto the lake. It was freakin' HUGE with lots of area to cover. We were really hoping to catch some Smallmouth. I understand they are fun to catch. Wish I knew, because I didn't catch jack crap. It was so rainy, the fishing was just poor. Roland did manage to pull out a few largemouth, weighed them, and then put them back in the water. (We are catch and release BTW). We don't believe in keeping anything.
Tuesday, our anniversary, we went back out on the lake and it rained again so out came the foul weather gear. Have I mentioned that I looked like the Morton Salt girl out there in my bright yellow slickers? Yeah, the fish could see me coming. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.
We got back off the water and cleaned up for dinner. We decided to try Porterhourse Restaurant across from Peddler's Village. The food was pretty good. This is the view. I think it made the food taste better.

We also ran across a knitting/spinning shop I fell in love with at first site. Roland stopped the truck so I could check it out. He said, "I think I can at least drive you to a knitting shop after I've drug your ass across a lake for two days." Awww how sweet.
The haul? Just a few things, but I will certainly visit Twist again. I bought a beginner set of dyes to play with some undyed Corriedale roving I bought awhile back. I also believe in spinning local when I can. I walked past the commercial rovings and went right for the local stuff, some lovely chocolate brown alpaca from a local farm. It's about 4 oz. I can't wait to spin it. Even the husband kept petting it and commenting on the softness.
I also picked up 3 skeins of Cascade 220 in a chocolate brown to pair up with some Noro I gained in a yarn swap with another Raveler who wanted my blue-green I had in stash. I'm scheming. This is a good sign the mojo may be on the return.
So aside from lousy weather, we had a good time. There was no TV at night so out came the old board and card games. It was a good break from the boob tube. My only triumph for my bruised fishing ego was beating the master at chess. Of course, I only beat him 1 time in 9 games of Chinese Checkers....It was still time off from work!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Believe it or not, I've had progress on all sorts of things...

As you all know I've been struggling with my knitting/spinning mojo that took an extended vacation without me. I've lost interest in all my pending projects. So what happens next? Vogue Knitting lands on my desk and the most unlikely item catches my attention, the front cover, Bontanica Medallion Cardigan by Shiri Mor. Figuring this is a good way to use up the 100% cotton lying destitute in my stash for the last 4 years, I picked up my needles and gave the medallion a whirl. (BTW, this is a better picture of the true color than the next one).
Two days later and voila! That's great right? Well not so much. You should see what the 100% cotton has done to the pads of my fingers. I may not have any skin left by the time this is done. So the question remains, is cotton just that rough that this happens to me every time? Am I allergic to it? Can't be, I wear cotton all the time, except I don't KNIT with it all the time. I'm plugging away at the peplum now, but having to take mandatory breaks to knit with my other wool UFOs so my fingers stop peeling. I am determined to knit and purge all of the cotton out of my stash now. Why not sell it? Well honestly, some of it is too pretty and I am rather fond of it. Onward!

I've been doing a little baking too. I think it's more or less, to ease the tensions going on at work. Lay-offs this week and next. As a manager, there's no telling how this will impact me as either the one cut or the one having to cut. Either way, I'm not at all happy about it. The morale is so in the toilet. Chocolate always dulls the pain for a moment. Chocolate bunt cake with strawberries. YUM! The Hubs loved it.

I also got a very nice surprise by the best SIL ever, KubusKrafts. An early birthday present to see Fleetwood Mac (Stevie is my favorite performer). What an awesome show, abet the two drunk Stevie wannabes behind us who talked (not their inside concert voice, mind you) the ENTIRE show and tipped some of their beer on us. It took every bit of self-control not to turnaround and rattle their cages...wasn't worth ruining my time or trying to rationalize ill-mannered behavior with a drunk and her drunk, slutty daughter. Nuff said. The concert was fantastic. I swear none of them have aged in the last 10 years. Stevie looked the best I've ever seen her and the special treat for me was that she brought out the "Go Your Own Way" top hat with the ribbons on the back. In all my years of loving them dearly, it was cool to see that. She was in top form, as was Lindsey, Mick, and John. Sadly, I confirmed that I still do not miss Christine at all. They seem to have so much more fun on stage without her. Curious, no?
Last weekend I had a fibery goodness gathering at Zarzuela's place. Spinning outside....in the sun...with a cool beverage...and sweets to snack on...Bliss.
And on my wheel, I'm still spinning the Corriedale batt I bought from her months ago now. Yes, those are actually my feet on my wheel and I'm spinning for the first time in months!

That day actually produced an FO, finished handspun. 2 ply corriedale that is about medium fingering. I am not sure what to knit with it, but the colors are cheerful so it should be a fun project.

Oh and also at the gathering, I finally met YarnyOldKim's companion, Stella. Can I tell you how hard I fell for this little girl? What a great, easy-going personality. How could you not fall in love with a furry face like this?
After the corrie came off the wheel, I joined a FreckleFace Fibers spin-a-long. Hello, I'm one of the moderators of this Ravelry group so I had been own up! On the wheel, went the Merino 64 in Verita. I have to say this is the finest single I've ever spun. I may actually be able to ply and get my first laceweight! JOY!

This weekend, I've been a busy, busy girl, partly to not think about the lay-offs coming on Monday and partly b/c this bed had gotten out of control which made me crazy. On Friday night, I realized Lowe's was having a sale on the bricks I wanted, so we gathered ourselves and ran out the door at 8PM on Friday. The price was right at $0.88! Last year, I spent $2.64 /each. I got away dirt cheap this time. Saturday I spent putting the bricks in and tidying up my neglected perennial bed. I added a few more plants and have some more filling to do, but it looks much more presentable on the driveway side now. I have some things still peaking through the mulch from last year. In total we have Butterfly Bush, Columbines, Tiger Lillies, Calla Lillies, red and yellow Yarrow, Carolina Bluebells, English Lavender, Russian Sage, and surprisingly, white Petunias, which must have re-seeded themselves because they are annuals.

Here's a super-macro shot of my Calla. Isn't it gorgeous? Well, I need to mentally prepare for tomorrow's festivities (not!) so I'm going to go try to work on some UFOs and enjoy the warmth on the back deck.

Next weekend? MARYLAND SHEEP AND WOOL and a 4-day vacation to Lake Nockamixon!!!!! WOOT!

Monday, April 13, 2009

HAPPY EASTER!

You must all think I've gone into hiding or been kidnapped or something, huh? I'm still here, but have been doing a lot of traveling for work that I hope, *crosses fingers*, is done until June. I've been to Cincinnati for a week, San Francisco for a week, and then back to Cincinnati. Sound like fun? Not really. It was all for work, so other than some good wine and food after work, it was still....well, work. I had the most atrocious travel arrangements to California that didn't go so well after delays and luggage gallivanting to different cities without me. $125 later at the Gap in SFO, it turns out my luggage was delivered to the hotel before I even left. Niiiiiiice.
Anyway, I'm home and very happy to be. I am still struggling with getting my knitting mojo in gear again, but this might help a bit. I sat down, in March mind you, and finally pieced together the Placed Cable Aran that sat in pieces and unloved for a good month. The only reason I couldn't post yesterday is that is was raining here like a mofo and no pictures to be had. Such is life. These pics aren't any better, but it's what we could get with the wind today and my automatic timer on the Fuji.So one day post-Bobmas (Ravely turned 2 years old. Yay!), I present the Placed Cable Aran:

Pattern: Placed Cable Aran by Cathy Payson, Interweave Knits Fall 2007

Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in "Petal Shower"

Started: January 13, 2009

Finished: March 31, 2009

Needles: Size 9 Addi Circs


Mods: I did not do the cable on the back of the sweater as the front b/c I felt it looked too bunchy. Also, I have to say, I love Dream in Color Classy. This is the second sweater I've done with the stuff. The first sweater was my February Lady Sweater in Happy Forest. The stitch definition is fantastic, it feels good on the hands, and wears beautifully. The downside, however, is this stuff stretches like crazy when wet-blocked so special care should be made to ensure you aren't eyeballing your measurements and then have too big a sweater. It took days to dry because I wanted to ensure it was absolutely bone dry before trying it on.

Overall, I'm happy with it and it's frigid today for a Spring day. It came in handy.

Next up: My St. Patrick's Day and/or very early Birthday present to myself. Meet my new love, my 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander SE.

She came home with me on March 17th and I feel she's got a lucky streak to her. :-) A lot of folks were shocked that we picked black (even my folks) because my husband is a car neat freak and black is so hard to keep clean. Let me tell you though, with the chrome accents, the Black color is sharp. So what if there's more upkeep with black? Does that mean there is less upkeep with any other color? A clean car is a clean car regardless of the color. I would rather have a clean black car than let the dirt hide b/c my car is white or silver. No matter, I still lerve my car.

I also am in love with the interior. I loathe taupe/beige/tan interior. It always looks dirty to me. I was overly thrilled when I found I could get black interior as opposed to my usual dark charcoal or gray. I really love the seats. They are like racing seats and hug to your body. They have leather backs with strips of micro suede down the sides and cloth in the middle. I think it's pretty unique.

Then lastly, the other thing I love besides getting built-in Bluetooth and satellite radio and still having my 6-disc CD changer and sunroof I love so much, the hatch is unique. My 2006 Rav 4 had a full door that swung open to one side. This has a hatch, which at first I wasn't crazy about, but discovered I love that the tailgate folds down like a pick-up. I think that's a great idea for not scratching the paint or just sitting on the tailgate eating an ice cream cone on a summer day.

So I want to say thanks to all you commented on my last post and expressed their concern, especially for my dramatic and sudden loss of knitting mojo. I am really ok now and, in fact, lost 11 lbs so far! I've been hitting the gym harder, changed my sleep schedule, cutting some things out of my diet that were making me sick (unbeknownst to me), and my life has normalized after quite a traumatizing January. I am hopeful for a better rest of 2009.

As for the mojo, I think my knitting will return. I was struck by the cover of the new Vogue knitting and think the Botanica Medallion cardigan might be the right dose of medicine. I need to jump start myself, two people have a cold left foot b/c their sock mates are still on the needles. I must get cracking on those.


Have a great Easter!