September 29, 2005

Upsie Downsie

In what is continuing to be an excellent week for lunch, I had a great one yesterday.  I had lunch with two wonderful knitting/spinning/blogging buddies, Laurie and Cassie.  We met first at Purl, moving next door to the fabulous tart place.  I can never remember the name of the place, though Laurie had purchased their recipe book earlier at The Strand.  Good deal there.  She generously treated for lunch.  After much talking combined with hearty laughter, we moved back to Purl for what knitting bloggers do best, yarn shopping.  Laurie came out with far more than I did, including two beautiful skeins of a cashmere/silk blend in a wonderful color.  I can't wait to see the wrap she makes with it.  I couldn't leave empty handed and returned to the office with this:

CashsoftFour skeins of Rowan Cashsoft, each in a different color and a US10 Addi Turbo.  I'm planning on knitting a Shetland Scarf for each of my kids' daycare teachers as their holiday present.  Last year it was the booga bags, this year scarves.  I did cast on for the first one this morning during my ride in.  The lace pattern that I'm using is the New Shell pattern.  This is part of the Shetland Lace Workshop over at EZasPi.  I might, well probably will, use a different lace motif for each of the scarves.  I'm guessing it would be pretty boring after the 4th.  The yarn is just dreamy and I dare those ladies not to like them.  I think I picked some pretty user friendly colors too.  I had a fabulous time with Laurie and Cassie.  I hated leaving them to go back to the office, but I had to.  I look forward to seeing them at Rhinebeck!  Thank you ladies for a great break in the day.

Twist1bJust in case you think I threw Twist aside for the new temptresses, I have not.  I finished the back this morning on the train, before casting on for the scarf (on the PATH).  I just measured it again and am a touch concerned.  I am coming up a .5" shorter then what it measured while on the train.  I might just undo the shoulder shaping and add the couple of rows.  Or, I could hold the darn thing to my body, see if the sleeve opening is going to be deep enough and if it is, remember to modify the sleeve cap to account for the half inch difference in the opening depth.  Hmm which to do.  Yup, undo, add the 3 rows and redo.  I'll never remember the sleeve adjustment (or will screw up the basic math) when sleeve time comes and will be faced with sleeves that don't fit the opening. I'll wad up the sweater parts, shove it in a bag and burry it deep in the sad closet of UFO's.  I know what I'm doing during lunch today. 

For another chapter in the adventures of childrearing, my youngin's managed to throw me another curveball this morning.  On top of being up 45 minutes before they normally are, they got out of their respective beds and played in their room.  I was half dressed when the noises changed and they started calling out for mama.  I decided shoot caution to the wind, let em out of their room and see what happened.  Therein lay the problem.  While they can't open the door yet, they were able to futz with the lock and locked me out.  I don't have those nice push button locks, I have the twisty kind and hadn't really had to face those yet from the wrong side.  Blind luck had me opening the thing on the first test of the bathroom door before approaching there.  Beginner's luck indeed.  I wasn't so lucky when newly confident I tried their door, all the while listening to Alex tell me "opie" from the other side of the door.  6:45 this morning, I wound up unscrewing the doorknob and removing it entirely!  While I had the thing apart, I studied the mechanism and could unlock it with a screwdriver.  All the same, I remounted it with the lock on the outside so we don't have to deal with this again. 

That's how my day is running.  I think I'm going to be bold and give (S) a call tonight.  I'll use the old "wanted to thank you again for lunch" entry point.  Can't hurt right?

I need some input here.  I think the categories section is looking out of control.  Would anyone mind if I pared it down a tad?  There are projects there that are long completed, long ignored and link to what will be permanent UFO's, etc.  I'm considering combining to a handful or a tad more.  Family / Beading / Spinning / Knitting - Adult / Knitting - Kids / Knitting - Gifts / Knitting - Lace / SEX .  Good idea?  Bad idea?  Should Knitting - Socks be a category too? Yes, I know its my blog and I could do whatever I want to it but I do value your opinion.

Knit on.

September 27, 2005

jDate Update

Knitting progresses apace on the new sweater in my life, Twist.  I'm well into the shaping for the back and the second skein of yarn.  Which btw, is the second skein that Baron has taken as his own, at least for a short time.  He strips the ballband off and then makes one heck of a mess out of the skein.  Blech.  I wound it into a usable center pull ball last night after futzing around with my work laptop trying to get it to play nice with the wireless ethernet adapter and still connect to the office VPN.  I could connect everywhere else except the office on wireless, but plugged in it worked so it had to be in the config on the laptop.  Lo and behold it was, but I shan't bore you with geek-speak.  I can now do my work stuff from anywhere in the house with the laptop.  Go me.  Back to Twist, I shall not bore you with daily updated photos of the thing as it progresses another inch or two, maybe three.  Nope, didn't felt Kat's hat last night either.  Again, see the geek part previously mentioned.

Now for what most of you have tuned in today for, (S) and I met for lunch.  Yay!  Had to change restaurants due to no reservations available.  We went to the Mesa Grill instead.  That's Bobby Flay's restaurant on 5th Ave not too far from Union Square, and a relatively easy 3 avenue walk from my office.  I've eaten there once before, probably January 1999 if memory serves.  It's a nice restaurant, good food, though a bit  crowded.  Didn't stop (S) and I from having some very nice and comfortable conversation.  I could really like this guy.  He's cute.  He's nice.  He's a good conversationalist.  He really knows the importance of children (has two daughters himself) and I loved the way he talked about his girls.  He seemed "cooled out" by the knitting and definitely the spinning.  I really enjoyed lunch.  I sent him a note when I got back to the office thanking him and letting him know I had a really good time.  I had hoped he did as well.  I gave him the phone number then too.  I got an email back from him that he enjoyed it as well and is looking forward to seeing/speaking with me again.  Ditto.  I was nervous as heck again before this date.  Ask Elaine.  She heard it in an email right before I was leaving and called me {shudder} normal!  Mom explained (I called her as I walked back to the office) that it was normal for me to be nervous.  She's be worried if I weren't nervous.  I guess normal isn't a bad thing, right? :)  Well, I'm not nervous now and just happy...

Now to get that email off to (B) letting him down gently.

Knit on!

September 26, 2005

Extra Extra!

Update, we got your updates here. 

First, that Super-Secret Surprise Baby Gift project for coworker Marina is finally no longer secret and I can divulge it to the rest of you.  I had another coworker deliver the gift to Marina this weekend as she had her little girl on 9/11.  Yes, a less than positive day but with a new reason to be happy.  The circle of life and all that.  Anyway, I can finally post the picture and project details.

Sssbg1Pattern:  From Last Minute Knitted Gifts

Yarn:  TLC Cotton Plus (though the gold is Cotton-Ease)

Full project details:  here.

I got an email from Marina this morning thanking me for the blanket.  I hope baby Emma is half as happy with it.  For those that remember my stitch quota, what it translated to was two and a half blocks a day.  While riding the bus, it was easy to accomplish and was pretty mindless knitting of rows and rows of garter stitch.  Great project and would be faster as Joelle set it up, for a group of friends to knit together.  I have plenty more yarn as I only used a skein and a half of each color and ordered 5 of each.  Yup, stasher extraordinaire! 

Cfh1Moving right along.  I finished knitting the hat for Kathryn yesterday.  It was pretty late when I finally worked in the last end so I haven't had a chance to start the felting part of it yet.  I need to dig out a bowl the size of the monkey's head to get it right.  Maybe tonight or tomorrow, depends on how much energy I have left tonight.  I'm pretty tired now, but that's because I had a carb-rich lunch at Benny's Buritos.  Nope, not with (S), more on that later though.

Twist1a As a further indicator to me that I shouldn't lead a KAL, (my last lead was that Recycled Sari Silk scarf-along that I HATED) I haven't touched Eris in at least a month, have even discarded its replacement of attention Samus and am now working on the newest of the cabled cardigans to wiggle at me.  Meet Twist.  I got an email from ChicKnits yesterday announcing the newest sweater pattern's release.  It had two of my favorite new features.  It was both a cardigan and had cables.  It had two other features in its favor.  The yarn from Samus met the gauge requirements and since I'd just recently swatched and started that, re-purposed the Wool of the Andes yarn.  Samus is now out of the WIP and into a "Someday" queue.  Oops, I seem to remember joining a KAL for it.  KAL's aren't my strong suit obviously.  Anyway, the other plus in its favor is that Bonne Marie designed it.  I've used several of her patterns, including the much beloved Ribby Cardi and very much like her work.  I started the back while the twins took their afternoon nap yesterday.  I had to force myself to stop and go back and finish the hat.  I like the shaping that's built into this sweater so for the moment, we have a winner in the cardigan contest.  Well that's until something else comes out from the woodwork to tempt me. 

Now, for the dating thing.  In talking with (S) to see if lunch was still on for today, he mentioned that because of meetings, it would have to be quick.  While trying to find a good central point for us to meet that would not be McDonalds and yet quick, I suggested maybe rescheduling for another day.  He initially declined stating that two reschedules "would make him a jerk".  Bonus points to him for this.  After explaining that I understood work pressures and wouldn't think him a jerk, he agreed that a reschedule that allowed for a more leisurely lunch would be best.  We're meeting here tomorrow.  He picked it.  Should be an excellent lunch judging from the email exchanges and two quick scheduling phone calls with a nice guy.  (S) has played by the new rules very very well.  I'm really looking forward to meeting him.

I have some stored procs to write and a batch job to test, so I'll part here..

Craft on!

September 24, 2005

Inquiring Minds

I have a lovely finished object to show y'all.  The Girlfriend Swing Sweater is now done.  Sweet little sweater for Ms. Kat.  I'm pretty sure its large enough for the little monkey that she should be able to wear it through the fall and more than likely next spring.  I had a little trouble convincing her to put it on so I could take a picture.  Mom got her to do it with a little sweet talking.  She's a true cat and came straight for me as I held the camera.  I did get to snap off some very cute pictures, if I do say so myself.  I'm pleased with the modifications that I made to it.  Full details of that are in the album pages here.  (click for larger images)


And true to toddler-hood, after struggling to get her into the thing, she didn't want to take it off.  I started a hat from the Knit Hats! book, the "Child's Felted Hat" in the same yarn to match this cute little coat.  That should be done in no time.  Good thing I started knitting again at lunch, I have so many projects I want to work on.  Either Samus or Eris need to be addressed soon.  Not to mention the yarn that's on order that I mentioned in my last post.  Someday I'll take some pictures of the current stash. 

Hmm, I could be knitting... NOW.  But...

I'm sure that inquiring minds want to know, my lunch date with (S) was postponed until Monday.  I got an email from him early Friday telling me that he was looking forward to meeting me, but could I call him before our get together.  Sure, no problem.  Well he was getting slammed at work and wondered if we could change our plans and maybe get together at 2:30 for coffee.  Tough time, but then he suggested lunch on Monday.  Works for me!  Got to break up the two big Asian meals in one day thing I had scheduled.  Something to look forward to Monday for...

Now we get to dinner.  I was nervous as hell.  Surprised me too how nervous I was about the whole thing.  I forced myself to go, really, what was there to be nervous about.  I had free babysitting and I was getting out of the house for something other than work.  All good.  Anyway, I got to the restaurant and (B) had arrived before me.  Good thing he recognized me because I wouldn't have recognized him.  Where I had used recent pictures for my online profile (borrowed them from my Finished Items albums - Ribby and Ribby Shell for the curious) he hadn't and had changed quite a bit.  There were no awkward silences, conversation was good, food was better.  In the end, he'd make  good friend, but I feel no physical attraction for him at all.  It would have to be faked and that wouldn't be fair to each of us.  See, I was right for wanting to put the brakes on all the telephone conversations I was having with him.  So much energy expended on what looked good on paper and went conversationally well, to end because of a lack of chemistry.  I'm going to call him and thank him for a lovely dinner and decline any further contact.  In the end, the first date in a long long time is finally under my belt.

On that note, I'm going back to the felted hat for the monkey.

Craft on!

September 22, 2005

Eclectic Mix

Knitting proceeds apace on the Girlfriend Swing Sweater for Little Miss Kat-Kat. I finished the second sleeve yesterday. I've made some modifications to the pattern. I'm not particularly keen on the rolled edge look. To me it always looks like you skipped something in the finishing of a garment. While the pattern does suggest using a 2 or 3 stitch I-cord around various edges, I'm not a huge fan of the old idiot cord. I decided to use a seed stitch border instead. I had to un-bind-off one sleeve and the garment hem to add this new border and am very glad I did so. So now both sleeves are done and I've started the collar. I'm halfway through with that now and should have it done during lunch today. I'm going to add the seed stitch border to the end of the collar as well. It should help it lay right. The only part of the sweater that I still have decided what to do with is the edge of the collar. I've been slipping the first stitch of every row, giving it a decent selvage, but.... I do have to add button bands and I was considering continuing these button bands in one long line to include the edge of the collar. I'll have to see how it looks when I cast it off. If it rolls or looks cheesy, it gets the band. I'll dig out mom's button tin later and see if there are any goodies that would be perfect for this sweater. She handed me her good-size tin full of buttons when I was hunting around for closures for some beadwork I'd done. Nice stuff and I now have a great button collection. Yay. Next picture should be a mostly complete little sweater for my monkey girl.

I did a little more stash acquisition. I'm laying in for the winter. Yeah, that's the ticket. I saw my favorite yarn dealer had some very lovely discontinued Rowan Wool Cotton in one of my new favorite colors for a fabulous price. I'm thinking one of ChicKnit's sweaters for this yarn. Either the Eyelet Cardi (which yes has been in my queue for ages and I've already bought a cotton blend for from Knitpicks) or her new one, Cutaway. I turned to my expert on all things Rowan for her opinion. First she heartily approved the yarn. Naturally :) Her advice as to which sweater? Cutaway, being a bit trendy, was good I could finish it this fall, otherwise go for the more classic Eyelet Cardi. Great advice I think. While it should be a quick knit, we all know how my attention wanders from project to project. I'm easily distracted by any new yarn that shakes its ballband at me, not to mention the various patterns and projects that a quick cruise around knitting blogland reveals. This is made worse that I'm a ring checker and have to look at a bunch of sites every week! Do you know what that does to my attention span? I try not to look at the stash, the pitifully ignored queue and the ever expanding WIPS.

The J&S one ply Cobweb arrived yesterday. Oh my goodness is that stuff fine. It really is amazing how small a 200+ yard skein of something that fine can be. I bought 8 skeins so I should have a decent amount to play with. I'll be ready for when the workshop starts this weekend. Yay. Oh sure, I really do need more to do.

I've been giving my little mp3 player a decent workout the last couple of days, especially since I ripped a couple of LP's. I do totally love my Creative Zen Micro and would definitely recommend it over the iPod. (which by the way, I'm still waiting to hear from the class action settlement board what they intend to do with my iPod that suffered the catastrophic battery failure). I usually leave the thing in random play mode and am always amused at the eclectic mix that you can wind up with. I left it playing when I got to the office as I needed to charge the battery up (last charge was Sunday.. good Zen) and could listen while it charged. Here's the playlist since I got in:

  • I write the songs - Barry Manilow
  • Janie's Got a Gun - Aerosmith
  • Ready to Take a Chance Again - Barry Manilow
  • Bad Moon Rising - CCR
  • Waterloo - Abba
  • Toreador Song - Pavarotti
  • I am What I am - Gloria Gaynor
  • Two Tear Drops = Steve Warner
  • Fool in the Rain - Zep
  • Whole Lotta Love - Zep
  • Running with the Devil - Van Halen

It managed to find two of the three total Barry Manilow tunes on the drive out of the 260+ tracks. In my much younger days I was a huge fan and in a nostalgic mood, I got a hold of a favorite or two. The train ride had an even wider divergence of genres going from Guns N Roses to The Three Tenors to Aerosmith and then Yes. Variety is indeed the spice of life.

One final note, my mom informed me yesterday that my dad (who only works 3.5 days now) is taking off Monday instead of Friday (as normal) so that they can take the kids Friday night, freeing me up to date. Nice huh! I don't have to pay a babysitter. Sweet. Now I just had to make sure that the penciled in date with (B) would be in something other than pencil. Honestly, I wasn't sure as I hadn't really conversed with him either in email or on the phone since last week. I really did need to step back and see if he could as well. So he went from two to three phone calls + 2 emails a day to two calls since Saturday (though one was to my cell phone yesterday - bad bad bad) and an email, though he doesn't wait for me to reply before contacting again. Not great, but better. I just sent him a restaurant option (Japanese Steak House - yummy!) and we'll see how the self-proclaimed boring eater responds to that. I'm still feeling rather ambivalent on the whole thing with him, but I am excited to have lunch with (S) tomorrow! We're meeting at a Thai place near my office. Guess I'm in an Asian mood. Still, two dates in one day. Weeeeeee.

Craft on!

September 21, 2005


Gfss1cThis new concerted knitting effort is producing results.  I did indeed finish the hem of the Girlfriend Swing Sweater on the way home yesterday and was even able to start the first sleeve.  Notice I didn't bother cleaning the couch off of toddler toys before I plopped down to knit last night.  See Cate, my house is starting to be festooned with Fisher Price Little People (FPLP) as well.  Not to mention the short people have a serious addiction to the Mega Blocks.  I got an excellent deal on them too, the nice wagon chock full for $6 at a garage sale this summer.  Nice.  Kat has been taking a "pock-a" (pocketbook) to bed with her stuffed with FPLP.   Both of my kids have inherited my addiction to pock-a's and want to carry them everywhere.  Kristen, you'll be happy to know that they've revoked their loans of the bags you made for them and took them for their own use.  I've had to find other homes for Birchington and my spindles.  I did find a great little bag at ugh K-Mart yesterday on clearance that already houses my smaller Hatchtown spindle.  The good news, both kids stayed in bed last night, no falling out or if they did, they did it quietly and got back in.  I did get into their room this morning to find them both jumping on Kat's bed.  Could be worse ;)

Oh my, I'm digressing badly today.  Okay.  Progress was made on the GFSS.  I came within two inches of finishing the first sleeve while watching my new favorite show last night, House.  Love it.  I bound-off the sleeve on the PATH train this morning and started up the second.  I'm taking lunch today for the first time in a while and will get some knitting in then again.  Woo.  Maybe my production level will go back up with the return of lunch knitting.  Why you ask did I stop lunch knitting?  Well two words:  summer hours.  In order to get out of here at 1pm on Fridays, we work a longer day during the rest of the week.  Because of the short people and things like train schedules, I really can't stay late.  Once in a while, sure.  Everyday?  Not a chance.  So in order to participate in the early out Friday, I bargained away my lunch hour and ate at my desk while I worked. 

Merper_burg I did leave the office again for the first time yesterday.  My lunch buddy Kevin and I headed down to Seaport Yarn.  I needed to pick up a skein of the Merino Oro for Elaine.  I bought a skein in black during our crawl and while she didn't get one initially, she did live to regret it ;-)  She's sending me a cobweb suri alpaca yarn that should be divine in trade.  Works for me.  I can't wait to see that stuff!  I couldn't leave the store empty handed for myself and picked up some Clover US8 DPN's which proved useful for the first sleeve and the default purchase of surprise... SOCK YARN. Two skeins of Louet Gems Pearl in Burgundy.  I seem to be on a bit of a burgundy kick.  At least the socks will match all the sweaters made in the same color!  After a little yarn shopping, the two of us hit a Sushi place right on Fulton.  Yes Elaine, it is the same place we had lunch.  I had the very yummy Chicken Teriyaki box lunch.  MMMMMMMM.  Nancy, maybe we can come up with a similar lunch plan for that Friday you arrive before Rhinebeck.

If you thought my kids did a good job, check out Sue's daughter!  Toddlers.  Got to love them.  While you're over there, get a good look at the thread crochet that Sue has been doing recently.  Amazing.

Anyway, got to get back to my batch jobs and debugging.

Craft on!

September 20, 2005

Good, Bad and the Geeky

I appreciate everyone's comment on my post yesterday.  I have to admit, I had a similar reaction when I walked in there.  After the initial shock of seeing cornstarch and powdery white kids, I fought the laughter myself.  Okay, like a good blogger, I did back out and close the door so I could get the camera.  You bet I'm going to print those pictures out and frame them.  They'll definitely be good blackmail pictures down the road.  I knew it could have been far worse than the never-ending vacuuming and you all provided the "worse".  There are still spots of "mesh" that I need to get back to as the twins keep wandering into those spots.   I bit the bullet and pulled the sides of the cribs off last night.  I installed Kathryn's toddler rail and used a regular bed-rail that collapses to half the length of the crib for Alex's bed.  While I knitted and listened to the baby monitor for them to go to sleep, a picture flashed by on my computer's screen saver mode.  It was this:


That was the day they came home from the hospital after a week in the NICU.  They shared that crib, side-by-side as above, for the first six months.  Now look at them:

Kat_bedAlex_bedI still can't get over the fact that they are going to be two years old soon.  TWO?!  They did very well in the bed last night.  Kat fell out once at around 10.  I walked in to find her standing next to the bed, crying.  She was more surprised than anything else and went back to bed pretty nicely.  Gasp, the next stage will be twin beds.  I'm in no rush, but will keep and eye on bed sales in the area.  This will do for a little while at least.

Gfss1b Now.. onto the knitting.  I have been doing some.  I need to clear some projects off the plate before the Shetland Lace Workshop starts over on the EZasPi list.  I ordered several skeins of the Jamieson & Smith 1ply Cobweb in Natural for the projects from a fellow lister Beth.  I can't wait to check out this cobweb and compare it to some of the very fine yarn I have hanging about the house thanks to the knitting machine days. 

I had a setback with Birchington this weekend.  Friday on the train home I started playing with the math for the next motif that I wanted to add to the border.  I was very close so I finished with the last repeat, did a few rows of solid stockinette and set about with the next.  Three rows into it I didn't like how it looked.  At all.  But when I changed patterns, I had 111 st each side, 444 per round and I needed to undo 3 rounds.  I don't have to know the final number there to know that I couldn't tink that much.  It was at this point that I regretted the decision to not use lifelines.  I've read how they've saved others but never got around to implementing them in my own knitting.  Now I wish I had.  I pulled the needle out, frogged the yarn and somehow managed to get all my stitches back on the needle.  An hour later.  Oy. 

Having the bad taste of Birchington and the frogpond, I decided to switch tracks.  I moved to the Girlfriend Swing Sweater for Kat in that lovely pink color of Jaeger Shetland Aran.  Having done a lot with fine gauge yarn recently, I'm tickled pink at how fast this is going.  I was an inch shy of the bind off at the bottom during my train ride this morning.  Going out on a limb, this should be definitely done in time for Rhinebeck.  But then again, I do have to add buttons and we all know how long that takes me to do.  At least there is no piecing to do.  That takes me almost as long as the buttons to accomplish.

Now for the geeky bits.  Get a gander at this:

Geek1 That's my computer desk in the living room.  Nice flat panel monitor, very sleek and colorful Sony computer.  Ignore the clutter please, I might be a good knitter but I'm a lousy housekeeper.  Hmm that reminds me that my mom's friend wanted to know if she should check to see if her housekeeper had any available time.  Must make a note to call her.  Anyway... in between the computer and the pile of bags (yes knitting and roving if you must ask) you see a nice printer/copier/scanner combo that I'm very pleased with.  But the geeky bit (geekier than the second computer hiding in the lower right hand corner of the photo under all the bags) is the item sitting on top of the printer combo.  Want a closer look?  Now you might be asking what's so darn geeky about some seriously old technology as a turntable.  (If you've never had a turntable, please don't tell me, I don't need to feel older than I already am.)  The geeky bit is that this new, yes brand new, turntable is plugged into the line-in on my computer's sound card.  As these pictures were being snapped, my computer was busy converting the LP into a MP3 file. Yo how cool is that?  I still have old vinyl that I never converted to CD and as such, really can't listen to these days.   Yo yo.  Oh and yes, I'm still drinking TaB with no ill effects on the keppellah.  Yay me.

Nothing to report on the dating front.  I have a lunch date scheduled with (S) for Friday and probably dinner with (B) Friday night.  Rains but it pours right?  I haven't had a date since late June 1999 and now I have two on the same day to break the drought.  Figures.  (B) still shows signs of being a phone pest and as such is falling quickly from favor.   I take heart in all the comments you've left of how successful pairings have been made off the 'net.  Thank you!

Now to answer a bunch of emails...and get some work done ;)

Craft on!

September 08, 2005


HaircutAs Judy has requested a photo of the new cut, I figured I should oblige.  Not one of the greatest pictures of me, but I think it shows the nicely ceramic iron straightened hair pretty well.  I'm going to quit trying to take photos in the bathroom mirror, boy was that a scary experience.  Thank goodness digital photos are cheap as I wasted a lot of them!  I went with the natural wave this morning and oh boy can I tell you that the two textures are so different.  The iron really seals in the shine and makes it very silky.  It doesn't take much longer to do right than fighting with the big round hairbrush and the hair dryer.  I was just running that late this morning.

FishOn the knitting front, I've finally finished the Opal Rainforest Fish socks.  As a testament to how fast I can knit them, once I get going, the second was not touched since I cast it on during the commute on 9/1.  This weekend, my folks and I took the twins out to visit my sister and see her brand new house.  OH MY G-D, it is absolutely gorgeous!  More on that later though.  As my folks have a car that seats 7, they did the driving, while I sat in the back and knitted.  I took that sock from the cuff to halfway through the heel on the way and to the toe decrease coming back.  I finished it this morning on the bus.  Yup, running late and took the bus.  I happily got the stripes to match almost exactly and am very pleased with myself there.  I'll cast on for a pair for Alex tonight.  The beaded amulet has been tossed aside.  Since my attention span for these projects is shorter than the twins for toys, I'm going to give up hopes of anything larger as a Rhinebeck project and stick with the family socks.  Make it a yearly tradition, at least until they have any say about it.

The new Knitty is up and I've put together my wishlist.  Samus, Falling Leaves and Bubby are all very high on the list of likes from this issue.  I'm a heartbeat away from casting aside Eris and working on Samus instead.  While Eris is a lovely sweater and the pattern exceedingly well done, I like the line of Samus better.  While I'll have to swatch (shudder at the thought), I'm pretty sure I can get gauge with some of the KnitPicks yarn that I've laid in over the last year, or if not that, the Araucania that I bought for Rogue.  I have a Power Squadron dinner tonight so I doubt I'll be able to swatch much before tomorrow.

Back to my sister's house.  Oh my goodness, it is absolutely lovely.  She moved from a small 2 bedroom ranch in northern NJ out to Lancaster County and a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath 3000 sq-foot dream house.  Her kitchen/family room/breakfast nook is larger than my whole apartment and gorgeously decked out with cherry floors and fabulous cabinets and moldings.  It really is a beautiful house, if only it were a bit closer.  Not too terribly far, but a good deal of the route is not highway driving and as a result can be unpredictable to time.  It takes anywhere between 2 and 3 hours to do the drive, one way.  Saturday morning was one of those 2 hour 40 minute rides, though the countryside is pretty, and hey, I got some sock knitting done while watching Finding Nemo on the dvd player.  Oh boy did the short people have a good time running around in those huge open spaces.

Speaking of the short people, we hit another milestone.  They can no longer be contained in a Pack 'n Play (unless I can get a cage lid for it).  We put them down late yesterday morning for a nap.  Naturally, while tired, they weren't keen on the idea.  After the crying stopped and all got quiet, I was lulled into a fall sense of security by the quiet and relaxed in the family room with my family.  The twins were in a closed room in the Pack 'n Plays.  Not so fast you say?  You're right.  It wasn't long after that I heard giggling as two little people were coming downstairs.  They'd escaped the playards and Alex had already proven his dexterity in getting the door open.  Twingenuity.  Have to love it.  Only a matter of time now before they are escaping their crib and my good times have ended. :)


Bleh.  I'm tired of it already.  I now remember that I never really liked it the last time I tried it.  Hell, I can explain my less than successful marriage on settling to get off the dating ride.  Thank you everyone for all your comments on the whacko who wouldn't take no.  Nice to see that my instincts are trustworthy.  You'll be relieved to know that I haven't heard from him since I told him to get lost last Tuesday.  I've spent a considerable amount of time on the phone with (B).  So much so that I sent him an email on Friday, pleading that he not call me that night.  We've talked every night for several hours and I'm already sleep deficient.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the conversations with him, but he calls me every night, at least once during the day and now add in several emails a day.  I haven't even met him face to face yet.  It just seems like too much too soon.  I'm not used to that much attention and I'm not entirely sure about how to rectify this.  Because of all the contact with this one guy, I haven't been able to communicate with a couple of others that had contacted me. Hell, I'm not even sure I want to date anymore.  Dating just sucks. 

While I find the attention flattering, something is just rubbing me the wrong way.  I called (J) this morning (well returned his call) to cancel our lunch date for today as I had a deadline to meet and wouldn't be able to get out of the office.  I'm too ambivalent on the whole dating thing and feeling pretty crappy as my allergies seem to have kicked in again, that I didn't want to wreck that relationship before it had a chance to get off the ground and well, got to work a bit late.  I told him I'd call him back as the week progressed to see when we could reschedule.  Sounds good, right?  I'm screening calls at the office and only answering the ones I have to.  Heck, 99% of all calls to my phone here are personal in nature so my boss wouldn't mind my not answering it.  I've ignored probably a dozen calls so far that the caller-id displays as Tie-Line.  One was subsequently followed by a call from the reception desk.  I answered that one.  It was (J) calling back to see if he could call me at home tonight.  What's with that?  I don't make a call to ask if I can call you?  Is it me or these guys acting a bit desperate?  I don't return a message for a couple of hours and they try again and again and again.  If I don't answer my cell phone, they call my office line and if I don't answer they, they send an email.  Enough already.  Should I be thankful instead of annoyed that I've "met" attentive men?  Am I crazy? 

Oh, one observation so far in this one week old dating game.  Dating as a late thirty something is far different than when I was younger.  Oh boy are the conversations far more frank and open.  I've had conversations with three different men on the phone and all of them have questioned me on sex.  What?  Call me a prude, but you don't talk about that before you even meet face to face.  Holy shit.  I want to take everything slowly and get it right this time and they are asking me about sexual preferences and the like.  Ugh.  I want to crawl back into my yarn and fleece lined hole and hide there thanks.

Bonus points to those who made it this far!

Craft on.

September 07, 2005


Oy am I tired.  I stayed up late again last night jabbering on the telephone with another feller.  I'll save the perils of dating discussion for later in the post so those who tune in for monkeys and yarn can tune out before there.  But first the really good news, Uncle Richie was able to get back into the house yesterday and rescued his animals.  The dogs are at Bid-a-wee and can stay there for up to 15 days.  Aunt Jackie will be driving back to pick them up and return them to Atlanta with her.  The birds are in Metairie with friends.  Not entirely sure where the cats are, but I suspect they are in Metairie as well.  Dad doesn't always think to ask the question.  Heck we hadn't a clue where and how my cousin's husband was for days as dad never asked.  I had wrongly assumed he'd stayed behind to watch the homestead, but found out that he'd gone with my aunt and cousin to Atlanta.  Uncle R is going to be staying at a friend's house in Metairie for the next bit as he works for the city in the building department and will probably be called back to work after the water is gone.  His friends have a second house in Metairie and will be moving into one and letting him have the other.  Nice to have friends like that!  Anyway, its a relief that the two-legged and four-legged members of my family are now safe.

OFC (obligatory fiber content)

I knitted yesterday!  I actually picked up Birchington again and managed to get two rounds done.  At this rate, I'm going to be a grandma before that shawl is done.  Scattering my attention every which way to Sunday isn't helping in getting that thing done.  In the interest of coming closer this decade, I've had a daily knitting realignment.  Birchington is back in my bag, the socks are out.  The amulet bag is hiding in the bag as well, especially since I wanted to take a picture of it.  Plus them 0000 dpns could make a nice defensive weapon should I need one!  We won't talk about poor Eris hiding in the knitting bag, untouched and unloved for oh so very long now.

Amulet1a Here's the beaded amulet bag that I've been working on.  Sorry for the lousy photo.  I have yet to have a chance to try out the new light tent.  This was taken a few minutes ago on my lovely desktop at work.  I did happen to use beads that come in a hank, rather than loose.  My problem was as I was transfering them to the 10/2 tencel, the thread snapped, or disconnected, or once the tencel snapped and let go of the thread.  Finally with the fourth strand, I got them all on without hearing little beads scatter.  I love the color.  Its fairly reminiscent of my pi shawl.  Maybe mom would like this little bag to go with it.  Fun to knit, still don't know what I'm going to do with it.  Looking at this picture, I think I need to pull the thread a little tighter after I slip the beads over. 

Monkey Fun

LocustsIs it just me or can toddlers wreck havoc like a plague of locusts?  I was on the phone with the office on Saturday (I was the lucky sucker on call this weekend) when the toddlers wrecked havoc on my bathroom, after visiting the pantry.  They hit the toilet paper container for extra rolls, stuffing it with tissues from the box on the back of the toilet.  The toilet paper roll was shredded by the aptly named Kat.  Here you can see her on the floor with the pilferred container of almonds from the pantry.  Luckily they didn't recognize these things as food and contented themselves with scattering them all over the bathroom.  There were nuts EVERYWHERE!  Alex here has a handful that he was about to toss on the counter and into the sink.  I did install safety latches on the pantry doors so there will be no repeat performance of canned goods touring the house.  I do get to play the canned mystery game though as they did strip the labels off a few of them

This weekend was also pretty momentous in that the boy figured out that if he pushed his little wooden Ikea chair to the storm door, he could now reach the handle and let himself out.  I'd gone to the car to get something, only to hear squealing and giggling as these two monkeys came around the side of the house heading for me.  They'd escaped!  He then spent a good deal of time pushing or carrying that chair everywhere and climbing on it for a new perspective of things.  Lovely.  Never ever a dull moment around. 


Only on the dating scene for a couple of days and I already had to dispatch a nutcase.  Here's the quick timeline with this dude:

  • Friday 9pm - Quick IM conversation where we exchange phone numbers (yup my 1st mistake)
  • Sat 10:45pm - he calls, I ain't answering as call intercept grabbed it and I was on my way to bed anyway.  Short people get up early and all that.
  • Sun 10:00am - he calls.  This time I talked to him as I tried to simultaneously finish packing and feed the twins/cats/rabbit/myself breakfast.  Convo got very strange and triggered some warning flags that had me deciding not to pursue a relationship.  Told him I'd try and call him Monday night as we were going to be away.  He told me I could call him from the boat (gosh thanks).  Again, I repeat, I'll try and call you Monday night.  Dude wouldn't shut up, finally got him off the phone so I could then wrangle the short people who once again had gotten into the bathroom, this time playing with a bar of soggy soap.  Oy.  Anyway, I ran through the conversation with my folks and again later with my sister and they all agree, no dating this guy.  I decided to tell him thanks but no thanks.
  • Mon 8:15pm - he calls.  I was just finishing up with the twins' bath/bedtime ritual and didn't answer the phone.  After I got done with them, I was on the phone with my mother, talking about the weekend, my uncle's evacuation, visiting my sister this coming weekend, etc.  After that, I popped on to check my email and wound up on the phone with a new fellow.  We didn't hang up until after midnight so I didn't get back to the weirdo.
  • Tues 8:05pm - he calls.  Again, I'm getting the twins down to sleep and leave the phone to voice mail.  Hell that's what its there for isn't it?  He starts berating me for not getting back to him and blowing him off.  How he would be a perfect match for me and how come I didn't call him back, why didn't I answer his IM last night, blah blah blah blah.  Other than the finances thing (oh yeah, he'd told me I'd have to be the breadwinner - not bad in and of itself - but that also he needed a new job and maybe my dad could hook him up.. or maybe he could come to work at the same company I did - yeah, not a good picture) he would treat me like a queen.
  • Tues 8:11pm - I call him back seething and got his voicemail.  I told him off.  I was away, he knew that.  I have little kids.  He knew that as well.  It is in the first sentence of my profile on the service that I'm a single mom to almost 2 year old twins.  I also told him to quit stalking me.  I was only on the service briefly the previous night and never saw his IM.  I said that while I was planning on calling and telling him nicely that I'd like to take a pass on pursuing any further relationship, he hadn't given me the chance.  I told him to lose my number and get lost.
  • Tues 8:15pm - he calls back.  First he apologized then disclaimed stalking me.  Whatever.  I told him again that while I wished him luck, I'm going to take a pass on pursuing a further relationship with him. He then went nuts telling me that while he thought we'd be a good match (because other than the kids, we had a similar situation with our divorces.. not even close doofus but I'll spare you those ugly details), and that he was honest and a good guy unlike all the other losers on the service and was trying to spare me having to deal with all them.  He was putting the burden on me to come to that decision and meet him saving myself the trouble of dating the phoneys.  He kept going on and on and on and on.  Couldn't buy himself a clue that I was getting farther and farther from interested.  "We can consider this our first fight" was a suggestion he made.  "Sure and our last fight as well" was my reply.  I finally got rid of him with a "Dude, buy a clue.  I'm not interested."  He finally hung up.

Geez, it almost makes me want to return to my self declared 6 month dating sabbatical that lasted from July 99 until now ;)  On the good side, I had a very lovely long conversation with a very nice guy after that.   I had a really good time talking to him and he's pencilled in for dinner either next Friday or the following week.  Depends on both of our abilities to arrange for child care.  I'm sure there will be more about him (B) or the fellow from the night before (J) who I'm going to have lunch with next week.

Bravo to anyone who reached this far, I do very much appreciate it.  You all get good buddy merit points.  I promise to continue shoving the dating fun into the end of a post and highlighting it so you can ignore at your leisure.

Knitting is indeed easier than dating!

Craft on.

September 01, 2005


One of those days.  I was just finishing one list bit in a rather lengthy, brilliantly written, emotionally deep and otherwise fabulous post when I got a little confused closing a browser window that I had open for a link.  You know where this is going right?  I'm using the maxthon IE with its beloved tabs and well, closed down the whole works 98% complete posting and all.  Since I'm only brilliant once a day and that time has passed, we're going to do this Cate style with bullets and overall randomness.

  • I'm still waiting to hear word from my uncle Richard in New Orleans.  Last my cousins (or other family members) heard from him was Tuesday morning when he reported that the water had risen to the middle of his driveway and then had started to receed.  Cousins and aunt are pretty sure he's okay and just unable to communicate.  They also advise that the house is in the 20% of NOLA that isn't flooded.  Naturally, I'm still concerned.  My cousin Paige, who's due in some 5 weeks, was directed to her sister's OB in Atlanta where she'll more than likely have my little nephew.  Doesn't look like anyone is going home to NOLA anytime soon.

  • Bracelet1b_1 I spent last night watching the news coverage of the continuing tragedy, keeping my hands busy, much in the same way I used my spinning wheel thru 9/11.  I made myself a bracelet last night from a pattern I found on the Interweave Beadwork site in their subscriber area (the last issue I picked up on the stand had the subscriber-only password on it!).  You can see the whole bracelet here.  It is made from 4mm hematite beads with gunmetal delicas and a pewter toggle clasp.  My first bead order arrived and my second is scheduled to arrive today. I also finally got a picture of the necklace up in the album as well.  Note to self:  set up a light tent for proper pictures of beaded and yarny goodness.

  • The knitting and beading collision is not far away on the horizon.  I have this pattern ready and waiting.  When?  When the orders from Elaine's favorite crack bead seller and The Mannings arrive with the needed supplies.  What can I say, I'm weak.

  • Fish1b_1 I finally did manage to cast on that second fish sock.  Took me until this morning on the train in to do it.  Boy am I a slacker.  It does look like I've managed to get the color repeats almost exactly the same as on the first sock.  That was a good mental note I made.  I held this sock to the first and the stitches are dead on.  Yay me.  Sorry for the crappy picture, I took it this morning on the train.  That's my pink mohair "Kerry Blue" shawl in the background.  That's been my train shawl for the last couple of weeks.  I made it during my last last phase some years back.

  • I had yesterday off so I took advantage of the hairdresser appointment that my mom was going to cancel and finally get my hair trimmed.  I missed/cancelled the last three so I vaguely remember my last cut being somewhere around February. Nothing special, just a trim with some fringey bangs cut in for excitement.  The fun was how she styled it.  Kassie used one of them nifty wet-to-dry ceramic flat irons.  I love the results!  It got my wavy hair pin straight.  She did give it a smidge of a curl under and I'm just digging it.  I did some googling when the twins went down for a nap.  Now I ordered this (same model she used), but also see this one and this one.  All the same model number, all on Amazon and three different prices.  You betcha I ordered the cheaper one.  The one I ordered appears with a Ships in 3 to 5 weeks delivery note on the product page.  I can wait, right?  Lived this long with wavy hairs, what's another couple of weeks.  I just got the shipping notice.  It went out today, actually a day ahead of the estimated ship date that I got in the confirmation email of tomorrow.  Go figure.

  • After I blew away my witty post, I had to get away from the evil that is a computer.  I headed uptown to  ever crowded midtown and hit a bead store.  Yup, weak I am.  I had seen another pattern I wanted to try and I had to get more beads for it.  Hope the kids nap well this long weekend, wouldja?  I'm into beads in a big way.  I see a side business starting up before long.  Must support the habits somehow ;)

Prayers and thoughts are with those affected by Katrina.

Craft on.

August 30, 2005

Single track mind

Yeah I knit.  See:

Fish1a The first Opal Rainforest sock in Fish is now complete.  I grafted the toe on the train this morning.   I also got the skein ready for the second sock.  For a change, I made a readable/findable mental note as to where in the color repeats I started this sock in so I could come darn close to duplicating it for the second.  I'm ready to cast on for its mate tonight.  Having made these cuffs shorter than normal, I think I'll have enough yarn to eek out two pairs of monkey socks.  I think this colorway is okay for Alexander as well.  Hmm.. maybe we have our family Rhinebeck socks.  We all wore matching socks last year, though they weren't wearing shoes and I spent most of my time retreiving socks from the sidewalks, under the stroller, etc.  Still wish I had a nickle for every kind soul who stopped me to let me know that Alex had lost one of his socks.  I finally gave up and tucked those socks in my pocket.  This year:  shoes (aka Sock Protectors).

Did I knit last night?  Nope.  Spin perhaps?  Nyet.  Any guesses?  DIng ding.  Yup I played with the beads some more.  An addict is born.  I was giddy when I saw my order placed yesterday shipped yesterday.  Woo.  I do hope it will be here before the weekend.  I found I had enough seed beads to work a cuff bracelet that I found in a Winter 2005 magazine I had in stash.  I managed to get halfway done with it last night and should easily finish it tonight.  More beads!  More beads!  More beads!!!!!! 

It really is only a matter of time before the beads and knitting collide into one project.  Elaine showed me some beautiful beaded knitting she's doing with pearl cotton and seed beads.  I'm visualizing pearls on socks, at the intersections of a diamond pattern.  I might opt for the crochet hook and string bead on as necessary approach rather than days of threading seed beads.  That, naturally, is subject to change if the right pattern comes along.  I do have a load of that crochet cotton thread in a variety of colors thanks to previous flirtations with both thread crochet and tatting.  See, if it involves thread/yarn/cord, I did/do it.  Stash good. 

Wanna bead!  Must work :(

Craft on!

August 29, 2005

Once bitten

A storm named Katrina has my thoughts directed south.  My father's brother and his wife live in New Orleans.  My very pregnant cousin (their younger daughter) and her husband live there as well.  I got word this morning that the women headed off to Atlanta to stay with my other cousin.  I believe the menfolk are watching the homesteads.  A quiet prayer for them and for all those other in the path of this storm is needed and appreciated.

While I have no pictures, I did finally add the new socks to the WIP list.  While waiting for Elaine to arrive on Tuesday, I cast on using the Opal Rainforest in Fish.  I'm making the leg a bit shorter than normal, but short's a relative thing.  For a change the ribbing is a 2x2 and I'm using the short row heel instead of the flap thing I normally do.  The more I knit a short row heel, the more I like it.  I hit the toe shaping this morning during my commute it so the first sock is almost done.  Hopefully the first time I post a picture of them, they won't be FO's!

Img_0399 I didn't do a massive amount of knitting this weekend, but I did transfer Birchington to the new, longer Addis.  While knitting onto the new needle, I took advantage of having the extra space and took a picture of the progress.  I love shots like these with the lace clear in the front and that indistinct sac in the back.  I'm planning on doing some 8 inches of the quatrefoil pattern and then moving onto the next.  I like how it is coming out so far.  I'm aiming for this thing to be a 50" square, give or take. I saw in my referrer statistics that someone googled "Birchington Shawl Pattern".  Is there an interest in my putting a pattern together?  Other than a couple of rows on this I did no other knitting and definitely no spinning.  Eris?  Nope.  Girlfriends Swing Coat.  Nope.  Nada.  Three rounds on Birchington all weekend?  Yup.  No, the kids did actually sleep, but I was distracted.  By what you ask? 

By this...

Img_0401 I've been bitten by the beading bug.  Hard.  While grabbing a couple of other magazines on Friday during my errands, I hit upon the August/September issue of Beadwork Magazine.  Sitting on the couch Friday night I flipped through my new magazines, and hit this one last.  I was captivated by the whole issue.  When I finally hit page 56 and "Stony Spirals" I lost my mind and will.  I spent the rest of the evening trying to find a local bead store as I had to make it.  Now.  Couldn't wait for stinkin mail order.  Hell, I couldn't wait to get back into the city and head to one uptown from the office...(though tempting now ...:)  After lunch on Saturday, the twins and I headed to Beads by Blanche in Bergenfield, pretty dangerously close to home.  While not as big as some of the places I visited with Elaine last week, it had a pretty decent selection, even if there was limited stroller parking.  I wasn't overwhelmed as I had the pattern in the magazine with the requirements listed.  A starting place and roadmap to keep the wandering eyes on course.  A quick chat with the owner confirmed I gathered all the requirements.  Yay me.  She recommended a couple of add-ons, a pair of scissors, a fuzzy matt thing that would keep the beads from scattering to the four winds and a nifty tweezer/scoup double ended dohickey.  The picture shows the results of three hours at the kitchen table after the twins went to bed.  I worked on the second half during nap and bedtime last night.  Wearing it now :) Maybe a picture of it tonight, along with the sock. The pattern is a sprial rope and I did a pretty darn good job for my first threading project, if I do say so myself.

I spent the remainder of last night digging through the magazine (and another Bead mag I bought a while ago) looking for projects I could do with the supplies I had on hand.  I found something and will probably work on that.  It should keep me until my order from arrives - which I hope will be before the long weekend!  Just what I needed.  It at least is another hobby that involves thread of some kind so it does fit nicely with the rest.  Any guesses as to how long it will be before I start knitting with the beads?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Craft on!

August 22, 2005

Weekend Update

I enjoy my early Friday during the summer.  While it means that I eat lunch at my desk all week, it does give me a couple of hours to play before having to pick up the monkeys at daycare.  Thanks to the new train schedule, I can actually begin playing earlier!  Last year, the first train home was at 2:30, while I was getting out of work at 1.  Not too much of a hardship as NYC is a place you can easily amuse yourself in.  But still, it is much nicer to have that 1:30 train that gives me an extra hour to play at home.  Not entirely sure what I would do with myself, I popped home for a quick bite and a bathroom break. 

I decided to hit Ikea.  I live within five minutes of the Paramus store and have been ecstatic since it opened.  I have company coming and well she needed a place to sleep.  My apartment is on the small and cluttered side (aren't all fiber enthusiast's abodes a little cluttered?) and previous overnight guests have had the disadvantage of an air mattress in the middle of the living room floor, and the fun of watching me fetch every hair dryer in the place to blow it up.  I'm embarrassed by that and well, a little tired of it all.  Not to mention I have an ailing glider/rocker taking up space that the kids have turned into a jungle gym and if it weren't for the yarn stash behind it, would have knocked the thing over. I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone, get something that converted into a decent occasional sleeping spot and serve as sitting space.  I went to Ikea after checking their website.  I spent an hour wandering around, even picked out a new corner computer desk but passed on adding that just now.  While I had two different chair/beds, I really wanted to get their futon.  I headed down to their self-serve and went about getting all the parts.  Wouldn't you know it, they had two of the three: the bed, the cover but no damn mattress.  What good is that?  I never can seem to get out of there with all the parts of my first choice.  I'm getting mildly frustrated by that experience.  Faced it last when I bought the cubby bookshelves for the yarn storage last December. Bastards.  Anyway, I went with the second choice.  The Lycksele chair-bed with a very neutral off white cover.  After the monkeys went to bed, I assembled it and put the old glider/rocker out on the curb for some freecycling (it was gone by lunch on Saturday).  I'm very pleased with it and probably more-so than I would have been with the futon.  It is a good height and matches the seat level of my couch.  It is pretty comfy and large enough for a pair of monkeys to sit on it without touching.

Zoo1 Speaking of monkeys, Saturday the monkeys as I went to the zoo!  The Turtleback Zoo in West Orange.  Amazing, tucked behind the South Mountain Arena (where the NJ Devils practice) is this little piece of nature.  I haven't been to that particular zoo Zoo2 since I was in elementary school and had honestly forgotten about it.  Thanks to Lisa (blogless), I was reminded about it and we met there with our kids.  (I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that I have a reader.. let alone readers!  That's as much a surprise to me as enjoying writing this thing.  Until blogging, I'd rather write in code than in English.  Makes my current career choice look like a far better fit than my education, eh?.. I digress again).  I had a very lovely time meeting Lisa and spending a few hours with her and her darling daughter Rebecca, who will be starting kindergarten!  The zoo is pretty neat with some big cats (cougars and bobcats), an American alligator and some new black bear cubs, amongst the exhibits.  The grounds are paved, but VERY hilly and a bit of a workout with my huge double stroller.  The twins enjoyed it as I hoped they would.  They do love animals and where better to see them.  While totally not necessary but very much appreciated, Lisa gave me wonderful knitting pattern note cards.  (I forgot to take a picture of them.)  Thank you Lisa!  She also brought along her Eris WIP in the gorgeous orange Jaeger Shetland Aran from our favorite dealer of English Yarns.  I'm going to have to pick up some of that.  Lisa told me that Jannette is hinting that she's getting more of the yarn in additional colors, like my new found favorites, burgundy and hunter green.  Just what I need, more yarn.  Part of my weekend decluttering for company involved cleaning up the yarn purchases that had not made it to storage yet.  Oy is all I can say.  I got alot of yarn.. and more tomorrow (no details today).  I need me some more knitting time!

While I had a weekend, I didn't touch any knitting (other than to pull Birchington out of my bad to show Lisa) between Friday's commute home and this morning's commute in.  If I wasn't cleaning, decluttering and generally doing some neglected domestic duties, I just couldn't knit.  I actually sat on the couch Saturday night and just watched a movie.  I can't remember the last time I just sat and watched.  I do stop everything I'm doing for one hour on Friday nights to watch Battlestar Galactica on Sci-Fi, but everything is really just listened to (okay House and 24 are also watchers but in reruns or just not on now).  I seriously watched Terminal on cable.  It was cute, missed the first 10 minutes as I was getting the twins in bed.  Nice light hearted movie that was the right thing at the right time.  Last night I had more of the knitting entropy and while what I really wanted to do was to start a new project, I didn't really feel like working on any of the WIPS.  I decided to spin a bit.  Again there was mental turmoil here.  From the couch, I have a nice clear view of the Tina II sitting next to the TV.  There's nothing on the Tina's bobbins right now, nor has there really been anything since I finished that moorit corrie X a while ago.  I have a couple of spinning projects underway and like the knitting was fighting the urge to start something new before finishing something else.  Whatever.  I pulled out the drop spindle with the bunny crack/merino on it and spun for a bit.  I finally have some pictures of it for you....

Blackcherry3Blackcherry4 I put a dime on the desk next to the spindle for some scale.  Since I don't have the real cooperative spokesmodels that some folk have, I went with the ever cooperative action(-less) figure. I toted this thing with me on Friday and gave spinning on the train another try.  I had done it last years ago when I first took up spinning with some disastrous results.  But then again, my spindle spinning was pretty disastrous overall back then.  I figured it was time to give it another try.  I got in 30 minutes of spinning before I packed it in. 

[Edited to add----]

Tab1My last post I made mention to trying to find a stash of TaB, thinking that it met its demise when aspartame took over the world.  While I fondly remembered TaB, I too switched to Diet Coke before the nutrasweet badly affected my stomach and I gave up diet soda outright.   For giggles, I google TaB maybe hoping that there was an ancient stash somewhere that I could buy a can or two from.  Much to my surprise, I found out it is still being made, albeit with a minor alteration of adding a smidge of nutrasweet to it.  While I can't find the numbers at the moment, the level of nutrasweet is miniscule in TaB as compared to Diet Coke.  While I got the impression that TaB was going to be a bear to find, the corner deli a block away from my office has loads of it.  ShopRite also has it as well.  So I'm in a trial with TaB and so far, so good!

[P.S. - found this comparison of aspartame levels in sodas:

  • TaB: 19mg aspartame, 64mg saccharin (per 8oz) (or 28.5mg aspartame, 90.6mg saccharin per 12 oz can)
  • Diet Coke (bottled/canned): 125mg aspartame (per 8oz)
  • Diet Coke (fountain): 23mg aspartame, 47mg saccharin (per 8oz)(or 34.5mg aspartame, 70.5mg saccharin per 12 oz)
  • The tiny bit in the TaB is not enough to trigger as long as I guess I don't have to many.  My one can a day habit should be okay then.  You'll be surprised to note that fountain Diet Code has significantly less aspartame and actually contains saccharin.  I'm done now and going back to work :)

    Craft on!

    August 10, 2005

    Phoenicopterus minor

    FlamingoProject details:

    Yarn: Opal Rainforest Flamingo
    Pattern: My Own Basic over 44 Sts
    Needles US2 - Metal DPNs

    Started: 8/4/05
    First sock finished: 8/5
    Second started: 8/9
    Second finished: 8/10

    I do so love toddler socks.  I love casting on when I head for work one morning and finishing it heading home from work the next night.  How cool is that?  I'm still giggly over getting the stripes to just about match.  It is more than good enough for government work if you ask me!

    I'm going to call it a night.  I got a bonus night without the short people.  My father volunteered to keep them overnight again this week.  Sweet.   I'll be back to working on Birchington tomorrow during my commute.   Eris isn't quite commuter friendly at the moment.  Though....  I do have to carry a decent sized shopping bag to the office tomorrow to bring in the new keyboard that I bought for myself.  I've been getting hand and/or wrist pain from the various flavors of keyboards that the helpdesk has offered up.  I had had a great keyboard, but seem to remember losing that one when I got the new computer.  Goofy me forgot all about my tactile preferences when it comes to keyboards.  Heck, I liked the old one so much, I bought the same model off eBay for home usage.  (Typing on that bad boy now.)  So what did I do?  Bought another one off eBay for the office.  Nah, the charts and complicated cabling are not train friendly.  Birchington it is until I finish Eris' collar.  Wow, only two projects on the needles.  Amazing! 

    Craft on!

    August 09, 2005


    DiscoveryI sat in horror watching the television reports that terrible February day.  I'm sure it comes as no surprise that this acknowledged and outted Trekker was very happy to see the shuttle program resume.  Space is a dangerous workplace but the exploration is a calling.  I cheered as Discovery escaped the planet once again.  I wanted to wait for the full celebration until her safe return.  I tell you there was a victory pump, a lump in my throat, and tears in my eyes as she touched down.  Safely.  Welcome home Discovery.

    I had a bit of a snafu at the daycare center this morning.  The teacher who was supposed to open at 7:30 completely forgot about it.  I arrived at 7:55 to find a crowd of parents outside with their kids.  Lots of phone calls and folks driving about, I was able to head for work at 8:20, only 15 minutes late.  Late enough to miss the train though.  I opted for the 8:32 bus rather than waiting around for the 9:08 train as I wouldn't get to work quite as late.  Besides, while the bus isn't my first choice, in a pinch it does offer up bonus knitting time, especially if traffic was bad. Flamingo2b_1 I cast on the second sock for Kat this morning.  Unlike my pair, I actually tried to start the yarn in about the same place.  Instead of 4 rows off for mine, I'm off by stitches, if that.  Take a good gander in the photo.  Cruddy colors.  Mea culpa.  I'll explain that a bit later.  By the time I got the office, I was two rounds short of the heel flap.  I turned the heel on the train tonight.

    My office has/will install web monitoring software.  They've also set a computer usage policy.  Sigh.  What that boils down to is less fun internet time at the office.  I doubt that I'm going to be posting every night, unless of course, I can figure out the posting by email thing.  I could always add photos later.  Not like I always post a photo either.  Email response is going to be even spottier than it already is. (My apologies to anyone expecting an email from me now.  I had a deadline today to make and I spent last night rearranging kitchen cabinets as the new melmac has been arriving.)  Seriously, the last thing I want to do after spending a day in front of the computer is to come home and do it again at night.  I also won't get to read as many blogs as I currently do.  Surfing is not exactly productive.  I'm sure there will be some understanding that a break is needed every now and again.  If not, I'll take up smoking again and take advantage of the breaks that offered!  Yeah, not likely.  I've made it 4.5 years, I'm not starting again... though I could in a heartbeat.  Now might be the time to train myself to do away with the sleeping thing.  Yeah.  Think of how much more I could accomplish if I gained back those 7 hours! All good things.. right?

    Craft on.

    [Edited to add....]

    How could I forget about this?  Elaine and I are co-hosting an Eris KAL.  Elaine did a fabulous job setting up a forum much the same as the Rogue KAL.  It is here.  Read her equally fabulous posting about the KAL on her blog today, here.  Go read it.  Now, go join the forum and the KAL :)

    August 08, 2005

    Hither and Thither

    I always seem to have a hard time getting started on Monday morning's post.  I have a hard time knowing where to start.  Today is no easier.  It was a busy, productive and fun weekend.  I have oodles of pictures to choose from and lots to recount.  Maybe I should consider weekend posts.  Yeah. 


    Friday was a nice afternoon off, except for the 10000% humidity that we were having.  I was so hot and tired by the time I got home that I really didn't want to do anything.  I was going to pack up them boxes and get them off, but I just couldn't force myself to.  I did manage to park on the couch and do some spinning.  Wait for it.  With a spindle!  I pulled out the tiny Hatchtown spindle that I bought in Maryland and the Dark Cherry merino/angora roving from Kim and started spinning a nice laceweight single.  Having tucked the spindle and roving in the nice little spindle bag from Journey Wheel (Cummington Acquisition), I did a fair amount of spinning Friday.

    I picked the twins up from daycare a little after 5.  They were so tired and cranky that I put them in for a little before dinner nap.  I went about making dinner, a nice light tuna pasta salad, and figured we'd have a happy family meal.  Best laid plans. 

    6:30PM they were still asleep. 
    7:00PM too. 
    7:30PM I considered waking them, but remembered last weekend doing so and regretting it. 
    8:00PM I finally had some dinner myself. 
    10:00PM I decided I better get to sleep because they'd be up at 0-Dark:30. 
    4:30AM I heard Alex.
    6:00AM Alex and I had breakfast
    7:30AM Kat finally slept enough.

    So much for a quick before dinner nap.  They were rather pleasant, but the day was going to be thoroughly off.  Especially as Alex kept falling asleep in the car, first to Kohls at 8:30 and then to ShopRite for the weekly grocery pick up.  After a mid-morning nap and lunch, how did we spend the afternoon?


    We visited Deb and Chappy!  The ankle had recovered sufficiently for us to finally go to Nonna's Yarn Cafe.  I have to agree with Deb's scouting report on the store.  It has potential and is a project in progress.  The people are very nice, the store is bright and airy and the cafe in the back is cute.  Deb treated to coffee and the most delicious carrot cake.  Thanks Deb!  A bit much of designer yarn for my tastes, and not nearly enough sock yarn (only a few different colors of Sockotta), I was able to come up with a decent purchase.  More on that later.  We returned to Deb's house for some romping around with Chappy.  Initially nervous around the noisy creature, by the time we were ready to go, the twins were teaming up on Chappy and chasing him around the deck.  They enjoyed watching him play fetch, as did I!  Check Deb's description of that process, it is a hoot.

    Now, back to the purchase.  I posted on Friday that I was going to put Rogue on hold and do Eris instead in the Araucania.  Things never really seem to work as I plan them.  Would you believe that I didn't have enough of the darn yarn to do Eris?  Sounds vaguely familiar.  I'm not entirely sure what I will do with all that Araucania, but I'm sure it will ripen in stash for something.  I found the perfect yarn at Nonna's.  Galway Highland Heather from Plymouth in #747.  I can't find reference to that color number anywhere but I swear, I read it off the ball band this morning. Its a darkgreen/brown heather that reads differently in different lights.  Hell my camera is picking up colors my eyes have yet to see on it!  I actually swatched like crazy to get the two different stitch gauges that are necessary for this sweater.  The collar has one 5.5st/8 rows and 5st/7row for the body.

    Eris1Eris1aI'm using the Denise's in 7 for the body and my Addi Naturas in a 4 for the collar.  The combination of the gauge and the cabling is making for a pretty dense collar.  I love how it is coming out so far.  The picture of the WIP is on top of Yeti's cage last yesterday afternoon.  I had either been close or reached the end of the second chart by this point and am now well into the third.  Love it.  Love the deep dark hunter greeny color of the yarn.  It holds up nicely to the cabling and really is a good basic yarn.  I'm going to do the cardigan version of the sweater as I just can't imagine pulling this thing over, in the 40" size.  The cables, while intricate, are not overly difficult and I really do like them.  I'm ever so glad that I've gotten over my fear of cables.  Thank you Irish Hiking Scarf.  Thank you Hatmione!

    Between naps and knitting, I had the twins outside for a good part of the weekend.  They spent the afternoon yesterday frolicking in the water:

    Kat_pool2Twins_pool2We hit another milestone this weekend.  Kat threw our first throw yourself on the floor tantrum.  My that was fun.  Figured she would be the first.  Stubborn little independent thing.  She was having a fit over not being allowed to wander around with a PopTart.  I know, mean mom.  I was trying to force her into conformity by eating it while seated at the table.  After congratulating her for being the first to throw herself on the floor, I ignored her and went back to cleaning up Alex.  I'm pretty darn sure this won't be the last.

    Last but not least, we have some finished objects to report.  While I can't show anything yet, the SSSBG is now complete.  I do want to toss it in the wash (tonight) and get it wrapped and gifted.  I do have pictures taken, just ain't going to post yet.  Hopefully soon.  I can show this though:

    TrellisTrellis is finit.

    Full project details can be found here.  I'm very pleased with how it came out.  Its a very pleasant little sweater to knit and my first really go with a cabled sweater (Big Sack and Mondo notwithstanding).  I finished seaming and sewed on the little buttons yesterday during morning nap.  I got some odd looks from the neighbors as I laid a towel down on the sidewalk for a sunshiney finished picture for you all.  This will be winging its way to New Orleans shortly for my cousins impending baby boy. 

    August 05, 2005

    Deja Vu

    What's this?  Have I lost my mind and because of a lack of stuff to photograph, I'm posting an old photo again? 

    Flamingo2a_1I started socks for the little monkey girl last night on the train home.  I started reducing for the toe on the PATH train ride in this morning.  Whoa.  Talk about instant gratification in the knitting world!  I love socks for their quickness.  I totally adore toddler socks!  I'm not using any particular pattern beyond my basic one with some math done to scale down for the short blocky monkey feet.  Since I'm pretty much winging it, I have been making notes so I can duplicate it for the second sock. 

    While Wednesday night I was on the insomnia side of the weird walking coin, last night I couldn't stay awake.  I tried.  Hard.  I found myself dozing off on the couch and didn't have any energy for the SSSBG.  I plan on finishing that this weekend.  I want to get it wrapped and in its recipients hands next week.  This super secret stuff is killing me! 

    Other than finishing the thing, I really have no plans this weekend.  Though while I'm finishing things, I should really just finish Trellis once and for all.  The poor thing has bee languishing seemingly forever!  Hopefully the weather man has it right and this stiffly HHH nastiness that has been lingering will move on by tonight.  I'll probably fill up the twins pool on the front lawn and let them go to it.  My parents took Alexander for a haircut yesterday.  What a huge difference a few minutes with scissors makes.  He looks like such a big boy after a haircut.  We won't get into how shaggy he'd been looking before the cut.  Hell its been some 4 months, or maybe more, since my last trim.  I've had to cancel the last two appointments due to some injury the day before.  I'm scared to make another one! 

    I've been doing some thinking about the sweaters that I've lined up on the queue and the yarns that I've purchased for them.  I've come to the decision that Rogue is going back into the "someday" pile.  I'm going to do Eris first in the Araucania Natural Wool.  I've had ChicKnits LoTech Sweat on the queue since I finished Ribby.  I could use either the Patons Classic Merino I bought way back or the Wool of the Andes.  I don't think I'll have that many needs for a hoodie that I really need to make two of them, but you don't know.  Hmm.. I wonder if I could just put Rogue through a pattern shrinker and make it for Kat-Kat instead.  (Kat-Kat is what me and the rest of the crowd, including her brother, call the monkey girl.  It was only a matter of time before I started typing it.)  That might be a challenge I could take up. I like the cable patterns and Kat-Kat needs a new fall sweater so maybe that should ook its way to the top of the queue.  I have that pretty bright fuschia Jaeger Shetland Aran for sweater.  Its the right guage.  By George, I think it could work!  It also fills my burning need right now to knit with wool.  Ahh wool. 

    Thanks to its being non-wool, that Soleil in the bamboo yarn is going to be no more.  I'm not enamored with it.  Will it go into dormancy along with the Big Sack Sweater?  Probably.  Until something else demands I use that yarn for it. Maybe back to the FBS that I pegged it for until that butterscotch yarn turned my head. I'm willing to call that Summer Ribby in the CottonEase a forever UFO.  Talk about languishing!  I can't remember the last time I worked on it.  I do know I swiped its needles for other projects:  one for Trellis and the other for SSSBG.  I have to admit, I'm not liking the CottonEase so much.  I don't like its very splitty ways.  If I ever get around to doing a summer ribby in a cotton blend, I'll get a new yarn for it.  I'll inventory my stock of CE and put in in the Looking for a Home album (hopefully this weekend) and will post when its there.

    I'm out of the office at 1 today.  I'll have 3 hours to myself before I have to pick the monkeys up at daycare.  Oh what to do with myself?  Shop?  Excellent idea.  'Cept the ankle isn't thrilled with lots of walking.  I know, I can finally do all that post office stuf that I've been meaning to do for ages.  Speaking of which, that Sockotta is winging its way off to Rosemary in a trade for some of her extremely lovely looking Merino-Tencel blend sock yarn.  Yay!  Everyone have a good weekend.  Stay cool in the Northern Hemisphere, stay warm in the Southern ;)

    Craft on!

    August 03, 2005


    Has it really been a week since my last post?  That oh so very rarely happens.  I've been busy busy busy and sadly blogging took the back seat.  Now to catch up:

    Thursday, the twins and I moved back to our home after 2 weeks living with my folks.  I was nervous to say the least.  Compounding the problem, Alexander came home early from daycare running a fever.  No other symptoms.  Just the 101F or so fever.  He can be pretty icky when he's sick so I wasn't relishing having him on my own.  While he didn't sleep so very well, he did when I took him into bed with me.  Naturally, he woke up just as I was finally falling asleep at just shy of 2AM.  As Laurie pointed out, walking oddly has a mixed bag effect on one's sleeping.  Thursday was one of the insomnia variety nights.  It did give me some bonus knitting time as I know enough to not fight the insomnia for more than 30 minutes without getting out of bed and trying again later.  I watched Crimson Tide on cable and finished the heel/gusset on the second sock.  Cuddling with mama, Alex was able to sleep through the rest of the night.  Oh yeah, I got some sleep too.

    Because of the all night fever, Alex could not go to daycare on Friday.  While Kat could have gone, she's weird without her brother.  The last time she was there without him, she would be fine for a bit, then look around and cry.  Okay so that was a year ago, but her keeping an eye on her brother hasn't changed.  Since Alex was staying home, so was Kat.  Mama got to work from home for a change.  The twins nicely cooperated, taking blissfully long naps so I was able to get plenty accomplished and met my deadline.  By Saturday, the boy was better and the fever was gone.

    Did I do any knitting.  You betcha!  I knitted my little heart out on the Super Secret Baby gift. Since it is short people friendly knitting, I opted to really pour it on for the home stretch.  It turned into my commuting knitting, as well as the on the couch before bed knitting.  I finished the last bit of knitting on it last night.  By my estimation, I have another 6 hours of work to go towards piecing and end hiding.  I'm pleased with how it is turning out and hope she'll be happy with it.  I also think that this will become my standard baby gift as I really do like the project on the whole (except that 6 hours to finish business).  Once done and given, I'll finally post some pictures and details.  I'll go so far to say now that it was a cotton/acrylic blend yarn that I knit it out of so it will be wash friendly for the new mom.

    Having spent so much time now with cotton, my next project will definitely be WOOL.  It will be one of the two projects I've been buying yarn for for a long time now:  Rogue or Clapotis.  I did pull out the newest yarn acquired for Rogue last night and started to swatch for it.  Umm, never did blog this acquisition.. or maybe I did.  It was the Araucania Natural Wool in shade 17.  I think the info for this yarn is just wrong.  I swatched on a size 6US needle and came out with 5st/in.  Now Rogue needs 4.5 and the 4.5 in the yarn description is why I bought the stuff.  Could I up the needle size to get the requisite 4.5?  Sure.  But I think the fabric would be far too loose, especially for what looks like a substantial sweater with cables.  I'm not convinced that this is the right yarn for the job.  It might work nicely for Jenna's new sweater, but I do so want Rogue first.  I pulled out the skeins of Wool of the Andes in that brick red that I bought and will swatch that tonight.  If that still doesn't work, I have the blue Jaeger Shetland Aran that I used to make the sweater for Alex.  If memory serves, I bought two packs of the blue for the very purpose of using the second for Rogue.  I checked the gauge on Alex's hoodie last night and I did indeed get a 4.5 st/in on that.

    The sock made a reappearance during this morning's commute.  This morning I returned to the train for my ride in.  I wanted to see how the ankle (which is improving very nicely thank you!) would hold up to the 2 block walk from the PATH station to the office.  It did beautifully.  Nary a twinge.  Yesterday's busing was a bit less than enjoyable.  On the trip in I got to share my seat with a rather large woman who took the bit of seat I wasn't using.  Oh yeah, she had excessive amounts of perfume on as well.  Ugh.  The ride home, while spacious, was HOT.  It was 90+F yesterday and the bus had NO AIR CONDITIONING.  Add to that I didn't get my favorite seat where i could see out the windshield.  I got stuck behind the driver.  There's this huge solid shield behind the driver.  Gave me some serious claustrophobia on top of the queasy carsick feeling.  Blech.  Driver didn't quite hear my "Stop Requested" ding and overshot my stop.  Oh well.  Less knitting time, but I'll have no queasy and other cars to choose if there's no AC.  The sock?  I'm an inch short of starting to reduce for the toe.  I'll have to go back to Birchington, but I so wanted to feel the stretch of wool.  Ahhhhh.  Like coming home.  Yup, wool snob I am.

    I finally unpacked my new dual ratio Hitchhiker and did a smidge of spinning.  Nice to have a left footed wheel to use while the right ankle heels.  I do so like the wheel and look forward to really getting to play with it some more.  The twins actually took a serious fascination in it and so seriously tried to treadle it. Some fits were had as I tried to put it away.  Maybe when the baby gift is done, I can get some decent spinning time again.  Poor neglected hobby.  Up there with my started and ignored X-Stitch, eh? :)

    ACat_sunspots I have no pictures of knitting to show (and the photos I took of the twins at the park were so poorly lit), I leave you with my two four legged boys enjoying a late afternoon sunspot on Saturday.  This is the kind of relationship I was hoping for when I got Baron.

    Craft on.

    July 25, 2005


    Thanks to everyone for their birthday wishes!  I'm slowly slogging through all my email and will reply to all though it will take some time. 

    Ddd1bI had a fabulous birthday and spent the afternoon sitting on the patio with Birchington.  I reached the point where I've started to reduce now.  I took the width to approximately half the 299 stitches of Birch.  I do have a 4 stitch border (3 st st + 1 yo) on both sides of the pattern to ease in the next step.  I've been slipping the first stitch of every row, creating a selvage that will be easy to pick up for the borders. 

    Friday night we went out to dinner to celebrate.  We did indeed go to the Trackside Grille in Fair Lawn where my baby sister and her fiance met us, coming in from her temporary digs in Allentown.  The closing where she sold the house near me was on Tuesday so it is for real.  She's happy, I'm happy.  Plus she's moving to Lancaster county where the fabric hobbies abound and will probably be a good stop point for a MDSW trip.  I had some delicious Cappelini Basilico and a glass of wine.  I shared some very delicious French Onion Soup with Kathryn.  She loves her soups.  My parents ran into a friend at the restaurant, sharing the reason we were there, who then told the owner to be good to me.  He bought me a drink with his compliments.  Took me a minute to figure out what I really wanted with my dessert.  I asked for Frangelico.  Yum.  I had to beat my kids off it.  Don't tell anyone but I did dip Alex's pacifier in it to give him a taste.  He rather enjoyed it.   The one dark spot was that Kat melted down around dessert time.  Mom took her out to the car where she watched Barney on the DVD player.  All in all, it was a great day.

    Saturday was a gorgeous day.  The stifling humidity and outrageous heat were gone leaving a day that was oh so beautiful.  I again parked my butt in the rocker on the patio with Birchington.  My other sister came up with her youngest son and her mother in law to spend the day and lend a hand.  Her hubby and oldest were on a boy scout camping trip.  We had a lovely day outside swimming, gabbing, eating and enjoying each others company.  The twins had a blast following their almost 5 year old cousin around.  As Birchington is not a good social knitting project, even though I do grok the pattern (thanks Cate for reminding me of that term!), I did need to catch up on the baby project.  While I want the precious prizes for being first on Birchington, there's a harder deadline for the baby.  I don't like missing deadlines.  I managed to knit 2 day's worth of quota on it before running out of yarn.  Mom picked up more from my apartment yesterday when she went to feed the animals.  Since it is a super secret project I can't post any pictures of it so you're picture-less for Saturday.  Oh well.

    Elphie2Sunday dawned bright and clear again.  The weather was downright enjoyable and I once again took my perch.  This time with my knitting.  First Birchington and then after Mom returned with some yarn from my place, a camera sock for her brand new Elph identical to mine.  As you can see, I used Sockotta from the stash and have plenty left over.  One problem, I don't particularly like the yarn.  Anyone want a slightly used skein of sockotta?  There should be more than enough for a pair of woman's socks as long as you don't go nuts with the cuff. ( Drop me a comment or email at crazyfiberladyATgmailDOTcom if you're interested, maybe we can wheel and deal ;)  Alex_gate

    While the poor pool heater gave up the ghost yesterday, there was swimming.  The 12 year old girl from next door came over to swim with her friend later in the afternoon.  While Kathryn was taking a nap, Alex_724_1Alexander played lifeguard.  He stood there watching the girls in the pool for a very long time.  Amazing for a little bloke who doesn't stay very still for much.  Perpetual motion is more his bag.  Generally there's a big grin on his adorable little face.  Goofy boy. 

    After dinner, bath and bed, I sat down with some new sock yarn last night to start a good commuting project.  Okay, I have loads of projects on the needles and well, yes, I did need another one.  I have a couple of commuting options open to me and with the ankle unhappy, I wanted the one that forced the least amount of walking.  The Bus.  Even though I've been taking the bus more frequently these days, the motion of it still makes me a bit queasy, especially if I'm knitting something that requires a lot of attention.  That knocked Birchington out of the running.  The Super Secret project?  It was getting a bit big to schlep around as a commuter project and I was trying to minimize the amount of schlepping (at least until healed).  Everything else was at home and not at my temporary residence.  That necessitated a new projects, specifically SOCKS!.  I saw a link last week to Simply Socks Yarn Company and the availability of the Rainforest Opal yarns.  Now with all the sock knitting I've done over the years I've never used Opal, though I've wanted to try it.  I ordered a couple of colors:

    Ladybug_2Fish_2Flamingo_2I have to admit I had a lot of trouble narrowing down to just these and was sorely tempted by quite a few of the colorways. I placed the order on the 20th and the box was at my house on the 23rd.  Good service in my book!  I started with the Flamingo and while I don't have my favorite sock needles with me, I'm making do with a set of US2 (I'd rather have my 1's).  The yarn is fabulous.  I think I finally have a favorite sock yarn.  Yes it is a self striper and yes I've gone on the record for not being a fan of that type of yarn.  Hey, they sell solids too.  I'm not sure why I went with these, though the Lady Bug does hold a warm place for me as Kathryn's nickname for her first 5 months was "Bug" and was accessorized with ladybugs.  The socks were a good project for this morning.  A bus broke down in the bus lane into the Lincoln Tunnel stopping everything dead.  We sat there for some 30 minutes.  Was I upset.  Au contraire, mon frere.  This knitter was ecstatic to have bonus knitting time!  By the time we arrived at the Port Atrocity (okay Port Authority Bus Terminal) I had started the heel flap.  Zippy socks.

    A quick update on the ankle, it still hurts.  Yup.  Tender, swollen, funkily bruised and definitely there.  Also definitely better than it was a few days ago.   My boss is out on vacation this week though I have a project that I need to have completed before his return.  Now if only the feller I'm relying on for some feedback would actually give me the feedback I could work on it.  I don't like being dependent on others.  Ugh!

    Craft on!

    July 15, 2005


    Thanks again to everyone for their well wishes regarding the state of my head, which is pretty much back to normal today.  Good thing as there is a weekend a few hours away.  I'm out of the office at 1pm today.  Have to love summer hours, except for giving up my lunch all week that is.  Without the dark we couldn't see the light, right?

    Anyway, I happily made yesterday's gift knitting quota.  Because I'm such a geek, I had to calculate what quota really meant.  Nancy isn't at all surprised at this revelation?  Some quick work with the calculator and I can reveal that my daily quota is 3,850 stitches.  I was able to do some 1100 stitches on my commute in this morning, so I'm well on the way to today's quota.  I'm very content with the pattern and how the project is coming out.  I do so love having milemarkers to reach for, so I guess I'm not entirely about the process.  I am by nature a task oriented person and am not happier than when I can check something off a list as being done.

    I'm just about done with the project at work, and with an hour or so work today can check that beast off as well.  Next week will bring a new task.  I like variety, though I doubt that came as a surprise.

    This weekend?  Well first I have more quota knitting to do.  I have to do the grocery shopping tonight and pick that up tomorrow.  I have an appointment for a haircut (trim) tomorrow.  My baby sister (okay she's going to be 35 in September) is moving out of the area this weekend and is holding a remainder sale.  I promised to come by to help/socialize.  While I'm happy that she's met someone who makes her happy, and that she's building a far larger house.  I'm not entirely enthoused that that house is several hours away in Pennsylvania.  Right now, she lives a couple of miles away.  Hours?  :(  I have all sorts of household things to do and I would like to get some of the new fleeces washed, though there is threatening rain in the forecast all weekend.  I would dearly love some spinning time as well.  I can't remember the last time I sat down at a wheel, or even held a spindle.  I nearly spun last night, but decided to knit a few more rows as I watched the disappointing end of the Yankees/Red Socks game.  I need to get my secret pal gift out on the mail.  I've had the dickens of a time compiling a gift for my pal.  She has been a very sporadic poster and even then, mentioning music and current events more than yarn preferences.  How rude ;)  I finally have the first gift ready to go and will  hit the post office this afternoon before picking up the monkeys from daycare.

    Since I've no knitting/spinning/fiber pictures to post with most of the crafting energy going towards the super secret, I was digging through the archive looking for pictures.  I'm continuously amazed at how much changes as little ones grow.  I enjoy the screen saver on my computer at home as it randomly displays images from my hard drive.  My favorite pictures are the ones that show the monkeys a year ago.  In that vein, here are shots just about a year ago.  Compared with this year's pool pictures and I'm instantly reminded of how much has changed in twelve months.


    Have a great weekend all.

    Craft on.

    July 14, 2005


    Thanks to everyone for their comments regarding my horrible headache.  Unfortunately it has been a multi-day affair.  It was so bad yesterday that after taking the twins to daycare, I came home, took some painkillers and curled up on the couch.  While still a dull throb, it is much better today.  While there was a point in my life where I had a headache every day, and let me tell you that was absolutely no fun, I can mostly function with them.  While I was pregnant, they disappeared.  Thank goodness as being pregnant I was limited in what I could take.  It seems that my respite from a regular headache seems to be ending though.  I've seen many a doctor about the problem and have just come to accept them.  They aren't debilitating enough that I want to take a regular medication for them as the last neurologist prescribed.  No thanks.

    On the good side, lazing around with no short people about did give me some knitting time.  While you've seen me flit from one project to another, I've had multiple starts and stops on the secret gift project for Marina that have occurred behind the scenes.   I've finally struck on the right project and have actually been making some decent headway on it.  Since time isn't standing still on this and well there is pretty much a deadline, I've set a quota for daily production that will have the knitting finished within 14 days.  Finally assembly and end hiding will add another day or so.  I'm using the same yarn that was purchased for the previous iterations so there's been no affect on stash.  Laying on the couch, I was able to do two days worth of quota knitting.  My hands were a bit tingly by the time I was finished so I moved on to another project..

    I finally knit the collar for Trellis.  I did make one pattern modification to this.  Instead of knitting the collar and then sewing to the neck edge after grafting the second side, I attached as I went.  I picked up one stitch every other row until the 11 in the pattern and then subsequent rows, I would slip that last stitch, pick up one and then pass the slipped stitch over.  I continued to the middle back, put those stitches back on the holder and did the second side to the same spot.  Then I kitchnered the two together.  Done.  No sewing.  Yay.  It lays nice and flat and is a far neater seam-line than my sewing would have made for.  Now I just have to sew the sleeves and side seams.  I've picked out buttons from the collection and will be able to call this little guy done soon.  It will then be winging its way off to New Orleans for my impending nephew.

    Having gotten tired of working with cottons, I pulled out Birchington and finished another pattern repeat.  I'm getting very close to the point where I'll turn around and start reducing for the second half of the square.  Birch has some 299 stitches at its widest, I figure that around the 150 mark would be a good spot.  I don't want what Elaine calls Shawzilla at the end of it.  I ain't that big.  At last count, I had 119 stitches, so 3 more repeats and I'll be there.  I got the shipping notification that my order from WEBS left yesterday so I expect to have that soon.  I wouldn't think that UPS ground takes all that long from Mass to NJ.  I wouldn't be surprised to see it tomorrow.   In the meantime, I switched from the Addi Turbos to some Clover bamboos that I had about the house.  The knitting is easier and I'm not picking up stitches that have accidentally slid off, but I'm having more issues in pushing the stitches onto the needle.  Hopefully the ebony ones will be the answer.  Still looking for the perfect needles.  Aren't we all though.

    Craft on.

    July 11, 2005


    Have I mentioned before how much I love summer?  It stands repeating.  I love summer!  I love going barefoot.  I love not wearing a jacket.  I love the water.  This weekend was spectacular (apologies to those in the hurricane zone) after that tropical depression passed here Friday night dumping loads of rain and colder temperatures, Saturday dawned bright and warm with promises of a beautiful day.  Bvdeck9The twins and I headed for my parents' boat docked in upstate New York on the Hudson River.  The River is just a gorgeous place and someday I'll get some pictures that do it justice.  In the meantime, this picture is one I found on the 'net taken from the back deck of the restaurant at the marina looking out at Haverstraw Bay, a point where the river expands to 3 miles across.  My nephews were still with my parents and my sister and BIL met us all at the boat.  We spent the day sitting in the sun, nibbling and taking turns with the new JetSki that my parents purchased during the off season.  My sister, BIL and I wound up taking the Power Squadron's Basic Boating Safety Course so that we could legally drive the JetSki.  Fortunately my parents are both accredited teachers so they could admin the course and then proctor the test.  We all passed with flying colors so now I have a boating license.  Woo.

    The twins did wonderfully on the boat, slept very well on Saturday night and showed Grandma and Grandpa how nicely the can climb steps and just about everything else they encounter.  The last trip to the boat, my techie geek in training son managed to reprogram the radio so that the left side speakers no longer worked.  This time the folks turned off the power to the bridge radio :)  Other than a quick 30 minute for Kat, 15 minute for Alex nap on Saturday during the drive up, they didn't nap at all.  This did make for some tired and cranky babies.  Alex started to nod off at dinner on Saturday night.  He's never done it before and it was the funniest thing.  He didn't stop eating, though I was pretty sure I'd have a kid asleep with his face in his spaghetti.  Dad gave him some lemonade and he perked right up.  They did sleep well that night! As did I.

    Did I knit?  You betcha.  Nice thing about being on the boat, with my folks and my sister and her family was that there were plenty of hands to help with the twins.  What did I knit?  Oh the DDD Shawl (or Birchington as I've been thinking about it recently) for starters.  I started it twice in as many days.  Friday night, after getting home from work, I looked at what I had done with the white mohair/nylon blend and was happy.  I had picked up the edge stitches and futzed around with a couple of lace patterns.  I did some surfing online, searching through the collection of lace books and came up with a bunch of different motifs.  I started one but wasn't overly happy about it.  But part of the discontent was the fabric itself.  While the kid mohair was heavenly cushy, it just didn't seem "right" for a shetland style shawl, which is really what this was turning into.  I figured that since this was a really a rework of Stonington, that I should use a more traditional yarn, and really, I should use the yarn I was using for Stonington.  I frogged Stonington and reclaimed the laceweight in the Bergamota and recast on my design after the twins went to bed.  By Saturday evening, I was a quarter of the way through what I've set for the center square.  There's a but.  NO surprise, eh?  The but is that the yarn bled terribly.  Everytime I worked with it, it looked like I had been eating those darn red pistachio nuts, except it wasn't just my finger tips, it was wherever I had touched the yarn.  I got tired of pink fingernails, wrists, back of hand (yarn runs a corkscrew around index finger, around hand, then wrist.. yes odd) and just having to deal with this mess.  I'll wash the yarn at some point and see if I can get it to quit shedding dye on me.

    You counting?  That's two Birchingtons started and discarded.  Yup.  Nothing new here.  Okay so last night I pulled out a few more yarns as contenders to replace the Kid Mohair and the Handpainted Yarn laceweight.  Good thing I have a serious stash.  I found a bunch of skeins of Nandia Cashmere/Silk Laceweight.  I have two skeins in each of White, Royal Blue and a Lt. Grey (which doesn't appear on the site right now) that I bought last year.  I hope like hell I have enough of one color and haven't just made a huge mistake.  Anyway, I selected the light grey and started that.  As of this morning, I'm a 1/4 of the way through the base square, still giving thought as to the lace for the sides.  The fern pattern would fit beautifully in the trapezoidal side sections as they would both increase at the same rate but I think that would be a bit much of that pattern for even me.  I could do strips of it, set of with something much simpler, maybe Cats Paw or Strawberries.  Or do I go with a theme of lace patterns as this is Fern, I use the Pine Cone, Pine Tree, and other outdoor related motif. 

    Ddd_sw1bChoices choices.  I do like how the yarn is knitting up and it isn't a solid color.  It is a pearl grey with some darker colors interspersed.  It is making for a nice effect.  This picture was taken this morning on the train and you can see the color variations pretty well.  I'm very pleased with how it is progressing and I do think the third times the charm in this case... well as long as I don't run out of yarn.  I think if I make it lacy enough, the more holes the less yarn necessary right, I should be able to squeek it out with the two skeins.  I guess I could do the center in this and then the sides in the white. Now that wouldn't be bad, would it?  I'll reassess this when I get through with the center and see if I've dipped into the second skein.  Never easy is it?  I do have to admit that I'm very much enjoying this challenge and designing it myself.

    I might be posting a bit less this week and I have a decent sized project and a deadline to contend with.  I'll leave you with my goofball son and his antics this morning in the car as we headed for grandma's daycare center.

    Craft on.



    July 08, 2005

    Crazy is in the eye of the beholder

    Just a quick post.  I'm tired today.  I stayed up far too late last night living up to my blog  name and email address moniker.  I guess I chose it wisely.

    (picture is actually bigger than this for a change - I'm just so proud)

    I finished this last night well past my bedtime.  I was up late enough to actually watch Robot Chicken on the Cartoon Network rather than catching it on ReplayTV for the first time.  I'm tired.  I doubt I'm going to have a really good night sleep until this little obsession is done.  Fellowship of the Lace anyone?

    I'm pretty sure that this is big enough to form the center of the shawl.  I'm now on the prowl for good stitch patterns for the borders.  Rather than the traditional Shetland method of picking up and working each side one at a time, I'm going to do it as one.  Longer rows, but far less chance of getting bored and moving onto another project.  I compared this to the center two rounds of one of my Kerry Blue Shawls this morning while waiting for the train (yeah the shawl is folded up and stored in the door pocket of my car). 

    Believe it or not, this will be the first piece I've designed myself.  Before blogging, I was so stuck on following patterns that I would never have dreamt of doing this, nor even replacing the hood on Alexander's sweater.  So blogging has been good for broadening my horizons.  This challenge of Elaine's has me pushing that boundary even further and for that I thank her, even while calling her evil for tossing a shiny pebble (My Preciousss) in front of me.  So thank you Elaine.

    Craft on.

    July 07, 2005


    I was happily chugging away on my Birch Take 3 when what happens?  Elaine posts a challenge on the EZasPi group.  Why would she post a challenge?  Well, a number of us are seriously contemplating frogging our Stonington's completely and reallocating the yarn for something different, myself included.  Poor Stonington is sitting there, languishing, in my "On the Needles" project list since 4/19.  Like the sad, untouched sock, if it isn't being worked on, its better served being ripped.  Now add in the fact that a couple of us were now discussing Birch and Kiri patterns and comparing Rowan's Kidsilk Haze and Madil Kid Seta.  Elaine, the evil one, posted this:'s a scandinavian-design-knitted-with-fingering-weight gauntlett dropped for you. Birch knits from the large diagnal to the point. Kiri is the same pattern knitted from the point to the diagnal. I double dog dare one of you to knit both together into a large square and then pick up the stitches around the edge and knit a border in the style of a Shetland hap shawl. Basically, this would wind up as a much more 'interesting' Stonington. Anyone want to take up my DOUBLE DOG DARE?

    And if that weren't enough, she follows it up with a prize of 6 handmade austrian crystal stitchmarkers for the first posted picture of a finished shawl.  Since I'm just loving Birch and truly crazy, I chose to ignore all the current WIPS and take up the challenge.  Since I don't have enough of the KSH in Blushes (currently being used for Birchx3) nor of the Moss Kid Seta to finish essentially a double Birch, I had choices to make.  As this is a race, it would have to be stash yarn, as mixing the KS and the KSH was not an option, yuppy flashbacks and all that, nor could I waste valuable knitting time waiting for a package.  Thank goodness I have a decent stash, which includes no less than 3 4 cones of Kid Mohair from Silk City in White, Brown, Pink and this melange of colors that I did try for the Pi shawl and rejected as being too busy.  Now the Brown and the Pink have both been used to make shawls while the white has been sitting unused for I would suspect years as I can't for the life of me remember when I bought it, probably during my last full blown lace phase of 1999.  I pulled the three cones of solid colors out of the twins room (all coned yarn still lives there) as I put them down last night and began swatching.  Conveniently, my last purchase from Knitpicks had arrived and my brandy new Addi Natura was in the package. 

    I started swatching with the white...

    Ddd_sw1I started with a known quantity, Birch, as I've already cast that bugger on three times and swatched two other for it so the pattern is well established in my head.  The Silk City mohair is a good substitute for the KSH as it is the same grist, maybe a bit fuzzier and has nylon in place of the silk (from what my googling was able to return as the label is a bit sparse on the cone).  In short order I finished my swatch and dutifully took a picture for you all.  I was very happy at how the lace appeared in the yarn and as I'm lacking in a white shawl, I'm content with the yarn choice.  You can see from the bottom edge of the cone, with the remote thrown in for scale, that I don't have to worry about running out of yarn.  After taking this picture, I went to the cast on edge and picked up the stitches to work a second Birch in the other direction to form a square.  I didn't like the look of it and pulled it out.

    Take two.

    Kiri_sw1_1I then pulled out the printed copy of the Kiri pattern that I dutifully made at the office before leaving.  For some reason I had it in my head that Kiri worked from Point up to the shoulders.  If this was the case, I could Kiri up and then Birch down, modifying for that strip down the middle of Kiri.  Yeah.  Not so fast.  My little picture with Baron posing with the "swatch" kind of shows that it doesn't have a point that I expected.  No I didn't blow the pattern.  I checked that and started again.  Its more insidious than that and pretty obvious if you read the intro to the damn thing.  It is worked from the shoulder down but in shetland shawl style where it grows wider and forms a triangle with the cast on stitches forming the center of the shoulder edge.  Much the same way as my icelandic shawl was knitted.  While a beautiful shawl and way more satisfying than casting on 299 stitches this too wouldn't work to create something Stonington style.

    What's a crazy fiber lady to do?  Take three...

    DddchartDraft her own version where it starts in one corner and works it way to the center and back down to the corner.  I spent some time with my knitting grid paper, a pencil, eraser (wish I had a better one) and generated my own chart.  It is based on a bit of Kiri and a bit of Birch.  I need to swatch it but it looks good on paper and all stitches are accounted for.  Swatching is in the cards for this afternoon's commute home.

    On a more serious note, I was deeply saddened by the events this morning in London.  My heart goes out to those injured and condolences to those lost.  I won't go into the misguided politics of extremists who believe that their message is being heard by acts such as these.  I won't pretend that I was less than happy to be a mass commuter today.  So I shall leave it with a tear and a plea for a more peaceful world that I can raise my children in.

    Craft on.

    July 06, 2005


    I trust that everyone has noticed that TypePad has been having some issues.  I found out the hard way when I hit the Post button.  It took forever and I never got the confirmation page, just an error page that a gateway blah blah blah.  For some odd reason I actually took the source HTML and copied it to Notepad.  That was something I did regularly back in the Blogger days but not since moving to TypePad.  Some little geeky voice in the back of my head told me to do it.  I was glad that I had after the error page popped up and backing up didn't appear to be doing anything.  I tried posting it again.  After some delay, I refreshed my blog and voila there it was.  Then I got the comment email notification from Cate and was quite surprised that the post was up twice now.  Ugh.  I managed to delete one of those posts.  I also noticed the delays within the system when posting comments to other blogs.  Nancy fell to the effects of the "upgrade" at TypePad too.  I've got the thing configured so that comments are mailed to me.  They changed those darn things as well.  Instead of the Email of the commenter being used, it is now in the From field.  This is causing havoc in Gmail as it is an aggregator.  I loved gmail, until this morning when I read Katy's, Nancy's and Deb's comments all aggregated into one thread.  Makes answering a tad difficult and just totally wrecks my filing system so you might notice in future replies that I've gone back to my old email addy.  Feh.  One thing I do like about their upgrade is that they doubled the drive space and bandwidth.  That's nice.

    KidsetaAlso in the nice category is that I arrived home to a package.  The crack yarn dealer that Denise mentioned in a comment last week sent the gorgeous Kid Seta yarn I ordered.  What a gorgeous yarn it is.  I quickly pulled out my Kidsilk Haze to compare the two, as I know some of you are waiting for me to do, and honestly, I can't tell the differencd.  They are of similar fuzziness, sheen, grist, etc.  I compared the weight of the two of them are they are essentially identical.  As an aside, the pinkish/rose of Blushes and this green held together gave me preppy flashbacks of my early teen years.  I would go out on a limb and offer this up as a substitute for the Rowan Kidsilk Haze.   I'm feeling very weak in the knees... she's got a sale on Cascade 220.  Ohm.  Ohm.

    Birch1dThis is what Birch looked like when I started the "me" portion of last night.  You can see the difference between the stockinette based lace and the garter version. To my eyes, I'm much happier with the stockinette as it looks right.  The one thing I wasn't happy about was knitting with my "wrong" hand (right).  While workable, it is frustratingly slow, though it does pick up as the project progresses, but not to the speed of the "right" hand (left).  Cate unwittingly struck on the answer for me in her comment yesterday.  She was substituting the ssk for the k2tog-tbl.  While I've substituted whole pattern pieces, I've never thought to replace stitches in lace.  Why?  No clue.  I've been reading the knittedlace list long enough to know that there are multiple ways of achieving the same desired effect but never really thought about messing with the pattern until Cate mentioned it.  So what to do about it?  My initial thought was to spend my commute home ripping out Birch.  Crazy?  I never claimed to be sane.  Discretion got the better of me for a change and before pulling the needles out again and losing what was an actual workable bit.  Not to mention that I was now doubly loathe to casting on 299 stitches.  Again.


    I pulled out the Retro Red Kroy Sock yarn that has been living in my bag untouched since the last week when I ripped the sock, ready to be cast on again.  I grabbed the size 1 needles and cast on 29 stitches and began futzing around with different stitch combinations and my natural left handed eastern uncrossed knitting method trying to find the right look and feel that would match one row that I did as called for (started with two rows of garter stitch so the first pattern row had the stitches mounted in the traditional direction).  Would you believe that even with my backwards mounting of stitches, a K2tog-tbl looks identical to a K2tog-tbl when they are mounted correctly?  I was further dumbfounded to find that if I k2tog the way y'all would do it, but technically through the front loops, it looks the same as the traditional manner.  SWEET.  I was really and truly gobsmacked (to borrow a really cool phrase).  All that nonsense in moving stitches about, learning to knit with the other hand (while a good skill to know) were not really necessary! I could really follow the pattern as is.  My stitches slant in the correct direction (though backwards from a righty knitter).  K2tog goes to the left and a k2tog-tbl (or a ssk) goes to the right. After finding this, I pulled the sock needles out of the swatch, which didn't last even long enough for a photo, and while on the train, shared Birch's 7US with the sock yarn would produce.  This time I cast on another repeats worth of stitches and made it as far as you can see in the picture above.  Cool huh?  Birch1eWas good enough for me.

    Once again, Birch was reduced to an empty circular needle, a small ball of yarn and a completely unfroggable cast on edge.  I can live with it.  It still frogs very nicely for what Cate correctly calls a fancy-pants yarn.  Birch1fWish I had a nice fancy-pants needle to go with that fancy-pants instead of a Treasure Island purchased Clover bamboo.  Could be worse I guess.  I pulled out a gross load of jump rings and set about casting back on again.  I couldn't find the bag with all those nice little o-rings I bought at the hardware store a week or two ago, but having played with beads recently I gave some jump rings a shot.  Works nice for initial rows and I have a boatload of them.  I placed a marker every 20 stitches of cast on, changing the type of jump ring every five rings, making counting far easier.  I knit 2 rows of garter and then started the first pattern row.  Having those nicely spaced rings worked perfectly as I had far less real estate to survey should I screw up a repeat somewhere.  By bedtime I had finished the first two rows.  This morning's commute saw to more rows go down.  I removed the jump rings on the train this morning as they were starting to get tangled in the yarn and cause more trouble than they are worth.  Not to mention that by this time, I can more than read this pattern.  Thanks Cate!  Let's just hope that the third time's the charm cause I'd had for that fancy-pants yarn and fancy-pants pattern to be wasted, especially considering I already have the yarn for a second Birch. ;)

    Craft on!

    July 05, 2005

    Back from Beyond

    Despite the well wishes and prayers from you, thank you all, the little monkey girl was feeling pretty low.  By the time I got home from work on Tuesday night, she was downright miserable and running a 103F fever.  Eyes were gunky, nose sniffly and a cough had developed as well.  I gave her some tylenol for the fever and a cough/decongestant for the rest and the warm humidifier let her sleep pretty well.  My generous monkey girl shared this nice illness with monkey boy and her mama.  By Wednesday night I was running 103F.  Alex never got that high but he was pretty darn miserable as well.  Add to that some really cruddy sleeping, well not sleeping and crying habits that had started and we were all pretty miserable.  I can't say that I enjoyed dealing with two screaming babies at 1AM while I ran 103F. We're all pretty much better now, but there is a touch of congestion lasting about. 

    Now of course I have much catching up to do.  I can't believe its been a week since my last post, not to mention how many posts from others I have to bloglines is reading 203.  Ugh.  I'm never going to catch up.

    BambooSince so many have commented about the bamboo yarn, I'm going to give a quick review.  Nancy was right, it is more like knitting with cotton than with wool.  There is no give, no stretch in the yarn so it is a bit harder on the hands than a good wool.  In that respect it is definitely closer to its plant fiber cotton buddy.  Unlike cotton though it has marvellous drape and gorgeous sheen that really reminds me of a good silk.  It is far lighter in weight than cotton too. 

    Camsock1bSee, I finally got a good closeup picture of the yarn!  Curious how I managed that? Well, the frustration I was having with my digital camera, a nice functional Sony DSC-P72 that I bought shortly before landing in the hospital for my extended bedrest, finally got the better of me.  I Camsock1cspent some time comparing the available digital cameras, consulted with a few folk and wound up buying this on Wednesday.  It's a Canon PowerShot SD400 Digital Elph.  Nice little camera that in its macro mode can focus down to 2cm.  Oh boy.  5 megapixels so it can handle taking nice scenary shots and fast enough that I can catch the fast moving twins.  I'm very content with it and the beautiful photos it took.  I used the new camera to take a nice closeup of the sock that I was knitting for it while lying on the couch on Thursday feeling very miserable.  I borrowed an iPod pattern, some of the leftover Happy Trails sock yarn, and just made it a bit smaller for Elphie.  It really is the perfect camera for a dedicated blogger ;)  It fits so nicely in my bag, even my quickie outting purse, that I have little excuse for not having it.  I have oodles of photos that are jockeying right now for posting position.

    I did do some knitting, other than Elphie's sock, and worked on Birch a little on Thursday after my doctor's appointment.  (Yes I was feeling bad enough to go to the doctor.)  After getting to the third repeat, I realized it wasn't the needles or my technique that was causing my Birch to not look like the others out there.  It was the fact that I was doing the garter based version, while I'm guessing most others worked the stockinette version.  See I chose the garter because of my goofy knitting technique which mounts the stitches backwards on the needle.  While for a straight stockinette that doesn't pose much of a problem.  Birch1bI've just adjusted my way of thinking about knits and purls to approach them from the leading edge of the stitch rather than through the front/back/etc.  Now it does pose a problem with lace and where a K2Tog is different from a SSK.  SSK is easy for me as I don't have to slip anything.  The stitches are already aligned properly for that.  Its the K2Tog that I have to slip slip and then k2tog.  The pattern in Birch has a k2tog and a k2togTBL, both of which would have had me slipping stitches all over the place and I really didn't want to do that so I jumped on the whole garter thing.  I really didn't like how it was coming out though.  Birch1cI pulled the needles out and took that picture.  The Kidsilk Haze was a bit of a pain to frog, but as you can see, I did manage it.  I was hesitant to do this as I was really loathe to cast on 299 stitches again.  I sucked it up though and while the weekend is a big haze as to when I did what, I'm pretty sure I cast on Friday night while sitting with my rented dvds and went to it.  I saw Open Water and Bridget Jones:  Edge of Reason on Friday.  The first wasn't really a good lace knitting movie as much of it was visual, they were both very good in totally different ways.  Birch has once again taken up residence in my purse as I picked up a size 7 Clover circular needle this weekend.  What am I doing differently with this attempt?  I'm knitting right handed English so my stitches are correct and I don't have to slip all over.  I fought to develop the right handed knitting last year so that I could make this, pretty much for the same reason.  While my right handed speed is no where near my left handed version, it does work and I'm through one repeat of the pattern now.  Surprisingly there are no pictures of the second go 'round yet.

    While I didn't knit a stitch Sunday and Monday, I was certainly not idle.  No way a mom with twin toddlers could be idle, eh? :)  The weather was spectacular this weekend, and because I had had a change of plans after releasing the mother's helper, I took the twins to the pool singlehanded.  While scary much in the same way as going to Maryland was scary, we came through it with flyer colors.  Here are a few shots of the pool, the twins, the twins and the pool...

    Pool3Pool4Pool5I think the monkeys enjoyed it.  I know I did.  Once we got past the velcro stage where Kat had to maintain full body contact and cried "mama" the whol time.  Thankfully she did disengage and let herself have some fun.  You can see the nicely fenced off baby section of the pool.  Even at its deepest it is still perfect for the twins as it is about their waist.  I also introduced them to the joys of a Good Humor Ice Cream Sandwich when the snack bar near the baby area opened.  No pictures as I was busy enough trying to juggle twins, sandwiches and money.  We did have a scary moment when Alex didn't realize there was no back to the picnic bench and nearly went over head first.  No harm no foul.

    Craft on!

    June 28, 2005


    We have a winner in the name the yarn contest:  Laurie.  I am indeed using Bamboo, the nice while bamboo yarn from Habu Textiles that I bought at Purl in April.  The stitch markers will be winging their way off to her.  Thanks for playing everyone.

    Anyone who doubted the fate of the PGR Dream Sock after yesterday's first post doesn't know me too well.  It is now a nicely wound center pull ball all ready to be cast on.  Hopefully the third fourth time's the charm.  Pathetic.  I don't have hopes for this yarn and its ever meeting its destiny in becoming a finished sock.  I did a little pattern surfing yesterday and found the Aran Braid Socks.  I'll give them a shot.  I found them through a wonderful directory of free sock patterns on the net (if you back up a level there, they have other patterns as well! I tend to dislike dealing with and its library as I hate that floating nag bar and all the advertising). If this doesn't work, the Retro Red Kroy is going back into stash and something else will be coming out.  I've been futzing with it Memorial Day Weekend! 

    My poor monkey girl is all stuffy, with gunky eyes and a cough.  She's just rubbing at her face and eyes.  I gave her a stiff shot of Benadryl last night and she was able to sleep through.  Eyes were terribly gunky this morning and it took some cotton balls and warm water to clean her up.  Poor monkey girl.

    Here's one of those quizes.  I haven't posted one in a while and I liked this one.  I think it pegged me pretty well.


    What Kind of Needles Are You?

    turbo charged
    You are "turbo" charged. Fast moving and classy, you get things done with
    power and grace.  Your expensive tastes can be
    deceiving, since what you really value is
    quality and efficiency.  As you're careening
    around those corners in life, finishing a dozen
    knitted objects each month, stop and smell the
    roses.  Don't miss the beauty of process!

    What kind of knitting needles are you?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Craft on!

    June 27, 2005


    I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  It was hot and humid here all weekend, temps well into the 90's both days.  The monkeys and I spent a goodly amount of time here:

    MemorialpoolWhile not a picture I took (as I couldn't remember to put my camera in the bag either day) it does give you a vague impression of the pool.  My googling skills are being challenged today as I can't seem to find any specifications on this pool.  It is a rather large, sand bottom pool located near one of the town's middle schools and borders on the Passaic River.  The baby area is a small slice that is fenced in and came to just about my knees at the very deepest part of it.  It was a perfect depth for the twins.  I could even sit with the level below my shoulders and one of the monkeys could sit in my lap.  I brought sand toys and they alternated between sitting on the curb of the pool and playing in the sand and wading around in the water.  We all got some good fresh air, plenty of sunshine and a little bit of color.  It was a beautiful weekend. 

    Best part of the weekend?  MOTHER'S HELPER!  What a fabulous concept that is.  J is a great girl.  She just graduated 8th grade last week and has spent the last year or so working at their daycare center after school so the twins know her pretty well.  J's mom is their 8-3 teacher at the center and has been since they started at 12 weeks of age.  They live pretty much around the corner from me and mom will drop off J when I ask.  I'm having J babysit on Friday (the daycare center is closed this week for vacation) to cover a half day for me rather than take a full vacation day.  Which reminds me, I need to check if my sister is going to be around so that I can leave her number as an emergency.  Having J with me at the pool was just invaluable.  Kat got a bit upset yesterday and being able to sit with her on the blanket in the shade while J was in the pool with Alex was just priceless.  Love the idea. 

    Now for the knitting content.  First up?  BIRCH.  I was into the second repeat of the pattern and while I could read the lace, I just couldn't see it.  I know with lace there is that leap of faith thing where it looks like nothing more than a glob of yarn.  I've just seen so many pictures of Birch in progress on other blogs that actually looked like something that I was sure that I was doing something wrong.  I had been using the 7US Addi turbos and really knitting loosely.  A necessity when knitting lace with those things as the tips just suck for lace.  As a result, the lace was very very loose.  I pulled out my Lantern Moon US6 straights that I bought at the yarn store closing last month and tried those.  The tips were far pointier and now two rows short of a pattern repeat it is really starting to look like I would expect it to.  Only problem is, straights stink for commuting knitting.  I just ordered a set of Addi Naturas online and hope to have them SOON.  I'm sure I can suffer through the straights until the circs arrive. 

    Seta470bSpeaking of ordering, thanks to Denise and her link to the Kid Seta, I have some of that on order.  I ordered enough to knit another Birch.  The Kid Seta looks like it would be a good alternative to the Kidsilk Haze.  I ordered a very unusual color for me.  See, I'm embracing my Autumn Colors palette.  Green was never a color I'd select, but with the hazel eyes and the red highlights to my hair, this should be good.  Right?  Regardless, it should make a pretty Birch in a good leafy color. 

    23612Fessing up to one last yarn purchase before a new era of austerity (and using up something in stash) is Shine from Knitpicks, in Apricot.  I'm going to use this for the Eyelet Cardi.  I realized this morning that I need a nice light cardi in a non-dark color and this just fits the bill.  I love that color and when it arrives, this moves to the top of the queue.  I ordered a little extra as I plan on full length sleeves.  I'm not a huge fan of the 3/4 length jobbies. 

    Well my last new project doesn't seem to have confused many of you as to what the pattern is.  Just about everyone guessed SoleilKaty was the first so she's the winner of the angora fuzz.  We don't have a winner for the yarn yet as it isn't All Seasons Cotton.  I'll leave the yarn piece of this "contest" open until Noon on Wednesday when I'll announce what it is.  I did make a collection of stitch markers just in case someone does get it. :)  I also made myself a row counter bead bracelet.  Not one of the nicest beaded things I've ever seen, but should be handy for the shaping instructions I skimmed in Soleil.  I did finish the lace piece of Soleil on the train home Friday night and she's sat untouched since then.  I was distracted by both Birch and my secret project, which I would rather finish sooner rather than later. 

    One last piece of knitting business is that goofy sock, the PGR Dream Sock in Retro Red Kroy.  I'm halfway through the foot of the first sock.  Still.  I just can't seem to get up the energy to work on it.  Its a perfectly functional sock.  I tried it on this morning on the train (got a odd look from my seatmate) and it fits fine.  I'm just not moved by it.  I'm further concerned that if I'm this less than enthusiastic about the first of the pair, how sad will the second be, not to mention how darn long is it going to take me to make that one!  I could rip it, but then that would be the second ripping of this damn sock.  I do like the Cable & Rib socks in the new IK, but don't have the pattern with me.  I didn't take my big bag with me this morning as I had a nasty headache and went with the lightest load possible.  I had Birch (on the straight needles) and the sock.  When I got stuck on the inside of a 3 seater on the train and straight needles became untenable, I unhappily switched to The Sock.  I tried to read my ebook on the Path train rather than continue on The Sock but found that Alexander futzed up my Palm Pilot when he got into my bag yesterday.  It wouldn't turn on and I had to reset it just now.  I'm going to rip the sock.  I just hope the now splitty Kroy holds out for one more go 'round.  I think I'm just going to do my standard, vanilla plain sock with the good old heel flap and be done with it already.. unless of course I can find a pattern hiding on my desktop.

    Craft on!

    June 24, 2005

    Nearly Done

    As predicted, I finished the second sleeve for Trellis last night. I just did it earlier than I expected.  I managed to finish it within 5 minutes of my train leaving Hoboken.  Its for trips like that that I carry multiple things to keep me busy.  I confused my commuting buddy who didn't exactly pay attention as I put away one project and pulled out another.  He just noticed that all of a sudden I wasn't knitting with blue yarn anymore.  There is a striking visual difference between Birch and Trellis so he only gets half points for noticing.  I wanted to block the pieces before I completed assembly on Trellis and knitting the shawl collar.  I'll hopefully do that this weekend.

    This meant though that I needed a new train project.  Like Birch and the socks, not to mention the poor languishing summer Ribby and Stonington, couldn't be train projects in their own rights, something made me start this.  I'm not going to tell what it is, nor what yarn I'm using.  I'm hoping someone could guess.  I didn't go out and buy any yarn recently that I haven't blogged about, but it was a blogged SEX.  Bonus points for correct project and yarn.  Hmm.. should make this interesting and offer up prizes.  How's this, one ounce of prime angora fiber from my own dear Yeti for first correct project and 5 handmade by me stitch markers for the correct yarn.  Here's Baron showing the new project last night and a slightly blurry picture from the train ride in this morning.  Leave your guesses in the comments to this post or send me an email to crazyfiberladyATgmailDOTcom.


    Notice Baron's dark face mask has gotten darker and larger than the last shot.  I did take the picture last night without the flash so you could see his eye color rather than the spooky cat eyes.  He's a goofy guy.

    When does yarn get to be considered "stash"?  How long does it have to sit around unknit to be labeled this rather than just an advance purchase for a project?  Any thoughts?

    This weekend is supposed to be H-O-T with temps in the 90's again so the monkeys and I will be taking advantage of the community pool with hopefully the mother's helper to keep us company and sane.  Which reminds me, I better call her and see if she's available this weekend.  Have a great weekend all,

    Craft on.

    June 23, 2005

    Now for something completely different

    In order to dress up my Birkenstock Arizonas yesterday, now that wool sock season is temporarily over, I did this:


    Polishing nails is something I don't do all that often.  Last time I remember polishing my fingernails was the day I went into labor with the twins.  I had this compulsion that day that my nails just HAD to be polished and I just fixated on that.  I'm pretty sure I had mom polish my toenails that day too, no way in heck I could get to them.  Memory is a bit fuzzy as to some details of that day ;)  If not, I can't remember the last time I did my toenails.  Anyway, it was a great suggestion by a coworker to take five minutes and do it.  Gave me a great excuse to park on the couch and knit.

    As you can see, I'm well past the halfway point on the second sleeve for Trellis as a result of my forced "idleness".  As of this morning's commute, I am in the home stretch.  I'll finish the second sleeve today.  I want this sweater done ASAP as there was a nice package in the mailbox last night when I got home.  My Coffee Bean Calmer arrived!  I have to say, I do like the brown very much.  It matches nicely one of the skirts I bought last weekend.  Brown would also be one of those colors that I could wear season after season after season without worry.  I like the classics.  Now I just need to find a nice pair of brown shoes.

    I overslept this morning.  I just couldn't get up.  I had some of the weirdest dreams too.  Guess the fumes from the nailpolish got to me.  I dreamt that my ex-husband came over, we were chatting, and then while I was in the shower, he destroyed my bed.  A while later I discovered this as I tried to call it a night.  I got pissed, naturally, and he showed up with an Uzi.  He shot a bunch of people, including my boyfriend (of which I have none) and I "woke up".  Cut to his now threatening me and bashing my car against the retaining wall on my parents driveway, about to pull out his Uzi again.  I took advantage of the car abuse to call 911 and they took him away before the bloodshed.  Again, I "woke up".  Cut to my explaining the double dream to someone and we then went to the holodeck on Voyager for a party.  It was then that I really woke up as the alarm clock got a little insistent.  A little weirded out I might add.  Why after being divorced for 5 years am I dreaming about the dude.  I've had no contact with him since March of 2000.  I did remove his old clothes from the hall closet during the closet fiasco and dumped them in one of those bins last weekend.  That shouldn't be enough to see him as a nut with a gun now though.  Just odd.  Not to mention the various repeats with variations that the theme went through and the layering in of Star Trek.  I'm surprised there was no knitting at all!  Though now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I was knitting during the chatting in the first layer.

    I love those dreams in a dream in a dream.  During the early days of my being back at the office after maternity leave, I spent a lot of time during the wee hours rocking Alexander in the nursery.  He wasn't very good at going to sleep on his own, a problem I didn't rectify until he was 9 months old, so I rocked him.  One night I must have been really tired and dreamed that I had fallen asleep in the rocking chair and was there dreaming about sleeping in my bed.  Which is where I really was.  I was surprised when I did wake up in my bed. Nuts. 

    Now that I've completely digressed, I think I'll close here.

    Craft on.

    June 22, 2005


    So as to not turn this into the All Birch All The Time channel, as well as having to get some of the other projects done, I did work on other things, while finishing the first repeat of Birchy goodness.  I'm pretty sure I blew something in one of the patterning rows early on but refuse to tink it.  I can now read the lace pattern, even if it isn't looking like some others at present.  Cassie did help greatly in supplying a link to a chart.  Woo!  Thanks Cassie!  I know there are others who would love to knit Birch but are put off by the cost of the pattern book and/or the yarn.  I'm still hoping to find something in the Rowan issue other than Birch that I can knit because Rowan #34 isn't cheap.  There is available a pattern on the internet, Kiri, put together by another blogger based on Birch but worked from the tip up rather than the long edge down.  It is far less daunting to cast on 3 stitches rather than 299.  While the Kidsilk Haze is just dreamy, it is a tad expensive.  I know that Jannette is selling a cheaper alternative to the Rowan:  Plassard PICHENETTE Kid Mohair but I wouldn't be surprised if there were more.

    Yes yes, it still is reading like a Birch lovefest, I promise, I'm moving on right now.  To this:


    I finished the first sleeve for Trellis last night.  Here it is reclining on the lovely train seat this morning.  A bit overcast today so no benefit of sunshine.  Add sunshine and this blue yarn looks lilac.  Freaky.  You can see the two finished front pieces nicely attached at the shoulders to the back.  Nice.  The stitch holders are hanging onto the front band stitches for working the shawl collar.  I read ahead and on the good side, I get to knit a strip 11 or so stitches wide.  Yay.  Then I can graft them together in the back.  Not so bad.  Then I can sew the whole works to the body.  Ick.  Oh well.  The light at the end of the tunnel is indeed visible.  I should have this little beastie done shortly.  Oh no.  Buttons.  Sigh.  Good thing the baby isn't due until September.  We all know how long it took to sew on Alex's buttons ;)

    Need more caffeine, oh and to make a mental note to pick up coffee.  I used the last of my beans this morning.  I can't begin to imagine how horrible tomorrow morning would be without coffee.

    I stopped in the hardware store this morning on my way to the office and picked up some tiny black rubber O-rings.  The nice man gave me a funny look as he pulled out his box of O-rings.  I found a bunch that fit my size 7 needles with room to spare and took 20 (well actually 21 and he threw one in as a bonus in case I counted badly).  For $.10 a piece I have some fab new stitch markers. 

    Craft on.

    June 21, 2005

    To Birch or Not To Birch...

    There is no question.  To Birch!  After dinner I went home fully planning to do some work around the house.  When I got to the mailbox and pulled out the small grey airmail bag from the UK all thoughts of laundry, vacuuming and addressing my flylady hot spot went right out of my head.  I got the twins down and went about Birching.  Resistance if futile you know.  I quickly pulled out the pattern book that arrived last week and photocopied the pattern page.  A needle hunt was then commenced.  I saw Stephanie's post yesterday on her beautifully completed Birch and noted that she used the 4.5 mm needles.  The pattern was specifying 5mm or a US8.  Having spent Sunday fighting with my only free set of 8's and disliking intensely the new Balene II's, I figured if it was good for Stephanie, it was pretty darn okay for me.  I had two free sets of Addi Turbos in the 4.5mm and thought that a good omen.  I stayed up far later than I should have and made it through the first 4 rows of Birchy goodness.


    Here's Birch reclining on my desk chair a few moments ago.  I won't be going anywhere without Birch for the foreseeable future and even changed purses so I could carry it safely with me.  Always.  I don't think I can truly express my pure joy at the yarn. OH. MY. GOD.  I. LOVE. IT.  There is something almost orgasmic to working with the Kidsilk Haze.  It is purely divine.  The color?!  Gorgeous.  I can see glints of the silk peering out between the fuzzy delight of the mohair.  I could just plotz.

    Other projects?  I have other projects?  Oh yeah, I do.  I'm an inch short of finishing the first sleeve for Trellis.  Yay.  It seems my gauge is off a tad but heck, its a baby sweater, big is good, right?  Fits longer that way.  Longer sleeves are just excellent right?  I vaguely remember the sleeves getting too short before the body got too small as the twins outgrew clothes.  I'm not that far off, just a smidge.  No one will notice.

    I'm still chugging along on the silly sock.  I added a couple of rows this morning on the train as it was a bit crowded to pull out anything larger.  I find knitting socks to be ideal for knitting while crammed into a four-seater at the end of the car.  The PATH train was a tad more spacious and while I wanted to dive into the sweet pool of birch, I knew I'd miss my stop if I did.  I worked on Trellis instead.  I'm proud of me too. 

    Birch.  Birch.  Birch....

    Craft on.

    June 20, 2005

    Stash Acknowledgement

    First I would like to thank everyone for their warm thoughts regarding my headache on Friday.  Yes it was pretty bad, but thankfully it didn't last all weekend.  While I have the periodic migraine, I also get sinus, tension, atmospheric, hormonal headaches, blah blah. This time it was a sinus jobbie as even my teeth hurt from the pressure.  I struck on the right balance of drugs and the afternoon started looking up.  That was until I started making dinner for the short people.  I opened the freezer door and the box of frozen pops disgorged its contents all over the floor.  After retrieving these darn things, I stood up full force into the bottom of the freezer door, slamming the top of my head.  I saw stars and compounded the headache problem.  Percocet and a weekend had me feeling much better by yesterday, though Saturday wasn't very pretty.  I did take a vacation from the computer so please bear with me as I catch up on email and blog posts. 

    I Sp1got my first Secret Pal gift.  It arrived on Friday.  I have an awesomely cool SP buddy.  Two skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Barn Red, a Fiber Trends pattern:  Baby Brights.  A nifty pendant yarn cutter which will come in very very handy with my secret project, which I am indeed documenting for future postings. (Though I am considering posting using the extended post feature and issuing a warning to the recipient to not look if she wants to be surprised.  Any thoughts on this?)  Some very yummy milk, white and dark chocolate covered espresso beans!!!  How cool is that?!  I can't think of anything better than yarn, chocolate and coffee combined :)  Thanks so much Secret Pal!!!!

    While the kids slept and I had the camera out, not to mention that I was rearranging the closet fiasco disorganized stash, it was time to take pictures of the remaining Cummington haul.  Ya'll have seen the Hitchhiker and the very yummy Barneswallow Farm butterscotch lincoln cross batts, which I did spend an hour or so spinning more of on Saturday, so I didn't photograph them again.

    SheepshedKristen can attest to how excited I was when I saw the Sheep Shed booth.  I made a bee-line for them and fondled lots of fiber, not to mention added more while I waited in line to pay.  (Hmm that seems like a theme I repeated that day- first Sheep Shed, then Barneswallow Farm.)  I came away with these.  Well, actually that's one third of my haul from them.  The larger sausage is 1/2# of 100% merino.  The colorful bit is 2oz of Merino/Tensel blend.  As I said, I have 3 of each.  While knitting last night, I decided that I'm going to ply these two together and use that resulting yarn for Clapotis.  I think I'm going to use my Jensen Tina to spin this.  I don't think that wheel is presently busy with anything at the moment, plus it does have the Woolee Winder.  The peach Merino is what Kat was fondling from her position in the stroller.  Can't say as I blame her.

    PolwarthMy first purchase of the day was this, 2.5# of beautiful grey Polwarth fleece.  My resolution to buy no new fleece was definitely weakened when faced with Polwarth.  Now tell me, who could turn down something as gorgeous as that.  I am proud of myself in that I didn't buy the whole darn fleece, just half of it.  Its fine and various shades of gray that I will love spinning.  No idea of a yarn weight or final project for this yet, but that is not new.

    RomneyThis is a 5.5lb Mary Pratt romney fleece.  I couldn't leave it and had to have it.  Again, a variegated gray fleece.  I just can't pass up the colored fleeces.  I spindle spun a lock of this fleece with my Hatchtown spindle right there outside Mary's booth.  Not surprisingly, I don't have any idea of what I'm going to do with this either.  I might have to join the Romney combing wave and give this fleece the same treatment.  It would be stunning that way.

    Two photos that just didn't come out decent enough to show documents the remaining haul.  One was a shot of 3 patterns that I bought, all cabled - go figure.  The other was 4oz of a wool/alpaca/silk roving from Barneswallow Farms in a color similar to the batts.

    I do have a picture of a finished object.  Surprisingly, it is a FO that I never posted the in progress photo of.  There's a good reason.  I started and finished it yesterday.  I'd seen these little shoulder shrug things on a host of blogs recently.  I figured it might be good for the summer on the train, what with the exceptional air conditioning that the things have most of the time.  I went digging in the stash and found some handspun yarn in around the right weight.  Its been in stash for so long that I can't even begin to remember when I got it nor really where.  I'm pretty sure it is 100% merino and I know that I didn't dye it. I probably got it off eBay.  Anyway, I had purchased the pattern about a week or so from Glampyre.  As I can knit when the twins are out and about, I managed to go this whole thing done before going to bed last night.

    Osw1bOsw1I'm not entirely sure if/where/when I'm going to wear this thing.  It is cute and a very quick knit.  I love how the colors worked themselves into stripes.  I know it looks lovely with my orange headband.  I had matched until this point.  I actually changed my shirt, an orangey type thing, to this blue for a better idea of what I could wear with it.  I'm sorta feeling a bit old to wear this.

    Well, time to get some work done..

    Craft on.

    June 15, 2005

    Did It.

    There were no shiny pebbles to distract me fully last night from what I really wanted to accomplish.  I did multitask to my limit though and was converting mp4's to cd to mp3's for Zen, trying to burn a dvd, washing the skirt and sewing the shoulders to Mondo at the same time.  Scary huh?  While Mondo is done (yay), the skirt is in the dryer and I don't know the full results of the washing trial.  The fabric was far more flexible when i checked it as I put it into the dryer so the project might not be a complete failure after all.  I forgot to peek in the dryer this morning.  Got up a little late and had to run around like a nut.

    Since the little people are not to be trusted with my camera yet and there are no other photo takers in my house, you get one of those headless shots in the mirror.  Tough to take they are.  Color might be a bit washed out as there is bad lighting in my bedroom and I disabled the flash to prevent that from killing the shot all together.  You can see Duchess of A'Rat sitting on the bed checking out what the crazy lady was doing.

    Mondo1e_1 The armholes still need a little blocking, but otherwise, this baby is done.  Its nice and light and very comfy.  I hope to get the blocking done tonight so I can wear this tomorrow.  See the flowered pants I'm wearing?  Those are actually linen capris that I made the last time I had a sewing spurt a couple or three years ago. So I really can sew.

    Online tracking shows my package from is on the way.  That has yarn for a project that I can't talk about as it is a gift.  Mum's the word.  Nothing else from me.  Ain't even going to photograph it.  Well I will photograph the project as it goes, but won't be posting it until it is complete and given to the recipient, who is a reader. 

    Hopefully my new fix of Rowan will arrive shortly.  Resistence is futile and I can't withstand the call of Birch any longer.  I mentioned in a previous post that I've done a little shopping and well, the pattern magazine, Rowan #34 is one of those purchases.  I've been eyeing birch since I started reading blogs and there is only so long I can hold out.  I'm weak.  I admit it.  Blushesc Since the pattern was on the way, it was only natural that I had to have the yarn to go with it.  I found some lovely Kidsilk Haze at my favorite UK Rowan pusher's eBay store.  With the free shipping, it was a deal I just couldn't pass up.  I'm standing somewhat firm and not ordering the packs of Rowan Wool Cotton in one of the discontinued colors from Jannette, though I am very very very tempted to do so.  I saw a cabled top pattern on the 'net that I'd love to make.  I did order some closeout Calmer_469 Rowan Calmer along with the #34, but checking my bank transactions the charge from the vendor seems like the Calmer isn't being included.  Damn.  I wanted it too.  I had ordered color 469 to do NBaT, not to mention I'm curious to see what its like to work with stretchy cotton.  That just blows my mind so I need to play with it.  I sent an email to the vendor to see if their website was a bit out of date when I placed the order and won't be getting the Calmer.  I want calmer.  I want calmer.  I WANT IT.  I really shouldn't be so eager to order more yarn, its not like I have none or something.  Its a sickness man.  More yarn.  More yarn.  MORE YARN.

    Well I'm off to knit more on the left front of Trellis and have some lunch before my 2pm conference call.

    Craft on.

    June 13, 2005

    Three Projects, One Weekend

    As a warning, this posting will probably be pretty photo heavy.  Makes up for the photo-lite posts of last week.  Actually, I was a little camera happy and thinking like a good blogger as I busily made my way through a crafty type of weekend.  As a change of pace, I think I'll organize as a project history rather than a day-by-day blow as I did mix up the projects through the weekend.  There was spinning, knitting and sewing.  Lets hit the new kid on the block first: 


    Saturday morning, after picking up the groceries, which as an aside the resident toddlers HELPED PUT AWAY?!?!?!?, we all piled back into the car for a trip to the fabric store.  Fabric1a Okay, I weaseled out and didn't go to the fabric store, I needed a few other things that I didn't get at Shop-Rite so I opted for the fabric department at Wal-Mart.  I picked out some nice fabrics, all pretty colorful and realized that I really had no shirts to wear with them.  So I figured I'd get a couple of coordinating summer tees to go with them.   The pile on the left is the shirts with the matching fabric to the right.  I probably didn't need to buy a red shirt to go with a blue with flowers fabric, but I was on a roll. Saturday evening I was distracted from doing more than laying out and cutting for two skirts by the necessity of having to clean my living room closet/storage room out.  Unfortunately the water meter and main shut off valve is only accessible through the back of that closet and my landlords were having some work done. Oh well.  I found things I had completely forgotten about and finally trashed some of my ex-husbands old clothes.  Incidentally, he moved out in July of 1996 so it was indeed a long time in coming.  Multi1a_1 Once the work is complete and I can put things back in the closet, I can store all this year's fleece acquisition, but I digress. 

    After the twins went down for an early nap yesterday (Baron woke the household by breaking into the twins room and climbing into Kat's crib thereby causing her to scream at 5:30 AM), I got busy with the sewing machine.  I opted to start with both the orange/red/yellow multiprint and the deep peach fabric and sewed the two of them piecemeal.  I finished the multi first, doing the waist casing, threading the elastic and then excitedly trying it on.  That was a mistake.  It felt horrid.  I didn't like the drape of the fabric, it was too bulky at the waistband and just icky.  Sorry no pictures.  As a result, I piled up all the fabric, shoved it in the bag and buried it in the closet.  I might throw the thing in the wash to see how it feels then and if I still don't like it... tote bag.  Incidentally, the shirt was a smidge too snug either so I have to return that.  The second skirt is just missing the casing and the hem and living in the closet as well.  I have to check the stash for patterns, but I think this fabric is more suited for a straight skirt (or it has way too much sizing in it ergo the fervent hope the wash will help).  Ugh.  Strike One.


    I've been working pretty diligently on my Mondo Cable sweater.  Friday afternoon on the way home, I ran out of yarn supply while on the train and had to work on the Path Train socks.  Good thing I had another project with me as my train was held in the middle of the Meadowlands for about 40 minutes due to "police activity".  It turned out that this police activity was because someone had been hit by a train.  According to the article, a 28 year old was on the tracks in an area off-limits to pedestrians.  This was one stop from mine and unfortunately, curiosity got the best of me and I was looking out the window as we came upon the sheet covered body.  This is the second time in the last year that I've seen a body out the train window.  For some reason, the hands are never under the sheet.  Why is that?  {Shudder}  Seems this line is known for fatalities and there's a stretch of it that is known as suicide alley.  While loss of life is sad, my heart really goes out to the engineers who are operating these trains who have no chance to avoid it.  There was an interesting article that I found while looking for this accident, here

    In between other things this weekend, and after the miserable failure of the skirt sewing, I still had time during the nap to go to something I usually had far more luck with:  knitting.  I pulled out Mondo and parked myself in front of the TV.  There was a dirth of anything good on yesterday afternoon so I picked the mindless Bridezillas on WE, unsure of when the twins would be getting up and not wanting to kill something good in the middle.  I guess I could have gone with an episode from the newly acquired box set of the first season of 24, but I forgot all about it.  As it turns out, they napped Mondo1cfor 3 hours and I could have watched something far more interesting than psycho brides.  I was able to completely finish Mondo.  Though I did have a problem with it, pretty much the reverse of Stephanie's.  Instead of the armhole being too short, mine were HUGE.Mondo1d  A 9" arm opening is far too large for this little person.  I thought it looked a little odd when I was assembling it, okay to be honest, while I was knitting it, but in one of those self-delusions that us knitters are famous for, I thought I was just seeing things, or in the alternative, a good blocking would fix it.  Nevermind that it is All Seasons Cotton and that I really wanted to SHRINK it rather than stretch it, that's just besides the point.  I will have you know that I did the right thing last night, undid the shoulder seams and ripped down each shoulder piece to a much more reasonable length and redid the shoulder bind off.  It was 11:30 by the time I finished that so I didn't re-sew the shoulders and will do that tonight.  It does need a light blocking/pressing as the pieces are curling a smidge to the inside so I'll do that before sewing tonight and mondo will finally be done.  It wasn't looking good for me yesterday afternoon. 


    I turned to my Lincoln crossX batts and my Hitchhiker on and off over the course of the weekend.  Friday night I finished spinning the rest of the second batt. I then had two pretty well matched bobbins of pretty fine singles. 


    As there wasn't much to finish off and I still had plenty of time before the sandman called me, I popped a disk into the player (Love Actually) and went about plying.  Not a bad movie later and I had this:

    Butter1bButter1cPlying for two hours is pretty darn tiring, especially when it is pretty tightly twisted singles and you have a single treadle wheel with a 7.5:1 ratio.  For those who don't know, the ratio is measured between the number of times the flyer rotates for each turn of the drive wheel.  Higher twist + lower ratio = lots of treadling + tired leg. I pulled out the little wpi tester and came away with 16 wraps per inch, or a nice fingering weight.  I like to let my newly plied yarn age a little on the bobbin before I skein it up.  That's actually a fancy way of saying I was too damn tired of the stuff to skein it after plying for some two hours and let it sit.  Yesterday after my lack of success with other items, I went back to something that wasn't turning to sh*t.  As I said earlier, I was a bit camera happy, not to mention a trifle pleased with my 364yds/4oz of newly spun yarn.  I still have two more 2oz batts to spin up.  I think this should be good for a lightweight, smaller FBS.

    Butter1d_1 Butter1eButter1f

    That's pretty much it for crafting this weekend.  One out of three ain't too bad and since one of those is actually improving, I feel much better.  The sock, while giving me some fits on the short row heel, which I do have experience with, is progressing.  I'll finish the heel this afternoon.  I've also pulled Trellis back out of the hold pile and it too is in my bag so that will be my main train knitting again.  Didn't do it this morning because it was far too crowded, sock was better for that. 

    I did some other shopping this weekend and I'll post that tomorrow.  Don't want all the goodness today do ya?  If you've sent me an email or a comment, I'm a bit behind in answering and I beg your indulgence.  With all my crafting this weekend, I opted for a break from the pile of silicon circuits in the corner of my living room.

    Craft on!

    June 10, 2005

    On the Mend

    I'd like to thank everyone for their very thoughtful comments to my last posting.  I'll be individually responding to your comment but if I haven't I just wanted you to know I have read it and I thank you.  I tend to agree that the blog is for whatever I want to use it for.  Like most of you, I do prefer to keep it more of a surface level record of my projects, my family and what's on my mind.  I am careful when I do post something that it isn't of too personal and is something that I don't mind the world knowing.  As a footnote, I'm still amazed that anyone reads and that this would be a problem.  So thank you all!  My dilemma was that I did have something on my mind and if I had posted it in the language I was starting to use I would have hurt people.  Not faceless blog readers who if they disagree with what I write could not read anymore.  That wouldn't bother me.  This would have involved people that I see FTF (thanks Laurie for that!) almost every day and I didn't want to do that.  Do I know that it involved regular reader(s)?  No.  But I can take a guess.  While I'm discontent feeling disconnected, I don't want to inflict it on others.  Sorry for those who got a bit more in response to their comments than they bargained.

    Returning to the regularly scheduled light hearted blog that this is...

    Mondo1b I'm getting to be a pretty good judge of how much I can get done during my commute.  On Wednesday I predicted that I was going to finish the back during my trip home.  I did just that.  (Thank goodness for timestamps from digital cameras to keep us honest.)  Here's the back reclining on the middle seat of the three-seater train car on the way home.  I saved casting on for the front until my commute in yesterday.  Nearly forgot to change to the smaller needles, but remembered it at the very last minute.  Read that as being RIGHT before I would have had to tink.  As of this mornings arrival in Hoboken, I had four rows past the initial cable twist done.  I've been knitting Mondo on the train and saving the sock for the PATH train rides.  I'm a smidge short of starting the heel on the sock.  Normally this sock would probably be done, but it really has been limited to PATH knitting.

    For clarification, the PATH train is akin to the subway, but more limited.  Port Authority Trans-Hudson is a quasi-government agency headed by the Governors of New York and New Jersey.  They operate this little subway like thing between New Jersey and New York.  The Port also operates Newark Airport and were the owners of the World Trade Center.  If you're curious, here's a link to their website.

    Now that we've had a minor mass transit diversion, I honestly haven't been spinning.  Either I've come home too late from my parents house because we opted for swimming:

    Kat_pool1 Pool1Pool2 These were taken on Wednesday before dinner.  Kat is sitting her on the side of the pool with her very favorite person in the whole world.  Pop-pop.  They are loving the water and we haven't felt the need to torture the monkeys and shove them into bathing suits.  The only problem with this pool, as you can see from the shot of me standing in the shallow end is that it isn't shallow when you are only 31" tall.  And there are no steps, just that ladder.  Thanks for all the feedback on the municipal pool!  We'll be joining that this summer and hopefully the kids will enjoy it.  I've also arranged with their daycare teacher for her daughter to be a mother's helper, so I'll pick up a pool membership for her.  So strange to be arranging for a mother's helper.  I remember when I spent the summer as a mother's helper.  That included a three week stint at a rental beach house on Long Beach Island.  That was the summer I turned 17 and I got my driver's license the day before we left on the trip.  How to torture a teenager right?  It was for a family with one boy, who now that I think about it was about the twins age.  Stephanie, I would have loved to take one of your girls as a mother's helper!  Maybe next year.

    I've been music-less, or just about music-less during my commutes recently.  I have an iPod.  The 10gb size that I bought in December of 2003.  It's worked pretty well though I have noticed that its battery life had been seriously decreasing.  I don't listen to it all the time and it has been in my bag for a while, unused.  But then I'll go through a period where I want to listen to it, everywhere.  Now that I'm sitting in a different car on the train and not getting off when all my old traveling buds where, I wanted it again.  I charged it up, dropped it in my bag and then after a day of not using it (yes I put it on hold) the damn thing turned itself off immediately yesterday, bevitzing about its battery.  I hadn't used it!  I vaguely remembered the news bit that I heard last week about Apple settling an iPod lawsuit so I did some searching.  I turned up this website and actually found the claim form in the mail.  I does pay to register ones purchases.  I even managed to turn up the original sales receipt from my time of purchase.  Thank you Judge Judy for recommending keeping a drawer and just tucking receipts into it.  No I haven't found the receipt for Purl yet and I've given up looking.  I charged the iPod last night so it was fully charged when I left this morning.  When I got to the office, I turned it on, noted the time and waited for it to run down the battery.  Beast only got 1 hour and 37 minutes of playtime before it shut off.  I'm well within the definition of battery failure for the purposes of the lawsuit settlement.  I've filled out the claim form and opted for a new iPod or battery replacement.  Their option.  Don't really care.  I ordered one of these in silver yesterday.  It shipped last night.  Checking the FedEx tracking, while the package arrived in Newark, NJ this morning at 9:37 (which is less than 1/2 hour from my home), delivery is estimated for Monday before 4:30.  Geez.   

    7655bsim Since I haven't been able to find any good summer skirts in the local stores and 1) fit and 2) aren't made of some cardboard-like fabric, I think I'm going to sew myself some.  I spent a little time surfing patterns online and came on this one.  (Simplicity 7655).  I made a post-it note and stuffed that in my bag in preparation of hitting a fabric store sometime today.  Somehow this pattern looked very familiar though.  After the twins were asleep last night, I pulled out my box of patterns and lo and behold.  There was 7655 looking at me.  Nice to see my tastes haven't changed.  Classic is classic.  I had gone through another period of sewing some three years ago and must have picked it up then.  I'm going to make the skirt in the shorter length in something summery.  Probably two.  Maybe event three.  I purged my closet a few months ago and really don't have much.  Not to mention now that I found my seasonal color scheme I honestly can say I've been buying the wrong colors.  I had on a black top yesterday and really looked at myself in the mirror.  Ugh.  Its the wrong color for me to wear by my face.  It brought out those very lovely yellow undertones that squarely put in me Autumn colors.  I think a few new skirts in my new found colors are called for.  Maybe I'll make myself a nice totebag too, though I have recently been using a backpack as my tote/purse/knitting bag.  Julie's venture into sewing has me seriously tempted to make one of these as well.  Would matching skirt/totebag be a bit much?  Honestly, I don't do a helluva lot of sewing though I've been sewing for even longer than I've been knitting.  My Home EC Sewing teacher didn't particular like me because by the time I got to take that class, I had already been sewing for years and wore a jumper to class that I had made.  She pretty much ignored me and left me to my own fun while teaching others the basics.  While they were busy making pillows (which I did with my leftover fabric), I made this off the shoulder, long sleeve blousy top. 

    This weekend I hope to finish off the rest of the second batt of butterscotch wool and get the two bobbins plied up.  I love that little wheel and I found that with the right diversions, I can actually spin when the monkeys are out of their cages cribs.  I'm going to head to the bookstore this weekend as well, as my employee discount gets an extra boost for the next 3 days and pick up a couple of books.  I think my Secret Pal might be getting herself a book as well. 

    To answer Lynne's question:  who are your two favourite captains?- Kirk and Janeway :)  Though I can appreciate Picard and Sisko.  Though with Sisko I didn't really like his mopey brooding demeanor in the early seasons. I found fault in Picard in that he actually relied on Troi.  Useless empath.  "Captain, I sense hostility."  So instead of saying something like "Oh yeah, what gave it away sister, was it the fact that they are FIRING ON US" he would act as if he couldn't tell this himself.  She certainly didn't belong the bridge of all places, wearing a cheerleader outfit.  Nothing against cheerleaders.... 

    ..Sorry rabid trekker took over the keyboard there for a moment.  The crazy fiber person is now back in control.  Before the trekker comes back, I think I'll close this longish post.  Maybe pictures of spinning/stash this weekend. 

    Knit, Live Long and Prosper, Knit on!  (Down trekker)

    May 26, 2005

    Cult Times

    This weekend might be Memorial Day to general American population.  To those of us who know, it is Cummington.  (Or as Cassie called it, the The Cummington Wool Cult).  I think Cate is doing her part to really get the cult status!  While the festival is a small one by MDSW or Rhinebeck (another cult you ask?) standards, the gathering promises to be one where friends can really enjoy it together.  My short people will probably get a great kick out of being in a house with other short, yet older, people.  They do so love it when their cousins come up for a visit.  The boy yearns to play with older boys and now that he's a bit bigger, he got in on the reindeer games last weekend.  He was grinning from ear to ear while he chased after his big (almost 5 and 8 yr) cousins.

    Tomorrow is an early out from work, and by exchanging lunch today for an extra hour tomorrow, I'll hopefully be on the road early enough to be at Cate's in time for dinner.  I'm bringing the baby benadryl just in case K&A take to sleeping there as well as they did the first night at MD.  I also hope that little miss velcro will detach herself from me long enough to enjoy the festival and mini-festival. 

    Sunday we'll be heading to stay with my folks on the boat.  The twins haven't been there yet this year but as the boat is on the way back, sorta, we'll be stopping off.  Right now we're planning on an overnighter and I do hope it will go well.  It didn't last year but again, that's no indicator of what will happen now.  Heck the monkeys definitely have me on my toes and scared to commit to saying anything.  As soon as I think I have their likes/dislikes figured out, they switch it up on me.  I suppose I should get used to it.

    I'm beyond the halfway point on the foot of the second F&F sock.  I picked up for the heel gusset on the PATH train last night and by the time I got to my car, I had 5 repeats of the lace portion on the foot done.  I counted how many repeats are in the first sock (15 on the cuff, 16 on the foot) so that I could match the two socks exactly.  As of this morning's commute, I have 11 repeats complete.  This sock is going down.  I'll have to bring something else for the weekend, in case I actually get some knitting time that is.  Cabled sweater is probably not a great idea for social knitting, but you never know.  Another pair of socks?  Maybe.  Not like I'm lacking for sock yarn.  And socks patterns.

    Speaking of patterns, UPS's little online tracking app is showing me that my latest order is out for delivery.  I've been watching Wendy knit Inishmore and my recent experiences with cables has me really itching to try something on a grander scale.  So I went shopping.  Online this time.  I bought the Starmore's Fishermen's Sweaters: Twenty Exclusive Knitwear Designs for All Generations and Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Patterns for Knitting.  I'm itching to sit down with these books. 

    Oh wait, must pack, or make a serious effort at getting everything ready to simply throw in the car tomorrow after work.  Sigh.  I hate packing.  I've done a lot of things to avoid packing,  including scrubbing a stove.  Don't get me wrong, I love going places, I just hate the prep work in getting there.  Its worse now that there are little people relying on me to bring everything their fickle little toddler hearts might want.   Oy.  The weather (and I won't go down that ugly path again today) is not making my packing any easier.  At least the NOAA webpage is showing Saturday as pretty decent and 64F.  Could be worse.  Oh and I'm bringing the little Saxony wheel, maybe just maybe it will find a new home.  I think I'm supposed to bring alone my Fricke drum carder.  Must check with Cate.  Wonder if I need the pack'n'plays.  Definitely must check with Cate.

    Doubt I will have time to blog tomorrow and I must write a test plan now.. oh and I just found a bug I need to fix so I'm going to close it here.  Have a very happy, healthy and safe Memorial Day (to those celebrating - excellent weekend to the others) to everyone.  Fellow cult members: see you at the gathering!

    May 20, 2005

    This and That

    Shell1c_1 Okay, first:  ignore the terrible look on my face.  I was seriously tempted to cut my head off in the picture but figured that would look even stranger.  Here is Ribby Shell in Rowan Handknit Cotton.  Love the sweater.  Hated the knitting of it.  I'm definitely planning on doing it again, but this time not in 100% cotton.  Honestly, I don't think I'll ever knit in 100% cotton again.  Ever.  Serious.  Good thing I live in a cooler clime eh?  Anyway, here's the requisite shot of me wearing my newly (and I mean newly, I had just cut the last tail off when I pulled off my black shirt and put this on.  That also explains the black bra under this thing.) finished tank.  Nifty.  Comfy.  It will definitely get alot of usage if the weather ever frickin warms up around here.

    Ll4b_1a Falling in the "As If I Didn't Have Enough to Do" category is this.  I've joined in a little office Knit Club group project.  I don't think the end user is a reader, but I know other members are so I won't say too much.  I started this last night while watching The Apprentice (yeah I watch that on and off) and after an hour had 36 rows of 42 stitches complete.  I'm up to 64 rows as of this morning with a total of 72 to hit.  We're using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and this is the My Blue Heaven color.  I've never used the yarn before but have been eager to try it.  OH. MY.  I LOVE IT.  80% cotton.  20% merino wool.  The wool snob (as Nancy correctly calls me) really likes the way the merino has softened the feel of the cotton.  It works up very nicely, though I do have to pay some attention as it is softly plied and subject to some serious splitting.  It is very nice and would be a contender for another Ribby Shell.  Need to compare it to the Rowan All Seasons cotton.

    Twinksocks1d As I correctly predicted, I finished the first of the F&F Twinkletoes socks yesterday on the train home.  It fits very nicely and I'm truly pleased with it. 

    Which brings me back to the commute home.  It was only yesterday that I musing out loud, so to speak, about my train options.  I opined that the trip in through Penn Station sucked while it was glorious going home.  Actually I think I said brilliant.  Kiss of death you know.  Not only didn't it work brilliantly last night, but it just sucked.  The train left the station on time.  It chugged out of the station and then entered the tunnel under the Hudson River.  About a minute into the tunnel, the lights go out, the fan stops blowing and then the train coasts to a stop.  There we sit in the dark with only the emergency lights lit.  For 40 minutes.  Not only did I miss my usual connection at Secaucus, I missed the backup train as well.  Oh lets not forget the fact that I FORGOT MY CELL PHONE in my car yesterday so I didn't have it with me.  There's also the small fact that my father was waiting to pick me up!  Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers.. who don't have NEXTEL service (they don't work in the tunnel).  The gadget laden fellow across the aisle kindly loaned me his phone.  I got home an hour late.  ARG.  My father advocated skipping Penn entirely.  I'm inclined to agree with him.  I'm going home through Hoboken tonight.  So there.

    SaxonyFlaxwheel2Since I'm likely to be coming home from Cummington with a new wheel, I think its time to get rid of one already in the house that I don't use.  There's nothing at all wrong with this one, but with 6 in the house and maybe one on the way, its time to reduce.  I'm offering up my European Danish Flax Saxony wheel.  It is a small wheel and this one on eBay looks like it could be its fraternal twin as the drive wheel is slightly different between them. As you can see it has a removable distaff and integrated lazy kate.  It has 4 bobbins and with Baron immediately behind it, you can get an idea of the scale of the thing.  Those tiles on my floor are 12"x12" for further scale. Anyone interested, drop me a comment and I'll be happy to discuss. 

    Have a good weekend. 

    Craft on!

    May 19, 2005

    Clickety Click

    For a process knitter who hates the artificial pressure of knitting for others, I set myself a deadline for the Ribby Shell and then had the audacity to move it.  Closer.  Now I do better with deadlines at work.  Seriously.  I like deadlines.  Now this doesn't mean that I'm going to finish something way ahead of the deadline so I can coast into it.  No way.  That wouldn't be fun.  Not this former Queen of the All Nighter.  Does this mean I'm going to knit until my fingers cramp just to get Ribby Shell done tonight so that I can return one stinkin' skein of Rowan Handknit Cotton in Flame tomorrow?  Rest easy Cassie, no.  I finished it last night.  Woo hoo!  I still have to work in the ends and sew up the shoulders, but the knitting piece is D.O.N.E.  While I can't find my receipt, I hope Purl will take the skein in exchange.  Not sure for what, but I'm pretty confident that I can find something.  I'd seriously doubt that it would be for more 100% cotton.  Maybe the All Seasons Cotton. 

    Trellisalt Nancy was kind enough to forward this link over from the  Knitty.  The smallest size calls for 4 skeins of the All Seasons Cotton.  I do have two upcoming babies (not mine!) to knit for and I'm tempted to make this for one rather than a blanket.  It would also give me cable practice before I was sick enough to take on an adult sized one for myself.  I do think this sweater in a 6 month size would be good for my cousin's pea in the pod.  She's due in September and lives in New Orleans.  This would probably be good for the less than totally chilly winter that they get.  Though blankets have a longer lifespan.  Not to mention, cabling in cotton?  Should I just have myself committed now?

    I'm really progressing nicely on the F&F socks.  I started the toe on the PATH this morning.  I should have it finished  by the end of my commuting today. 

    Non-knitting content

    Speaking of commuting, I've modified the whole thing.  I had been taking the Bergen Line of NJ Transit from home to Secaucus, where I then transfer ed to a Penn Station NY bound train.  At Penn I would either take the subway to the office or in a fit of extreme energy I could walk to the building.  Going home just meant reversing the process.  Now when it worked it worked very well and I could get from my parking spot to my desk in just about an hour. However, it doesn't work very well very often.  The trains heading to Penn Station are never on time and are generally packed.  I find myself standing on the platform waiting and waiting and waiting.  When the train finally shows up, most days you need a shoehorn to wedge yourself in.  Certainly not conducive to good knitting time.  Now you also need to consider that all this transferring means a lot of short little hops.  12 minutes here, 10 minutes there, 2 stops on the subway.  Bleh.  More time walking and waiting than actually riding and knitting.  Granted I've still managed to be pretty productive, but all that moving about does reduce the knitting time.  The train alternative is to skip transferring at Secaucus, take the Bergen Line all the way to Hoboken and then take the PATH train to 14th Street.  Works nice and was my commute for years and years prior to the opening of Secaucus last year.  However, it does involve a two avenue schlep from the station to the office.  Okay, tis shorter than the schlep from Penn Station to the office, but lets be honest, I didn't walk it all that often.  It also takes a little longer and makes for more of a 1hr 10 min commute car to desk.  Not too terrible considering I've had a seat, transfer ed only once and have been knitting almost the whole time.  However, I get home later as I can't catch the early train home without leaving the office conspicuously early.  Now Hoboken works for coming in and Penn method works for going home.  Hoboken is cheaper than the Penn.  PATH is cheaper than the subway.  So what's a girl to do?  Hoboken in.  Penn out.  Keep the monthly pass as is for the more expensive leg and keep my options open. Difference isn't all the much but I could crunch the numbers and find a cheaper way to do it. I'll see how it goes.

    In the "You don't see that everyday" category, get this.  Go.  I'll wait.  I was one of those pedestrians on 14th street on my way to the office.  I saw (and heard) those two beautiful white horses trotting up 14th street towards the park, hooves clapping the pavement, harness chains jingling.  It stopped me dead in my tracks.  I thought I'd seen it all in this city.  New York.  Gotta love it.

    Knit on.

    May 18, 2005

    The Eyes Have It

    Well yesterday I sort of promised a bunch of pictures.  Well I took the pictures, spent some time trying to dig up decent graphic editing software at home (found disk after disk) but foolishly only brought one with me to the office this morning.  Yes I remembered to put the camera back in my bag.  Well for some odd reason I couldn't install the desired software so I was faced with either huge arse pictures eating up server space, surfing for free image editing software or resigning us to another pictureless posting.  I surfed.  Just so many blog posts I can fill up with text.  I'm no writer.  Even had a high school english teacher tell me that.  She was right.  I think.

    But I digress.  I found a pretty decent freeware graphics program that isn't your every day little beast.  Quite nice to use and it met the needs of this techie geek. for those who care.  So I bring you PICTURES!

    Twinksocks1c Here are the Feather and Fan socks from Socks*Socks*Socks in the fabulous Twinkletoes yarn.  If there is one plus to having small feet it is that I get to make short socks!  Oh and I can buy sneakers in the children's department.  But that also means that I need to look for dress shoes in the children's department.  Not such a plus.  PITA if you really ask me.  That's why I have a closet full of shoes.  If I find something that fits that looks decent I'll buy multiples.  Especially if they offer several colors! Oo-la-la that is just heaven.  Now you know why I tend to favor my handknit socks and my Birkenstock's.  Just easier and far less frustrating than shoe shopping.  Anyway, the sock fits beautifully and I'll start the toe when the foot reaches 6.5".  I made it another 1" or so past this picture's length during my much delayed commute this morning, but that's a story for another day.

    Shell1b Here's the Rowan Handknit Cotton Ribby Shell.  After this picture was taken, I came within an inch of finishing the left front.  I would have done it but I was so enthralled by last night's episode of House that I couldn't tear myself away to get another skein.  Ignore for the moment that I have ReplayTV and could have paused it.  Please further ignore that the ReplayTV was taping the thing all along.  Yeah.  I'll have that piece done tonight and a good start on the right side.  I'm setting an even more artificial deadline for myself than next week for Cummington on this thing.  I'm meeting Cassie for coffee on Friday and since we're surely going into Purl, I'd like to return the extra skeins.  I do like this pattern very much.  I don't like the yarn.  Well I love the color.  I like the feel of the fabric.  But I dislike the inflexibility of the cotton.  Ick.  Ouch.  Even with the nylon needles, I still can't work too long on this without paying for it.  I couldn't use the Denises (though you see one serving as a stitch holder) as the joins suck and I spent far more hand energy pushing stitches around.  All in all a loosing prospect.  I sit in dread of the fact I have two packs of this yarn in different colors to make baby blankets out of.  Ugh.   Maybe I can trade for some wool/cotton blend or even acrylic/cotton blend.  I just can't see myself knitting with this 100% cotton again.

    Barefoot1a Here's the singles I've been spinning from the romney roving that I got from The Barefoot Spinner.  You can also get a good look at the wonderful Woolee Winder sitting on my Lendrum.  LOVE IT.  I'm ever so glad I picked it up.  The downside to the WW, it winds on so evenly that I get MORE onto a single bobbin and it takes LONGER to fill the thing up!  I try to sneak in a little spinning when I can, but it is competing with all the other projects that make up my crafting life, not to mention work and last but no means least, the short people who live in my house. 

    Speaking of the short people, Kat has a new favorite word:  No.

    Ain't toddlers fun?

    Knit Craft on.

    May 17, 2005

    Still Here

    Just a quick post, I'm still chugging along.  Been awfully busy for the last couple of days.  Work has had a combination that made it difficult to blog ;)  Both having a deadline to make for a project and finally getting my new computer.  I had to clean off the old one and move the files that I wanted to save someplace else.  Unfortunately my network homedrive has a quota and I was going to go over it by a far cry.  I had to get the Helpdesk to copy a directory I put together on my old machine over the network onto my new one.  I finally got the machine yesterday at 4:30.  It is snazzy.  While I haven't had a chance to put it through its paces, it has twice the memory of my old one and a considerable processor upgrade.  The old beast was a sluggish 733mhz pentium.  Slightly faster than my Sony Clie handheld, but not worthy of a software developer.  The new one is a womping Pentium4 3GHz.  Vrooooom.  I should probably notice the difference the next time I try to compile code.  It also has 6, count em 6 USB ports with two of them on the front of the machine! I spent a good deal of time today installing things that aren't part of the standard package and have a few more things to go, like my Clie.

    Thanks to everyone for the feedback on my Feather and Fan socks.  I've been plugging away at them, quite contentedly too and finished the heel on the train this morning.  I'm now an inch into the foot.  I haven't tried them on yet, but will later.  I really do like the pattern very much and have no intention, nor urge, to rip the needles out again.

    Work progresses apace on the Ribby Shell.  I finished the back portion last night and started on the right front (knitting backwards you know - right front direction is actually that written for the left front).   I should be pretty close to finishing the right front by the end of House tonight.  Love that show!  With hopes of not giving the project the kiss of death, I'd love to have it finished for Cumington.  We'll see :)

    I've also been spinning again.  Yeah, if only to justify going to another fiber festival and adding more stuff.  I moved my Lendrum upright to the bedroom so that it could stay set up and I could move my glider rocker to a better spot in the living room (it used to live behind it) and spent some time Saturday night trying out the new Woolee Winder (love it!) and spinning some of the new roving that I got at MDS$W.  This is a romney roving from the Barefoot Spinner.  If you check back at my SEX picture, it is the blue/pink blend that I'm doing now. I'm spinning it pretty fine and tightly twisted.  I'm aiming for a good sock yarn (big surprise) and while I have a pound of this roving, I think I'm going to do it all at this weight and sell the excess over my sock needs.

    Maybe photos tonight.  All depends on whether I can remember to bring in the photo editor software to the office tomorrow.   Ain't nothing good on the machine and the freebie stuff doesn't allow resizing of graphics.  Dumb. I can rotate to my hearts delight but I cant shrink a 2048 pixel graphic to 480.  As I wrote in the feedback to one company as I was uninstalling their software, the automatic resizing is all well and good, but they severely lacked the manual option.  Just plain dumb.  Would that mean standard sized graphics on my blog?  Probably.  Is that a bad thing?  Uh nope.  I don't think so.  But the geek in me doesn't like when software makes all the choices for me.  Too big brother if you ask me.  I don't like Wizards and tend to disable them.  No, I don't have a pocket protector! ;)

    On that note, I'm back to play with the new toy.

    Knit on.

    May 11, 2005

    Beautiful Day

    Now that the excitement of MDS$W has passed, life is returning to normal.  We're getting back into our bedtime routine, which had been blown away over the weekend, including the babies NOT sleeping in their own cribs but with me one night in the hotel.  That, thankfully is in the past and we're back to reality.

    As if we didn't see enough new animals at the festival, the kids were treated to something new this morning:

    Ducks_2We were treated to seeing this pair of mallards on the front lawn.  I went out this morning to feed Yeti and heard some quacking.  These two wandered up and I treated them to slightly stale bread.  They were still around when it was time to head off to daycare/work.  The twins rounded the corner of the house and saw the ducks as you see them on the lawn next to my car (yup I made sure to smudge my license plate to protect the innocent). These ducks must be regulars in populated areas as they didn't flinch as the twins squealed in delight at seeing them.  Unfortunately, we still needed to get moving so after I prodded the little people to continue the trek to the car, the ducks got up and flew away... much to the little people's delight.  They've never seen anything that large fly.  Mr. Duck has had some issues recently and is missing a patch of feathers on his chest.  I'm going to keep my eyes open for the in the coming days as I wonder if they are neighborhood regulars.

    Mom_shawlSince Pi had to go to Maryland to meet the other EZasPi'ers, I was delayed in getting her to her final destination.  While some folk knew what I was going to do with pi, I didn't announce it in the blog because mom does read it periodically.  Now that Pi's obligations elsewhere have been fulfilled, I gave her to mom for a belated Mother's Day gift last night.  Mom was surprised as I hadn't told her that I was making it for her and as we all know, I'm a pretty darn selfish knitter.  She posed for a blogworthy picture last night after dinner.  Now I think she needs a shawl pin to go with it.  Happy Mother's Day mom, I couldn't do it without you.

    Shell1aJust so you don't think I've done nothing but shop and quit knitting, here is Ribby Shell this morning on the train.  I love the color and how it is working up.  I hate working with the cotton though.  It is so hard on the hands, even with the nylon needles which do improve the experience.  Feh.  Give me wool any day.

    I did get some knitting time last night and sat down with the poor Twinkletoes sock that was halfway through the foot working cuff down.  Was.  Not anymore.  I had been flipping through Socks X3 and found the Gull Wing lace pair.  Having seen Cassie's lacey handpainted socks, I decided to use this pattern with this yarn.  I also wanted to play with the shorty sock dpns that I got this weekend as well.  So I ripped out the sock and cast on Gull Wing.  Except I didn't like the shorty needles. The ends were poking me in the palm and I could only imagine the fight later on when working the heel and putting more stitches on one needle.  Not pretty.  I found longer pointy metal needles (gauge fun and all that) and changed to those.  While the knitting was nicer, I didn't like the lace pattern in that yarn.  I pulled the needles and ripped back to the 2" 1x1 rib cuff.  I put it back on the needles and started to just straight knit it again.  About an inch into the stockinette, I really looked at the ribbed section and just didn't like the 1x1.  I really wanted 2x2 like it used to be.  So I ripped it again.  Now I have no twinkletoes socks on the needles at all.  I think I'm going to try Cassie's pattern now.

    Its the process.  Ohm.  Its the process.  Ohm.  :)

    Knit on!


    May 05, 2005

    Finishing Fever

    Now that the siren call of MDS$W has been answered, we can now return to the regularly scheduled blogging content.  Okay so I have a ton of things to do tonight and seriously doubt that I'll be able to do any crafty things, I can leave you with this:

    Hoodie1_done Alex's hoodie is done but for the buttons.  I ordered a bunch of cute ones off eBay and they should be here shortly.  It took just under 3 skeins of the Jaeger Shetland Aran.  I used the pattern located here, with some modifications.  The hood is from a very 70's pattern that my mom gave me that too was modified.  Kathryn's version will be a heavily modified version as I probably blogged about recently.  I didn't like the sleeve construction so hers will be picked up and knit down to the cuff.  Instead of the half-arsed set-in sleeves, she's going to get a drop shoulder.  I'll more than likely do a 3 needle bind off for the shoulder as well.  While I didn't like the actual construction of the sweater, being a toddler sweater it was thankfully quick.  I'll start Kat's shortly, probably after my Ribby Shell is done. 

    This morning on the train I read instead of knitted and finished this:

    Cold Case SquadIt was a fast and enjoyable read. This is the first book I've read by the author and I'll probably be getting more from her. I love a good detective yarn. Yarn? Did someone say yarn? Oh yeah, I did :) Back to the book, this one was a good one that kept me entertained on the train when knitting wouldn't do, or gasp, I didn't feel like it. Even better, this was a freebie book that I picked up off the giveaway shelf at the office. One of the perks of the job location, free books. A goodly number of those free books are uncorrected page proofs or advance reader's editions, but every now and again a real gem turns up. This one was happily one of the gems. I hope the next in the queue is as good.

    Patternb4lg I think I might have a case of startitis as I have indeed started a new knitting project.  Like I didn't have enough on the needles or in the queue.  I started one of these cute little Baby Bobbi Bears.  Thanks to some evil generous fellow knitter on one of the mailing lists I read, I found the yarn at a substantial savings online (sorry the sale is still going on for $5/skein :).  I shared the info with Marina and the two of us cast on for this on Tuesday at lunch.  We're both using the Blue Sky Alpacas sportweight yarn held doubled in the natural streaky brown color.  I finished the first section yesterday at lunch and will proceed further during Knit Club today. 

    I really need to put together a list of all the things I need to bring along this weekend.  The Pi group is getting together so I'll be bringing my shawl for the group picture. If its cool I might just wear it and help others pick my petiteness out of the crowd.  I have a ton of stuff the kids will need.  I also have to decide what to bring to keep me entertained.  I think I'll bring my Journey Wheel along for sampling fiber purchases Saturday night after the twins go to sleep.  This is provided I don't feel like collapsing right along with them.  Though while I don't have a specific fiber on the list to buy, nor a list to buy, I'm sure I'll want to sample some new fiber!  Now that I think about it, some rainbow dyed something for socks would be nice.  Hmm, maybe some bamboo fiber so I can try spinning it myself!  I do need a new driveband for my Lendrum as the little monster that is Baron Belgarath gnawed through the existing one.  I would like a Woolee Winder for that wheel.  I guess I do have a wish list afterall :) 

    I might pack Stonington or my Twinkletoes sock for knitting fun.  Yes, the Twinkletoes socks are back in semi-active pile even if they did completely fall off the blog.  I had been toting them around in my bag until the cable rib socks took their place.  The CRS even took the TS place in the sidebar.  I had even pulled the needles from the socks about a week ago, ready to proclaim the 3/4 finished sock dead.  Oddly, while making dinner Sunday night, I reinserted the needles and went right back to working on them.  Strange I know.  But then again, I am crazy.  It still is a simple 2x2 rib in this pretty handpainted yarn.  Having seen Cassie's sock in the handpainted, I'm seriously tempted again to rip it out.  Maybe I'll just leave them home afterall.  I guess Stonington gets packed!

    Nancy posted recently about her laceweight yarn that she bought (and got a double bonus of!).  She asked how I liked it.  I happen to like it very much.  I've been using the Bergamota colorway for my Stonington and I really do like the subtle color shifts that are in this colorway.  The others that I have aren't quite as subtle and would definitely have a different effect.  I'm very pleased at the feel and the texture of it.  I've knitted a bit with singles, both commercial and my own homespun and this yarn is very similar.  So far it is standing up nicely to my knitting and I haven't noticed any great variation in diameter, though there is some minor fluctuations.  It is definitely pleasant to work with.  My choice of Addi Turbos as the needles for Stonington have made for a slippery slick experience, but I don't have any trouble getting the tips through the stick and no troubles other than general coordination.  Tis a good thing I like the yarn, I do have a load of it!  I am planning another pi, be it a simple one or a spiral shawl out of one of the other colorways.

    So much fiber, so little time.

    Knit on.

    April 22, 2005

    Finally Friday

    After what seems like a week much longer than others, it is finally drawing to an end.  I went from my summer clothes at the beginning of the week to a jacket again yesterday and today.  Phooey.  Does give me some breathing room though on finishing (or starting even) the summer clothes that I want to knit.  In that respect, I'm sort of glad the high temperatures were just a sneak peek at some future condition.  This week also saw much aggravation in the public transportation system.  From the subway adventure trying to get back to the office from Purl, to the fire along the tracks that night to my train breaking down just before leaving Secaucus last night, I've been less than happy.  As Deb pointed out in an email, at least I had knitting with me.  Damn right!  One of the reasons I always carry knitting.  You never know when you are going to have free time and would otherwise be idle and tempted to chew your own foot off to do something!  I'm just hoping that tonight's commute home is uneventful for anything other than finishing the last 4 rows of Mr. A's little sleeve.

    Speaking of said little sweater in the super wonderful Jaeger Shetland Aran, I was reading further into the pattern to see what the directions were past the sleeves.  I was looking at how badly the nice stockinette components were curling and hoped to see a "block pieces, sew together, pick up for hood, etc" direction someplace.  Nope.  After the sleeves (make 2), the hood is knit separately from the front edge down to the neck, binding off a host of stitches over several rows to form a back seam.  The hood is then sewed to the assembled garment.  I'm going to invoke my opinionated independent knitter skills and not, NOT, do it that way.  I find no reason to sew the hood on when it can picked up from the neck edge and worked up to the front.  I'll have to reconstruct what it is trying to do (maybe use Rogue as a model) and work it the logical way.  I hate sewing pieces together and will avoid it at all costs.  I've actually been working on in my head a way of doing the thing in one piece for Kat's version.  I don't like all the fiddly little pieces with lots of ends dangling about attracting both kitten and toddler nuisance at all turns.  Sewing together pieces is up there in my book with swatching.

    SwatchSpeaking of swatching, what's this?  Could it be?  Why yes it is, a SWATCH!  You can't say I'm not trainable.  I do learn from my mistakes and promise to swatch from hereonin.  I pulled out the larger needles, in this case the 7US and cast on some 20 stitches.  What you see here is a perfect 5st/in as the pattern called for.  The fabric has amazing drape and feels glorious.  I just with the yarn was cheaper or I'm just going to have to hit the lottery so I can make more out of that Habu Textiles Bamboo yarn. 

    Sigma1aAfter swatching, I spent the rest of the evening (well until bedtime that is) working on Sigma.  Okay so I had been originally going to do Chickami, and I will eventually, but I feel the yarn would be better served by some swingy little number.  Sigma hits that mark.  I'm about  1.5" to 2" into it with 10" total before dividing for the front/back.  You can see my knitting companions cuddled on the couch.  I love how these two boys get along.

    Stonington1aSince Cassie specifically requested it and Nancy has remarked about it as well, I give you Stonington.  The photos are actually showing the slight color variation in the yarn that my eyes just aren't picking up in person.  You can see the lighter color seems to appear to be orangey.  Interesting.  It does look nice in person and honestly, the knitting is somewhat mindless.  I'm now to the point where I don't need to even consult the pattern.  So far so good.  I've been fighting the urge to schlep it along with me, thereby pushing Mr. A's sweater aside.  I'm so close to finishing that I should just keep working on it.  I'll be good.

    This weekend brings the start of the Passover holiday.  Tomorrow afternoon and evening will be spent with my family, enfolded in tradition.  One of my nephews will do the Four Questions as the youngest son is still too young to ask.  I doubt I'll have much craft time this weekend, which is a shame as I have two sealed boxes with freshly shorn fleeces in them.  One is a shetland, the other is a first shearing of a CVM.  I picked that box up at the post office this morning!  Every year I swear off adding any more fleece to the stash that is probably at SABLE levels already, but every year I also succumb to the lure of the freshly shorn.  I have reserved one more shetland from Laurie and hope to get to next year's shearing with no more than one after that.  I'm trying to content myself with already prepared fiber (besides Yeti's of course) so as to have actual spinning/knitting time and not preparation time. 

    I look at fiber prep the same way as I look on swatching.  While they are indeed part of the process (Ohhhmmmm), I am not a huge fan of them.  While the shortcut to spinning can be had with buying the prewashed and prepped rovings, I've learned the same doesn't hold true for swatching.  See.. I did learn.  I had been lulled by recent successes where I had swatched and came out exact on the first go around.  Now I know better.  SWATCH!  Back to fleece prep, there are some things in spinning that are just better done with a prep other than combed roving.  One of them is lace yarn. That is best done from slightly greasy locks (ergo my shetland collection this year).  You can also do much more color variation work if everything hasn't already been so homogenized by the processing (again ergo my shetland collection).  I'll probably post some pictures of the new fleeces over the weekend.

    Happy holiday to those observing. 

    Craft on.

    April 21, 2005

    To Swatch or Not To Swatch...

    ...that is indeed the question.  As many of you dear readers probably expected, I raced home last night to play with my new Habu Textiles Bamboo Yarn and start Chickami.  Well I actually tried to race home, but the brush fire inconveniently located near the Amtrack rails running to the city messed up my commute.  Naturally I got out of NY late, missed my normal Secaucus connection and got home some 40 minutes later than normal.  A sure fire sign that the evening was not going to go my way. 

    As I was sitting on the train waiting to leave Penn (sat at the platform for 30 least I had a seat) I worked on Alex's sweater.  I thought I was two increases away from finishing that section of the sleeve.  As I double checked the stitch count against the pattern, I reread that section that pertained to increasing (naturally) and found that I hadn't quite paid attention the first time through.  It is a many size in one pattern with the larger size stuff in the ().  I'm making the largest size.  Can you guess what's coming next?  Yeah.  I was doing the increase directions for the smallest size.  So instead of increasing at each end every 6th row like I should have, I was doing it every 4th row.  I thought the sleeve was looking a bit odd, I should know better.  Thank goodness for the extra train time as I as able to use up all the pulled out yarn by the time I got to my final destination.  As of the end of my commute in this morning, I'm back up to the stitch count I had when I double checked yesterday, and yes, I'm two increases shy of done.  Then its just straight knitting until the end of the 10 inch sleeve.  I love kid clothes.  They're QUICK!

    Once I finally got the twins down, I eagerly grabbed the bag from Purl, dug for size 3 circulars (not listed in the cover of the pattern mind you) and cast on for Chickami with the Bamboo.  Now do I do the responsible thing and swatch or just jump right in there?  Swatch?  I don't need no stinkin' swatches! My gauge is always spot on.  Right?  No?  Of course it is and here I had a yarn that was a DK/Light Worsted as the pattern calls for, I had the right needles, how could I not get gauge.  Pipe down nay-sayers. 

    I opted for the no-swatch, jump in with both feet and cast on.  Not like the ribby cardi cotton version which if you remember the right front was my swatch, no, Chickami is knit in the round to the armpit.  So deluded I continued.  As to not waste a single yard of this delicious yarn, I did a knitted cast on.  Not my favorite cast on but definitely can be more yarn efficient than the long-tail.  Took quite a long time as there were 190 stitches and Baron kept grabbing at the cable for the circ and hooking the yarn.  Pest.  After I counted 4 times and got the same number twice I was content to join and knit the 5 rows.  Not so fast.  The needle I was using was one of those cruddy metal interchangable ones, while the tips were staying put, the yarn was grabbing on the cable join.  Crap.  I went on a massive search and rescue looking for another size 3 circ that wasn't too long not a goofy 12" that I bought on a whim last year for socks.  I founds 5's and a couple of 2's, but a 3 was proving quite elusive.  I finally found one and spent far too long working the first row, forcing the yarn over the join, though right now, I vaguely remember not being able to find a substitute.  Short term memory is not one of my strongest suits. 

    I get to the end of the hem bit and switch to the larger needles and the straigh stockinette.  Meanwhile, I'm happily catching up on programs that my beloved ReplayTV has been keeping for me and sailing through round after round of 190 sts.  Oh the yarn is super fabulous.  It feels SOOOOO good flowing through the fingers and the fabric is just dreamy.  Worth every penny of its high price.  It was about 2" into the stockinette that I decided for giggles to check my gauge.  {Insert snicker here.} I pulled out the nifty new needle sizer/gauge checker that I bought yesterday at Purl.  I counted.  Ugh.  I fiddled with the fabric and counted again.  Ugh.  I fiddled some more and counted.  Ugh.  Instead of quitting at the inch mark like I usually do, I was somehow deluded that it would be better if I went all the way to the two inch mark, like maybe the second inch was a different gauge.  Yeah, doesn't work like that.  Instead of 5st/in for a beautiful 20st/4in as the pattern calls for, I was getting 6st/in for a whopping 24/4".   Yeah gauge is important.  Instead of a 38" finished chest, I was going to get a 31.66.  Negative ease is not a good thing in a drapy cami.  With great disgust I pulled the needle out and frogged the whole thing.  I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do next.  I might swatch with larger needles and see the resulting fabric at 5/in.  I did spend some time searching for alternate patterns and did find the gauge it yourself Sigma Tank at Knitty.  I did want something more swingy that would take full advantage of the drape of the bamboo so if there is a bright side to this (not to mention reinforcing the MUST SWATCH rule) here it is.

    I crawled into bed far later than I should have (spent some serious time flipping through the pattern stash  looking for tank alternates).  I did some more work on Stonington and got through the first "repeat" of chart A.  I really like how it is coming out.  The colors are subtle and in the dim light of the bedroom, they read almost as one.  I know there are those of you who are now questioning the wisdom of lace as bedtime knitting.  I'm one of you.  I just can't stop myself.  Not to mention I needed something to go right knittingwise last night OR the opportunity to be 0 for 3.  It remains to be seen if I screwed it up.  I don't think so as it is easy to read this lace as it is going so in that respect, not all that dangerous.  But then again, with the way things were running yesterday, I wouldn't be very surprised.

    I'm going to chant Margene's mantra "its the process" {stupid} --(Edit:  the {stupid} is yours truly's addition to the mantra).

    Knit on.

    April 20, 2005

    Spring has Sprung

    Well maybe more than Spring right now.  Today's high is supposed to 87F.  That's way above the average for April which is somewhere in the 60's.  I am not complaining mind you, I do so like summer, I would rather a smoother transition.  I vaguely remember sending the twins to daycare in their winter coats last week.  Its crazy!  More seasonable weather is expected for the rest of the week though. 

    I have most certainly been taking advantage of summer while its been here for its early preview.  Yesterday I took a trip up to School Products to get a couple of Addi Turbos.  For some odd reason I got it in my brain that they were at 23rd street and got off the subway there.  Boy was I surprised when I popped out of the station to find a completely different scene than I'm used to.  I'm now at the corner of 5th, Broadway and 23rd street.  I headed uptown.  Guess where they really are:  28th street!  Thankfully it was a nice day for a walk.  I had opted to walk to the office from Penn Station yesterday morning (today as well) instead of taking the subway so I've been enjoying the outside a little more than normal.  Today I'm off to Purl for a visit and a fondle. 

    Oh that should make for good google skewing.  Its amazing what my cross stitch project name has been doing for my google hits recently.  Scary.  I'm very close to changing the name entirely.  Yesterday I saw in my referers a google hit for this:  "respectable ladies in complete frontal nude".  Oh my.  Imagine the disappointment when that link opened.  Snicker.  Sorry pervs, knitting blog.

    Moving of the new addi turbos was used last night to cast on Stonington.  Nifty bit of knitting that one is.  I'm using the laceweight in bergamota colorway.  The color shifts are ever so subtle and not glaringly obvious which I think will work out nicely.  No pictures yet, but maybe some tomorrow.  I did get through the first section of Chart A and am into the first repeat go 'round.  Okay, I need a better way to phrase that, but not today ;)  I also need to come up with a spreadsheet calculation to chart progress.  Until that happens, I ain't putting up the standard progress meter in the sidebar.

    {Talk amongst yourselves, I'm off for lunch and a trip to Purl }

    I'm back.  Marina and I had a blast playing in Purl.  Love the store.  I spent far too much time fondling yarn, playing with all the yarns that I see on the 'net.  I considered the Rowan Denim for a Chickami, even carried an armload of it around before returning it to its shelf for some Rowan Handknit Cotton in shade 254, which a websearch reveals as the color "Flame".  Whatever you call it, its a gorgeous summer orangy thing that will look wonderful as Chickami.  While wandering the store with my armload of Rowan, I made the mistake of petting a skein of the Habu Textiles Bamboo yarn that was on the table.  OH. MY. GOD. I. MUST. HAVE. IT.  The nice lady there is such an enabler.  I made the mistake of vocalizing my approval of the yarn and she immediately showed me this 10.5 oz hank of it in white.  Okay, so I'll have two Chickamis ;)  I was strong and resisted the Lorna's Lace, sock, sport, etc.  Nothing bad in that store.  Dangerous place to go into!  Rowan everywhere!  I could fondle for hours.  Alas, I had to get back to the office.

    I did finish the second front piece for Mr. A's hoodie.  I cast on for the first sleeve on the train last night.  Probably would be a bit further along on that if I hadn't of been distracted by the shawl last night.  So much yarn, so little time.

    Knit on.

    April 19, 2005

    Insert Title Here

    There are just some days where I struggle for a title to the posting longer than it takes me to write the rest of it.  I don't feel like the fight today so you can imagine a clever, witty, on point topic header and insert above please.  Thank you.

    Once again there is a several day lapse between posts.  What's with that you ask?  I'm not entirely sure.  Yes, work got a bit hectic recently, especially with my boss out and my covering for his on call duties.  I had just come off my own on call week and nothing happened.  Naturally since I was covering for him, the world crumbled.  Figures.  That Chinatown_2didn't stop KB (new coworker feller) and I from enjoying the nice weather and venturing further afield for lunch.  We did indeed go to Chinatown on Thursday.  MMMMMMMM it was Marvelous!  I'd highly recommend Tasty Dumpling if you are ever in the area.  The food was ridiculous cheap and just downright excellent and worth the long line and small dining area.  While returning to the subway, I snapped this view looking up Mulberry Street.  Okay, so it isn't only Chinatown, but also Little Italy, you still get the area's ambiance.

    Saturday, the twins and I were graciously invited to fellow blogger Deb's house to spend the afternoon with her and the famous Chappy!  3kidsThis was the twins first real exposure to a dog.  While they were initially hesitant by this barking thing that was much larger (and louder) than their cats, they did get to be pretty comfy with him. Deb had a great writeup of the afternoon so I'll just lead y'all over there.  My favorite picture from the day is one Deb took of the twins.  You can see it here.  No, I'm not getting a dog, but if I did, I'd want one as sweet as Chappy.  The current lifestyle wouldn't be fair to a dog.  While we are indeed out of the house some 10 hours a day, cats deal with that far differently than a dog.  Someday.

    Cable Rib SocksTrucking onwards, I finished the Cable Rib Socks that were a cause of much consternation!   The second one was amazingly faster (well not including the initial knitting of the cuff) than the first one.  That seems to break all the rules of sock knitting as I know them.  I guess in my supreme desire to not fall prey to the dreaded SSS, I'm doing them faster?!  Mine is not to question why, its just to knit some more.

    Bluehoodie1aWhich is exactly what I'm doing.  I started the hoodie for Mr. Alexander.  The back, the right front and half the left front are now complete.  I hit the cast off point for the armpit this morning on the train and the second front should be done by tonight.  Mom and I agree, I will be finishing with buttons and not a zipper.  Mr. Adventure knows how to open a zipper but can't as of yet handle buttons.  I haven't started the button quest yet, but should really do so soon as this project is a quickie. 

    The yarn for Stonington arrived over the weekend and it is gorgeous.  After a quick field trip to a yarn store for a set of Addi Turbos in size 4 and I'll be ready to start it.  I gave the instructions a quick look over last night and it seems like a nice straightforward project.  I just love EZ.  I added a few more of her books to my collection.  I picked up Opinionated Knitter and Knitting Around last week from Knitpicks.  Speaking of knitpicks, they've now added cotton yarns!  Sport weight so far, no I don't count the texturized stuff, but it sounds like they're adding more.  Maybe a nice DK or Worsted.  Yarn yarn yarn yarn yarn.  Why is that running through my head on an endless loop???? Baby blanket yarn has arrived, pattern is ready, have to check what needles it needs, maybe a set of Addi's for it too, and I'll be ready to go on it too. 

    Where to frolic for lunch today?  Decisions, decisions, decisions.  I think a trip to School Products for Addi Turbos is called for and Purl tomorrow.  I love NY in the spring!

    Knit on.


    April 12, 2005

    While I've been happily busy at work, I've lost my primary blogging time.  I haven't posted, nor read in far longer than I care for.  While I have every intention of doing some of this after work, I just am so tired by the time the twins go down that I really want nothing more than to park on the couch, if not call it a night right then.  Weekends have been no better energy-wise.  I should probably start taking my vitamins and iron supplement again, but I don't have the energy ;)

    This past weekend was absolutely glorious.  Sunshine and warm temperatures!  Saturday was for running around doing the errands that we can't do during the week, nor Sunday as I live in the one county in NJ where we still have Blue Laws.  No shopping on Sunday.  Swell.  Makes Saturday one busy ass day.  Still, we did get plenty of outside time.  Sunday was one of those spring days when you just can't stay inside.  The twins felt the same way and were just downright antsy in the house.  We went for a couple of walks in the stroller, played with the neighbor kids, learned to enjoy grass under bare tootsies and just enjoyed the 70+ temperature.  Ahh glorious indeed.  I'm closing my eyes (yup I can do that and blog at the same time.. I do touch type ya know) and transporting myself back there and ignoring the fact that it was 38F this morning with temps only going to the low 50's.  Spring indeed. 

    I've hit a problem with my darn cable sock.  Here I was happily cruising along on the second one, getting excited when I counted the number of repeats done and looking at starting the heel flap in the next session or two.  Yeah.  Well last night I pulled my knitting into the bathroom and did one more cable cross while otherwise occupied.  Knitting time is knitting time :)  I wanted to double check the number of pattern repeats that I had completed on the first sock as I had cut the number from the actual pattern.  I pulled it out of the bag and counted.  9.  Good.  I just finished the 8th on the second sock.  Sweet.  Umm.  Errr.  I held the two together and my gauge is so different on the second bad boy that while it is one repeat shorter to the ankle, it is two repeats shorter lengthwise.  Holy crud.  I've never had my gauge change so darn drastically in such a short time.  I'm really at a loss as to what to do with the thing.  Do I just go for the length and pretend not to notice that one sock has 9 repeats while the other has 11?  I can't seem to find any mistake in the patterning in either sock so I can't just rip and redo correctly or mirror the error.  I can't just rip out both socks though I'm seriously tempted to.  Yuck.  I've got to spend more time analyzing both sock to see if there is a difference somewhere besides more aggressive yarn control.  Sigh.  No pictures of this as my little purse camera has no flash and doesn't like the office lighting.  This all leaves me less than enthusiastic to knit.

    I started the hoodie for Alex on Sunday during their morning nap and actually had the back finished by the time I went to sleep.  I really like the Jaeger Shetland Aran.  What a wonderfully soft yarn that just knits up beautifully.  I'm glad I bought enough to make them each a sweater, and one for myself.  I actually have a sweater pattern picked out for me.  I'm going to use it to make Rogue.  I'm not going to make the pullover version, but hot off my success with adding the zipper to Ribby, I'm going with the cardigan mod to Rogue.  Neat.  At the rate I'm going, that should be my July knitting ;)

    Thanks to Nancy's help, I've settled on a baby blanket for my coworker.  I'll be making one of the afghans from Leisure Arts' Knit One For Baby.  If you have this little nugget which contains 4 baby afghans, I'm making the one on the back cover... or it is also known as the "Lace and Fans Baby Afghan" from LA Beginner's Guide Knit Stitches.  I bought a package of the Rowan DK Handknitting Cotton from my new friend Jannette's Ebay Store.  I bought the Nautical and it should make a lovely, but non-standard baby color blanket.  In full and fair disclosure, this is exactly the same yarn and same pattern that Nancy's mom used to make a blanket for little Emily.  Hey, I don't have to reinvent the wheel.

    MinnowknitsWhile I was searching my pattern stash for a baby blanket pattern, I tripped on a couple of the Minnowknit patterns that I bought on eBay years ago in hopes of having little kids to knit for.  If I didn't have a daughter, I figured I could find a little girl to wear the stuff regardless.  Anyway, I found a few and there was this one.  I bought a bag of the cotton in the Rose color to make this for Kat. I might leave the big dots off of it and work it in one color (might?  will.)  So that stuff should arrive this week.  Jannette promised to get it out airmail on Monday.  The last packages she sent on a Tuesday were all here by Saturday.

    Well time to get some work done...

    Knit on.


    April 07, 2005

    Plodding Along

    Its been a very long week, though judging by the calendar, I still have one more day.  Not much knitting has been going on though there has been some.  I've mentioned the first cable sock being completed and the second one has been started.  Yup, have done some work on it, but not as much as I would have liked.  I just came back from the weekly Office Stitch 'N Bitch where I have at least managed to get through to a respectable 4 of 9 repeats of the cable pattern on the cuff.  No pictures because the second sock looks very much like the first sock. Which is good, right?

    Tuesday night I actually pulled Summer Ribby out of the corner and finished the second front while watching House.  Last night you ask?  No knitting.  I had Kat company instead.  With house nice the weather has been the last two nights, we've (mom, dad and I) had the twins outside running about before dinner.  Well last night we had our first skinned knee.  Poor Kat.  She has her first boo-boo band-aid too.  Not too sure about it either and really wants to rip the offending piece of sticky stuff from her leg.  Yesterday was also a "school day" which involves a serious nap deficit.  Both contributed to an overtired, cranky toddler who just didn't want to go to sleep but instead wanted to be cuddled.  Rather than conking out by 8:30 on a normal night, I had her clinging to me, huge owl eyes looking up at me, until just shy of 9:30.  Yeah, a full hour into my knittin' time.  After getting her down in her crib, I was so exhausted that I could just manage to lay down on the couch and flick the remote to Comedy Central.  While I did stay awake for the South Park repeat, I fell asleep as the new episode started.  Naturally I woke up with the closing credits.  Sigh.  I'm hoping she's back on track (and stays there) tonight. 

    The office stitch n bitch has somehow fallen apart.  Once upon a time, we could fill the conference room to capacity and would occasionally need to bring in chairs from other rooms.  Now?  Only 4 people bother to show up.  We even changed days from Friday (always a popular day to go out during nicer weather) to Thursdays in hopes that more would attend.  No such luck.  It's just sad.

    While I posted this on the related bulletin board, I'm going along with the next main project for the EZasPi group, namely the Stonington Shawl.  I've always liked the thing and do enjoy group knitting.  I'm sure I blogged this in the past, but I was planning on using some of that lace-weight that I bought a while ago.  However, being basic math challenged, I got the yardage wrong once again.  I'm 100 yards shy on any of the colorways that I have more than one skein of.  I'm scared that if I simply bought another skein of one of the colors I have, I'll have a "dye lot" issue so I've been hesitant to buy one.  Not to mention, I couldn't actually decide which of the colorways to choose.  (We all should have such problems, no?)  Problem solved.  Buy more.  This time, buy three skeins so I don't come up potentially shy.  Stonington will therefore be done in this:

    Lc_bergamota1More lace weight from, this time in the Bergamota colorway.  I think it will make for a rather special shawl.  The others are going into stash and will someday come out, probably for something out of the Icelandic shawl book.  Oooh, now there's an idea.  I'll start Stonington when this yarn arrives.  In the meantime, I hope to clear some of the other wips off my plate, and maybe start a baby blanket for my coworker.

    Speaking of which, thanks to everyone for their color suggestions for the baby blanket.  Now to find a pattern!  I just saw Stonington done as a baby blanket in sport weight wool-ease which is tempting me to do the same.  I could even do a multi color thing with it by doing the main body in one color and the border in another.  something to think about.  I still need to check the massive library of books at home but I'm sure I could find something.  Any suggestions for a pattern in the meantime?

    Finally some excellent news.  While I'm more than likely NOT going to Maryland this year for the festival, I will be going to Cummington for the first time!  We (the little people and I) were invited to stay with Cate and go to the festival.  Woo hoo!  Meeting a fellow blogger is downright exciting, but when the blogger is also a spinner AND best yet a mom of twins, I'm just giddy with anticipation.  That's even before we get into the whole going to a fiber festival excitement!  Can't wait.

    On that note, I'm off to find some drinkable coffee as there is nothing but swill in our kitchen.

    Craft on.

    April 03, 2005

    Spice of Life

    Variety is indeed the spice of life.  While I'm a cat by nature, abhoring change, I do like a bit of variety within the routine.  This week has been one of those superb weeks where the beloved postman, UPS guy and Mr. Fedex have all be a-visting my door and leaving me presents.  I do so love those weeks.  First was the new DVD recorder.  Took a few days for me to get around to hooking it up and then it was Friday by the time I actually recorded something with it.  OOOOOH.  It was glorious.  The old POS did such a lousy job recording at SP off broadcast that I might as well be using a VCR on 6 hour EP on a tape that had been recorded over and over and over again.  Anyway, the new GoVideo unit is a wonder.  Without knowing it, Cate made it possible for me to get this.  She posted a while back about the Cheap Stingy Bastards.  I found this bargain through there.  Thanks Cate!

    Moving on... 

    SockstashI wrote earlier this week about my sock yarn binge at Elann when I found that they now carry the Kroy for super cheap prices.  I went nuts.  You see before you 12 skeins of sock yarn paired up 2 x 2 like Noah's pets.  Yes, there is self striping yarn and I am aware I've left comments elsewhere about not liking it. OKay, while I don't prefer it, I do use it from time to time.   I think I'm pretty set for socks for a while to come yet.

    TinawwTwo weeks to the day from when I ordered it, the Woolee Winder for my Jensen Tina II arrived!  Woo hoo!  As you can see, I didn't let dust collect on the box before I had that baby out and in use.  I was in a lousy mood Friday for some reason (having a sinus headache all day, along with starting and ending the day with a pair of cranky toddlers probably contributed a smidge) and didn't have much of a successful bonding period with it.  I've been having driveband issues with Tina that I think I solved yesterday, though I haven't had a chance to confirm this.  The original band that arrived with Tina was on its last thread.  I replaced it with some twine from the kitchen.  Not so good.  Was too stretchy, didn't hold a knot for its life and simply made spinning a bit of a pain every time I sat down at the wheel.  A trip to the Rag Shop yesterday and I found a spool of candlewick and have since tied a new band.  I'll gloss over the fact that I had it tied oh so beautifully and when I was trimming the ends, I cut the wrong one and had to redo it all.  Sigh.  Been a weird time for me ;)  Anyway, Tina now has a WW and a new band.  I'll be working with them again soon.

    Cable1I turned the heel on the first Cable Sock from IK last night while vegging in front of the tube after the twins went to sleep.  I like it.  I like the color (must be in a blue period).  I did a little work on the heel flap while making dinner last night.  Cooking was far more enjoyable with knitting in my hands.  I was only boiling some pasta and waiting for sauce to heat up, so it wasn't like I was knitting and stir-frying at the same time.  I did cut the cuff by two repeats of the cable pattern and judging by this picture, it was a good idea.  Two more and I'd have knee-socks... well maybe not that long, but this is a good length for me.

    PisinkTaking advantage of the twin's napping this morning, I remembered that Pi needed blocking.  Here's a very attractive lump of lace sitting in the kitchen sink.  I let it drain a bit there while I went to change the sheets, make the bed and put on a protective cover in preparations for the miracle that is lace. PiblockAfter 45 minutes and 96 pins, Pi is blocking. I have a couple of pissed off cats that are locked out of their room presently, but there she is.  There's a fan blowing on her to speed up the process a bit (which will make a certain fuzzy trio quite happy).  This is indeed the miracle of lace.  I'm very pleased with how it came out.  It blocked out roughly 54" in diameter.  I probably could have gotten a few more inches out of it, but at my height, or lack thereof, I don't need a much larger shawl, 54" is quite sufficient. 

    Bluenude1What is this sitting on the crazy fiber lady's couch last night?  Is that a new weird knitting project?  Nope.  Spinning?  Nope.  Tatting?  Nuh-uh.  Just when you think you had me pegged as some rabid spinner/knitter, I toss in a curveball with an old passion of mine:  counted cross-stitch.  Blame Thanks for this diversion from the yarn arts goes to Deb.  Last week she posted pictures of her the needlework that she and her mom have done.  Inspirational, all of them.  Reminded me, however, of a much neglected hobby of my own.  I've done embroidery (have two small pieces hanging in my bedroom), needlepoint, as well as having gone through a very long phase of counted cross stitch.  I even went so far as to buy the software to convert photos (bought a scanner just for this purpose) to charts.  The height of that period resulted in this: 

    CaptkateThe original was a picture in a Entertainment Magazine about women in science fiction (the same year saw Star Trek:Voyager and Earth 2 premiere on tv).  I was immediately hooked by Voyager and found much to admire in its captain.  (Again, I out myself as a trekker - remind me not to show the uniform I sewed for halloween one year :) My way of expressing that was through this cross stitch. I originally charted this in color but when the resulting pixelization resulted in somewhere near a billion two hundred colors, I tried greyscale.  I then combined some colors to remove a speckling effect that I didn't like on the Preview view and that picture is the resulting stitchwork.  It was done in some 15 shades of grey on black lugana fabric.  As I was unemployed at the time, it took me about two weeks to finish.  It still adorns a wall, but is out of public eye in my bedroom.

    Ma02pGetting back on track from that diversion down crafts past, I started a new cross-stitch.  This time it takes my few colors of the greyscale Captain Kate down to the extreme of ONE.  Cornflower blue.  Yup definitely in a blue phase.  I'm working Matisse's Blue Nude.  Oooh arty.  I didn't convert the chart for this, but found it on a wonderful website that I bookmarked years ago (and was quite relieved to find still existed after Deb's post).  While I considered some of the Eschers and had actually considered one of the Monet's, this one just called me.  Good thing for stashes, and yes my stash does extend beyond knitting and spinning, I had a piece of white 28ct lugana in stash large enough, all I needed to start this was a trip to the store for 10 skeins of dmc embroidery floss, all in one color (I did have to substitute as stupid Rag Shop had only 9 in the original color).

    ParavionTo end the mail week on as good a note as it started. The postman rang the bell yesterday morning announcing the arrival of my Jaeger Shetland Aran (only 2 of the three packages arrived).  Par avion!  Super fast.  The seller sent it out Tuesday!  One package of each color arrived.  Image_274Shortly after this picture, I ripped the bags open and had to fondle the yarn. They pass the chin and wrist test and will make super duper sweaters.  That naturally called for some pattern checking for the perfect little sweaters for the monkeys.  During their nap I found this and after doing a little yarn weight math conversion find it just what I was looking for.  The pattern is originally for that Cottentots from Bernat, but making the largest size in the slightly heavier yarn, we'll get the size/usage out of it that I'm hoping for.  I'll probably get started on Alex's first soon. 

    I also find that I need to make a baby blanket as a present.  The only other woman on my team is pregnant and I would love to give her something.  She's due in early fall so I do have some time, just can't put it off until August ;)  In do know that I'd like to avoid the usual baby pastels and go for something brighter and more vivid.  Any suggestions? Yes I'm open to crocheting.

    Well time to get some laundry done and check on Pi before the twins get up from their daylight savings oddly timed nap.

    Knit Craft on.

    March 30, 2005

    Echoes from the void

    My time flies when you're busy as hell.  I can't believe over a week has gone by since my last posting.  I want to thank everyone for all their kind thoughts regarding my wrist.  It is indeed better and I avoided having to go to the doctor.  I still feel twinges from it every now and again as I pick up a squiggling toddler that would rather be running down the rain soaked driveway.  They're all suicidal I've decided.  The twins are now very into playing 'catch me' and are rather like herding cats.  Speaking of cats, the little beige fur-beast has taken to waking me at 5:15AM by alternately licking and nibbling on my hands/fingers/nose/any exposed skin.  I alternate which side of the bed I toss him off of until one of us gets tired of the game.  In his case, he moves to the foot of the bed and curls up with Earl, for me, I have to get out of bed.  Bleh.  I'm not a morning person by a long shot.

    I've been terribly busy at work recently, ergo the lack of blogging.  I haven't even read others blogs.  I'm going into withdrawal and will be twitching at any moment.  I've been juggling two pretty big projects that both had similar deadlines.   By the time I get the twins down for the night, I'm so tired and so tired of computers that I just plunk on the couch with my knitting and watch television for a couple of hours.  Fortunately for my loyal readers, I got the work on the projects done yesterday and have nothing left to do but the paperwork to release it to QA so now I have time to blog again.  Yay.

    I've made remarkable progress on my pi shawl.  I finished the body of it Wednesday last week.  I started the border on Thursday while I sat in the cold and dark waiting for PSE&G to show up to fix my power problem.  I called them at 8:30AM.  They were happy to send someone over, but they didn't know what time, could be any time up until 11:30 PM and that I would need to be there.  It probably isn't necessary for me to tell you that they didn't arrive until 5:30 and had no need to enter my home.  No power means no heat, no TV, no computers, barely any phone because I only have cordless phones.  My cellphone battery needed to be recharged and I couldn't do that either!  What a long day.  I did get 15 repeats of the border done though before the metal needles got too cold.  As of this morning have completed 75 of the 96 repeats.  I would be further along but I had to frog some 8 points on Monday night.  Seems I can't do these lace repeats at lunch  What a pain.  The lace pattern I chose for the border (thanks for all your help dear readers) is a fabulous one that I'm quite happy with.  It has enough variation that it isn't boring, even after 75 repeats, but it isn't so tricky that I wasn't able to memorize it during the first 1 hour/ 6 repeat sitting. 

    I also got some spinning done during my powerless day, returning to the gray jacob roving on my Tina II.  Damn, whodathunk that preparing the fiber ahead of time would make me love spinning more than I already did?!  Thanks again to Stephanie for that.

    Speaking of Stephanie, Saturday I went to Barnes & Noble and picked up amongst other titles:

    At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much

    I also grabbed a copy of this finally:

    Folk Socks: The History and Techniques of Handknitted Footwear

    I'm completely inspired.  I have SOCKS SOCKS SOCKS SOCKS repeating in my head presently.  A flip through this book, as well as the other sock books I've added recently had my running to the Internet for more sock yarns.  I really want to make the Aran Sandal Sock, so I have to find a good sport-weight to use.  While surfing for yarn (forget that I could be blogging then please) I found that Elann now has the Kroy Sock yarn for half the price that sells it for AND they had a load of it in stock.  Needless to say I placed an order which should be arriving shortly.  I ordered some 12 skeins of it so I'm pretty set for standard socks for some time to come.  A picture of the new pile of sock yarn will be posted when the package arrives. Okay so I haven't purchased any sport weight yet, I'm hoping to find some locally.  I've been quietly adding sock yarn to the collection recently when I discovered I was down to 2 skeins of koigu and the 2 kits from Vicki.  This came in handy last night.  My copy of IK Spring'05 finally arrived yesterday.  I was flipping through it and came on the Cable Rib Socks.  They spoke to me.  Off to the yarn cabinet I went, pulled out two skeins of the Sock It To Me 4ply Essential from in Marine Blue (had to choose between that and Chestnut for the Sock It To Me or Black or Natural in the Kroy that I got quietly from Joann's last week in placing my orders to qualify for free shipping for the rest of the year) and I was off to the races on the socks.  This is the very reason we have a stash!  No way in heck I could have gotten to a yarn store last night at 9pm, the twins were in bed, I was tired and yet I had the burning desire to knit these socks.  Forget Pi.  I've been knitting Pi almost exclusively for over a week.  So close to the end.  Thankfully.  So much yarn, so little time.

    At the risk of turning this into a purchase history blog and making it appear that I'm a bit of a shopaholic, I'm a sucker for a good deal.  I couldn't pass up the price that Jannette has during her current sale of the Jaeger Shetland Aran yarn.  $55 for a bag INCLUDING air shipping from the UK.  Wowza.  Naturally I took advantage of the buy it now and bought.

    JaegerblueJaegerfuchsiaI got two bags in the blue and one in the pink.  I'm going to make the twins each a hoodie in their respective colors with enough to make a sweater for next year as well.  The other bag of blue will be to make a sweater for me.  Though I'm very tempted to make one with both colors for a cutesy coordinating mom/kids outfit.  Yeah I'm sick.  I'm sure I can find a use for this stuff.  Its 80% wool 20% alpaca and just can't be had for this price.  Hell, I'm tempted to buy more, but I don't really NEED any more yarn or more to the point, none of the other colors are calling me.

    That pretty much catches us up to date.  Other than a new Manager starting in my group this past Monday.  Cute guy too.  Wonder if he's single.  No ring, but that really means nothing. I'm waiting to see if pictures materialize on his desk.  I'm hoping for nothing more than a dog photo.  Hell, I don't meet anyone anywhere else these days, might as well keep my eyes open at work. 

    I'm ready to frolic in the warm weather and am so ecstatic by the 60's temp that I actually put on a skirt!  I am a girl!  I have learned from "What Not to Wear" that at my height I shouldn't be wearing ankle length skirts so I opted for a just below the knee pleated light-weight knit in black with a sleeves gray sweater and my black cashmere cardigan over it.  Quite a change from my standard jeans and shirt fare.

    Knit on!

    March 03, 2005

    Knitting is as knitting does

    After a bit of stalling on the project, I finally finished the major portions of Ribby.  I started the second sleeve during my snow day on Tuesday and finished it up last night while watching South Park (second episode).  Yeah.  I watch it.  I also watched American Idol.  I'm having a hard time getting connected to any of the singers this go around as 8pm is an awfully hard time for me to watch tv.  I'm getting the twins into bed, straightening up the house and prepping for the next day during that hour so at best, I'm just listening to the set (less than when I'm sitting on the couch and knitting, while listening to the set :)  So I really haven't seen any of the performances.  I do stop when the rockers come on.

    Anyway, back to ribby, I need to block it, do the bands, sew it up, knit the collar and put in the zipper, which I still have to buy.  I think Saturday will see a trip to Joann's for a zipper.  They should have a better selection than Rag Shop and I shouldn't have a problem with the stroller there, not to mention they aren't overflowing with those farkatke dried flowers that can trigger a migraine for me.  No pictures of all the pieces as I was trying to get to bed a little earlier last night.  I'll try and take tonight of them in their glorious blocking state, should I start blocking, that is.

    I took a look at the status of Big Sack and it will probably be on hold until early fall.  I thought I might have completed the first sleeve and had started the second.  If that was the case, I might as well finish it now.  Nope.  No such luck.  Should I finish it?  I just can't bring myself to work on it.  I'm having second thoughts on the feel of the finished fabric.  It seems a bit sleezy.  While the gauge is spot on, its a very thin material.  Maybe feels that way when compared to Banff and Ribby.  I'm tempted to rip it, but will stuff it back in its bag and leave it to September.

    I went back to working on my pi shawl and have now hit the middle of the first row of diamonds.  I plan on three rows of diamonds in the outer band just as pictured in the book.  My magic spreadsheet is telling me that I'm 42.576% done.  I'm still working from the first cake of yarn though it is coming very close to the end.  I had to rescue the baggie with the second one from Alexander yesterday.  Seems the little bugger has mastered zippers and found his way into my bag.  Thank goodness that while he can open a zipper, he can't handle a closed zip lock.  Whew.  That would have been a massive mess.

    Back to Tuesday's knitting.  I did start the Opera Scarf in the Blue Sky Alpaca Silk, but I wasn't pleased with the results.  I took it to the frog pond and ripped it out.  I'm now open to suggestions of what to do with two skeins of black.  Anyone?  I want something that will get to see more usage than the cowl.

    Looking at the WIPs and the yarn in the cabinet, I think I'm due for a pair of socks.  The last ones came off the needles quite a while ago, and the sock yarn is mounting up.  I added 4 new skeins yesterday when a recent order of solids arrived from Elann.  I still have that Twinkletoes staring at me and Margene keeps mentioning it and has a lovely pair started now.  Not to mention the sock kits that I got from Vicki oh so long ago now.  And I wanted to knit those Aran socks from the recent magazine (can't remember what magazine and which issue at the moment) though Cate recently did a pair.  I could knit those in one of the new solids from Elann, or perhaps some icelandic yarn in natural that I got at Rhinebeck a couple of years ago from Tongue River Farm.

    Geeky me is currently tempted to write a database program to track my stash.  I want to be able to not only track the commercial yarns, but all take a fleece from intake to finished yarn, with how many yards of what wpi resulted from raw weight.  I also want to add the capability of assigning a current/future project to the yarn(s) and the subtracting out of used up stash.  Naturally I'd like to be able to download it to my palm pilot so I can consult it when faced with purchases.  Oh yes, it would also need to have pattern information as to yardage necessary/sizes for when I am out and about.  Bit too compulsive?  So far I'd rather knit or spin than spend any more time in front of a computer so I haven't yet started it but the design is floating around in the back of my head. 

    So much yarn, so little time.

    March 01, 2005

    Loch in Kop

    I went on a SEX yesterday.  No that's not some odd NY/NJ way of screwing with the language.  It was a Stash Enhancement eXpedition.  I needed more yarn like a I needed a new hole in my head.  But I'm a yarn whore.  Better than being a crack whore though.  It is at least legal.  Now that I've thoroughly messed with my google hits, I apologize to those looking for "crack whore" and finding a knitting blog.

    All it takes is a posting on a blog to tempt me from the straight and narrow.  In the past it was Nancy and her Clapotis that had me running off to find appropriate yarn.  Margene enabled me with her description and multiple links to Twinkletoes yarns.  This time it was Cassie who posted yesterday about her spoils in Purl's 40% basket.  The prospect of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4ply for 40% off was just too tempting, not to mention what else might have been hiding in that basket.  A lunch time field trip to the store was definitely called for as it was just too easy to get to; two stops on the subway line which has an entrance from the lobby of my office building and a two block walk.  I left early so I could beat the start of the nasty weather (I'm actually typing this at home after waking to 10" of the hideous white stuff from the sky and finding school canceled for today).  Here's my haul of everything from the 40% sale:


    On the left is the Jane Ellison Noro pattern book.  There are a couple of really pretty items that I'd like to knit {someday}.   Score 1.  The two skeins at the back are Blue Sky Alpaca Silk.  Score 2.  The remainder are the Rowan Yorkshire Tweed.  Nice yarn.  I got 6 skeins of Sheer ( 3 each of two different dye lots), 2 of Knight and one each of Dessicated, Whiskers and Enchant.  Weird color names if you ask me.  I'm hoping to make the wristlets that Cassie created and will hopefully be posting a pattern for shortly.  The Alpaca Silk will either be the Opera Scarf  or ChicKnit's My Favorite Cowl.  Both would be nice and would be quick, but I'm waffling between which one would be better.  I could probably get far more usage out of the scarf than the cowl, but a cowl would be so tempting.  Wait, I think the angora silk that I got from Chris would be better for the cowl.  Problem solved. 

    I think I'll start on the Opera Scarf.  Woo.  I get to use my new Denise Needles.  They arrived Saturday!  Happy dance.   Might as well enjoy my vacation day.

    February 10, 2005

    Fly like a butterfly, knit like a bee

    I have to admit to another completely dopey knitting moment. I finally cast on for the left front (according to the pattern but in actuality the right front by my goofy backwards knitting method) at lunch two days ago.  I started the first row, but the light is so terrible in the office kitchen area that I just couldn't see the stitches in the black yarn.  What with lunch chatter, I didn't feel like counting, especially since I had to count the cast on 4 times to make sure I hit the same number twice.  Nearly majored in math. Believe it?  Didn't think so.  Anyway, I put it back in my bag planning on doing that row in better light someplace else and went back to work on Big Sack.  Did it come out on the train or at home anytime since?  Well yes, finally this morning I remembered Ribby and pulled her out.  I finished the first row and as I started the second, I vaguely remembered some mental debate I had over using the old nylon needles and how I was going to wait for the Denise needles (still not arrived) to do Ribby since I'd rather not do the whole body with them.  If it had just been the edging ti would have been cool as that was all of 8 rows.  So why did I have the nylon needles in my hands.  I dug in the bag and pulled out the addi turbos.  Holding the two together it all came flooding back.  The addis were the smaller set.  Crap.  I cast on using the wrong set.  I tucked the whole works back in the bag and went back to my EZ as Pi shawl.  Feh.

    The shawl is speeding along very nicely. I'm now 23.3% done with the body of it.  I have yet to get really geeky and include the border.  I haven't quite decided which border I'm going to use so I honestly can't yet anyway.  The KAL had a thread yesterday involving keeping the group alive. We've decided to do a second pi shawl.  Cool by me.  I've been knitting this one and have been trying to decide what to do next.  I'd really love to do one in Jaggerspun Zephyr and/or spinning up the tri-color Jacob in a lace-weight to do a banded shawl.  I found an excellent buy on the Zephyr so I'm pretty darn sure I'm going to buy some.  I really like the idea of a banded shawl with the jacob, the problem is in getting the yarn spun up within this lifetime.  No, Tuesday again was not spinning day.  Maybe I'll do some tonight, don't have too much time as the every other week housekeeper is coming tomorrow and I have to tidy up a bit.  I haven't spun in weeks and I can hear the wheels whispering to me.

    I've been a bit distracted over the last couple of days.  I've been on a bit of a quest. And while I don't want to jinx things, I'm still subject to final approval by the breeder, it does involve this:


    February 08, 2005

    Life goes on

    I want to thank everyone for their warm and supportive comments to my last post regarding the passing of my sweet cat.  Your comments meant a great deal to me.  I'm replying to each one individually and I apologize if I haven't gotten back to you.  I wasn't much in the mood to do computery things recently and work has gotten busy.  So I hope a blanket public thank you would do in the short term.  Thank you all.  I've come to grips with the fact that I did what was best for Casanova.  I'm thankful that I could hold him in my arms and pet him his favorite way while he purred to sleep instead of a prolonged illness in a strange cage with strange people doing scary things to him.  Things are slowly returning to normal in my house, however Earl Grey (the silly Russian Blue cat) was a big buddy with Casanova so I'm keeping an eye on him.  He's gone back to his pre-Cassie bonding of sticking to me like a shadow.  I might just have to get him a pet.  Again, I thank you all for your support.  Some folk I know are taking bets as to when I get another cat.   I think the next one will be a long hair.  I'd love a Birman or a Himalayan.   Its too early right now.  I need to see how the others react first, not to mention my own mourning period, before I shake things up and add another.

    Surprisingly there has been some knitting going on.  I've been making some decent progress on my pi shawl.  I'm now on row 17 of Chart B, having finished the diamond section.  It is a decent chart and I've learned to read the knitting.  At the beginning of each pattern row I consult the chart for the basics and can then put it away until two rounds later.  That's my favorite kind of knitting.  New enough that I don't have the entire project memorized (like my basic sock recipe) but not hard enough that I have to examine for each stitch (Orenburg shawl I started years ago).  I don't have any pictures to post as it really isn't much different than the last time I posted one and have better things to show.

    Ribby_backI finished the back of Ribby Cardi on Saturday I think.  My short term memory is really pathetic and it could have been as early as Friday or as late as Sunday. I'm going with the average of Sat.  Nice quick knit and I'm very happy with how it looks.  I feel strongly that this is going to be a very flattering sweater when its done.  What with the ribbing up the sides that should draw it in and the red sleeves/shoulders to trick the eye elsewhere, it will do nicely.  I have yet to cast on further, been distracted by the pi shawl and the fact we went out to lunch yesterday so I really haven't had a chance to do it. 

    Tt_bluegoose_118I didn't get home from my folks house last night until rather late and was immediately distracted by the two packages that Mr. Postman left me.  One was the new cable for my iPod as I had lost the firewire adapter for the thing and couldn't hook it to the computer for a while now so I had to fidget with that.  I also got my Twinkletoes sock yarn from Over the Rainbow yarns on eBay.  I saw these on Margene's blog and was immediately tempted by what she described as "great sock yarn".  I'm always on the prowl for great sock yarn as socks are my favorite purse project and well you just can never have too much sock yarn.  I fell in love with this colorway - Bluegoose - and just had to have it.  I did have to pass over a couple of gorgeous skeins to get this one.  Somehow I don't think this will be my only skein.  This seller is incidentally the same one I bought the yarn for my Clapotis from as well.

    Let's see, what else is there.  Oh yes, I've returned to working on Big Sack sweater, again no pictures of that either.  I'm going to shorten the sleeve about an inch or so.  I'm 5', I really don't need sleeves that are 20" long prior to the decrease for the roomy armpit.  I prefer that my sleeves don't look like I borrowed them from the Jolly Green Giant.  At @18.5, it is now the perfect length so I shall be starting the raglan shaping next.

    Warning Kid Pictures

    Saturday was hair cutting day.  My father had an appt with the barber shop and asked to bring now shaggy Alexander along for another cut.  His last one was some 15 weeks ago and the boy was looking rather scraggly.  While we were there, Kathryn got a decent bang cut as well. 


    Alex_before_1Alexander sat in his grandpa's lap during his cut and was just a great boy for it.  I was very impressed at how well he sat there through it all.  It might help that Pop-pop is one of his most favorite people in the whole world.  This picture is right before the cut started.  His only objection was towards the end when the barber, who's been cutting Dad's hair for some 30+ years, wanted to trim around the ears.

    Kat_beforeKat here is waiting patiently for her Pop-pop to pick her up.  Pop IS her favorite person in the whole world and the only one she calls by name, though Mama is starting to make an appearance.  She goes nowhere without that pink blankie with the very cute lamb attached to it.  She doesn't know this, but there are 3 of these blankies.  My momma didn't raise no dummy.


    After_haircutHere are the two of them later in the day.  They've been out of their cramped quarters for almost 16 months, you think they'd quit sitting on top of each other!  They both look so grown up with their neat haircuts.  Babies no more.  Toddlers they be.  I took them for a walk on Sunday to enjoy the sunshine and the 50+ degree temperature.  It took almost 30 minutes to walk to the corner (one house away mind you) and back, but we all had a great time.

    February 02, 2005

    Keep on knitting

    Now for the second week in a row, Tuesday is Spinning, has been blown away.  I'm guessing the honeymoon period with the Tina is over and/or I'm bored with the Corrie lamb I've been working on.  I did get some new roving in the mail earlier this week.  A gorgeous tri-color jacob roving from a wonderful shepherdess here in my beloved state of NJ.  Jacob sheep are some of the coolest about.  They are generally a spotted sheep and their fleece can be slip into white, black and mixed sections.  If you want to know more, here's a great link.  I think I'm going to spin this roving into three separate colors of lace-weight yarn and maybe just make another pi shawl, this time with each ring being a different color.  Either that or one of those banded shawls in any number of lace books, of which I have no shortage.  Maybe I'll squeeze in some spinning tonight.  I really should finish off that roving already and move onto something new with a clear conscience.  Ha ha ha.

    Pi1cSpeaking of pi shawls, I did the fifth increase to 288 stitches, completed the plain rows before the lace and am now on the first lace row.  I like the pattern, its easy to "get" and I was able to do have a round at lunch yesterday with the girls.   This is where I left off last night.  You can't see the whole thing, but just the outer ring.  I also promise that the diamond on the left is indeed complete and will look normal when this baby is blocked.  Speaking of blocking, I got an email that my blocking wires have shipped.  Wee.  They should arrive in plenty of time for this project and will come in handy for both Big Sack and Ribby.

    Ribby1aAnd while we're on the Ribby subject, here's the beginning of the back.  I'm now 6 inches into it and really enjoying this piece.  I finished the first skein of yarn on the train this morning.  I like the feel of this fabric and the look of the ribs carrying up the sides of the bag.  It should be wonderful when done.  What with the red sleeves and the ribs on the sides, this should be a very flattering piece on.  I'm planning on being adventurous and doing the zipper.  I've got a sewing machine, have made clothes so a zipper shouldn't be that bad.  That's now, see me again when I get to that point.  I reserve my womanly right to change my mind.

    While I'm carrying my two in progress sweaters in my tote bag, the pi shawl is actually in my purse.  This way I was able to work on it yesterday while waiting for the food to arrive at the restaurant.  I hate being caught with nothing to do and I really don't do idle very well.  I learned this lesson a couple of years ago when I got stuck on my parent's boat for 3 hours one November afternoon right after they bought it.  They took me to see it, beautiful thing that it is, and wanted to do some quick winterizing to it.  3 hours later after sitting there like a lump, I was ready to chew my foot off.  Since then, I make absolutely sure to have something with me, be it a book, knitting, charged palm pilot, etc.  I like the fact the shawl and its yarn supply can be comfortably squished into a quart sized Ziploc baggy and stored in my purse. 

    Thanks to Erin for her comment to yesterday's posting about my being a selfish knitter.  She made me think.  I'm pretty sure it is because knitting for myself, there's no pressure.  There's no deadline, other than some goofy self imposed one like the desire to wear these new socks to the festival, unlike the birthday/anniversary/holiday gift deadline.  There's also the fear, and it seems all of us crafters are subject to it, as to whether the recipient will actually like the finished item.  This seems to be even more pronounced for me if the victim is a fellow crafter.   Does my work actually stand up against theirs.  Could they have just done this better by themselves?  I know they at least would comprehend what went into the project, but it doesn't change the behind the scenes thinking.  I feel it turns the enjoyable into a job.  This is the very reason why I've never succumbed to the "your knitting is so wonderful, you should sell it" suggestions by others.   I've always felt that it is no longer a hobby then.  The pressure to produce and to produce worthy of someone else's hard earned dollars is really more than I really want to bear.  Computers used to be a hobby and since I changed careers and make my living with them, they are no longer.  I'm jealously guarding the remaining hobbies.  I knit for the kids because knitting for them is much like knitting for myself.  They won't give me any lip and the only negative feedback is their taking hats/gloves/socks off and they'd do that for bought stuff as well.  I knit for the busy work for my hands.  I knit for the creative satisfaction and the mystical quality of taking a ball of yarn, two sticks, swishing them about and walking away with a finished product.  Inasmuch as I love programming, I can't hold my finished product in my hands the way I can with knitted items.  I think really it is the process and not the product that has me knitting.  The pressure of knitting for others reduces the process, at least in my own twisted perception.

    February 01, 2005

    Ruby Tuesday

    Once I saw that there was a rash of Startitis going around knitblogland, I felt much better about my current case.  As such, I finally started Ribby.  Yeah.  Considering I've been chatting this sweater up for weeks now, I decided it was finally time.  Yes, Big Sack is still in my bag and will get its time too.  I decided that a cardigan would get far more use and well, now that I have the yarn to make two of them, I just better get started.  I swatched last night using the black for the body and thankfully I was right on.  I cast on now have the first 10 rows done.  I can see where this is going to be a nice and fast knit.  The yarn is just flowing through my fingers and I have to say that I really like the worsted version of the Peruvian Highland.  Big Sack is in the chunky and while it is soft and squishy, the worsted is even nicer. 

    I put in a few rounds of work on the pi shawl on the train yesterday and this morning.  I did the 5th increase to 288 stitches and am half a round from starting Chart B's lace pattern.  As such, I'm a whopping 7.5% done ;)  Encouraging, no?

    The new mittens were given the outdoors test this morning.  Initially glovens were being worn, only because they were in a more accessible pocket in my coat, and my fingers nearly froze as I scraped frost off my windshield.  I swapped and my hands were now toasty in the new mittens.  I think the glovens are going to lose their flappy bit and become hobo gloves.  I'm also thinking about converting the glovens I'm knitting (ever so slowly) for mom to wrist gauntlets.  I'm not quite sure what she's after, but I had a pair of those things, recently lost one, that I just loved.  I'm a terrible rotten selfish knitter making myself all these things and nada for anyone else.

    I have to reassess the mailing lists I'm on.  I recently put the Spin-List on NoMail and am trying to decide whether to unsub it altogether.  When did American's become so ugly?  There was a recent question about the correct pronunciation of Rambouillet, as in the particularly lovely breed of sheep derived from the Spanish Merinos given to the Louis and kept on his farm.  After someone who was able to speak french replied to this email query with the correct pronunciation broken down so that it read something like "ram-boo-yay", the list degenerated into something so ugly that really makes me ashamed to be American.  Some of these folk would rather say something so very wrong rather than be accused of "putting on airs" to say it correctly.  The next thread had the sheep now renamed from Rambouillet to Freedom Sheep in yet another bout of French bashing.  There are times when I'm incredibly proud to be an american and yet others when I'm deeply ashamed.  Sadly this isn't the first time there's this kind of negative exchange and the whole thing has left a very bad taste in my mouth.

    Getting off my soapbox and back to the knitting.

    January 31, 2005

    Monday Monday

    Well its Monday again.  Didn't start off really well, Kat was up crying at 5:30 this morning, so I need a nap.  I got to work late today as I had to take the twins for their 15 month checkup at the pediatrician, Dr. Rona.  Now Dr. Rona lives across the street from my parents and I used to babysit for her kids, who are now driving.  Geez, talk about time flying.  Anyway, the twins are doing well, progressing nicely and are in the 50th percentile for their respective height and weight.  Alex is 1.25" taller than his sister and 3 pounds heavier.  They had their chicken pox vaccine and off to school they went.

    Now that they've figured out this walking thing, they are doing it more and more often.  This isn't entirely a bad thing as together they weigh 46 lbs and put a bit of a strain on my back.  Getting them both someplace is a bit like herding cats though.  This weekend I got them to walk to their bedroom from the living room, dropping gates and closing doors along the way.  Talk about being distracted by shiny pebbles.  They are definitely my kids.  Anyway, it was a bit easier if I got one where I wanted him/her to go and used him/her as a lure for the other.  They usually giggle and squeal the whole way.

    Speaking of shiny pebbles, I finished one of this weekend's new projects.  The wool/mohair mittens are now done.  It took just about 2 hours last night in front of the tube to do the second one.  I got to wear them today.  While the weather is balmy compared to last week, they will do very nicely.  They are also large enough that I can wear a pair of gloves underneath.  I'm toying with taking the flaps off glovens and using them as mitten liners.  I found I very rarely keep the flap closed anyway and they tended to just get caught flapping about.  I'd welcome opinions.

    The pi shawl is progressing quite nicely.  I just had to show my geek status once again.  I was trying to come up with some way of dealing with the progress bar for the Pi shawl.  Sure, I've done 4 increases out of the total six, but I knew that I had not complete a smidgen of the completed shawl.  I needed a way to calculate the percentage completeness that was true to the overall amount of work that needed to be done.  How best to measure progress?  Row count?  While there are only x rows in the thing, the early rows have far fewer stitches, 9 to begin with, than the later, 596. Total inches of diameter?  Again, this posed the same problem.  It would take far less actual work to do an inch on the inside of the circle than on the outside.  The only way that was truly reflective was a stitch count.  Yes, I am that kind of geek.  Out came Excel, a numbers geek's true friend.  In the end, I now have a spreadsheet that I can futz with to give me a relatively accurate picture of how much I've actually done.  I'm a mere 6.4% complete, with 4878 stitches out of 76206 (not including border) complete.  Sort of disheartening isn't it?

    In the shiny pebble mode again, the order from Elann that I got in on last week arrived today.  Woo.  More peruvian highland wool to fondle.  The black/red star trek inspired ribby cardi is sneaking up in the queue.  I seriously doubt that I'm going to wait for the Denise needles to arrive before I start the sweater, well unless they come in the next 48 hours.  I have perfectly serviceable old nylon circular needles in probably the right size (I should really swatch) that a fellow blogger actually intentionally bought.  I should be happy that I have quite a few of these bad boys.  I did my icelandic shawl on one, I guess the ribby would be fine. 

    I finally settled down on a new book to read.  There were a couple of false starts, but I picked up this:

    Word of Honor

    I've read quite a few of his books and I like them very much.  They remind me a bit of a less dense version of Tom Clancy.  I loved the Ryan series.  I admit to getting sucked into watching The Hunt for Red October on tv yesterday.  I can do that movie line for line.  That one has it all, Sam Neil, Alec Baldwin and (be still my heart) Sean Connery.  Ahhhh.  Oh and cool techy things like a super new submarine and the DSRV.  Love the movie.  Have since I saw it in the movie theatre back when I actually went out to the movies.  Anyway, I find DeMille's writing style very much like Clancy. 

    January 29, 2005


    As my parents took the monkeys last night, I was free to enjoy myself and sleep in this morning.  So what does a crazy fiber lady do on a free night?  Knit of course!  I took this:


    A skein of Patons Classic in black, a cone of Kid Mohair lace-weight (Silk City Fibers) and my trusty Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns and made this:


    What happened to glovens you ask?  Well they are still around and being worn.  Except the fabric is a bit light for the weather last week.  It was downright frigid here and I could feel the darn cold steering wheel right through the double layers.  I need warm mittens and these should do the trick.  Needless to say the weather is warming up now that I finished one.  Reminds me of the Harlot and her fuzzy feet.  Oh yeah, I started my fuzzy feet Friday.  Got to the heel flap by the end of Knit Club and haven't touched them since.  Its going to be 40 by Wednesday.  Who needs slippers now?

    ConestashSo now that I finished one mitten, wasn't going to stay up late enough to do the second one, what was a crazy knitter going to do?  Swatch for the EZasPi KAL.  I got another cone of yarn from the yarn cone stash.  This picture is only half the cone stash.  There's a little bit of everything there.  It dates from my machine knitting phase, expanded during my weaving phase and grew further when I discovered that this thin stuff is wonderful for lace knitting. 1999 saw a pretty decent lace knitting phase from me.  I churned out shawls, even one in my own homespun merino/angora/silk yarn in the Children of Lir pattern.  Someday I'll backtrack and take pictures of some of the older stuff for the library.

    So anyway, I gathered the mohair from the stash.  It was a color called Glacier and a lace-weight that I got at Silk City Fibers warehouse sale.  It was pretty and after the second increase section, I knew this wasn't the yarn I was going to use.  The bloom from the mohair was just overpowering.  Back to the wall of cones I went.  The above picture actually shows the cone I grabbed next.  It is the blue cone lying on its side, rather than standing, on the far right of the picture.  It's a 2/28 merino that I also got at Silk City.  I only had a few sources for the MK yarn, Silk City, eBay and School Products in Manhattan.  Silk City Fibers is a manufacturer in Paterson, NJ.  The first Saturday of the month, they open their warehouse doors to the public for a sale.  Beautiful stuff and over the years, I've amassed a nice collection of merino, angora, kid mohair and chenille from them at decent prices.  So this is a very fine yarn, approx 9000 yd/pound.  Far finer than the Zephyr that I really wanted to use but just can't justify buying :)  In case you're curious what the '2/28' signifies, here's a link to a page that explains it.  Suffice it to say, its a very fine 2 ply yarn.  I Pi1astarted the shawl last night with one strand and knit through the second increase.  It was pretty and very very delicate.  As I lay in bed this morning, I decided to frog it and redo it, but this time take the yarn doubled.  I checked this weight against some lace-weight Nandia Cashmere/Silk yarn here that is the same weight (2/18) as the Zephyr.  They were very compatible.  I cast on again and this time am very happy with it, using a size 5 Swallow Casein needles (love em btw, excellent for this as they aren't too slippery and the merino is holding it nicely).  The picture on the left shows it with the double strands and the quarter for reference.  Here's a closer look at the stitches "blocked":

    Really hard to do this one handed!

    As the Borg say, resistance is futile.  It was only a matter of time before I went nuts and cast on projects left and right. So in the matter of 24 hours, I doubled the active projects.. and wouldn't you guess, not a single one of these was in the queue.  Poor queue projects, someday they'll make it to the needles.

    Off to knit a bit before bed!

    January 27, 2005

    Little Progress

    As I haven't progressed very much on anything, I don't have any pictures of goodness to offer up.  I did cast on the first sleeve for Big Sack yesterday at lunch and managed to get through the first two increases, but I have a great deal left to do.  I haven't been knitting on the train as I've finally hit the really exciting part of the book I'm reading. 

    Deception Point

    I'll have this done tonight on the way home so I can return to my knitting and actually post progress on that.  I've become a big Dan Brown fan this year having read 4 of his books in the last 6 months.  I know folk either really like him or really dislike him.  I have yet to hear anyone taking the middle ground.  Personally, I really like a good action book.  I love a techno thriller and adore Tom Clancy novels.  Ah shades of my nerdism shining through once again.

    I lost knitting time last night.  As soon as I finished my chores and plunked down in the glider rocker, His Highness was up crying.  The twins are coming down with something as are all sniffly/coughing.  The night before I had the princess up, so it was his turn.  I do admit that I enjoyed sitting in the dim room with this warm little body molded to me, rocking gently and listening to him breath.  Sigh.  I guess he lulled me sufficiently that after I put him back in the crib at 9:30, I went to bed.  I still had trouble getting up this morning and couldn't manage to quit hitting the snooze alarm until 7am so I had a goodly amount of sleep for a change.  Lots of sleep, not much knitting and no spinning.  I'll make up for it.  I promise.

    I'm going to put Big Sack on quick hold and try and whip out a pair of Fuzzy Feet, now that I've seen Stephanie's pair and recall my ground level/concrete slab abode.  I have a pretty decent stash of Lamb's Pride in various colors though the largest portion is in white.  I've read in various places that white yarn won't full the way other colors will so I'm kind of hesitant to use it.  I seem to remember a whole skein left over from the booga bags.  I can probably whip these out pretty quickly.  This morning's very frigid temperature educated me in the fact that my glovens, while pretty, ain't all that warm.  I'll be digging out that Morehouse Merino mitten kit that I bought at Union Square before the holidays and seeing how quickly I can get me some warm mittens.  I'm secretly hoping that the area thaws out before I can finish them though.

    I fondled the Aurora Bulky that I bought at Majestic Yarns for a sweater for Alex.  I need to get a swatch sample of that, though it might have to wait as the 10.5 needles are being used by the Big Sack sweater.  Geez I hope the Denise Needles arrive shortly.  Though their absence is indeed keeping a lid on the number of projects I can work on at once.  I guess I could use {shudder} straight needles and have a lovely set of bamboo 10.5's but ick.  I don't like straight needles. 

    I got in on a group order to Elann yesterday.  Bought more of the peruvian highland.  For another Ribby Cardi.  Yeah, I know, I haven't started the first one yet.  So what?  This one is going to have the black body and ruby sleeves.   Must be the geeky trekker in me, but I've thought of nothing else but a black sweater with red sleeves since I saw the colors earlier this week.  It pushed aside the two tone grey one that I had been thinking about for over a week.  I'm willing to go out on a limb and predict that the black/red sweater is going to be the next big project for me after the BS sweater, leapfrogging the Dusty Rose version.  Bad Risa.  Very bad.  I toyed with buying the yarn for both color combinations, but thankfully Amy talked me off that cliff.  Thanks Amy. 

    I've got to find the right yarn in stash (I doubt the newest ebay win of Skacel Merino Lace is enough) for a the EZasPi knitalong.  I have a cone of some very nice kid mohair that I got a couple of years ago at Silk City that might work, not to mention some more of the angora that I knit Amy's Kris Kringle gift out of.  I'm just not sure what weight yarn and how much I need.  I guess I need to open the book and take a look ;)

    I need to change groups at work.  I found out yesterday, while over asking a question, that there's a group around here that knits openly, during the day, at their desks as a mental break!  Whoa!  How very cool is that?  I know I used to get up, go outside and smoke for a bit, especially when some puzzler was eluding me.  Every now and again, I'd tuck my knitting in my pocket and knit during those cig breaks.  Since I quit, geez 4 years ago, I haven't had those kinds of breaks.  I would LOVE to knit.  I'll have to try it.  Though I don't have those kinds of puzzlers right now.  Work is pretty routine and more like a code version of babysitting.  At least I have things to do these days.  Makes the day go a little quicker at best.  Now if I could knit??!?!?  Work would be less like work ;)

    January 22, 2005

    Are you a knitter?

    Haven't had a quiz in a while and found this while doing my ring checker job:

    Granny knitter
    You may not be a granny, but you've got the
    mentality.  Hard work and artistic vision lead
    to your beautiful knitted results.

    Are you a knitter?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    In other news, I've finished the back of the Big Sack sweater last night while watching Star Trek:Enterprise.  Blech.  It wasn't a bad episode, but its not a great series and suffers from the same problem inherent with all prequels.  There's little suspense as it is an established history unless of course you just blow away 30+ years of back story.  Now that I've outed myself as a trekker, I'll move on.  I also spun up one more bobbin on Tina and skeined up the plied yarn from Thursday night.    This added another 170 yards to the collection and brings the total to over 500 yds.  I have a bobbin and a half full now and probably a pound of raw material left to spin.  I'll wash the skeins when done and remeasure.  Then I can plan for an item to knit!

    I've been very silent about the tragedy caused by the earthquake and tsunami.  That doesn't mean I haven't done anything.  I've made donations to both the Red Cross International Relief Fund and Doctors Without Borders.  I've now made donated Jacqueline Fee's Sweater Workshop to the Knitters Without Frontiers  being organized by the much loved Yarn Harlot.  I think its a great book for a great cause.  I'm proud to call myself a knitter thanks to the stupendous outpouring of support that is coming from our community.  Knit on everyone.

    And now, I'm going to play with the kids, prepare to cast on for the front of Big Sack and basically hide from the incoming blizzard about to hit New Jersey.  I hate snow.  I hate winter.  I could get to like to knitting with cotton.  Really.  Well maybe not.  I hate knitting cotton.  I still hate snow.

    January 19, 2005

    The Postman cometh

    Once again the beloved letter carrier left a box by my front door.  This time it was my order from  I've been very excited to compare their Peruvian brand yarn, Wool of the Andes (WOA) , to the Peruvian Highland from Elann (PH).  I went jogging to the yarn cabinet after getting the box open and pulled out a skein of PH.  On the visual level, they appear to be very different yarns.  This, I believe, is caused by put up.

    Knitpicks1The WOA is wound in pretty tight skeins that remind me of Luster Sheen.  The yarn is under tension so that the skein doesn't squoosh the same way as the PH does, which is in fluffy skeins.  The yardage/weight is equivalent, so I knew they were more similar than they appeared.  I pulled out a yard or so length from both skeins and held them together.  Without the tension, the WOA, fluffed on up and became indistinguishable from the PH.  I held them side by side on my finger and other than color, there was little difference between the two.  I'd have to say that the WOA is a cheaper ($1.79/skein) alternative to Elann's PH ($2.25/skein). The added bonus to the WOA is KnitPicks free shipping for orders over $30.  I'm happy with their delivery time from the other side of the country too.  I placed the order on Friday last week.  They shipped it out the same day and it was waiting for me when I got home tonight.  I'll be using that pretty blue to make the cover item, Mia, from Debbie Bliss' Junior Knits.  The largest size is for a 38" finished chest and that would be my preferred size anyway.   I'll probably work on this after the Ribby Cardi.

    Bigsack1aMonday night I started "swatching" for the Big Sack sweater.  Actually I cast on for it hoping that my gauge was on.  No such luck.  Instead of 14st to 4", I was coming in at 16.  Not good.  Would make a big sack sweater into a form fitting tight sweater.  Not what I had in mind.  To the computer and the calculator I went.  Initially I thought about ripping it out and going for a larger size where the numbers would have worked, other than the fact I didn't buy enough yarn for a larger size.  No I don't want to go there.  Yes I remember that I'm using a splurge yarn to correct my original yarn purchase mistake.  So I really didn't want to revisit that ugly place.  I decided to pack it in and think about it in the morning.  As I was getting ready for bed, some little light popped on in my head, hey try a larger needle.  Bright light, eh?   The pattern was calling for a 10US, as was the ball band.  That's what I had used and came up off on both counts.  I hit my circular needle storage notebook (3" ring binder with separate pencil zipper pouches labelled for each size) and got my 10 1/2".  I switched needles on the train into work on Tues and by lunch was ready to measure.  Woo.  This did the trick.  I'm now spot on on gauge and have a far more delicious texture to the fabric as well.  The 16st/4" was nice, but not as drapey as the desired gauge.  This is going to be one nice sweater. 

    As for last night, well Tuesday is spinning day.  I did fight some after dinner interia problems.  After getting the twins down, I plopped down on the couch and instinctively grabbed my knitting.  I saw the wheel across the room (Tina sits on the trunk next to the TV so the kids can't get to all her doodads) and hemmed and hawed over the whole Tuesday is spinning.  I toyed with making Wednesday or even Saturday the new spinning day.  But no, I had a good thing going and I really shouldn't mess with it.  I put away my knitting, pulled out my basket of corriedale roving and retreived Tina.  I then spent the next two hours watching I Love the 90's on VH1 and spinning.  I filled one whole bobbin and a 1/4 of the other.  I'll be ready to ply again the next time the wheel comes out.  I happy to note that I'm actually close to finishing off all the roving.  This will mark the very first time since I learned to spin in June of '99 that I've spun and entire fleece I bought.  Okay so it was a small lamb fleece (3lbs), but that makes no difference.  I've never completely used a single fleece.  Doesn't explain why I buy more so many darn fleeces each year.  Judging by the amount of fiber around here, I think I need to add another spinning day!

    Well I have a vacation day tomorrow as I have no other daycare for the monkeys.  Its nice to have a break in the week.  I have to admit that I'm really enjoying picking them up from school and making dinner.  I've parked them in the living room with a Baby Einstein dvd, and a room full of their toys, while I've made dinner.  After dinner, they play while I clean up the kitchen.  I get to play with them for about 45 minutes before its time to get ready for bed.  I find they really recharge me. 

    Amie commented on my last post regarding how surprised she was to see their picture with the cat after seeing them in my sidebar.  That picture was their 6 month portrait.  I was very impressed with the photographer that took the pictures and this one is the best of the bunch that included quite a number of really good pictures.  The one year shot wasn't quite as good, but it was a different studio.  I'll scan it soon and slip it in the family album.  I'll probably take them back to Sears studio at 18 months and get more done.

    January 12, 2005

    Knit One, Sneeze Two

    Ugh.  I've been laid flat by the flu.  Silly me thought that going to sleep a half hour earlier a few nights ago was going to be sufficient in kicking this bug out of me.  I'm deluded.  I hope I didn't pass this tendency towards delusion, along with bad basic math skills, to the twins.  They seem pretty level headed so far.  I'm pretty sure they don't think a nap is what it takes to beat the flu. 

    I woke up yesterday running 102F.  Taking some Tylenol and dragging my ass into the office was probably not the smartest thing and having done that on Monday, I thought that I should perhaps rest a bit more than that extra 1/2 hour afforded me.  I called my folks, informed them of my decrepit condition and my mom came to retrieve the aforementioned monkeys.  We packed them a small bag and they stayed with my parents last night.  Mom took them to "school" this morning.  She picked them up tonight and brought them home to me.  I really did miss their little monkey faces.  This morning my temp wasn't quite as high, but still well above normal, and I have a nasty juicy cough so I opted for another day in bed.  I'm feeling "much" better now and will probably return to the routine tomorrow.  Fever is finally normal, thank goodness!  Before the twins arrived, I can't even remember the last time I had a fever, was probably sometime around June of 99 when I got strep from a friend's child.  Since the twins started school, this is my third illness that has given me a fever!  Oy.  It's like being a kid again myself.  I hope our immunity systems improve soon.

    Anyway, between naps, juice and cups of tea I found that even in my reduced state, I could still knit.  Chris challenged my assertion a while ago that I couldn't knit in my sleep.  while I still think that I can't, I can knit while pretty darn sick.  I got quite a lot accomplished in the last two days.

    Project Info

    Yarn: Cascade 220 color #9404 - Brick Red
    Pattern: Atypically Knit
    Started: 01/06/05
    Finished: 01/11/05

    Second time is the charm.  Here is Kathryn's cabbage patch doll modeling the hat.  I do have to block it a bit bigger, or wait until my head decongests a bit because it was almost painfully tight when I finished it yesterday.  I think it was pretty and definitely much easier to knit in the Cascade than in the Lamb's Pride that I used last time.  It did teach me one thing, I don't like to do bobbles and I can live without cables, especially all over cables.  This rings the death knell on Wensleydale Cables.  Big Sack sweater is another story as it is one cable running down the front center.  Speaking of cables, I have to go back and finish the Irish Hiking Scarf.

    Project Info

    Pattern: Own - Style: Cuff down-2x2 rib
    Yarn: Koigu KPPPM - 2 skeins
    Started: 11/28/04
    Finished: 01/12/05

    For the first time in my history as a knitter, the second sock took FAR less time to knit than the first one.  I only cast on the second one at bedtime on the 8th.  I knit one row and called it a night.  Monday night, I knit an inch before actually going to sleep for my delusional additional half hour.  The rest of this lovely sock was knit between yesterday afternoon after I finished Hatmione and 1pm today.  While I bought two skeins and knit each sock with a separate one, I have plenty left over.  I suspect that I can get at least one pair, if not two, for Kathryn out of the remainder.

    Moving on, here's a finished project that never appeared in the "On the Needles" or even "In the Queue".  While it is supposed to be 60F tomorrow, the cold weather is bound to hit this area shortly and they are calling for temperatures below freezing this weekend.  As I mindlessly knit the sock, I thought about this weather change and my poor little kids' fingers wiggling out beyond the extensive sleeves of their coats.  I also gave some thought to Kathryn's current status as a thumb sucker.  Mittens are the easiest for toddlers, like hell I'm going to try and get all their little fingers into gloves, sleeves are problematic enough.  So it had to be mittens.  But I've seen her pitch a fit because her thumb got stuck in her sleeve (her jammies in the crib) and knew that until I was ready to break her of thumb sucking, I'd have to come up with a solution.  Here she is wearing them:

    Kat in MittsAs you can see, her preferred thumb is out and about for sucking purposes while the rest of her hand stays toasty.  The other hand is sporting a standard mitten avec thumb.  I'm pretty pleased that they work for her and that they fit.  I knit them this afternoon while they were at daycare and I had to guesstimate size.  I mongrelized a couple of patterns, freebies on the net and my old trusty Ann Budd's Knitters Handy Book of Patterns.  she looks a little um weird in the picture.  It was after a long day of daycare, where they don't quite sleep as well as they do here.  The twins are still recovering from their own illness and are still a bit congested themselves.  After this picture was taken, we played the take them off and put them on again game.  I have to add leashes to these things and make them idiot mittens or I'll be knitting replacements all winter long.

    Project Info

    Pattern: Own
    Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Baby left over from Kat's Cardigan
    Started: 1/12/05
    Finished: 1/12/05

    I just need to make a pair for Alex.  Judging by how fast I whipped these two out, I'll have his done tomorrow ;)  Ooooh tempting the knitting goddess.

    And what is this??

    Bsyarn1The beloved postman delivered this to me today.  What is it?  14 skeins of Peruvian Collection Highland Chunky from Elann in Redwood.  What about the diet you ask?  While I'm tempted to retort, 'what diet'?  I had to.  This is the yarn for the Big Sack sweater to fix my math error of New Years Eve.  You'll remember that I snuck in under the diet wire and ordered yarn for the sweater that night but badly mangled the math.  Must have been that one bottle of beer that I had.  Yea.  That's it.  I got snockered on a 7oz bottle.  Ha.  I'll admit it.  I ordered these skeins the night I discovered my serious math mistake.  I'm sort of glad I had to order more as I like this color better.  I feel better now that I fessed up and admitted the diet breaker.  I haven't bought anything else, though I will need new needles for the big sack replacement sweater as I can't find any 13's around here.  That won't be for a while as I'll probably take Ribby Cardi next or Big Sack.   There's also the I'm So Sari Knitalong that is starting this weekend, though I think we'll be starting it at Knit Club on Friday.  Hmm, I'll have to find the needles for this too.

    Mom's glovens are moving to the On the Needles tonight/tomorrow as my new night table knitting.  I've changed the yarn on that project yet again.  I finally removed the last bin of yarn from the twins' room and in there was my baby yarn collection.  I found a skein of 100% acrylic (cringe) Pingouin Pingorex Baby.  I had her test the yarn on her skin this evening and it passed her itch test.

    Well, time for some tea and the rest of Nanny 911. 

    January 09, 2005

    Ahhh yarn

    By popular demand, I have a picture of me wearing banff.  Okay, two comments and one email is the sum total of requests, I shall bow to said requests.  Ignore my crappy hair.  I had an ill advised haircut in early October that I'm trying desperately to outgrow.  I was also sick on Friday.  My ill but very generous children did what they always do, they passed the illness to me.  I felt really cruddy on Friday and stayed home with the sick little beasts, missing a knit club get together at work.  Without any further ado, here's me in Banff.

    Banff_meBanff is a rather large sweater and I'm a rather small person.  I'm all of 5'0.25", so the very generous ease is extremely generous on me.  That said, the sweater is outstandingly comfortable.  I'm almost sorry that the weather here turned warm as I was finishing this.  While it was on the needles, it was single degree wind chill out there and this week we're going to flirt with 60F.  I'd almost consider taking up skiing so I could slouch around in this thing in the lodge drinking hot cocoa from a cup the size of Kat's head ;)  If I were to make this again, I might shrink the sleeves a touch.  While they are designed very long so that can be cuffed, the sleeve is too long on me.  I either shorten the cuff or do fewer rows before the sleeve shaping so that the massive cuff would hit me on the wrist, rather than knuckles.  I love it anyway.  I still have some 3 skeins of the yarn, used 9 rather than the 7 the pattern called for.  I'm going to keep the partial skein for repairs/emergency/insulation, make a 42 stitch hat to match. 

    Koigu3I've finally finished the first koigu sock.  I can't believe how long it has taken to do the first sock.  I started it in November.  I just finished it last night in January!  That kind of time frame is more in line with the second sock, not the first!  I can only imagine how long the second one is going to take.  I'm scared I'll finally be finishing it on my folk's boat this July.

    I want to thank everyone for the kind wishes and hopes that the sickies in this house get better soon.  Being the very generous kids that they are, they once again shared their illness with me.  This time was better than July when they gave me the coxsackie virus and 103.5F fever, for my birthday no less.   I don't think I got the fever this time, but there is a general feeling of malaise, stuffiness and a scratchy throat.  I have a feeling that this might be the flu when one has had the flu shot.  Mom came over Friday to help me with the kids.  She was sinussy and not up to full speed either.  Around 4ish, she took Alex home with her.  Neither one of us was really up to caring for two sick toddlers, so divide and conquer we did.  It was nice having a little girl time with Kat.  She ate and slept well for me as Alex did for his grandparents.  Yesterday he came home after lunch.  Kat took a 4 hour nap from 11 to 3pm.  Alex freaked me out and took a 15 hour nap from 4pm to 7am.  If he weren't napping now, I'd think he used his napping quota for the month! 

    I've had a bit of crafting time with all that napping.  Besides finally finishing the first koigu sock, I've made some progress on Hatmione, though really not worth posting a picture of.  I'm about an inch into the cabling pattern.  I do have to say that I find cabling with Cascade 220 far more enjoyable than with the Lamb's Pride.  Blech.  I spent some time with Tina yesterday and filled a second bobbin of that brown corrie.  I did have to do a little wood repair work on her yesterday.  As I was putting her away I noticed that one of the back legs was wiggly.  As I was about to put some wood glue in the crack, the leg came off in my hand.  Ick.  It was a really jagged break that would be a cinch to glue.  A little glue, some twine to keep the leg in place and she's as good as new.  I let her sit and set up for 24 hours now and will probably ply up the yarn tonight.  After woodworking, I decided to try my hand on the thread crochet bear that I've been looking at for a while.  It's on a size 9US Steel crochet hook, 20 crochet thread and barely visible to work on.  It's also articulated.  I have the head, body and half of one arm done already.  When finished, it will be about 2.5" long and held together with dental floss.  Neat.  I'm actually enjoying it, though will probably be blind by the time I finish!

    January 06, 2005

    Thank you knitting goddess

    I got a call yesterday early afternoon that Alexander was running a fever and that someone had to come and get him from the daycare center.  While my mother was available to pick him up, she's not feeling overly well and with the threatened weather, I wanted to get shut up in the house as early as possible.  I left the office at about 3 and made it home at 4.  A trip to Pathmark for diapers and pedialyte and I was off to get my babies.  Alex was definitely not himself, though when the tylenol took effect, we were able to get some food and drink into him.  At 5:30, I took the twins home and I knew for sure that Alex was sick when he lay down in the middle of the living room floor and went to sleep.  This is the kid that doesn't sleep.  I did get some dinner into him and the two of them went to bed.  They both slept through the night nicely and as you'd expect, they were both feverish this morning.  I stayed home with them.  Many shifting naps, doses of tylenol and motrin (alternating) and they are sleeping now. 

    TinaWhen I got home from Mom's last night with the twins, there was this huge box standing outside my front door.  Tina was here!  Now I know I'm a grown up in that I had to take care of the twins, get them off to bed, before I could play.  It was hard.  I saw that box sitting off to the side of the kitchen whispering to me.  Finally at 8 I was able to open it up.  M did a beautiful job packing it up and without any travel wounds, Tina emerged from the box.  There were 4 standard bobbins, 4 high speed bobbins, 6 different whorls, a distaff, a 3 and 4 bobbin holder rod, scotch tension knob, a bottle of oil and probably a couple of pounds of beautiful tunis fleece.  I'll have to wash some of that up shortly and give it a spin. 

    Corrie_lamb1Tina and I were able to get some bonding time in before it was time to call it a night.  I spun up some of the corriedaleX roving that I had Blue Hills Alpacas make up out of a fleece I got a couple of years ago at Rhinebeck.  it's a beautiful brown tones roving that I've been futzing around with for a while now.  I have a bobbin of singles I've done of it on two different wheels, now three.  Thankfully that isn't too much waste and really only amounts to a couple of ounces and if I'm really lucky I'll find that my spinning is remarkably consistent and that the Lendrum Upright bobbin's singles will match Tina's.  I can dream can't i?  I plied back a length of the singles on itself to see what the plied yarn would look like.  I'm very happy with it and will probably spend more time with Tina and the corrie shortly.

    Thankfully my hope that I could accomplish X by a certain date didn't piss off the knitting goddesses.  I finished the second sleeve on the train home yesterday afternoon.  I actually had to pull out my book as I finished knitting about 15 minutes from home!  I was able to sew all the pieces together early this afternoon.  Tonight after getting the babies down, I got to work on the neck.  I can proudly pronounce Banff complete.

    Project Info

    Yarn: Tahki Soho Bulky Tweed in #373 (Oatmeal)  -  eBay bargain
    Pattern: Knitty
    Started: 12/22/04
    Finished: 01/06/05

    And what is this?

    Hatmione1Hatmione!  Finally, I'm giving this bad a** project a second go around.  You might remember that this isn't the first time on this pattern.  The last time was with Lamb's Pride left over from my Hogwarts Scarf.  Sadly there wasn't enough yarn to finish it.  Unfortunately, I had to get pretty far into the hat to figure this out.  Someday I'll learn.  So I ordered more yarn, this time a full skein of Cascade 220, which is the yarn called for in the pattern so I hope to avoid that indignity again.

    For someone who nearly majored in math and actually enjoyed calculus, I have to admit, I make some seriously goofy errors when it comes to base mathematics when it involves yarn requirements for a pattern.  Remember my last minute elann splurge for their chunky highland yarn to make the Big Sack sweater from SNB and how I also bought for another banff?  Well the beloved postman delivered said yarn today.  I calculated incorrectly the yarn requirements for not just one of those sweaters, but both of them.  I'm such a dork.  Oh and both yarns are out, no more skeins available. On the up note, now I have the yarn to do the Orbit Pullover in IK Fall 02.  I actually bought that issue for that particular sweater but never got around to doing it.  I technically have enough of the chunky to do this sweater in each color.   The yarn is beautiful, but it does leave me in a bit of a quandary for what to do about the Big Sack sweater.  I had decided that I was going to use that as my test case for whether or not I'd ever do an Aran sweater.  I did see THE yarn, rowanspun chunky, for an excellent price on eBay.. or do I just get the right number of skeins from elann this time. 

    January 05, 2005

    Sleeve Island

    It doesn't seem like I'm going to get stuck as usual on sleeve island.  The second sleeve for Banff was 7 rows short of the beginning of the raglan decreasing when I got off the train last night.  Since Tina is coming, I opted to switch to Wednesday is Spinning day as I KNOW I'll just have to use the new wheel.  Since I'll be at work when the fine UPS man visits my home, I left a note authorizing delivery (just in case signature is required - worked before for this) taped to the front door, as well as a very large plastic bag and a plea to cover the box as best he could as the weather promises to be truly crappy.  So last night was for knitting more banff sleeve.

    Banff3This is what it looked like when I started.  You can see it on sleeve one and there's about 61 rows remaining.  54 of those rows each have a one stitch decrease so they go faster and faster (naturally).  I really should have this done this week.  Woo hoo.  Fastest sweater I've ever knit. 3.5 st/in does have a hand in that though.

    I feel I should fess up to a last minute yarn splurge right before the stroke of midnight on new years eve and the start of the diet.  I was blog surfing my bloglines and saw Nancy's post regarding the big sack sweater in SNB.  I picked up that book last month taking advantage of my employee discount.  I liked it very much when I saw it initially, but didn't give it much further thought as I had Wensleydale Cables from IK Winter '99/'00 on the queue and really didn't need another cabled sweater.  Well in the interim, I changed my mind what I was going to do with the dusty rose Peruvian highland yarn from  It was no longer going to be Wensleydale Cables, but the ever popular Ribby Cardi.  I thought about getting more yarn for WC (and diet be damned, I still might), but when I saw Nancy's mention of the big sack and while it is a cabled sweater, it is far fewer cables than WC.  Also, since I've never done a cabled sweater, probably smart that I start small and work my way up. Soooo, long story short, I did a little yarn surfing (after pulling out the book) and picked up some Peruvian highland yarn chunky and while I was there, some more for possibly another banff.  The colors are the Dark Indigo and the Spiced Wine.  For the life of me, I can't remember which color I bought for what.  I'm thinking that it was the indigo for banff2 and the wine for the big sack, but I'll have to do yardage requirement math when they arrive.  Elann's order history is showing that it shipped today, priority mail. So that was my last minute splurge.  The purchase of season six and season seven box sets of voyager DVDs doesn't count though with those I've completed the set and I have plenty to watch while I sit on my butt this winter using up my yarn and fiber stash. 

    Here's a picture I had to take the other night. 

    Kat_cribWhat is it with little ones and how they sleep in the crib.  I peeked in the twins room before going to bed and I noticed Kat sleeping like this.  Sure for the first 6 months she shared a crib with her brother and then for probably 5 months, she slept in a portacrib, so she did have cushy quarters for a while.  But now she's in a full sized crib all by herself and has to jam herself in the corner with her feet sticking out!  You can see the satin edges of her beloved blankie (there are actually 3 identical blankies but she doesn't know this) sticking out from under her.  Under her head is the blanket that my mother crocheted for her while I was pregnant.  Mom made a blanket for each of the babies.  Alex's took forever, but then my weeks and weeks of bedrest in the hospital gave her the opportunity to work on them.  She'd come to visit me every day and would work on them there.  At least one of us got good crafting done.  I didn't knit much as I was on orders to lay pretty much flat and with the resulting heartburn, I could only lay on my left side.  Hard to knit that way. I did manage to finish a cardigan in KFI Cashmerino and a pullover in homespun cormo/angora yarn that I had spun up recently. Not as much as I could whip out if I could have sat up.  Man 10 weeks of laying around and only two little newborn sweaters.  Geez. I did do some quick crafts that Patient Advocate Services would bring around every week or so.  I did a bead bracelet with fimo beads one week, a little cross-stitch and have the piggy banks to paint, which I never did manage to paint while I was there.   Anyway, I thought Kat looked cute and figured I'd share.

    January 04, 2005

    Banffing along

    As the title states, I've been Banffing along.  I'm sorry I don't have pictures of it as it stands now.  I'm making a mental note (whatever that is good for) to take pictures tonight.  The first sleeve is done and I'm 15 rows into the straight section of the second sleeve.  Without trying to anger the knitting goddess, I'm pretty hopeful that the sleeve will be done by the end of the week.  I hope to block this weekend and start getting it sewn together with the collar either late in the weekend or early next week. I'm pretty sure the collar work is going to be couch knitting.  The sweater sewn together is going to be a bear to hold and I already had issues with single pieces of it.  The sleeve is borderline to heavy for commuting.  It is in the realm of possibility except...

    I got an email from the very nice lady I bought the new wheel from this morning giving me the UPS tracking number.  Tina is in Secaucus, on time for a scheduled delivery of tomorrow!  WOOOOOO!  You'd think this was my first wheel or something.  The seller, M for short, told me yesterday that she double packed everything and as added cushioning put in some Tunis fleece.  That's my kind of padding!  I haven't tried any Tunis but it was a topic of discussion recently on one of my mailing lists, and from the description, I was interested in playing with it.  Thanks M! 

    The koigu socks are socking along as well.  They've turned into my knit table knitting.  Instead of reading (how dare I, the good little b&n employee forgo books), I've been doing a little knitting before bed.  I'm just not motivated to read any of the books that I have in the active pile at present and would rather work with that beautiful koigu.  I have three more inches and the first sock will be done.  I'm pretty sure I'll have enough left over at the end of this pair to make at least one pair for the twins.

    The craft diet carries on though I am fighting the urge to buy, buy, buy!!!!!!  I should give up reading others blogs as they really make me want to add to the already huge queue (I haven't added a number of things there yet).  The food diet is going well too.  I bought a pedometer last weekend and have been tracking my walking.  The first day I had it was the day I spent shopping and rearranging.  I walked 5 miles that afternoon/evening.  Shame I didn't have it for the morning as I probably put on 2 miles fruitlessly wandered around Wal-Mart trying to find a big enough round thing to double as a decorator table top for the choice of one huge garbage pail they had.  Target had what I wanted, but I had to search the store for it.

    Hmm, what else.  Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my return to work after maternity leave.  My last vacation was far shorter than the time out of the office last year.  My last day in the city was July 26th as my doctor forbade me from commuting after 24 weeks.  Sweet.  This time I was only out for 2 weeks.  I actually had a bit of work to do yesterday, not to mention hundreds of emails to weed through (ergo no posting:).  I'm tired today as I missed the nap that I had gotten accustomed to over the last two weeks.  Prior to vacation, I was lucky to get home with the monkeys before 8pm on many nights.  I get to mom's at @6:15, and some nights, we'd have dinner as late as 7.  We're now aiming for dinner shortly after my arrival, followed by playtime and then in the car at 7:30 for a 8:00 bedtime.  This way the monkeys can get their 11 hours of sleep and be ready for the 7:00 am wake up we have during the work week AND have dinner with the family AND have playtime with their grandparents each night.  We'll see how this goes.

    While Merlin alternated between sitting on his cage and singing to me and sitting on my shoulder (with two of the three cats watching very closely), I did some more bead work.  I made a PURL stitch markers to complement the KNIT I made over vacation.  I also ventured off from the stitch markers to make some earrings.  I'm wearing a pair now.  Not much different than stitch markers, instead of a jump ring, I added a french hook.  Neat.  I'll have to make some more.  At some point, I need to see if there is a local bead store.

    Well time to do some work.  Sorry for the lack of pictures.

    Mom decided to start having dinner earlier to head off my threatened making the babies and me dinner at home idea.  Over vacation, I noted the twins sleep requirements.  They normally slept about 11 hours a night.  In at 8:30, up at 7:30, or there abouts.

    December 31, 2004

    Another night like all the rest...

    Damn.  I had a nice long blog entry going that was witty, informative and full of joy.  Then I made the mistake of clicking a graphic file in a directory with full intention of opening it in the photo editor so I could crop/resize for blogging.  I forgot that the default action was to open with the default browser.  Not any old browser.  Not a new browser window.  The browser window where I had my long blog entry typed, but needless to say, not saved as a draft.  Fudge.  I doubt I'll be as witty, informative and happy this second time around as the twins are no longer chatting and giggling over the monitor spurring me to much happiness.  Alex is crying and whining in an obvious battle to avoid a nap.  Creepy kid never wants to nap and he doesn't understand that he NEEDS to nap.  Sigh.  Anyway, I'm going to try and sneak in my last post of the year with a recent roundup of what's been going on.

    Stitchmarkers_1These are the stitch markers that I made last week and blogged about yesterday.  They were a lot of fun to do and I'll be making more shortly.  The jump rings are larger than I initially thought as they are hanging on a size 13 needle.  I rarely, if ever, use a needle this large, but I know someone who does.  Actually, I made most of these with her in mind.  A friend at work saw my initial markers and asked me to make more.  She would love some and she regularly uses very large needles. Anyway, I have smaller jump rings to make some more markers for myself, as well as oooh dare I say, jewelry!  Moving on...

    oh my.  blessed silence from the baby monitor.  Has Alex finally conceded the battle and gone to sleep.  About darn time. 

    Yarnbinge_1As promised yesterday, here's the evidence of my recent yarn binge.  The yarn in front is the sari silk for the knitalong that is starting 15-Jan.  If you want to join along, pop on over to the knitalong page and drop a note.  The more the merrier.  I'm interested to see how this knits up.  Behind it to the left is the merino/silk yarn that I got on eBay for clapotis.  It is so soft and the colors are so subtle.  I'm really looking forward to working this!  On the right are the sock kits from Vicki.  The yarns are absolutely beautiful.  I have a huge problem.  Deciding what to work on next!  I need to finish Banff first.  I'll probably get some time on that today as the kids and I are going to have a nice quiet new year's eve at home tonight.  Like I can take them many places.  Hopefully they'll go to sleep earlier tonight than they did last year.  Kat finally dropped off at 11:59.  They are out by 9 these days. 

    Multiromney_1I did some sorting and reorganizing yesterday, more about that later, and found this pretty yarn.  It is homespun that I did probably 3 years ago now.  It is from a hand painted romney roving that I got on eBay.  I don't know the yardage on this, I'll have to remeasure it.  It did start out as 1lb of roving and it navajo plied to maintain color distinction.  I had completely forgotten about it.  When I pulled it out of the basket, I questioned whether I had spun it at all.  Took me a while to remember it.  I'm not sure whether I'll keep it or make it available to a new home.  I still have the rest of my stash to sort through, but I'll probably be putting together a gallery of yarn available for adoption.

    Continuing down the path of progress...

    Tubs_1I always spend a portion of my vacations on home improvement.  This vacation is no different. This vacation was two weeks long, which allowed for lots of home improvement.  Last week was the Ikea cabinets to organize the cluttered corner of the living room which housed cheap plastic shelving and a huge basket of yarns. 

    This week brought another project.  Those five bins you see there used to house a great portion of my spinning fiber stash.  Yup, fiber stash is MUCH larger than the yarn stash.  I won't even mention the huge rubbermaid cabinet outside that houses fleece.  Nope, no mention from me and certainly no pictures of that 6' monstrosity on the side of the house.  There's also various fibers in the living room closet, and the rabbit naturally ;)  The majority were in those bins that piled high over 5' in the babies' room.  I don't know how high, but they were indeed over my 5' 0.25" head.  Now they are empty and stacked in the corner of the kitchen awaiting final disposition.  I think one will be repurposed and made into a toy box in the twins' room.  I'm not sure what to do with the rest.  I'm very open to suggestions though.

    Cans1I spent a good part of the day running about from store to store to gather the parts necessary for my reorganization.  They are:

    Two 32 gallon rubbermaid garbage pails
    Two designer round tables
    Two table cloths

    I had to do a little rearranging in my bedroom to fit these in, but I now have storage night tables!  I spent the evening sorting through the bins, weighing and documenting what was going into these things.  (That is terribly organized for me.)  One of these pails is full.  There is still some room in the other.  I have alot of fiber.  I discovered that I have ALOT of merino roving.  I was pretty good at some point of my earlier storage to put a note in the bag of what the fiber was, how much it weighed and when/where I got it from.  I found some absolutely dreamy rovings including I that I knew was there but hadn't realized how much was left.  It's about 1 ounce shy of a pound of merino/angora/silk roving.  I spun and knit a shawl out of this stuff (and an earlier couple of ounces) and had had to buy more.  I bought up the complete supply to avoid that happening again!  Until last night, I thought about visiting eBay and checking out some fiber splurges, but that really isn't necessary.  There are pounds and pounds and pounds of fiber around here.  I can be very happy for years to come ;)

    Cans2This is how one of them looks all gussied up.  It is working very nicely and I'm very happy with the height.  In July, I got a new mattress.  A double sided pillowtop dream.  The down side to it was that it is HIGH.  When the salesman told me that I needed the deep pocket sheets, I smiled and nodded.  Okay, I really need the deep pocket sheets.  Standing next to the bed, the top of the mattress is about hip level on me.  No way the twins are climbing into bed with me for a long time to come.  Anyway, my old nighttable was a dwarf next to this monster and I had to lean over the edge of the bed to see the clock.  The pails are a perfect height and as you can see, I no longer have to look down. 

    Merlin2That's what I've been up to.  I've very much enjoyed my two weeks at home.  Initially I was worried about spending THAT much time with the twins.  They can be pretty tiring.  It has been wonderful indeed.  I've also bonded with Merlin.  He's gone from a bird that flapped around the cage avoiding THE HAND at all costs, to a sweet little bird that will 'step up' and sit on my shoulder.  He ignored the open cage door for hours on end for about a week.  Yesterday he finally took me up on the offer.  He popped out for a visit.   The cats, while curious about the fluttering thing, have gratefully left him alone, though they do watch him very carefully.  He is disturbed by baby crying/whining and will tweet loudly.  At night, while I read blogs, he sits in his swing contentedly grinding his beak before settling down for sleep.  He's making a nice addition to my eclectic family.

    Well I leave you all with the wish that you have a happy and healthy new year.  I hope that this coming year is an improvement on last.  At least it won't be an big election year (thank goodness).  I just hope there are no mind numbing tragedies that this year is ending on.  I still cannot grasp the extend of the loss in South Asia.  Lets just hope next year is a better one.

    The dulcet sounds of crying on the monitor tell me that naptime is over.  Time to go off and do mommy things.  Happy new year.

    December 30, 2004

    The Binge

    In preparation for the upcoming craft diet, I've been on a bit of a binge.  Have to get it out of my system.  Right?  Besides, if I can fill the house with enough to keep me happy, then I won't really notice that I'm on a diet.  Okay, so you all know about the yarns that I admitted to in my last posting.  Well the postman has been good to me over the last two days and delivered it all.  I'll have pictures of it all tomorrow looking all yummy in the new year's eve diet starting sunlight. 

    I'm also awaiting delivery of some 20 weight crochet thread to work on some little teeny tiny bears.  I bought three patterns in October to make these things and just haven't been able to get the thread locally.  I bought them on sale from Herrschners.

    I picked up a new bead box today with a variety of different colored glass beads that will become stitch markers or maybe even earrings!  I made a half dozen or so stitch markers that will fit on at least a size 10 needle late last week.  I'll have to post pictures of them tomorrow too.

    So that the spinning hobby doesn't appear to be overlooked, I sent a check off today for one of these:

    Jensen Tina II

    It's a Jensen Tina II spinning wheel.  I'm getting it used.  The current wheel-mom will be cleaning her up this weekend and packing her off next week.  She'll be coming UPS from Vermont, so it should be a two day max trip.  It's a very lovely little wheel that I really look forward to using.

    Yeah yeah, I don't NEED another wheel.  I do have a bunch of them right now.  I have listed the Ashford Traditional for sale in a couple of places online.  Its only 10 months old and in excellent condition so I expect that it will sell.  If the outlets I've chosen don't work, I'll give it a go on eBay.  In the meantime, I'll have this little beauty in the collection.  I'll easily get through my diet ;)

    Tuesday night was once again spinning night.  I did give the Traddy a try with the quill spindle and the cinamon wool.  No go.  I wasn't happy with the results at all.  I wound up back with the old trusty Lendrum castle wheel and the cormo roving.  I completely filled one bobbin and started a second one.  I have about a 1/3 of it left to fill and will hopefully get to it again on Tuesday (if not before then).

    Yesterday I cast on the first Banff sleeve and am one increase from the straight stitching section of it.  Okay, this sleeve is going to be huge!  I have thin arms, but geez, I could probably put both of my arms in the sleeve.  I still love this sweater and as I work on it, I contemplate the next project.  I did start the glovens for mom using the Magic Stripe, but after about 2" of cuff, I tried it on and found it a bit itchy on the inside of my wrist.  If I had a problem with it, no doubt mom would.  I frogged it and redesignated the Magic Stripe Regatta for socks.  Mom will get glovens out of Koigu.  I had my Koigu sock in my bag and had her try that on her wrist.    I bought two skeins to make her socks back in November at the opening of Majestic Yarns.  These skeins just got re-purposed.

    Well it was a very long, busy and completely knitting-less day. I'm calling it an 'early' night.

    December 28, 2004

    And the sticks click on

    Banff2Banff progresses at a surprising rate!  I just finished the front.  Amazing.  I'd highly recommend this pattern to anyone who wants a nice cushy, big warm sweater.  It is not even done and I already have a new favorite sweater.  I discovered this morning that I just missed joining a Banff Along  at Allison's.  She closed that Along today.  Oh well.  I'm still enjoying this project very much.  It's progressing so rapidly.  I'm not used to this stitch gauge, my normal being some 7.5st/in on size 0's so this is super huge for me.  As for wrist ache, I've been knitting in a different chair.  It was the weight of the piece and my posture combining for terrible pain in my hand.  I've since switched from lounging in the glider rocker to my desk chair.  I've also been knitting while surfing my bloglines when the twins are asleep (as they are now).
    I've obviously put a hold on diets what with my yarn purchase for clapotis the other day.  Thanks Froggy and Nancy.  What with the beautiful pictures of the finished items and the gorgeous yarn purchase, how can a girl resist.  I'm putting the diet on hold until the end of the year :)  I'll start a new craft diet when I start counting points, New Years Day. 

    In that vein, I bought the beautiful sock kits from my friend Vicki.  Her online store, Kendig Cottage Spinning & Knitting has some very beautiful things.  I opted for the blue and the Cabernet.  I can't wait for them to get here!  I got the paypal notice that they were shipping yesterday.  Thanks Vicki! 

    While I was at it, I figured I'd get the yarn for the I'm So Sari Knit-Along which is starting Jan. 15th.  I bought it from, as they had the best prices that I could find.  I got the note that they shipped yesterday.  Super sweet.

    Anyway, the twins will be getting up shortly.  Mom and I are going to spend the afternoon with them at the mall.  We all need a change of scenery.  I've got to pop off and get dressed.  As today is Tuesday, I think I'll re-institute the quickly forgotten Tuesday is Spinning day.  I think I might just finally try the quill head for my Ashford Traditional wheel.  I could spin a yarn similar to the bulky singles I'm using now for Banff with that.  I have just the wool to use as well.  A gorgeous cinnamon color fine wool that I bought at Rhinebeck two years ago and had made into roving.  It's been languishing in the spinning stash.  Or I could return to the ever yummy cormo.  Decisions decisions decision.

    December 25, 2004

    Moments of weakness..

    ..there was something stronger than me that I could fight no longer.  Its name is Clapotis.  It too is another pattern at Knitty.  Nancy posted yesterday regarding Froggy Knit's recently finished one that is just too beautiful to resist.  Thanks bunches Nancy :)  I fought a good fight.  I followed Nancy's link to that yarn store where she purchased some gorgeous yarn.  She even got the same colorway that called out to me.  I added the six skeins to the cart before I could reign myself in.  I closed the browser and abandoned the cart.  Something we don't like to see at work, but hell it's my budget this time ;) 

    That was yesterday.  Today is a whole 'nother day.  While I was working on the front for Banff, hands are holding up so far (I think its the weight of the item that is causing the problem but we'll see as I go) I mentally reviewed the stash, both yarn and roving, for something would work for Clapotis.  Nothing immediately jumped out as being colorful enough and enough oz/yardage for it.  A merino roving would potentially work, but the downside to that is I don't have the patience to spin for a particular project that is CALLING ME NOW. 


    I surfed eBay.  Bad Risa.  eBay is notoriously bad for diets.  It was bad this time too.  I suck on diets.  Probably why I'm still carrying around 5 lbs from my pregnancy.  Actually it isn't pregnancy weight but weight gained from the fertility drugs prior to the pregnancy.  Whatever.  That's neither here nor there.  What it boils down to is that I can't maintain a no stash enhancement diet (ignore the beading thing that took entered two weeks ago and had another enhancement on Thurs at AC Moore - great store !!). 

    Step one is to admit you have a problem right?  What if I don't want to? ;)  I bought yarn.  There I said it.  I bought some beautiful handpainted merino/silk yarn in a colorway called Riverwalk.  I opted for the BuyNow.  I usually do.  I hate waiting.  Here it is:

    Silkmer_riverwalk_138oz at 600 yards for $24.99 plus postage.  It's 50/50 silk/merino wool in those lovely colors of sky blue, lavender, pink, green.  I think it will do nicely for clapotis.

    On a happier note, my parents and I took the twins out for dinner tonight.  We went to a local diner and they were perfect.  They ate beautifully and behaved themselves quite nicely.  I got to wear my glovens!  My hands were so nice and warm and I could flip the mitten top down and had wonderful tactile control to close baby coat zippers and manage the car seat straps.  With the mitten up, my fingers were warm gripping the nasty cold steering wheel.  I do have to make one little modification to the mitten tops though.  I need to add a loop and a button on the wrist cuff to hold the mitten out of the way.  I got the mitten part caught in the front door as I was closing it as it was flapping a bit.  I had to unlock the door to get it out.  Embarrassing.  I'll fix that tomorrow.  I have some nice little pearl buttons and I'll probably just crochet a chain loop.

    Twin Milestone!

    The twins did not have a single bottle all day!  They drank all their milk from sippy cups!  Merry Christmas indeed.  I'd be very happy to get rid of all those playtex bottle holders, nipples, rings and caps.  I'll regain a nice piece of my kitchen counter if I could get rid of the container the clean ones live in, the baskets that hold them in the dishwasher and the bucket the dirties sit in before hitting the dishwasher.  Way to go babies!  I guess they aren't such babies anymore.  Where did the time go.  It feels like yesterday that I was yearning to hold them without the NICU wires.  I remember the tears of joy I shed when I held them both for the very first time.

    TwinsLooking at them now, I can't believe they were that small.  I remember that I was surprised by my depth of feeling for them the first time they wheeled me into the NICU, before I'd even seen them yet.  (I'd seen Kat for a few seconds after birth before they took her to the nursery, but I never saw Alex's face until almost 6 hours later in the NICU.)  The surprise of it all had me in tears.  Okay, the fluctuating hormones probably helped there too.  It must have only been yesterday as I remember it so very clearly.  Right?  No?  I guess not.  Time does fly and it takes having children to realize how very fast it does.   You blink and it all seems to go by.  Kat is now walking and Alex made it half way across the room today too (was holding something in each hand).  They really aren't such babies anymore.

    Christmas Knitting

    Merry Christmas to all those celebrating. 

    While I wait out the holiday and all associated closings, I've been keeping busy knitting, when the twins let me that is.  They are off napping now.  Hopefully this nap will be longer than the 1 hour job they took this morning.  Wednesday at the Knit Club gift exchange, I cast on Banff.  Finally.  Felt good.  I then spent 40 minutes standing at the Port Atrocity Bus Terminal waiting for the bus back to the Park & Ride knitting on it.  I made some significant progress and after not really touching it for a couple of days, I finished the back last night.Banff1I really like the color, an oatmeal tweed and it is going to definitely be a winter favorite for years to come.  The only problem is that I'm finding that working on it makes my hands hurt.  I'm having issues with my yarn holding thumb (i knit using the combined method or eastern uncrossed).  I'm not used to working with such a heavy yarn on size 10 needles, though these are the same needles I used to knit the booga bags.  I'm more used to fine yarns on tiny needles, like the Koigu for the socks on size 0's.  That really hasn't stopped me from working on it, but I should probably be taking more frequent breaks.

    Koigu2In that vein, I pulled out the Koigu socks and did some work on them this morning.  Notice I've turned the first heel and am working on the boring part of the foot.  This is where my child sized feet really has an advantage.  I have a size 5AA foot.  Yeah means I can get away with really cheap sneakers and flats from the children's department.  It totally sucks when I'm trying to get any other shoes.  High heels?  Not on your life.  Dress boots?  Pigs might fly first. Shoe shopping is an exercise in frustration for me.  I wander through the stores looking at sizes first and then the styles if there is a 5 available.  Blah.  If I do find the shoes in my size, I'll buy several pairs.  Amazing that I had a shoe collection that had my ex-husband calling me Imelda ;)  I have the same sized feet that I had in 7th grade.  I can still wear the shoes I got for my Bat Mitzvah.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the twins are wearing the shoes sized for 6 month olds. 

    After I finished the back last night, my hand hurt too much to cast on more Banff, though I did pull out the swift and ball winder to ball up two more skeins of the yarn.  It took a smidge more than two skeins for the back.  For this project at least, I am not concerned about running out of yarn.  The pattern calls for 7 for the smaller size and I got 12 in the auction. Killer eBay score.  $61 for the TWELVE skeins.  Big time score.  It is nice to know I won't run out and have to fudge something.  I think a matching hat is called for, probably one of these, provided, of course, that I can knit this stuff without killing my hands.  The solution is probably not knitting it to an excess and taking breaks with more friendly knitting.  I did a few repeats of the Irish Hiking Scarf last knit, but cabling isn't that much more hand friendly.  I think I'll have to cast on mom's glovens.  Those are quick and hand friendly and will make nice diversions from Banff hand stress.

    Back to knitting or napping.  Can't decide which at the moment.

    December 24, 2004

    Long time, no type

    It sure has been a long time, though I did suspect that.  As usual, my vacation has been very busy.  It always is.   Monday, as I already posted, I kept the twins home as it was so frickin cold outside.  Thankfully it warmed up a bit.  I was able to entertain myself and the monkeys in our home for the day.  While I angered the knitting goddess by presuming to finish Gloven, I didn't actually manage to work in all the ends until yesterday ;)  I seem to remember finishing the knitting of it Tuesday morning while the twins napped.

    Tuesday afternoon I dropped the twins off with my mom and made the normal vacation pilgrimage to Ikea and bought the Kampe that I had been looking at.  I put everything together before returning to mom's for dinner.  After the twins went down for the night, I trashed the living room and put the new furniture in place and finally got the place in order again at 1:00am.  I think it's worth it:

    Ikea_kampeWhile the stupid store didn't have the 2 x 2 unit, I had wanted a total of 8 compartments, I had to settle for two unit verticals.  I wanted something a bit colorful (trying to break out from my black period) and mixed it up with the white and red doors.  The lower four are solid panels and house less than attractive assorted items.  The row second from the top house my In the Queue yarn stash and some homespun.  I have now moved my beading stuff into this row as well.  The uppers have books and DVDs.  I'm very pleased with how well they work.  I have to find a way to seal these doors as Mr. Alex has already found a way into them.  Oy. 

    Anyway, here's a picture of the yarn that is designated for projects:

    Project_yarnThe top row has my Lamb's Pride collection (though I just remembered there are 3 more skeins elsewhere that haven't made it to the cabinet yet ;) that will be the Kitty Bed, 3 skeins of Noro Kureyon, 1 skein of Cascade 220, my Morehouse Merino diet splurge merino kits, koigu for more socks, Peruvian Highland and the Takhi Soho Tweed for Banff.  I do need to stuff more yarn in there and will probably have to clean out one of the hidden miscellaneous cubes lower down to fit in the yarn that is in the twins' room still.  I'm going to have a blog sale and get rid of some as well. 

    Completed Projects

    Without any further ado, here are some complete projects for your viewing pleasure:

    Kris Kringle Gift

    Kk_doneYarn:  Silk City Fibers Angora
    Pattern: Woolybuns Skinny Scarf modified for one additional repeat
    Started: 12/09/04
    Finished:  12/20/04

    It's a feather and fan pattern with 2 repeats and a 3 stitch garter stitch edging.  The yarn was from a cone that I bought at Silk City Fibers as one of their warehouse sales once a month.  It is a very yummy angora that just works up beautifully.  I really did enjoy this project and while the lace pattern is relatively easy, it did require paying attention.   Wednesday was the Knit Club gift exchange.  While I was pretty sure my recipient would like it, you're just never sure.  After I got into the City, I remembered that I hadn't included the stitch markers that I made for her.  Oh well.  I'll give them to Amy after the New Year.

    AmyAnyway, here's a picture of the happy recipient, Amy.  Wave to everyone :)  She made it easy for me to size this as I knit as she's the same height as me!  Not many other full grown adults that I can say that about.  Thanks Amy!

    My gift was an organizer from the Container Store.  Its a zippered case with notebook binder rings and these pouches.  They are perfect for smaller projects like glovens and socks.  I can keep them all together in the same "binder" or pop one of the pouches in my purse if I don't want to carry my full tote bag.  Sweet.  I had my Koigu sock pouch with me yesterday when we went shopping.  More on that later.  Anyway, the gift exchange was a great time as everyone opened their gifts, one at a time.  Some really beautiful things were made by my fellow knitters.  Bridget made a scarf for  Carolyn out of Noro Silk Garden.  It was gorgeous.  I'll have to add that yarn to my wishlist ;)


    Glovens Pattern: Ann Budd's Knitters Handy Book of Patterns
    Yarn: 100% alpaca sock-weight
    Started: 12/01/04
    Finished: 12/23/04

    Finally these darn things are done.  Seems like I was working on them forever.  Mom wants a pair, though the alpaca is a bit itchy for her.  I bought some sock yarn yesterday that I'll use instead. I'll probably move those from the queue to active shortly.  I'm trying to avoid the too many projects on the needles problem again. Naturally since I now have warm gloves/mittens to wear, the weather warmed up. I really could have used them Monday, but no such luck.  I'll be ready for the next cold snap!

    Wednesday was the twins last day of school (daycare) for the year as next week is their holiday break.  I wrapped up the booga bags with tissue paper and bits of yarn that I used in knitting them.  Here's what the group of them looked like before and after wrapping:

    4boogasBoogas_giftI don't know whether they were well received or not as they weren't opened in my presence.  I hope they liked them, but won't be insulted if they didn't.


    Non-knitting ;)

    Now for the most important update, the twins progress.  Kathryn is now a toddler.  She walks!  She walked from the couch to the TV in the living room, stopping in the middle to regain her balance and continued onwards!  Woo, go girl.  Alex is half a step behind her.  He will wander about but is a bit more wobbly about it and not quite as 'eager' to step off.  Kat doesn't seem to think about it anymore, she just wants to get somewhere and it doesn't look like she has the mental debate going as to whether it would be easier to crawl rather than walk. 

    They both are fascinated by Merlin and she spends quite a bit of time watching him.  She knows his name and can differentiate between him and Yeti (on the other side of the room).  He's a sweet little bird though it seems that I picked the slow and steady method of taming.  I can get him to "step up" on my finger, but have a dickens of a time getting him out of the cage.  I even left his cage door opened for half an hour.  He ignored it completely.  I don't suppose that chasing him around his cage to get him out is going to do much in the earning his trust area, so I've pretty much resisted that.  I'll content myself that when he is ready, he'll come out.  Judging by some of his markings, I'm pretty sure he's an older baby.  While the stripes on his head don't go all the way to his crop, they are straight up from his eyes, he doesn't have the white ring around his iris yet.  I have another week of extra time before I have to return to work.

    I wish everyone who is celebrating a very merry Christmas! 

    December 20, 2004

    Gimme some gloven

    Okay, one vacation day down, 7 more to go (plus holidays :)  It was so damn cold here today that I changed my plans.  Originally, I was going to take the twins to daycare and then head off to Ikea and buy some yarn/roving/book storage for the living room.  I've been eying the Kampe line, thanks to the lovely pictures of it over at the blue blog. I think it will go very nicely in the corner of the living room that is being overrun with disorderly baskets.  Not pretty and I'm not posting a picture of it.  Anyway, so with the weather being so damn cold, negative numbers with wind chills, I decided that I didn't really need to take the twins out in it.  They'd be better served by staying home.  They weren't overly happy this morning. 

    Yesterday we spent the day at Randi & Mike's with the family celebrating Hanukkah and Mitch's birthday.  I know, we technically missed Hanukkah, but we usually come close to it.  It's always a nice time and the twins nap schedule was thrown off a bit.  Add to that, we left Randi's at @8:30 in the beginning of a snow storm with a pretty gusty breeze.  My Durango sucks in the wind so I fought it the whole trip up the Turnpike.  With a stop to peel back the coat from an overheated/overtired boy we finally made it home at 10pm.  Alex was then up at 1:15A when I took him into bed with me.  I put him back in the crib at 3.  I was too wired to go to sleep when we got home so I unpacked all their gifts, sorted through their toys and pulled out the old stuff they don't play with and generally futzed around until midnight.  I'm tired. 

    While the twins napped this morning, I spent some time with Merlin.  I have to work further on the "step up" command, but he's coming along nicely.  I spent a good 30 minutes wandering around with him on my shoulder.  He even sat there while I did some web searches on Budgie behavior and the hazards of Teflon. 

    After lunch, I got some knitting time while the twins played.  Since the Kris Kringle present was done, and the blocking was going to be done tonight, I pulled out cloven 2.  With work that was done on it during their afternoon nap, I'm now done with all but the thumb and the mitten flap.  If I can keep my eyes open for a while longer, I'll finish the knitting of that tonight and work in ends tomorrow.  Which means, I can start Banff tomorrow!!!!!  After the twins went down, I washed and blocked the KK present.  I hate blocking.  I ran out of pins about 3/4 of the way through and had to go scrounge more.  An hour later, my thumb no longer is tingling over that activity.  I just hope the thing is dry before Wednesday! 

    I rescued the koigu socks from obscurity and actually did some work on those this weekend.  I had them in the car yesterday and while I waited for the huge Durango's gas tank to fill, I managed to get some rows done.  I have about an inch left before doing the heel.  I'm going to do the PGR hourglass heel that I've recently become enamored with.  I love how easy it is to work them and how nice they wind up looking, especially with the self patterning yarns. 

    The only active project that I have going that wasn't addressed in the last couple of days in the poor Irish Hiking Scarf.  Never fear, that will be worked on shortly.  I think there's going to be a change in the projects in the queue.  I think the Wensleydale Cables is going to become the ChicKnit's Ribby Cardi.  I actually think that I'd get more use out of a cardigan than I would out of another pullover.  The idea of sewing in a zipper scares me, but I do quilt and can sew my own clothes so a little zipper shouldn't be a huge problem, can it?  I bought the pattern last night and the Peruvian Highland that I purchased from Elann is the called for yarn in the pattern and actually the pattern highlighted with the yarn at Elann.  I'm not going to use two colors, but will do it in the Dusty Rose I already have.  I also picked up ChicKnit's pattern for the bucket hat and can definitely do that one out of stash, some Patons Classic Merino in black.

    Time to get me some good good cloven...

    December 17, 2004

    A return to normal

    Whew, the no knitting thing was thankfully temporary.  I've returned to my very knitterly ways.  Wednesday afternoon, prior to the holiday party I knit a bit on the koigu socks while I read Programming Microsoft .Net, thoroughly exciting reading btw.  It was nice to hear the needles click together and feel the yarn flow through my hands while I read up on the newest technology from the Borg. 

    The holiday party was fabulous.  Good food, good alcohol and good friends.  I had a really good time and didn't get home too terribly late.  I did have more alcohol than I've had in a very long time.  I got a bit snockered.  I got to my parents house right as the twins were finishing up dinner.  Mom had just given Alex a spatula and a cookie tin to play with.  It was far louder and brighter in that kitchen than it had any right to be.  Mom sent me home and kept the babies that night.  I popped into bed at 8:30 only to have it bowling night upstairs.  I swear that they bowl, or rearrange the furniture, or maybe both.  I think there was a tap dance studio taking up residence as well.  I quietly lay in bed watching television until 10 when I finally fell asleep. 

    Yesterday I finally codified the pattern mutations that I had made when doing my first gloven so that I could actually repeat it for its mate.  After lunch, I sat with both the mitten and glove patterns, gloven 1 and a tape measure counting and comparing.  I'm pretty sure I now have my gloven pattern set for #2.  I finished my Kringle gift this morning while walking through Penn Station on the way to the subway.  Talk about Knitting in Public!  I can't give any more specifics as my recipient still doesn't know who she is and what the item is and I ain't telling!  I will be posting pictures next week after the gift exchange.  I need to wash and block it over the weekend.  I couldn't find my darn blocking wires so I'm going to have to punt.  I might just pick up a piece of rigid insulation like I saw on other blogs, cover it in some 1"x gingham and just have me a proper blocking board and then get a sh*tload bunch of t-pins.  I'll probably do that tomorrow as I have a babysitter coming over to watch the twins.  I can get the stuff after my haircut.

    Now that the present is done, I was able to continue knitting on gloven 2 as it is no longer subterfuge knitting.  I have to admit, I don't really like subterfuge knitting.  Not to mention that when I finish this beastie, I can start Banff!  Woo.

    After today, I'm on vacation for the rest of the year.  Another Woo!  I think Monday, while I have the twins in daycare that I will visit Ikea and pick me up some yarn/fabric/roving storage like a fellow blogger got.  I really like how those cubes look and I have the perfect spot for them.  This will allow me to finally get the rest of my craft supply out of the twins room.  Soon they'll be old enough to play in there and I'd like them to have the space unfettered with my craft collection.  Other than an Ikea trip and the visit to NYC on Wed for the Kringle exchange, my vacation is filled with a lot of childcare and nothing!  I suppose I'll get a bit of knitting done ;)  I probably won't be blogging much, and if I do it will be much later in the day than you are used to from me.  It probably wouldn't be until after the twins go to sleep.  They are a bit of a pain when I'm at the computer right now, though I haven't tried to get around their little keyboard drawer issues by using my laptop.  Hmm, I'll have to give it a try.

    Something else to look forward to in the new year, I'll be setting up a Knit-Along that started with Amy and Bridget at the office.  We're going to be knitting the Japanese Lantern Scarf using recycled Sari Silk yarn.  They should look stupendous together.  I'm going to set up an online Knit-Along for anyone who is interested.  You can send me you name, email and web link now and I'll add it when I get the pages set up for it, or wait until then.  I guess we need a graphic as well.  Any volunteer for that task?

    December 14, 2004

    Survival of the knittest

    Well the Kris Kringle gift continues.  I got my quota for yesterday done last night while watching The Swan.  Now before I got pregnant, I wouldn't touch reality tv with some one else's television, let alone mine.  Then it happened.  I finally conceived after a long trial and what did I do?  Started watching American Idol.  At the beginning, it was just that and honestly, it was because of the mass audition episodes that I got hooked.  All those terrible singers who thought they were good had me chuckling.  I then got stuck in the hospital for eight and a half weeks on total bedrest with nothing much more to do than watch tv.  I think that was the beginning of the end.  I figured that once the twins were born, the hormones that had me watching this stuff would dissipate and I'd return to my non-reality tv world.  No such luck.  Now I seem to watch them all.  Nanny 911 (my current favorite), Trading Spouses, Real World (have to admit that I've always watched this), and I was finally sucked into the juggernaught that is Survivor.  I'm hoping that the reality tv craze dies out and I can finally go find something else to watch.  There appears to be few choices though, reality or a Law & Order spinoff or a CSI spinoff.  Oh well

    Anyway, I hit my quota for the present.  I'm on track to finish it tonight.  Sweet.  I could have left the exchange on Friday afterall ;)  Better this way though.  I can block it at my own leisure and will probably do so next Monday after I drop the twins at daycare.  Now I just have to figure out where I put my blocking wires.  I don't remember seeing them after the point when I did a little re-arranging in the living room after the twins were born.  I'll bet they are under the couch, which would be a better spot than if they made it into the front closet.  That place is a hole where nothing ever returns from.  I'm too embarassed to even take a picture of this very scary closet which has a combination of spinning supplies, yarn, coats, tools and anything else that I had no place for, including an electric snow shovel. 

    Gloven2 progressed yesterday as that is my knitting project for when fellow Knit Club members are about.  It is subterfuge knitting.  I'm not sure if it is because it is indeed subterfuge knitting and that I really want to be working on something else or the fact that it is the seconditis speaking, but I really didn't want to deal with it yesterday.  I finished the cuff section and knit nothing for the last 15 minutes of lunch.  I had no desire to go further.  Okay, maybe I was lazy and didn't want to dive into my bag for the notes on where to go from there.  Geez, I'll never start Banff if this continues.  (Must finish Kringle gift and Gloven2 and then can cast on Banff.)

    I knew it was bound to happen and it finally did.  Richard came to me the other day and asked if I knew how something was done at work.  It seems Bill had been the one who did this particular task.  He showed me once upon a time, back when he was finally okayed for the donor list, but unlike some other tasks, he didn't turn it over to me like he did with some other things.  I also admit that I hadn't taken any notes.  Oh well.  An hour of digging in code and querying the database and I finally figured it out. Sadly I don't think that will be the only occurence.  Ack, the help desk just took away Bill's computer. 

    On a happier note, the twins bought me a nice Hannukah present.  It is much nicer than the birthday present they gave me this year, coxsackie virus.  Now that was a great gift.  I got to come home for work early that day with a 103.5 fever.  Fun sitting in Penn Station waiting for a train as they DON'T PROVIDE SEATS.  Seems that they had a homeless problem years ago and as a drastic measure removed all benches from everywhere other than the ticketed Amtrack holders lounge and some lounge at the other end of the station.  I parked myself on the staircase with a hangdog look that dared them to try and get me to move.  I digress.  This gift is far better than that.  Senseo  Isn't it beautiful.  I'm a serious coffee addict and while I gave up smoking almost four years ago now, I won't even consider quitting the coffee.  Nope, can't make me.  So I saw this in the store while I was shopping on Saturday and just had to get it.  My coffee maker was giving up the ghost so it really needed replacing.  I saw this baby and had to have it.  Makes a nice cup of coffee, quickly and with minimal mess to clean up afterwards.  I haven't really done the math on the cost of the coffee pods as compared to the expensive jamaican blue mountain coffee that I had been buying, but it doesn't seem all that bad.  Hell, WalMart sells the pods so they aren't too bad.  Best yet, while checking out the Senseo website, I discovered a $20 rebate that I actually qualify for!  Thank you Alex and Kat for a great Hannukah present :)

    December 13, 2004

    Must knit, must knit

    I have little to post today as I spent all weekend, when the child would allow, KNITTING.  Saturday I did spend the morning running around.  I had the most miraculous thing happen though.  I discovered last week (Dec 3) that my vehicle registration had expired.  I found this out the hard way when a very nice Ridgewood Policeman pulled me over.  He was spot checking the November sticker on my license plates (which NJ has now done away with).  Pits.  Now my vehicle is a leased and in years past, Chrysler Financial sends me the registration renewal form along with a Power of Attorney.  I never received it this year and I forgot all about the damn thing.   Fortunately since my driver's license is clean the officer let me go with a "Get this resolved" warning.  Yes Sir!  I popped online after I got the twins down and unfortunately, I couldn't get it resolved as fast as I'd like.  Chrysler needed to send me a POA. This arrived in Thursday's mail necessitating a trip to the DMV or now known as the MVC since NJ privatized it a couple of years ago.  Blech.  Never a happy experience as it takes an age and a half to get anything done.  Gotta do what you gotta do. 

    I dropped the twins off at my folks house at 8:30 am on Saturday and headed to the closest agency office.  This one was in a small strip mall in Wyckoff. Saturday hours are from 8 to 12.  I brought enough stuff to keep me busy for the long haul.  I had my coffee, my regular tote bag with no less than 4 knitting projects in it at present, a book, iPod, cell phone with game and a bag of nibbles.  I walked in, filled out the form, popped over to the registration desk.  Guy there highlighted a couple of fields and told me to go to line 1.  I fixed the highlighted areas.  Line 1 was empty.  I plunked the card and the POA on the counter, exchanged pleasantries with the feller behind the window.  I waited to be dismissed to chairs.  The dismissal never came.  The fellow pops a sheet out of his printer and tells me that it's $81.  Whoa.  I paid and was out of there.  I think that's a new world's record for a trip for me.  Last license renewal was a 2 and a half hour torture session.  Should be interesting to see what the next renewal brings.  I have yet to get one of the nice digital terrorist proof licenses where I need to bring 1000 different forms of ID with me to total a certain number of points necessary to prove that I am who I say I am. 

    Anyway.. because I was out of MVC so early, I got some free time to do some holiday shopping.  As I was in the general neighborhood and because I'd never been there before, I visited Joann's.  Nice store!  Excellent fabric selection and quilting stuff.  If I ever get back into quilting, I'll most certainly have to make another stop there.  As if I lacked something to do when I wasn't at work, I added a new hobby to the roster.  BEADING.  Ooooh, I love it.  I got some of these and some of those.  A couple of pliers doodads, some jump rings, a case, etc.  Saturday night I made myself some stitch markers with my initial on them.  Nifty.  I like beading.  Not sure why though.  It doesn't involve thread, well at least so far and that has been my limiter on hobbies.  Sewing.  Quilting.  Weaving.  Spinning.  Knitting.  Embroidery.  All feature thread and/or yarn.  Beading, or at least wire work beading, does not.  I guess the seed beads aren't far behind.

    I got quite a bit of my Kris Kringle gift done.  I'm very happy at how it is progressing.  I have a picture available.  Just drop a note and I'll send the link for those who are curious.  Naturally if you are a coworker, FORGET IT..  You'll just have to wait until the 22nd. :)

    Alex_cageMy son is getting far too clever for his own good. He saw Yeti hopping around in his cage and was fascinated by the bun.  However, standing on the floor, Alexander is not quite tall enough to reach the cage.  If you notice, he's standing on a box here.  He knocked the box down, shoved it over there and climbed aboard.  He could now stick his sticky little fingers in the cage.  Yeti was almost as curious about Alex as Alex was of him.  You can just see that pinkness behind Alex, Little Miss Kat was helping her brother.  Behind them you can just see the end of my 24" LeClerc loom that has been folded up and stashed between the wall and the rabbit for over a year now.  Someday that thing will come back out.  I'm in no rush to weave though.  I should probably sell it and content myself with a much smaller rigid heddle loom.  I'll give that some thought.

    December 10, 2004

    A gift, a gift, my stash for a gift..

    Crisis hits my household.  The knitting circle at work is having a Kris Kringle, gift day Friday, Dec 17th.  I had posted a while ago that I had gotten special dispensation to order my gift and was sitting back kinda smug whilst my fellow knitting coworkers who chose to knit something toiled away.  There was a request a few days ago to extend that deadline and put it off a week.  I'm on vacation after the 17th so the deadline held.  Well, the package arrived last night and I tore into it hoping to find something that would knock my victims socks off.  No such luck. 

    Major disappointment and I can't give this as a gift.  Does CrazyFiberLady panic?  Nope.  The Crazy part of me kicks in and I decide I can knit something in the remaining time, finish by Wednesday so it can be blocked in time.  Easy, right?  Off to the web I went looking for an appropriate pattern. Found one and spent some time fighting with Word XP to print the $%@#@#% thing without all the other crap on the page.  Off to the stash to find a nice yarn.  One problem with searching the stash at night, it still resides predominantly in the twins bedroom and they were asleep.  I crept in like, well Kris Kringle that I want to be and searched the basket of yarns to find something.  Something I did find.  A very yummy cashmere yarn that would be lovely.  I snuck quietly out, babies undisturbed, to return to the couch.  I cast on while watching ER.  With this yarn I fought and cried and pleaded.   No such luck.  Never ever cable with a multistranded, untwisted yarn.  I'd rather have root canal.  Even for my beloved victim I shan't do this.  Out comes the needle and I remember why this yarn is in stash and not already some FO.

    One hour wasted.  ER is now over and I return to the web.  I think I have another item in mind.  Got the pattern printed out and I return to the stash.  This time I'm not so lucky in the nursery.  I knock a toy off the pile and it hits the floor. Kat hears it.  She looks around, sees me standing the in the corner like the cat who ate the canary and starts screaming.  Sigh.  I tried to convince her to go back to bed.  No luck.  I have to scoop her out of her crib before she wakes Alex.  I cuddle her for a bit and put her back in the crib.  I then sneak out with a really yummy yarn that I had just found, perfect for the new pattern.  I return to the couch and cast on the second project of the night.  By the time the local news ends, I have a decent amount done.  As I look it over, I'm not entirely happy with it.  I pull the needles out and do some tinkering with the pattern.  At 11:30 I cast back on again.  By midnight, I'm finally content with how things are going and finally have a gift in the works.  What a long evening.

    In chatting with Mom this morning and discussing the events of last night, I decided to give all us knitters a break and opt for the extension on the Kringle deadline.  I could probably finish by Wednesday, but why kill myself.  I could give up sleep, but the twins would really make me pay for it.  Hell, I'll visit the city on a vacation day for the knit club.  The twins are in daycare that day so I don't have to worry about them.  It will be a nice break and it's not like I have to stay :)  I have my monthly train pass so its not a big deal.  I'm not entirely crazy ya know.

    To answer Chris' question of yesterday, yup, I broke my yarn diet visiting the Farmer's Market on Wednesday.  I forgot I was even on the diet when I went skipping off to the Morehouse Merino booth at the market.  I so forgot about it that I hadn't even remembered that I was on the diet until Amy asked me about the market later that day.  Geez.  I picked up the mitten kit and a lace scarf.  Hopefully I'll have better luck with their variegated lace weight than some fellow loggers did.  If not, it will look lovely in the stash basket ;)

    On a more solemn note, yesterday was Bill's memorial service.  It was at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan.  It was a lovely service held in a beautiful Cathedral.  Bill's niece is a minister and took part in the service.  The chapel was packed with people.  It was really very nice and I'm glad that I went.

    December 07, 2004

    Quickie update

    This is just a quick post to inform that I've officially managed to get everything, comments excluded, over here from blogger. I have to say that now that I've taken a look around here, I'm liking the TypePad.  So far, so stable.  I like the added features of the file management, certainly the decent amount of file space, rudimentary stats, and the photo albums.  I'm getting comfy in the new home and its nice to have my old stuff with me here.

    That said, I've made some progress on the Irish Hiking Scarf.  I've now done 19 repeats of the pattern.  I'm not taking any pictures of it to show as it's only a couple of inches longer than the last time you saw it.  It has been my train project since I "finished" the first gloven last night halfway home. 

    I've decided that gloven needs some work and the thumb can't stay the way that it is.  I'm going to rip back from my cast off and do a proper thumb.  I don't think I really need thumb access to the outside world and that it will be sufficient to have the rest of the fingers accessible.  I reserve the right to change my mind at a future time and undo the proper thumbs if I see fit once a real world application commences.  I'll probably address this thumb on the way home tonight and hope to have pictures tomorrow.

    Tonight is spinning night!  I have a little secret that I haven't revealed yet.  I did some spinning on Saturday.  Oh my spinning on a day other than Tuesday!  Yup.  I got frustrated with the CVM.  It takes a bit of effort to spin it and I wanted something faster and smoother.  I pulled out the polwarth that I also got from Little Barn at Rhinebeck. Talk about smooth!  I got 1/4 of the Womack bobbin filled already.  Nice stuff and its spinning a bit heavier than normal.  It's a bright white and probably somewhere around a worsted to a bulky.  I have a lb of it and should get some seriously nice yarn.  Now I have a dilemma.  Which do I spin tonight?  Or should I just throw MPD caution to the wind and finally break open the box with the pounds and pounds of Alice Fields cormo newly returned from Wooly Knob?  Tune in tomorrow to find out....

    December 06, 2004

    A new home, new photos

    To celebrate the new blogging home, I wanted to post some update photos...

    This is my gloven as of Saturday morning.  Ignore my red flannel plaid jammies please :)  I actually finished the first gloven on the train home tonight.  Though I'm still trying to decide what to do with the thumb.  I stopped the thumb just around the top knuckle, like the other fingers.  But with the mitten add-on, the rest of the fingers have a way to hide from the cold, while poor Mr. Thumb does not.  I could tuck my thumbs under the flaps, but that does pose a problem for driving.  I'm leaning towards making a full thumb out of it.  Whatever I do, I need to do it fast as the steering wheel was damn cold this morning.

    Here's a picture of the koigu socks as they've languished for the past week or so...

    Pretty, no?  Should be nice once I get back to them.  I think when I change to using a smaller wallet, I can put these in my purse as a really portable project.  Once again I've changed my commuter bag setup.  The nice bag from Joann's was great.  It was too big and too big is bad.  I fill it.  Bad.  Can't lift.  Certainly can't be toting it around.  Was a bit odd sized for my little body as well.  Anyway, went back to using my B& tote bag and a purse.  Oooooh.  Purse is a nice little thing that I got from QVC.  While it holds everything that I want to carry, it is a bit tight as my wallet is on the huge side.  Anyway...

    Here's the Irish Hiking Scarf as it stands now:

    The cables are so much more apparent in person.  For some reason the yarn is really hiding the details in this photo.  I also didn't realize how tweedy it was until I saw this picture.

    Give me a couple of days and all my blogger archives will be here as well.  Unfortunately, while I'm pretty sure I can import the content, the comments will be lost :(  Sorry all.  I do have copies in my email, when blogger forwarded them which it didn't always do.  I might just finagle them over here anyway.

    Little progress

    While I had high hopes for the weekend and grand dreams of finishing the glovens (my new name for those funky hunter's gloves wannabee mittens), I barely managed to finish off the fingers of the first one. I was stricken with a stomach virus yesterday that had me napping while the monkeys napped and not knitting. I feel much better today, thank goodness. I felt horrid yesterday. A plus note, I managed to lose the remaining pregnancy weight AND the weight I gained thanks to the fertility drugs. As a weight loss method, I would not recommend it. The twins had it starting Friday and I consider myself fortunate that I seem to have gotten only a 24 hour version.

    I also had to cancel out of a get together on Saturday with a very, very long term friend. Erin and I met in summer camp when we were 8. We were best buddies from Junior High onwards. College had us drifting apart though we did attend each other's weddings. We've been in contact with each other on and off, mostly off, since then. Well two summers ago, I did a spinning demonstration at the Putnam County fair. There was a photographer from a local paper taking pictures and he got one of me. I didn't think much of it other than to smile and look cute in my monstrous maternity jumper and continue spinning. I was 24 weeks with the twins at that point and already huge. I'm not a large person to begin with and normally weigh in at @100lbs and 5'0". So my twin pregnancy made me rather big, rather fast. Anyway, I digress. Two weeks later, I get a phone call from Erin. Her hubby had been reading the newspaper and there was an article about the fair. They recognized my picture, even though I had last seen her in '97 when we had lunch at the WTC. Long story short, she too had had twins, two girls, after years of fertility issues as well. Amazing. Unfortunately, further contact was limited as the next day I entered the hospital for my 8.5 weeks of bedrest. We did get together last February and her girls are beautiful, friendly and wonderful girls. They are going to be 3 this January I believe. We'll reschedule for after the holidays. But I'm disappointed that we had to cancel for this weekend. I had been looking forward to seeing them.

    So there you have my weekend in a nutshell. A little knitting on Saturday while taking care of two little cranky soon-to-be-toddlers, followed by a very long day yesterday. To further add to my misery, because of my highly upset stomach, I didn't have any coffee. So add a wicked caffeine withdrawal headache to the list of discomforts. As I have no pictures of any progress, being as there was none, I'll leave you with the "family" group shot of my booga bags.

    I'm toying with moving this blog to typepad. I've even started my free 30 days there. I'm just not sure if its worth it. Any opinions?

    November 30, 2004

    Knit today...

    ... done tomorrow. First the good news, the final two booga bags are done and ready for presentation. So without further ado here they are:

    Booga Bag - Teacher 3

    Yarn:  Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in Lotus Pink and Victorian Pink
    Pattern: Booga J's
    Started: 11/22/04
    Finished:  11/29/04
    Felted Size:  7"L x 5"W x 8"H

    Booga 3 complete

    Booga Bag - Teacher 4

    Yarn:  Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in Lemon Drop, Clematis and Blue Boy
    Pattern: Booga J's
    Started: 11/25/04
    Finished:  11/29/04
    Felted Size:  7"L x 5"W x 8"H

    Booga 4 complete

    Also on the completed front is the Rose Garden roving. I finally skeined it up and with my primitive kitchen scale, weighed the two skeins. It came out to be somewhere around 7oz with a length of 475 yds. Definitely enough for a couple pairs of socks. I still need to wash it and let dry. I'm pleased with the appearance currently:

    rose garden skeins

    Astute readers may have noticed that the Hatmione has been moved from the On the Needles to the In the Queue section of my sidebar. There's a very good reason for that. Here's a picture of Hatmione when I finished working on it on Sunday...

    Hatmione1 before

    Now this is what Hatmione looks like now :(

    Hatmione1 after

    Sad isn't it. I came to realize that there was no way that little remaining yarn would finish her. I bit the bullet and recovered the yarn. This partial skein, which I should have realized wouldn't have been enough to start with, has been now added to the Kitty Bed yarn pile that contains all the booga bag lamb's pride leftovers. One skein of lamb's pride that worked the last stripe and the fringe of the Hogwarts' scarf is not sufficient for Hatmione, especially when said pattern calls for one skein of Cascade 220. The next go 'round on Hatmione will be knit of said yarn. I don't consider it a break in my diet that I bought 1 skein, repeat ONE skein, of Cascade off eBay yesterday. It was the yarn called for by the pattern and I didn't have any in stash, nor did I have anything else that was the right color. The black Patons classic merino wasn't sufficient. So having to get the right yarn for a current project isn't a diet breaking binge. There. I said it. Makes me feel better. Leave me in my delusions. I'm still staying strong and plan on avoiding the Smiley's Manhattan Yarn riot this week. Nothing said about the booksellers' appreciation days at B&N this weekend ;) Rikki and I are going Friday night and I'm planning on getting Stitch & Bitch, probably Nation too, as well as the 365 Knit Patterns calendar, EZ's Knitter's Almanac and probably Weekend Knitting. Hmm, I don't remember adding books to the list of verbotten items on the diet. Yeah!

    Tonight is spinning night and I'm not entirely sure what I want to spin. I finished the rose garden as noted above. That 6lbs of cormo hasn't arrived from Wooly Knob yet, though I'm not sure if I'm ready to jump into that large an order. I do have about 6 oz of a romney/mohair roving in shades of blue that I got from the same folk as Rose Garden.. though I think I want a break from that blend. I'm sure I can dig up something from the amazing stash of fibers. I might just have to give that CVM from Little Barn a whirl.

    I had the quietest night last night. The twins stayed at their grandparents' house. I finally learned to take them up on their offer to keep them overnight. I used to hem and haw, consider it and then wind up bringing the monkeys home. Not last night. After dinner we took them down to the den to play. While I had intended to get them home early and get a bath in before Trading Spouses came on, it didn't quite work out that way. We all wound up watching Trading Spouses together, even Dad who poo-pooed the idea of it when the show initially started. He got sucked into it. Just as the show ended and I started to round up the little people's stuff, Dad told the twins it was time to go home, they needed their sleep as the next day was a school day. Ah, but he was wrong. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Mom watches them so I pick her up in the morning and we all ride to the station together. There she drops me for the train, takes my car and the kids home and Dad picks me up at the station at night. When corrected about their destination Dad suggested that they just stay there. Works for me. Though I have to admit, the house was strangely quiet. I was saddened this morning not seeing their smiling little faces when I entered their bedroom to get them up. I went it and saw empty cribs. I missed Kat's excited squeal that accompanies her freedom from crib. It was also strange to be able to get into the car in one trip and just leave. No multiple trips for kids and stuff. On a good day it's two trips, but can be as much as 4. There was no Sesame Street on in the kitchen while I got dressed so no "Journey to Ernie" to indicate that I really gotta get moving nor "Elmo's World" to say it was time to migrate to the car. I actually could leave a bit later as I didn't need the first stop at the daycare center (with it's two trips into the building for each monster) nor a stop to pick up mom. I had an empty car and two empty carseats in my rearview mirror. It was an empty feeling. I miss my monsters. I called mom a little while ago to check how all had gone. They slept through the night and didn't get up until 8am. I heard giggling and babbling in the background. I miss them more now.

    November 29, 2004

    After a LONG weekend

    It's amazing how very fast time flies. It seems like yesterday I was getting ready for the long holiday weekend and here it is over already. But then again, it seems like yesterday that the twins were newborns. Alas, time is indeed fleeting. I hope everyone had a great holiday. Mine was a bit of a mix. Wednesday evening Alexander whacked me on the head with a block giving me a minor concussion. I woke up Thursday with a heck of a headache and a bit dizzy. Not too dizzy to knit mind you, so I finished Booga 3 and cast on Booga 4. Around 11, I packed up the twins and headed over to my parents' house for the holiday. The holiday gathering was great. My family was together, the twins were in good spirits and all had fun. The food was yummy as always. It was so nice being there that we stayed until Saturday. Well okay the dizziness had me staying there until Saturday. Not to mention the head cold that the twins came down with that had them coughing through the night starting Wednesday. A little benadryl and pediacare and they are spiffing up nicely. Good news by Friday night, concussion healed. Bad news, I got the head cold. Sunday was a crafting day. My Voyager Season 5 dvd's did arrive in time for the holiday and I broke them out Sunday and finished knitting Booga 4 and got it in the machine along with #3. I blocked them last night before going to bed. They're currently drying on my stove. I'll have them finished tonight and get pictures uploaded.

    booga teacher three

    booga teacher three

    Bag 4 I did something a little different with. I'm quite pleased with these little bags. I will indeed have to make one for myself, and definitely with the Noro I bought originally for it. I just need a break from the things. I need to knit something else. I picked up the Hatmione, only to fight with the circular needle. I don't like short circs and I didn't enjoy cabling with the dpns. I even tried two circs, but only 8's that I have are short ones. Sigh. Might have to break my diet and buy some needles. I'm also not too terribly sure about the yarn. The lamb's pride is a bit of a pain to cable with and I'm not sure if I'm going to have enough to complete the thing. I also finally started the Koigu socks on Sunday. I've got about 1/2" of 2x2 ribbing done for the cuff. 60 sts on size 1 needles is quite the change from the Booga bags.

    Speaking of the diet, I've been very good. I haven't bought a single thing, but I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out. I just got the notice for this in my email: Smiley's Yarn Manhattan Riot.  That is always a good shopping trip and their featured yarns list has some definitely appealing items. I need more yarn like I need a hole in the head. My eBay super buy arrived on Friday and it is wonderful. I'm definitely knitting Banff with it and will probably cast that on tonight. Saturday that nifty worsted merino/cashmere that I traded for arrived. It's pretty. I cast on the Irish Hiking Scarf using it this morning while waiting for the train. I've made it through the first 3 repeats and have long since memorized the pattern. Once you get past the setup, it is so easy. It should be an elegant, but quick project, while also serving as good cabling practice for the Wensleydale cables sweater.

    November 24, 2004

    Veni, Vidi, Knitty

    Well booga #3 is getting very close to completion. I bound off the bag last night at my folks' house after dinner while the twins played with their Pop-pop. I started the I-cord this morning on the train. One observation, DPNS don't like when you wear a stiff pea coat. The ends of the needles kept getting caught in the ends of my sleeves. Needless to say my speed had decreased considerably. Speaking of knitting speed, there's the href="">fastest knitter contest. I'm curious as to how fast I knit when i get into the groove. I might just have to try it. I-cord is slow though. I don't like it and I'll be happy when its over. I do have a foot done already so there's 5 left ;)

    I've come to the decision that there's no way on earth I'm going to finish the Fairy Tale scarf by Hannukah. I took a gander at the calendar yesterday and got a reality check. Uh huh. I might be fast and can whip out a booga bag in 4 days from cast on to done, but lace scarf? Nope. Not even if I were the fastest knitter. Now maybe if I didn't have to work I might be able to do it. I am taking a week off, but that is a week too late. I do have a short repreive from the two weeks from today being the first day of Hannukah because the family is getting together to exchange gifts on Dec. 18th. That said, the scarf could be Feb birthday material, May anniversary gift or Hannukah '05. We'll see how quickly it goes once it gets going. I'll make some socks instead. Hopefully I have some decent machine washable sock yarn in stash so I can actually make it more than two days on my yarn diet. Does it count if I HAVE to buy it for a gift? I didn't think so :)

    Tuesday was spinning night so that is what I did afte the twins went to sleep. I finished spinning the remaining Rose Garden roving like I wanted to. I finished it earlier enough that I was able to ply it as well last night. It is resting on the bobbin now and I'll probably skein it up tonight. I want to get these things washed and drying before the weekend is out. I did have to make my own lazy kate for the WW's bobbins. They really didn't fit on any of my existing kates. The closest was the lendrum with the 3 rods standing up, which I think is his standard new style. I got it with my Saxony. I have a different one with the upright wheel. Anyway, the WW bobbins were a shade too long for the kate and didn't turn well. I wound up taking a shoe box, poking knitting needles through it and using that. It worked perfectly. I'm now storing those needles and the empty bobbins in the box. Have to love multipurpose tools.

    In this holiday season, I want to thank everyone who has left kind comments and with or without knowing it, encouraged me to continue knitting and blogging. I've enjoyed this venture far more than I ever expected to and I thank you all for that. I hope you all have a truly happy and healthy holiday season.

    November 23, 2004

    Holy Knit, Batman!

    Well I won the eBay auction yesterday and got an excellent buy on some Takhi Soho Bulky Tweed.  THE yarn called for in the Banff sweater pattern. I don't think I've ever used THE yarn before. Well I did buy the Noro for the booga bag, I just haven't knit that version of it yet. I've always used an alternate commercial yarn, or even a homespun yarn, so I'm looking forward to this:

    Takhi Soho
    Soho Bulky Tweed in Oatmeal

    And yes, I'm still on the yarn diet, at least technically. I placed the bid prior to my declaration of the diet so it doesn't count as breaking. Works for me :) And I'm also exchanging yarns with someone so that doesn't count as breaking the diet either. As a matter of fact,that was an explicit option I listed yesterday. Anyway, I'm swapping some pink laceweight mohair for a worsted cashmerino that will become the Irish Hiking Scarf.

    trade yarn
    80/20 Merino/Cashmere worsted

    Last night was one of those happy happy nights when I return home to find that a box has been placed behind my storm door. This time it was the USPS that earns my gratitude for delivering my very first order. My yummy Peruvian Highland wool arrived and it is gorgeous. I'm starting to really look forward to working the Wensleydale Cables sweater. Here's a couple of skeins along with the picture from the mag:

    Yarn & picture
    Peruvian Highland Wool & Wensleydale Cables from IK Winter '99/'00

    While I was at it, I took a picture of the Fairy Tale Scarf and it's yarn:

    Scarf yarn & pictures
    Nandia Silk/Cashmere & Fairy Tale Scarf from IK Summer '00

    Booga bag #3 is coming along swimmingly now that I finally settled on which bag and what color pattern to use. I changed the striping on this one. The bottom and the first 11 rounds of the sides are in the Lotus Pink and the remainder will be the Victorian Pink. I'm not sure if I like how they look together, but then again, bold colors really aren't my bag. I'm more of a black/white/brown person. Even the antique rose of the Peruvian Highland yarn is "colorful" though I am trying to expand. I've asked far more fashionably correct folk and they like the color scheme of the bag, so I'm content with that.

    I had a very lovely night with the crazy duo last night. Mom called me at the office yesterday that she had the sinus headache from hell and wouldn't be able to pick up the twins from daycare. She's feeling better today, a bit of a hangover, but better. Anyway, it got me out of the office and hour early and I got to pick them up. I enjoy picking them up as they come crawling over to the door when they see me and Kat will squeal. I love that squeal. I also had to make dinner unexpectedly. I hit the freezer and found some of those mini beef raviolis, frozen meatballs and I had just bought jarred sauce this weekend. Add a few veggies and we had dinner. Then they had a bath. Always a good idea after Italian food for toddlers to go straight to the tub. They enjoyed it and much splashing ensued. Kat even helped me wash Alex's hair, well maybe not wash it, but she did pat his head a couple of times after I had lathered him up. Here's they are on the couch ready for bed with Yeti, post crewcut.

    Post crewcut Yeti and the twins

    I finally gave spinning on the Womack while the twins were about a try. Lo and behold it worked as I hoped. I was able to spin without fear that little curious fingers would work their way somewhere that they were not supposed to go. I did have to fight the boy off the roving. I gave him a short length of it to play with and that kept him happy for a while. That's my boy. Today is spinning day so I'm hoping to finish up the Rose Garden singles so I can ply them before the holiday weekend is through. I want to measure up how much I have so I can part with it more easily.

    My Kris Kringle gift is now taken care of, which makes me very relieved. I had had an idea, dawdled about it, thought I'd lost my chance and then got special dispensation this weekend to get it. So it's now gotten and handled. Whew. A backup plan was not really gelling and I was starting to panic.

    I've successfully made it through the first day of the yarn & fiber diet. I still wish there was a patch for this. Maybe there is, I think its called TRADING rather than buying. It's a net zero for the stash right? AND I get new stuff for the stash. I like it.

    November 22, 2004

    Atkins, South Beach or Weight Watchers...

    Which one do you think would work as a YARN DIET?!?!? Or is there Yarnaholics Anonymous?? If there isn't, there should be! Hello, my name is Risa and I'm a yarnaholic. Hello Risa (crowd intones). Oy.

    I haven't yet received my order from Elann, though by my reckoning, it should be imminent (another distraction for the long weekend - tis a shame my Voyager Season 5 DVD set won't arrive in time), I've been bidding on more yarn on eBay. Sick sick sick I say. This is the Takhi Soho Bulky Tweed for the Knitty Banff sweater. Oooh that one looks soooooo comfortable. I HAVE to have one. I need more yarn like I need a new hold in my head. BTW, got a call from the nice men at Wooly Knob Fiber Mill that my 6 lbs of cormo are done and will be shipped out Tuesday. Woo, more for the spinning stash. At least it's no longer cluttering up the "to be processed dirty fleece stash". We won't discuss how much is sitting there! Now I just need TIME. Stupid job just gets in the way of the fun stuff.

    Oh and wait, there was chatter this morning on the NJFIberFanatics list about Joanns. Well, not having one near me I decided to search and see where the closest one is. No need for that in this wonderful world of ecommerce, they have a large online presence. I hit their site and was greeted with a 50% off one item coupon. Naturally I couldn't turn that down and bought the Artbin Yarn Tote. Yup, need another tote bag. Can never have too many of those.

    Now I'm serious, I'm instituting a moratorium on ALL craft stuff. No more yarn. No more needles. No more fabric. No more spinning stuff of any form. No more accessories. Nothing new unless I trade for it getting something I already have the hell out of my home. That's it. A new era of austerity has begun. Hmm, is cold turkey such a good thing? Shouldn't there be a patch for this? I quit smoking with the patch. Sigh.

    BTW, I'm back to making booga bags for the kids' teachers. For the life of me, I can't remember why I ripped out Sophie and started the booga on the train this morning.

    November 21, 2004

    Battle for midway

    .. has been been won. The second felted bag is now complete. While I was terribly tired last night, the drive to finish the damn thing and get it in the wash today was overwhelming. Here's the info on it:

    Booga Bag - Teacher 1
    Yarn:  Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in M-38 Lotus Pink and M-56 Clematis
    Pattern: Booga J's
    Started: 11/18/04
    Finished:  11/21/04
    Felted Size:  7"L x 5"W x 8"H

    Booga 2 knitting complete
    Before felting

    Booga 2 complete
    Bag done

    So now I'm halfway done with the teacher gifts. I started the third bag this morning while the twins napped, and bag two swished around with a load of jeans. The third bag is going to be more of the lotus pink, but this one's companion color is M-34 Victorian Pink. I'm going to do the bottom in the lotus pink, like #2, but the whole side will be in the Victorian Pink. The handles on Sophie are twisted double icord. I'm planning on doing one ply in each color. Fulling can't be all that bad if it got me to do laundry, actually made me look forward to doing laundry. Now that is something that I never expected to happen! I have so many clean clothes, I haven't a clue where to put them now. Which reminds me, there is a gentle load chock full of handknit socks and other stuff still in the machine.

    My friend Chris came for a visit today. She's the breeder I got Yeti from and we've become friends since. I made a baked mac&cheese casserole and a tossed salad for lunch. While the twins napped, I fixed a lace afghan square Chris had knit and missed on stitch in the middle of it. It was easy enough to repair with some duplicate stitching. Chris then gave Yeti his much overdue haircut. He's now sporting a crewcut, with the exception of the fuzzies on his ears and his topknot. Poor dude was matted and his coat came off in huge chunks. When I get the chance, I'll see if I can reclaim some of the prime stuff for spinning. If not, it will make wonderful felting material. I've got to learn wet felting.  Heck that would be a great way to quickly get rid of a huge amount of fiber from this place. I got quite the lesson while Chris groomed Yeti. I didn't know that grooming made a buck um amorous and he got very friendly with Chris. I'll leave it there.

    I thank everyone for all their nice comments regarding my booga bags. I like Nancy's use of the bag as a purse, rather than a tote bag. I might give that a try for myself, but make a much longer strap so I could put it over my shoulder.

    As for my freaky looking left-handed eastern uncrossed knitting, I hold the working needle in my left hand and the yarn in my right. The eastern uncrossed is from what I can tell a variation on the continental except the direction the yarn is wrapped around the needle. I seem to wrap in the opposite direction and my stitches wind up "backwards". The leading edge of the stitches on subsequent rows varies depending on what the row before was. Instead of always having the leading edge in front, I have it in back after a purl row and in front after a knit row. Always made it easy to tell which stitch to do in a ribbing situation as I could tell by which edge was presenting itself. It sure made a SSK moot in a stockinette situation. I never had to slip, slip to get the stitches in the right direction as they already were. The only time my knit stitches wind up as someone else would expect them would be when I worked in the round, but then again, purled stitches are "backwards" so their leading edges have traded. I hold the yarn wrapped around my right index finger and use my right middle finger to wrap the yarn around the working needle. In the end it all works for me and I can get projects completed... in record time these days too! Thank you all!

    November 19, 2004

    Ooga booga

    Booga bag for the first teacher is now done. It was fully dry when I got home from my folks house tonight, so after the twins went to sleep, I set about finishing the bag. Here's the info on it:

    Booga Bag - Teacher 1

    Yarn:  Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in M-183 Rosado Rose and M-82 Blue Flannel
    Pattern: Booga J's
    Started: 11/15/04
    Finished:  11/19/04
    Felted Size:  7"L x 5"W x 8"H

    Booga 1 complete

    Duchess of aRat gives the bag her seal of approval

    Duchess with booga 1

    It is a little smaller than I expected.  For me, I'd probably go for the Big Booga pattern. There's also another pattern, Sophie that I found while reading other blogs today. I'm probably going to make the other two bags in that style. Variety is the spice of life, or so they say. Personally, I like a good routine.

    Must be the cat person in me. As a note, Lamb's Pride felts like a dream. One trip through the washing machine with a couple of pairs of jeans and the thing was done.  I'd highly recommend it for felting/fulling projects. I do have a minor issue knitting with it. It is a singles yarn. Not an energized one normally so you don't have to worry about biasing in the finished knit. Notice I said normally. I find that while I'm knitting with it, twist is added to the single and winds up much tighter spun. It's probably due to the fact that I knit lefty eastern uncrossed, yeah I know interesting mix, and I tend to believe that the way I hold the yarn and
    wrap around my index finger adds quite a bit of twist. I should really try this but spinning a single in the opposite direction and see if I have the same problems.

    November 18, 2004

    One down, three to go

    The knitting for my first booga bag is now done. I finished it last night while watching Nanny 911 (kind of giving me lessons of how NOT todo things). I'll give the final project info after I felt it. That should probably be tonight as I really need to wash some clothes. In the meantime, here's a picture of the pre-felted bag.

    booga 1

    The colors have been selected for bag 2, which I'll start today at the "All Hands Company Meeting". Normally I would be kvetching about having to go to one of these, but the re-found love of knitting has me all excited for the bonus knitting time today. The colors are: M-38 Lotus Pink and M-56 Clematis.

    booga 1booga 1

    I plan on a different arrangement of colors for this go around. The bottom will be in one color, probably the lotus pink. The sides will be split into three alternating stripes, starting with the clematis. The icord handle will then be in the pink.

    My babies are advancing at a scary pace. Having only walked in my presence two days ago, Alexander took anoter leap forward yesterday when he fed himself applesauce with a spoon. WOW. Dad held the little cup while Alex carefully dipped the spoon in, picked up a bit and then ate it. Holy crud. Should he be doing this yet? I don't think so. Kat wasn't the least bit interested in trying it, but was more content with picking things off the table and putting them in a bowl. My babies aren't such babies anymore.

    November 12, 2004

    One more finished object

    My very productive month of November continues. In record time for a pair done in sock yarn, I have finished the Happy Trails socks. Here are the project details:

    Pattern: Own
    Style:  Cuff down-2x2 rib
    Yarn: Happy Trails Sock Yarn - Superwash Merino
    Started: 11/04/04
    Finished: 11/12/04

    Happy Trails Socks complete

    I don't think I've ever completed so many projects in such a short time. The world of blogging has continued to motivate me, as well as inspire me to try some new things. The above socks are an example of that spirit. Until this pair, all socks, and I've knit quite a number of them, have been very plain, ribbed cuff, straight knit remainder socks. This is the first modification of that. The next pair I make, I'd really like to add some cabling to the cuff part, maybe the twisted rib that I saw somewhere. I have to dig out the 365 knitting stitches perpetual calendar which lives near the spinning wheels and see what speaks to me.

    As for the socks, I think I'm keeping them. I've changed my mind on gifts for the ladies at Beth Am nursery and Daycare. Instead of making them all socks, they are going to get booga bags. Thanks to the Knitting Wench for the assistance on this decision. It was with her help that I decided the socks were for me and they get booga bags.. well so will I. She actually dared me to make them and not keep one for myself.

    Provided it hasn't snowed too badly tonight, I'll head over to Majestic Yarns and pick up a couple skeins of Lamb's Pride in fun colors and make them with that. Whoa, that leaves me without a project on the needles now?!???!?! I can't remember the last time I've had absolutely NO projects in the works. I'm getting all twitchy now with thoughts of completely empty needles. Oh the horror..

    Big old happy dance time tonight. I have three favorite people in this world, really favorite. The postman, the UPS man and Mr. Epidural-man :) The first two are serious faves because they leave packages by my door. Since I'm a bit of a senile dork, I have a tendency to forget that something has been ordered and get a huge surprise when I get home. Tonight was one of those wonderful nights. My WOOLEE WINDER for my electric spinner arrived! WHOOPEE. I'm hoping that this will allow me to get some spinning time whilst the twins are out of their cages. I haven't been using any of the wheels since the boy is too curious for his own good. I'm afraid those little fingers will poke through a moving drive wheel before I can stop it. He already has a thing for poking the orifice on the Lendrum castle wheel. I'd like it if I could put my Womack electric spinner on the end table or someplace equally out of little person reach and be able to spin. With the woolee winder I can just spin and spin without having to stop and move hooks. From what I hear, the WW on an electric makes the worlds best plyer. I can't wait to try it out. Maybe tomorrow's post will have a picture of the electric with a bobbin full of freshly spun singles.

    November 08, 2004

    Productive November!

    Two more projects move from WIP to Completed!  First is the cardigan for Kathryn that the knitting has been done for ages but just needed buttons.  Well I finally had the sweater, the thread, buttons and sewing needle all in one place at lunch today and did it.  I used 5 butterfly buttons in different colors to add a nice feminine touch to the straight stitched sweater.  So here is Ms. Kat herself modelling it:

    Kat in her new sweater

    Project Info

    Pattern: Basic Cardigan - Jacqueline Fee's Sweater Workshop
    Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Baby
    Started:  10/??/04
    Finished: 11/08/04


    Ms. Kat had a bonanza of new things today.  That hat I finally started yesterday was finished tonight while they played before bed.   It was quite a challenge to get her to model it.

    Kat in the hat

    Project Info

    Pattern: Ann Budd's Knitters Handy Book of Patterns
    Yarn:  Caron Simply Soft
    Started: 11/07/04
    Finished: 11/08/04


    While I was at it, I got Mr. Alex to "pose" in his hat that I finished some time ago.  Here's my little man:

    Alex in the hat

    Project Info

    Pattern: Ann Budd's Knitters Handy Book of Patterns
    Yarn:  Caron Simply Soft
    Started: 10/26/04
    Finished: 10/27/04

    Well I feel kind of icky so I'm going to call it an early night. I'm coming down with something.

    November 07, 2004

    Finished Object

    The Hogwarts scarf is DONE! Slightly ahead of schedule too. Its fabulous. Alexander is rather partial to the fringe. I umm skipped the blocking step. By my read of the pattern, this was to straighten it out and make it easier to get the color changes to one side. I was able to line everything up without the need to lay it out wet. I think the only things I've ever blocked are the lace shawls.

    Project Info

    Pattern:  Atypically Knit
    Yarn:  Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride - Spice & Lemon Drop
    Started:  10/27/04
    Finished: 11/07/04

    Hogwart's Scarf

    My next project is well underway. I finally started Kat's hat and am more than halfway through it. I've had a hideous headache today and really didn't have the energy to do much. Thankfully the twins were pretty content to play by together and let me sit quietly. They didn't always play nicely together. Alexander is sporting a nice bitemark on his left arm as Kat bit him in a fit of pique. Time to finish the laundry and get to bed early.

    November 06, 2004

    Stash Enhancement eXpedition

    Excellent SEX today. I finally have a LYS again. I haven't had one since Auntie Knits in Glen Rock closed down. I can't even remember how long ago it was.. though I do have a bag of yarn I got in their Going out of Business sale. It even made it through the purges of last year to get the nursery done.

    Anyway, Majestic Yarns had their grand opening today in Ridgewood! Beautiful shop. Not one of those typical yarn stores where it is so cramped and only the owner has any clue where a particular yarn might possibly exist. Nope, not this place. This is a gorgeous shop with nice cubbyhole type shelves well marked and organized. Its owned by the people behind School Products, a favorite lunch fieldtrip destination (witness my two trips in less than a week). The Ridgewood store is nice an convenient to home and has the bonus of NJ's lower tax rate and NO tax on yarn, only patterns and notions. EXCELLENT. As part of the grand opening, there's a 10% discount on all yarns. Do I need more yarn? Does anyone really need more yarn? Could I pass up a discount on gorgeous yarn? The answer to all is a resounding no. Here's a picture of what has been added to the yarn stash (the spinning stash still goes untouched..)

    Majestic 11_04

    What you see are six balls of Aurora Bulky in a navy destined to be a sweater for Mr. Alex. I got three skeins of Nuro Kureyon to make a booga bag - maybe that will make a good commuter bag, or at the least a good knitting bag where I can also tuck lunch. Two skeins of Koigu for socks, probably for mom. I think I'm pretty well set for a while yarnwise. Oh an hiding under the Aurora and the Koigu is a set of bambo size 10 dpns. I'm slowly replacing all my dopey aluminum dpns with either a bamboo, casein or bryspun. I dislike the alum ones, they are far too slick, unyielding and just unpleasant to work with.

    I made some significant progress on the Hogwarts scarf. I finished the last yellow band and have started the last burgundy one. I'll have it done tomorrow and more than likely blocked. I'd really like to have it done done by the end of the weekend. The navy pea coat that I ordered is shipping Tuesday so I should have it later in the week, just in time
    with both of them for the cold weather that is approaching.

    November 04, 2004

    Knitting progresses

    I've actually been making progress on two fronts so far this week. I turned the heel on the first sock I'm knitting out of the Happy Trails Sock yarn in the Blueberries colorway. Here's a picture of that yummy yarn.

    Happy trails yarn

    I bought this shortly before I found myself lying in the hospital in 2003. I remember getting my mother to hold her hands out so I could wind it into a ball :) Its a wonderful superwash merino wool and it is patterning nicely. IIRC, I started a baby cardigan out of it before I decided that knitting was far too difficult to do while lying on your side in a hospital bed. Saturday I started the first sock while the twins played on the floor. It's been sitting in the basket next to the couch which my every-other-week housekeeper really doesn't want sitting next to the couch. Oh well, tis better to have to replace the basket than scrub the bathroom :) Anyway, these socks are most likely for the twins' daycare teacher. I'm giving the ladies knit items and probably a giftcard to good old b&n for the holidays. I should have plenty of time.

    I've also made progress on the Hogwarts scarf. I'm past the halfway point on it. No recent pictures of it, but close your eyes and imagine 6 red stripes with 5 yellow ones :) It has been my commuting buddy. I've actually discovered that I can walk and knit at the same time..and NOT fall on my face. Probably not quite as alert as NJTransit would
    like me to be as to my surroundings. Nevertheless, it is still a great project for working on while standing on the platform. I just tuck the end of the scarf in my pocket, or wrap it over my shoulder. Hell, I was tempted to wear it this morning!

    Abominable snow rabbits

    While I haven't yet had the time and/or energy to tackle Yeti's much overdue grooming, he has been getting a little out of the cage time and a better selection of foodstuff. Last night he had his first taste of brussel sprouts and a yummy stalk of celery. Looked pretty odd lying together in the cage, but I'm slightly twisted. I don't think there is anything on the schedule for this weekend, so I might be able to clip him then. It's just so difficult... well the clip isn't difficult. Its the psyching myself up to do it that is. The last one was three nights of wrestling with him after the twins went to sleep. I know, I know it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't let it get so out of hand. I tell myself that every single time I clip him. Actually Maria surprised the hell out of me and cleaned his cage this week. Holy bunny droppings Batman. Hmmm, now if I could get her to clip him....

    October 25, 2004

    Beginning hats

    While I started Alexander's knit hat late last week, think it was Thursday night with a top down pattern, I wasn't happy with it. I ripped it out Friday night, after determining my 7.5 st/in gauge. I pulled out the Ann Budd book, Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.

    Budd Book

    There's a nice hat pattern with multiple gauges and sizes. I'm doing a pretty simple one for the boy, with a 1x1 rib for 1.5" and then will straight knit to the reduction for the crown. It's so nice and soft in the angora/silk blend yarn. Hopefully the kid will actually wear it. I should have it done pretty soon as it is pretty simple, but at 7.5 st/in, it will take me longer than I initially expected.

    Still no spinning time this weekend, but that's all right. I'll get some shortly. Not like this stage of life will continue forever. Nothing ever does. When I can get back to it, I'll have plenty to keep me busy. I'm hoping that when the woolee winder flyer for the electric spinner arrives that I can switch to using that on the end table and get some spinning done without injuring curious little fingers. That's the primary reason I haven't spun recently. Alex is far too curious as it is with the wheels sitting in various corners of the living room. He's been known to go over and turn the drive wheel and watch the flyer go round. He got especially curious about the Lendrum Upright this weekend when the flyer didn't turn (the driveband had slipped and was tucked behind the wheel). He found the orifice and stuck his little soggy finger in it. He has a thing for orifice hooks as well. I had to pry the one from the Saxony out of his hands last night. I'm going to have to remember where I stashed the things when I need them. Right now, none of the wheels have their hooks with them. I guess that's why I've been using the Journey Wheel recently :)

    I was hoping to get a little craft time last night after I cleaned the kitchen and recovered the living room from the little monkey tornados that spent the day there. No such luck. All of a sudden my super sleeping baby girl is not such the super sleeping tot. She goes to bed pretty well, but has been waking up screaming and won't go back to sleep without a little cuddling from mama. Early Sunday morning she woke at @12:30 a.m. I took her to bed with me and she slept until 7:30. Last night, they went down at 8 and she was up screaming at 8:40. She went back to sleep while cuddling with me and then was up almost as soon as she hit the crib mattress. The two of us fell asleep on the couch watching the end of the baseball game. Go Soxs! As an aside, I'm seriously moved by the performance of Schilling. Those bloody socks are an inspiration as to what a real pro-athletes will do for the team. His is above and beyond the call of duty that is much appreciated by the fans and really awe inspiring. Side track over, I'm not sure what to do about Kat's sleep issue. I'm temporarily writing it off to her separation anxiety (she cried and reached out for me as I put her in Miss Donna's hands this morning at daycare) and teething (I feel a nifty lump in her gums as this first year molars are working their way in) issues. I really hope the problem resolves soon. I'm tired and the living room is a mess ;)

    I did get to port all my junk into the messenger bag last night and managed to make it so heavy that I really didn't enjoy carrying it this morning. I found it heavy and bulky. When I get the Budd book out of it tonight, I'm hoping it will be better. Instead of wearing across my body, I found it more comfortable on one shoulder with the strap shortened a bit. I'll give it a week.

    October 23, 2004

    What Kind of Yarn...

    Here's another quiz I found...

    You are Shetland Wool.
    You are Shetland Wool.
    You are a traditional sort who can sometimes be a
    little on the harsh side. Though you look
    delicate you are tough as nails and prone to
    intricacies. Despite your acerbic ways you are
    widely respected and even revered.

    What kind of yarn are you?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    I never realized that quizzes could be so accurate :)

    I bought a messenger bag at Target today. I haven't had a chance to transfer everything to it yet. This afternoon has been sooo busy. The twins stayed at their grandparents' house last night so I could get a good nights sleep. My folks are downright nifty. I had 8 uninterrupted, glorious hours of sleep! Earl Grey woke me this morning nibbling on my fingers at 7am. Had to get up anyway ;) I was at Target at 8:30, at the mall at 10, supermarket at 12 and then getting my hair cut at 1. Whew. 3:30 we (mom, dad, kat & I) took Alex to Dad's barber for his first big boy haircut! He was such a good little man, sat very nicely in my lap and now he looks like less of a baby. Sigh. They grow up so quickly. Got home and made some Tuna Noodle Casserole. It was pretty yummy and there's plenty left for lunches next week. I just straightened up the house and am ready for a nap myself.

    I haven't had any time to knit or spin today, though I did order more fleece :) I saw an email this morning advertising some seriously fine Saxon Merino fleece from New Zealand. I'm getting a 2.82 # fleece. According to the post, their fleeces tend to run 13-15 microns. Now that is superfine! Think of the laceweight I can get out of that! I'm going to have to get the Lendrum Saxony ready for that.

    Well, need to clean the litterbox and then off to watch the Sox ..

    October 21, 2004

    Series over, Sweater Knitting Done

    Well the Yankees/Red Socks series is done, as is the knitting on Kat's Cardigan. I finished knitting the collar in the Secaucus Transfer Station yesterday while waiting for my train. Watching the game I worked in all the ends and kitchenered the armpits. I've never successfully used the kitchener stitch before but I finally got it! Jacqueline Fee does an excellent job of explaining it as does this website (which also has super pictures).

    I went digging through the button collection and sadly don't have enough of either pink pearl buttons or white ones. I have 3 of each and 5 button holes. I'm debating alternating them on the cardigan front or just giving in and buying more this weekend.

    Here's a picture of the buttonless, but now 99% complete cardigan:

    Just about done

    I balled up the silk/angora yarn I bought from Chris and have it in my bag now. During lunch I'm going to swatch it. I'm probably going to make a simple hat, working from the crown down, or maybe another one like last year's for Kat. I had knitted what reminded me of a elf hat with about an inch of i-cord at the top of it. Looked awfully cute on her. Xander had a more simple hat. I need to work with this yarn before I really am sure what to do with it.

    Baby Update

    Well yesterday was the monkeys one year check up! Dr. Rona pronounced them fine. They are developmentally on-track and healthy. Xander took the checkup like a pro. Didn't flinch when they poked his finger for the hemoglobin test. Kat wasn't quite the trooper she normally is. Hated having her finger held to get the blood into the little doohickey. Didn't want to get her ears checked. Seriously hated the shot. My little miss sunshine cried through most of her checkup. She was tired and dealing with a poop-burn diaper rash. Poor thing. With a bit of the new cream Dr. Rona prescribed and the Triple Paste on her bum, she's much much better today. Xander and Kat both measure in the 75th percentile for both height and weight.

    Xander is a child easily distracted by shiny pebbles on his way. This morning I had him crawl from their bedroom to the kitchen for breakfast, while I carried his sister. Unfortunately the litter box is across the hall from the door to his room. That's as far as he made it. I should have known better. While the box is a covered box, it still has a door. Silly I know. Well, for the first time instead of just beating on the top of it and playing with the handle, the boy ventured into that door. Not all of him, just that disobedient hand that just wants to get him into trouble. We use that scoopable clumping litter, does anyone not use this stuff these days? I really don't have to go much further, do I? Icky story short, I wiped his mouth out with a bunch of napkins and asked Mom to see if she could brush his teeth. Eeewwwww.

    October 20, 2004

    Pictureless progress...

    No pictures today. I stayed up way too late last night watching the Yankees and Red Socks go at it once again. While I'm excited that there's going to be another game, I'm still tired. At least I know tomorrow night I can get some sleep.

    I sat on the couch, all tingly with excitement over the game, knitting my little heart out on Kat's Cardigan. I got through all the raglan shoulder shaping and even past the collar. I'm now in the middle of the 1" neckband. After that, I just have to work in the ends, kitchener the armpits, put some buttons on it and block it. I have to check the button stash, but I'm pretty sure I have those little pearl buttons. Yarn usage has been 4 skeins of the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Baby. I got a super buy on it via eBay. IIRC, it cost me $44 for ten skeins, including shipping. I couldn't pass that up. I'm going to use my new noste tonight and wind the angora/silk yarn into a ball so I can swatch it for their hats.

    Single Project v. Multiples

    I'm surprised to find recently that I've become pretty much a single knitting project person recently. I've always had more projects on the needles than you could shake a stick at. Now, just Kat's sweater. I think it's because my craft time has been so greatly reduced to just about the commute time (couch knitting is a recent re-addition) that I've kept the task list small. I did have two projects going for a bit, but this year, if I do have more than one, it's generally two very different kinds of projects. One is usually a big one that gets consigned to couch knitting. The other is usually something small/easy that I can do on the train or standing on the subway platform.

    On the other hand, the MPD has been picked up significantly by the spinning projects. With 6 wheels and probably a ton, well maybe not quite that much, of fiber, I have a hard time keeping the spinning projects to a handful. Each wheel has a bobbin of something different on it. Some wheels, like the lendrum upright, where I have 9 bobbins, have several different fibers on bobbins (1 cormo, 1 cheingora, 1 romney). That's not even getting into the spindles. I must have 6 different spinning projects going there as well! I'm trying hard to fight the MPD and actually clean out some of the fiber stash. I get soooo close to finishing a roving and then something new shows up and I get distracted. I have one more bobbin's worth of the llamney. Think I've finished it? Nope. Haven't even started spinning it. The rest has been plied and is sitting on the large bobbin waiting. Not that it really matters, I have baskets of yarn that I just can't keep up with. I don't have enough knitting time to use it all, nor do I want to use some of it. I find I spin for the shear joy of spinning. Most often there isn't a project in mind when I sit with a fiber. Sometimes there is, but it usually is an amorphous one, oh this roving wants to be a sweater, or heck, that would make a nice hat. Generally it's socks, but who the heck needs that many socks from a 1lb roving spun sockweight? Not me. I guess I could start giving gifts ;) But then there's the limited knitting time. Hell right now, I'm enjoying my time with the twins. There will be plenty of time ahead for knitting and spinning. The babies are what are really important.

    October 13, 2004

    Socks done

    Well I finished the socks for the twins last night!

    I like how the color patterns are random. One pair is closer in color layout than the other. This picture is a better represenation of the colors, but it is still a bit washed out. You get the general idea though. I spun the roving in random lengths, generally between repeats. I plied the single on itself so the yarn is a mix of solids (blue, green, lilac) and mixes of the three. I worked the ends in after I took the picture so the socks are completely done. The twins will be able to wear them Saturday to the festival.

    Speaking of the festival, I asked their daycare teacher this morning if one of her daughters would like to come to the festival with me as a mother's helper. I really hope she can. I don't even want to think what it would be like without some help.

    I went back to Kat's cardigan and finished the cuff on the second sleeve and started the "body" of it. The rest of the sleeve should take no time at all. I'm using the percentage sweater cardigan from Jacqueline Fee's Sweater Workshop. (I have an extra copy of this book if someone is looking for one :)

    I actually had some work to do this morning! Wooooo. Done though. I just got something else, but its cruddy busy work and I'd rather do anything but cruddy busy work. I hope this situation changes for the better soon. Idle is a baaaad thing for me.

    On another happy note, Kathryn Rachel took her very first step last night! I'm so proud of my little girl.

    October 12, 2004

    Socks progress

    I've made some progress on the socks for the twins. I started the heel on the train home last night and finished it on the couch after they went to bed (and before my eyes started to close). I'm just south of the ribbing now. I should have it done tonight. After that, it is back to Kat's cardigan. I still need to make one for Alex, not to mention a couple of hats for them. If this morning is any indication, cold weather is indeed a comin'. I hate winter. I sorta hate fall too, if only that it is a precursor to winter.

    I'll take another picture in better lighting when the socks are all done. The colors are completely lost here. They are soooo soft though. I'm hoping that there is enough yarn left over that I can get a pair out of the remainder. It's a yummy blue-faced leicester, one of my favorite breeds.

    Major stash acquisition this weekend. I can't wait for Rhinebeck! I haven't been to a fiber festival since Maryland 2003. The twins were too small to take to Rhinebeck last year and it was just a logistical nightmare to bring them to Maryland. I've been in festival withdrawal. I haven't missed a NYSW festival since I started spinning in '99 was it? I've already pre-ordered a couple of things. I'm getting a featherweight spindle from the Bosworths and a couple of different rovings (Polwarth, Rambo and CVM) from Little Barn. Yeah yeah, like I need more stuff. I've actually been spinning recently. I've put a huge dent into the luscious cream llamney (70/30 llama/romney) that I got from Julie at Foxcross Farm.  I've got one more bobbin's worth to spin on the journey wheel and then I'm off to ply on the Lendrum Saxony.

    Wish today was over already. Bored at work and sleepy from lunch. Need some coffee. I think a trip to Starbucks is called for.