Sunday, November 30, 2008

Frederickburg Bound

Rachel heads back to school tomorrow. I'm going to miss her...it's awfully nice to have her home. She makes me laugh and I love watching her get into knitting. But I won't be missing her for long. In two weeks she'll be back again for Christmas and be here for a month. We'll probably be sick of each other by the end of that time...but we do eat better when she's home. She keeps me on my culinary toes.

Today we celebrated a cold rainy last day and went to Daedalus where Rachel found a big ole stack of books she wanted and I managed to find a few for myself. She got some high-falutin' titles...Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, some Dostoevsky, a fancy-schmancy volume with a bunch of Kipling novels...me, I got a couple of pop-up books and a mystery.

Tomorrow, I'll have a good bit of knitting time on the trip to Fredericksburg and then (yippee!) I'll have Tuesday off...I am getting to like these mini-weeks.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Am I In The Pink Or Feeling Blue?

I started a new project last night.


There's the sock, chugging along (more about that in a minute), but under it is the new project. It's the Flower Scarf and the yarn is so yummy. If I were independently wealthy, I'd buy enough of this yarn to make a brioche stitch sweater. How cushy and warm would that be? Of course, if I just refrained from buying sock yarn for a while, I would be able to buy that yarn, wouldn't I? Hmmm. And I bet the nice ladies at The Black Sheep would be willing to special order it for me, too. The only problem is that brioche stitch is so slow-going.

The sock. I've done three hearts now. I am supposed to do four but my fat old legs won't let me pull the legs up that far...so I can either do three hearts worth and have them be sort of short socks...I could continue making them and give them to someone (but I have no-one in mind...Rachel doesn't like pink)...or I could rip them back and use the yarn in another pattern. Decisions, decisions.

As for the blues? Well, I got some yarn this week. (I am a little embarrassed to post this. One of my cousins said she imagines trucks full of yarn pulling up to the house and unloading. It's not quite that bad.)


This is Dream in Color Starry in the Deep Seaflower colorway...those little things that look like white flecks? They're fine sterling silver...so magical.


Claudia in Teacup. I've wanted this one for a while and when I saw that Loopy Ewe had it in stock, I jumped on it.


The Sanguine Gryphon's Aegina. Yummy depth of color.


Creatively Dyed in Forest Green. Lots of blues in this, though.


Opal in one of the Hundertwasser colors.


Duncan has taken to sitting on the desk and staring at the wall. There's nothing there. Absolutely nothing. I think he's doing it just to freak me out.


Gizmo, on the other hand, likes to freak me out by sitting and kneading on my Log Cabin blankie. Look at those toes go.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Memories And Such

I am, when not knitting away on my pretty pink socks or my bright orange scarf, reading a fascinating sort of book. It’s The Amnesiac by Sam Taylor. It’s about James Purdew, a young man who, after breaking up with his Dutch girlfriend, returns to England to figure out what happened during three years that seem to have vanished from his memory. He returns to the town where he spent those years and begins investigating, uncovering clues to his own mystery and to a nineteenth century mystery that may, somehow, be connected to him. There is a lot here about memory and history, fiction and reality, dreams and real life.

And perhaps it’s sophomoric of me, but I keep finding bits that really seem to resonate with me, that I have to stop and mull over. Last night I read this section – James is wandering in the neighborhood where he grew up and comes across his junior school, where he spent “half his life between the ages of four and ten.” He wanders about and looks through some windows, and thinks:

“And yet…how small everything looked. Could this tiny building really be the repository for such fathoms of wonder and fear? Of course, James told himself, it looks small because you’ve grown. Once upon a time you sat in little plastic chairs like those, you stared longingly out of the window at this minuscule foot-ball pitch and thought how grand and green and magical it seemed. But could that really have been me? he wondered. Somehow the disparity in scale made him question what he had always taken for granted. Could he truly once have been a child?”

And this made me stop and think about elementary school…and how, when I look back, and remember things…Linda Hoerl’s incredible toy horse, standing in front of the class giving book reports, playing with Quisinaire cubes, watching Bobby Chisum draw pitched Army battle, complete with sound effects…I think of all those things as an adult and I think that surely I was then just like me now. But I don’t actually remember my viewpoint…I don’t truly remember the feeling of being the young me. What I remember is the intrinsic me, unchanged from the way I am now. I’ve always just felt like me… Is it really possible to remember your young self? Aren’t your memories irredeemably colored by the way you are now?

Later in his walk, he thinks about his childhood friends:

“He thought of all the people he had known here with whom he was no longer in touch, their faces moving past in a floating identity parade. And then he tried to imagine what he had always taken for granted: that these people were alive, somewhere in this world, at this instant. That, if they looked up now, as he was doing, they would see that same moon, those same clouds and stars. […] He thought about the idea that these people were alive, not only now, when he was thinking about them, but all the time. At every instant. Doing something, thinking something, seeing, feeling, experiencing a life utterly estranged from his. He tried to imagine how he seemed to these other people. Did he ever cross their minds the way they were crossing his now? Was he anything more to him than a momentarily recalled image, as unidentifiable twinge somewhere in the stomach or chest…He thought of ringing them up or writing to them, if only to ensure that he could, for that instant, exist again in their self-contained universe, pass across the sky of their mind.”
I loved this passage. I do that…think of the kids I went to school with and try to imagine where they are and what they are doing. Though really they are all going to continue to exist, in their child-states, never growing up, in my mind. And maybe somewhere Marius Masumas occasionally has a ten-year-old me in his mind. (I had quite a crush on Marius, who seemed incredibly smart and was cute, too. I’d be thrilled to think that he remembered me at all.)

And, tangentially related, do you ever watch a stranger do something and try to project yourself into their mind? Watch someone on a bus and try to feel that you are that person…feel how tired they are, or how bored? I do that a lot.

Anyway, the book is interesting but it’s going slowly because I keep stopping to think about all this stuff.

Uh-Oh

Woolgirl is having a sale today.

I may have just bought some yarn.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Turkey May Not Have Been Stuffed...But I Sure Am!

We are back from my cousin's house where we had a feast of a turkey dinner, enjoyed a lovely fire in the fireplace, reminisced and discussed societal ills, ate too much and generally had a smashing good time. And I took my camera but did I get a single picture? No. Nary a one. Not even of my cousin's adorable dog.

We were a smaller gathering than usual and missed those relatives that weren't with us. But I sure enjoyed the ones that were.

I need to go lie down and moan now.

That Old Rachel 12 -- Thankful Edition

When Rachel was in first or second grade, for a class exercise around this time of year, her class was asked to think about things about which they were thankful. Rachel's response was:

"I am thankful for gravity."

I, too, am thankful for gravity.

And for a job I enjoy going to every day...heck, these days, I'm thankful for a job at all.

And I'm thankful for my health, which, despite sinus infections and bad knees, is pretty good. (I'm certainly thankful for blood-pressure medicine.)

I'm thankful for yarn and the income with which to indulge in it and the spinners and dyers that make it so lovely and delightful to work with. And for The Black Sheep, not only a place to go to fondle wool and breathe yarn fumes, but a place to go to hang out and laugh and talk and come out all charged up and happy.

I'm thankful for chocolate. And noodles. And ice cream. And a good glass of wine.

I'm thankful for books and the ability to travel to distant worlds and other times and fantastical places...all without waiting in lines at an airport or even leaving my chair.

I'm thankful for our cats, even if they are little pains in the butt every morning because they seem to think that, without their making a fuss and shredding paper and racing back and forth up and down the hall and meowing and scratching at our door, without all that performance, somehow they won't get fed in the morning even though they've been fed every morning that they've lived with us.

I'm thankful for blogs, where I can blather on about this and that and even have people read my blatherings and comment on them. And I'm thankful for the talented bloggers whose blogs I enjoy so much...who make me laugh and think and want to knit better.

And most particularly, I'm thankful for my family...especially Mr. Pointy Sticks and that old Rachel.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Color Me Blushing

Yesterday I showed you the pretty pink sock I had started and mentioned the 2-At-A-Time-Socks book. La, la. And then, later in the evening, I got a comment from someone named Melissa -- assuring me that I'd catch on to the cables quickly. "How nice," I thought, "a new reader...or at least, a new commenter." And I replied to her comment.

And then I thought, "Hmmm....her name is Melissa. The author of the book is Melissa. That's a coincidence...or is it?" And I checked and she's the author of the book! I had a celebrity visitor! How cool is that!! I was/am thrilled. (It's a really nice book, too. Even if you aren't sure you want to mess with two socks at a time, there are some wonderful patterns. I can't wait to try Belle Epoque.)

But really I came here to write about the wonderful evening Rachel and I had up at The Black Sheep yesterday. (I really should learn to take my camera everywhere with me, you know?)

We went up to find yarn for Rachel to use to make another scarf for a professor. The girl has champagne tastes, I'm afraid. And so does her mother...a case of the apple not falling far from the tree. She doesn't, however, have an income yet. That's a downside...for her mother.

Anyway, we got up to the shop in the late afternoon and there was a saleswoman there, showing Tracy and Joyce her lines...and they were gorgeous! And Tracy and Joyce even let Rachel and me help choose some colors! So much fun! There was one Farmhouse yarn called Lumpy Bumpy...so many pretty colors! This is a yarn texture that doesn't really appeal to me...but I do like the way it looks knit up. My neighbor Maureen made a simple cardigan sweater out of this yarn and it looks dynamite. They are going to order the color that Rachel liked - a pretty sagey, grayey blue that I don't see on the page linked above. And eight other colors, including a luscious raspberry.

And then she brought out the Pagewood Farms Sock yarn. Oh. My. God. So covetable. They have a sock yarn that is a cashmere blend....incredibly soft and pettable. And one that's Blue-faced Leicester. And one that's wool and bamboo. And oh my, the colors! All of them completely drool-worthy. The sales rep had a long strip of knitting that was made up of sections of each color...each one prettier than the last. We had more fun sorting along this strip and choosing a red-dish selection, a green one, something in the brown family, some blues. Man, I can't wait until these yarns come in. I special-ordered a skein of the cashmere blend in Denim blues for Rachel...and I'll definitely be picking up something for me, too. Oooh, perhaps the green one...Ireland. Or Mississippi Mud, a coppery brown with other colored flecks. Yummy. I swear, yarn fumes just go right to my head.

Then we came home and I tried to show Rachel how to knit up a scarf with two colors in side-by-side strips. Intarsia, basically. But I am a lousy teacher and we were both tired and we were trying to watch House...so the tiny beginning we had got ripped. We can try again this afternoon or come up with some other ideas.

Oh, and the yarn Rachel chose for this scarf...Sublime. I tell you...champagne tastes. At least I talked her down from the $95 cashmere scarf kit.

Whew! Long day, but fun.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We're Back!

Not too, too horrible a trip. We had heard dire predictions about the traffic on 95 being completely hopeless all this week but the trip down took about the normal time and the trip up had one-slow down, I think. The worst traffic was right around the Beltway and our exit because of a police funeral. (There have been far too many police and fire-fighter funerals in past months.)

We stopped at my brother's house on the way home and ooohed and aaahed at his new kitchen. It's very nice. Good looking cabinets...gorgeous granite countertop (black with coppery flecks)...nice.

And here's what that pink potential sock yarn is turning into!


The pattern is from Melissa Morgan-Oakes' 2-At-A-Time Socks (though I am doing them one at a time) and is called Be Mine socks. I started this last night and got the first heart done. Got the second one done on the trip today. There are supposed to be four hearts before the heel flap. I may only do three....though I did call The Loopy Ewe yesterday and they had the same yarn in the same dye lot, so I ordered a third skein. So I may do the full length. They are not mindless socks...I did a lot of ripping -- crossing cables in the wrong direction, forgetting to shift stitches -- and that adds to the time it takes. The ripping out isn't mindless either....

Oh, and the ball winder. That was my sweet daughter's birthday present to me. Yay! I was just tell ing Mr. Pointy Sticks the other night that I would like one. (He knew she had gotten it.) Now I feel like winding wool!

Off To Get The Dotter

We'll be heading out in a few minutes to pick up Rachel for Thanksgiving. Keep your fingers crossed for us that traffic isn't too, too, too horrendous.

And I have something to show you when I get back.

That's what you call a teaser.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lookie! Over Here!

Potential socks!

Claudia's Handpainted in Begonia...so pretty. So unlike the clown socks I just finished.

Duncan liked watching me wind the yarn.


Gizmo not so much.

That Old Rachel 11

Rachel and I were in a Mother-Daughter book club for a number of years. When she was about 10, I was reading Number the Stars to her. I don't remember if we were reading the book for the book club or for a school assignment, though I would imagine it was the book club as I generally didn't read her school books to her. She was confused about why the girls in the story would be scared of German soldiers. I found myself explaining the Holocaust and Nazis and Hitler. "Hitler wanted to rule the world," I said.

"That's crazy!" said Rachel, "Nobody would want that!"

'"Why not?" I asked.

"The world's too big," she said, "and besides, think of all the paperwork!"

I've Been A Little Productive...

I got some socks washed.


All my pretties. From top to bottom, left to right: Dream in Color Smooshy, Diakeito Diamusee, Madelienetosh, Lorna Lace's Shepherd's Sock, On-Line Sock, Perchance to Knit, and Austermann Step, that yarn with the aloe in in....

Randon thoughts: The Austermann were my first socks ever...they're a little too big. I wish the cuffs on the Madelienetosh socks were longer...the Diakeito still look as though they come from two different skeins of yarn...

And actually not all my pretties. These will be for Elizabeth...


Not the best made socks ever, but they are...colorful.

And here's Gizmo, in one of his favorite places.


Can't you just hear the purring?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hip To Be Square

I forgot to mention that I had a chance to try these new Kollage Square Needles up at The Black Sheep today. Man, are they nice!! It takes a minute or two to get used to the squareness of the needle shaft...but only a minute. And square needles are supposed to be easier on your hands, though honestly I don't know why. They are also a pretty coppery color.

But it's the cable that makes these needles stand out. It is as floppy and relaxed as a well-cooked piece of spaghetti and the join is smooth, smooth, smooth. I think I am going to have to treat myself to some of these unless someone else treats me to them. (Mr. Pointy Sticks may be giving me a trip to The Black Sheep for Christmas. He did that last year and has been making noise about that again this year. Fine with me!)

Anyway...seek these out. Give them a try. Marvel at the slinkiness of the cable. Wonder at the comfort of the square. I thought they were really neat needles.

It's Beginning To Feel A Bit Like Christmas

Nothing like a little snow


and shopping for toys for the kids who attend the Christmas party we give at work


to make one feel a little less Scrooge-like. (Mr. Pointy Sticks chose the shark puppet and seemed almost reluctant to let it go. It is pretty cool. And it didn't have a price tag so the young woman at the case register charged us $4.99. I think it should have been more.)

And I do mean a little snow. We only got a dusting...it's just about gone now, even though it's still very cold. But still, it was awfully pretty swirling and dancing. I love snow, especially when I don't have to shovel it.

So after doing bankish sorts of errands and shopping for toys, we came home for a bit and then I ran up to The Black Sheep. (Don't worry, Rachel, we'll go up again on Tuesday as planned.) I sat with the ladies who were there and finished the clown sock and started seaming Alexandra's sweater. I need to pick up stitches now and sew in the sleeves and I'll be done. I did a stupid thing, though, and seamed up the side seams and then the shoulders. I should have left the side seams for last...it's going to be trickier to sew in the sleeves now.

And I came home with some yarn. (Quelle suprise!) Two of the purchases are for specific things:

I got this Melody yarn to make the scarf in the newest Interweave Knits. It's actually done in Trekking but I think Melody will be a decent substitute. I really love the look of this scarf.


And I picked up some Sheep Shop yarn to do the Flower Scarf. It calls for cashmere and silk and the Sheep Shop is wool and silk. Close enough for government work. I was tempted to get a skein of pale green and do the scarf in the green and the flower in the pink. I may still do that...maybe on Tuesday evening when I can use my Black Sheep coupon. Wait a minute!


Gizmo, get out of the way!


That's better.

And finally, not with anything specific in mind...but all the sock yarns were 25 percent off...I got this C*Eye*Ber Fiber in Fire. And yes, like millions of others, I could not resist Starbucks' knitted mug.


I love it. Hot chocolate, here I come! Now, where's the whipped cream?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

And Blah, Blah, Blah...

Argh…I just don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just don’t feel write-y for some reason. I noticed that the blog posts started slowing when I got the new job, working with people I enjoy and can goof around with a bit. That might be part of it, though I’m not sure why – maybe I’m talking too much during the day and using up all my words. I’m not even posting much on Readerville any more. I just don’t feel I have anything interesting to say. (Which the rest of this post might prove.)

This week though I’ve been feeling sort of grumpy…and I’ve been trying to figure out why. Post birthday let-down? Post-election let-down? Pre-Christmas blahs? (I am so not ready for Christmas. Not just in the sense of “Oh, my God, I have no gifts for anyone and no ideas for anyone and I hate to shop!” but also in the psychological sense. Heck, I’m not ready for it to be Thanksgiving yet, much less Christmas.)

And then there’s the Wollmeise situation. Which is just so supremely silly that I can’t believe I am taking up time even thinking about it. I think I’ve mentioned before that The Loopy Ewe gets yarns from this German dyer, Claudia, whose yarn is called Wollmeise. The yarn is wildly popular…sells out in minutes, both at The Loopy Ewe and on Claudia’s own website. And you never know when it is going to be put up for sale at the Ewe. As anyone who reads this blog for more than a week knows, I certainly don’t suffer from a lack of sock yarn. It’s not as though I can’t find other yarn at The Loopy Ewe or a dozen other sites. But this elusive Wollmeise has gotten under my skin. And I’m a little mad at myself – no, I’m actually very annoyed with myself – for letting it get to me. It’s like a popular hysteria…and I’d like to think that I’m less susceptible than most people to fads. But obviously not because, damn, here I am, annoyed about the Wollmeise!

Loopy Ewe customers knew there was going to be a Wollmeise posting sometime this week and Tuesday evening I was sitting at the computer and checking Loopy Ewe’s site every fifteen or twenty minutes. And I still managed to miss it! It came and went between two of my site checks. I only knew about it because I checked in on Ravelry and saw people talking about what they had gotten.

And even though I’ve read comments from some people saying that they don’t even like the yarn all the much…and even though there are other dyers I love whose colors are drop dead gorgeous…and even though there’s like a one-in-a-million chance that I would be on The Loopy Ewe site at just the right time and be decisive enough to choose a skein before it was bought out from under me…and even though I can sort of hear my mother laughing at me for wanting something just because everyone else does (her view would be that if everyone else wanted it, that would be enough of a reason not to)…even though I know all that….there’s still this dissatisfaction, this sense of missing out on something.

And yes, I know there’s a thread on Ravelry where you can beg for some of this yarn from those lucky enough to get it but I’m not going to do that. I mean, I know I don’t need this yarn.

And you know, as I write about it here, I realize it isn’t even really the elusive yarn itself that’s really bothering me. It’s the situation…the sheer improbability of ever being at the right place at the right time. And the fact that people are swooping in and buying up multiple skeins, multiple times when they don’t really need it and then sort of crowing about it. And yes, many of them are generous enough to then offer the skeins up on Ravelry. But then why did they need to buy them in the first place? So they could play Lady Gracious? Because they, too, were swept up in the hysteria? Do they realize that if they held back that there would be more yarn for the rest of us? I dunno. It’s a weird phenomenon.

See? Supremely silly.

And I hereby resolve to put it out of my mind. So….

I am almost finished the yellow clown socks. They are actually going to be too small for me, I discovered. How clever of me. Anyway, I asked one of my co-workers, with smaller feet than I, if she might wear them and she allowed as how she would, at home. So she’ll get the clown socks.

The orange scarf is chugging along still. I’m just about through my second ball of yarn. It would be going faster if I…you know…actually worked on it.

And I need to start Rachel’s sweater. Perhaps when she’s home next week (yay!) I can double check her measurements and actually start. I am so afraid that I will somehow screw it up and I want it to be perfect.

And I need to seam baby Alexandra’s sweater. That poor thing has been sort of abandoned. I may try to take that up The Black Sheep on Saturday and sit for a bit and seam in good company.

And Rachel wants me to knit a Jayne hat, in shades of green, for a friend of hers.

And I am already thinking about what socks I want to make next. I'm thinking something in a solider color with some stitch interest.

Current Reading

I read the latest Dalziel and Pascoe book, The Price of Butcher’s Meat. It was…okay. I mean, a mediocre Dalziel and Pascoe book is better than most books. But it wasn’t up to the quality of the last one. And there were irritating sections written all in italics (when the recuperating Dalziel was talking into a mini-recorder) and sections written as lengthy emails, complete with misspellings (though, thankfully, no lol speech).

And I read a good YA book called Tunnels. Pretty creepy, with a very well-realized world existing under London. There’s a sequel coming out in 2009 that I’ll be looking for.

And right now I’m reading Hannah Tinti’s The Good Thief. It’s very Dickensian. I’m enjoying it a lot.

Whew! I guess I found some of my words!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ah! Weekends

I managed to get through Friday with no problems. I was the only one in (my boss had the day off, my co-worker was in D.C. at a roundtable, the other co-worker is easing back into work after maternity leave and is only in two days a week). As a fairly new employee in the branch, I was a little nervous about handling anything that might come up, but it was a quiet day. The only calls we got, I was able to handle.

And I found out that I have quite a bit of use-or-lose leave to use up by the end of the year! This was a shocker, because I haven't had use-or-lose since before Rachel was born. I should have realized this sooner, so I may end up losing some if I can't schedule it all. (And wouldn't you know it...I'd have leave I have to use when I'm in a job I actually enjoy? I know, I know...there are bigger problems.)

So I had a nice quiet weekend. Relaxing but not a lot to blog about. In fact, come to think of it, except to bring the mail in on Saturday I haven't left the house since I got home on Friday evening.

There was lots of snoozing and reading and knitting and napping and knitting and games on the computer and sleeping. My kind of weekend, lazy sod that I am.

Oh, and in the mail on Saturday, there was some yarn. (Who's surprised?)


Araucania in lovely shades of blue.


Indie Dyer in Cactus Flower.


Brooklyn Handspun in Under the Sea.


And another Brooklyn Handspun in Perfect Day.

And yeah, those two last ones look very similar in person. It almost looks as though the second one was dyed in the same dyepot but after most of the colors had been exhausted.

And one of these skeins was free, so it isn't quite as bad as it looks.

It's cold and blustery here today. We really should go out to the grocery store, but we don't actually have to...wanna bet whether or not we make it out?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gotta Love That United States Postal Service!

Kaethe got her socks!

One Reason I'm Hopeful

If you're not completely worn out by heart-warming photos related to the election of Barack Obama, take a look here, on Peter Cashwell's blog, of a series of photos he found on the net. These are just great. I not only like the pictures of the kids, I love the smiles the dads share at the end.

Wonderful Wednesday!

I was hoping that when I got home today I would find a package from Amazon, and indeed I did. I was eager to get this because I had ordered the second season of The Last Detective, an amusing and well-done English mystery series, which stars Peter Davison, who also played the younger of the Farnon brothers in the James Herriot series. Mr. Pointy Sticks and I both enjoy them. And yes, that box was on the front porch. But so was another package!

You see, some time ago, Kris at Red Dog Knits put out a call for help. She wanted to knit her twin boys the Fishie Blanket but she needed help knitting fish in order to get it done in time for the boys second birthday. So I sent her some fish. The pattern was addictive. I wrote about them here.

And Kris sent out a thank you present! Wendy Bernard's Custom Knits.


I actually spent some time looking at this book on the day when I bought the Lucinda Guy book but reluctantly decided against it because it looked as though most of the designs are meant for someone thinner and younger than I. But looking through it this evening, I'm thinking there are some things I could see myself in and there is great information about altering patterns to suit you and about designing your own sweaters. So thank you very much, Kris! This was far too generous a gift just for knitting some fish!

But even more special....I got a thank-you drawing by the boys.


Awwww. How cute is that? I'm going to put it up on my wall. (I just love watching the adventures of Scrappy and Gangles. They are two cute kids.)

Current Reading

I haven't mentioned much of what I'm reading lately. In fact, I forgot to add to the list (until this evening), or even mention, a really good book I read recently. Karen Maitland's Company of Liars will keep you entertained and make you very happy you didn't live in England in 1348. It's been raining for months, food is running out, and the plague has hit the country. Through this sodden, cold landscape a party of travelers bands together to try to stay one step ahead of the plague, safe from the marauders on the roads, and to find somewhere safe to settle. Like Chaucer's pilgrims, these travelers also tell each other stories. And then they start dying...not from the plague, but by murder. Great fun to read about...not so much fun to be there.

Another book I just finished and enjoyed was Diana Wynne Jones' House of Many Ways. I've come late to Wynne Jones. I tried reading one or two of her books years and years ago...pre-Rachel...but they just didn't grab me. Rachel loves her books and has for years. And I now see why. This book was lots of fun.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nicky Epstein's Signature Scarves

I start this little review with two caveats:

The first is that, like Gilda Radner, "I base my fashion taste on what doesn't itch. " So I tend to laugh at high fashion far more often than I lust for it. So I am not the best edge of cutting trends or stylish quirks.

Second, I in no way mean disrespect to Ms. Epstein. She's probably forgotten more about knitting than I know and I love her edging books. (You know, Knitting Beyond the Edge, Knitting Through the Edge,
Knitting Over the Edge, Knitting Above the Edge...although only two of those are actually real.)

But really, this book --


just gives me a gigantic WTF sort of feeling. I was going to start off with a little rant about the cover scarf, but I realized that really a lot of the reason I don't care for this one is the colors that are used. I just don't go for those 70's appliance colors. But done in shades of blues with maybe some circles in a bright yellow or pink....well, it might be sort of interesting. Unusual.

But then there are things like this:


Now really...I don't know about any of you other knitters, but the idea of spending hours working on a scarf only to felt it and let my five year old cut out shapes with nail scissors...well, I can't say I like it.

And there's Hot Wheels, based on an old afghan pattern of Ms. Epstein's grandmother.


I'm sorry...nostalgia cannot excuse this mess.


Tumors, anyone? There's actually another shibori scarf in this book called Classic Shibori which is even more tumorous...so much so that it sort of creeps me out to look at it. I know, I know, shibori is an art form. And some stuff can be cool. I think, for me, a little goes a long way though.


"Hey, lady! Autumn just threw up on your scarf!"

And here's another autumnal one...but really...do you want to spend time kntting pretty leaves only to felt them into oblivion?

I think this scarf might be eating the model...


Actually, most of the scarves are really heavy looking. Some of them even fasten in the front to mimic the look of a vest. But there are some (few) nice scarves. Tudor Lace, for example,is pretty.


Another interesting one is Celtic Glory. It's modular, so I suppose that you could enlarge it for a shawl that might be pretty.


And there are design ideas in here that might come in handy. Nicky is nothing if not inventive.

But this....no, this is just wrong!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

That Old Rachel 10

When Rachel was getting ready for school one year...second or third grade...we were in the store gathering up supplies and choosing notebooks. And she sighed a big sigh and said, "I love buying school supplies. It makes me feel so professional!"

That Weekend Sure Was Thrilling

Really. We did just about nothing. We're just so exciting.

I did get the socks mailed off to Kaethe, as well as an advent calendar for her girls. I should have taken a picture, but I was so focused on getting them wrapped up and into a box that I forgot to do so. They were incredibly, deliciously, soft when they were dry. Yum. I'm going to have to make myself a pair of Lorna's Laces socks one of these days.

We did (yippee) go to the grocery store, and to the drug store to re-up my amoxicillin (I am becoming convinced this has all been caused by an abscessed tooth...one of my teeth, which was fine when Dr. L. tested it, is now exceedingly sensitive and sore. So there may be a root canal in my future. But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.)

I did manage to get to Borders. Those nice Borders people had sent me a coupon for my birthday. Just out of the goodness of their hearts, I'm sure. Anyway, I wandered around the store for a bit and finally selected Lucinda Guy's Handknits for Kids.


I have her And So To Bed... book, which has some cute things. This new one (new to me...I think it's actually the older of the books) has a cute stuffed cat,


stuffed mice and some adorable sweaters and hats


for kids. And with my coupon and $5 in Borders bucks I had, it was only $12. Not too bad.

I was tempted to get Teach Yourself Visually: Sock Knitting, but when push came to shove, I fell for the cute over the utilitarian. I really want to learn to knit socks from the toe up and this book had information on that. But the photos were so small. I mean really! You'd think a book on teaching yourself visually would have nice large close-ups of things!

Tomorrow perhaps I'll write up a little review of Nicky Epstein's Signature Scarves...with pictures. Some of them are....unusual. Now I'm off to read and sleep.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I Promised You Some Color

I was going to take pictures of the yarn yesterday but a stop at Barnes and Noble got us home after dark. But I got up this morning and took the yarn out onto the Front Porch of Photography and here you go -- the latest order from The Loopy Ewe.

I got two of the special editions, named for some of the Ewe's best customers:


First up, Sharon's Island Time.


And Margi's Water Lilies.

I also fell in love with the colors here:


Lotus Toes' Malkah.

A couple of days ago I was putting something away in my closet and found this bag stuffed in a corner:


Inside were twelve skeins of Markoma Kid Mohair in an icy pale turquoisey blue. I think my mom picked this up for me on a trip to Switzerland....has to be fourteen or fifteen years old...


There's about 1400 yards of it. Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hey!

I think I'm getting better!

And I got some pretty yarn today (Julie! Hush! No comments!!) but it was late when I opened the package, so I'm going to take pictures tomorrow afternoon...if I remember. But it's chock full of colors.

We got the correct shower doors installed today. Huzzah! I do think the hinged doors looked better...as long as you didn't need to open the door. I think Mr. Pointy Sticks and I are both, for some strange reason, sort of reluctant to actually use the new bathroom. Hey, if we don't use it, it'll be a lot easier to clean it, right!?

I Forgot!

Mr. Pointy Sticks also gave me A Supremely Bad Idea, a book about birding that looks great and has (I think) a wonderful cover.

Face is better this morning...it's 8:30 and no episodes of pain yet. In fact, not really much discomfort at all. A little achy, a little congested feeling. Whew! Perhaps this whole thing is fading away. Hurrah for that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hi! Remember Me?

Sorry about the long blog silence. My sinus infection/neuralgia/shingles/whatever-the-hell-it-is has been kicking my butt but I think it is now improving. I can go whole hours without pain.

Yesterday was my birthday and I have to say that hearing the words "President-Elect Obama" was the best present I could have wished for. I only stayed up long enough to hear the start of McCain's concession speech and then I crashed. Today in the office a co-worker and I got to hear Obama's speech, which I thought was just wonderful. We both had to resort to tissues and have a good eye-wiping. I know he's got a battle ahead of him, but I think we're on the right path.

So that was a nice ending to my birthday....Fortunately, though, for my inner four-year-old, I got some awfully nice material goods, too.

I got a whole stack o'books, comprised of:

  • Up High in the Trees – Kiara Brinkman
  • The Amnesiac – Sam Taylor
  • The People on Privilege Hill – Jane Gardam
  • Field Guide to Knitting: How to Identify, Select, and Create Virtually Every Stitch – Jackie Pawlowski
  • Nicky Epstein's Signature Scarves: Dazzling Designs to Knit
  • The Misadventures of Maude March – Audrey Couloumbis
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • A Writer's Book of Days: A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse for the Writing Life – Judy Reeves (My brother thought this might help when I was stuck for a blog post.)
  • The Last Summer of the World - Emily Mitchell
and Arkanoid, a Nintendo DS game and a CD - Hovhaness: Mysterious Mountain/And God Created Great Whales.

In addition to some books and the game, Mr. Pointy Sticks also gave me a nice pocketbook (well, I picked it out) and a gorgeous opal pendant which he picked out.

And my neighbor gave me these:


An adorable needle gauge checker/ruler, an even cuter key chain with miniature sock blocker (also a needle gauge) and 2" ruler, and a Stitch Saver. Yes, I have another Stitch Saver but this one has my name on it! How cool is that!

I haven't been completely idle while I was sick.


Kaethe's socks are finished (and off my feet and washed) and will be going out soon. So I am back to working on the world's ugliest socks.


(Excuse the pajama pants...I was home sick one day. And yes, those are sheep on my pajamas.)

Finally, today in the mail I got this:


I couldn't resist the special Lorna's Laces colorway at Jimmy Bean's this month...it's called Taos Thanksgiving and it is the loveliest blends of peachy-rusts, gold and turquoise. (It's the two smaller skeins in the front of the picture.) Yum. I also got a skein of Lorna's Laces Special Sock in Gold Hill. I must be into these fall-ish colors.

I think I might use the Gold Hill for Anne Hanson's Spiralucious:


Whew! All this typing has worn me out. I need to go lie down.