Saturday, December 10, 2011

Excuse The Blur

It was sort of cold outside. But I did want to get pictures of the latest Webs purchases, for all you yarn oglers out there. Herewith:

I was having so much fun knitting hats for Andrew that I thought Rachel needed one, too. So I bought these two Malabrigos.

She liked the darker one (I think it's called Purple Mystery), so that's the one that's all wound up and ready to go. The other one? I'll probably make another hat with it at some point.

Speaking of hats, though, I am somewhat fired up to make Stephen West's Bandwidth hat. And Webs had special short skeins of the Madelinetosh the pattern calls for. So I picked up two color combinations.

I think the William Morris (dark brown with some turquoise in it) and the Manor (the turquoise and grey) might go together well. And the gorgeous Tart and Charcoal might make a good match, too.

Then, just for fun (and probably for a little shawl rather than socks), I got some Taiyo sock yarn.

Duncan likes it when I go out on the Front Porch of Photography, because he gets a little outside time. Short time today, because while he has a warm fur coat, I do not. Brrr...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Is This What A Let Down Feels Like?

Well, let's see if I can get a start on this post...

We went up to Massachusetts this past weekend. Rachel was having her senior show and we wanted to be there...both to participate and to help her pay for it and set it up. ("Senior show" isn't really the correct term, but it's probably the most understandable for the readers. I mean, she was going to Hampshire College...they don't really have freshmen, sophomores, and so forth. They have Div I, Div II and Div III's. But anyway...)

We drove up Thursday...the trip took about the usual amount of time but somehow seemed longer and more tedious. I did get some knitting done...a second hat for Andrew in Malabrigo Superwash in the Playa colorway. This and the brown hat I made last week were Christmas presents for Andrew, but he decided that Christmas was when we gave it to him, so he's gotten the hats...and worn them! It's sort of weird how grey and gold this hat looks in the photo. In some lights it looks very much bluer.

But it ended in a pre-hotel-check-in visit to Webs...that's always nice. I got a few Limited Edition Short Skeins of Madelinetosh Vintage and some Malabrigo...all for hats of various sorts.

Then off to see Rachel and Andrew. We visited for a while and snoogled all the cats (it's so nice to see Miss Sophie back where she belongs!) and then went out to dinner at Amherst Chinese. Yum.

Friday morning we got up and had breakfast at the Lone Wolf (Andrew's treat!) which was tasty (waffles!) and very filling. Which was good as I had nothing else to eat until the reception. Here are the kids, dutifully posing for the Obtrusive Mother.

We went our separate ways...Rachel and Andrew to get haircuts and, for Rachel, other primping. Arthur and I trundled around and then, at the appropriate time went to Atkins to pick up the assorted foodstuffs we ordered.

About 3 p.m. we met up at the school and started setting up. I have to say, I was somewhat disappointed at the lack of assistance that the school provided. I mean, when we got to the gallery, there were no tables in sight. Rachel had to run around the building and we had to wrestle the tables down the stairs and into the room. Once there, we got them set up.

Pastries! Fruit! Cheese and crackers! Veggies and dip! Cupcakes! Beer and water and juice and pretty much undrinkable wine! What a spread.

I didn't take many pictures because I'm just that stupid. I started to take some pictures of Rachel's work but she came up to me and told me it was wasting my time as the pictures had all been scanned. Which is all very well, except that I have nothing to put up here except one picture.

I wish I had taken a picture of the drawing Rachel did of Cooper curled up asleep. I love that one.

Here's a shot, early on in the event, of Rachel and some friends and professor. It was nice to meet these professors that Rachel had been telling us about and they were very complimentary of Rachel and her work.

After dinner we gathered up friends (my friend Andy and her family -- Georgeanne and Annie -- came with us, as well as friends of Rachel's -- Andrew, of course, and Morgan and Patrick and Kathleen and Natasha) and all went to dinner at another Chinese with a large round table and a huge lazy susan in the middle of the table. It was so much fun. I like Rachel's friends a lot and it was so good to see Andy again. We've missed getting together the last several visits for various reasons. But did I take pictures???? Noooo.

Saturday morning Arthur and I got up and headed toward Mt. Holyoke, in an attempt to see the view from the top on a day that was not solid fog. Unfortunately, when we got there we discovered that the road was closed to the season. I guess I understand why. It is not a road on which one would want to hit a patch of ice!

So we headed off to Brookfield and found the Book Bear, a used bookstore my brother had told us about. I got a couple knitting books. On the way back from there we saw a different entrance into the Quabbin Reservoir Park and decided to explore. We found the Tower Hill (not a great feat of navigation...the road led straight to it. We parked and climbed the hill to the tower.

Here's a tree we passed on the walk up.

And here's the view from the top of the hill...the tower was closed.

You cannot imagine how quiet it is in the park. Just wonderful. All you hear is the wind blow. You can see it was a beautiful day.

Dinner with Rachel at Paul and Elizabeth's in Northampton and then home early on Sunday. The trip home went very quickly. And I didn't even nap!

So Rachel is a college graduate (well, officially in a couple of weeks but for all intents and purposes, she's done). It's a whole new stage for her and somehow it feels like a new stage for us, too. One that may require some adjustment on my part...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Super Sunny Saturday

Today it's warm (for November) but very grey. Yesterday may not have been quite as warm but it was a beautiful clear, bright day and, fortunately, that was the day we chose to go to the Alpaca Festival at the Howard County Fairgrounds. It's only the second year for the say it wasn't crowded was an understatement. As a comparison: At the Sheep and Wool show you can stand (being gently buffeted by the crowds) in the Fairway and look out over a seething mass of humanity. At the Alpaca Festival, you can stand in the middle of the Fairway and look out over...two or three people. Only three of the barns had exhibits...but what nice exhibits they were!

I happen to think that alpacas are adorable.

This white one was very, very white...I'm sure she makes lovely yarn.

There were a number of babies. The cutest one was sort of a creamy color and looked as though he had been manufactured by Gund. Sparkly clean and fluffy and huggable and six weeks old. You just wanted to bring him home to keep on your bed and squeeze. Unfortunately, I was so busy ooohing and awwwwing over him and giving his mom under-the-chin skritches that I didn't get a good picture of him. The only one I got was blurry.

This little baby was nestled down beside her mom and was a gorgeous grey and white.

How can you not love these faces?

Did I come home with anything? Well, unfortunately not an alpaca. But some yummy pale blue alpaca and mohair blend yarn. And the Blue Heron Company was there and, although it wasn't alpaca, I came home with some Rayon Metallic in a gorgeous greeny-bluey-grey with silver sparkles. Yum.

Then we grabbed a quick lunch in Sykesville and went to visit with my aunt and uncle who live near there and who I do not see as often as I would like. My uncle had just gotten a Kindle Fire and we spent most of the visit "helping" him figure it out. I'm afraid we didn't help as much as we confused. Unfortunately, they don't get a very strong wi-fi signal in their house, so downloading books is not as simple as it should be. Cool device though!

Wish List Redux

I was thinking this morning about an email conversation I had with someone recently about Wish Lists and wondering if it would actually be possible to make my Wish List on Amazon private....let people fend for themselves. And then I checked my email just now and found some spam comments. And what post were they on? This one from about a year ago. Apparently my feelings haven't changed a lot.

So perhaps I should, to both satisfy my delight with surprises and yet still help people out, make a general wish list:

I love sweaters, sweatshirts and fleecey tops. Think jewel tones, particularly red. Sweatshirts can be long as they really are funny and not just obnoxious.

I like pretty glass. Either a lovely wine glass...a pretty paperweight...a glass animal.

I love earrings...preferably funky, dangly, ones. They can make noise, they can be made from origami...any and all earrings. I even like simple elegant studs, though I already have some lovely cream pearls.

I also like necklaces. And bracelets that aren't solid dangles. (I've never found them comfortable to wear.)

I'm not so big on kitchenware, though cute kitchenware is a possibility. (For an example, I've seen measuring cups designed to look like matruska dolls.)

I like perfume...something green or citrus-y. There's a website called something like I Hate Perfume and the perfume designer there creates incredible sounding scents...Newly Fallen Snow, In the Library, Russian Caravan...

I love crazy or pretty or very soft socks...though I also love knitting socks.

I like art...a pretty print. Wouldn't have to be framed...I like choosing the frame and mats. And we really don't have anyplace to hang stuff. So perhaps that's not a good idea.

And really...the older I get, the happier I am to find out that a donation has been made in my name to some worthy cause...the Baltimore Humane Society, for example.

So? What do you want for the holidays?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cats Lost and Found and Lost

A few weeks ago Sophie, one of the cats my daughter and her sweetie own (well, she's really Andrew's but I think of them as sharing their cats) got out of the house and disappeared. They could hear her calling but couldn't find her. And then, after a day or so, they didn't hear her anymore. Then they were hit by a snowstorm and had to leave town for a few days. And when they came back...still no Sophie.

But Tuesday morning I got an ecstatic email from Rachel! Sophie had been found, in a garage down the street. She was skinny and had some ticks and a bite on her tail but after a quick trip to the vet and a rabies booster she was declared healthy. She's eating like a horse, apparently, and obviously happy to be home.

But in sadder news...on October 31st we took Gizmo for a final visit to the vet.

He almost made it to 18 years old, my sweet boy. But he had basically stopped eating and then drinking...we couldn't see him suffer anymore.

Sweet dreams, little grey guy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

It Takes All Kinds

So, I spent last Friday up at the Black Sheep (what better way to remember our fallen heroes and those who serve to protect us). It was an interesting day. But there was one funny exchange – though perhaps only funny to people who work (or hang out) in yarn shops.

I was in the back room, winding a horribly tangled skein of yarn by hand (the ball winder was acting up and Tracy was just going to snip all the pieces but I wanted to save the yarn). I heard the door open and then a woman say (in the tone of voice one might use if looking at a basket of kittens), “Oh look! A knitting club!”

And then the following conversation took place:

“We were just next door? In the consignment shop? Are there other consignment shops along here? Are these [obviously indicating some of the shop samples that adorn the walls of the shop] for sale?”

“No, these aren’t for sale…” says Tracy.

“What kind of shop is this??”

“This is a yarn shop. We do sell the yarn to make these items and we have classes….”

“Are they free?”

“No, we charge for the classes…”

“Are there other consignment shops along here?”

Tracy allowed as how she wasn’t familiar with consignment shops.

And they turned to Renee and said, “You look like you shop at consignment shops! Do you know where any are?!”

How rude. But funny. We also had an interesting woman stop in and got her to sit and chat with us for a while. She works in Forensics for the Baltimore City Police. Very interesting.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Shakespeare Had It Right

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together. -- All's Well that Ends Well, Act IV, sc. 3

Well, except for the "ill" part. Though my opinion about that may change when I get my credit card bill. My sister-in-law and I had a grand time at Webs. It was her first visit and I must say, I think she was suitably impressed. We had a good time shoving yarn at each other and saying things like "Look at this color!" "Feel this one!" and the ever-popular "Ooooh....."

And what did I bring home?

From Grandpa's Garage Sale section of the warehouse (where the absolutely cheapest stuff is), 10 skeins of this Louisa Harding Grace in Silk and Wool. Such a pretty color.

From the warehouse proper:

This pretty blue Noro Shirakaba. Also 10 skeins.

There were some lovely colors of this yarn. An intense deep bright pink. A gorgeous cobalt (but only 2 skeins of that one). A subtle and sea-like gray-green. But I thought this denim blue one would be the color I would get the most use out of as a shawl (at least, at the moment I'm thinking shawl).

Another Noro...this one is Aya. Again, 10 skeins.

I mean, look at these colors!!


And 12 skeins of some Jojoland Rhythm, probably for another shawl (at the moment I'm thinking entrelac stole sort of thing).

They had this in a number of different color combos. Including two variations (one brighter than the other) of combos of blues and yellows. But yellow can be a tough color to wear, so I went with the blue and tan/brown combo.

And then, from the full price part of the shop, this skein of Kangaroo Dyer's sock yarn in the Gerbera colorway.

Love those bright colors.

I also picked up one circular needle from their new line of Dreamz needles. Just for fun. And a Stephen West pattern, Spectra.

Ah...such fun.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Penny For Your Thoughts

So apparently there is some sort of wedding tradition that gives the bride a shiny new penny to put in her shoe. From a wedding trivia site:

"Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue, And a silver sixpence in your shoe".

This well known little rhyme originated during Victorian times and is still commonly practiced for good luck. Traditionally, the "old" would have been the garter of a happily married woman, with the thought being that her good fortune would be passed down along with it. The "new" stood for the couple's new bright and happy future together. "Something borrowed" was usually a much valued item from the bride's family. It symbolized prosperity within the new union, but would bring that good fortune only if it was returned to the family. "Something blue" came from an ancient tradition in which the bride would wear a blue ribbon in her hair as a symbol for fidelity. Placing a silver sixpence in the bride's shoe was to ensure wealth in the couple's life. Today brides often slip a penny inside their shoe before the ceremony in place of the difficult to acquire silver sixpence. As such, the rhyme is often adapted to "....And a lucky penny in your shoe".

I'd never heard of this before. But we have a young woman in our office (let's call her Dana) whose wedding is approaching. We will be having a little party for her. And this afternoon one of the women (let's call her Dena) who is planning the party came up to me.

"Do you think," she asked, "you would be able to knit a little penny bag for Dana?"

Now I had heard of dime bags but not penny bags, so Dena had to explain the tradition to me. "We'd like to have it for the wedding shower."

"Well, sure," I said, "I think I could do that. When's the party for her?"

"Tomorrow," said Dena.


But I came home and sat myself down and within about 45 minutes....

A little bag for the bride's lucky penny. (Her wedding colors are autumnal, so it's not a totally inappropriate color choice. I don't have any white sock yarn.)

I think it looks like something an absent-minded fairy might have left behind her when out gathering herbs one day.

We are back from a trip to Massachusetts where I got to see my baby. And my sister-in-law came to visit and we took her to Webs. We had quite a nice time there.

In fact, I may have had a little too good a time. Pictures tomorrow, perhaps.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Look Who Showed Up At Our House

We got home from work this afternoon and there was someone lurking in the plants on our front porch.

When he saw up walking up the front walk he jumped down and introduced himself. His name is Baldwin, though that seems somewhat ironic.

He has awfully pointy little teeth, but seems friendly enough.

Tomorrow he's going to work with me to meet Toothy Joe. I think they'll have lots in common.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Think They Need To Revoke My Knitting Badge

It's been a week fraught with knitting disappointment. I mentioned that I had to rip out 18 rows or so of Mara? Well, last Tuesday I was off work and spent the afternoon at The Black Sheep. Too dispirited to pick up Mara, I decided to start a from a pretty pattern by Ann Kelly, who works at the shop. I had the first fews rows of plain knit done and started working the pattern stitch.'s a good thing Ann was at the shop because I worked at it and worked at it and worked at it. We finally figured out that I was looking at each of the ten repeats of the pattern separately and Ann had written the pattern to address the whole 100 stitches. That helped and I got the first eleven rows or so of the pattern done. Even worked a little on Mara.

The next day at work I pulled out the cowl at lunch time and headed into row 12, confident that I was on the right track. And it didn't work out. When I went to back out of the row, I dropped a bunch of stitches, including various decreases and yarn overs. It was a mess and there was nothing to do but rip it out. In disgust I put it aside and worked some more on Mara.

Over the next couple of days I tried the cowl again...about four times...and kept having problems. And each time I would set it aside and work on Mara.

Then, one day, when I was just about back to where I had been when I ripped out, I looked at Mara and saw....the same mistake that made me rip her out in the first place. I think what happened was that when I ripped out before I didn't got back quite far enough and didn't remove the error. So, after a day of taking deep breaths, I ripped her out again. And started knitting only to discover, a day and about 6 rows later, that I had miscentered the spine. Man, the language was blue.

Either I'm an idiot, or this pattern is just so simple that I'm going into auto-pilot and not paying enough attention. I prefer the second explanation.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oh...Are You Still Here?

I'm still here...busily knitting away. Unfortunately, one of the things I'm knitting I want to be a surprise. So no progress photos. I just want to spring it on everyone as a finished object.

The other thing I'm working on is a shawl. And at the moment it's just miles and miles of garter stitch.

Row after row after row after row. But the yarn is yummy -- Madelinetosh Vintage in Cherry. It's a lovely purple-y red with the purple showing through now and then, as though the yarn is slightly rubbed. The shawl pattern is a simple one...all garter stitch with a border of two different ribbings. I think the finished project will be very Sundance-cataloguey.

It's a good thing the yarn is so nice because I had to rip out 18 rows this evening...that's over 2000 stitches. Ouch. But I couldn't live with the mistake and I think I would have screwed it up dropping the stitches down to fix it. Probably would have ended up ripping out anyway.

Have had a nice weekend so far. Today Mr. Pointy Sticks and I went over to Columbia to visit Daedalus and I managed to find some books to bring home. (Quelle étonnement!) And we stopped by my dad's and visited for a while, which was nice. We don't get over to that side of town often (well, except to go to work every day -- but that's a little late to visit) so it was fun to just drop in.

We came home and stopped at Bertucci's for dinner. We were relatively good and both just got salads with grilled chicken for dinner. Very yummy. And then we were not quite so good and split the dessert plate. To celebrate their 30th birthday, Bertucci's is offering this special dessert...a slice of lemon cake in a little pool of raspberry sauce, a slab of tiramisu sprinkled with cocoa and a piece of amazing chocolate cake topped with whipped cream. Oh my!! Incredibly good that it magically wiped out all the guilt as I ate it. The guilt came back later, but I biked extra hard to burn a few extra calories.

And since Mr. Pointy Sticks and I are taking Tuesday off, I look into the future this evening and it's like there's a whole 'nother weekend ahead of us. Don't know what we're going to do tomorrow...perhaps some yard work. But on Tuesday I plan to spend the day at the Black Sheep.

Now this is a weekend!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Da Ya Know, Joe?

There's someone new at our house. He likes sitting on the front porch and watching the world go by.

He likes climbing trees.

His natural habitat is the mailbox. He's Toothy Joe the mailbox monster from Rebecca Danger's Book of Knitted Monsters. He's for my friend at work and will probably be going there tomorrow so that I don't fall too much in love with him.

Unfortunately, I discovered, as I photographed him, that I missed a step on his left his feet are a little different.

He's still pretty cute, though.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Monkeying Around

Never one to jump on a bandwagon too soon, I am starting a new pair of socks...and I'm going to make a pair of Monkeys. I mean, there are only 14,815 pairs of Monkeys on Ravelry. Oh wait, make that 14,816.

It's a great pattern, though I've only done two repeats of the pattern (and made a mild screw up during the first repeat...left out a row of plain stockinette...I'm living with it).

What's that you say? It's awfully colorful?

You ain't seen nothing yet. There's more to come.

Camp Loopy Comes To An End

Camp Loopy was so much fun. I never thought I would so enjoy knitting along with others. I think it was brilliant that, while there were guidelines for each of the projects, within those guidelines there was a lot of leeway. So we weren't all forced to knit one particular thing...and it was interesting and inspiring to see all the other patterns that the others chose. My "favorites" list on Ravelry grew by leaps and bounds. The camaraderie was wonderful, too. People cheered each other one and gave help and suggestions. People gasped in amazement at finished projects...and man, were there some absolutely stunning examples of knitting!

But of course, one of the enticements to participate was the thought of the skein of Wollmeise that Sheri offered as a prize for finishing all three projects successfully. And lookie here! I got a package on Saturday. (For those not in on the yarnie scene...Wollmeise is yarn from Germany, hard to come by in the US. It's got a very distinctive feel...almost cottony as you knit it up and the colors tend to be very intense and rich.)

I didn't realize that we were getting a free pattern, too. Or rather, I had forgotten that Sheri had said that. There were a number of different patterns that went out to finishers. Mine is for a cowl and mitts. My only objection is that, given the brightly colored variegated yarn used in the illustrations for the pattern, you really can't see the design clearly at all. I think there is a cable up the back of the mitts and I guess the same cable is on the cowl.

But what's in that purple package?

My Wollmeise. In a color called Skandal um Rosi (which translates to, according to Google, "Rosy Scandal" -- okay then) .

I like it. I had seen a number of the skeins that others have gotten (we have a thread on Ravelry where you can show off your Wollmeise) and I'd seen lots of greens. I have nothing against green but it's not my favorite color. Actually, a couple of people got a colorway called Birch Bark (white and grey and black -- not surprising) that I like a lot.

Sheri's no dummy, for sure. She said that everyone would be getting their Wollmeise by the end of October but if you wanted it earlier, you could place an order and the Wollmeise would get thrown into that order.

So...I got some other stuff, too.

From left to right, the Wollmeise, some Fiberphile MCN Luxe Sock in Timberline (soooooo soft -- it has cashmere), Three Irish Girls in Brown-Eyed Girl (love this combo of pale pink and brown), and Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere (more soft) in Peacock Shadow.

Lovely. I can't wait to go to camp next summer.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Finished Things

I had quite a sock-filled summer, despite also working on my Camp Loopy projects. All pretty simple, so it's not as impressive as you might think.

Six pairs of socks, five for me and one for Mr. Pointy Sticks. His are the grey ones that kept on rolling up all squinchy because they are ribbed.

Wanna see them again?

The grey ones show up a little better here. I'll have colorful feet this fall and winter!

I also finished the Simple City scarf/shawlette the other day and got it washed and blocked last night.

Here's some fat lady wearing it.

It's a colorful thing, for sure.

I think maybe it looks better on Duncan.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

No, You're Kidding Me!!

So we stopped at The Black Sheep this afternoon (couldn't get there yesterday because of, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding...I really am expecting volcanoes sometime soon) so that I could show Joyce the Chiagoo needle that I like so much (and I think would be a great thing for The Black Sheep to carry). On the way home, we were cruising down York Road and some woman in a huge black SUV, talking, of course, on the phone (even though it's against the law here in Maryland), came barreling out of a gas station without even pausing. Mr. Pointy Sticks slammed on the brakes and the woman hit her brakes, thank heavens. I'm sorry to say that I yelled "Hang up the damn phone!" out the window at her.

And what did she reply?

"Shut up, bitch. I didn't see you!"

Uh.....ooooookay. That makes it all better.

Monday, September 5, 2011


The weekend is, for all intents and purposes, over. And tomorrow is a working day. I am so not looking forward to work. One co-worker is off for the next week and the other only works on Mondays and will only be in tomorrow. So it's going to be a boring week.

I had a nice weekend. Spent time at The Black Sheep on Saturday (seems like ages ago). Had lunch at Atwaters with Mr. Pointy Sticks on Saturday, too. of the best soups I've ever had there (Hanoi Beef Soup) and a great tomato and mozarella salad. What else? Went to Borders and came home with two bags full of books, all 60 or 70 percent off. Got a number of books that were on my Amazon Wish List. So that was nice, if sad.

And I worked on this:

Duncan was very interested. He was all over me while I was trying to take pictures.

I think he thought I was making him a cat seat.

Thanks, guy. Cat butt all over my shawl.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Close Encounters Of A Finished Kind

First off, here's the shawl. Eight hundred yards of yarn. I wish the shawl was bigger, actually. I must have broad shoulders because this feels a little small to me. If I were to do it again (and I might...I loved the pattern), I would add more rows.

Love the colors!

And, just in time for the baby shower tomorrow, here's Harriet the Hippo. She's pretty cute, though I think she would be cuter with safety eyes. But safety eyes are a no-no for babies. She has a cute little tail that you can't see here.