Monday, November 9, 2009

A Knitter's Dream

06 APRIL 2009

Garage Ivy

Check it out! DS2 took this picture for me just yesterday. We found this and others growing among the ivy beside our garage. I am hoping to transplant it to the far end of our yard. It will look gorgeous growing up our fence and I will able to enjoy it from our living room couch.

05 APRIL 2009

This Knitters Dream

A few days ago, my mother asked if, at the age of 3, during our first stay in to St Augustine , I would have dreamed that some day I would live here. I distinctly remember sitting on this very wall and announcing that I would live here some day. I think the real question is what took me so long.

Here is my current traveling sock. I have been home more than usual this last week so I have not worked on it much. Still, started last weekend at Disney, this is it a week later. This will be a short/sneaker sock knit with Patons Stretch Sock yarn.

(((Hugs)))

02 APRIL 2009

He's a Big Boy Now

OMG... This could be bigger than the first day of kindergarten! DS1 got his learners permit today. We made a big deal of it. I let him stay home from school. We waited for the IKEA shelves to be delivered (they look great). Off we went to DMV to so that he could take what was left of his written test (he did the first part online as a credit class for school). You should have seen his face when they handed him his permit. He looked a bit dazed. I took him out to lunch to celebrate and hubby took him out driving right after work. I am a bit dazed myself. Surely I am not old enough to have a driving child.

(((HUGS)))

28 MARCH 2009

Disney Knitting...

Ha, finally! The above (barely a) sock picture was sent from Disney's Wild Animal Park using my Blackberry. I have been trying to get this to work for a while and now here it is. I am so pleased with myself :-)

Not only did the picture go but I found proof that I am not the only person who knits at Disney World. While waiting our turn for the safari ride, a coach went by with (you guessed it) a knitter doing her thing. If she is reading this, she will recognize me as the one who was jumping up and down shouting to her sons "See, I told you I was not the only one!"

(((HUGS)))

27 MARCH 2009

A room with a ....



I don't know about you, but I have not had my own room in a very long time. Maybe that is why I am so excited to have my own space in our new house. You have heard of "A Room With A View"? I have a room with a door, and I am thrilled.

Hubby and Bro painted it a lovely grey blue that very first crazy weekend. I have my eye on some sheer curtains for the window and closet. Fear for the future has us watching our pennies so we are showing caution as we decorate. We will be hitting IKEA this weekend for bookcases (the two tall white ones will go on either side of the window). I am going to check the scrath and dent room to look for a small chest of drawers for the TV and my needlepoint supplies (That may or may not work out). I have been circling a upolstered bench to use as a window seat but that may have to wait.

The chaise was a find on Craig's List. The desk was a floor sample from IKEA. Once the bookcases arrive, I will be able to unpack my knitting books (I am really looking forward to that). The big, fluffy,pink blanket and coordinating pillow sham were a splurge but I have no regrets. I love to cuddle up on the chaise to listen to music while I knit or read.



This is the view from my desk. It took some pushing and shoving but I got most of my stash into the closet. The bookcase to the side holds what is left of my chunky wool stuff (after spending one winter here, I gave away all but my favorite heavy wt. stuff). My sock and dishcloth stashes each have their own hamper under the window for now. I debated whether or not to have a TV but finally decided to go for it. So far the only one to use it has been DS2. He was home sick a couple of days this week and spent much of that time snuggled under my blanket watching Discovery Channel.

As you can see, there is still more unpacking to do but I think it is coming along nicely. This house has such a nice feel to it. I look forward to living here for a long time.

Life is what you make it....



Good morning! Look (up) at what I found growing in front of our house the other morning. You all are probably sick of hearing this but I LOVE living in FL.


Yes, it is true, we finally made it. We closed on our house on a Friday and moved in on that Monday. They were crazy, paint filled days but totally worth it. We are so happy to be living in our own home again.

The only hitch, was the four weeks it took us to get internet access. Because we bought a house in the same subdivision that we were renting in, it never occured to us that the same services would not be available. It turns out that one can not get cable on this side of the street (I kid you not!). We were told that our only option was Direct TV and DSL. Okay, we can live with that. Direct TV showed up pretty quickly but AT&T kept putting us off until I finally begged a nice lady to just tell me the truth. Guess what, fiber was not run to the end of the street (we live in a cul-de-sac). No DSL for us. After chccking out our options, we decided to go with a satalite service. So far, we are pretty happy with it. Still, I am working with our local cable company to get cable in. Wish me luck.


Since moving down here I have been spending quite a bit of time with my brother. He had eye surgery in September that did not go well. He has had two more surgeries since then and is scheduled for a forth in two weeks. For all intents and purposes, he is blind in his left eye, and the long term prognosis is uncertain. For a retired Marine this is a real kick in the pants. He has been so blue. I am so gratefull to be here to cheer him up.

Actually, I get a lot of knitting, etc done while I am with him. Consequently, even with the craziness of late, I have FO's to show.



This is a baby blanket that I crocheted for my pregnant SIL. She is expecting a girl but did not want overtly girly colours. Using Patons Grace, I made the center in candy apple green but could not resist using pink for the border. On of the things I love about my hubby's family is that they value handmade gifts. I know that this blanket will be used and loved, which makes the making of it that much more fun.



These are my two latest pair of socks. The ones on the left were made using Jitterbug. I really love this yarn. It knits just a bit denser than Koigu (my all time favorite yarn) but not dense enough to be uncomfortable. Did any of you notice that Michaels is clearing out what little sock yarn they carried? The pair on the right is made from a single ball of Patons Stretch that I picked up for $3. Holy Cow, I am so impressed with me. This would never be a favorite sock yarn but for sneaker or sleeping socks it is fine. I have another ball in blue that I have already thrown in my handbag.

(((HUGS)))

Lisa


24 JANUARY 2009

We call him Flipper....



No, this is not a picture of the Loch Ness Monster (although, that would be really cool). It is the best picture we got while watching the frolicking dolphins this weekend. This past Sunday, hubby and I were both having trouble sleeping (Hubby works for one of the financial institutions that has been getting so much press of late. Like so many, our financial future is uncertain.). On a whim, we left the boys a note and drove to the beach to see the sunrise. What we got to see, was a couple of Mama dolphins teaching their babes to swim/fish (?). They were at it for some time before a bigger pod showed up and they all swam away. It was a way cool way to start our day. Much better than obsessing over things we can not control.



Assuming all goes as planned, we will close on our new house on February 28th. It took us a while to find something that met all of our requirements, practical, financial, and aesthetic. Hubby's commute had to be the same or better, plus good roof, etc (done & done). The boys wanted to stay in the same schools they are in now (done). A fenced yard for Jack would be nice (done). Enough room for a pool sometime in the future (done). I wanted pretty and a room to call my studio (done).



On the knitting front, I have been on a felting craze. It did not take long for me to realize that my stash was going to have to change toaccommodate Florida living. Even here in NE FL where we have seasons, I am never going to want to knit or wear heavy woolen items. At first I thought I would sell most of that part of my stash on Ebay and I may yet do that with some of the nicer stuff (i.e. Manos). But after making those cup cozies for Christmas, I have been re-bitten with the felting bug. In no time at all I whipped up this felted basket out of left over Bernat Felting Wool. Then I made another one out of Patons SWS. That one is bigger and I am using it for my groceries. Now I am thinking that a felted sleeve for my needlepoint frame would be nice. Before I get stated on that, though, I want to perfect the bottom on the baskets. I am thinking of crocheting the bottom to make it heavier that the body.

I am spending this cool rainy day at home with DS2 who is getting over a bad cold. It is a good day to knit.

21 JANUARY 2009

'nuff said...

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sanh.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

- Barack Hussein Obama (20Jan09)

20 JANUARY 2009

This is history...

Well, this is it, inauguration day. Sometimes it happens that we look back and realize that we were witness to history (i.e. those who were unfortunate enough to be watching the morning news on 9/11). But today it is different. Regardless of which side of the political fence we sit on, we know that we are witnessing history as it is being made. Photos from this day may be in our grandchildren's school books. I considered keeping my sons home from school today but decided against it (What if something goes wrong? I don't want that picture in their heads). However, I will be taping it. I look forward to watching it again with them this afternoon. I have said it before and I will say it again, I am so proud of what we, as Americans, have done.

I would like to end with these words, which could not have expressed my hopes and dreams better if I had thought of them myself.

"Before this celebration begins, please join me in pausing for a moment to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.

Oh God of our many understandings, we pray that you will bless us with tears, tears for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women in many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die a day from malnutrition, malaria and AIDS.

Bless this nation with anger – anger at discrimination at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants; women, people of color; gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people.

Bless us with discomfort at the easy simplistic answers we prefer to hear from our politicians instead of the truth about ourselves and our world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be fixed any time soon and the understanding that our next president is a human being, not a messiah. Bless us with humility, open to understanding that our own needs as a nation must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance, replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences.

Bless us with compassion and generosity, remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the ways we care for the most vulnerable. And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office fo the president of the United States. Give him wisdom beyond his years, inspire him with President Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for all people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our ship of state needs a steady calm captain. Give him stirring words, we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color blind reminding him of his own words that under his leadership there will be neither red nor blue states but a United States. Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him strength to find family time and privacy and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods. And please God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents and we’re asking far too much of this one, we implore you, oh good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand that he might do the work that we have called him to do. That he might find joy in this impossible calling and that, in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.

Amen."

- Bishop Gene Robinson 1/18/09

02 JANUARY 2009

Welcome the new year...


My brother says that life is a sea of poo (Well, not "poo" exactly. He is, after all, a Marine.). He says that some people (that would be me) are lucky enough to have found a "happy cracker" on which to sail said sea of [poo].

Despite the recession, economic collapse, and our very real fears for 2009, 2008 was a very good year for us. Those who have been reading this blog from the beginning, know that my New Years tradition includes making a list of the 10 things I am most grateful for from the past year and another 10, of my wishes for the new year (I don't do resolutions). So, with out further ado, here it is:

2008
  1. Love given and received
  2. Good health for my family and myself
  3. We sold our house in NJ in two weeks!
  4. Our successful move to Florida
  5. Hubby is still employed (he works in the financial industry)
  6. Time spent with my brother
  7. The boys like their new schools and love living in FL
  8. Good, loving, supportive, friends
  9. My kind and gentle hubby
  10. Gratitude (mine, being grateful feels good).
2009
  1. Peace, of mind, of heart, tangible and intangible
  2. Financial serenity (I am not looking for wealth, so much as less worry)
  3. Continued employment for hubby
  4. Strength, wisdom, integrity for our leaders
  5. Better days for our world
  6. Continued health and happiness (Dear Lord, Please keep our happy cracker afloat.)
  7. Not moving for a long time (after we move into our house, of course)
  8. Continued survival of my boys teenage years :-)
  9. The ability (willingness?) to see and appreciate the good things
  10. Peace (so important that it deserves to be wished for more than once)

On the knitting front, I have been doing a lot of it. Due to the move, new job (less money), new house, and fears for what the new year will bring, we cut back drastically on our Christmas gift giving. There were, however, a number of people that I just really wanted to give gifts to. So, after agreeing not to exchange gifts, I made them gifts anyway. These included:

www.Bernat.com

Felted cup cozies for my brother, sister, best friend and her husband, all of whom hit their local coffee spots on a daily basis. I was not sure how they would be received but I should not have worried. They were a hit. I used the free pattern for Bernat Felting Wool. They were fast, easy and, at two cozies per ball, very economical. I put each around a cup from their favorite coffee depots along with a $5 gift certificate inside the cup.

www.lisaknits.com

For my SIL, I knit a Reader's Wrap in pink Cotton Fleece. This I actually started before we even knew we were moving. I was hoping to have it done in time for her birthday in October but between my not liking my original yarn choice and the move, it ended up being a Christmas gift.

www.knitty.com

For friends, Lyn and Cindy, I made Knitty's Fetching fingerless gloves (one pair in Donegal Tweed, the other in Debbie BlissCashmerino). Unfortunately, I mailed all the gifts with out taking pictures (hence the stock photos).

Currently my front burner knitting includes a felted basket, socks (of course), and a baby blanket for hubby's sister who is expecting in April. I have a yen to make a sweater, so that has ideas running through my head.

May you each be blessed with your very own Happy Cracker in this new year.

25 DECEMBER 2008

Christmas wishes...


Merry Christmas!!

08 NOVEMBER 2008

Warm covers on a cold night....


When I was 3yo, we moved to a big old house in Paterson, NJ. At one time a Robber Barron's town house, it had been split into three apartments. We lived in the middle one. My sister, mother and I shared a room. That part of the story sounds a lot better when I point out that said room had once been the ball room. It was huge. Still, privacy was not easy to come by.

On the top floor, in what had once been the servant's quarters, lived our landlord's elderly aunt, Mary Stahl. My parents had split up and my mother was working full time, so it was arranged that Miss Mary (as she was know to me) would, give me lunch and care for me after school, on holiday's and when I was sick.

For the next 6+ years, her tiny apartment was my haven. Here, finally, was someone who loved me no matter what. With Miss Mary, I was always smart, funny, and/or good. With her I was always safe. She taught me to love German food, and make apple sauce from scratch. She stuck up for me even when it scared her to do so. She and her late hubby had been tailors. She made my dolls cloths using a cast iron peddle operated Singer sewing machine. With her I got to experience Latin Mass. While I got to call her Miss Mary, my mother always addressed to her as Mrs. Stahl (I see now that this was entirely appropriate but at the time, I felt very special). Her friend, Mrs. Dome, sparked, in me, a life long love of knitting.

When I was 9 we moved to Puerto Rico. I missed Miss Mary every bit as much as I did my sister and brother (which is to say, a lot). Less than a year later, we moved back to NJ but not to Paterson. However, to my delight, my mother would take me to visit Miss Mary every other weekend. It was not long after our return, that her health started to decline, prompting her nephew to move her to a nursing home. Looking back, I think she knew that this was the beginning of the end. Before the decision was final, she started giving away her things. She gave my mother a cameo pin. The pin became my mother's trademark piece of jewelry. My nephew (born just after we returned from Puerto Rico) says that he can not picture his grandmother leaving for work without it.

To me she gave the afghan pictured above. As I took this afghan off of my bed this morning(folding it neatly as Miss Mary would have expected), I realized that I have been sleeping under this same blanket almost every night of my life for the last 35 years. Now that is a gift.

At first, we visited Miss Mary, in the nursing home, every other Friday. Eventually, that lengthened to once a month or so. Then one day we received a letter from Mrs. Dome, informing us of Miss Mary's passing. We did not find out in time to go to the funeral, although, we did visit her grave.

Miss Mary gave me the gifts of love, acceptance, safety, and a warm cover for cold nights.

May you all be blessed with your very own "Miss Mary".

06 NOVEMBER 2008

Yes, we can!

Wow, it really happened. History happened right before our eyes. I have to say, that as much as I wanted Barack Obama to win the presidency, I did not really think it would happen. Obviously, I was wrong. Even as it was happening, I had my doubts. I stayed up until 4am just to make sure it did not change (after all, eight years ago, I went to sleep thinking that Al Gore had won and we all know how that turned out.). I think it says so many good things about this country that so many people were able to come together to support the more hopeful and optimistic plan for our future. I am so proud us all.

04 NOVEMBER 2008

You owe it to yourself and others....

28 OCTOBER 2008

We have landed....

Contrary to what you may be thinking during my deafening silence, we did make it to Florida safe and sound. The house my brother picked out for us suits us well. Our funiture arrived a few days after we did. Much of it went into storage. I am trying to unpack as little as possible since we will only be here for 6 months. The location is just wonderful. The boys like their schools and hubby is thrilled with the easy commute. This is familiar ground to me so I am finding my way around pretty well. Assuming all goes well, we will close on our NJ house on Thursday and we can start shopping for a house down here. We will likely stay in this immediate area since it is working out so well for us.


We got here just in time for me to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee during her first visit to the Jacksonville area. She was a hoot, as usual. It really is so nice to listen to her. She makes me feel like part of something big and wonderful.


Living in Florida is so different from living in NJ. There I spent a lot of time inside. I am asthmatic and the air in NJ just was not good for me. Here I do a lot better outside than inside. While I should be unpacking boxes, I have really been out almost every day. If I do not have plans to meet up with my brother, etc, I just pick a place and go exploring. Every Sunday since we got here, we have been heading down to St. Augustine for ice cream and a walk after dinner.

On the knitting front, I am almost finished with the Regal Silk Vest. The body is done. It is the collar that defies me. The pattern calls for a length of fabric to be sewn on. I decided to knit a collar on using Tagliatelli (the body is knit with Blue Skys Organic Cotton). So far I have knit it and ripped it out three times. Once because I realized it was knit with the wrong side out. Once because I realized that I was right, not wrong the first time and the last time because I just did not like the way it looked. I have yet another idea in mind now. I will post pictures when I am pleased with the outcome. Hopefully, it will be done tomorrow since I want to wear it to the local knitting group tomorrow night.

Once the vest is finished, I want to focus my knitting attention on a shawl for my SIL. She has been ill with an undiagnosable cardiac issue for over a year. Her doctors think they know what it is, test for it, and find out what it is not instead. So, I picked up some Lornas Laces sock yarn in survivor pink to make her an Easy as Pie Wedge Shawl. I wanted to finish it in time for her birthday (last week) but did not even start it in time. Now I am aiming for Christmas. We shall see.

I am feeling especially blessed these days. May you all find yourselves in the same position.

05 OCTOBER 2008

Guess where we are, again. Yes, once again, we are killing time at Panera Bread. Today is the open house so we had to make ourselves scarce from 1-4pm (we have another hour to go). Things are moving a along nicely. We even have an offer for the house. These financially challenging times have us a bit worried about the buyers financing but our agent feels confident that all will go well. Wish us luck. The prospect of paying two mortgages scares me to death.

The movers come for our things tomorrow, we leave for FL on Wednesday, arrive on Thursday and our furniture arrives on Friday. That is, of course, if all goes according to plan.

Believe it or not, I have actually been getting a lot of knitting done. I am almost finished with the body of the (not quite) Regal Silk Vest. As I am making mine in cotton, it occurs to me that this could turn out to be a very FL friendly item of clothing.

Whit's Linen Tunic has reached the point where it is too big for my purse. I am just at the arm hole shaping but am moving slower now that I transfered it to my knitting bag. This is another item that I am looking forward to wearing in the very near future.

New to my needles, and housed in my purse, is the Montego Bay Scarf by Amy Singer. This is a very simple pattern but for some reason I had a really hard time with it in the beginning. I have since pulled it out and started over. It is coming along much better now. I am using the called for Sea Silk. Theoretically, the seaweed in this yarn is supposed to help calm my troubled spirit. That is not happening. I have come to the conclusion that no matter how much you want to go (and I really, really do), moving is hell.

Okay, now I know that I am behind the curve here but I just discovered all of the free patterns on Ravelry. I have been on for a long time and I do make use of the pattern search and download when I hear of or see something that looks good to me. However, it was not until this morning that it occured to me to go on and check out the free patterns just because. Wow, there are some amazing patterns on there. I put a bunch in my library and that was only the first 20 pages (yes, I know I should be packing).

A couple of years ago, two good friends moved out of state. I was not shy about letting them know how sorry I was to see them go, especially since they left just a couple of months apart. Now that I am moving, I have more sympathy for them. It is very hard saying goodbye to friends. Last week I said my goodbyes to my Wednesday night knitting group. I really like these women and it is likely that I will not see any of them again (that kind of depends on whether or not my mother moves to FL since if I come up to visit, I will almost certainly visit them as well). Thursday was time to say goodbye to the ladies at another knitting group that I frequent. There are two women, in particular, in this group whose inspiration and encouragement will be sorely missed. Friday was good bye to my book group. Lots of tears were shed. Monday I say goodbye to Robin, a good friend who is always there with a kind word or a reality check. Tuesday is the big one. Saying goodbye to Lyn is going to hurt. Certainly, we will see each other again but once a year or so is nothing next to a standing Monday lunch date.

I say, again, moving is hell.

24 SEPTEMBER 2008

Time to go....


Once again, I am coming to you from a Panera Bread. Why, you may well ask, is this woman in yet another Panera's? We are here because there are potential buyers looking at our house and there are potential buyers looking at our house because....we are moving to FLORIDA. Yes, boys and girls, it is true. We are finally leaving New Jersey.

While we were strolling St. Augustine this August, hubby got a call from a big corp with offices in Jax. One interview and a few phone calls later and the deal was struck. We have picked out an interim house in the school district that I want for my boys. Our move date is set for Oct 8th. I am incredibly excited. A month from now, I will be living with-in easy driving distance from my brother.

All of the other terrific things aside, it will be fun to vote in a swing state. In New Jersey the outcome is all but assured. In Florida our vote will actually count.

On the down side, my mother has been ill. She was admitted to the hospital due to a cardiac event the day after I told her we were moving (not a coincedence?). While there she called for help, which did not come. She got anxious, and went to the bathroom on her own. While washing her hands, she fell and broke her hip. Last Friday, she had hip replacement surgery. She is recovering nicely and is in a good state of mind. However, she can no longer live an entirely independent life. (Did I mention that I am moving in less than two weeks?). For now my sister will have to pick up the slack. Eventually, though, it might be neccessary to move her to Florida. Not anyone's first choice (except maybe my sister's).

My knitting continues. I am still working on Whit's Linen Tunic from The Purl in NYC. I have had to restart it three times. The first time was because I did not like the look of the gauge. I went down a needle size and adjusted the stitch count accordingly (or so I thought). While gloating over completing the last decrease round before the armhole shaping a friend look it over and say "Lis, how big do you think you are?". I assured her that this almost completed tank was the perfect size. She assured me that it was not. After going back and forth for a bit, I finally took it off the needles to try it on. As it happens, I did not have to try it on. Said friend wrapped the hem around my body THREE times. Even I had to admit that it was a no go. So I ripped it out and restarted it again (can you tell that I really like this top?). I am now three decreases away from the armhole shapping. It looks good to me and to my more observant friend. Wish me luck.

By now all of my yarn and knitting books are packed and ready for storage. However, I have packed all of my UFO's seperately. I am hoping to finish some of them while we are in our interim house. However, I am already seeing new things that are so much more Florida friendly than some of my napping projects. Only time will tell how long my resolve to spend the next six months finishing will last.

Time to go. Hubby already took the boys home. I am going to my Wednesday night knitting group to say my goodbyes. I am thrilled to finally be moving back to Florida. But saying goodbye to friends is sad. Over the last couple of years these ladies have been my inspiration and solace. They will be missed.

25 AUGUST 2008


Jacksonville, FL
24Aug08


As you can see, we survived Hurricane Fay. Hubby finally got a flight in yesterday morning. He and the boys helped with the storm clean-up in the back yard so that we could all enjoy the sun and pool. I love it down here.



Cloe

This is Cloe, my SIL's cat. She likes to drink out of the pool. I think that is such a hoot. Cloe, it seems is a he. He was a stray when SIL found him and took him for a her. By the time his maleness was discovered, he was already answering to Cloe. My brother worries for the cats self image but the rest of us think Cloe is secure enough in his masculinity to deal with a girl name.



This is how you really know that the storm is past, when the wildlife comes out to play. My boys were thrilled by all the lizards that were running around yesterday. I am glad that they seem to have aged out of trying to catch them and are just happy to get a good picture.

Today we visited Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach. After some shopping and a great lunch at The Bodega, we went to the beach to look for shells and fly kites. The weather was wonderful, just hot enough with a good breeze for the kites.

21 AUGUST 2008

Kinda, sorta, looks like a hurricane...Fay


Jacksonville, FL
Aug 21, 2008


It's August so we must be in Florida. We were running a bit late this year so we did not get here until Monday. Just in time for Hurricane, Tropical Storm, Tropical Depression, back to Tropical Storm, Fay. My brother says that he was sure it would just peter out until he remembered I was coming when he knew it was likely we would have to evacuate...again. I was here for Charlie, Francis, Ivan, Katrina, and Rita. I am getting a reputation.

So yesterday when I told my brother that I was going hurricane shopping, he assured me that he was totally prepared (He is a retired Marine. He is always prepared.). I just laughed and headed out to the book and yarn shops. His prepared and my prepared are two different things.

We hit Hobby Lobby, Knit Wits (Old St. Aug Rd, Jax), Barnes & Noble, and Fresh Market. Jax has finally gotten a couple of organic markets.

I have to admit that today I am taking the whole thing more seriously. My brother and his wife are at the hospital where she is having cardiac surgery. My hubby and I are weighing a job offer that would half his salary but half his stress level as well (sometimes I fear for his health). What is left of the storm is here and my boys are antsy.

Of course, as soon as my brother told me not to leave the house today, I packed up the laptops and headed out to Panera's to surf the web (sometimes . The boys are calmer. I will hear from my brother soon about SIL's surgery and my hubby about job/money/moving negotiations. Then, I will feel calmer too.


Panera Bread
Jacksonville, FL


DS2 just took this picture. He tried to take it from outside but the gusts were so strong that he could not get the door open. The odd thing is that the sun just came out. A sunny hurricane, just one of the reasons I love, love, love, Jacksonville.

P.S. Hubby just called, we talked and decided to turn down the job offer.

22 JULY 2008

Such a good boy!


Dancing Ewe Yarns & Teas
109 E. 3rd Ave.
Ellensburg, WA 98926
www.dancingeweyarnsandteas.com

While DS2 and I were in Maryland, DS1 was in Washington State with his father. While wandering a nearby town he came upon a Yarn & Tea Shop. Not only did he text me a picture (which is now the wallpaper on my phone), but he brought home a hank of locally spun, yarn.


130 yds. / 2.73 oz.
Merino/Tencel Blend
Color: Ocean Sands
"Hand spun right here in Ellensburg, WA
by Janelle Masters"

Is my kid cool or what?

I need a vacation....


Saturday
Annapolis


Sunday
Baltimore Science Center


Monday
National Air & Space Museum


Wednesday
National Aquarium


Thursday
Medieval Times


Friday
Annapolis (again)

Have you ever come home from a vacation in dire need of a vacation? Last week I set out to keep DS2 and myself busy and amused. I think I did that. We had a great time doing all that we hoped to do. I need a nap just thinking about it. :-)

The observant among you will notice the lack of a Tuesday picture. No tourist-ing was done on Tuesday. It was yarn day. We slept late, had a leisurely breakfast and headed out for Mommy's (that would be me) fun day. First we hit Cloverhill Yarn Shop. I visited here once before and have shopped their booth at MDS&W. This is a very nice shop with lovely people working there. When (if?) we move, this will be my LYS. I am happy about that. Not only do they have knitting and spinning things but there is an equally nice needlepoint shop two doors down. At Cloverhill I picked up yarn, needles, a top whorl spindle and some pencil roving. The needlepoint shop was happy to see me leave with two gorgeous canvas's. I was very, very good, I mean bad.

Next stop was The Celtic Knot Yarn Shop. The last time I visited this shop they were in a small location right in historic Ellicott City. Now they are in a bigger locale in a strip mall. Realistically, it is nice that they now have room for a better selection, more parking, and a place to sit and knit. However, I really liked the atmosphere of the old location better.

We are home now and resting up from our vacation. Depending on job, move, and family issues, it is likely that we will spend a chunk of August in Florida. I've got to rest up for our next vacation.

12 JULY 2008

What I am doing with my summer vacations...


Maryland State House Annapolis, MD 12Jul08

DS1 is away with his father (the ex) this week. Rationally, I know that it is best all around for him to have good relationship with his father but I still get blue when he is away. With hubby scheduled to be away on business the same week, my emotional outlook was not good. That, my friends, is why hubby, DS2 and I are all in Baltimore this week.

We arrived yesterday but hubby does not have to work until Monday. We are staying at a lovely Residence Inn with, for those of you who remember my MDS&W post, a/c and hot water. Life is good.

This morning we headed over to Annapolis for our usual visit of lunch at Buddy's and lots of shopping. What a lovely town Annapolis is. On the way into town, we stopped at The Yarn Garden of Annapolis. I have been wanting to hit this shop for years but the timing is never right. They are closed on Sunday and Monday and the one time we were in the area on the right day, they were closed for vacation. So this, being an unhurried Saturday, was my chance.


Claudia Hand Painted Linen
100% Linen, 100 g, 270 yds
6 sts = 1", US 3 / 3.5 mm


The Yarn Garden is a nice shop. It is a bit messy, but the selection is great and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. In addition to lots of other things, they carry Debbie Bliss and Claudia Handpaint (two of my favorites). I almost made it out with just a magazine but then I found the Claudia Linen. I have been looking for this to make the feather & fan shawl on the Louet web page. I love Euroflax St. Wt. Linen for summer knitting and knew that Claudia was using that as a base for her hand painted linen. There was plenty to find on the web but I really wanted to see it up close and personal before spending the money. Well, not only did I see it, but I bought some along with said magazine and the coolest ever DPN case.

Check this out. At first glance, the case looks like a typical sort of thing. A small tube kept closed via a magnetic closure.



Open it and you find a nice lined home for your DPNs (I am going to use it for my sock needles)



Keep turning the two sides in the same direction you used to open it, and you start to see the difference.



Keep turning...


Once turned all the way, you have the same case, once again closed securely, but now a different color scheme.



Think Jacobs Ladder for knitters. It is so much fun just to play with. I can't wait to take it to my knitting group when I get home.

I am going to the pool now.


23 JUNE 2008

Always prepared....


http://shop.illiane.com/
Emergency Knitting Bag (blue)

When we saw Stephanie Pearl-McPhee in Philly, she talked about a study which indicted that doing a repetitive task, while watching disturbing images, lessoned the emotional impact of said images. Knitting was specifically mentioned and then immediately kicked to the curb. After all, “who carries around emergency knitting?” Needless to say, the audience was slayed*. I don’t know about you guys but I do, in fact, carry emergency knitting.



Not too long ago, I took my mom to the doctor, only to be told she needed to go to the emergency room. Being my mom, she insisted on stopping for lunch (Panera), books (Borders), and a toothbrush (Target), Honestly, it did not seem like that much of a stretch to ask if we could stop at my LYS, as well (I had finished my socks while waiting at the doctor’s). You would not believe how many people used the word “crazy”, when told about this adventure. All I have to say is that if I am a nut, I did not fall far from the tree.



Anyway, due to peer pressure, I now carry an emergency knitting bag in my car. In it is a lace wt. Pi Shawl in progress (simple, endless, knitting), a Suduko book w/pencil, a knitting tool kit, and tissues. Now it will also includ a "real" Emergency Knitting bag (see top pic), pruchased from Illiane's Corner and inspired by our very own Yarn Harlot. I got mine today (I held out for a blue one). It is just perfect for a scarf or a pair of socks.

Take that muggles!


*my spell check did not like the work slayed. It suggested the following alternatives: splayed, spayed, slaved, staked. Let me assure you that Ms. McPhee did not splay, spay, slave, or stake the audience.

26 MAY 2008

Memorial Day



Guess what we went to see this weekend? The new Indiana Jones movie was definitely fun but it did lag in spots. I liked it well enough but Hubby and DS2 loved it. DS1 felt that it did not live up to his expectations. As sequels go, Prince Caspian was way better.

This has been a quiet week. Monday morning, I bent over “wrong” and my back slipped out. A call to hubby brought him running and he got me right to Skip (chiropractor extraordinaire). Skip worked his magic bringing the pain to a manageable place. Still, I spent most of the week taking it easy. Luckily by Thursday I was ready to move a bit and was able to get myself to knitting group. That always lifts my spirits.

By Saturday it was obvious that I had done too much too fast for I was once again in pain. Back to the couch and ice pack went I. After a couple more days of rest, I think I am ready for DS2’s field trip tomorrow. Wish me luck.

All this resting has made for some quality knitting time. I was able to start and finish the Tapered Ruffles Scarf (no pictures yet) for our elementary school principle.. Over the years she has had the care of both of my boys. She has been just wonderful with both of them, despite their very different needs. She is retiring at the end of this school year. She will be missed.

Have you seen the Aug ’08 Knit ‘n Style? I don’t subscribe to this one because I do not always like it. However, this issue really caught my attention with the Regal Silk Vest (again, no pictures yet). I am making mine out of Blue Sky Cotton in navy. The vest calls for a silk scarf to be sewn onto the knitted body. My plan (keep your fingers crossed) is to replace the silk scarf with a knitted scarf using Tagliatelli (I love this stuff). We will see if the reality meets my vision.

Also added to my list of WIPs is The Phoenix Shawl. Once again, I am not using the suggested yarn. I am making mine out of Tagliatelli (Did I mention that I love this stuff?). Because I almost always have to go down a needle size, I started it on a #11. Did not like that I so ripped out, and restarted on a #13. This is more like it.

Sorry for the dirth of pictures. Assuming I survive tomorrow, I will try to take some pictures this week.

20 MAY 2008

Woops, we did it again



I remember going to the NYC Book Fair with my mom when I was a kid. I remember the crowds, the food, the authors, and what seemed like endless booths of books. I remember my Mom buying me “Charlotte’s Web” the first year she took me and lugging home shopping bags of books every year we went. What a heavenly place to be for an avid reader and the Mom who encouraged her. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

So, when I heard that the Yarn Harlot was going to be at the Philadelphia Book Fair, I could not wait to take my hubby and sons (the youngest of whom, knits). Well, DS1 had other plans and hubby was on call. It looked for a while like it would be just DS2 and me but at the last minute hubby was able to break away (so long as he had his laptop with him). We arrived early to be met by the knitters who had arrived earlier. Hubby went off to explore the fair while DS2 and I knitted with our fellows. At one point a young lady arrived, looked at all the knitters sitting on the front steps of the library, and announced that she had “found [her] people”. That really struck me a warm and funny. Soon (well, not too soon), we were allowed into the library to take our seats. Being early birds we scored seats right in front.Hubby got paged so he had to go to the cafĂ© to work (except for the part where it pays for my yarn, I really hate his job).

Stephanie never disappoints. She was her usual warm, wonderful & funny self. She is serious & silly, and an absolute hoot. I love her “pre-boarding” policy for book signings. If you have kids or a pressing need to leave quickly, you can head straight to the front of the line. This is not something we have ever taken advantage of before. DS2 is a good waiter and I like to save my perks for when I really need them.However, this time we went for it, hubby was anxious about work, DS2 was starving and my back hurt. I am grateful to all the knitters who did not hate us for not waiting our turn.

On the drive home, hubby and I got to talking. He had gotten to see the second half of the talk on the outdoor "jumbotron" (see top pic). I really thought he would get her more than he did. Not as a knitter but as someone who has always taken my knitting seriously. I have to admit to being a bit disappointed. It did get me thinking, though, about what it is about her that calls to me so. She is certainly wry & funny but there are other people out there who amuse me and I would not wait two hours to see a single one of them. I think what it is, is that in all that humor is someone who takes her knitting self seriously and encourages us to do the same.

While getting our books signed and pictures taken, we got to meet Juno of Enchanting Juno (www.enchantingjuno.typepad.com). I just may have gushed as I told her how much I love her blog and covet her flamingo sock yarn. Being the lovely person that she is, she actually let me see and touch the yarn. I used to live in Florida and am often homesick for Southern ways and warmer climes. Flamingo socks would warm my heart as well as my feet. I am adding this yarn to my (ever growing) must have list.

05 MAY 2008

A Good Time Was Had By All



Once again the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival was a blast. I just love the first full weekend in May. This year we went down on Thursday afternoon, as soon as the boys got out of school. We routinely make a mini vacation of this weekend. There is so much fun stuff to do in the Baltimore area.

Friday we hit Baltimore Harbor. What made us think we could do the aquarium in the morning and the science center in the afternoon, I do not know. We spent all day at the aquarium. This place is just awesome and definitely worth the trip all by itself. From there we went to Arundel Mills Mall. This too is an annual stop for us. Hubby and I stocked up on summer clothes at the Eddie Bower outlet, after which we took the boys to see Iron Man (silly but fun) at the Egyptian style theater. After a quick stop at the food court for sustenance, we headed back to our hotel to rest up for the big day.

This, however, was not meant to be. We stayed at a different hotel than we usually do (our favorite was booked). I can not stress enough how nice the manager and staff were. BUT, despite their kindness, the lack of a/c and hot water pretty much guarantees that we will never stay there again. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we were forced to take at least two cold showers each. The only bright spot was listening to my 10yo grumble (“How bad can it be? She likes her water 90 degrees hotter than everyone else anyway”) and scream (“OMG! This water is freezing!”). We did not have both a/c and hot water until Saturday night. Oh, and the toilet backed up. Did I mention that we will not be staying here again?

Okay, so on to the good part. After much discussion we decided to hit the fair early this year. We hoped for closer parking (did not happen) and shorter lines for t-shirts and Socks That Rock. Given that “shorter” is relative, this plan may have worked but not in any noticeable way. Hubby went ahead to wait for the t-shirts and DS1 waited on the line to pay at STR, while DS2 and I got into the booth to pick our yarn. Still, it took a total of two hours to get said shirts and yarn. I bought three weights of STR which I think makes me an amateur. There were people on line with TONS of the stuff.

Hubby & DS1 waiting for t-shirts

DS2 & I waiting for STR

DS2’s teacher asked him to bring back a map of the festival along with pictures of us petting the sheep, buying the wool, and eating the lamb. We actually had a ball getting those shots. Hubby and DS2 will not eat lamb at the festival. DS1 and I are just not that nice. The lamb sausage was great.

Pet them

Buy them

Eat them

We made a quick stop at the Ravelry gathering. I got to meet and thank Jessie and Casey. It was phenomenally crowded, so we did not stay long. I did however get my Ravelry button which I wore for the rest of the day.

I have really been working at not needing to buy everything that appeals to me. I was not sure how that would feel at MDSW but, you know, it went pretty well. For the first time ever, I left with more than pennies in my pockets. Still, I did get some pretty wonderful (to me) stuff. Everything I bought (even needles) was for a specific project.

Blue Moon Fibers

Socks That Rock

Socks

Tess Yarns

Superwash Merino

Peace Shawl

www.iKnitiative.com


Handmaiden

Sea Silk

Perfection Wrap

More Big Girl Knits

The only things I would have liked to have left with but did not were an electric ball winder (could not find one) and some pewter green Raw Silk from Tess Yarns (I told myself I did not need it. I may have been wrong about that.). I did get some gorgeous hand-dyed cotton and a shawl pattern for the afore mentioned kind, wonderful, dog-sitting, friend but I forgot to get a picture before I gave it to her. Robin, if you are out there, please send me a picture.

The stars shone upon us and we had hot water and a/c on Saturday night. After a good nights sleep, we checked out of our hotel and drove over to Annapolis for the day. We walked, shopped, ate (Buddy’s has a killer seafood brunch on Sundays), and left for home (stopping to pick up Jack along the way).


SWTC
Phoenix
EZ Ribwarmer


If all that were not great enough, when I got home there was more yarn waiting for me. A few weeks ago, I won an auction (to raise money for Medecins sans Frontieres) at Sivia Harding's web site. By now Sivia and I had both given the up yarn as a casualty of the postal system. But, happily, we were wrong. There it was waiting for me when I got home. How cool is that.

Can I just say it again? I just love the first full weekend in May.

29 APRIL 2008

Two great tastes


How could the combination of yarn and chocolate not be a hit? Friday night I got to go my first yarn tasting, put together by the great ladies at Woolbearers. Each place setting included a box of yarn treats, cute little balls of yarn placed in little paper candy cups. How cute is this? Different people did different things with their little balls. Some made long garter stitch strips, others Stockinette. One person made a multi-colored, multi-textured granny square. I, thanks to Suzie’s brilliant idea, made a long i-cord. With each change of yarn, I left hanging the end with the tag identifying that yarn.


While enjoying the company of other happy knitters, we were served coffee and desert. I was lucky enough to have ordered the chocolate Mousse, one of the best I have every tasted.

There you have it, yarn and chocolate, two great tastes that go great together.

21 APRIL 2008

I love spring, I hate spring...




Spring and I have a love/hate relationship. I love the sun, mild temps, and blooming flora. However, I hate the runny nose, red eyes, and wheezing. I am currently taking everything in my arsenal, but am still pretty miserable. Today, the manager at Panera’s asked me, very sweetly, if I had been crying. Tonight we brought my car back to the dealership to have the a/c fixed. Hopefully, this especially uncomfortable spring will improve when I can drive with my windows shut.

On the up side, not having a car tomorrow means that I get to sleep late (hubby will take the boys to school) and spend the day knitting and reading what I hope will be a very good book (Confessions of a Jane Austin Addict). I bought this thing called a PhiferReader. The plan is for this to make it easier to knit and read at the same time. I have high hopes.

More Big Girl Knits

Have you seen this book? I love, love, love, it. For me, the first book was a keeper mostly due to the up-sizing info. The sweaters were pretty but I am unlikely to make most of them. With this book, however, it is likely that I will make all but a couple of the sweaters, both bags and both shawls. I have already cast on for one sweater and one shawl. I am currently swatching for the Perfection Wrap, (Caribbean raw silk from Tess’ Yarns) and the Magic Halter (Lyndon Hill Cotton/Silk). I think both are a go. Also added to my pile of WIPs is the Tapered Ruffles Scarf (Knit Ponchos Wraps & Scarves by Jane Davis).

This newest addition is totally due to Gwen the Wonder Knitter. Gwen knits with a group I sometimes join on Thursday afternoons. She is amazing. She is fast, creative, prolific, and whatever she makes comes out gorgeous. I saw her this Saturday at Woolbearers, where I was, theoretically, not buying any yarn for the Magic Halter (the road to hell, etc…). She was wearing this lovely scarf that I just have to have.She also handed me two hanks of lace wt cotton that I was admiring. She even remembered to send me the pattern info (it turns out that I have the book it came from!). The combination of her kindness, serendipity and a bad case of spring startitis means that I get a new scarf.Cool beans.

17 APRIL 2008

What do you listen to while you knit?

Lately I have been listening to a combo of Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” and Oprah’s classes on the same. I like Oprah well enough but, am not a steady viewer, nor do I automatically read her book club picks. I do listen to her station on XM though (I especially like Dr. Oz and Rabbi Shmuley). So a combination of clever marketing and curiosity had me downloading the podcasts of her Monday night broadcasts.

Even though I had not read the book, I found the first one interesting enough to want to listen to the second one. Apparently the second chapter talks to acquisitiveness (something I am struggling with). So, not only did I go ahead and subscribe (via iTunes) to the rest of the broadcasts, and the after show discussions but went out and bought the book.

I was a few chapters in when last week’s sadness came up. I knew I would be spending lots of time in the car and be in dire need of knitting time when I got home, so I downloaded the book from Audible.com (OMG, I LOVE that place). Now I have listened to books that I have already read but I have never listened and read at the same time. You know what? I like it. This is a book that encourages you to look at yourself differently. The combination of reading and listening has made it easier to remember the things in the book that I want to take away with me. I do not know that I will ever do this again but I am happy to be doing it now.

Do a lot of you listen while you knit? Obviously I do. Some of my past favorites have been:

Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
Sense & Sensibility – Jane Austen
Timeline – Michael Crichton
Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy (my first ever audio book)

The photos in this post were taken by my 10yo for the Time for Kids photography contest.

Wish him luck.

15 APRIL 2008

So what have you up to….


If you read the Woolbearers blog, you know that I stopped in to buy yarn on the way to take my mom to the UPenn ER to see if she was having a heart attack (she wasn’t). It has been brought to my attention that, that was crazy. In my defense we only stopped at the store after my equally crazy mother insisted on stopping at Borders for something to read, Panera’s for something to eat, and Target for a toothbrush.

Anyway, in the interest of sanity, I have prepared a knitting bag that I now leave in my car. In is a lace wt. simple Pi shawl (KnitPicks Memories w/US #5) that has not gotten any attention in a long time, as a Suduko book, pencil and a pair of generic reading glasses. It occurs to me that I need to take another picture of this baby. It actually is a bit further along than this old picture.

For those inquiring minds, I did, in fact, finish the other Tofutsies sock. I can not believe how much I had to make myself knit that 2ndsock. I have already cast on another pair (this time using Jitterbug). So far only the toe is done but at least it is done on both socks.The Jitterbug is just a bit heavier than other sock yarns I have used. Using the same US1s that I usually use, the fabric is denser. I think I like it. The colors are stunning. I will post pictures when there is a little more sock.

In other knitting news, I have been working on:

Mat’s Tat Pi

This is the one using Woolbearer's fingering wt wool dyed to match their USP guy's tatoo. This is what I work on when I am watching TV or talking to friends. It is simple but very satisfying. I am on the last section before the edging.

The Great American Afghan

It took me a while to get started on this but I am enjoying it. My LYS does not carry Cascade superwash (I really do not want to have to hand wash this baby), so I am using Mission Falls 1824. I just love working with this yarn.

Readers Wrap

I have two of these. One is not knitted and the other is knitted by someone else. I adore them both and use them all the time. This one is destined for Sheila's Shawls. I like to knit for this group because the cause of domestic violence awareness is near and dear to my heart. There are definitely other things on the needles but these are the things that have my attention at the moment.

Once a year I meet my best friend somewhere between Charlotte (her) and Central NJ (me). This year we spent the second weekend in February in Williamsburg. It was mostly wonderful (can I tell you how much I hated the soccer team that was staying at/disrupting our hotel?). The drive was uneventful. The weather was a gift from heaven and our time together (sans hubby’s and kids) was renewing. I am so happy that we get to do this. Also, I got to visit The Knitting Sisters (www.knittingsisters.com) again. That place is awesome.Darling, if you are reading this, I would love one of their Knitting Chairs for my birthday.

Unfortunately, that same friend lost her mom last Monday. We both headed up to Northern NJ (her trip was longer) for the week. The funeral was Friday. I was determined that she would not have to handle this on her own (her dh & son did not want to come). I was so proud of my DH and sons when they informed me that they would be taking Friday off to support Ginny at the funeral. It was a very sad day for her and I am so grateful that we (and others) could be there to offer our love & support.

It is possible that we will be moving within the next year. DH’s job is likely to no longer exist after Jan ’09. That makes the future look scary, but there is some silver on the grey cloud that is our financial future. DH hates his job. Hopefully, he will find something that is less likely to run him up the crazy tree. We have wanted to leave NJ for ages. It is likely that we will use this opportunity to do that. We had promised DS1 that we would stay here until he finishes high school (2 more years) but it turns out that he would rather move. We will be looking at the Jacksonville, FL, Baltimore/DC, and the NC tech triangle. The uncertainty, not to mention the thought of packing up my house, is scary. However, all in all, this may all be for the best.

By now most of you will have already heard, but, Michaels has decided to stop offering craft classes (except for Wilton cake decorating).That means no more beading, crochet, painting, birthday parties, summer camp, or…gasp…KNITTING. That also means that I am no longer teaching for them. I miss teaching a lot. Maybe once I know where we will be living I can look for another place to teach. In the mean time, I want to try my hand at writing patterns. With that in mind, I have posted two of my own creations here: www.lscdesigns.blogspot.com

Last night I made our reservations for Maryland Sheep & Wool (www.sheepandwool.org). I am so excited. I just love this weekend.We spend a day or two at the fair and as well as some time in Annapolis. It has become a very happy family tradition. For us, it is Crab & Wool weekend and we love it. Even my teenager is showing signs of happy anticipation.

Happy Knitting...

03 FEBRUARY 2008

Second Sock Syndrome & Free Patterns

Back when I was pregnant with my 11 year old, I decided that what I really needed to do was to knit socks. I had just joined the KnitList and was inspired by the stories of comfy hand-knit socks. In response to my request for advice, I received suggestions for patterns, yarn, technique (to DPN or not to DPN, that was the question), and many warnings about the dreaded "Second Sock Syndrome". Well, this sounded like something that could happen to me so, I made sure to get two sets of sock needles, and I knit my very first pair of socks at the same time. Since then I have tried different methods (DPN's, 12" circs, two circs, magic loop, 9" circs, toe-up & top down, flap 'n gusset & short row), but I have always knit both socks at the same time. That all changed last St. Patrick's Day when I found a ball of Tofutsies. Did I take the time to wind it into two balls? No, I did not. I cast on for my new socks in the car on the way home. I finished that sock and hung it on my front door to remind me that I really need another sock to call it a pair. Now here we are almost a year later, and still I do not have a second sock.

With that in mind, I finally cast-on for the other sock and named it my "traveling sock". Inspired by Kelly Pitkin (KnitPicks), I even bought it it's own traveling bag.

Traveling Sock

Traveling Sock Bag

Now I can take my sock everywhere with me. This pretty Lexie Barnes bag has a main compartment for my sock(s), and an outside zip pocket that does double duty. When I am traveling light , it holds my money, phone and tissues. Other days, it holds the removable shoulder strap so that I can put the whole bag in my main knitting bag.

Man-eating fish

Saturday, we (my family, my sock and I) visited the National Aquarium in Baltimore. We had not been there since just before the new wing opened so it was fun to see old and new things. My traveling sock bag was wonderful. Light, with just the essentials and bits of sock knitting at every opportunity. I knit half way through the heel, so maybe I will have them to wear on the anniversary of this yarn's purchase.


www.LSCdesigns.blogspot.com

Earlier today, I finally posted a couple of my patterns. Just visit www.LSCdesigns.blogspot.com and you will find the patterns for my Cozy Ruffle Scarf and my Serenity Shawl. If you decided to knit either one, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the patterns and the finished items.

P.S. After all of my sock experiments, my a favorite way to knit a sock it toe-up using wooden DPN's.

06 JANUARY 2008

Sharing is caring...


My planned days of rest were spent caring for DS1, who came home from his holiday visit with the ex, miserably ill. After two doctor visits. pain meds and antibiotics, he is feeling much better. Now I am laid low and hubby is starting to feel ill. It is only a matter of time before DS2 starts to droop. Sometimes I think that the worst thing we could do to our enemies is to send them a couple of tots with runny noses. Kiddie cooties are the worst.

While DS1 was sick, I made progress on my Tofutsie sock and the scarf formerly known as Sarah's. However, now that it is my turn, I am not doing much at all. While moving furniture, I tipped a bookcase causing the VCR to fall on my left shoulder. Now it hurts on that side when I knit :-(

Consequently, I do not have much to show. I did organize my knitting needles (a massive task) but the results are not particularly photogenic. I am hoping to get out tomorrow to pick up the new Vogue Knitting and a Suss Cousins book I have on order at B&N.

As with so much else, this too shall pass.

01 JANUARY 2008

Happy New Year!

Well, here we are again, at the beginning of a new year. Do you make resolutions? I don't. What I do instead is to make two lists, one of the ten things I am most grateful for, and the other of my 10 wishes for the new year. May you all be as blessed as I am.

It has been a good year. I am grateful for:
  1. My hubby & sons
  2. Their continued good health
  3. My own good health
  4. Financial survival
  5. Good friends
  6. God
  7. A peaceful, safe home
  8. Love given & received
  9. Warm covers on a cold night
  10. My brother
In 2008 I would like to see:
  1. Continued good health for my family & myself
  2. Financial serenity (by this I do not mean great wealth, just a lessoning of worry)
  3. Continued safety for us all
  4. World peace (cliche' I know, but I really do long for this)
  5. Wise, honorable leadership for this country
  6. Creative success
  7. A good school year for my boys (socially & academically)
  8. A kinder workplace for my hubby
  9. The wisdom and strength to do what is right for my family
  10. A comfortable church
Happy New Year to you all. My 2008 bring you love, peace, & safety.

Now on to less serious matters. All of the inside Christmas decorations have been packed away until next year. I love the house all decorated but find that I also love having everything back to normal. Luckily, I have the rest of the week off to rest and nest.

Sheep Cookies

On a daily basis, I like to keep junk food down to a minimum. Hubby and I tend to gain and, for the boys, it is just not healthy. However, I do make exceptions and New Years Day is one of them. We had french toast for breakfast (with lots of butter and syrup, of course). Cocktail wieners for lunch, and oven fried chicken wings for dinner. We also have crab dip and shrimp cocktail but all are just too stuffed to eat it today (yes I know shrimp cocktail is not junk food but it makes my boys happy to think that it is). Then, as if all of that were not delectable enough, hubby and DS2 made cookies. Not just any old cookies, but sheep cookies. Am I lucky or what?

Cozy Ruffle Scarf
Knit Picks Memories Yarn

As talked about in my previous post, DS1 and his girlfriend have been forced to stop seeing each other. What you see here is the scarf I was working on for her birthday. Since it seems that I will not be giving it away, I found a pair of leather gloves that match. They will go nicely with my black wool coat. If the situation changes, I have more than enough of this yarn to make another scarf. I bought tons of this yarn, in several colorways, when it was on sale. However, this is the first time I have used it. I really like it. It is warm and soft in my hands and I think it will be lovely next to my (or her) neck.

Jack

Don't laugh, I just had to take this picture. My brother says that I am besotted with my children (He says this kindly. We both wish someone had been besotted with us when we were little). What he does not know is that I am quite taken with my dog as well. We got Jack three years ago from a rescue organization. He was taken from a puppy farm where he was very badly treated. When the authorities intervened, he was in such bad shape that his previous owners were going to kill him. Look at him now. He is healthy, sweet, snuggly, loving and loved. The one ear up, one ear down, thing gets me every time.

Keep warm.

26 DECEMBER 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Blessed silence, I really do adore my children but right now they are busy watching a movie down stairs and I am soaking in the lovely quiet. (I jinxed it. Almost as soon as I typed those words DSS1, came up, sat in my favorite chair and snuggled under my favorite blanket. What can I say? Space Balls can't hold my attention either.)

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was lovely. We like to keep it low-key. All presents were well received. The boys got new iPod Nanos along with a pile of little gifts. I managed to surprise and delight my hubby with a new digital camera. My favorite gifts where the new Harmony guides, a spiffy lunch bag, a rechargeable book light, and a lovely diamond and sapphire pendent.

I only knit one Christmas gift this year but I did make quite a few small things.

Crochet & Bead Bookmarks
http://www.crochetme.com/node/112/print

This picture does not do these bookmarks justice. They are so fast and pretty. I made one for each of the ladies in my book group as well as ones for DS2, my mom, and myself. I have put the link for the pattern under the picture. I can not say enough nice things about how easy, pretty and well received these were.

Shaker Rib Scarf
Yarn: Rowan Tapestry
Needles: US#6 (4mm)
Recipient: Dr. Anthony Soriero
Hamilton, NJ
609-586-9199

This is the only knitted gift that I made this year. Those of you who read regularly and/or know me in the real world, know that I have recurring back problems. This summer, I found the most wonderful chiropractor. He is a lovely man, who seems to know what he is doing. If you live in the Hamilton, NJ area, and need a miracle worker, give him a call. Tell him Lisa sent you. Seriously, as far as I am concerned this guy hung the moon. Anyway, I made him this scarf using my favorite "guy scarf" pattern, the Shaker Rib, which has warm & fuzzy childhood associations for me.


Bookmarks for my book group, and stitch markers for my knitting group. For these I used cultured pearls with crystal. I made a set of six for each knitting member of my craft group and each set had a different color crystal. At first I made myself crazy trying to figure out who should get which color but then I just wrapped them all identically and passed them out with no idea who was getting what. The really cool part is that several people commented on my having chosen their favorite color!

Scissor Fob
See book thong pattern & link

Dee, also in my craft group, embroiders. I agonized over what to get/make her for Christmas and this is what I came up with. I bought her a pair of nice embroidery scissors and, using the book thong pattern, made a scissor fob to attach to them. Her husband is very ill and back in the hospital so we were unable to get together for the holiday but I have high hopes that she will like it.

http://stores.ebay.com/G3-Studios

The lady who hosts the craft group has become near and dear to my heart. She is, alas, a crocheter (I love her anyway :-)). I wanted to give her something special. After much looking, I found her a crochet hook from this store. I ended up buying one each for two of my crocheting friends. They were very well received. The words "work of art" were uttered.

As you can probably tell, I am feeling quite pleased with myself as a gift giver this year. We are having some financial issues so keeping spending down is a must. What I decided I wanted to do this year was to find the perfect gift for each person. I actually made my list and started hunting while we were in FL this summer. I feel like I did well. I certainly hope I did.


We have had some drama here in the past couple of days. DS1 has suffered a break-up. His girlfriend's mother decided that they were getting too serious and has insisted that they break up. I have to say that I do not think she has handled this well. 15yo talk of "love" and "forever" is pretty scary, but I am worried that she has created a "Romeo & Juliet" situation here. Up to now, the kids have not been able to see each other in an unsupervised setting (school events, family outings, etc). My concern is that if they choose to see each other in secret, we may end up with just the situation that she is trying to avoid. The children even went to their guidance counselor to ask her to intercede for them. She told "Juliet's" mom the same thing I did but she will have none of it.

I am so sorry for all of us. I sympathize with Mom's concerns, in fact, I share them (they are very young, and very serious, and both of their grades have suffered). I just do not think that this is the right way to achieve our aims. We feel strongly that it would have been better to ground them (incl. phone, IM, etc.) pending improved grades, allow them to earn the privilege of seeing each other again outside of school. At that point we could set some ground rules about how much time they can spend together and what they are allowed to do with that time.

DS1 is devastated. I have never seen him this disconsolate. It was actually kind of scary. This all played out at the weekend before last. By this Friday, DS1 was actually showing flashes of a less melancholy self. He spent the weekend at his father's playing video games, came home and seemed to enjoy Christmas day(a new iPod will have that effect). Then, he opened her Christmas present (her mother dropped it off while he was away) and broke down again. With her gift was a typed letter asking him to respect her parent's wishes. I wish she had not done that. It just dragged him back down and put her back in the forefront of his thoughts. It is in everyone's best interest for him to be allowed to move on. Okay, mama-bear rant is over.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

22 NOVEMBER 2007

So much to be grateful for.....

Happy Thanksgiving!

Some years ago, while going through a very nasty divorce and custody battle, I got into the habit of listing 10 things I was grateful for every night before going to sleep. My young son and I were living the plot of a Lifetime movie. I was determined that we would not just survive but thrive. With that in mind, I made a point of dealing with the bad, but embracing the good. The rule I set for myself was that I had to come up with 10 things that were specific to that day. Some nights coming up with 10 things was a stretch, but I was determined. It was those particularly bad days that forced me to see the less obvious things, warm covers on a cold night, the way my baby smellled, a police force that took domestic violence seriously (all too rare), loving and supportive friends, a warm church family, a chance to sing the Messiah with a local congregation (not my own). Eventually, the ex went on to someone else, my son and my lives became blessedly normal, I met & married a lovely, gentle soul, and we brought our youngest into the world. I have so much to be grateful for, not the least of which is the habit of gratitude. The very feeling of feeling blessed, and grateful for that blessing adds to our happiness.


So, my 10 things for today are:
  1. both of my boys are home and safe
  2. the weather is wonderful (did you see the picture my hubby took on his walk this morning)
  3. my 10 yo still likes to snuggle
  4. my hubby cooks the turkey (I did the sides and desert yesterday)
  5. my hubby still likes to snuggle
  6. our dog has the perfect disposition for our family
  7. we have lovely neighbors
  8. I got to read in bed this morning
  9. my hubby bought two gallons of milk yesterday (we have already polished off one)
  10. we have a chocolate cream pie for desert
  11. it was easy to come up with 10 things to smile about today

knitting, home & hearth

So what does a knitter do, while hubby cooks and children play? I was able to put my feet up, surf the web and knit.

Life is good and I am thankful.

15 NOVEMBER 2007

Tag I'm it...


Thanks to www.knittingfriends.com, I visited www.shadowdancer.typepad.com and was tagged. As I have very little of note to blog about right now, I decided to answer the following questions.

38 Answers to 38 Random Questions

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night? No one, it was a difficult evening

2. What were you doing at 0800? Driving my oldest son to school.

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Watching Ghost Hunters with my youngest (who is home sick).

4. What happened to you in 2006? 2006 was a quiet, calm year.

5. What was the last thing you said out loud? “Watch whatever you want”. Said to my son so that I could have some computer time.

6. How many beverages did you have today? Not enough now that I think about it. I have had two glasses of water.

7. What color is your hairbrush? Silver

8. What was the last thing you paid for? Crafters Choice bill

9. Where were you last night? Home

10. What color is your front door? Sand

11. Where do you keep your change? I have two change jars, one in my bedroom and another in the living room. I also keep just quarters in a change purse in my car.

12. What’s the weather like today? 47 degrees and rainy.

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? Although chocolate is my favorite every thing else flaveor, my favorite ice cream is Hagen Daz Strawberry

14. What excites you? Knitting, fiber, family, a good book!

15. Do you want to cut your hair? I am in need of a trim. I have had to cancel two appointments due to sick mother and child.

16. Are you over the age of 25? Oh yes

17. Do you talk a lot? Yes

18. Do you watch the O.C.? Never

19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Once upon a time but not now.

20. Do you make up your own words? Yes

21. Are you a jealous person? No

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’. Alyse.

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. Kathy

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list?
My brother

25. What does the last text message you received say? Ty (from my son)

26. Do you chew on your straw? No.

27. Do you have curly hair? Wavey

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to? To pick up my son from school.

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? A family member

30. What was the last thing you ate? Fried egg over rice

31. Will you get married in the future? Not according to my current husband.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?
The Kingdom, it had a lot to say and said it well.

33. Is there anyone you like right now? Lots of people.

34. When was the last time you did the dishes? A couple of hours ago

35. Are you currently depressed? No.

36. Did you cry today? No.

37. Why did you answer and post this? Because I wanted to.

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey. I’m tagging - you! If you have a blog, and you're reading this ... consider yourself tagged! (Now... blog back, and leave me a comment to let me know you did)

28 OCTOBER 2007

Hanging with the Harlot...

Last Friday T & I met some friends at a local Borders to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot). That woman is such a hoot. I especially enjoyed her pronouncement that, according to CHOKE (Chronic Humiliation of Knitters Everywhere), all guys who knit are gay. This with my youngest son knitting in the front row. He blushed to his roots but kept right on knitting (we have raised him right). She was very encouraging of him after the talk which he loved.

Have I mentioned the Pi Shawl I am knitting with a KAL at my LYS? The yarn is called "Mat's Tats" and is inspired by the UPS man's tattoo. Is that just too funny? The colors are gorgeous. I am really enjoying knitting this because I can work on it anywhere. I do love knitting in public, especially when the fiber is this eye catching.

I have rediscovered an old favorite knitting book. The Knit Stitch by Sally Melville was a hit with me and everyone else when it came out but recently I took it out of retirement to show it to a student and was taken once again by what pretty things can be made with the most simple techniques. With that in mind, I blew through a Shape it scarf in Colonette's Tagliatelle and am planning to use some stash Manos to make the Einstein coat.

Last but not least, let me tell you about the movie I went to see this morning. The Kingdom is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It is about an FBI team that goes to Saudi Arabia to investigate a terrorist action. It has a lot to say and says it well. I had read a review that said that the first four minutes were the best part of the film but I really thing that was unfair. The first four minuteswere great, the main part of the movie, however, was just as good, and the end made the whole thing. The acting was wonderful. I especially liked the actor who played the lead Saudi investigator. I thought the writing was very good and the visuals made my heart leap in some places and break in others. It is rated R and earns that rating. I will probably let my teenager watch it when it comes out in DVD but not my youngest. If you have the opportunity to go see a grown-up movie, I highly recommend this one.

26 OCTOBER 2007

Stitches Pix...

Stitches Pix (as promised)


Here I am, on my way into the Stitches East market with ice pack and hot tea in hand. I tried the sling but it made my neck hurt so I used my handbag. There was a post card taken by the designer of this sign but I could not find it on their web sight.


Lauren Large Project Knitting Bag
www.allyandnettietotes.com

Don't you love it? This is my new favorite knitting tote. I swear it's like Mary Poppins' bag. You can fit a couple of big projects into it yet it does not look sad when it has just a few things either.


Combo Shawl Kit
www.decadentfibers.com

Theoretically I was only going to buy yarn if I found Sea Silk. Luckily, I did not find the Sea Silk. Because, I as soon as I saw the colors of this yarn, I knew that I had to have it. The shawl pattern that came with it is pretty easy. I did want to finish something before casting on, but that is done and I am now free to move on.

Felted Pumpkin
www.decadentfibers.com

The same booth that had the Combo Shawl, had this very cool felted pumpkin. T spotted it as we were checking out and very easily persuaded me that it too was a must have.

Merging Colors Adagio Shawl
www.the-mannings.com


Obviously the Combo Shawl was not the only thing that caught my eye. Generally I was very good but this was another kit that I just could not leave behind. I saw the sample at MDS&W and have been kicking myself every since because I did not get it. So what is a girl to do when faced with temptation a 2nd time? Of course, I got it. I will probably save this to knit in the spring.

www.jellyyarn.com

Our last treasure found was this jelly yarn. Since my little one was such a good sport about roaming the market and carrying my packages, I was happy to get him this yarn and the needles required to start his bottle holder in the car.

bad hand

The ER doc said no kitting, my chiropractor says yes knitting (so long as it does not hurt). Guess who I like better? I really could not knit for almost a week but now I can for little bits at a time. That is actually working out okay for me. Most of the time I am alright but when it does hurt, I stop. I can deal better with a slow down than a work stoppage. Apparently, I can expect it to take 6-8 weeks for the swelling to go away. It hurts more to drive than to knit so that must mean that I need to stay home and knit. Right?


That's all the pictures I have for Stitches. We did go see the Yarn Harlot last Friday and I do have pictures but I need A's help to tink with a couple of them before posting. Hopefully, I will get to that tomorrow.

14 OCTOBER 2007

Stitches East...

Let me begin by saying that I had lots of pictures to go with this post but Blogspot is not loading pictures right now. They "are aware of the problem and are working on a fix". I will add pictures at a later date.

Okay, those of you who read my blog regularly know that, in my life, there is never a dull moment. Yesterday, after dithering quite a bit, we finally made it to Baltimore for Stitches East. We left home early, arrived before 10. Hubby dropped me off across the street from the convention center and headed down to the Inner-Harbor to take our little one to the dragon boats and the science center. Unfortunately, as I was crossing the street, I tripped on the curb and sprawled across the sidewalk. hurting my knee and hand. Just call me "Grace"! I managed to fall right in the way of a running race, causing a bit of a pile-up. Several of the runners were really quite nice, helping me up and insisting that I visit first aid. They were lovely. I was mortified. To make matters worse, I was carrying my cell in my bra. When I fell, it fell on to the cement and died. Once inside the convention center, a very nice gentleman called their medic and a saintly knitter let me use her cell to call my hubby. The Medic took one look at me and called an ambulance. The paramedics felt that my knee was just banged up but that I might have broken my hand (I was inclined to agree). But wait, did I come all the way to Baltimore to see yet another ER? NO, I did not. The paramedics were kind enough to give me an ice pack and directions to the nearest ER and 7-11 (so that my hubby could go get me some Aleve). Two pain pills later, I hit Stitches Mkt.

OMG, I had forgotten what an amazing experience that market is. I only lasted a couple of hours (I was a bit woozy and occasionally queasy) but in that time, I picked up some great things. I was on a budget this year so I had to be good (I hate being good!) Still, I managed to get some lovely stuff and can only think of one thing that I wish I could have gotten but did not. The Mannings was, as usual, my first and last stop. Among other things, I picked up a shawl kit that I have been thinking of since MDS&W (ocean colors). At another vendor, I bought another shawl kit (This one in gorgeous fall colors) and a really cool felted roving pumpkin. My little one (who knits) asked for and received a ball of Jelly Yarn (www.jellyyarn.co) and some needles. He is knitting a water bottle carrier. The only other big item I found was the most gorgeous knitting bag. I always buy at least one, sometimes several but this year, I could only get one. I walked the whole market before making my decision and it was an easy one. This bag is just beautiful, the Lauren Large Project Knitting Bag from www.allyandnettietotes.com. These ladies named their business after their dogs (Westies, both). I can not wait to show mine off at my next knitting group meeting. The only things I could not get that I really liked were two bags at DreamWeaverYarns.com (check out the Be Sweet Shelley Big Bag and the Offhand Designs Tonya). I have put them both on my Christmas/Anniversary lists. Wish me luck.

What you may ask came of my injuries? Well, let me tell you. After we left the convention center I was feeling battered but functional, so we went to ride the dragons boats at the Inner-Harbor. As I was still in a great deal of pain, we then found a police officer to direct us to the nearest ER. He looked at my hand and called an ambulance. This time I agreed and off I went to the hospital. Luckily, my knee is just banged up and my hand is not broken. However, the tendons in my left hand took a hard hit. I have sausages for fingers, a removable cast and I cannot knit (or button my own jeans) . I had to cancel my knitting classes for this week but am hoping to be good to go by next week. If the swelling does not go down by Wednesday, I have to go see an orthopedist because I may have torn the tendons. If that happens, I will not be happy.

As for knitting. I am not doing any, but I did get three hats done for Afghans for Afghans before I left for Baltimore. My primary projects have been a Pi Shawl made from a handspun in "Mat's Tats" (the colorway was inspired by the dyer's UPS man's tatoo), and a Shape It Scarf with Colinette's Tagliatelli. Both are now happily ensconced in my new knitting bag. However, I have spent the better part of today surfing the web and reading blogs. In my cyber-travels, I came across this blog www.twistedknitter.prettyposies.com . Look at her Ravelling Leaves Scarf. I have to have this. I emailed her for deets, which she sent right away. This may be the first thing I work on once my hand is back in working order.

Off I go to do a whole lot of nothing. Talk to you soon.

22 JULY 2007

Harry and the Deathly Hallows


Done! I finished the new Harry Potter book. If you do not like spoilers, it is safe to read on as I am not offering any. I blew through the book. I think what I loved most about it was that it answered all of my questions. I hate it when the last book in a series leaves you hanging. This one did not do that.

Just getting the book was an event. We had to wait on line Friday morning to get wrist bands in order to pick our book up at midnight (we were #13). It was not my intention to stay until midnight but my older son wanted to and a friend of mine was going to let him stay with him. The plan was that we would get there in time for the earlier events and leave when Robin got there to wait for midnight and keep an eye on my kid. We got to B&N at 7pm to see the live owls and stayed until 9 to see the live snakes. It between, there were fortune tellers and face painters and a scavenger hunt. By 10-ish, I was tired and in pain (I am recovering from a slipped disk), my friend was leaving home later than expected and I just could not take anymore. So we left. My littlest angel and I got up early on Saturday, headed back to B&N, and picked up or book with no trouble. I also picked up the book on CD, and wands.

I think I enjoyed this book more than any of the others. I am sorry it is the last. Maybe I load all of the books onto my iPod and listen to them one more time, straight through while knitting.

12 JULY 2007

Harry Potter Rules!

Pattern: Knitting Daily's Comfort Shawl
Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed
Needles: Sussane's Ebony 24", 6mm circs


Well, the day finally came. We went to see the new Harry Potter movie yesterday. It was just wonderful and loved by all (hubby, boys, and me). If you are reading the books you should know that once again the casting was perfect. I just loved Dolores Umbridge! She was exactly as I envisioned her.

Sometimes I think knitting is a communicable disease. Last week my a friend called to tell me that she signed up for the Mystery Stole #3. She said that she had heard of it on the Yarn Harlot's blog (one of my favorites). So off I went to the blog to read Stephanie's tale of how she had signed up after hearing about it from a friend. I totally identified with her hesitation to take on yet another project, with her angel/devil conflict about doing it anyway. I told myself that I was stronger, that I would not be crazy enough to get into yet another KAL. Then, you guessed it, I signed up. I ordered some sage Glimmer from KnitPicks. So when it gets here, I will be off and running right along with the rest of the pack.

I finally finished the shawl for my friend Dee. I can't wait to give it to her. I hope it brings her some small comfort. The Rowan Summer Tweed was a dream to work with. This project went relatively fast. I think I will eventually make one for myself, maybe in cotton for summer.

23 JUNE 2007

Well, here I am...

Yes, here I am, back on my feet (sort of). Life has been absolutely insane just lately.

Like every other mom, I have been going nuts with end of school activities. Our little one moves on from fourth grade with straight A's despite 31 sick days. We are so proud of him. Our oldest attended his first formal dance (OMG! He cleans up really nice) and graduated from middle school with lots of pomp. I can not believe that I have a high school age child. I really should feel older than I do.

With all that has been going on (the kids, my mom, my ankle, my back), I actually found time to write up the pattern for my Comfort Shawl and submit it to Knitty (I have not heard back yet. Wish me luck).
I also finished a Koigu scarf and another bunny dress destined for submission.

Sometimes, when life gets nutty I have to have a fun thing to sink into on my off moments. These patterns have been my cave. Thank goodness for knitting.

One of my favorite summer things to do is to sit on my front porch and needlepoint. It is just so much easier to see the holes outside(my older brother assures me that this is a sign of age). I like to get up early, have breakfast with my hubby before he leaves for work and then sit out side ALONE until my guys get up and my real day starts.


Right now I am working on a small canvas that will fit to the front of a tote bag I picked up last fall.

There are, of course, lots of things on my needles, but my front burner project is this shawlette from Knitting Daily.

This is for a friend of mine whose husband is ill and not expected to survive. She has a wonderful family standing by her and I wanted her to feel loved (and hugged) by her friends as well. I must say that knitting for D keeps my life in perspective. Hubby, boys and I are all in good health. My mom is ailing but, God willing, will be with us for a while yet. We are so blessed.

Okay, anyone out there who knows me in the real world, knows that I LOVE expensive bags. Having said that, I want to show you a picture of my current favorite knitting bag. Usually, I carry a handbag and a knitting tote. If I want to take knitting in my handbag, I just switch to a bigger bag and throw in a couple of socks (I knit both socks at the same time). However, with my mother's hospital an hour+ away, the long walk from parking to her room, my ankle and back slowly on the mend, and my goal to finish D's shawl before I leave for vacation, I found myself wishing for a bag that would hold a bigger project, function as my handbag, and not weigh a ton.

I picked this bag up at Target of all places. The color and style fit my summer look. The the front pocket fits my wallet, phone, headset, sunglasses and keys. An inside zip pocket holds my meds and Palm. That leaves the main part of the bag for my knitting with nothing else floating around in there to catch on the yarn. Right now it is home to 6 hanks of Rowan Tweed, the shawlette in progress and a washcloth in progress (for my little one when he complains of boredom). There is room for more. In the past two days this bag has been shopping, the hospital, my mom's, and the movies (Evan Almighty was a blast). I highly recommend it.

Today, with the last of my birthday gift certs, I ordered Stephanie Pearl-McFee's "Casts-off" and "At Knit's End". I had been listening to "Master and Commander" while knitting but am enjoying it less than I had hoped. I ordered "The Golden Compass" from the library but there is a wait. I love to listen while I knit.

Last weekend we saw an IMAX movie about mummies. In it they talked about the ancient Egyptian idea of heaven as a place akin to your most beautiful day while alive. It made me wonder what my heaven would look like. Right now, my sons are playing nicely together, hubby is swimming in the pool and I am relaxing in our living room. We are healthy, happy and at peace. This moment would not make a bad heaven.

21 MAY 2007

Where o where have you been...

Once again, no good excuse for not blogging for so long. I went to see Lady McPhee (aka The Yarn Harlot) in NYC a couple of months ago. She says she blogs every day. She is a better man than I. She was also absolutely wonderful and totally worth the trip.

This will be a long post as I am going to try to catch you up. I must warn you now, although there is knitting content, there are almost no knitting pictures. I have been working on a bunch of samples for Michaels and foolishly let them be hung in the store before I took pictures of them.

Here goes...

FEBRUARY:

The high point of my February was my anniversery, when not only did I get lovely presents from my hubby but...we picked up my new car. I am now the very proud owner of a Saturn Vue Hybrid. This is my third Saturn but my first Hybrid. I have to say that I love this car. Our kids are growing and were starting to gripe about the lack of leg room in the back seat of my L200. This way, I am comfortable, the boys are comfortable, and I get to feel like a good global citizen.


For our little one's birthday, we took him to our local aquarium. He just loves this place and we do visit often. His favorite part are the hippos. We always head here first. Here I can sit and knit while the kids have a nice long look.

March:

Yet another trip to the aquarium. Only this time it was Button's birthday (Button is a hippo). Hubby was working, my oldest was away for the weekend, so it was just my little one and me. It was a lovely day. The highlight of our day was when we found out tha Mike Rowe had filmed an episode of Dirty Jobs there. We were able to watch the whole segment, as he cleaned out the hippo poop (a very dirty job). This is a picture of my favorite cartoon on their wall. Yes, it is true, I have a dark sense of humour.On the way home, we stopped for dinner and were treated to this sign in the window. Seems like these folks were a bit confused.

Towards the end of the month, we were able to spend a couple of days in Annapolis. We really love this town. It started out being a stop over when we go to MDSW but now we spend time there whenever we are in the area. My hubby spent the first 6 years of his life in this area and it makes him feel connected to spend time here. The boys and I love it too so it is a good fit for family time.

April:

For Spring break we spent a week with my best friend in Charlotte, NC. On the way down, we stopped to see New Market Battlefield. It was chilly so I stayed in the visitor's center while he walked around outside. He was kind enough to take this picture of a spinning wheel in one of the homes.


Okay, I am not a NASCAR fan but I have to say that I get a total kick out of visiting the Lowes Speedway when we are in town. My favorite part is when we go around the turns fast. I was thinking that I would love a ride-along for my birthday. You get to ride in a real race car and they go really, really fast.


Certainly no dog could possible be as cute as our Jack, but I have to say that Muffin comes pretty close. While we were visiting, she liked to jump up on the back of the couch and lick my hubby's ear. It was a hoot to watch.



Latta Plantation was really nice. We have passed the sign lots of times while visiting Charlotte but this is the first time we actually stopped in. There were lots of fiber things to look at, sheep, spinning wheels, and a really cool loom. This drawstring bag caught my eye. I am going to try to reproduce it.



Towards the end of April the weather actually got nice enough to go the beach. I spent hours sitting and knitting in the sand. Little bit built castles while hubby went walking. He took this picture. Isn't it gorgeous? The man has a really good eye.

May:


Yea! It is that time of year again. Off we went for MDSW. We spent Friday in Annapolis. The first weeekend of May is CrabFest. There is always a lot going on. We make sure to hit Buddy's at least once for their seafood buffet. The thing that really caught my eye was an Army recruiting booth right outside of the Naval academy.


Then, yes, yes, yes....It was time to go to the fairgrounds for MDSW. As usual we had a blast. You should have seen the line for Socks That Rock. It was astounding! I scored a new loom as well as some yarn, needles, and patterns. For the first time I went with a budget in cash. To no one's shock more than mine. I left with enough money to stop back in Annapolis on Sunday to pick up a Claire Murrey needlepoint kit.



Check out this gorgious flower. It is just a sample of what is growing in our backyard. Hubby is a gardener in the family but I am a commited admirer. Thanks to him our yarn screams spring.



Why, you may ask, do I suddenly have time for this nice long post? If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this one should tell a big part of the story. I swear, I did not do anything goofy. I was just shopping, had not even bought anything yet, when my heal started to hurt. By the time we (the kids and I) made it back to the car, I was in pain all the way up the back of my leg and two of my toes were numb. Come the next morning, I was still swollen and in pain so hubby insisted on taking me to the ER. Turns out that I injured my achiles tendon. I have been trying to catch up on computer stuff while I am laid out. I organized my pictures for the last three years, sorted my bookmarks, and now I am trying to catch up on my blogs. Between books and typing, I am working on two baby blankets, one for a pregnant friend and one for Afghans for Afghans. Next on my list is the invisibility shawl from Charmed Knits. I am going to work it with foggy grey hemp. I have not knit with hemp yet but have heard it is a lot like linen, which I love.

21 JANUARY 2007

Freedom Writers

I just got home from the movies and had to blog right away. We took our boys (10 & 14) to see Freedom Writers. Wow, what an amazing movie. It was just awesome! It is the story of a young teacher who goes into an inner-city LA school to teach English to the "dumb" kids, who just happen to be Black, Hispanic, & Cambodian. She is appalled at the warehousing quaility of what is expected of her and sets out to do better for them. The results are a joy to see. Perhaps the most important thing she teaches them is to want more and to be willing to work for it. I was so rivited that I did not even knit. If you can, go see this movie and bring you kids (tweens & teens?). There is a something here for all of you.

As for knitting, I finally finished my socks and a bunny dress. The socks are made using Lornas Laces on #1 needles. My pattern of choice is Lisa Knits Basic Toe-up Sock pattern. The bunny dress is for a 15" bunny that I picked up at Michaels. I gave the dressed-up bunny to one of my older son's teachers. Her little girl is seriously ill and I want Mom to know that we are thinking of them. I knit the dress on the fly but wrote it up as I went. Eventually, you will find the pattern for the dress (for free) on my design blog at www.comfortknits.blogspot.com.


I am currently working on yet another dog sweater. So far I have knit two for my dog, Jack (can you believe I have a dog that likes to wear sweaters? Talk about a Knitter's Dream!), and one for a toy dog to use as a sample at work. Now I am doing one for my best friend's dog, Muffin. The pattern is from "Stylish Knits for Dogs".


The knitting lessons at Michaels are going very well. I am having no trouble at all filling my two scheduled classes a week, plus I have set up a couple of private lessons for people who prefer a closed group. I am just so happy to be doing this.

04 JANUARY 2007

Let's try this again...

I spent the better part of an hour this morning putting together the perfect blog post. Then I shut down my browser with out publishing it. :-( Sooo..., lets try this again.

Way back at Thanksgiving, I decided to cut down my UFO's. I took them all out and made what I hope was a realistic assesment of what I would actually finish and what was destined to languish. Some were put aside for summer knitting, some were ripped back, rewound, and the yarn put back in my stash, and a few were pegged for completion before the new year.

How did that go? Not perfectly, but not too badly either. As told in my last post, I cut Jack's hair myself to save money (to buy yarn). As you can see, my efforts brought the poor thing to a bad end. Just to put some minds at rest, he was not hurt in anyway, no nicks or cuts or anything like that. He just looks butt-ugly (excuse the pun).

This brings us to my first finished object. A coat for Jack. Not only does he look cute as a button but it covers his (my?) shame and he seems to love it. He is a snuggly dog and I think it is the warmth of the wool that is making him happy.

Next on my list was the Mystery Pi from the EZ list. Although it is lovely to look at, it did not come out as big as one might hope. The suggested needle size was a 9. I used a 5. Did I know that this would make it smaller? Yes, I did, but I figured I would just put on a deeper border and block aggressively. Once off the needles, it became obvious that no amount of blocking was going to save the day. As for a border, it would have had to have been deeper than the main piece. So, this is what I have decided to do. I am going to try and find a decorative hoop that I can attach this to, there-by creating a wall hanging that looks lovely and, I hope, intentional.Okay, finished Jack's sweater and saved the Mystery Pi, what's next? Socks! I started these toe-up babies last spring while in VA for spring break. I would like to say that I finished them before New Years but it is not so. They are ready for the top ribbing, so they are very close. The only picture I had were these, taken on a family hike last fall.

In addition to the above I managed to finish a couple of Xmas scarves and two store samples before the ball dropped on New Years Eve. All thing considered, I am please with my progress.

Now for one more FO. Check out this hat. It was knit by a friend who I taught to knit just a month ago. Is she good or what?
Now that the New Year is here I am looking forward to starting some new projects. These include two sweaters, a shawl, a scarf, another coat for Jack, and, of course, socks.

25 DECEMBER 2006

Merry Everything!


My sons refer to this time of year as ChrismaHanuKwanzaDon. Whatever you are celebrating, may you be safe, loved, loving & happy.

For us, the busy part of the holiday is over. Here things are pretty quiet just about now. My older sonl eft for his dad's this morning. Our little one is upstairs showering and my hubby is watching football and folding clothes (Yes, he does laundry! Is that cool or what?).

We had our big celebration yesterday. We got up early, opened all but Santa presents, and had a big family meal. Today, we got up even earlier, opened Santa presents, and had a special breakfast. Once the ex came and left with my biggest baby, hubby, our youngest and I spent the day watching Christmas movies, playing with new toys, and eating leftovers. My older guy prefers this schedule so that he can spend a relaxing Christmas at home before heading over to his dad's for a relaxing Xmas there.

The guys all loved their presents. We felt like we were less indulgent this year than in years past but they did not seem to notice. Even so, we all made out like a bandits. My favorite present is a gorgeous Scrabble set.

To me lots of TV means lots of knitting. I finished a scarf that I will us as a sample at Michaels and am hoping to get the heels done on a pair of socks. That way I can throw them in my handbag and get the legs done tomorrow night (we have hockey tickets). Also done and in use is a sweater for Jack. I cut his hair myself so that I could use the grooming budget for yarn. The yarn is gorgeous. The dog looks silly and has a cold spot. Hence, the need for the sweater.

In additon to teaching at Michaels, I have been teaching a couple of friends to knit. One is slogging through. She is determined but I am not even sure she likes it, yet. The other, is off and running. In the month or so since I first taught her to cast on and knit, she has finished three scarves and a hat. Not bad for a beginner who works full time and has two small children. I knew I had created a monster when she I took her to her first "real" yarn shop and she bought needles she did not need so that she could start a project on the train on the way home. I am so proud.

My little one is sick so any plans I had to go out this coming week are a thing of the past. My new plan for this week is to clean up and organize my home office. My desk has become the catch all for whatever I do not know what to do with in the moment. There are also, three rubbermaid bins of yarn that have not been entered in my inventory or put away in the relevent cubby. Assuming I do as planned, I wanted to start the new year neat and organized. Wish me luck.

30 NOVEMBER 2006

Not in a million years.....


First I want to thank everyone for the kind wishes and good advice regarding my teaching at Michaels (see my last post). Yes, it is true that there was one very nasty comment, but that kind of thing is easily ignored when it comes in a sea of kindness.

So, you would never believe how that whole thing played out. After giving the matter some thought, I decided to resign from Michaels. I wrote what I think was a killer resignation letter and brought it to my supervisor on Tuesday. I left on very good terms, and was clear in my desire to return should the situation with the other instructor change. Then, on Wednesday afternoon, my supervisor called to tell me that the other instructor resigned and ask me to come back as her primary knitting instructor. Of course, I said "YES". For the life of me, I never expected to win this one. I am pleased.


I have been a busy knitter lately. I blew through the Dr. Who scarf (aka Joel's Scarf) from The Knit Stitch. I made it 1/3 shorter than the original. That is my 14yo son modeling it at the top of this post. Also good to go, is a shawl that the threw together myself. I have to say that I am pleased with the result. It is extra wide but not extra long. The rounded bottom is exactly what I was going for. Thanx to my friend Robyn for taking the shawl pictures.

Right now, I am busy, busy knitting for the troops. I have finished two of three promised scarves for one orginazation and am working on two of three promised to another. My 9yo is plugging away at one for the Marines.

Last night we took the boys to see Deja Vu. It was just great, lots of action and a terrific story.

Oh, it is time to call my LYS. I have been dreaming of a blue green yarn that I saw there last week and was planning on running over to pick it up today but the boys are home sick so hubby is going to save my sanity by bringing me home my yarn. I am a lucky lady.

11 NOVEMBER 2006

My bad...


Do you know what is really ironic? I have little patience for bloggers who do not post regularly. It is not lost on me that my own posting is sporadic at best. My bad.

Prepare for a rant. My knickers are in a total twist. I have been teaching crochet at my local Michaels and really loving it. My classes have been poorly attended but Michaels encourages their instructors to teach if even one person signs up. I actually like teaching one on one, so this really works for me. This is an especially nice store with especially nice people. My boss hugs me almost every time she sees me. I love it! What then has me in a snit? One of the other instructors is really hostile to me. Because she has been teaching there for five years and has a much bigger following than I do (so far), she gets away with it.

Here is how the situation has played out so far. I was interviewed to teach knitting, crochet, & needlepoint. I was hired and told that they were primarily interested in daytime crochet & needlepoint lessons. I asked if I might teach some knitting classes when the usual instructor was on vacation and was told that, that would work out well because she goes away for a month or two at a time. So far, so good. I have been doing a little teaching, a lot of demos, and having a ball. Instructors are responsible for promoting theirselves, so I made myself a couple of really nice signs for the front of the store. Before attaching the center banner to the sign, I asked my boss if it should say knitting, crochet & needlepoint, or crochet & needlepoint. She said to include knitting, so I attached those banners and she hung my signs. The following week, when I went in to do a demo, knitting was crossed off of my sign. When I inquired, my boss told me that the other knitting intructor had objected to my advertising myself as a knitting instructor. I pointed out that I was not trying to take over her class schedule or even teach while she was in town. My boss assured me that I had done nothing wrong and that this was all about the other woman feeling threatened. When I asked if I should change my flyers too, she said that I should leave them as is. Then she asked me if I would be the knitting Yarn Doctor at an upcoming store event. I said yes, did the Yarn Doctor thing, and thought everything was fine. Last week the other instructor came in while I was doing a demo. She thought that she was scheduled for that time slot but checked and realized that she had gotten the week wrong. I took this opportunity to invite her to sit with me for a while. (I really, really like my boss and it would be a lot easier on her if we got along). She sat with me for the better part of an hour. We talked about our knitting pasts, what classes we had taken, and out plans for future classes. She made a point of asking about my display and admiring the color selection that I had chosen of my Dr. Who scarf. I told her that I had heard that she was uncomfortable with my knitting and assured her that I was not trying to step on her toes or take anything that was hers. She assured me that I had misunderstood, that she had no problem with my teaching when she was on vacation, and that she was not at all threatened. She also told me that she would not be taking anymore vacations, ever. Thus, the events of this Friday did not come as a total surprise. This Friday, my flyers where gone, the other instructor's were out, the name of my December classes (a series of general stitiching get togethers) were changed to crochet get togethers. I was told that I could not use the word knitting in any of my signs, flyers or handouts and that I could not have any knited samples at my demos (even though I crochet at these demos). After I left the store last week, the other instructor, went to my boss and threatened to quit if I had anything at all to do with knitting. I am to refer anyone interested in knitting to her. Well, I am just furiuos. I have tried to be careful of this other woman's feelings, and made a particular point not to even imply any kind of competition. I had also been careful to get my boss' okay before putting out signs, and advertising classes. I really feel like I have done everything right, including being unfailingly nice, not to mention pitching in on a Sunday when the other instructor could not do the yarn doctor thing. Now, all I feel is harrased. The good/bad thing is that my boss agrees with me but says she has to do what the other instructor wants or she will quit. Shouldn't being the nicer person bring better results that this? Don't worry, I am really do know that the world rarely works that way.

In a fit of pique, I applied as a knitting instructor else where and I am already giving private lessons that I really enjoy. My hubby thinks I should quit Michaels because the stress is not worth it. I am considering it but I really do like working there when things are going well.

If you have read this far, thank you for listening. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

03 OCTOBER 2006

Home again....

So, what do you think. I designed this Crochet Sampler Tote for one of my classes at Michael's. This is my first original crochet design.

We made it home from Florida in one piece. The kids have settled into their new school year and my days are, once again, my own (well, mostly).

My teaching at Michaels has been a mixed success. Only one person signed up for my first class and she cancelled the night before (sick child). On the other hand, I am having so much fun doing demos and preparing for the, as yet, unattended classes. I have been crocheting up a storm. As you know, knitting is really my thing, so I do not have much crochet stuff around. When I do crochet, it is usually a gift or the edging on a knitted item. I soooo want to teach knitting too, but but another lady already has that locked up (at two Michaels and our AC Moore).


I did get my wish in a way, I am teaching my book group to knit. These are three women have become dear friends to me and I am so thrilled that they want to knit with me. The first lesson went okay. Two of them picked it right up and are moving right along on their own. One of them, the one I am closest to, is struggling. This is the first time I have taught someone to knit who has not gotten it. It may be because she is left handed and I am not. I do not know, but I feel like I am letting her down by not being able to come up with a way to make this fun and easy for her. My supervisor at Michael's says I should give up and teach her to crochet.

I had to pick my youngest son up at school today. He got stung by a bee. I am allergic to stings so the nurse wanted him to be watched closely. He is breathing fine which is the best thing. However, even with topical treatment and Motrin, his finger is still swollen and painful. Poor baby :-(


30 AUGUST 2006

R &R

Can you say Rest & Relaxation? We are having a wonderful beach vacation.

We arrived in FL on Saturday, spent one night at my brother's and then, on Sunday, we moved into our beach house. The house is lovely with a bedroom for each of the boys and a big master suite for us. We are already talking about renting the same house again next year.


Each morning we walk out to the beach to see the sunrise and collect sea shells. Wow! but the sunrise is gorgeous down here. Hubby says the incomeing storm (Ernesto) is what makes the clouds so spectacular. We are not too worried about the storm. It seems to be dying down pretty nicely. Hopefully, that pattten will continue and we will be spared anything dangerous.

Hubby and boys walk further than I do on the beach (I hurt my back just before we left home). So, when I start to hurt, I just sit and crochet
until they come back for me.


I have been working on a crochet blanket to use as a class sample when I start teaching in Sept. Although, I am proficiant at both, I knit more than I crochet and do not have anything but a much washed poncho and washcloths on hand.
I will finish this blanket and then I have an idea for a sampler tote that I want to work on.



Anyway, back to the beach. Again, thanks to Ernesto, we are finding the coolest stuff on the beach. I already have enough shells to fill three promised decorative jars. Check out this sting ray that my teenager found yesterday morning.




There are lizards everywhere down here. I make sure to make a lot of noise as I exit the house so that the little buggers will scatter before I step foot on the path through the garden. They are cute and all but I would rather one did not run over my foot or fall on my head (yes, that did happen to me once). This picture was taken on a park bench in the historic section of Fernandina Beach where we indulged in some serious shopping including a stop in at my favorite FL LYS, The Classy Needle.




We have been trying to get in all the fun outdoors stuff before the rain starts. With that in mind, we went out last night to play miniature golf. The place was so pretty. There were waterfalls every where even in the party room next to the rest rooms. It was, of course, awfully hot, but we cooled off by ducking our heads under one of the waterfalls. Our littlest one can get very stressed if he thinks he is not keeping up. So, we tried not keeping score at all and that seemed to make it a lot more fun for him. He actually made par on several of the holes




This morning we went to the Jacksonville Zoo.
This is a really nice smallish zoo. It is very well kept with a really nice assortment of animals. We really lucked out in that a baby giraffe was born just yesterday. The mum was keeping her away from the action so all of our pictures were just too far away. However, this big guy came right up to us. This made my littlest one's day as the giraffe is his lucky animal. I swear, if we had had any giraffe food in our pockets, we could have fed this guy. He was that close.


Well, that is our vacation news for now. We will be here for the rest of the week. Tomorrow, we will do more sight seeing. Friday and Saturday are already promised to family and friends.

19 AUGUST 2006

One down, a zillion to go...

A drop in the UFO bucket, I know, but I have finished my Pinwheel Sweater. I love it. It is big and drapey. I am so happy that I finished it in time for vacation. The original pattern (www.elann.com) called for color changes every 18 rows. While this looked lovely on the model, I could not bring myself to walk around with a target on my back. For me, the single color is more flattering. The pattern called for a heavy worsted wool but I used Mission Falls 1824 cotton. As I said, I am thrilled with the results.

Guess what? Assuming the background checks come back fine (and why should they not?), I am going to be teaching knitting, crochet and needlepoint at my local Michaels. Okay, so my taste in yarn is more Rowan/Debbie Bliss than Lion Brand, but I kind of like the idea of coming up with ideas for works of art on a budget.

Obviously, I have been working on the Pinwheel Sweater a lot. I have also been working on my three different Pi Shawls and the log cabin blanket.

I recieved an email recently from someone wanting to know how big my plans for the log cabin are and what yarn I am using. I was unable to reply via email, so here is the requested info.

I am planing to make the blanket roughly twin size. It has to be big enough to cover two or three people (and a dog), lounging together on our new couch, with out anyone complaining of cold toes or bottoms. If twin size is not big enough, I will just keep going to a double size.


I am using Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. This is my absolutely favorite "basic" yarn. So, I have tons of single balls and leftovers. I have what I estimate I will need in a basket but recently found another bag of single balls when I was rearranging my office space.

For now, I am putting my current UFO's to the side. I want to knit a shawl and scarf, and crochet a shawl and tote bag as class samples. I think I can get most of it done while on vacation. Wish me luck.

20 JULY 2006

CTS strikes again...

The title says it all. I was struck once again with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. We have been cleaning and rearranging our basement and I guess I did too much because my shoulder, arm, wrist, hand, gave out on me. I could not mouse, type, knit, or do Sudoku. I even had trouble holding a fork to eat. I have spend days cuddling with Jack (see pic) and my kids. Not too bad, when you think about it. Today is much better. I was able to knit a bit and am able to type, too.

The basement is coming along wonderfully. All of the big pieces are in place, giving me a corner all my own (one for hubby and one for the kids, too). I have one whole wall that is nothing but yarn, needlepoint and scrapbooking stuff. I love it. Family life is a hoot but sometimes I need a quiet place to retreat to.

Here is a picture of my stash before, cleaning & finishing of basement. Other than a nicer background, it has not changed much. There is however a whole years worth of yarn purchases that I have not cataloged or put up with the rest. Once that is done. I want to sort through said stash and pass on what ever I am not going to use. I find that my tastes have changed in yarn. I used to love heavy funky stuff. Now I am wild for finer gauge knitting. Lace and fingering wt. are my favorites. I am going to be teaching my book group to knit. Maybe some of them will find something they like amoung the heavier stuff.

I do not have much knitting progress to report. I have been reading like crazy while my hand has been out of commision. Do you like romantic suspense? Try Kay Hooper's books. She is a recent discovery for me. I blew through six of them in two weeks before I started having nightmares about serial killers and moved on to sweeter books. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed "The Devil Wears Prada" (funny, especially if you have ever worked in NYC), "The Nanny Diaries" (a good read but sad), Light From Heaven (warm, sweet, comforting. Jan Karon is a gift) and am now in the middle of Sins & Needles (so far, so good). While working in the basement we listened to "Savanah Breeze" by Mary Kay Andrews (absolutely hilarious as all of her books are).

That is it for me. Hopefully, I will have more knitting to report in my next post.

27 JUNE 2006

Knitting Like Crazy


Have any of you ever seen that Staples commercial where the Dad is happily dancing through the store buying his children's back to school supplies, while in the back ground is playing "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"?

Yes, it is that time of year again. The boys are home for the summer. Usually we spend most of the summer traveling but this year we are mostly staying home. It could be a very long summer.

Still, on the up side, I have had lots of knitting time (and lots of sanity preserving knitting need). Look up and you will see the latest picture of my Log Cabin Blanket. I LOVE this pattern. It just wants to keep going.

Do you remember my post about the peach shawl I was knitting in a dream? Well, here is my waking version. Pi is new to me but I have to say that I really enjoy this. I have three Pi shawls currently on the needles. This is such a cool pattern/concept. I do not think I really appreciated Elizabeth Zimmerman until now. I only had her Knitter's Almanac and that was a gift. But this pattern has lead me to her other books and other knitting methods and I am really impressed. I picked up Knitting With Out Tears and have added her other books and a video to my wish list.

I am a member of the EZ Pi email list. The current KAL is the Pinwheel Sweater from Elann.

I know this is an awful picture (I just could not get a good one), but check it out. This is basically how the whole sweater goes with sleeves slipped in midway through. Again, a joy to knit and it is going so fast. I started it on Thursday and am already at the sleeves. I think I am mostly a process knitter but this time, I am going for the product. I can not wait to wear this. The pattern actually calls for color changes every so many rows but I was not comfortable with a bulls-eye on my back. Besides, I find a nice ivory cardigan can not be worn enough.

So, besides knitting, what am I doing with my summer? So far, watching movies and/or playing games with the boys and taking the dog to the park. We have a pool but do not use it until later in the day. My 9yo and hubby burn badly at the least provication. We may or may not go away at the end of the summer. Idealy, I would like to find a place to go that is fun, affordable and has no cell service. On a whim, I gave my 13yo the task of researching just such a vacation location. I wonder what he will come up with.

09 JUNE 2006

Mason Dixon Knitting

Have you gotten a chance to look at this book yet? It really is a not to be missed item. This is one of the most enjoyable knitting books I have bought in a long time. The non-pattern writting is fun and funny. These two sound eirily like me and my friends. Reading their book led me to read their blog. I have laughed myself silly.


The patterns are for very do-able things and are written in an easy to follow manner. I have already cast on and finished a couple of their washcloths. I got bored with washcloths a while ago. But this hexaagonal outside in model is different, pretty and comes together like magic.

There is a gorgeous multi-colored cotton shawl that is already in the works. Unfortunately, I have not taken any pictures yet.




It never occured to me to knit a "quilt" but I was so taken with the Log Cabin Quilt in this book that I am already on my way. I have almost enough left over balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (only my favorite basic yarn) to finish this baby. If my calculations are correct, I am only 8 balls short.

A Knitter's Dream

Okay, so this one really is about a knitter's dream, mine. Last night I dreamed that I was knitting a peach colored shawl while visiting Ringwood State Park (NJ). I have not been to this place since I was a kid but it felt good to "be there" again, quiet and peaceful. If my kids did not have the plague, maybe we could make it up there this weekend.




So guess what I did this morning? I found some Marks & Kattens Primula in my stash and cast on a peach colored Pi shawl, just like in my dream. The fact that I have two other Pi's on the needles or that I just started a Log Cabin blanket yesterday, did not slow me down a bit. I think I am going cabin crazy.

This is what happened when I got home from NC two weeks ago. My luggage went to Nashville for several days. Luckily it, along with those two Pi shawls, and all of my purchases from the Stitch (see two posts down) eventually made it home to me. I swear, my luggage is better traveled than I am.

I got home Monday afternoon. That night my teenage son came to tell me that his stomach was itchy. Can you say Chicken Pox? It turns out that even kids who have had the vaccine can get it, especially if more than 10 years have elapsed. His case was atypical and fairly mild, so we actually had a good time home together. Still, by Sunday night, I was looking forward to being on my own again come Monday morning. Have I mentioned that I have two children? You guessed it, late Sunday night our youngest son was itchy and scratchy. He too had the vaccine and thus had a mild case. My guys are really good company, and I got lots much appreciated knitting time. However, I think that if I do not get out with a grownup soon, I may scream :-)

28 MAY 2006

The Da Vinci Code


Before leaving for NC, my family and I went to see The Da Vinci Code. It was great. If you liked National Treasure and/or Sahara, you will love this movie. It was a gripping, fast moving, really fun, treasure hunt. My only caveat is that parts were a bit darker than I like to see in a PG-13 movie. I am giving nothing in the story away by telling those who have not read or seen it that Silas is a self-flagulating member of Opus Die. Well, this is shown in more detail than I was comfortable seeing with my sons (while Paul Bettany's tush was a treat to behold, I would rather not behold it while sitting next to my sons).

As for the controversy, it just makes me want to scream. This is FICTION! Do we really need to be reminded of that and of what that means. I am very familiar with the Magdelane heresy on which the story is based. There are some very good non-fiction books on the subject. The Da Vinci Code is not one of them. The Da Vinci Code is fiction (fun, a great read, can't put it down, fiction).

Did you know that the original meaning of the words herasy and heratic were thoughts and thinker? Did you know that the original definition of the word heathen is someone who chooses to stay close to hearth and home? Who would not be proud to be a thinking person who loves to spend time snuggled up at home with their family? Little did I know that all those times when my grandma called us little heathens, we would grow up to be happily just that.

Knitting in Charlotte

Well, I did it. I ran away from home. I am in Charlotte, NC (sans hubby & kids) visiting my best friend. You know who your friends are when they do not knit, but are happy to find cool LYS just because you do. Yesteday, on the recommendation of a lovely stranger we met in an x-stitch shop, we went looking for and found "Stitch".

Wow, this was a really nice shop. There was yarn galore, including Rowan, a personal favorite of mine, Unique Colours and Blue Skys. The owner and staff were knowledgeable and very friendly. Although the shop was incredibly well stocked, there was still lots of room to sit comfortably and knit. One look around the place and I was wishing I could put the place in my pocket and take it home with me.

Along with a Zelda bag, some needles and key chains for my kids, I bought four hanks of a gorgeous deep rose colored Euroflax spt. wt. linen to make a Feather and Fan shawl. The very nice woman who was helping me, wound all four hanks into balls so that I was able to start my new project (we all know how badly I need one of those) while sitting on the porch last night watching the hummingbirds.

I can not say enough good things about this shop. If you find yourself in this neck of the woods, give yourself a treat and check this place out.

21 MAY 2006

MDS&W

Hey,

Did you think I had gotten lost in MD? W e made it there and back with only the usual (for us) mishaps. We hit MD on Thursday night. Friday was our Annapolis/crab day. We walked and shopped and ate crab at our favorite restaurant (Buddy's).


Our youngest was not feeling well but held up well. Unfortunatley by the time we hit the MDS&W show on Saturday both of the boys were suffering with asthma/allergies. This made them less than their usual good troopers. Hubby ended up sitting with them by the sheep dog demo most of the day.

Despite the drama, I had a good time. I came home with lots of spinnable fiber and even some yarn. My big purchase of the day was a Chakra wheel. I am a big Gandhi fan and have been intrigued by this wheel for some time.

We made a second trip to the fair on Sunday. It was way less hot and crowded which was great. The boys were feeling better and so were in a much better mood. This gave hubby the freedom to do some shopping and insured that I LOVED all of my Mother's Day gifts. The only down side was that there was less product to be had. Some things were sold out in the Saturday crowds.

As for knitting, check out my progress on the Mystery Pi. I am only mid-way through Clue 3, which puts me behind (clue 5 came out yesterday). I am making an effort to be much more deliberate and am making way less mistakes. Focus is an issue for me right now, life has got my knickers in a twist.

03 MAY 2006

I'm too excited to sleep...

It is that time of year again. We are off to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Show! We make a long weekend of it every year, visiting Annapolis, etc. while we are there. Hubby was born in that part of the world so he gets a kick out of visiting. The boys love the festival, Annapolis and our habit of eating MD crab as often as humanly possible.

As for the Mystery Pi, I did get up at 3am on Friday morning to download the 3rd set of clues but have not gotten very far working them. Today is my designated day off so hopefully I will move further along on that.

Well, I am off to pack and clean house, followed by knitting and a girl movie. I will post(complete with pictures) when we get back.

27 APRIL 2006

Still here....

You didn't think I forgot you, did you? I am still here knitting away.

My mother was released from the hospital last Thursday but was re-admitted during the wee hours of Friday morning. They sent her home again yesterday. She does seem much more herself. Thank you to all who sent their prayers and good wishes.

What, you may ask, have I been knitting during this trying time? Well, I will tell you. On Fridays (and Saturdays too if I have made enough mistakes), I have been working on the EZPi Mystery KAL .
I have finished the 2nd clue and am now waiting with baited breath for the 3rd one. I felt guilty for choosing the easiest clue for the first part, but after choosing the 'C" clue for the second one, I am rethinking that. I really am an experienced and capable knitter but you would not have known that as I struggled through a fairly easy stitch repeat. I think my brain is fried. With that in mind, I have started another Pi.
This one, the simple version. That way I have something mindless and pretty to knit between clues. I love knitting lace. It brings me peace.

I tried to get close up pictures of the stitch markers. I made the red & white ones myself. Came home from the hospital one afternoon in a blue funk. I was planning to make 8 markers for my shawl but got on a roll and made 50! Oddly enough, I felt much better afterward. My hubby says I am always in a better way when I have been creating something (Isn't he sweet?).

The blue and green marker on the simple Pi, was a feel better gift from my 9yo son. He is very sweet, too.

Here is a bit on non-knitting life trivia. My 13yo son has his first girlfriend. It is just too sweet and wild to watch. She is an awful lot of fun but he has already gotten detention once and disallowed from taking the dog for a walk for three weeks (this the effect of their trying to get my very little dog to pull her along on her skates). It sounds like she is trouble but she isn't at all. The real problem is that they are so well matched, both bold and mischevious. Wish us luck.

15 APRIL 2006

We're back...

We're home, again. My mom's surgery went well. They were able to save most of her kidney and she stayed stable the whole time. She is still sore and tired but is doing a zillion time better than she did after her last cancer surgery.

On a happier topic, Have any of you ever kit Elizabeth Zimmer's Pi Shawl. I started one a couple of years ago but got bored, changed the pattern and crocheted the last foot or so. I really do love the result. Other than this one try, I have not done much with fine lace crochet. I have not had good luck with anything lighter than fingering wt.

Imagine, my surprise when I got the sudden urge to conquer lace wt. knitting. I started out on the a Lorna's Laces Easy as Pie Shawl. It took a few tries (and quite a few $'s) to find non-metal circular needles that kept the yarn moving smoothly (I did best with Colonial Needles' Rosewood Circs and Bryspun's plastic (?) circs) but now I am so happy with the process and the product.

With that success in mind, I joined the EZPi list on Yahoo. The women on this list are all knitting or have knit Pi shawls. A mystery shawl knit-a-long began on Friday. Each Friday four patterns will be given for that section of the shawl. You pick the one that appeals to you and off you go. I am having so much fun with this and can not wait for the next clue. I am using Knit Picks Shimmer in Flower Garden. It is so pretty. I can not wait to finish Cindy's baby blanket so that I can focus more of my knitting attention on this.



We are going to spend Easter at the hospital with my mother so I cooked ham, etc, and we had the kid's Easter Egg hunt today. Thinking that I might need a quiet place to crash (it has been a crazy week), my hubby gave me my Easter gift early. See my new lounge chair. Can't you just picture me reading and knitting on this baby? I have already let the kids know that this is mommy's toy. There will be no sharing. On that note, I am off to do just that for what I hope will be a few quiet minutes.

09 APRIL 2006

Guess what?


I am blogging from Williamsburg, VA. We are here for just a few days. The boys have the whole week off but I have to be home by Wednesday for my mother's surgery.

We spent yesterday at Busch Gardens. It was rainy but most of the day was not particularly cold. I was very brave and went on the DarKastle ride and....Apollo's Chariot (see right). This baby was a killer roller coaster. To my hubby and older son's delight, I screamed straight through it. My little one was every bit as terrified as I was. Today, I have no voice. Gee, I wonder why.

Actually, before hitting BG, we/I visited a great yarn shop called The Knitting Sisters. I can be kind of picky, but I have to say, I loved this place. The selection of yarns and needles were great. The owner and employees were very helpful and friendly with out being smothering. Also, all were lovely to my younger son. He knits so they were very impressed with his questions. When he told them that my older son weaves, one of the ladies, who also works at Colonial Williamsburg, told us where to find the weavers. They were kind enough to wind some Helen's Lace for me to take to BG with me. I was that sure that I would not be going on any of the coasters. Ha! famous last words.

Today and tomorrow are reserved for Colonial Williamsburg. I am really looking forward to this. My hubby loves history as much as I do. Hopefully, the boys will like it too. I have not been here in 20 years but do remember my nephew loving it when he was little. In terms of shopping, I am particularly looking forward to hitting a place called Quilts Unlimited. I think my throat would feel way better if I had a new Vera Bradley bag to cheer me up.

Ah, the natives (read that children) are waking. My quiet moment comes to an end.

03 APRIL 2006

Crazy Times....


Wow, things are crazy for me right now. We are leaving for vacation on Friday and my mother is going into the hospital for cancer surgery the day after we get back. Consequently, I may not be blogging for a couple of weeks. Wish us luck.

Until then, however, here are some pictures of things I have been working on.

I finished this shawl Thursday night during Survivor. It is for a friend of mine who recently suffered a loss. I had to put off my visit to her due to my Mom's surgery. I have sent this as a reminder that she is in my thoughts and prayers.







To your right, is a Feather & Fan scarf, using Koigu. I just love this yarn. Everything and anything looks great and it is just sooo soft. The scarf is only half done so it is not blocked yet but I have to say, I am pretty darn pleased with it so far. This scarf is destined for the principle of my youngest son's school. She is such a lovely lady and has taken great care with both of my boys. My little one will be in middle school next year, so this is our last year in her school.

On the crochet front, is a baby blanket for another freind. I could have sworn that I took a picture of this WIP, but now can not find it. Anyway, it is coming along very nicely in sport wt mercerized cotton. The main color is a bright orange. There will be a candy apple green and yellow trim. I know, it sounds hideous but the colors work much better than I thought they would when I let my oldest pick the color scheme.

Have any of you seen the new "Mason Dixon Knitting" book? I love it! My must have right now project is the "Nina Shawl". I will not be able to give it my full attention until the gifts are done, but I did take some time to swatch and cast on.

Well, that's all for me. I'll be back soon.

30 MARCH 2006

A Knitter's Dream


Welcome to the new home of "A Knitter's Dream"


If you are following from my old blog home, thank you.
If not, the following, will give you an idea of what I am about.





  • Knitting Rules!

26 March, 2006 at 6:32 PM EST

I took a break from my power knitting to pick up and read Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's new book "Knitting Rules". I really do love this woman. She is absolutely hysterical. As the title of the book suggests, it is a book of knitting rules but it is also a book about why knitting should and does rule. I particularly like her list of reasons why people do not knit and her assessment of why those reasons do not hold water.

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· KNITTING & MORE KNITTING

25 March, 2006 at 6:26 PM EST

I have had a very knit intensive week. There are two projects that I just have to finish soon.

One is a biased eyelet shawl for a friend who is grieving a loss. I have been scheduled to fly down for a visit twice since the holidays, but have had to cancel both times (once when my little one got sick and now because my Mom is having a kidney removed that week). Two good reasons, I know. But I still feel guilty that I can not be there for her when she needs. I want to send her this shawl as a hug from me. Hopefully, I will be able to give her a real one soon.

The other project is a happier one. A good friend is having her first baby. She is so cute and excited. I can not wait to give her this blanket. She does not want to know the gender (I hate that!) so none of us get to know either. She does not want "traditional baby colors" sooo.... I am crocheting a blanket in bright orange sport wt. mercerized cotton, with a pale green and apricot edging. I know it sounds hideous but it looks really nice. The color choices were my 13yo sons. I was dubious but when he put the calls together, I loved it. Anyway, I want to have it done for the shower, the first weekend in May.

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· MIRACLE IN THE WATER

16 March, 2006 at 7:53 PM EST

I love to read book reviews, so I thought it would be fun to write some.

I will warn you right now that "Miracle in the Water" has nothing to do with knitting or any kind of needlework. But, it is a great read.

It is told by the great nephew of one of the survivors of the City of Benares. CoB was a British passenger ship that was torpedoed at the beginning of WWII. Among the passengers were 90 children being evacuated from the already bomb ravagedBritain to Canada. Their ages ranged from 6 to 16. The torpedo hit during the night, in middle of the North Sea, in September during a punishing storm. Most of the deaths were caused by the elements as eleven of the twelve life boats spent a harrowing day and night awaiting rescue. Due to a mix of circumstances, the passengers in life boat twelve (including six of the evacuee children and the author's great uncle) would not be rescued until the eighth day.

It sounds like a sad story, and ultimately it is tragic. Still, by the time I reached the end of their ordeal, I was so impressed with the strength and courage shown by, not just the adults, but the children as well, that I feel confident in recommending it to even those who must have happy ending.

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· KNITTING IN NO TIME

16 March, 2006 at 7:33 PM EST

I treated my oldest to a mental health day. As we were settled down watching Men In Black and knitting (at least I was), the school nurse called to say that my little one was sick (again). Off I went to pick him up. Upon our return, we found a couple of boxes at the front door.

One was my order from Warm Threads. I have discovered the best circular knitting needles I have used to date. They are rosewood from Colonial Needles. The needles and join are super smooth. The cable that does not coil and is fatter than my others (Addi's, Crystal Palace, various rosewood, ebony, and/or bamboo). These attibutes combine to keep the yarn moving every bit as well as Addi's but with the warmth of wood. They are also obscenely expensive ($40). So I will have to order just a couple of sizes at a time. If you can, give them a try. I do not think you will be disappointed.

What was in the second package? A new book from Crafters Choice, "Knitting in no Time". I have to say, I bought this book sight un-seen, but was not at all disappointed. I will almost certainly make at least five of the projects in this book.
I am especially taken with the Wrist Warmers and the Wrap Jacket. I tried to find a link, so that you'll could take a look but could not find one. Even Amazon lacks anything but a text description. So, if you come across this book in your travels, be sure to give it a look. Maybe it will suit you as well as it does me.

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· QUIRKY NOMADS

13 March, 2006 at 4:12 PM EST

What do you listen to, while you knit? I have always loved to listen to books on tape/cd but have recently discovered podcasts. In a previous post I listed the knitting podcasts, all worth listening to. However, my current favorite is not about knitting. Do your self a favor and give Quirky Nomads (www.quirkynomads.com) a try. Billed as "The story of a family that said: If the Republicans get any worse, we're moving to Canada, and then they really did". I am enthralled by Sage's stories of what she, her husband and son see and hear in Toronto. One of my favorite segments is her re-telling of conversations she overhears on public transportation. Also, she occasionally indulges in political rants that make me want to yell "finally someone who sees what I see". She is funny and wise.

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· KNIT AND CROCHET....

10 March, 2006 at 7:12 PM EST

Yes, I said crochet! What is it with so many knitters that they are so determined to look down on crochet as a lesser craft/art? Okay, yes, I do prefer to knit, but, I also crochet more than the occasional edging. Actually, I crochet almost all of my edgings. But more than that, I crochet shawls, baby blankets, handbags, ponchos, etc. What is more, I have never, ever crocheted a toilet paper holder, air freshner cosy or a doily (Although, if I could figure out what I would do with a doily I would give it a go. They intrigue me). As in my knitting, I prefer sport wt or finer yarns but that is just me.

What got me going on this? Today I bought Debbie Stoller's SnB Crochet: The Happy Hooker. Reading the beginning, go me to thinking that needlework is so under-appreciated. We should really not be judging each other. We should band together and take over the world.

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· IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU WERE SITTING ACROSS FROM YOURSELF...

04 March, 2006 at 8:17 PM EST

"It sounds like you were sitting across from yourself". That is what my best freind said when I told her this story.

My littlest angel needed minor surgery last week (ear tubes, scary but minor). When we got to the hospital, we rode up in the elevator with this young woman. I noticed her right away because, I liked her clothes, and she was carrying a tote bag that I had held the day before while shopping with my mother.

She followed us to the out-patient waiting room and sat down right across from us. Do you know what she pulled out of that very pretty tote bag (that I now wish I had bought when I had the chance)? Why, her knitting of course. She worked on what looked like a cable scarf, for a while, then put her knitting away and whipped out a book by one of my favorite authors (Jodi Piccoult). How weird is that? She dresses like me, carries a tote that, were it not for Lent, I would have, and reads my favorite author. Except that I probably have 15 years on her, she could be me.

Obviously, I got a real kick out of it. And now I really, really want that tote.

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· WHAT'S NEW...

04 March, 2006 at 8:07 PM EST

What is new with all of you? Things here have been pretty quiet. My littlest angel was sick again. That meant two days of TV (Bewitched season 1) and knitting.

I gave my surgeon the scarf that I made him. He showed it off to his resident and nurse. They were duly impressed. He asked good questions too, like, "what is this made of" and "how can I wash it with out ruining it?" I was impressed. When my hubby told him (very earnestly) "you must never, ever put it in the dryer". The doc correctly guessed that this was the voice of experience.

I am still sticking to mostly knit sts. For mindless knitting, I am working on a simple garter stitch scrap shawl. I am too compulsive to actually make it out of scraps, so it is turning out to be more of a random strip (Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino) shawl. My little one gave me a big die, which I toss & double to get the number of stripes each time I change colors. It is coming out surprisingly well.

For those times when I actually want to pay attention to what I am doing, I have been working on a Lorna's Laces Easy Pie Shawl. It is light, easy but not too easy, and ends in a lovely product.

Have you seen the J.Jill spring catalog? I want to make the shrug that is in there. It looks easy enough (are those dangerous words, or what?). I have ordered the blush, cotton/merino blend from KnitPicks. Wish me luck.

Have I mentioned that I am mad for hand and tote bags? Well, I am. After, I went particularly overboard last Tuesday, I decided that I have to cut back a bit. So, for Lent, I have given up buying handbags, etc. I am not Catholic but I read an article on BeliefNet last Sunday that suggested giving up a bad or self-distructive habit for lent rather than the traditional rich foods etc. I loved the idea of becoming a better person as a way of honoring the divine. With that in mind, I have not only given up bags, but also swearing (that is proving a challange). Once again, I must ask you all to wish me luck.

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· STILL KNITTING...

26 February, 2006 at 6:56 PM EST

Despite having to drop out of the official Knitting Olympics, I have been knitting while whatching and I did finish a scarf. Nothing compicated as I am still not purling, but I do have a gift to go. I finished a Shaker Rib scarf in a dark gray baby alpaca. It looks very elegant. It meant as a gift for my surgeon. I am not in the habit of giving my doctors gifts but this guy is special. Aside from the fact that he is very good at what he does, he is unfailingly kind, and alway, always, comments on my knitting. I love the idea that when I see him later this week, I will have this to give him.

Not being able to purl with out pain, does slow things but I am getting into a groove now. I am working on a sort of scrap shawl. I say "sort of" because I am not making it out of scraps. I am using brandy new Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. I was worried that it would be too simple looking in garter stitch but now that I down a few inches, I have to say, I am pleased.

Also, it came it me in a moment of inspiration, that I own a copy of The Knit Stitch. A whole book of knit only patterns. Now, I am good to go.

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· OLYMPIC FEVER

18 February, 2006 at 9:28 PM EST

So, are all of you guys knitting your way through the Olympics? Despite a CTS brace on my right wrist and hand, I have gotten some knitting in. Due to my initial attempts to pretend this was not happening, I ended up not being able to knit at all last Sunday and Monday. By Tuesday, I was giving it a go for 15 minutes out of every hour. That worked for me, so I stuck with it until today. Even now, I have not gone nuts but I did knit all the way through "Nanny McFee" (cute and sweet). The thing is, that I can only knit. If I purl it hurts, so I am lining up a bunch of garted stitch projects.

At the movies, I started a random stripe garter stitch wrap using Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. I had my doubts but once the lights came up, I could see that, simple or not, this is going to look very nice. I am already thinking of edging it in black and adding black pockets. Thus transforming it into a readers wrap.

Did you all enjoy your Valentine's Day. I really enjoyed mine. Our family tradition is that we celebrate with the kids, all of us making presents for each other. I made scarves for the boys in their school colors. "I carry your heart" by EE Cummings caught my interest recently so I based hubby's present on that. I put the poem in a double picture frame across from a picture of the two of us. I also gave hubby and each of the boys an alabaster heart as a reminder that each of them carries my heart as well. Drippy, I know, but it went over very well.

Even with the no knitting issue, this has been a lovely week. My wish for all of you, are weeks that you can look back on and smile. :-)

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· OLYMPIC CONTENDER SIDELINED BY KNITTING RELATED INJURY...

11 February, 2006 at 9:40 AM EST

You know how I was sooo excited about taking part in the Knitting Olympics (see www.YarnHarlot.com for details)? I choose a challenging but do-able pattern. I told all of my friends (even the non-knitters). I kept my calender for Friday clear. I was pumped and ready.

I also ignored the tingling and numbness in my right hand. Then it happened, Monday night, while downloading songs for one of my angels, my wrist got a sharp pain. I knew it was just a kink so I tried to shake it out (very bad idea). The next morning I was in the doctor's office hearing those words knitters hate to hear, Carpal Tunnel Syndrom. I have to wear a brace and..... NO KNITTING FOR TWO WEEKS!

"No knitting?" said I, "that is like telling a drunk they can not have alchohol, a smoker to give up their cigs, I can not go two weeks." I then showed her my lovely hand knitted socks that I made the last time I was in a CTS brace.

"I wouldn't" said she.

I smiled, non-knitters just do not get it. All I had to do was pick a simpler project for the Olympics. Something that only required the knit stitch (I tried to purl but it hurt.) I begged my sons to wind 10 balls of fingering wt merino (I was saving my wrist for important stuff like knitting). Sure casting on those 400 sts hurt, but that is not really knitting, is it? I made it half way through the third row when I was forced to admit defeat. My knitting was slow, slopping and painfull. This is just not going to happen. I am blue :-(

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· LOOK WHAT I FOUND...

05 February, 2006 at 8:06 AM EST

Okay, maybe I am behind the crowd, but, I have just discovered knitting podcasts. Wow, these are so much fun. It is like listening to a knitting mag while you knit. I love it. So far my favorite is Marie Irshad's KnitCast. This one is by far the most professional. However, all of them have been worth listening to.

I started listening to on my laptop, too good, too long (I downloaded not only the most recent by all of the archived editions), my neck hurt. From there I remembered the little MP3 player my hubby got as a freebie from a vender at Xmas. That worked like gangbusters. I loved being able to listen to fun stuff while cooking, etc. The really cool side benifit of all of this is that my hubby (have I mentioned that he is a really good guy) saw me enjoying myself and bought me a video iPod for our anniversary. Does anyone know of any knitting related video web casts?

Here are a list of the ones that I have downloaded so far:

    • Knitting News Cast
    • Cast -On
    • Fibercast
    • KnitCast
    • About-Time

There is one more that I have not tackled yet. Secret Knitting is a cool concept. Have you every engaged in a mystery knitting project online or with your knitting group? This is where you are given k nitting directions to follow. You follow them blindly and when you are done you have a sock, scarf,or whatever.

Give it a shot, and let me know what you think.

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· YARN CRAWL

31 January, 2006 at 6:49 PM EST

Just recently, I have had the pleasure of visiting two yarn shops that were new for me. I love visiting new shops. As much as I like having several very nice shops locally, I do get bored, and it is nice ot see what else is out there.

A couple of Sundays ago, I visited The Wooley Manmouth in Red Bank, NJ. The parking is a bit iffy, but the shop itself is worth the walk. In addition to the usual up scale yarns (ie Rowan), there were quite a few things that I found new and nifty. I was there to take a cable class. When it was time to pick a project to start and take home, I could not make up my mind so I picked two. I left with enough Katia Nordic Print (very pretty, super bulky, variegated, soft wool) for a scarf with a huge cable up the middle. Also, more than enough Prism Athena (cotton/nylon, stretchy, variegated, tubular looking) for a cabled handbag. While I was there, I could not resist picking up two more hanks of Koigu for socks, some needles, and a magazine. The staff was very friendly. The class was well taught. I will be back.

This last Sunday, hubby and kids wanted to go to Phily to see an IMAX movie (Body Works, very yucky and a total blast). Phily sounded good to me, so long as we could run by a yarn shop that I had just heard of (I hit Sophie's and Rosie's from time to time). So on the way home, we stopped off at the LOOP (1923 South St.). Obviously, this was meant to be since we found that most coveted of urban oddity, a parking space. Once again, lots of the usual stuff (Rowan, Debbie Bliss). I left with some DB Cashmerino for a shawl, a couple of Ebony needle (my favorite), and some Alpaca & Silk (Wow! this stuff is absolutely luscious).

So, that is the tale of my latest yarn adventures.

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· GRATITUDE

26 January, 2006 at 7:50 AM EST

I think about being grateful a lot. During a particularly difficult time in my life, I held myself together by, each night, listing 10 things, particular to that day, that I was grateful for. Some nights I had to really scrape the bottom of the barrel. Other nights, I found myself bemused by how grateful I was for little things, i.e. warm covers on a cold night.

With time, insight, and a good shrink, I drove my life in a much better direction. Now that my life is, and has been for some time, a very good thing, I realize that I spend less time being grateful. I am not unaware of how blessed I am to have survived and thrived. I do thank heaven often for the peaceful, safe, home hubby #2 and I have created for our children. However, I am less inclined to take the time to look at the specifics. What in particular is wonderful about today?

With that in mind, I bought a gratitude journal. Each night, I list 5 things that I am grateful for. Again, I try to make them specific to that day. This morning I am grateful that my little one's is feeling well enough for school. I knit with a really nice group of women. The warrenty on my laptop is not over until Friday.

Remember to notice the good things in you day.

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· THE LIES WE TELL OURSELVES

24 January, 2006 at 7:31 AM EST

Have you ever noticed that despite best efforts, we all lie to ourselves? Take me for instance. Yesterday I told myself (and my mother) that my little one would be over his cold and back to school today. "Sure Mom, I would love to go to the movies with you tomorrow". Just me, my mom, Tristan & Isolde, and a load of popcorn. Sound good? Well, don't get comfortable. It is not going to happen. My littlest angel, may as well have a black tongue. Down for the count is my darling. Thank goodness for book group tomorrow night. That will probably be the only time I am allowed out of the house all week.

At least I will have plenty of time to deal with the other lie. The one I have been telling myself for days. "No, self, this ruffle scarf is not too long", "Just keep going, it will be fine". "You certainly do not have to pull it out and start over". Are you all getting the idea here? Once cast off, said ruffle scarf measured out at 120"! Hey, but the yarn is very nice and it looks just the way I hoped it would (at half the length). Well, with lots of down time in the days ahead, I can rip it out and re-do it. I am thinking that the fact that I eventually had to spread the darn thing over one 60" and two 36" needles should have been a hint to how this was going to turn out.

Remember, honesty is the best policy :-)

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· DID YOU MISS ME?

21 January, 2006 at 1:59 PM EST

Yes, I know, it has been a long time. My bad, the idea of keeping a blog is very cool. The reality is that when life gets crazy, it fell by the way side. BUT, I am ready to give it another try.

Since my last post, I have had brain surgery (as minor as this sort of thing can be), and juggled sick kids, difficult relatives and the holidays. Wow, just thiinking about it makes me tired.

I did, however get loads of knitting time (mostly while waiting for doctors or following their orders to rest). I did get all of my Christmas knitting done, including a couple of shawls and two of Harry Potter-type scarves.

Currently on my needles are two lace shawls, a jacket, a crochet shawl (for a sick friend), and a never ending afghan for my brother (originally for Christmas but reassigned as a birthday present).

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· GOOD NIGHT & GOOD LUCK...

23 November, 2005 at 12:45 PM EST

Hubby took yesterday off so that we could finish Xmas shopping for the kids. The weather was horrible so we quickly decided on a plan B. In the AM we had a decadent breakfast out and then headed off to pick up a turkey. Did you know that if you do not pre-order your fresh turkey that there are only big ones left? Last year we had left overs from a 14#'er. Heaven only knows what we will do with 25#'s.
In celebration of having a day to ourselves. We went to see a a "grown-up" movie. We took in "Good Night and Good Luck". This movie tells the tale of Edward R. Murrow's 1950's battle to bring an end to Joe McCarthy's blacklist and the House Un-American Activities Committee's anti-Communist hearings. From the moment the movie began, I was hooked. It was sad, funny, and inspiring. The minute it was over, I wanted to see it again. I have already offered to treat my mother to a showing this weekend. The story itself is fascinating but add to that, that so much of what is said and done, on both sides, is incredibly relevant to the times we are living in now. I was blown away. In fact, I was so engaged that...(are you sitting down?)....I PUT MY KNITTING DOWN for the whole thing! Check it out and, please, consider bringing your kids who are old enough to understand (my tween will be joining me and Mom). Anyway, I really liked the movie.

For those of you who are celebrating, Happy Thanksgiving.

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· HAD A GOOD WEEKEND...

20 November, 2005 at 6:35 PM EST

This weekend started early for us. We let the kids take Friday off of school so that we could go see Harry Potter. The boys loved it. Hubby had to work at the last minute so he missed it. I was a bit disappointed. To be fair, though, my expectations were very high. I enjoyed the other books and movies, but Goblet of Fire was the book that I just could not wait to see in a movie. It is not that I think that what was done should have been better (except for Dumbledore but Richard Harris is a hard act to follow), but that I wanted to see more. I am well aware, however, that if I had gotten to see everything and everyone that I wanted to see, the movie would have been so long that we would have had to pack toothbrushes and jamies.

Saturday included a trip to a not often visited yarn store (not one of my favorites). I found the patterns that I was looking for (Lisa Knits Toe-Up socks) as well as a gorgeous red silk tote bag that I definately did not need but had to have.

My littlest angel is still sick. A trip to the Dr. told the story, bronchitis. He is much better today and destined for school tomorrow.

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· ANOTHER DAY...

16 November, 2005 at 8:03 AM EST

Didn't get as much knitting done yesterday as I had planned. I got caught up in a good book, Monica Ferris' Crewel Yule. I have read her other books. Some I liked, others not so much. This, however, is the frist one that I have read where, I swear, she was having a blast while she wrote it. I giggled out loud at some parts.

Between chapters I placed orders with Knitpicks, Yarn Market and Smart Bargains. All have shipped today. I love my UPS man.

I am sending my little angel to school today. It is "Take your parent to school day" (aka Education Week) at my older son's school. I really do not what to let him down by not being able to be there. Besides, if the little one holds out, maybe I can get some of that shopping done today. I have two B&N gift certificates and one for TJ Maxx. I can go shopping and still be financially virtuous.

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· SICK KID = KNITTING TIME...

15 November, 2005 at 7:28 AM EST

Well, I could look at today as a lose or an opportunity. I was supposed to go shopping with my mother (fun shopping, not the practical kind), BUT my littlest angel is sneezy and wheezy. What's a good mom to do but stay home, freely dispense hugs and kisses, and knit like crazy.

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What was I thinking…

14 November, 2005 at 4:34 PM EST

Impulse is a scary thing. There I was, reading the KnitList, when all of a sudden, I had to have a blog. The question is, now that I have one, what do I do with it. From the title, you may have guessed that I knit. I also read voraciously, crochet and needlepoint. I have a spinning wheel (Ashford Joy) but I have not actually spun anything. My family is full with a hubby, two kids and a dog.

The holidays are coming, so most of my knitting is geared towards that. I have already finished scarves for the kid's teachers, and a shawl for a friend. Hopefully, I will get pictures up soon. On my list to finish are an afghan for my brother, another shawl for another friend, and a few scarves for a holiday bazzaar. Can I do it? Yes I can!

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