Friday, March 30, 2007

can't bring myself to frog it, so...

In the bag of old wool that came here from my Gram's house, there was a half-knit sweater front, without needles, in superfine dark gray boucle and the remaining skeins for the rest of the sweater. My plan was to tear out the knitting and use the yarn for something else, but when I started to frog it, I realized that, holy smokes, a LOT of work already went into this. I just couldn't bring myself to waste the hours upon hours that has already been spent on it, but I also knew there was no way I'd enjoy continuing with that kind of project. So, hmm...

While I was thinking about what to do with it, Leah sat down at the table one morning with size 000 (!) DPNs and carefully picked up all the live stitches.

(small paper clip included for scale)

We then bound off the stitches across the top, brought the sweater sides together, did a mattress stitch seam up the back, folded up the waistband ribbing, and...ta da! A watchman's cap in vintage dark gray boucle!

Scott's thinking about spinning some light gray angora blend that's downstairs and plying it with the remaining boucle for a supersoft scarf. We'll see. Leah's cable-scarf-obsessed right now, so it just might happen.

After a long period of rest, the loom was in motion for some team weaving yesterday. Leah was the official Winder of the Bobbins and Keeper of the Good Tunes, and Jesse was the Weavemaster. I think there was a K'nex motorized bobbin winder at some point too, but I don't see that out by the looms today, so I'm not sure what happened to it. They finished up a stripey woven piece that will become a bag for Leah's projects-in-progress.

This is very much just a beginner project, using the warp that just happened to come with the loom. There's a loom dressing demo coming up at Webs and I had been considering signing us up for that, but I hadn't mentioned it to anyone yet, so when the interest arose so spontaneously yesterday, I went ahead and registered us all, with hearty enthusiasm all around. They did a couple of small stripes using the variegated tencel that's in Leah's cardigan and it's really luscious, so that's definitely in the plans for an upcoming project, but there was also much talk at dinner last night about how to use the Webs gift certificate that we've been holding onto since Christmas. And this morning, as they were getting things together to meet friends at the park, Jesse said to Leah, "Hey, meet me at the loom when we get back home." She agreed, but said she might not stick around long because she's on a knitting mission right now. And that's a post for another day. :-)
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Thursday, March 29, 2007


Yes, that's what this week has felt like, a tempest. It started with the calendar looking pleasingly plump -- check-ups scheduled with the doctor for three of us, plans with friends, health department inspection for the bakery, etc. -- and then I was asked to do 24 hours worth of extra work in the first three days. I managed to pull that off, keep up to speed with the usual other work, have a physical, get some work done on my car, and mostly recover from the bronchitis that has been plaguing me for the past week or so. We also celebrated a gloriously spring-like day with a campfire dinner one evening and even made it to a free performance of The Tempest at the Hartt School. The show started with a spectacular ship-in-a-storm scene, of course, and I couldn't help but think of the ocean waves when Scott showed me this newest set of glass buttons. These ones are flat on top, not domed with clear glass as he had done on previous buttons. He also made these with a boro loop shank, instead of metal loops, because the metal loops weren't staying secure. (We'll try pre-made shanks epoxied to the button back for those ones.) These are borosolicate glass (pyrex), so they should be plenty strong, but we wanted to test them. Scott dropped a bunch of them onto the concrete floor in the basement from 5'6" height and they all survived that first round of durability testing.

If you think you could use them or the other buttons, just let us know and we'll send them to you for free, in exchange for some feedback on how they work out for you.
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Saturday, March 24, 2007

a day at the derby

I'm feeling quite a bit better today, so we spent a couple of hours this afternoon at the 2nd Annual Homeschool Pinewood Derby. There were three heats of races, two for the kids and one for the adults. Here are some of the kids' cars.

Jesse's is the black 007 car with the blue windshield and Leah's is the purple one with the blue flower. There was a great turnout and lots of enthusiasm, with hoots and cheers and clapping all around. The creativity of the cars was FANTASTIC -- everything from a guinea pig car to a tabasco car, with lots of flames and Legos, angles and slopes and curves and fins.

Jesse eventually positioned himself as the Official Starting Gate Attendant and took his post very seriously, with two car-placing cohorts being equally attentive and professional.

Great fun was had by all, including (or maybe especially!) the winners of The Turtle Award, Cierra and Scott, whose cars ran the slowest in the kids' and adults' races, respectively.

There is, of course, already talk of revisions to next year's models.
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hey, I know those people!

Lookie who's on the front page of the New England Textile Arts' Yahoogroup today. It's me and my friend Bart at the Spa Knit and Spin weekend in Maine in February. I was working on Leah's cardigan and Bart was a newbie getting sucked into the spinning obsession in a big way.

It's funny to think back on how productive we were that weekend, when this morning all I seem to be doing is ripping things out. Oh well, it's all about the process, right?

Friday, March 23, 2007


I'm not feeling very well (bronchitis -- thank you, airplane air) and I'm not getting very much work done and everything and everyone is irritating the crap out of me. I was sick enough that I didn't even want to knit last night. Gasp -- the end is surely near!

Luckily, the rest of the family is healthy and keeps on keepin' on. Scott got some borosilicate glass and made his first buttons...

Ooh, I like 'em and I'd even use these humble beginner efforts on my cardigan-in-progress. You probably can't tell it from the picture, but that middle one has some gorgeous sparkly blue in it and the purply ones have wisps of metallic purple sparkle in them, with lots of depth and an ethereal quality. In general I'm not a fan of yellow in any shade, but even the caramel-and-green ones are okay by me.

Leah also finished knitting a pair of socks.

The first sock was knit by our friend Jean, who then decided she wasn't too fond of the Sockotta yarn. At a knit gathering a few weeks ago, she asked if anybody wanted to finish the pair. Leah jumped for them, finished the first one that day and had about 3" of the second sock knit by the next morning. I guess it didn't bother her that they were on DPNs and she had never used DPNs before! It ends up that Leah feels the same way about Sockotta yarn as Jean did (and also as I do, although I never said it to Leah), so she has proclaimed these as "just practice socks." I'm not sure what that means for their future, but they were definitely a good launch into using DPNs.

And now, since I'm grumpy anyway, I'm going to rummage around in the basement and find more stuff to give away. I did this in a big way yesterday and felt much better afterward, so hopefully it'll have the same effect today before I succumb to the call of the couch and the warm blankies.
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Thursday, March 22, 2007


I'm fighting bronchitis and buried in work, so this'll be a quickie, but it keeps popping into my head and makes me smile, so I wanted to share it.

Regarding our adventures with nephew Zach, a trend is emerging: We get blown around together.
Statue of Liberty in a monsoon with winds a'whipping, 4/2/05.

Rose Island Lighthouse in a nor'easter, 12/1/06.

Acropolis, Athens, 3/07.

And somehow, on every occasion, the wind just adds to the fun and the memories.

Monday, March 19, 2007

of myths and Mythos

Sunday, March 04, 2007

schloooop! and goldilocks

You hear that schloooop? That was my mom getting sucked into the knitting obsession. She's been dancing on the slippery slope for a while now, working on a project here, a project there. But today she and I spent some time at Creative Fibers (one of the few local stores with Sunday hours), where she found puh-lenty of droolworthy patterns and a very helpful store staff, who tracked down enough skeins of the right type of yarn, in the right color and texture, to set her on her merry way. Her swatch was right on target for size, so she plans to cast on before vacation and bring her project along for the ride.

I cast on for this baby hat yesterday and got it to the single-color top section, the portion that'll be good mindless travel knitting. (Don't worry; I'll have other projects too.) This is the same Dale of Norway hat that I've done a couple of times before, with Dalegarn Baby Ull and leftover Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn (the red/orange/purple variegated). Funny, though, that the first time I made it, it turned out too small. The second time I made it, it turned out too big. This time? Just right.

But back to my mom. You know, the one who claims she's a "seasonal knitter" but chose some of Scott's handspun for a future project for herself, was tempted by a Philosopher's Wool kit yesterday, and dropped a solid three digit$ worth into her yarn bag today? Well, she just called to tell me there's a mysterious ad in the newspaper about a gigantic yarn sale in CT that doesn't say where it'll be. I said I bet it's the place in East Haddam. I've heard of it, but never been there. I called the info number from the ad and, sure enough, it's at Farmhouse Yarns/Hopyard Spinnery. I couldn't find the info on their website, but the ad said the sale is April 3-7. After reading a few people's comments about past sales, though, I think it might be worth a visit. Oh, I just found some more info here. Sounds like a party!

My mom likes parties. :-)

keeping it G-rated

I love many of the patterns in Charlene Schurch's Hats On! Leah does too. She started one yesterday and I'll probably start one today. Both of us are sticking close to home with rotten colds this weekend, so we've had lots of time for indulgence in our yarny projects. We had this vintage wool from my Gram's stash...

(Whaddaya think? Is that stuff older than older than this knitter?)

and we had some Kool-Aid, thanks to Scott and the handy dandy local supermarket...

so now we have some fresh colors with which to work.

They're subtly variegated, which we both like, and we're looking forward to using these yarns while on vacation with Gram, so she can quit ribbing me about how I've had her wool for a couple of years now and still haven't used it. As if she was going to get right to work on it any day now if she still had it. ha! ;-) (Yes, we love Gram. Yes, we are ecstatic that she'll be arriving in CT in only 2 more days!)

The title of this blog post refers to the beauties below.

Scott picked them up today, after they had time to anneal at the studio after his beginner glassblowing workshop last weekend. We've been fondling these...uh...spheres ever since he walked through the door with them after another afternoon of...uh...glassblowing, proud as a peacock. So you can imagine the titles that are popping into my head this morning as I write. Oh, poop, I just can't help myself. Nice balls, eh?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

when life hands you lemons...

...make lemonade. Or in this case, when you buy a fair isle sweater at Goodwill :-) ...

and then discover that it has some holes in it :-( , throw it in the washer on hot for a couple of cycles (firmly sealed inside a pillowcase so the resulting fuzz does not cause the washer to seize)...
chop the resulting felted sweater up...

and make a felted bag for a different fair isle sweater-in-progress.