Thursday, May 28, 2009


Tuesday morning, I was listening to the Knitmore Girls podcast and they mentioned using these zippered blanket bags to organize yarn and roving. Given that my dining room closet is our spinning/felting storage space
and it's a big family joke how every time someone opens that door, they must be prepared for the resulting avalance of slippery bags of fluff, I clicked right over and ordered TWO DOZEN bags. Total, with shipping? Less than $23.

Wednesday morning -- that's right, in just over 24 hours since I placed my order -- the UPS truck pulled up to my house. :::blink blink::: Seriously? 24 hours and less than $1 a bag?! Yeehaw!

Since I had a pretty hefty workday on my hands, I couldn't dive into the project right then and there, but by dinnertime Wednesday...

Ta da! Avalanche-free zone!

Besides being nicely squared off so they stack neatly, the clear plastic is not slippery, so they stay where you put them, unlike Ziplocs. The 9" bag height is just about perfect for 1-lb. bumps of roving. I fit about 6 lbs. in each bag. Could have easily stored more per bag if the fluff wasn't wound into balls, but it is and I didn't feel like unrolling it all.

Bonus: Found some forgotten treasures while stash diving! Ooh, ahhh...

The packing slip for the blanket bags is on my desk this morning and I just noticed the Cleaner's Supply slogan: "Great prices. Fast delivery." Heck yeah! Two thumbs up for them!
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

take me out to the knitting game

So, last night's entertainment included about 450 homeschoolers enjoying a Rock Cats baseball game. I phrase it in exactly that way because, for me, the primary entertainment was the homeschoolers, while the game provided a fun backdrop. The kids and Scott, of course, bebopped around with assorted pals, seat-hopping to chat with everyone and making food/drink runs together. (Oh, and BTW, Long Trail Belgian White? Yum.) I, meanwhile, enjoyed a steady stream of knitters and old friends passing by and stopping for visits.

I knew it was going to be a knitting sort of evening when we rec'd a phone call at home with an emergency request for a size 2 DPN, STAT, for a friend who left one of her needles at home.

This, coincidentally, is the same friend who was knitting next to me at a Rock Cats game in the fall of 2008, when I was ALSO knitting a lace ribbon scarf out of Jojoland yarn. The scarf in the 2008 pic was chosen from the gift knits box a couple of weeks ago and I enjoyed the pattern once I got it in my head, so I'm making another one for the gift knits box.

Then a friend stopped by to tell me about the cotton top she's knitting for her daughter.

Another one stuck out her leg to show off alpaca socks she recently received in the very silly Sock Wars.

A long-time acquaintance stopped to chat and mentioned that she's having trouble with tendinitis from her knitting, so she's switching to Continental style and that seems to help.

The two homeschoolers who sang the Star Spangled Banner were decked out in handknit stars and stripes vests, knit in a mad dash by the socknitter in the first pic above. She made two of these in a couple of weeks. Crazy! (hm? what's that you're whispering? Terror Fish? Oh, yeah. Forgot about that. See, I know crazy.)
I shared a passing greeting with another knitter who has her own sheep and is also a spinner and teacher of crochet.

The midwife who was present for Leah's homebirth hung out for a visit too. She's not a knitter, but she's cool enough that we'll forgive her for that one flaw. :-)

When Jesse and buddies weren't watching the game, Jesse was playing with string of a different kind, having just rec'd an order of new yo-yo strings that needed to be broken in. (Yes, the kind he uses need to be broken in. You wouldn't believe the options and finer points of yo-yo strings for the serious player. Debates about these rival those between circ lovers vs. dpn users.)

Leah worked on a small project while watching the game. See the tell-tale yarn leash spanning from her left hand (holding project) to knitting bag on the ground? At the end of the evening, a conversation with an Artist Trading Card enthusiast/homeschooling mom/friend lit a spark in Leah's mind that has since led to swatching, graphing, and her first intarsia project, which is in progress at this very moment. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

For the Rock Cats, last night was a sound thumping of a loss.

For my family, everything about it was a win. :-)
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

good ol' summertime

Memorial Day 2009 was spent with a couple of families of friends, enjoying the sunshine and time together, then back home for a shift of gears (let the dog out, pick up our picnic contribution) and out again in a different direction for a cookout. With the exception of the bird who shat upon my shoulder while I was sitting under a big ol' tree, it was a perfectly pleasant day. We were up early and out the door, home again in time to fall into bed. Whew -- all that romping and relaxation tires a person out. :-)

I have a recent FO to share!
Pattern: La Novia by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Celestial by Dye Dreams, bought at CT S&W

Modifications: Where the pattern called for a P2togTBL, instead slipped the two stitches knit-wise with the yarn in front and then purled them together, like a SSK, as suggested by Rebecca Z.

I like this scarf, but I didn't enjoy knitting it. This is no fault of the pattern, which is crystal clear, as are all of Anne's patterns. I was aiming for one of those patterns with a repeated small motif, where I could get the chart into my head and just zip along without too much counting, tracking, or referring to the chart. Since this is only a 6-row repeat, I thought it would fit the bill, but that wasn't the case at all. I had to look at the chart for every single row, keep track with a row counter, and count stitches all the way. Nothing difficult about it, just not the intuitive little lacy thing I wanted to work on. Maybe I'm just dense. I did like how it was turning out, though, and it moved along quickly with this worsted weight yarn, so I just stuck with it, mostly knitting it while on the porch at my grandma's in the early morning quiet hours before everyone else got up.

Anne suggests a light blocking, but mine looked a little too chaotic, so I blocked the heck out of it. The alpaca, merino, and silk blend is heavenly. I adore the deep teal (I know it looks blue in the pic, but it's darker and more green). I'm very happy with the end result of this project and equally happy to be done with knitting it.

After endless stockinette slog, I have FINALLY reached the patterned portion of the body of Scott's gansey -- yahoo! Done with the fiddly mathiness of getting the pattern set up, I should be able to move along smoothly with it now. Best of all, this entire week appears to be a continuation of the weekend's festivities!
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

in our element

Yesterday was one of those days that just felt soooo right. We were all doing something we love, with people whose company we enjoy, in places that make us feel good. Scott and Jesse headed out for the rocket club's launch day, where there were cub scouts, rocket drag races, admirable creations, friends, and ideas flowing freely. They were there for the set-up and stayed to help with packing away the club's launch equipment. They came home tired and elated, with plans for the next rockets they'll build, and the next, and the next...

Meanwhile, Leah and I stopped at my mom's for a minute in the morning to retrieve our blocking wires, which mom recently put to good use in blocking her Bluebell sweater!
Turned out great, and such a pretty color. She had planned to use a glass button from a certain someone to finish it off, but decided she'd most often wear it open, jacket style, so buttonless it'll remain. Beautiful as is!
Close-up to show the cuff and edging detail.
Just enough detail to make it interesting,
while still remaining a fairly simple sweater to knit.

Leah and I headed to Old Sturbridge Village for their Wool Days. She was, of course, decked out 1840s style, so she could do her unofficial volunteer role. (We've tried to volunteer officially, but we get shot down because of her age, so she dresses up anyway, settles in somewhere, and if somebody happens to ask her a question, she answers it. My little subversive historical re-enactor. :-)

Additions to this season's ensemble include a hand crocheted lace doily, possibly made by her great grandma, worn around her neck and tucked into her bodice. While I was working one day this week, she drew the pattern for this bodice freehand from something she saw on a website, cut the pieces from the remnants of an old duvet cover in our fabric stash, and sewed the whole thing by hand, tiny stitch by tiny stitch. It is as primitive as you might imagine, but it fits and it works, so she wore it with great pride! Here, she's knitting a sock while raw wool is being scoured in the background, in prep for making some of their naturally dyed yarns.

The friends we planned to go with couldn't make it, but we ran into other friends while there and spent portions of the day with them, so there was a nice mix of chatting and quiet time. Leah also toodled off to do her own thing for chunks of time, so I settled in on a bench for some knitting on this picture perfect day. Just me, my rooster friend, and the occasional stagecoach rolling by.
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

on. a. roll.

During another uke band gig, I finished another scarf FO that used EXACTLY one skein.

This was also yet another period of time when I was knitting and listening to my iPod, expecting to spend the time in solitude (and not minding this idea one bit), only to end up in delightful conversations with knitting passersby and other friendly folks. Totally unexpected social times, 100% fun.
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Friday, May 22, 2009

an unexpected treat

I finished yesterday's work for pay, took a walk, then launched into the unpaid work (including the semiannual basement storage space clean-out/tidy-up) while Scott mowed the lawn. We both felt pooped by dusk and proclaimed it a fend-for-yourself-dinner night. Jesse was chopping onions and heating a pan on the stove for whatever was his dinner plan. I grabbed an apple and settled in for some relaxing knitting. Suddenly, poof, the power went out. I knitted on in peace. After a few minutes, as the daylight dimmed further and the electricity still didn't come back on, I went outside so I could see my stitches better, only to find that Scott decided this was the perfect evening to make a campfire dinner.
So I settled in next to the fire, enjoyed the camping-at-home feeling, strapped on my trusty headlamp to continue knitting when it got too dark, and am thiiis close to finishing off the La Novia scarf (which I hope trust will transform with blocking). Kids folded laundry from the line, visited with neighbors on the street, did yo-yo tricks (Jesse) and hand sewing of a garment (Leah). Kodi was happy to have us in the yard with her. And the power came back on just in time for a late dinner inside. Ahhh...thank you, CL&P, for the temporary failure and resultant extra-pleasant evening!

Meanwhile, these library books have my head spinning with all the beautiful patterns they contain. Where to begin?!

Thanks, Karrie, for the One Lovely Blog award. I'm a big poopyhead about passing those things on, but thanks for thinking of me!
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

swirls and squares

After having a no good, awful, terrible Thursday last week, we skedaddled out of here for five fabulous days in Pittsburgh with my grandma. Relaxing and fun, and always good to spend time with Gram!

Before we left, Leah crocheted another Malabrigo Swirls Cap, this one to keep for herself. Still needs buttons.

I knit a couple of Turn A Square hats for charity, using handspun wool and alpaca yarn. Thick, warm, soft, quick, easy. Yay.

(I asked the kids to sit here for this pic, but the whisper and the arm around the shoulder were not posed. :-)

Leah spun this alpaca skein, again for charity. She tends to under-spin/under-ply, so this skein was a breakthrough for her.

Plenty of quiet early morning knitting time for me while we were at Gram's -- during which I thanked RebeccaZ/Maniacknitter every single day because she suggested subbing out P2togTBL for slipping the two stitches knit-wise with the yarn in front, and then purling them, like a SSK. This made the La Novia scarf infinitely easier to knit! Thanks, Rebecca! Pics to come.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

mountain o' merino

I'm not quite sure how this gansey for Scott has come so far with barely a mention on the blog, but it has.
Using a honkin' cone of tweed scored at this year's stash swap, knitting two strands at a time, I'm within an inch of moving into the patterned top portion of the body -- and thank heavens because I've had more than enough of the stockinette slog, thankyouverymuch. One sleeve is knit to approx. the shoulder and the other one only has a few inches to go. Here's a sleeve detail that will also be the central part of the body patterning.
Must stay focused on the gansey, but ooh, it's tough because look what arrived at my house yesterday afternoon!

It's a mountain of merino sliver in the deep teal color that has me all atwitter lately. Yes, I buried my face in it like a big soft pillow. Scott will probably spin this luscious goodness into a 3-ply yarn that I'll knit as any one of the excellent patterns in A Fine Fleece, maybe Flyingdales, with a different neckline. I rec'd this happy-making pile in an awesome barter for soap and glass beads/buttons. The dollar bill is there for scale. Yes, it's red money, received at CT S&W, probably from a dyer, don'cha think? ;-)

Thanks, Rachel, for the offer of hooking us up with your LYS on this weekend's road trip, but our itinerary already includes one Pittsburgh yarn store knit night, an art glass destination, and a living history event, so I think we're good to go! In preparation for the road trip, I cast on a new project last night and made an emergency run to our favorite LYS for another set of Addi lace needles because P2togTBL was nearly impossible otherwise. So now we're good to go!
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

crochet mode

I just love a morning like this. By 7:20 a.m., I had:

1. Rec'd notice that an exciting book is waiting for me at the library
2. Made hotel reservations for Spa Knit and Spin 2010 at discounted group rate -- w00t!
3. Printed packing order for a set of silly sheep stitch markers on their way to Australia.
4. Spread the word about an upcoming event that I'm setting up (more on that soon).
5. Written to someone with whom I'm swapping soap/buttons/beads for enough teal roving that I can spin a sweater's worth of yarn for myself.
6. Checked out our options for awesome fun in Pittsburgh this coming weekend.
7. Downloaded much of the day's work that supports this family.
8. Rec'd confirmation of two custom bead orders.

All while still in my jammies and sipping the day's first cup of coffee. We lurves the Internet.

Meanwhile, Leah seems to have swung back 'round to crochet mode. A couple of evenings ago, she printed directions for a granny square. I offered to show her how to make them, but she wanted to do it on her own, so off to her crafting studio bedroom she went, emerging the next morning with this:

(wonky because she used whatever yarns happened to be within reach, one wool and one cotton, of different gauges)

By yesterday afternoon, she had the beginnings of what will be a granny square scarf that's long enough to wrap multiple times around her neck.
Even at this shortish length, she wore it to ukulele band practice last night and rec'd many compliments on it, as well as a surprise birthday celebration from her friends there! With the sound of the band in the background, I had a thoroughly delightful conversation with a new friend and also had the pleasure of helping someone take her first few knitting stitches.

We lurves the real life connections too. :-)
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Monday, May 11, 2009

etsy update

A few pics for those of you who read through a blog aggregator and may not otherwise realize there are new glass goodies in Scott's Etsy shop, as shown in the sidebar.

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flutter 2

When I knit a Flutter scarf for my Gram last xmas, my mom liked it a lot. In January, she bought some yarn and asked me to knit her one.
It got put aside while I made some other things along the way, but as I was finishing it up last week, I realized that I continue to love everything about this Miriam Felton pattern. The 8-row repeat for the main length of the scarf is easily memorized, making it an excellent take-long project. I used exactly one skein of Alpaca Sox yarn, which is interesting because I know I needed to tap into a second skein for Gram's scarf, yet hers turned out shorter. Difference in blocking by hand (then) vs. with blocking wires (now), I think.

The only modification I made to the pattern was moving the provisional cast-on to the one-third point (~30 repeats) so it would land toward the back of the neck, rather than at the midway point, which causes it to be front and center when wrapped around the neck. It's only the slighest bit visible anyway, but I think moving it to a more discrete location was a good idea.

...and then there was one. That's right, folks, I have a grand total of ONE project on the needles! It's a gansey for Scott. I realized yesterday that I only barely showed it way back at the beginning, and I only have the upper half of the body to do at this point. Meanwhile, I am crazed with must-knit sweater patterns in A Fine Fleece and will most certainly be casting on for one of them very soon.

Recipients of the glass buttons we're giving away have been contacted by email. Thanks, everyone, for playing along and offering to put them to good use!
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

splishin' and a'splashin'

Leah's in a chorus group that had performances this weekend. The theme for this season was 50s music, so we modified a silk skirt from Goodwill into a poodle skirt a few weeks ago. Luckily, thank-you gift ideas were as easy to come by as plans for her outfit.

Leah knit a couple of cotton washcloths with musical notes on them and then,

because her solo song was accompanied by a sign language interpretation, she knit a washcloth with the American Sign Language sign for I Love You (by this designer, although this particular pattern appears to be no longer available).

Add in some of our homemade soap and some custom-made cards,

and she was able to give the director and stage manager a meaningful gift from the heart to show her appreciation for such a good experience, to use the next time they're splishin' and a'splashin'!
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Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Please excuse the out-of-focus pics on this dreary morning, but I'm out the door to work an extra job this wk, so these will have to do.
During Leah's ukulele band practice last night,
I finished off a project with thiiiiis much yarn to spare.
Then came home to find Scott
giggling at the torch.
Bawk bawk!

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Hoppy Monday

Hoppy Monday, everybody.
See you 'round!

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