Saturday, June 27, 2009

steady as she goes

Some of the people, places, and things that have made up my past 24 hours:

1. A raging wind/hail/rain storm with sound amplified, as I was in my car at the time it passed through here.

2. Ukulele band festivities.

3. Hunt for and purchase of more than 90 Bic Mark-It pens in woodsy brown color, requiring mapping of all Staples stores within 20 miles of here and a team effort to reach our goal.

4. Unexpected visit with an old friend I haven't seen in years.

5. Learned tubular bind-off for the neck of Scott's sweater, only to find that the neck is still too small and will be torn out.

6. Rec'd happy message from my mom as she's romping through Italy and Switzerland w/ friends.

7. Multi-state back roads travel in pouring rain during Friday rush hour, culminating in a pleasant knit night.

8. Taunted my sister, who had a hangover. ;-)

9. Discovered that my camera seems to have bit the dust. Didja notice the uncharacteristic pictureless post?

10. Reaching a major milestone on the secret project that has taken on a life of its own over the past two weeks.

11. Learning that my Gram had a heart attack and is in the hospital. She's doing fine now, but has to wait until Monday for testing.

We had plans to head out for some excitement this evening, but the current plan is to clean the bathroom, take a walk, and knit a plain ol' sock. Mundane to the max. At this point, the less excitement, the better.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

random in the rain

I'm not one to get worked up about the weather, but I woke up to the sound of rain yet again last night and remember thinking, "Sheesh, enough already."

The new Connecticut Science Center is cool. We're members and have visited a couple of times already. Much more still to explore. Leah took this pic of a corner of the roof wave using a $5 mini digital camera that we got at a tag sale. You can tell the picture was taken weeks ago because there's actual blue sky there.

We had spinach strawberry salad (with added feta cheese and way less sugar in the dressing) for dinner on Sunday and it was fantabulous. Even the kids raved about it and had second helpings. Must swap for more supplies at the farmers' market this weekend.

The crochet kid made wee granny squares of sock yarn to decorate her father's day card this year.

Scott was on a mission to watch a certain movie a couple of days ago and the library didn't have it, so he went to Blockbuster. Upon checkout, it was noted that his credit card info in their records showed an expiration date of 2001. That's how often we spend money on video rentals. Thank you, Connecticut library system.

Can anybody out there tell me anything about this spinning wheel? I've never seen one like it.

After a few disappointing unsuccessful attempts at donating plasma/whole blood (problem w/ machine one time, borderline low iron another time, phlebotomist missed the vein another time), yesterday I had an entirely uneventful blood donation experience. This included a good long wait because I was a walk-in w/o appointment -- yahoo! good knitting time and a friendly person next to me! Sent on my merry way with a packet of gummy fruit silly snacks, all I could think was how true it is: Donate blood. All you'll feel is good. Click here to find a blood drive in your area.

I have a secret project underway and it's going better than I could have imagined. Ravelers can see preliminary info in the project with "secret" in the title here. (Details in Ravelry keeps it a secret to the extent necessary.) Exciting!
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

if you build it...

If you build an awesome farmers' market, they will come.

It rained hard all night. Areas of the field were ankle deep mud. Vendors with heavy trucks were encouraged to take the day off, for fear that they'd get into the field, but not out again, so there were about half as many vendors as usual.

But the rain stopped for a few well-timed hours. The cow bell rang to signal the start of the market and, sure enough, the customers came!

The band began playing one good song after another. The organic gardening demos got underway and the wood-fired pizzas were being baked to order. History came alive again at the Nathan Hale Homestead.

There were happy dogs taking their owners out for an adventure, dads celebrating Father's Day in a beautiful place, adults in silly rain boots, and a cute baby in a hat crocheted by her mama.

For a very short time, there was just the slightest hint of rain, not enough for the many umbrellas to be put to use or for people to even seek shelter. Then, for a while, the clouds parted and the big ball of fire in the sky proved to waterlogged Connecticut that it's still up there.

And the market cheered!
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saddle up!

Please note: Random crappy pics with poor lighting all 'round, courtesy of something like 30 days of rain out of the past 40 days. I give up on waiting for good natural light.

Sheepy zipper pulls, by customer request. Methinks there will be monster zipper pulls in my own future.

Drag race at Jesse's rocket club yesterday. WooHoo!

After much forward-and-back fiddling, the saddle shoulders of Scott's gansey are underway! Shown on top of one of Scott's favorite sweaters, which I use to know sizing goals. I plan to finish this shoulder at the farmers' market today and expect the other shoulder to be easy because all the decisions have already been made. Darn good thing, too, since two other projects are calling my name, asking me to cast on for them RIGHT NOW.

'Nuf with the chit chat. Back in to the saddle again!
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

some of us

Some of us are playing with little glass critters on Etsy this week...

and some are playing with horses.

All happy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

beware: goofball at the torch

"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm."
- Colette, 1961
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Early morning monsoon over, it was a fine day at the farmers' market. Leah, in her role as a volunteer at the Nathan Hale Homestead, was given responsibility for taking payment for the horse-drawn carriage and pony cart rides offered in the upper field for the day. She decided that her snood (not the cap, not the bonnet) was the perfect head covering for such a task and bought a new bodice from one of the volunteers at Hale.
She put to use the hand-stitched pocket that she has been working on for a few days. She dug out some canvas from our fabric stash, drew her design, stitched it with hand-dyed embroidery threads leftover from our needlework obsession, and rummaged around for some ribbon trim (a variety of which was given to her by two of our friendly neighbors and has been put to use in many ways) to tie it around her waist.
After I helped Scott get the booth set up, I was off to the String Thing, a small but growing group of market-goers who bring along their hobbies to work on after they visit the vendors. Ooh, some droolworthy projects in that mix and again the easy-flowing conversation that seems to always be a component of such gatherings!

Eventually, the market was over, the booths packed back into vendors' cars and trucks, and the Hale Homestead volunteers had a meeting. This included discussing their part in the season's many planned activities and events while chopping vegs and cooking veggie soup in the Hale kitchen's fireplace, then feasting together in the side yard and finishing off their party meeting with the leftovers from the Hale tea and cake sales of the day -- tea flavored with mint grown in the homestead's garden and sweets made from recipes from Nathan Hale's time.

Since only one of those volunteers is too young to drive, her chauffeur couldn't have been happier to wait in the sunshine, with the silence interrupted in the most pleasant of ways by an occasional passerby on horseback.


Rebecca Z, your bead idea turned out well, I think! Leave a comment that includes your email addy and/or Ravname so I can contact you directly. Pic to come soon!
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Sunday, June 14, 2009


I saw some discussion a while back about people's EveryDay Carry, their EDC, the things they have on/with them when they go out. For the fun of it, I snapped pics of Jesse and Leah's EDC yesterday.

His: Fave yo-yo in ratty ol' sling style holster, with bright pink Angel Hair string (for good visibility for string tricks) dangling below. iPod in cabled case knit by his sister as a xmas gift, all connected by a carabiner.

Hers: Lace-edged fan (a gift from the Great Grandma and gets way more use than anybody would have expected), stitching project-in-progress, tin cup she made at Old Sturbridge Village, apple, bonnet, two small knitting projects on DPNs, all carried in a woven basket. Now, it is true that this EDC is modified somewhat from her usual because she was on her way to being a costumed interpreter at a living history museum, but her usual EDC is achieved by swapping out the basket for a backpack, the bonnet for some hair elastics, and the fan for an iPod.

Mine? No pic, but it's a blue crocheted bag w/ strap that's long enough to wear diagonally over my body ($3 at a flea market and I love it enough that I will use it as a model to make myself another when it disintegrates eventually), wallet sewn for me by Leah, and a small knitting project (currently the lace ribbon scarf).

We're off to the farmers' market in a couple of hours. There's a monsoon in progress right now and I haven't looked at the forecast, so I don't know if it's expected to clear up, but it doesn't look likely at this point. Somehow (probably influenced by our experience the last time we were there on a rainy day), I'm still looking forward to it.
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

wherever it may lead

Kids and I headed out this morning with lots of possibilities for how the day could go, all in agreement that we'd just see what felt right at the time and roll with it. We knew that Leah was volunteering for the Nathan Hale Homestead's contribution to Connecticut Open House Day. We knew they would be celebrating Nathan Hale's birthday and she should bring her spinning wheel because there was going to be a focus on wool/textiles of the time period. We also knew there was a fiddle fest going on nearby, so Jesse and I thought we might check that out after we explored the Nathan Hale Homestead offerings.

What we didn't expect was that one of the sheep would break out of its pen and go racing off into the 1,400-acre state forest, and that Jesse and a handful of other young volunteers would spend hours in the woods, tracking the sheep for miles. We didn't expect that this would leave the event short-handed and that the remaining spinner would have problems with the wheel she was using, and when I was trying to help her by comparing with Leah's wheel, visitors would be interested in this thing you call spinning. I didn't expect to show bunches of people how to spin, even with my humble beginnerly skills, or to chat for hours with the soapmaker or the dyer or the chair caner.

I didn't expect this boy to be so interested in what I was doing that he came back twice, the second time intending to spin "enough yarn for a BALL." I never expected to meet the delightful Louisa, who learned to drop spindle last week and was so thoroughly psyched to use a wheel, or the woman who was making wool felt for the first time and was amazed by this miraculous transformation.

Meanwhile, the sheep-trackers followed that rogue sheep all the way out the other side of the state forest, through muck, around pricker bushes, over hills, and, into a different town. Just before the owner arrived with her truck and some rope, a dog spooked the sheep and off it ran at full speed, out of sight of the young adults who had followed it so carefully. They got a lift back to the house and their efforts were rewarded with lemonade, ice water, and unlimited cake.

We started off not knowing how the day would take shape and ended with shaking our heads and laughing in disbelief. We could never have planned it, but wouldn't have missed it for the world.
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gonna wash that sweater right out of my hair

The workload of the past couple of weeks has left me with tired arms and tingly fingers come evening, so there has been no knitting whatsoever. Still, I was watching South Pacific with Leah last night (hey! leisure time at home! I remember that!) and had to do something, so out came this old sweater.
It's the Bella cardigan that I blogged about in 2006, which has just never been right -- too drapey, too short, neck too wide, sleeve shape uncomfortable. The color is more accurate in the photo below.
Now it looks like this and by the end of today, the remaining knit portion will be returned to its former status as a ball of yarn. I had a new project in mind for this yarn, but now I don't think it's right for that one either. Hm. The knitting is clearly in a holding pattern, but that's okay because absolutely nothing else is. This too shall pass.
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

the spice of life

Topics of my work in the past week have included:
1. the petroleum industry
2. gastroenterology
3. interview with an incoming university president
4. documentary on the sport of cricket

Recent entertainment:
1. a chorale performance of songs by American composers
2. the brand spanking new Connecticut Science Center
3. nephew's lacrosse game (they won!)
4. tag saling (awesome scores and ran into an old friend)
5. ukulele band practice, always with singalong :-)
6. new Star Trek movie
7. farmers' market
8. driving a silly PT Cruiser while my fender bender is being repaired

Custom requests for Scott on the torch:
1. purple foil heart pendant
2. turn that chicken bead into a pendant -- with egg tassel!
3. mushrooms and hedgehog (the hedgehog didn't work out, but the mushrooms are fun)
4. heart pendant, red

You will notice no mention of knitting. See first list above. I don't know who flipped the switch, but every single one of my accounts has inundated me with work in the past week. This is good for the pay-off-the-mortgage mission, not so much for the finish-the-gansey-before-it-gets-too-hot-out mission.

p.s. For J, who asked about the pattern for the flag vest but didn't sign in at Blogger so I can't reply directly, it's from Not Just Plain Jane Knits. Follow the link to her new site, then click on the cardigans and vests section.
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I Spy

What a fun little surprise to browse friends' activity on Ravelry and notice a certain somebody's glass stitch markers in action!

piggy on Lee's awesome sock

cupcake (can you find it?) on Karrie's excellent hat
There's lots of good stuff going on in the glass studio and behind the scenes here, but some of it I can't talk about yet and some will have to wait until I get a breather from this (happily) booming business of mine, so I can take pics and get some more things on Etsy.
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Sunday, June 07, 2009

let the fun begin!


Scott and Jesse at our newly revamped bakery booth,
minutes before the opening bell
of the Coventry Regional Farmers' Market's 2009 season.


Leah volunteering at the Nathan Hale Homestead.


Entrance to the market moments after the opening bell.
Scott's booth is to the left of the entrance,
in the shade of a big tree.
Yes, the day was every bit as beautiful as it looks here.

A small portion of the large group of people who gathered to see this beautiful Coopworth sheep relieved of his winter fleece. This cool demo happened just a few feet from where I was enjoying the entirely pleasant first String Thing gathering. Hung w/ crafty people I already knew, met some new folks today, and some others stopped by to say that they'll bring their project along to join in next week.

We all came home happy and tired, satisfied with the hard work of a job well done...that also just happened to be an amazingly good time.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

worth a gamble

As of Friday morning, the forecast for Vermont was all sorts of doom and gloom. Family pow-wow made it clear that we all really wanted to go camping, though, so we packed up and headed out. Sunshine for the ride there, some clouds during the 20 min. it takes us to set up camp, and a pleasant evening! Raindrops started to fall at dusk, so kids headed for the tents to read by headlamp and I continued knitting by the dwindling fire, looking oh so stylish in my fabu rain poncho and headlamp!

We were dry and cozy in our tents as it rained overnight, but there was sunshine in the morning...

and the remainder of the weekend had only a little bit of rain here and there, certainly not enough to put a damper on anything, mostly with glorious blue skies and bright sunshine!

Since it's early in the season, we had the campground practically to ourselves, which was exceptionally peaceful and beautiful. There was much walking, biking, reading, fishing (above - Jesse in red, Scott on the shore) campfire cooking, drinking of local brews (Magic Hat #9 and Long Trail Belgian White -- omg, so good), and a good bit of knitting. I'm pretty close to starting the saddle shoulders on Scott's gansey.

We all agreed that this was a gamble worth taking!
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