Monday, November 28, 2005

Odds and Ends

Thanksgiving dinner was good. The exciting part of the day was when we discovered that my daughter has a loose tooth - she was so excited and now can't keep from wiggling that tooth every chance she gets. The organic turkey tasted great and we have A LOT of leftovers. For those looking for some yummy leftover recipes, I made a kind of turkey shepherds pie - layered stuffing, cut up turkey mixed with vegetables and gravy and then put mashed potatoes on top. When I asked my daughter what she wanted to eat for Thanksgiving dinner, her reply was simply "chocolate chip pie". I've never made one so I went online and found this recipe here. It was good, but kind of too sweet. I liked my pumpkin pie better.

The bear is almost finished - it still needs arms and some facial features. While I was working on that, I also cast on for this toddler vest. It is a fun pattern and I was able to memorize it which always amazes me. That will be sent off for the Dulaan Project. And I did work on some beading projects, finishing up some simple necklaces and making 2 pairs of the cutest snowman earrings. I had to keep one for myself. Otherwise the long weekend was kind of quiet. I did brave the crowds on Friday to do a little bit of shopping - nothing major. I am actively looking for a digital camera since that is the one thing I'd like for the holidays - preferably before. I'd love to be able to share pictures of the things I'm working on.

I finished reading Sylvia's Farm. It is an enjoyable read about the author's life on her farm. As she says, "It is about the rhythm of the days and their attendant nights, the flow of the seasons and their gifts of joy and sorrow." Now, thanks to Deb, I am rereading Jane Austen's Persuasion. I had seen the movie on a trip to New Zealand and loved it. Perhaps it was that the theater was located in a fabulous building, part of the Arts Centre in Christchurch. The buildings were originally home to the Canterbury University College which was established in 1873. Plus I was in New Zealand for heavens sake. So rereading the book and knitting the toddlers vest out of wool that I had brought home with me from New Zealand 10 years ago - all of this are bringing back some wonderful memories.

On the lighter side, I'm glad to see that I passed 8th grade math and science.

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What's New

Well, I finished a hat from my stash which will be sent off somewhere soon. And Anne had requested knitted bears, dolls, etc. for the children so I cast on for a Baby Bobbi Bear in the Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton. It's a fun pattern although the cotton yarn seems to be sucking the moisture out of my hands. Is that possible? I did also finish the mittens for my daughter (don't want to get thrown out of Sandy's KAL :) ). They came out so warm and cozy, I really love that Fleece Artist yarn. Don't know when I'll start the pink mittens, but if I make them for myself, I will, as Cate said, "wear them with pride"!

This past weekend we visited my family in New Jersey and I had a small amount of time to check out a new yarn store in the area - Modern Yarn. They have some of my favorite yarns - the Blue Sky Alpacas, Malabrigo, Manos, Debbie Bliss, Cherry Tree Hill, Noro and some I haven't tried yet, but would like to - Frog Tree Alpaca, Habu (they had a kit with some stainless steel yarn), Cascade 220 (yes, I am ashamed to say that I haven't tried this yarn yet and I've heard such wonderful things about it), Hemp for Knitting, and many more. The store is spacious and well laid out - looks like it will be fun to go back next time I'm visiting. There is another yarn store just down the street (Elly's Knit 'n Rest which has been there forever and has a lot of yarns and a knowledgeable owner), a great coffee shop and restaurants.

Some of this is amazingly true...

Your Birthdate: June 22

You tend to be understated and under appreciated.
You have a hidden force to do amazing things, doing them your own way.
People may see you as strange and shy, but they know little.
Your unconventional ways have more power than they (and even you) know.

Your strength: Standing up for what you know is true

Your weakness: You tend to be picky and rigid

Your power color: Silver

Your power symbol: Square

Your power month: April

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Take the time for others

Around this time of the year it is easy for me to get caught up in the frenzy of the holiday season. For those who like to make gifts for others perhaps you know what I mean. I have my list of things I need to make and the things on the list will invariably take longer than the time that is left until the holidays. Some people may get half finished things that will hopefully get done after the holidays and some things on the list will get crossed off as I realize that I just can't do it. And of course there are those items which I am frantically finishing up in the few minutes before I see the recipient. And every year I tell myself to try and be smarter next year.

Well, this year, Margene has started a knitalong called Knit Unto Others. During the next two weeks we can concentrate on knitting for charities of our choice.

I am so happy to be able to participate. It's a time to think about what is really important and be thankful for what I have while helping others. And isn't that the real message we want to remember.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

But that was supposed to be for me...

Since joining Sandy's Warm Hands KAL, I have been checking out many different mitten patterns and yarns. I have become quite a fan of Fleece Artist yarns and have ordered a few of their kits. The yarns and their colors are exquisite. The KAL inspired me to finish a pair of Fleece Artist thrummed mittens that will be a gift for my mom and to start a pair of mittens for my daughter. I checked out this site, and found the Fleece Artist Favorite Soft Mittens/Socks kits. The mittens or socks will be made from one strand of Mohair along with one strand of Blue Faced Leicester and they even had the kit in the perfect color for my daughter - bright pinks. Her favorite color has always been pink. Sometimes she will pick red or even purple if pink is not available, but usually she leans towards the pink family. So this kit would be perfect. Now, I have ordered from this place before and I know that I can order another kit and the shipping will be the same. So I went looking for what else I might add to my cart. For those who don't understand this logic, please, don't even try. The most beautiful colors caught my eye. I love the colors of fall - rusts, golds, greens - and there they were. Another Favorite Soft Mittens kit and the colors just sang to me. I had to have that kit and the mittens would be for ME!

Two days later the box showed up at the door. Colorsong Yarn has excellent customer service and the packages always arrive quickly. I even met the mailman as I saw the box sticking out of his bag. I opened the box and was overjoyed by the colors of fall. The yarn looked like the perfect pile of leaves with all the glorious colors. And the pink kit was as perfect as I thought it would be - just the right colors for my daughter. She came into the room and here is how the conversation went.

Me: Look at this beautiful yarn that I'll use to make your mittens. Don't you just love this pink yarn?

Her: (her eyes looking at the 2 bundles of yarn) Yes, it's beautiful, but what is this other one for?

Me: (with the first little twinge of panic) Oh, this one with the fall colors? It isn't as bright as the pink one. Don't you just love the pinks?

Her: But this other one looks like a rainbow with all the pretty colors. Please can you use this one for my mittens?

Me: (panic setting in) Well, we can wind it up, but it's not as bright and beautiful as the pink - kind of dull don't you think?

Her: Oh no, mom. It looks like a rainbow.

So we proceed to wind up the yarn. As the yarn goes on the swift, the colors call out to me, but I can already feel my grip slipping away as my daughter carresses the yarn. I attempt to pull that yarn back one more time.

Me: (in a stern voice) You know, you can't have both yarns. If you pick this one, you can't have the pink one too.

Her: Do I have to have the pink one?

Me: (resigned) Of course not. You can have this one instead.

Later I received a note in her "kid writing" - "I love you so much mommy. You share everything." What's a mom to do!!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ahh.... Roma

Thanks Juno for this link:

You Belong in Rome

You're a big city girl with a small town heart
Which is why you're attracted to the romance of Rome
Strolling down picture perfect streets, cappuccino in hand
And gorgeous Italian men - could life get any better?

Sounds like fun - when do we go??

Happy Birthday to my friend Connie! Connie and I met on the Socknitters list and even though we live on opposite ends of the country and have never met face to face, I love our emails and letters. She just got back from SOAR and a class with Nancy Bush. Can you call me jealous :). Spinning and knitting with people who love the same things - how much better can you get! Happy Birthday to a great friend. Have a great day!

The baby bootees and hat are almost done. The hat needs to be blocked since the picot cast on is curling a bit, but the gift will be done in time for when I go to NJ next weekend. I need to get to work on the next pair of mittens for Sandy's Warm Hands KAL. Instead I keep ordering patterns and kits - now I saw these kits when I was checking out what mittens people are working on: I am just tempted way too easily by yarn and patterns. And Sandy liked her prize - I'm so glad!

Monday, November 07, 2005

20 Random Things

Cate did this last week and she said the same thing I had been thinking. Coming up with 100 things kept putting me off, but I think I can manage 20 random things.

1. I love coffee.
2. If I don't get my coffee I can be a real grump.
3. I didn't realize it was possible to just totally love another person so much until I had my daughter.
4. She rocks my world.
5. I love being able to see things the way she does.
6. I hope I'm as good a mom as my friend Wendy. She has tons of patience and is a great role model for her girls.
7. I have a hard time getting rid of things.
8. Consequently, there is a lot of stuff in my house.
9. I love to read a good book.
10. When I was younger, I would always take a book to those family gatherings. Maybe I was a little unsociable.
11. I'm kind of shy.
12. Sometimes it's hard to know what to say, especially around people I don't know too well.
13. I love to travel.
14. I traveled more when I was yonger than I do now.
15. I like a good apple martini.
16. I majored in math and computer science in college.
17. I started nursing school, but left because of family issues.
18. I learned to give shots when my cat developed diabetes and needed insulin everyday.
19. I don't have any pets now - except for the three fish in my daughter's room.
20. I really miss having a dog or cat around.

Well, that wasn't so bad. It was actually kind of fun.

Since the baby hat and sweater are finished, I just had to cast on for another baby gift. I'm making some basic "stay-on" bootees (from Knitting for Baby) from Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and (get ready to say awww...) this hat from DB Cashmerino Aran. My parents neighbors just had a little girl (they have 2 boys), so I thought the mom might like some girly things. I did make a trip to the post office last week to send out a prize/gift to Sandy for leaving my first ever comment. I hope she likes it.

Keep on knitting!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The flow of the fiber as therapy

I knew that was what I needed. The simple act of letting the fiber flow through my fingers as I made yarn. That would be soothing. It had been one of those days and I felt as if I was being pulled in every direction. I admit it - I am the type of person that tries to please everyone. And sometimes, well, it really sucks being that kind of person. Because, inevitably, you can't please everyone and you end up being untrue to yourself. That little word - two letters is all - and yet, it is such a big word. No! There I said it, just not when I needed to. So, by the end of the day, I knew that spinning would be the perfect retreat. And I was right. I have been staring at a small amount of fiber that has been sitting by the wheel for the past week - the end of my first Grafton Fibers batt from Rhinebeck. When that is finished, I shall start a second bobbin with the next batt. 7 months ago I would have laughed at myself saying that spinning would be a way of relaxing. I had just started my lessons back then and would watch with horror as the fiber would be pulled from my fingers as soon as I started treadling. And when I was able to get it on the bobbin, there were these huge lumpy things - yes, that first yarn you ever spin. The yarn that they told you would be hard to reproduce when you got better at spinning - and you laughed, not really believing them. Well, amazing as it seemed back then, spinning has become a natural thing for my fingers to do. My feet treadle and my fingers draft the fibers without my really thinking about it. The fibers just flow and I watch the yarn take shape. It is such a joy to stop and let a small bit twist back on itself, envisioning the next step of plying and thinking about what this fiber will become. And it helps me become calm and less annoyed with myself for not making my voice heard earlier. Yes, the problems will still be there the next day, but maybe I'll be able to deal with them a little bit better. And if I can't, there is always more fiber to spin.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Finishing one project does not mean I can cast on another...

Well, I hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween! Now we have way too much candy in the house and between that and the stuff that is brought to work, I am sorely tempted!

On the knitting front, the baby sweater and hat are finished. They are made out of a wool/mohair blend from Steadfast Fibers. This is a new wool at my LYS and it was nice to work with. The skeins are "individually colored" (according to the label). I bought two skeins called Deep Woods and this color has variations of deep blues. The sweater is a pullover raglan which I did in the round up to the underarms where I separated and knit the back and front straight with the raglan decreases. I did the same with the sleeves, knitting in the round until I had to start the decreases. I really don't like seaming so I thought I'd experiment and try to avoid as much as possible. The hat was also done in the round with one of those i-cords on top that you tie in a knot. The set looks quite nice. I always like having baby gifts on hand and right now I know two woman who are due by the end of the year. One of them will get this gift.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I take my daughter to her gymnastics practice. Each practice is 1.5 hours so I sit in the bleachers and knit. Sometimes I feel guilty - I suppose I could be exercising (we're at the YMCA), but I like watching the practices and my daughter likes having me there. Some of the girls are always interested in what I'm working on. I get lots of questions. One of the girls was very observant and noticed that I work on a lot of different things. She would ask if I had finished the last project and when I answered no, she questioned how I could be working on something else when I hadn't finished the other project. Oh, how do you explain WIP's (no, I refuse to say I have some sort of attention deficit disorder :)) to a 6 year old. Yes, out of the mouths of babes!

I have been fighting a bad case of startitis. Cate tempted me with this, but I resisted the first time I saw it and I think I can hold on a little longer. Now this is another story. Sandy is knitting this mitten (see her October 30th post) and I have been thinking about getting that Smitten book by Mission Falls. The Advika mitten is really cool - especially with those cute little mirrors. Even though I'm won't be too happy weaving in all those ends, I love all the colors and I don't think I can resist those mirrors!