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23 posts from April 2005

29 April 2005

It's only words...

Apr28aI followed the link to Opal Yarns that I found on my visit to Lynne's this morning, and eventually landed on the page with the scarf pattern.  I recalled a very attractive scarf that was a show and tell item at the Midwest Masters a couple of weeks ago.  It was a long tube, sewn together at each end (and fringed?) that had been knit with scraps and leftovers of various self-patterning sock yarns and it was really, really cute.

If you scroll all the way to the bottom (but oohing and aahing on the way) of this post, you'll see that Carissa has started Cromarty (and is putting together St. Brigid, which I'm so anxious to see) and that she's linked to another Cromarty knitter who inspired her to start.  I'm getting inspired to finish mine.  I sewed one of Goldie's sleeve seams, wove in a bunch o' more ends and pinned it in place, but I could go no further.  I'm getting that monkey off my back this weekend and Cromarty's gonna see some action!

Ai's been watching this, training for her new gig (her at-this-point-in-time dream job) at a local coffee shop.  She was bored out of her gourd at the retail cashier job (surprisingly, not as consistently busy as expected), so jumped at this offer.  She's quite pleased that she'll be able to walk to work, too.

Tomorrow night, I'll see my baby sister and her growing bump -- and her husband and his youngest (for a few more weeks).  I'm so looking forward to it!

I applied the first of the last 14 nicotine patches this morning.  I was surprised by its size!  I've only ever used the Step 2 (14mg) patch, and it's was about 1-1/2 x 2 inches.  The Step 3 (7mg) patch is adorable -- just a little bit bigger than a postage stamp.  The packaging isn't any different, so I wasn't expecting anything different.  Those Step 1 (21mg) patches must be pretty big!  Anyway, my Quitnet stats as of this morning:  42+ days quit, 843 cigarettes not smoked, 6 days 10 hours added, $147 saved.

Climb Ev'ry Mountain, they say!  Hell's bells, my hills alive or your blossoms of snow, we're doin' it Ann!  I Have Confidence in me and you all the Cold Turkey Knitters that we can say So Long, Farewell for good!  I just love a good musical, don't you?

28 April 2005

...warm woolen mittens

Is it Julie Andrews Day and I didn't get the memo?  (Or, judging by this post, perhaps it's Linkapalooza Day!)  First, Cara's writes about her "supercalifragilistic husband" today (isn't that cute?) and then Susie, spurred by Rox, who was inspired by seeing The Sound of Music, tagged me with a new meme:

My (10) Favorite Things

It's a good thing, too, because all I've got for you today is news of three (or four) loads of laundry, two oil changes, eight rotated tires, a bazillion ends woven in on Goldie (I wasn't movin' too fast), and one new Kool-aid bootie using a different pattern.  That leaves two matching Kool-aid booties to knit (2nd bootie syndrome?) and a pair of sleeves to sew in.  So, here we go (off the top of my head):

1. My family, of course; even the extended branches and in-laws.

2. My friends, both real and "imaginary."

3. Warm, sunny days (when I don't have to work).

4. A clean house (even though I've sucked at cleaning lately).

5. Watching my perennial garden coming to life every spring.  Pansies.

6. The aroma of baking -- bread, cake, pie, cookies, anything!

7. Milky Way candy bars.  (They have RECIPES??  See #6.)

8. The smell of line-dried laundry and babies.

9. Knitting, of course.  Everything from perusing patterns and playing with yarn to conquering new techniques and finishing something.

10. Making a "score" while antiquing, thrifting or rummaging -- as in finding something obscure but meaningful to me, but not necessarily "collectable" or valuable (but if it is, that's okay, too).

So, how 'bout it? Cara, dear, last week you might have had chocolate-covered raisins on this list, but I'm not so sure now.  Ann, my inspiring, chicken-hat knitting, imaginary quitter (hey, we're up to 5!) friend.  And hey, why not Marlana, one of those just-discovered cold turkeys.  When you have times, ladies.

27 April 2005

Music to my ears

Goldie9Last Thursday, I posted a picture of this sweater with a book tucked inside its yet-to-be-knit collar -- remember?  (I've made a little progress on that book, by the way, and I like it.  More later.)  Later that day, Dixie, from Yellow Dog Knitting in Eau Claire, sent me the "exact same picture," except there was a bag of Starburst in place of the book.  She had a customer knitting the same pattern in the same color (very similar, at least) and at the same point in the knitting.  It's finished!  Take a peek at Jane's sweater.  Jane used two strands of a cotton blend, much closer to what was written in the pattern; I've knit both of mine with one strand of chunky wool or wool blend.

I sent the finished sweater link to Kt yesterday, since Goldie is actually for her rather than Ai now, and this is her reply:

That sweater looks really nice -- I'm excited for yours! I like the color of it a lot. Maybe I'll still be able to wear it a little bit before it gets too warm! Can never have too many sweaters/sweatshirts. I always feel like I have millions, but it's never enough! I'm a layerer. Haha.

"Can never have too many sweaters... it's never enough!"

That's my girl.  (There's something ominous about that "Haha," though.)  I finally finished the collar last night and wove in more ends.  Someone was complaining about balls with short yardage yesterday -- I don't remember who -- but I'd like to join the chorus!  What a pain in the butt this is.  It would be different if I was knitting something like Short Rows -- Cara it's wonderful! -- and knew right off that bat that ends would be an issue.  /Okay, I'm done.  I'd rather be sewing in sleeves.  Oh, I just reminded myself of even MORE ends...

I want to cast on a bootie this morning because I have to sit through two oil changes today.  As I was finishing up the second of the DB pair on Sunday, it occurred to me that what I should have done -- what I wanted to do -- was cast on and start a small and very portable baby bootie and have it for take-along knitting.  I get so excited, though, that I guess I forget to stop and blaze right through to the finish... they're so quick and cute!

Thanks to everyone for participating in my Peep Poll.  There were 128 votes in all, and here are the results according to Pollhost:

60 votes (47%) for rectangular
44 votes (34%) for large oval
23 votes (23%) for small oval
1 vote (1) for oops, try again (i.e., none of the above)

It's interesting because the rectangular pair was the hands-down favorite of my mom and stepdad, and the pair I would have ordered without any other input.  I do believe I'll still be ordering them, but because of comments resulting from the poll, I'll check to see if they are available in a slightly smaller size.  It's hard enough to made a determination about what looks good, but nearly impossible when you're trying to decide with your nose two inches from the mirror and with stickers all over the smudged lenses you're trying to see through!  So, yeah, thanks a bunch you guys!

26 April 2005

A prince

Locks2Yvette sent me some amazing pictures of her son, Jordan, with an email a couple of weeks ago, and they've allowed me the privilege of sharing them with you.  She wrote:

"A few months ago Jordan started asking to have his hair cut, he has been growing it for 2 years. He was a bit fed up with the negative attention it brings, especially at school. I was a bit concerned he was having it cut for the wrong reasons, and would regret it.  He loves having long hair and it is sooooo blonde, we discussed the reasons for having it cut and the good things that could come from having your hair all cut off, i.e. Locks of Love. So after much deliberation, on my part, today we cut off 10 inches of hair, in 15 sections."

Locks1Locks3I don't know about you, but I've got goosebumps.  What a terrific thing to do, and I don't think Jordan could be more handsome!  A true prince.  Way to go!

Sassy Katy made a donation recently.  Beth will soon have a date with the scissors, too.  She could use a dollar and, for your trouble, she's offering up incentive; the money raised will be donated to offset the cost of having donated hair made into a wig.

Today is the last day to cast your vote on the Peep Poll!  I've so enjoyed your comments.  It's so funny, too, looking at the "eye" pictures that I have on my computer -- I see my sisters' eyes in my own, even my mom's and dad's and brother's!  Very interesting...

25 April 2005

You'd never know

Db1Forget the abomination that was posing as a baby bootie the other day, okay?  Here's the real McCoy.  I felt the shame after seeing Amy Lu's finished booties the other day.  What was I thinking?

So on Saturday, Kt & I drove up to Green Bay to check out Monterey Yarn.  The shop has been open for a year, but I only heard about it at the Spring Midwest Masters.  I bought some Debbie Bliss Cotton DK and made the picot-edge booties from Debbie Bliss Quick Baby Knits, one of the books I recently bought from Leigh (check out the yarn she has for sale now).  I knit one on Saturday, the other on Sunday.

Db2Here's a close-up of the picots; they're adorable.  There were two confusing things about this pattern -- changing back and forth between US2 and US3 needles a couple of times (I had to reknit one of the tops because I discovered that I was using one of each, the directions unclear) and the exact procedure for picking up stitches/casting off (I made it work).  In the end, I am very pleased with them.  Kt has already informed me that I'll be making them for her someday baby.  There's plenty more I'd like to make from that book, too.

I should have been finishing Goldie's collar!  That'll see some action tonight.

I had a house full of 8th grade grrs on Friday/Saturday for Mdd's birthday party.  I've decided that I like Ai's boy/girl parties of the past few years -- the presence of boys holds the screechy, shrill, giggly goofiness of the grrs in check.  Wow, are they loud (and screechy and shrill)!  The grrs had a good time, but I had to send them out a few times -- DH supervised at the fire pit on Friday night, and I sent them to the bakery for donuts on Saturday morning!

Mdd is officially 14 today.  I made a Cream Cheese Poundcake on Saturday afternoon for our family celebration.  I should maybe have learned something from Ann's fabulous cheesecake success; or it was just not my day in the kitchen.  What would you think if you heard "Oh crap" and the mixer going and the same time?  Being ever so clever, I thought I'd break the six eggs right into the bowl while it was mixing.  One of 'em slipped.  A little crunch, some added calcium...  The next clue that it was not my day was when I was pouring flour into the jar and the bag slipped.  It was like something from "I Love Lucy" -- a big, white, dusty cloud!  I did the required baking gymnastics with the timer and slowly increasing temperature, and then the cake broke into about three chunks when I was getting it out of the pan.  DH did his best to piece it together on the plate.  Luckily, the eggshell wasn't pulverized and it was pretty easily to pick shells out of the cake -- and it was delicious.  I have not had the greatest success at baking from scratch, but I don't stop tryin'.

Hmmm2

Don't forget about my Peep Poll (left sidebar) -- you have 'til tomorrow night to cast your vote.  Thanks to Stacie for her poll help and recommendations!  I'm having a blast with all your comments, too!

23 April 2005

Peep show

Give me your opinion.  I'm sorry that you have to look up my nose and that you can count every eyebrow hair and pore in order to do it.  I might be really sorry that I'm even doing this.  What the hell.  FYI:  The glasses that I've been wearing for the past year and a half are kind of right in between the Large & Small Ovals shown below.  I need new ones.

Which do you prefer? Large Oval:

Largeoval1 Largeoval2

Small Oval:

Smalloval1
Smalloval2

Rectangular:


Squarish1
Squarish2

You may vote once; the poll will end sometime Tuesday night.  I'll leave the poll about possible braces, botox, dermabrasion, collagen, haircolor, etc. for another day.   ; )

The poll has been moved to the left sidebar and I think it's going to work over there.  Thanks!

22 April 2005

Cart before the horse

And I'm back again to fix a bad link, so if you haven't seen Knit Club yet, go see that, too (found via Needles and Hooks).

I'm sorry, I have to barge right in with an update.  If you have not been to Ann's for her "Oprah and a Cheesecake" post yet today, then go.  Right now.  I'll wait.  I haven't even finished reading it yet and I had to come back over here to point you over there.  Go now, learn somethin',  then come back.

Dsc04279Dsc04280_1I've had the books on the left forever; well, since the '80s.  More Knitting In Vogue has always seemed a little incomplete -- 'til now!  As of yesterday, I know what precedes the "more"!  Susie has been so supportive of the quit effort and I've been enjoying her blog (go see her daughter's wedding dress, and she's looking for advice about blog hosts).  When she made a recent haul at a thrift store, she looking to give away some of the excess.  I raised my hand.  She sent them out via UPS and I was tracking the package through the new Bloglines package tracking feature (though it never showed as updated, the info was there when I clicked by chance), so I knew they'd be waiting for me when I got home last night.  Nifty.

Dsc04282She also sent the container of espresso beans atop the books -- how did you know that I love those, Susie?  How did you know that my supply is dangerously low??  And look at those cute stitch markers.  Sweet.  Thank you, Susie!

Dsc04281

I was on the phone all night with the twins.  It's the first time I actually talked with my quitter sister since we quit (we usually email daily)!  It was very interesting, as we've both approached it in very different ways.  I'd barely put the phone down when it rang again.  I can't knit and hold a phone in the crook of my neck -- it would lead to traction or at least a neck brace -- so the knitting was put off (way off) last night.  When I finally did sit to knit, I decided to get started on a baby bootie.  Good grief, I barely got started and I was almost finished!  Teeeeny.  Isn't it cute?  I'll knit the partner tonight, then knit another pair with larger needles (bigger bootie) and I'll still have plenty of Kool-aid yarn to knit another bunch o' booties!

Speaking of smoking.  Five weeks.  FIVE WEEKS TODAY!  Can you believe it, Ann?  My sister said to thank you, by the way.  If you had not been my catalyst to quit, I wouldn't have been hers, and we'd still be controlled by stupid cigarettes.

Did I mention that one of the strongest urges I've had to date was after my first knitting class on Saturday?  I had some weird anxiety building up as the date neared -- my first-ever class, concerns about ability, meeting a blogger, being a blogger -- all of that was fine, no one pointed or laughed at me for any reason.  I was able to execute, to some degree, every knitting move that I was asked to do -- with Joyce Williams or Lizbeth Upitis or Lily Chin -- classmates, even -- looking over my shoulder!  It was all extremely enjoyable, but incredibly intense -- learning new things, knitting with other people, looking at the incredible work of others -- when that class let out, I wanted a smoke.  A month earlier, I would have been out the door like a shot, the cigarette lit before the door closed behind me.  I would have been contemplating, relaxing, absorbing, relaxing, going over what I'd learned, relaxing.

It was at that very moment -- that VERY MOMENT -- that Amy Lu (the fellow blogger) asked, "So, how's the quitting smoking going?"  I was in the midst of resisting an urge and I think I told her about it.  Then I think I said, "It's going okaaaaaay."  And then, along with the other Amy, we went out to lunch!

It's Kt's 20th birthday today.  Twenty years ago today, I woke up at a little after 4:00 a.m.  I started writing numbers down on a piece of paper (which I still have):  4:19, 4:25, 4:29, 4:35 -- 5:17, 5:23, 5:30 -- 6:53, 6:57, 7:03, 7:10 -- some of these were written in DH's hand, some of them have numbers following them, signifying duration, I think, and a couple of have the words "very mild" written after them.  There's one line that reads, "Shower 3 or 4."  Yep, it's a record of my contractions.  They pretty much started off at 5 +/- minutes apart and stayed that way all day.  I sent DH to work, and called my doc (the only person I know from Saskatchewan) to see if I should wait and keep my regularly scheduled appointment that day or just come in whenever.  I kept track until 11:24 when I left the motel.  I drove myself -- in a manual transmission Subaru, hitting the clutch between contractions -- the 15 miles to DH's workplace so he could take me to the hospital.  At 10:00 p.m., I finally gave birth to a 6 lb. 10 oz., 20" redhead.  Happy Birthday, Katherine!

It's one of those days, people.  I've got lots more to say.  Most of it is about smoking, though, so I'm going to use that nifty extended entry feature...

Continue reading "Cart before the horse" »

21 April 2005

Thursday is the new Friday!

Well, that's how it's working this week, anyway.  Though "sleeping in" isn't what it used to be, I do like that one day during the week when my alarm doesn't go off at 5:30 a.m. (which is actually 5:00 because my clock is set a few minutes ahead).  It was really hard to get up this morning!  If I wasn't so far away, it would be the perfect night to go SnB and eat coffee cake.

Goldie8ShrtI picked up stitches for Goldie's shawl collar and did all the short rows -- now it's just straight ribbing 'til it's long enough to sew down.  Still haven't cast on any booties, but have found some more patterns and re-wound my Kool-aid yarn.  I'm ready!

DH was at the library yesterday and picked up a new book he thought I'd like.  I may have to put the knitting aside for a little Knitting this weekend on account of that little yellow sticker on the cover.  There's a close-up for ya.

A fairly recent addition to my bloglines list is Yellow Dog Knitting.  (How do you like the links on the separate page, BTW?)  It's a blog kept by a yarn shop in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  DH bought my cable knit ring from them last December (kudos to Dixie for the fabulous, last-minute, back-and-forth service).  I noticed that Joyce Williams was sporting the stockinette version of that ring last weekend.  If you click here you can see Joyce modeling her Armenian-style knit lily coat at Yellow Dog earlier this month.  "Armenian Knitting" was the only class that Joyce taught last weekend that I did not take.

Anyway, Yellow Dog has only been keeping a blog for about a month.  I learned of it because I'm now, happily, on their mailing list.  I found their first post interesting because, right about that time, I'd been reading (somewhere in knitblogland) about the seeming cluelessness (or plain old ignorance) of many LYSs in regard to the growing online knitting community; that many LYSs have no knowledge of knitting blogs, or sites like Knitty and Magknits or other online pattern sources, or the abundance of knitalongs, or even of the multitude of sites that constitute their competition -- and possibly lose business because of it.  I remember going into my LYS to buy Calmer for Audrey; I was very excited, enthused and animated, and it just didn't occur to me that they'd have no idea.  Didn't everyone know about Audrey?  Clapotis?  Personally, I think it's their business to know.

So isn't it interesting that Yellow Dog's first post featured a picture (and the link) of a completed Rogue.  I think you're on the right track, ladies.  I can't wait to come and visit!

20 April 2005

Wonders never cease

The dumb sleeves for the stupid sweater are finished!  Good grief, I can't believe the trouble I had with those things, how many times I re-knit the cap, and how long they've taken!  I am very happy, however, to have employed two new techniques learned just last weekend.  The shawl collar is all that's left to knit and I'll be starting on that tonight.

I thought I might start some booties or not-booties last night, but didn't quite have time.  My Kool-aid yarn is too big for not-booties, so I'll have to hunt down another pattern for that yarn, but think I have something in stash I can use for them.  I can't decide which I want to use more/first, the pattern or the yarn!

Snowdrops2Snowdrops3These are snowdrops in the ravine for Heather.  (Go look; she has a beautiful Rogue fresh off the needles!)  The flowers showed up better than I thought -- the whole ravine is like this.  They'll be gone in a few short days.  Most of them are white, but there's a blue one here and there.  We had a thunderstorm roll through last night, got lots of much needed rain, and it cooled down quite a bit.

Bloodroot3I just have to show you the difference in the main bloodroot patch after only two days, too.  My sister wrote this morning about her tulips and daffodils, columbine and bleeding heart:  "Aren't we just delirious?"  We are!!  (It's not just me.)

Kt called yesterday to share some news that she just couldn't hold in!  She'd taken her math placement test and tested out -- she doesn't have to take a single math class next year, and that makes her very happy.

And my youngest sister called.  She has about 6-7 weeks left in her pregnancy and is starting to reach for the Tums on a daily basis; a little trouble sleeping, ankles swelling now and then, but otherwise fine.  She has also hired a doula and that's making her feel a little more relaxed and reassured.

Continue reading about why I think this is a great idea (baby/childbirth talk), or "Is This What I Should Be When I Grow Up?"

Continue reading "Wonders never cease" »

19 April 2005

Housekeeping

Books_1I bought Latvian Dreams on Saturday with "cigarette money."  I'd seen it before and even had it on a wish list once, then Stephanie not only wrote about Joyce but showed us a few pages from the book, then I took Joyce's class and saw her work and had an opportunity for a signed book and -- hello! -- it was a no-brainer.  Steph is right, Joyce does not screw around, but you can tell that she definitely knows how to have fun, too!  She's very quick to laugh and so generous with her knowledge.

The "Notes" book bordered in orange was a gift from Amy Lu!  (Yay, she can't quite kill the blog!)  The weekend was such that I don't know if I even properly thanked her for that thoughtful gesture.  Thank you!  One of these days I'm going to head down to Cedar Grove to visit and knit with Amy Lu where she works at Bahr Creek Lllamas & Fiber Studio.

Door1On the left is the Louet Celebrity Flair linen/poly novelty yarn that was my door prize.  I really haven't used any novelty yarn and, to be honest, I've always thought "cheap."  Then I saw the $29.99 price sticker on this hank of yarn!  Yowza.  It's enough for a six-foot scarf, but that's still a pretty pricey novelty scarf, huh?  On the right is a ball of formerly snow-white Galway worsted that was dyed with Lizbeth's help.  One end was dipped in "Jamaica" Kool-Aid and the other in "Orange" and in between the two have met.  I have no idea was flavor "Jamaica" is, but I love the color!!  Some of it will be used for Ann Budd's Better-Than-Booties Baby Socks (pdf), a web-exclusive pattern shown in the new Interweave Knits which arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

BleedingheartThis is my backyard bleeding heart as of Sunday evening.  Look how it has grown since April 6th!

Bloodroot1Bloodroot2_1Also appearing are the bloodroot.  They're popping up all over the garden and in the path.  I just love how the flower bud emerges from the shroud of leaves.  Those leaves will continue to grow and grow and GROW!

I have done a little blog reorganization.  My burgeoning, obnoxious bloglines list (those with feeds) and other blog links (those without feeds) and my knitting library list (ooh, need to update that!) are now on a separate page -- click on "Blog Links" on the sidebar to get there.  I've also added a new list for "Wisconsin Resources."  I will continue adding to that as I learn of new and interesting shops and farms and fiber studios.  Holly left a comment here and wrote on her own blog yesterday about her Weekend in Wisconsin and she's so right -- Wisconsin does have a lot of yarn stores!  I've begun populating it with sources found in Fiberline Magazine, published for  Michigan Fiber Festival (Aug. 20-21), which I picked up at the seminar over the weekend.  Though I don't intend to go this year, I had a great time looking at the ads and class lists -- and maybe someday I will.

18 April 2005

My weekend with Lizzie, Joycie & Lily

What a weekend.  I'm still on overload and still absorbing it all!

Kate & Al agreed to be dragged to Neenah on Friday night so I could pick up my registration folder; they were going to wait in the car, but I told them to come on in and smell the wool!  Along with my class information, I received a sample of Meadows Wool Wash, and Knitters I Know, a Blue Sky Alpacas pattern book.  Samples of the teachers' work was displayed throughout the store along with an array of their books on a table inside the door.  Lizbeth Upitis' book was positioned atop a breathtaking, fanned display of in-the-wool Latvian Mittens.

On Saturday morning, I had my first of three classes with "Lizzie" and "Joycie":  Practical Tips for Efficient Color Knitting.  It was in this class that I had my first face-to-face meeting with a fellow knitblogger -- Amy Lu (who may or may not continue blogging -- I hope she does even on a limited basis)!  Just by chance, we chose seats with only one person between us -- also an Amy -- who was in three of the same classes as Amy Lu and I, and we three stuck together both days for lunch and shopping.

On Saturday afternoon, I had my second class with Lizzie and Joycie:  Practical Tips for Flat Knitting.  I learned different things in these Saturday classes, but they're closely related.  I have never taken a knitting class in my life, and have never knitted with anyone except my sisters or kids, so you might understand that I was a little overwhelmed.  There was knitting being done everywhere and knitted garments of one kind or another adorned just about every person in the room.  Lizbeth and Joyce both wore sweaters that made you faint just to look at them, but then they described how they were made.  Honestly, Amy Lu asked Lizbeth, "...and at what point did they insert a feeding tube?"  She was describing having knit in this direction and then in that direction and there were steeks here and steeks there, maybe a miter or two (I'm don't even remember what she said about the hand-dyed colors) and I think I understood that it was a rolled up, knitted together, twirly mass on circular needles that was clearly a sweater in her mind, but would only reveal itself as such to mere mortals after the steeks were cut.  And Joyce!  Oh, she was wearing a coat -- I don't even know what the pattern is called -- one of the big patterns in her beautiful book, Latvian Dreams (which I now own, thank you), that turns a lacy-looking corner.

What I do remember learning is knitting on two circular needles, for one thing!  I didn't expect to learn that, though it was hinted at in the description.  That's a pretty slick trick, folks!  Really, really cool.  Where I think it would be especially handy (and Joyce confirmed this) is when you're knitting a very small number of stitches in the round -- glove fingers, for example.  I also learned to knit with two colors in my left hand, kind of picking them; and knitting from my right needle (a.k.a., knitting backwards) to my left in two colors over my left hand.  All I can say is, Practice, Practice, Practice.

On Saturday evening, there was a buffet dinner, followed by Show & Tell and door prizes.  I participated (showed St. Brigid) and I won a door prize!  There was some great stuff -- Aison from Madison showed some really cute bags she made from recycled sweaters; there was a felted, Vivian Hoxbro-designed, domino-knitted bag; some Philosopher's Wool sweaters.  A lot of cool projects and garments.  Among the door prizes was the single copy of At Knit's End that Yarns By Design had in the store; she said she was giving it away as a door prize so there would be no fights over it!

I had my last class with Lizbeth Upitis and Joyce Williams on Sunday Morning:  Practical Color Theory.  There was some dyeing with marigolds -- so pretty!  And some hands-on Kool-Aid dyeing.  I'll be doing more of that.  One of the patterns I purchased over the weekends was Minnowknits Tangerina and I can definitely see that made with Kool-Aid dyed yarn.

My last class was Lily Chin's Tips, Tricks, and Hints.  Boy, did she have 'em!  She is very professional, organized, efficient -- and fast-paced!  There was barely a minute that we didn't have knitting in our hands.  Already last night, redoing the stupid sleeves of that stupid Goldie sweater for the *^5#6(7?%^ time, I was using some of the techniques (cast off and decrease) she taught. 

At lunch on Sunday, I rubbed elbows with none other than Lorna Miser, who also taught classes (as did Sharon Costello and Debbie New).  We talked about knitting and yarn -- and kids!  It was a lot of fun and she is (they ALL were) very nice people.

Elizabeth Zimmerman was mentioned in more than one class -- they were knitting classes, and we are in Wisconsin!  If Lambeau Field is the Football Mecca, then I'll hazard a guess that Pittsville is darn near Knitting Mecca -- and Lizzie and Joycie were going to drive over to see Meg last night.

While it was nice to be quite close to home, on the one hand (especially since it was Ai's 18th birthday on Saturday!), it would have been really great to have been forced to stay overnight (or had a good enough reason, as Amy Lu did).  I missed Lily's fastest crocheter in the world demonstration, and Amy Lu sat and knitting with Lorna 'til midnight on Saturday.  Next time, I'm goin' on a road trip!  I recommend that all of you do the same if and when you have an opportunity.

15 April 2005

Education

There's not much knitting in this post because I spent most of my time last night trying to stay on task with Turbo Tax (not Bloglines -- much).  As of about 10:30 last night, they're done.  Done!  Someone else is doing that job next time.  I did knit -- ho hum, sleeves.  There's a chance that they'll get finished today.

Gran_1

Ann, descended from a long line of teachers, wrote about her teaching gig yesterday, and about her grandma who was a teacher and who taught her to knit.  We chuckle frequently about interests and things that we have in common.  This is one.  My grandma was a teacher, too, as was her mother.

Great grandma's in the picture up there -- her name was Mary Naomi, but she was called "Mayme."  I think she's the one standing right in front of the door trim on the left.  It says, "Granada School," and I'm 99.9% sure that it's somewhere in southern Minnesota, c. 1910.

Mns_1 Brksch_1

The photo at top is likely Mayme's classroom in the same school.  The little boy just to the left of center in the other photo is my great grandpa, Clifford, in his Brooklyn, Iowa, schoolhouse, c. 1900.  I think he was in about third grade; his younger brother is sitting up in the row by the organ.  These pictures fascinate me to no end -- the faces, hair, clothing, classroom decor, furniture, accoutrements of education.  In Brooklyn, there's a group of older kids studying a chart of internal organs; the girl at the chalkboard is drawing a map of Iowa and surrounding states; in the top right corner of the chalkboard is the "Roll of Honor" on which appears the names of both great grandpa and his brother.

HtsCliff, a railroad employee in Iowa, and Mayme, a teacher in Minnesota, eventually got married and settled as farmers in Wisconsin.  That's Mayme on the right, within a few years (either way) of marrying, I would say.  Would you look at those hats?  Lordy, lordy, the attendees of a recent royal wedding had nothin' on these ladies!!  There's even a big ol' feather!

I'm excited about my classes this weekend at the Spring Midwest Master's Seminar!  I'm so nervous and excited that I have butterflies.  For my classes, the teachers will be Lizbeth Upitis, Joyce Williams, and Lily Chin.  I suspect I'll be having Latvian Mitten Dreams tomorrow night, morphing into Latvian Finishing Techniques Dreams by Sunday.  Stay tuned.  Y'all have a good weekend, too!

14 April 2005

I'm not myself today...

...maybe I'm you!  Kt was big into buttons a few years ago and that saying was on one that she had.  I wore it one year on April Fool's Day.  I could be wearing it today, too.  It's just one of those days.

Was there something in my soup?  My local book club met last night and, even though I didn't read either book (in fact, just finished the book for the previous meeting, which I didn't even make), I went and had a good time.  I always do.  It's as much about the socializing as anything.  I've known and drank partied bitched socialized with some of these women for 20+ years before book club was even a twinkle in anyone's eye, and some I've only known for the 4 years we've been meeting like this.  Anyway, it was not a late night, I didn't drink or party (I may have bitched a little), and I had only soup and onion rings to eat.  I'm no stranger to the snooze button on my alarm, but it was very different this morning; I don't ever have to drag myself out of bed and to work like I did this morning.

I thought of Kt's button because somehow, in my blog/'net tripping this morning, I came across this book:  I'm Not The New Me, by Wendy McClure.  It looks like a very interesting book -- I love memoirs -- and a subject not unfamiliar to me.  Has anyone read this book and have anything to say?

There has been some very interesting blogging to think about this week, too.  By no means definitive, the list includes Juno and Margene and Cassie and Annie and Sandy.  Can I just say that I totally agree with Juno about "blogland" -- everything.

Thank you to Margene, too, for giving The Cold Turkey Grrls the Weekly Zen nod this week.  It was four weeks ago today that I stubbed out my last butt.  It's been both easy and hard; bloggers have had a huge hand in making it easier.  Thanks to all of you!

13 April 2005

I'm getting there

Goldie6Goldie7So, I think I'm on the fourth (and let's say final) start for these sleeve caps.  You'd think I could do it with my eyes closed, but no, it was with eyes wide open that I made all the dumb mistakes; eyes are open.  I do like the nice curve of a short-rowed armhole, don't you?  I ripped, grabbed correct needles, and started again.  I worked the sleeves separately for the decreases, and now they're back in sync and (knocking on wood) I think I'm on the home stretch.  I have to say, with working this over and over, and with learning (over and over) from my mistakes, I am feeling the process -- it was kind of like that the first time I knit this sweater and what keeps me from chucking it in a corner and starting something else.

Tote1Tote2It was Mdd who hauled the mosaic table out to the deck last weekend -- where it belongs!  It's another gorgeous morning (I'm thinking that we could probably use some rain, though), so I hauled stuff outside for photos.  This is the Tostetoes Drawstring Bag that Ann sent the other day.  Will you look at all those pockets!!  I have not sewn one of these, nor have I even looked at the directions, but I can tell that there's some serious measuring and precise placement of circles and stitching lines in order for this to work properly.  Ann did a wonderful job.  For some reason, I especially love the drawstring itself, and its tassles.  Obviously, there's no knitting in the bag yet, but it's very handy for other goodies!

BookSnowdropsI bought two books from Leigh that she had listed on ebay recently and they arrived in the mail the other day, too.  I have only had a chance to flip through quickly, so I'm looking forward to a good look and picking out a few things that I'd like to make for baby.  There are only about 7 weeks to go; her doc said that if she went into labor anytime after Mother's Day, though, they weren't going to try and stop it.

12 April 2005

News

P2

P1Here's the lot.  And Ai and her date.  Cute, aren't they?  Ai said poofy was in.

Before you say another word, it's not my house.  It's my mother's.  It's gorgeous.  At any minute on any given day, photographers could show up and it would be worthy of a cover shot for just about any magazine you could name, except perhaps American Garage & Car Aficionado, Basement Fever, Ultimate Yard, X-Sports Quarterly because that's her DH's domain and he's more challenged in the areas of organization and neatness.  You know those places you see along the highway -- old bachelor farms, usually -- with the remains of a badly leaning barn next to a rock-solid silo, rusted out cars, trucks, tractors and plows blooming in a garden of related parts and forgotten tools, usually some left-over concrete sewer pipe from the highway construction upgrade project a few years back -- all overgrown with weeds and untrimmed shrubs, the tattered tarps (never properly secured in the first place) flapping crazily in the wind?  Whenever we pass one of those places, my mom says that that's what her DH's place would look like if he lived alone; if not for her.

In knitting news, I feel like a page out of a favorite new book.  I don't know which page, exactly, I'm a little flustered and I haven't finished it yet, but I think there are probably several that could apply.  Is there one about ripping back sleeve caps (two of them, because both sleeves were worked at the same time) because the caps were too small and the sleeves too short; working a whole evening on the re-do and then realizing that there were too many decreases; ripping back and working wasting another whole evening before discovering -- quite late and after thinking (numerous times through the evening) about how well it's going -- that all of the above was accomplished with the "smaller" (wrong size) needles?  Here I am -- *waving* -- I'm that page.

11 April 2005

Can't stand it

CuteAi had a really good time at prom.

It was a busy weekend.  On Saturday morning, I worked a couple of hours at the antique mall for my neighbor -- she could have used me for more, and I would have liked to have helped her out, but I had to spend some time with Turbo Tax.  I also knew that I'd be taking a drive with DH to check out a space that he's thinking of renting in a small community about 15 minutes from home.  It's a mostly sleepy farm town, but it's awakening -- there has been some new development and interest.  We took a totally unknown route out of town and just felt our way back to familiar territory -- one of my favorite things to do!  I love maps and I know how to use them, but I don't mind exploring and intentionally "getting lost" now and then.  I don't always have to know exactly where I am or where I'm going.  Which is a good thing because sometimes it seems that that's my life!

Then it was prom preparations.  All of Ai's friends met at our house, then we all went over to my mother's house for pictures.  She has a huge family room with fireplace (and she's a thousand times better at housekeeping than I am) and it worked great for the group shots.  I'll get some more pics together

Kt came home on Saturday night.  She'd had DH's van at school this week while her car was in the shop, and she decided that she may as well start bringing stuff home from school.  School's out for the summer (for her) in just five short weeks!  We did laundry, of course, and some shopping, too.

On Friday, I finished Goldie's sleeves while watching "Ray."  As of last night, they're both back on the needles, ripped to the beginning of cap shaping.  I had Kt "try on" the sweater and not only were the sleeves a little too short for her, the cap wasn't anywhere near what it needed to be!  Boy, I'd sure like to finish that up this week!

And there were goodies in the mail!  I was completely surprised to find a "three week" package from Connie containing Knitter's Little Helper Hand Balm.  Mmmm, it feels as good as it smells, Connie!  Thank you.  One of the pics on the card she made was of a very cute hat she knit using this free pattern from Knitting Pure & Simple, and I have to make it!  On Saturday, another "three week" present arrived from Ann -- a Tostetoes Drawstring Bag and she made it herself!  With pansy fabric!!  Thank you!  I'll get pics up this week.

This past weekend, my fourth non-smoking weekend, was much easier than the second and third.  The first was SO different -- almost unreal, as the focus was on just making it through the weekend.  Since then, the future -- all the rest of the weekends of my life -- have been coming into smoke-free focus.  Still a mixed bag of emotions and feelings, but I think I'm finding a more even keel.

08 April 2005

Morning breath

Three weeks today for me, peeps.  Three weeks for Ann & Co., too.  Three weeks and a day for my sister.  Eleven days for Lesli (of yesterday's comments -- WOO, you GO, girl!).  Connie's on her way, too.  Yahoo!

One of the nicest things?  DH told me this morning that my breath smells healthier.  I'm taking that to mean better, but it is still morning breath, after all, so healthier is good.

So, you'll see Ann's stats -- know that mine are much the same, though because I live in a different part of the country, my dollar figure isn't even three figures yet.  It's enough, though; I'm not complaining!  Recent talk of another possible "sin tax" increase in Wisconsin, and I feel good that it won't be coming out of my pocket anymore!

Dsc04115 Dsc04119

Katy visited Ann the other day and witnessed the putting away of the Fiesta ware.  It prompted a cute post and some cute comments and got me thinking about how I put away my dishes.  I have an enormous collection of mismatched dishware -- all stacked by pattern, shape and size.  DH and the kids don't always get it "right."

Dsc04118 They do get the spoons right, though.  I have two spooners in the kitchen -- they're not even spooners, they're really lid-less sugar bowls, and the one on the table must have been from a farm kitchen because it's huge!  The one on the left is on the counter by the coffee pot (the sugar is actually in the worn tea canister).  The only spoons that go in there are of this Wm. Rogers vintage grape pattern (my favorite of his grape patterns) or a particular set of stainless.  Teaspoons of any pattern besides those two go in the jar on the table.

Dsc04120These would include the "Gumby" spoon, a favorite of the kids' for many years; "The Belmont" which came from who-knows-where; and the "Rose" spoon, a favorite of Ai's for a long time, but which (as you can see) is really a daffodil.

Happy weekend, all!  It's spring and there really are daffodils blooming!

07 April 2005

It's a two-fer

Yvopp1_1 Yvopp2_1

Inspired by these pictures from Yvette which recently arrived in my mailbox, I started seaming Opptuna while waiting for the yams to boil (and finished after consuming some candied).  I forgot what color she used, but I love it -- nice and bright and red!  Maybe she'll enlighten us in the comments...  (Cute shoes, too, huh?  Birkies, she tells me.)

Opptunafini Swatch

They're just adorable!  I put details and a pic in the FO album.  Yvette knit hers in the one year size, while mine is somewhere around six months.

It's April!  In nine days I'll be taking classes at the Spring Midwest Masters!  I'm attending four classes and had homework to do for one, so that's what I did last night.  I love the spring-colored yarn!  I also made a list of all the things I'll need to bring with me -- I think I'll need another circ needle or two.  I feel better now and can resume with Goldie tonight.

I think Mdd felt inspired by the spring colors, too.  She has figured out that even if I started today, none of the sweater she's expressed interest in over the past several weeks would be able to be worn 'til next fall.  So, she's thinking summery.  I pointed out the stack of magazines and/or books that she could peruse for pattern ideas.

I had a nice outing with my mom yesterday afternoon.  We had lunch (artichoke & red pepper quiche, m-m-good), did a little shopping and a lot of browsing.  Lots of bright green, orange and pink on the floors for spring!!

Mom, of course, is one of the people most happy about my quitting smoking and she has been encouraging and supportive -- in the way moms are.  Yesterday, there was mention of Peter Jennings, a recently passed smoking ban ordinance in an area community, and my complexion.  She mentioned my complexion last weekend, too.  "How are you doing [in regard to not smoking]?  Well, your complexion looks better!"  I laughed about this with my sister (no one in her family has commented on her complexion) -- this is one of our mother's highest compliments and, to her, improving your complexion is reason enough for doing anything!  To be honest, I had dared to think, after a few quitzits came and went, that my skin looked better, too.  According to mom, my skin always had a gray cast, but now I'm back in the pink!  (I bought new blush yesterday, too.)  What do you think, Ann?  Are you (or anyone in your family) noticing anything or is this just mother-talk?

(Finally posted!!  Typepad was nearly giving me fits this morning.)

06 April 2005

Sprouts

Heart1Henchicks1Sedum1big On the left, bleeding heart; in the middle, hens & chicks; at right, sedum.  I also photographed snowdrop buds and evidence of foxglove, but they were out of focus.  Digital camera LCD display, bifocals and perching on a hillside to get a shot don't always lead to "keepers."

I was focused on the big purpley shoot of the bleeding heart and didn't even notice the other two until I saw the picture on my monitor.  Oh, this stuff makes me happy.  The hens and chicks do, too; I love how they're all crowded 'round the clothesline pole, falling into cracks between the bricks.

I'm still getting used to the time change.  I'd knit a row on the sleeves last night, then sit there with it in my lap for a while, knit another row, space out for a bit, etc.  I didn't get much done!  I did unpin Opptuna, though, and I love how it feels!  And St. Brigid is all ready for an afternoon outing.

05 April 2005

Like a shot

DuncMickey and Roxie wanted to go out and Scamp wanted to come in last night and while I had the door open, little Duncan was out like a shot!  He's been going out a little here, a little there -- during the day -- but this was his first jailbreak outing in the dead of night.  He ran out so fast that I didn't even see which way he went!  I called several times before I went up to bed, came back down and called some more after I'd read for a while.  No Duncan.

I was very relieved when DH carried the little scoundrel upstairs and put him in my arms this morning!  He purred and cuddled for a minute, then ran off to see what his housemates were up to!  The pic is from over the weekend -- sometimes he's so relaxed, he just lays in your arms like that (in this pic, he's already starting to "unlax" a bit).  I'm going to have to get out the tape measure next time -- it's amazing how long this tiny little kitty is!

Never mind that the consensus is to get the glasses I want -- I wear them everyday, I deserve to have nice ones, etc.  I called my local eye doc's office (where I got my last pair) to see how much replacement lenses would be -- $260!  Add another $50, at least, for a replacement sunclip and it doesn't take a genius to figure out that a whole brand spankin' new pair with all the bells and whistles is definitely the way to go.  I like to have at least one back-up pair -- two is better (one at home, one in my car) -- so I'm doing it!  My appointment isn't 'til the 21st, though, so I'll be lucky to have them before May.  Thanks for all your advice and reasoning -- and encouragement to treat myself right!

I'm still working on Goldie's sleeves.  I'm nearly finished with the increases and it shouldn't take too long after that.  My visit to the Isle of Sleeve seems to be long, but it'll be nice that they'll both be finished and exactly the same!  After that, it's just the collar.  So far, I've been very good at sticking to my unproclaimed plan to at least finish the knitting of Goldie before casting on anything else.

Ann, you'll be happy to know that the Cold Turkey Chicken Viking Hat has been getting some use 'round here.  It was Hat Day at the middle school yesterday...  I know y'all want one, so join the knit-along!

04 April 2005

Spring!

Y'all may have seen my tulip sprout over the weekend.  We had such gorgeous weather that I just had to go poking under the garden covers to see what else might be popping up.  It's way, way early, so I wasn't expecting much, which means that any little greenish thing I saw was cause for great happiness!  I spied the bleeding heart sprouting -- makes my own heart skip a beat as that stuff just rockets out of the ground -- there is much excitement ahead, folks.  (Go ahead and mock me, I don't care.)  Also causing palpitations is the foxglove!  I've never been able to keep that stuff alive from year to year -- 'til NOW!

FirstbathBlockingI hadn't got around to washing St. Brigid since the coffee spill over Easter (which really wasn't that bad, I guess) and I even wore it on Saturday -- it was the PERFECT day for a sweater like that.  But yesterday, it was bath/blocking time for both Opptuna and St. B.  This is the first bath St. B. has ever had a bath and, OMG, was it ever dirty!  I filled and emptied the sink, squeezing out dirty water three times!  Man, I still love those cables.

Blocking1The little Opptuna was fun to pin out.  I kinda did my own thing while knitting and ended up using every inch of the Silk Garden -- which means I have nothing left for I-cord ties.  I even used a different yarn to seam the hood.  I'm not sure what I'll end up using -- ribbon or even a big, funky shoelace?  I have some shopping to do!

While St. B. soaked yesterday, I ran to Target with my mom and stepdad to consult on new eyeglass frames for him.  I am in desperate need of new glasses myself, so they helped me, too.  It's always nice to have someone to help because I can't see a thing when choosing for myself.  I've been surprised before -- frames look different at 2" away from the mirror (that's how close I have to get to see what they look like when I'm choosing) than they do at a normal viewing distance!  We chose some very cute, very different, very expensive frames for me (his weren't bad at all, of course!).  I may have to reconsider, but ultra-thin lenses, no-line bifocal, anti-glare coating, and sun clip add up no matter what.  I may suck it up this time and just have the lenses re-done and order a new sunclip for my current glasses, even though I'm not particularly happy with how things went at the last place.

Ai was quick to note that the cost of my new glasses (including the $125 package savings) is the same as her prom dress.  She'll wear the dress once (this weekend!) and I wear my glasses every single day.  I know I shouldn't have a problem with this, but I always do.  Can you buy eyeglass frames on ebay?

02 April 2005

Things that make me happy on an April morning

Dsc04081

Don't worry, no books were harmed during the shooting of this photo -- not even soiled!  What a great little book.  Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, you have every right to be bustin' your buttons and visiting your books wherever and whenever you can!

There are tulips shooting out of the ground in my back yard (and you can just barely see a holllyhock leaf)!

Apparently, I'm not used to so much oxygen going to my brain, so not only did I not get a couple of boxes out to some Cold Turkeys as quickly as I'd have liked, I also did not inform the recipients that they contained a portion of the generous Cara's bounty that they were receiving!  But  Ann posted about receiving hers today and Connie's is sure to arrive soon, and I want you to know who's really responsible for that chewy goodness and all those stir sticks!!

And welcome they are.  The support is just fabulous.  I was lamenting to Ann yesterday that these milestone days of week one and week two -- ones you'd think would be my best -- have been a couple of my worst days so far.  So coming home to a fun package from Connie last night with a nice, congratulatory card, some tea tree toothpicks (I love those!!) and cinnamon Ice Breakers mints was just the pick-me-up that I needed.  Today has been much better.

01 April 2005

Wanna peek in my drawers?

While not an official participant (really, I am out of so many loops!), I'm flashin' some stash today.  Which reminds me... have you ever been flashed?  I dated a nut (in a good way) once.  While getting ready for a date one night, there was a knock at my apartment door.  It was my BF, in nothing but a trench coat, and he FLASHED me!  I don't know if I'd ever, ever have the nerve to drive across town with nothing on but a trench coat.  If there had been an accident, though, I suppose the question about clean underwear would have been moot.

Goldie5Goldie's sleeves, coming right along -- I like doing both at the same time.  They're resting atop a large hamper filled with yarn -- some of which was flashed last month.  Since then, the main additions have been yarn to make swatches for Spring Midwest Masters classes (in two weeks!) and some of the Mission Falls cotton that recently helped lighten someone else's stash!

April1stash3April1stash2April1stash1A lot of stash hangs out in (and on) a two-drawer chest in my living room.  I like things handy, I guess, which is why many of my knitting books are stacked here (and on the table next to my chair and on the floor between said table and chest).  The hamper also resides in the vicinity.  (By the way, it was only a few days ago that I noticed the typo on the spine of "Folk Mitens" -- are they all like that?)

Anyway, wow, there are things you can't even see on top of the chest because they're obscured by other things.  These are mostly works in progress (with Tums -- can you spot the top of the bottle?), but there are a number of stalled items, along with projects of Ai's & Mdd's that they work on once in a blue moon.  Actually, I don't think I'd be far off the mark if I said that Ai's is likely abandoned.

Among various balls of yarn in the top drawer are some unseamed mittens from the holiday knitting frenzy, one of the Galway hats (Kt recently took the other), my ballwinder, and my paltry collection of circs.

I smiled when I saw my Cascade 220 swatches for St. Brigid (one's the start of a sleeve) in the bottom drawer, along with some yarn that I'd originally considered for that sweater (hey, Cassie, it's Norwegian yarn!).  And I spy something suitable for baby knitting!

In other news:  Katy has a cute new 'do!  Make room on the Fry-Up plate for drumsticks, Rabbitch has a Chicken Hat KAL tickling my funnybone and Ann-the-Brilliant's.

I've saved the wee big box rant for last.  Earlier this week, I was lamenting the fact that I don't have The Book.  I ordered a couple of copies from my Independent Bookseller more than two weeks ago because I'd like to help her stay in business.  I didn't get the message (that's a rant for another day), but five days later (on the 21st) she called to say that the book was back-ordered.  I found this out last night when I was running errands and stopped in to check the status.  I told her that I have friends all over the country who have the book, B*N has the book, I've seen stacks of them in Canada -- it's out there.  She said she'd check on it again and called this morning to tell me that neither of her suppliers has the book in stock, nor can she tell me when they might, and she'd understand if I wanted to cancel the order and get the book somewhere else.  Dammit, I don't want to do that, and I'm pissed off that the little guy is getting stiffed.  I don't know, maybe this is how things work in the book world, but it feels like she's getting stiffed, doesn't it?  I don't know if I'm more mad because she can't get the book or because I don't have it!  I've been this >< close to a B*N visit all week because -- according to everyone -- they have them.  I'll likely end up there anyway, but I told her to keep my order standing.

Update:  Moments -- moments, I tell you -- after I hit "Publish Now," my bookseller called me to say that perhaps she shouldn't have called me so early this morning.  She just opened a shipment and both copies of the book are there!

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