Sunday, January 30, 2005

Griping--Leave Now if You Don't Want to Hear It

We made it through the ice storm without losing power. That's a good thing. I don't really think it was anywhere near as bad as the weather forecasters thought it would be. It's chilly today, but it's supposed to be warmer (50s and 60s) this week.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to sit in front of a toasty fire yesterday, because the guy who was to deliver the wood didn't bother to show up. The roads were clear. He also didn't bother to phone until about 2 or 3 hours AFTER he was supposed to be here to say he wasn't coming. He was to bring the wood today, and here it is 3 PM and still no sign of him--not even a phone call. How freaking long does it take to phone someone and let them know if you're going to trouble yourself to show up or not? I have zero tolerance for people who don't follow through with what they say they are going to do or who simply can't be bothered to show common courtesy by letting someone know you won't be fulfilling your obligation. This guy can keep his wood. I can spend my money with someone else.

While I'm griping, I may as well throw in a gripe about rude e-mails. I'm on a couple of spinning related Yahoo groups--Spin List and Spindlers. Someone posted an ad a couple of days ago about books she had for sale. I responded to inquire about a couple of books and got quite the nasty e-mail back. The seller (who I won't name even though she deserves to be outed for being a RUDE *$&%^) seemed to be confused because I'd "ALREADY bought those books" (her words). I'll say she was confused. I'd not even written to her until that first e-mail asking about it. I wrote back explaining this fact to her, and do you think she had the common courtesy to send an apology? Nope. May she gets moths in her fiber stash.

As you can probably tell, people in general annoy me. I particularly am annoyed by people who don't follow through on promises and who do not have basic COMMON COURTESY. I've run into way too many people over the past couple of months who make empty promises, can't seem to get around to doing what they say they're going to do, etc. Well, baby, I'm tired of always being the giver. This is the end of it. I will not let people take advantage of me and mine anymore. I wish I was half as good as Norma at letting people know how I really feel!

Now that I have that out of my system. Carolyn, I don't know who'll get this scarf. I may just put it in my "possibly to be gifted" pile. I finished about 16 inches last night and have a bit more yarn on the first skein. I have a total of 330 yards, and the pattern recommends 350. My scarf may be an inch or so shorter than the pattern, but it will be fine.

I have a feeling this might be a scarf year. Knitpicks is really tempting me with their yummy looking yarns and the book Scarf Style keeps calling my name.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Put Another Log on the Fire

It's icy here today. We're supposed to have a fire wood delivery within the next half hour or so. I hope the man can get here--roads are a bit slippery. It would be nice to kick back in front of the fire and knit or spin.

The cold weather has me wanting to immerse myself in woolens! I am quite pleased with the progress I'm making on the Irish Hiking Scarf. Here's what three pattern repeats look like:
My monitor is about shot, so I hope you can see the detail on your screen! The cables are showing up nicely in the alpaca. I love this color, too. The yarn is America's Alpaca Classic Alpaca yarn. I bought it at SAFF in 2003 and had been stashing it.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Brrr. It's chilly. We're actually supposed to get "wintry mix" of ice, snow, and rain tonight, if you can believe the weather forecasters. Just in case, we have a load of firewood on the way. Last year, we had ice and lost the electricity which meant no heat except the fireplace. I hope that since we're planning ahead, we'll not really need the fireplace except for romantic atmosphere!

I've decided to do the Irish Hiking Scarf in alpaca. So far, I have one repeat completed and have started into the next repeat. The yarn is working up beautifully. The only thing I've noticed is that I have to knit with a tighter tension with this yarn and pattern, because I was getting ladders between my knit and purl sections. I started the scarf last night and frogged it because of that.

Have you seen the new Knitpicks catalog? Mine came today, and boy oh boy! They are featuring their label yarn, and it looks divine! The prices are excellent, too. I want to order two books from the catalog, Scarf Style and Last Minute Knitted Gifts. My dear enabling husband wanted to know if I didn't want to try some of the new yarn, too! It's no wonder I love that man!!

Daughter went back to school today and made it through the entire day!! I think she's on the mend now. She was fever free today, thank goodness.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Another Sick Day

Daughter made it a whole hour and a half at school today before she had to call me to come get her. Poor baby is still feeling cruddy, and we can't keep the fever down. It's not all that high but enough to make her feel lousy. The pediatrician can't see her until tomorrow, so we have a first thing in the morning visit there. I hope that she has something which an antibiotic will cure (like not a virus that has to play itself out). She's ready to feel better and get back to school. Her school is very fast paced academically, so she really will be behind by missing these few days. Fortunately, the teachers offer extra help after school for anyone who wants it. Daughter will be there with bells on once she is better.

I spun a little bit last night and finished up the 2 ounces of South African Fine Wool Top that I'd been working on, and plied it this afternoon. I was cursing the little Kiwi a bit. It didn't seem to want to feed in the yarn, and I was having to treadle like a maniac. Turns out it wasn't the wheel's fault; it was operator error. Someone (ummm...that would be me!) managed to thread the yarn through the orifice incorrectly. How I did that, I do not know. Once I fixed the problem, everything worked beautifully. The yarn is probably that designer stuff. I wasn't too impressed with the wool I was spinning. It feels nice, but it was a pain in the butt to draft.

I have some gorgeous Cotswold locks to spin, some neat wool/mohair blend from E-bay, and a bag full of yummy stuff from Zeilingers. I think my Schact is feeling lonely, so I'll probably pull it out for some fun.

I have decided not to use the Mountain Colors for the Irish Hiking Scarf. I think the cables will show better in a lighter color solid yarn. I have some tan alpaca that may work just fine.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The "Happy" Scarf is Done

Someone left a comment that the scarf I'm making for daughter looked happy (the yarn colors), so it will be known as the Happy Scarf. I finished knitting it tonight, so now all it needs is blocking. I think wet blocking it is going to be the way to go. I don't want to take chances with steam and ruin the yarn. Thoughts on that?

Here's a recipe for you. It is super easy and quite tasty.
Creamy Italian Chicken
1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
1 package Italian dressing mix
1/4 cup water
1 8 block cream cheese, softened
1 10 3/4 ounce can cream of chicken soup
1 small can sliced mushrooms

Place chicken in crock pot. Mix water and dressing mix and pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3 hours. Mix softened cream cheese and soup well. Stir in mushrooms. Pour over chicken and cook for another hour. Serve over rice or noodles. If you're on a low fat diet, you could easily substitute reduced fat varieties of cream cheese and soup.

Has anyone made the Irish Hiking Scarf? I'm thinking of this for my next project. The pattern calls for 350 yards, and that's the exact amount on my skein of Mountain Colors Weaver's Wool. I wonder if this scarf would look good in that or if it would be better suited for a solid color yarn?

Monday, January 24, 2005

It Must Be Monday

I have a sick child home with me today. Poor dear is running a fever and coughing. She loves school so much and really put up a fuss when I told her she had to stay home. I think she's enjoying sitting on the sofa in blankets watching TV, though. I'm doing my best to keep working and pamper her, too. Thank goodness it's a quiet day in my office.

The other reason I know it's Monday is that when husband went out to crank his truck this morning, it wouldn't. He fiddled with the battery and finally ended up driving my SUV to Wal Mart to get jumper cables. He got his truck cranked, went to school to pick up daughter's books, came back home to drop them off, and then went on to work. I hope he can get cranked this afternoon.

Remember that nice, brightly colored New Zealand wool yarn I bought last weekend? I started knitting it into a scarf for daughter. I'm using alternating bands of garter stitch and twisted drop stitch. I'm pleased with the way it looks and just hope I have enough yarn to finish it off. If not, husband will be back at Wild Fibre in another couple of weeks, so he can get me another skein. As you can see, I'll need to do some blocking of the scarf: Here is a picture:

and here is a close up detail of the stitches. The twist isn't that noticeable, but I find it quicker to work the twisted drop than a regular drop stitch.

Those are Bryspun needles, US size 11. I'm not positive how I feel about the needles. These seem a little top heavy.

Guess what husband is getting for his birthday (which is about 3 weeks away!)? He is getting one of the Bosworths' famous Moosie spindles. Click the link and then scroll almost all the way to the bottom of the page to see the Moosies. Sheila and Jonathon Bosworth (makers of the famous Journey Wheel) get naturally shed moose antlers which they spin into spindle whorls and make drop spindles. The Bosworth spindles are supposed to be top of the line (I don't drop spindle, so I'm going on word of mouth) and the Moosies in particular are much in demand. I'm so pleased to be able to give something this special to husband in honor of his 40th birthday. We're also on the waiting list for Woolie Mammoth spindles!

Yesterday, instead of all that spinning and knitting I planned to do, I inventoried my yarn stash. I've been giving Knitable a test run, so I put the inventory there. I found yarn I forgot I had, but I also seem to be missing a couple of skeins that I don't remember using. It has to be here somewhere. I've not been under the bed yet! :-) I believe that I'll be de-stashing a lot of yarn, mostly novelty type yarn.

I have set up a web page with contact information for my favorite South Carolina and Georgia yarn shops. You can access the page here. Right now, I just have address and phone information, the owner's name, and a brief note about the shops. I am hoping to add reviews for each one at a later date. I'll also be posting the link to my index page in the links section of this blog.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


I KNEW that Hook 'n Needle in Columbia was having their "big sale" last weekend, so I purposely went out of town hours away from Columbia. Today is father-in-law's birthday, though, so we had to make a trip to Columbia yesterday. And husband wanted to stop over at Hook 'n Needle to see Maureen and the other ladies. I never turn down an opportunity to go to a great yarn shop, so off we went. That darned Maureen! She was STILL running her sale--everything in the store 35% off, and she meant everything. I used control. I got out of there for only $77. I also got out of there with my birthday present, even though my birthday isn't until next month!! I won't tell you now what I'm getting, because I've instructed husband to take these wonderful goodies and hide them from me until my big day!

I will tell you that I walked out of the store with three divine hanks of Mountain colors yarn, two 4/8s and a Weaver's Wool for only $11.70 a hank. Mmmmm. It's lucious. I'll try to get a photo later. One hank of this yarn is for daughter to use to make a scarf. It seems a number of the girls in her grade have taken up knitting--with Red Heart yarn and Boye needles--and daughter wants to take this "real" yarn (on bamboo needles, my little knitting snob) to school to show them what wonderful things are out there for a "serious" knitter ! Here's the yarn we got:

The colorways are Marias Falls, Columbine, and Moondance.

Father-in-law turns 72 today. We had a nice visit with him and mother-in-law last night. I took him some nice felted slippers that I'd made, and we all went out for dinner at Red Lobster. We had a great time and enjoyed each other's company.

Today would have been my dad's 62 birthday. Cancer took him from us in September 2000. I don't think I'll ever stop missing him. He was one of the most wonderful men that has ever walked this earth. I love you, Daddy.

Here is a photo of my brother's felted clogs. They are almost dry. I hope they fit!!

Today is a cold one here in SC, so I'm hoping our little family will spend it at home. Visions of sitting around in PJs spinning and knitting seems wonderful to me!

Friday, January 21, 2005

Bunny Love

I had all good intentions last night of finishing that slipper. Mr. Patrick Bunny had other ideas, though. He got himself plucked and then had a manicure and pedicure. Poor dear looked like a wet rat when husband finished plucking. Patrick still has this little tassle of hair that sort of hangs down on his forehead and makes him look like a rambunctious little boy. My nickname for him is Dennis the Menace.

I found this web site last night for Homestead Wools. You must read this site! The owners, Sandy and Jim Ryan, seem to have so much love for their animals! We ordered some pygora fiber from them for husband and some gorgeous dyed wool locks and some rainbow dyed cotswold for me. I see Sandy has already updated the web site and taken these dyed wools off, but do check out the rest of the gorgeous stuff for sale! I've been completely impressed with the customer service so far, and I feel sure that the fiber will be just as wonderful.

I am *this close* to being done with the knitting on the slippers. I have probably 5 more rows of the cuff to finish off, so hopefully that will happen tonight. The sewing together (which I don't enjoy) should be pretty quick, too.

Husband dyed some pencil roving last night. He's preparing for a spinning class he's teaching in Savannah in a couple of weeks. He's excited about this. It's his first time teaching on the wheel, unless you count his teaching me to spin!

Speaking of wheels, I've decided to sell the Louet S-10. It's in good shape (about 3 or 4 years old, I think; I bought it used), single treadle, and has a skein winder, lazy kate, and I believe 5 bobbins with it. I think we're going to try to sell locally first, and if that doesn't work, then we'll see what's next! We just don't need 5 wheels.

Anyone know of any good baby patterns to knit? I found out today that my boss is expecting, and I'd like to make her a baby sweater, hat, and booties. If you've got any good links to patterns or know any for purchase patterns that are outstanding, let me know! Baby is due in August, so I have some time.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Felted Slipper Progress

I'm almost done with the knitting part of my brother's felted slippers. I am about half done with the second slipper top and only put it down today because I didn't have time to add in the new yarn. I am hoping to finish the knitting and the sewing together tonight. I may even get to the felting, but I doubt it.

I've been trying to be more organized in my approach to meal times around here. I'm the primary cook in the house, and husband takes clean up detail. Usually, I'm scrambling wondering what to make, and that is stressful! For the past couple of weeks I've started making menus and grocery lists. With everything in the house to make a given meal, the food preparation has become almost easy! My stress level is definitely lower.

Tonight we had beef stroganoff made in the crock pot. It was so easy. I put about 3 pounds of beef chunks in the pot, covered that with a can of cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup, and cooked it on high for about 4 hours. Shortly before serving, I stirred in a cup of sour cream, and voila! It doesn't get much easier than that. was "Inauguration Day." What a waste of time and money, and I'd say that even if a Democrat were going into office. I guess the upside of this is that we are officially now in the countdown of the days Dubya is in office. Amie, one of these days I'll get around to stealing your countdown ticker! I avoided TV today, because I just cannot bear to look at the man or hear him speak. He is an embarassment to this country. Although I don't think boycotts are effective, I didn't spend one thin dime today.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


There is absolutely no spinning, knitting, or other fiber content in today's entry!

When we drive from our house to HHI, we travel through wooded areas for about 3 hours. One of the things I like most about the trip is watching out for critters alongside the highway. Coyotes have started to become prevalent in our area, but until Friday evening, I'd never seen one. We spotted one by the roadside eating his dinner on our drive down Friday night. It was one of those OMG moments for me! It really doesn't take much to excite me, you see. I only wish I'd had the camera. The coyote was not at all afraid of our truck passing by.

On the drive home yesterday, I saw a very large deer by the road. She scampered away in a hurry when we passed, and fortunately, she ran back into the woods rather than out in front of us. Usually we see deer in the twilight and night hours, but this one was out in full daylight. I guess she didn't get the memo saying she's only to stand by the road when it's dark!

Monday, January 17, 2005

I Love Long Weekends

Husband and daughter both had today off, so I decided to take a vacation day myself so we could make this a long weekend. We of course headed for HHI!

On Saturday, we went to Savannah to visit Jennifer at Wild Fibre. The shop was, as always, bustling with happy customers. We enjoyed a nice visit with Jennier and her daughter in between rounds of customers. I simply could not resist the Blue Sky Alpaca yarn any longer, and I came home with three skeins of sport weight in a lucious black. I wish this picture could show you how exquisite this yarn is! It is soft as a cloud!

This yarn is destined to become the Dutch Lace Scarf by Harrisville Designs. The pattern is a simple lace pattern, gull wing lace. I think it will be fun and easy to work, particularly since I'm using this lucious yarn!

Check out this gorgeous Naturally Colourworks New Zealand wool! It's handpainted yarn and just wonderful! This will become a scarf for daughter. The yarn has such great character that I think it'll show to best advantage in a really simple pattern--maybe a plain garter or drop stitch.

Sunday was a great day. All three of us spent the day in pajamas! Now that's heaven! We knitted, watched movies, and just relaxed. I got both soles and most of one slipper top made for my brother's felted slippers. Husband is working on a reversible cable scarf that he's had on needles for a long time now. It is gorgeous!

We finally pried ourselves out of our chairs and into clothes so that we could enjoy a sunset beach walk. The ocean and sky were gorgeous! I wish I'd had the camera with me to try to capture the beautiful pink colors of the sea foam and sand. What a perfect way to end a day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

No Sympathy for You!

A la Seinfeld's Soup Nazi: No sympathy for you! I'm sure we've all read the postings on discussion boards or blogs. "My cat/dog/child ate/destroyed my yarn/needles!" I think these people are looking for an "Oh, you poor thing" response, when all I really want to say is "Serves you right for being careless."

Dogs and cats are animals. They don't know that chewing on your brand new Addi Turbos or Brittany DPNs is a no no. They don't realize how much that new alpaca yarn cost you. The same goes for kids. They see you enjoying that project so much that they want to get in on the fun. Wake up and smell the Eucalan, people! Be responsible and put away your knitting! If you don't, don't look to me for sympathy when you're the one who's careless. Don't expect Skacel or Brittany to replace your chewed up needles, either. I think their guarantees say they'll replace needles damaged in normal use. Letting your pets chew on them does not constitute normal use!

OK. That's all my bitching for today. I haven't had any time for stitching lately, so maybe that's why I'm bitchy and fed up! What I have been up to is re-reading the Harry Potter series. I'm on book 5 now, The Order of the Phoenix. It is a good book, though much "darker" than previous HP books. There is such a sense of foreboding over the whole story. Rumor has it that Book 6, The Half Blood Prince, is due out this summer and that the fourth movie is coming in the fall. Wonderful!

Lately, all I want to do is sleep! It's become something of a joke around here. Daughter is in bed by 9 PM every night, and I follow behind her! I do take about 45 minutes or so to lie in bed and read and relax. We were planning to go to HHI this weekend, but I think I'd rather stay home and sleep! Pathetic. I guess it's just the remnants of this cold still hanging on. Husband and daughter have Monday off from work for MLK Day, but I have to work. I would have asked for the day off, too, but I'm covering as backup for another manager who's off in New Zealand for three weeks! Lucky gal! I told her to bring me a sheep! :)

Monday, January 10, 2005

Finished Object: Auntie's Shawl

YAY! I finished the shawl for husband's aunt last night. I didn't get to the end of the second ball of yarn, but I got to the end of my patience with the yarn and overly simplistic pattern. Enough was enough, so I bound off. The shawl is just right, too. It's a nice size, the color is pretty, and I think Auntie is going to love it.

What to knit next? Hmmm...I really DO NOT want to do socks right now or felted slippers for brother dear. I'm just not in a sock or slipper mood. I also do not want to knit anything acrylic. I am so sick of knitting acrylic. I'm kind of leaning towards a little felted purse for myself using some of the pencil roving I dyed and spun eons ago. I found the pattern here at Hello Yarn. I'm going to do mine without the skull if I end up making this. Skull and cross bones just aren't my style!!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Spinning Silk

The silk worms have started cocooning! How cool is that? Husband gave them some empty paper towel tubes, and a couple of worms have decided to crawl inside and make cocoons. Here's a group shot of the worms followed by a photo of the two cocoons.

I'm not sure if we're going to be able to see the whole life cycle of the silk worms, but what we're seeing so far is interesting. Here's a link to some information about silk worms: How to Raise Silk Worms. If daughter will get into this activity (the interest has waned!), she'll have her science project for the second semester completed.

Remember I told you that I'd knitted some of my handspun yarn over the holidays? Here's the resulting hat:

I'm pleased with it. It was fun knitting yarn I'd spun myself, too! This is the first time I've knitted my own handspun or really any handspun!

I've been almost ashamed to tell you that I've been using acrylic yarn. I must say that I've NOT enjoyed the experience!! I am a yarn snob and not ashamed to say it. However, in a couple of instances lately, I've needed to knit for people who cannot or will not properly care for delicate wool articles. One such person is husband's aunt who is disabled and just not capable of handwashing something as big as a shawl. I wanted her to have something special, though, so I chose some Red Heart Symphony which is a mohair like yarn. Surprisingly, it isn't that bad, although real mohair is much nicer to work with. The shawl is turning out well, and it is soft and warm. That's what matters. Here's a shot of what I have so far:

The shawl is going to be a big rectangle. Although I bought three skeins for this project, I believe that I can finish it with two. That'll be a bit more than 600 yards. I'm working it on a 40 inch size 15 Addi Turbo needle. The knit, knit, knit is slow going because we're talking so many stitches per row. I am pleased with what I have so far, though.

When I finish the shawl, I have to get on some felted slippers for my brother. I'd made him a pair for Christmas, but they were too small. Those will be felted down just a bit more for either husband or me (likely husband) and a new pair made (in blue berry colored Nature Spun) for my brother.

I really, really want to finish up those socks that are just hanging about before taking on any other projects (other than the slippers). The socks keep calling me bad names and it isn't fun! :) They need mates, or in the case of the fluted banister, it needs to be complete and then it needs to find a mate.

Husband is headed out for a fiber group meeting this afternoon, but daughter and I are planning a day of sitting around in our PJs at home. I am feeling some better from my creeping crud, but still not 100% back to normal. Being sick has left me feeling weak and tired and just in need of my own surroundings! Since the February meeting falls on daughter's 12th birthday (and I refuse to put her through a meeting on her birthday when she doesn't enjoy them anyway. Sitting around for 4 hours and being 12 years old just don't go together!) it looks like March before I'll make it back. Oh well. Such is life, and family needs come first.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Getting Organized

I'm trying out some knitting software on my Palm Pilot--Knitable. This software allows you to keep an inventory of your needles, books, and patterns. It also allows you to keep records on ongoing and completed projects and measurements for people for whom you knit. One thing I really like about the software is that it has an even increase/decrease calculator. I've put in an inventory of all my patterns, books, and needles. It's amazing how much STUFF a family of three knitters can collect. Knitable allows you to inventory your yarn, too, but there's no way I'm entering all our stash into the program. I'd be typing for the next month!

I'm currently working on a shawl/lap blanket for husband's aunt. She lives in an assisted care facility and isn't able to do any hand washing, so I'm making the shawl with a machine washable acrylic yarn that looks similar to mohair. It's really pretty yarn in spite of being acrylic. :-)

After the weekend chores are done, I'm planning to park myself in the recliner and knit, knit, knit! I'd love to finish that shawl this weekend and move on to something a bit more challenging. I'll also try to get some pictures for you over the weekend.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Christmas Pictures

I know you've been waiting anxiously for pictures. Carolyn, I never found that Christmas spirit--hope you did! We tried! Here's the cute little gingerbread house daughter made. I bought the Wilton kit several years ago and kept it in the freezer. We had a good time making the house, and I think she did a pretty good job decorating it. How do you like those bay leaf trees?

Here's the little tree we put up at the beach house. It's a fiber optic tree and actually much prettier than the photo shows. We have it decorated with some shells we collected on the beach last year. I'm not sure why the wall looks all splotched in this photo. Yes, we need to paint, but the wall doesn't look that bad in person.

When we were in Black Mountain, NC in mid December, my mom found a nice chenille scarf that she liked. It was $60, though, which was a bit out of her price range. Husband decided he could make a similar scarf as a surprise Christmas gift for Mom. This was his first project on our floor loom. The scarf turned out great (unfortunately we don't have finished object photos) and Mom loved it! Here's a photo of the scarf in progress on the loom.

Last, but certainly not least, here's my little Kiwi! I've only spun on it once, but I really like it. I'm surprised at how well the little thing spins.

We tried not to get all materialistic about Christmas, and I think we succeeded in that respect. I've got to tell you the most wonderful story. The best gift I got this year was a pair of bunny slippers (gray) and some pajama pants from daughter. These were great for me, because I like practical gifts that I can use. The bonus and the thing that nearly brought me to tears was hearing from husband that daughter paid for these gifts with her own money she'd earned for doing chores and been given as birthday and other occassion gifts from family members. What a kid we have. She is just one in a million.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Home Again

Wow. The time away flew by! Unfortunately for me, I have spent the last week being sick. In fact, I'm still sick. I've been fighting something off for the past month, and I guess slowing down for the holidays allowed the illness to jump all over me. What a way to spend time off!

Christmas was nice. I think I have some pictures in the digital camera. I'll post some later this week and also will give you a more detailed update on our holidays. The weather at the beach was glorious this past week and this weekend. It was in the 70s yesterday and today.

Tomorrow it's back to the old grind. All good things must come to an end, I suppose. I'm already planning for my next time off!!