Thursday, March 31, 2005

Lots of Stuff for Your Perusal

I’ve been waiting for nice weather and time to get out in the nice weather to make photos. Unfortunately, the planets have not aligned! Today was overcast, so I thought maybe photos outdoors would turn out....then the bottom fell out of the sky and we’re in the midst of a thunderstorm.

My free time lately has been spent knitting, and I have pictures to prove it! Market Squares is coming along. This pattern is rated as Intermediate plus, but I’m finding it very easy. I’ve recently started tier 7, so I’m almost to the half way point.

Wavy is completed as of last night. I used 4 skeins of Noro Kureyon in color 134. I’m pleased with the way this turned out. I still need to wash it to see if that softens up the yarn. When I was splicing, I noticed the yarn seemed very soft when those areas were wet. I’m so in love with Noro!! I have 1 skein of the Kureyon left and may turn that into a Wavy hat to match the scarf. I also have 5 skeins of Silk Garden that keep calling my name.

This scarf was made with 89 yards of a mohair/nylon blend with a metallic strand plied in. The yarn is by Visions “Unique Hand Plied Yarn” which a friend got for me in New Mexico. The yarn consists of a cranberry colored mohair strand, a multi color nylon strand, and the gold metallic strand. Because I only had a small amount of yarn, I opted for a twisted drop stitch pattern to make the yarn go further and to show off the yarn. The scarf needs blocking, but here’s a sneak peek at it.

Last week, husband and daughter visited their friend Pat. Pat lives in the country and has goats, chickens, and other assorted critters. Pat’s angora goats have been having babies, and here is one of the little guys with his mom. Isn’t he a cutie?

Here’s another of the goats (not an angora) having a little rest.

Much to my dismay, daughter and husband are trying to turn my house (within city limits, mind you!) into a farm. They have an incubator set up and are trying to hatch chicks—chicks which will swiftly find themselves a home in the country with Pat, I assure you! I am not 100% behind this project, but it seems I’m outnumbered. Maybe I better re-think that house in the country idea. Who knows what kind of things these two might drag up!! :-) (Pat, if you’re reading, I do still like you in spite of the incubator!)

In addition to the chick incubator, there appear to be what I’m assuming are fertile eggs in my refrigerator! (Oh, the horrors—mental images of hens and roosters doing the deed.) Daughter keeps asking when I’m going to cook these eggs, and unfortunately, I seem to have lost my appetite for eggs for the moment. I keep picturing chicks inside them. Yes, I did eat “yard eggs” when I was a kid,and even enjoyed some last year. The yolks were such a lovely golden color unlike the pale things you get at the store. This whole "raising chicks" thing has turned me almost completely off eggs, though. I think I’ll stick to my Publix eggs (in moderation) which come from celibate chickens. Daughter and husband will make good use of the yard eggs. I guess I’m just a wimp! Yes, I know these fresh eggs are better for me since they have no hormones pumped into them, and the life of a farm chicken is better than that of a “commercial” chicken. *sigh*

Someone wrote to ask about Wilton and Kool Aid dyeing. I’m no expert. I just say “oh that’s pretty” and take the pictures. I’ll try to convince husband to do a guest post for you on the joys of dyeing with food products.

In closing today, I’d like to say, Terri Schiavo, may you rest in peace.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Some Serious and Some Not So Serious

Long time no post! What can I say? Life's been busy, and I've been using my free time to knit rather than talk about knitting.

Let's start with the serious, because I don't want to end a post on a sad note. Terri Schiavo. If this is not argument enough for you to go out and get yourself a living will, then I don't know what is. I personally DO NOT want the government deciding my fate should I ever find myself in Terri's condition, nor do I want my family torn apart the way it appears Terri's is. My husband knows my wishes, and you can bet your bottom dollar I'm making certain those wishes are legally documented. That's it. That's the serious. I won't get into what I think about this case at all. I just wish peace for Terri and her family--her parents as well as her husband.

Now for the not so serious...we had a great "National Eat All the Chocolate You Can Day" (aka Easter) yesterday. The weather was bad--thunderstorms and rain all day--so we stayed inside and relaxed and enjoyed each other's company. Who can ask for more?

Are you familiar with Zoppini Italian charm bracelets? Daughter got one from us, and my gosh is it hard to get those charms on or what?? Poor husband struggled with the thing for a while but finally got her charms on. Bless his heart, but I went out and got myself a bracelet and charms today and daughter got more charms, too. Poor husband. Does anyone know an easy way to get the charms on??

In knitting news, we've become novelty scarf making machines. Geez!! I hate that stuff. We're trying to make up a good selection (using stash yarn) for the Art Fair that is in just a couple of weeks!!! I knit a bit with novelty and then have to have "real yarn therapy" in the form of an hour or two of knitting with natural fiber. The Wavy scarf is coming along nicely. I'm in the home stretch with it now. It measured 44 inches long last night--the pattern recommends 55 inches. I have spliced the last skein of Kureyon that I plan to use and we'll see what I get from there. I have an addition skein, but I'd like to reserve it for a hat. I'm using a modified spit splice, because the thought of spitting on yarn and splicing it disgusts me!!! I dampen the yarn and my hands with a bit of warm tap water, fray the ends of the yarn slightly, and just rub briskly between my palms until the ends felt together. You can't even tell where my splices are.

I know I owe you guys pictures. Be patient a little bit longer, and I'll see what I can do!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Adagio Tea, Take Me Away!

A good cup of tea can soothe any trouble! Fortunately, our Adagio Tea order arrived this afternoon. Read on to see why we needed this!

I'm not really into astrology, but a friend reminded me that Mercury is in retrograde right now. In a nut shell, I think that means that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. That seems to have started for me Friday afternoon. While sitting in the carpool line at school, I noticed that my truck seemed to be idling a bit faster than usual. We didn't think twice about it but went on out of town as we'd planned this weekend. On Sunday afternoon, husband noticed the truck was running a bit hotter than it should, so he phoned his brother who is a mechanic. The instructions we received were to park the truck or risk burning up the engine. OK. There was no chance of driving the truck to dear brother to have him do the repairs, so we had to settle for a dealership. Husband spent sitting in a dealership waiting room waiting for the car to be repaired so we could get home. He and I both missed work, and daughter missed school. Fortunately, we got the problem (a worn out thermostat) repaired and got a new rear end brake job for under $500.

We got home about 7:30 or 8 PM last night, and daughter went straight to shower and get herself ready for bed. The alarm system smoke/fire detector is in the hall directly across from her bathroom. Did you know that steam from a shower will set off an alarm? We had a nice visit from the city firemen and police officers last night.

Let's see....what else went wrong? I didn't take any knitting photos. Oh, and the toilet kept clogging Monday morning and I had to keep plunging every time it was flushed. At least it didn't overflow. LOL!

Finally, after a long day at work, we can sit down and delve into the box of Adagio tea that the Fed Ex guy so lovingly placed at our door today. There's a sampler of Pina Colada (of which I'm presently partaking), one of Cherry, and one of Oolong. There are two bigger tins, too--one each of Peppermint and Spearmint. Mmmm mmm. Finally, there is a nice toy in the form of IngenuiTEA. This is the coolest little tea pot I've ever seen! You put in your tea, pour in the water, wait for it to steep, set it on top of your cup and VOILA! I am so loving this thing. Husband thinks he's taking it to work with him....I don't know about that. I guess we'll just have to order another one. Many thanks once again to Amanda who turned me on to Adagio Teas!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Fridays Are My Favorite Day

I do love Fridays. Today, I'm taking a sick day, so that makes it a better Friday in some respects. The down side is that I really am sick with some sort of sinus type thing. We're beach bound this afternoon, though, and there is nothing like time near the ocean to make a girl feel better.

Someone asked if Noro really is all that. Well, the Kureyon isn't very soft, but the colors are lucsious! It's a bit addictive to knit with, because you sit there entranced by the colors coming off your needles. Kureyon leaves you wanting more, and more, and more. That's why I'm hitting Wild Fibre this weekend to pick up more yarn!

I started tier 5 of the Market Squares Bag last night. The color is a purple/lavendar, and it is gorgeous. This pattern is rated Intermediate +, and that intimidated me at first. However, I'm finding it to be fairly easy. It works up fast, too.

Amanda was so kind as to send me a $5 gift certificate for Adagio Teas. Thanks, Amanda! I ordered some yummy things last night including some peppermint tea. Mmm mmm.

I've heard that if I mention the latest knitting and crocheting craze on my blog, it will generate lots of hits. What's the latest craze, you ask? Martha Stewart Poncho, Martha Stewart Poncho, Martha Stewart Poncho. Will I be making one? No way! This overly pleasingly plump body would look like it was wearing a circus tent if I tried to put a poncho on it! If you want to see a lovely poncho, though, Vera has posted on her blog a photo of one that she made. Vera also has doily mania and is tempting me to pick up the crochet hook again after a very long hiatus! Check out the lovelies she's made.

That's about it for now. Have a great weekend. I'll try to get some photos together for a Sunday night or Monday morning post.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Knitting Needle Review

I purchased the Plymouth Sister Bamboo Needle set from an e-bay seller for $74.95 plus shipping (brand new). This is an excellent price, as the needle set retails for about $100. The set comes packed in a small case about the size of a check book. The needle tips range from US size 5 to 10 which covers my needs, and the cables make circular needles from 16 inches to 40 inches. The tips screw into the cables forming a very smooth and stable join. The needle tips are also very smooth, and the cables are nice.

I tried out the needles last night and am quite pleased with them. The major con that I see is that the smallest size circular is not very flexible. I struggled a bit knitting with it. I saw this problem in the Denise set also, so I think it is the nature of trying to knit a small circumference with an interchangeable needle set. Additionally, the cables are twisty coming out of the package. They store "folded" (as in twisted the way a cable needle single is purchased in the store), so you'll need to straighten them out (hot water does the trick) before using. I had no trouble attaching the cables to the needle tips, but someone with shaky hands or poor eyesight may be a bit challenged with this aspect of the needles.

I am happy with my purchase and think I'll get a lot of use out of this set. They are the good quality needle that I like and have become accustomed to using. This was money well-spent for me.

I've finished Tier 4 on the Market Squares Bag. It looks great! I am pleased with the colors that I chose for the bag, and so far so good with the first venture into entrelac.

The Wavy scarf is coming along nicely. Last night, I ran out of yarn, so I won't be able to do anymore with the scarf until this weekend when I pick up more yarn.

My copy of Scarf Style came today! Yay! I phoned Knitpicks about my concerns with their splitting my yarn shipment. One skein of the four I ordered came today, and I was worried about dye lots matching. The customer service lady said the order absolutely should not have been split without my permission. She told me that the yarn (Wool of the Andes) does not have dye lots but manufacturing lots. She is going to make sure that I receive four skeins with the same manufacturing lot. That was nice of them! I'm happy with Knitpicks again, but I believe from now on, my orders will be placed by phone.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

You Are Dismissed

I've had to call in every evening this week to see if I had to report to Jury Duty. Tonight, the message was "if your name and number are not called, you are dismissed from this term of Jury Duty." Lucky me! Free at last, free at last! It wasn't so bad, really, and I would not have minded going. The thought of the great unknown was not fun, this being my first time ever to be called for Jury Duty.

I've made great progress on the Wavy scarf. I have run out of yarn, and have to pick up more this weekend. I believe I've developed a serious Noro addiction. This can't be good!! :-)

I recently got a little bonus at work, and I treated myself to a new toy, or set of toys! I bought a set of Plymouth Sisters circular needles. This is an interchangeable circular needle set with tips from US size 5-10 and cables that screw into the tips to make 16 to 40 inch needles. I love Plymouth needles, so this set was right up my alley. They are so compact, too! The case is about the size of a check book. I bought the Denise Interchangeable set when I learned to knit, and I've been completely dissatisfied with them. I know some people adore them, but I'm not one of those people.

According to Knitpicks, they've FINALLY shipped my Scarf Styles book--a mere 6 weeks after I ordered it. The web site also says they've shipped ONE skein of the four I ordered in a cranberry color. Hmmm....exactly how are they going to match dye lots if they ship yarn in bits and pieces? I may just need to call them about this. This is my second order from Knitpicks, and at the moment I am less than thrilled with them. The delay of over a month in shipping one item (because it was backordered and I wasn't notified until the order processed) and going on two months (the remaining yarn isn't set to come until mid-April--again, no notice until after the order processed) just is not good. I really would hate to write off Knitpicks. I'll give them one more chance, but they are close to losing me as a customer.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Order in the Court

Jury duty wasn't so bad. I was dismissed for the day at noon, because my number didn't get called for the jury panel. I'll have to phone in each evening to hear a recorded message telling me if I have to come back or not. That's not so bad, but I really hope they don't call me for Friday! We want to go to the beach this weekend, and being tied up in jury until 5:30 wouldn't be the best.

Daughter and I re-arranged her room this weekend and got her new bedding. The room looks much brighter with the new stuff. We still need to make a valance for the window and do some decorating. Here's what the bedding looks like. It's more periwinkle blue in person and less purple than the photo shows.

Daughter's bed belonged to my paternal great grandmother and was my bed when I was a teenager. My dad painted it gold; it's an old iron bed with wooden slats that hold up the mattress and box springs. The bed could use painting again (Daddy painted it when I was 16 way back in 1981!) but daughter refuses to allow that. I think she's a bit sentimental about the bed seeing as how my great grand and Daddy have both passed away. As long as she's happy with the bed, it's fine by me. We have one piece of furniture to retrieve from storage to make this room complete--a small bed side table that Daddy made when he was in high school. It was part of my room when I was a kid, so it only seems fitting that it goes on to the next generation.

Husband Kool Aid dyed some really...ummm....bad looking roving a while back and had intended it for felting. Check out how bad roving carded together looks once spun:

Is that not gorgeous?? It's almost Noro-ish.

Speaking of Noro, I'm using it for the first time. This is my version of the Knitty pattern Wavy:

This is one skein of color 134. It is 2 and 1/3 pattern repeats. I am loving both the pattern and the yarn!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

There's No Place Like Home

San Antonio was great! The weather (what I saw of it--inside for meetings most of the time) was perfect, neither too hot nor too cool. Our hotel was right on the River Walk from the back entrance and across from The Alamo out the front door. What a perfect location! The best part of the meeting was being with some truly wonderful friends, people who are in fact my second family. The biggest surprise of all was our Wednesday night celebration, a new tradition with our group. I was surprised to find that the celebration this time around was my and another friend's 40th birthdays! We have 4 of us joining "the 40 club" this year, so I feel sure we are in for more celebrating at our fall meeting. In addition, one of the directors is pregnant--she never thought she could get pregnant, so what a blessing--and two managers are in the process of adopting children.

Husband and daughter stayed very busy while I was away. One of the activities of the week was yarn dyeing with Kool Aid and Wilton's cake colors. Husband will be teaching a dyeing class next month, and he was practicing some techniques on commercially spun yarn. Here are the results:

This is Kool Aid on Lamb's Pride.

This is Wilton cake colors.

I used my airplane ride time wisely and completed tier three of my Market Squares Bag. It was quite the hit at my meeting! Everyone loved the colors. Here's what I have so far--three completed tiers and the beginning of the fourth:

We are busily preparing for the art festival. We thought that selling some knitted items in addition to demonstrating knitting, spinning, and weaving would be a good idea. We've decided to turn the stash into cash! Husband and I both have been working on some novelty yarn scarves which we hope will appeal to the kids. He's also gotten some mohair lace scarf projects going, and I'm about to start on a recycled silk shawl. I'd like to do a couple of small felted bags as well. I'm not sure how much we'll get done, because the festival is in mid-April. Ten percent of any sales must be donated to the school, but that's fine with us. It is also a tax deductible donation, so even better. Here are some progress photos:

Novelty yarn scarves.

Portrait mohair scarf knitted by Husband.

Close up of Portrait scarf.

Mohair shawl knitted by husband.

Close up of the detail of the shawl.

Next week I'm on jury duty. Yay fun. I'm sure you can note the extreme excitement in my voice--NOT! I'm laughing my rear end off at the letter that came along with the summons thanking me for my willingness to participate on the jury. Ummm....I wasn't willing. I'm only going because they threatened to arrest me if I didn't go! Maybe they'll hate me and send me home on Monday morning!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

So Long, Farewell...

I've been dashing around all morning trying to make sure all the laundry is done, a nice meal was prepared, etc. before I leave for San Antonio. Somehow, I have the misguided impression that husband and daughter would have no clean underwear and would starve were I not here to care for them. They managed perfectly well all those years I had business travel on a weekly basis. Still, I like to make sure they are cared for.

I've completed tier 2 of the Market Squares Bag. Entrelac is much easier than I thought. Husband wound my yarn into balls for me, and I have it all packed for the trip. I'm hoping to get in some knitting time on the plane this afternoon, if I don't pull my usual stun of falling asleep before the wheels even lift off the ground! I have also packed the yarn and pattern for that Little Shells sock for daughter. I finished the first one months ago and need to make its mate.

I doubt I get time to blog from San Antonio, but I'll try. Have a great, fibery week, everyone.

Friday, March 04, 2005


Yes, this is the day I've been living for all week. Husband was off work today, and it was nice having him around. He went with me when I did my work errands, and we had lunch out. Wish I could say it was a good lunch....We had Mexican food that sat like a rock. We won't be going back to that particular restaurant.

I've started tier 2 on my Market Squares Bag (pictures tomorrow, I hope) and realize I've made a mistake. I got to the second square of tier 2 when I saw my goof, so at least there isn't much to rip back. I picked up a Crystal Palace circular needle today (26 inch) and like it better for this project than the 24 inch Addi Turbo I was using. I can't believe I just said I liked something better than an Addi! The only fault I see with the Crystal Palace is that the joins are a bit "catchier" than I'm used to.

Here's another use for your tea kettle! The cable on my new circ was terribly twisted and stiff. I boiled a kettle of water, husband held the needles stretched out while I poured it over the cable, and voila!

Mother bragging time: Daughter scored the highest grade in her class on her vocabulary definitions test. She got a 99. *proud moment*

I'll do my best to post pictures tomorrow. I need to take some first. Husband was checking out blogs today and commented how nice it was to see pictures on them. Uh, yeah, right. Honey, don't look at my blog!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

You Mean It Isn't Friday Yet?

The title of this post sums up my and husband's feelings today. Why can't this be Friday? Actually, my work week has gone by fast, but I'm getting a bit tired of it! This will be a short weekend for me, too, as I'm flying out to a meeting in San Antonio on Sunday. I am looking forward to seeing my friends, but the thought of flying is not exciting. I am flying Delta (Doesn't Even Leave The Airport) and I feel sure that the flights will be delayed.