Monday, September 29, 2008

Farewell to another year, a great one, and some more stashed yarn

First and foremost I must acknowledge the passing of Mr. Paul Newman on Saturday. My mother loved the greats: Newman, Redford, Sinatra, and Bennett. When I was a young girl, back in the 70s, my mom had posters of each of them in her sewing area of the basement. My sister and I used to giggle at them - especially the one of Paul Newman bare-chested with dogtags around his neck. Throughout the years my mom would take us to see Paul's movies - even The Color Of Money for which he won an Academy Award. A few years ago I found out that one of my firm's ex-Chairman was friends with, and sat on a Board with, Paul. I got a tip from one of the girls that Paul was "in the house" one afternoon and took it upon myself to go serve him coffee - "how do you take it?" "Black please" was his response. It was one of the coolest things I've ever gotten to do in my life. Farewell Mr. Newman - you will be missed.

Over the weekend I also went to the doctor - feeling the start of bronchitis coming on - and sure enough I had it in spades already. Another Z-pack, Allegra-D, some Tuss-C (the C is for codeine which gives me crazy dreams) and Musinex were the doctors orders this time. You can always count on allergies and bronchitis to ruin any party/drinking plans for a....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME. Yes, I'm another year older today. I always wonder if people see me as "older" when I have a birthday. I'm getting carded less and less so I suppose the aging signs are there. Ah, well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, right?

In knitting news...I sold another 4 skeins from my stash last night and am shipping them out today...hooray. I can't tell you how nice it feels to have my stash fitting nicely into the bins I've had for years - without as much overflow. It really made me realize how much I had and actually need at a time.

I'm also almost done with the auction Clapotis - being home sick on a rainy weekend helped out tremendously! My guess is that I will finish it tonight or tomorrow and will get back to Sondra's sweater while I wait for the Anise yarn to arrive.

Well that's it for me...hope everyone has a fabulous week ahead!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Wee One and NASCAR

So we took the kids to the Dover, DE NASCAR race yesterday and boy was it a LONG day. We left the house around 9:30am and didn't get home until 9:45pm (or thereabouts). We had never been to the track before - and it is literally right off a road lined with strip malls, fast food restaurants and a full-scale Mall (5 minutes away).

The Monster Mile was everything people have said about it - and then some! Matthew and I watched most of the race from the seats and I think he had his eyes on his Nextel scanner more than anything. Ken took care of Casey - in and out of the seats...and finally to the car for some shade and quiet entertainment. The last part of the race was amazing and had everyone standing on their feet. It was truly a defining moment in "The Chase".

I really don't mention that we watch NASCAR very often. And I didn't watch it prior to meeting Ken. But he says he didn't watch it all that often before I guess that makes it one of "our things". Matthew started going to the Pocono races with his grandparents about 4 years ago - and yesterday was Casey's first race. It's now a family affair (except for Peanut of course).

Next year we'll probably try another new track - maybe Watkin's Glen or New Hampshire. If my sister is still in Kansas next spring, perhaps we'll get tickets to that race. Ken's goal is to get me to agree to renting an RV and spending an entire race weekend somewhere. My goal is to wait until Casey is a little older and can sit through an entire race with the headgear on!

On the car-ride down, I was able to get some knitting done on the baby blanket and started Sondra's sweater (but I won't tell her because then she'll be checking for progress every other hour!) .

I also heard word that my darling friend Dora has finished my socks for our sock exchange. Here's a picture of Casey wearing one of socks I made Dora, and one of Matthew's Red Sox Socks on her arms as mittens:

casey august 23 2008 001

Friday, September 19, 2008

No MacGuyver tricks this time I'm afraid

I was on the set-up row from Bulky to Aran yarn on Cathode last night - and all was going well - until about 20 stitches in...when i heard a low....**kerrrrrrrrrrrrrr-ack!** (yes, crack). My immediate thought was "WTH - I don't think I've even used these size 5 Harmony interchangeables yet!"

So I pulled the right needle out, carefully making sure not to lose any stitches in the doing. Sure enough the needle had cracked diagonally in two. Egads!

I sent Knit Picks an email last night - I guess should follow up with a phone call as well. Man, it's just a tragedy to see a broken needle - you never get used to it when it happens, eh?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Progress and the trip to K.C.

Last weekend I flew to K.C. with Casey to visit my sister and her kids (my brother-in-law is in Iraq). It was a nice trip but I did NO knitting - can you, not knitting for 4 whole days! It was pretty crazy. Casey and I aligned our days around their schedule so there was a lot of "normal" stuff she and I missed as well. Ah, there's no place like home!

Before the trip I had started a baby blanket for John's baby (his name is Jason I came to find out) and had been gauging for Stefanie Japel's Cathode, unsuccessfully I might add. As mentioned, I had been planning to use the Lion Brand Homespun that was sitting in my stash from a frogged project and I wasn't making gauge (too few stitches) even though I was using the right weight yarn. Problem was, I also was stubborn and didn't think that going up the needle size would produce the same "fabric" (Sue used to tell me that I like dense "fabric" - she's right!). Finally, eureka, I got it! I doubled up the yarn and swatched again...success! And even better - I'll use up TWICE the amount of yarn - hooray! Here's a photo of where it stood early last night (it's now several inches longer and ready to start the coordinating color ribbing)...

cathode by stefanie japel september 17 2008 002

I think I'll use a clasp for the neckline instead of putting on the long collar. I'll probably wear it a bit more that way.

Here's the baby blanket progress...
johns baby blanket september 2008 002

And because I never posted pictures of them...

here's a shot of the dreaded bobbles from the Textured Sweater:

bobble sweater finished april 24 2008 001

I'm wearing this sweater today, and while I've worn it to work before, apparently NO ONE ever noticed. Or maybe it's that more people know I knit so they realize I've made it? :o)

...and here's a shot of Liz's really turned out fabulous (she's lucky it didn't fit me or I would have stolen it!!!)

lizs chunky green sweater 001

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stash Busting (!!!) and other tidbits of the day

So I've been on a stash busting binge lately - which is not to say, necessarily, that I'm not also buying yarn - but I'm trying to use (and/or sell on Ravelry) the yarns that have been in my stash a long time. So far I've sold 4 skeins of Plymouth Colorspun and 2 skeins of Sarah's sock yarn. I've used 2 skeins of Caron's Simply Soft (for my Loppem) and am using up more Lion Brand Baby Soft for a baby blanket. Next project is a sweater for Casey using up 7 balls of Classic Elite Star (4 orange, 3 cream). I know there's NO way that I'll use all 7 for the sweater - that's 784 yds for a toddler?!?! I'm designing the sweater from scratch to try and incorporate a design using both the colors - perfect for Halloween time although I hope it lasts into next year for sizing. Worst comes to worst, I'll make her a matching hat and mittens with the left overs - that's the great thing about kids wear - they don't use as much yardage!

Berroco donated a couple of skeins of "Chinchilla" (thanks Kathie Doty!!!) to make chemo-caps. I'll be flying to Kansas this weekend so this yarn and pattern arrived just in time to be my "throw in the bag" project. I believe we should all take time to do charity knitting when we can...and especially when we're asked! What an honor!

My happy news of the week is that Jill blogged about the shop sample I just finished. Let me tell you what I like about making samples (besides EVERYTHING) for Jill...

First and foremost, I get to "try" new yarns that I haven't used yet. Berroco's Inca Gold is a new yarn and it worked up great for Strawberry should consider it for your next worsted weight project - the yarn has some silk in it so the texture and drape are wonderful. Loop-d-Loop by Teva Durham's Moss yarn is soft beyond measure and description. You just have to feel it to believe it. I'd like to play with it again on a smaller needle to see how it works up in a more "fabric" way - it's on my LOVE list!

Second, I get to knit some super nice patterns/sweaters that I might not ordinarily choose for myself.

Third, I really enjoy the process of making a sweater for a woman who is just super awesome and I hope the samples bring the shop more success and exposure.

My last remarks today are a triffle on the sad side. I want to take a moment to remember those who lost their lives 7 years ago on September 11, 2001. Every year at approximately this same time, I take a minute to remember the events of the day and how they effected me. I was already at work, although uptown, when the first tower was hit and recall turning on the t.v. and seeing smoke out the windows, and sitting in silence with co-workers. It was a tragic day for everyone. As I'm typing this I heard some police sirens go off on the street below and my eyes welled up. Please say a prayer and consider yourself appreciated and hugged for each September 11th we still stand strong. I am proud to be an American.

Recent photos:

loppem at work 2

socks for dora corby september 7 2008 001

teva durham peasant blouse sept 4 2008 010

koolhaas for shelly august 2008 003

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Things I Miss

Being that the summer has come to an end I began to reminisce about things I miss in life...

1. Summer vacations as a kid - what more needs to be said?

2. Back to school clothes shopping - at the time I'm sure it was REALLY annoying for both me and my mom - but there's something for 'starting fresh' (especially when Fall weather used to actually require cozy clothes...and we weren't wearing shorts until November)

3. I have been missing the ability to run lately - a lot - for no apparent reason. Ok, well, maybe for SOME reason. Our town is having a 5K race in the coming weeks and I used to run TONS of 5Ks and even won some trophies for 1st and 2nd places. I was never a natural runner, but I really enjoyed it - and seriously, there's nothing like a final sprint with a brand new pair of springy sneakers! And I'll admit, breathing was a real chore for me (found out years later that I've probably had mild asthma all my life - how did my folks never pick up on this?!?) but I managed. But now I shouldn't run - according to my doctors. When I delivered my daughter a few years ago the delivery room nurse leaned so hard on my left leg, that she dislocated my kneecap. At the time I didn't realize what had happened. Months later, when my knee was still in so much pain, my doctor x-ray'd both caps and found that they were "offset" normally which is why the one probably dislocated during labor. I know, strange, right? Anyway, it explained some wear and tear I had taken over the years - and probably why I would get foot pains every now and then...the knee bon'z connected to the shin bone...the shin bon'z connected to the ankle bone...and so on. Bottom line: I miss pinning numbers to myself and making personal best records and chilly mornings when there's no way you should be wearing shorts and drinking beer and running to celebrate St Patricks day. But man, that was such a blast

4. And because this is my knitting blog, I'll end with this. I miss being able to talk to my grandmother about knitting. She taught me the basics about 15 years ago and I kept with it for a while and then took a long hiatus. Having gotten myself completely immersed back into it over the past couple years, my grandma has now all but forgotten she ever knit, or even taught me all that time ago. I try to show her things I'm working on and how I learned to do color work and cable and can even write patterns - but something gets lost on her - although I know she's excited to hear my stories and see what I'm making. I know she is proud of me regardless and I hope she knows "our" craft will be passed down to her great-granddaughter (who now pesters me to hold needles and play with yarn the same way I used to do her).

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Peanut Gallery

Ask any parent to see a photo of their kids, and they've usually got something to show you - a camera phone picture or maybe an actual 4x6! But what about the "other" kids - our pets?

Peanut is a mixed breed mutt - we KNOW she's part Husky and we THINK she's part Chow or Collie...and the rescue people even suggested Corgi but we're not so sure about that. We adopted her in May 2004 when she was just a couple months old...her name was Cricket. My beloved Weimaraner, Gretchen, had passed away in February after a number of years battling bloat. In some way, we like to think that Gretchen and Peanut are connected since Peanut would have been born around the time of Gretchen entrance to heaven. To celebrate our new puppy, we made Peanut's birthday the date of my husband's and my first date.

As the story goes, we were "just going to look" at St Huberts to see what kind of dogs/puppies they had (having adopted Gretchen when she was 8 I was not adverse to adopting a full grown dog). Ken went through the cages faster than I did. I like to stop and pet each dog, talk to them with love, let them know that someone will adopt them and they will find a good home. By the time I got all the way around to the puppy section, Ken was already done and standing against the wall watching me. When I got to the last puppy I knew I was in love. She was so fuzzy and cute and her two different colored eyes instantly sucked me in. We took her outside to run around and she was so clumsy she fell all over herself. When we took her back to the condo we lived in at the time - she couldn't climb the stairs. It was a fun time having her as a puppy - here's a photo from her first weekend at "home".

Peanut's adventures have been many since we got her. She has Matt as an older brother; she moved to a new house with a fenced in yard; she went on a ferry to M.V. and a small vessel ride with a life jacket; she somewhat welcomed Casey as a new baby..."what is that small thing and what's this new smell!"; she learned that Casey wasn't so bad afterall...she feeds Peanut all her leftovers; and she's escaped her yard more times than we care to remember.

Here are some recent photos of Peanut - she's just the best dog (despite all her chatter! Man, can she howl!)

Well, that's the Peanut Gallery for today. Hope y'all had a great long weekend (and vacation if you had one like me).