Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I finished two projects--go me!

I finished two projects last evening. Yeah me! I completed the rest of the finishing on my two felted fish:

Aren't they so cute! I stitched on eyes and then stuffed them with polyfill. They will make perfect little gifts for my friends two boys. The fish pattern is from the Knitter's Stash and is made of nature spun Brown Sheep yarn. I bought a bunch of Brown Sheep yarn in bright colors from an ebayer, and I have been working my way through the stash. There is lots more to felt in the drawer!

My daughter was helping stuff the fish, but wanted her own project. Here's her creation:

She wanted to stuff Santa--This kid is ready for Christmas!

My booga bag was finally dry, so I put it together:

This bag is from the free Booga Bag Pattern from Black Sheep Bags. The yarn is Noro Kuryeon 102. This is a super fast pattern and one that will be a great Christmas gift for my friend who loves Noro yarns. I have some Kuryeon in the stash for a black variegated Booga Bag for myself. Maybe soon?

So, Christmas gifts are soooo close to being finished--just that crochet border on my Mom's gift.

It is time for my birthday gift-- my Sursa shawl:

I have the yarn, so I decided now was the time. Here's the very beginnings of the shawl:

The pattern is from Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton's second book (the one that has Klaralund). Once again I love the designer's color choices, so I am using the same: Noro Silk Garden No. 87 and Cash Iroha No. 77. Since Texas weather went from 78 yesterday morning to 48 in the evening, this could indeed come in handy!

Monday, November 29, 2004

What happened to Vacation?

What happened? How can it possibly be Monday? I'm just starting to feel rested and pow. Back to the last few weeks of the semester. This last push is always hard, as I'm feeling just burned out and tired. But, a few more grading sessions and papers to get ready....

Thanksgiving was just a nice break. My cranberry sauce (recipe in the Thanksgiving Bon Appetit, New England version) was declared the best ever, as was the pumpkin pie. I brined the turkey, but it received mixed reviews. I thought it wasn't bad--nice and juicy. My husband declared it a "salt lick." You know, this is the man that used to eat cold baked beans out of a can, leaning over the kitchen sink, and think that was dinner. I think he is spoiled. Too much good food makes the man forget... (I worked as a personal chef between my Ph.D. and return to academia...It was a great break, but HARD WORK. The upshot, for our family, is that my cooking is far better than the husband's.)

I discovered that I could read and knit at the same time. Multitasking! What did I decided to read? The Thursday Next series! Do you know these amazing books? Jasper Fforde has a great wit and tremendous knowledge of literature. Next is sort of a sci fi, geek literary text, murder mystery, and more all rolled up into a funny set of books. I had read the first two, but wanted to re read them before starting the two new ones. I forgot just how much fun The Eyre Affair (as in an endangered Jane Eyre--Regency House is boring compared to this) was to read. I can categorically state (where does that strange expression come from anyway?) that these are the best books that I have read in a very long time.

So about that knitting... The fish need eyes... then they are finished. The booga bag is finished--sort of. Here's pre felting

and after

I would have finished it up, but it is still damp. We have been having super rains in Texas--all the rivers hit flood stage--so the moisture in the air isn't helping. Maybe by tomorrow?

I finished everything but the crochet finishing on my Mom's Christmas gift, so that should be done (with pictures) by the time my Mom visits.

What to do with three projects in near finished process? Pick through that list of projects and get going! I chose the Sally Melville Knit Flat hat and mitts. Here's the hat to date:

I'm a little concerned that I'm going to run out of yarn, as the hat took more than I thought it would. I ordered the yarn from Patternworks a while ago. It is 127 print in shade 20, a very pretty red with some other colors mixed. It is so soft!

And last, for the grandma's surviving the snow, here's lots of kid pics.

Anna decided to help her father clean out the flower beds:

If you are kid in Texas, what do you wear outside? Well, there's that pink cowboy had that you bought at Cavender's boot city (Mommy was pushing for the red hat, not the pink, but no luck), your fun fleece coat from Cousin Emily, and the all necessary rubber rain boots to protect the feet against the swarms of fire ants and snakes. yup. I'll tell you our snakes in the house story at some point when I hit a slow knitting day.

On Sunday we decided to get our tree, as the time leading up to Christmas is just going to get crazier and crazier. We cut our own tree at a place South of town. I love to go to this very Texas-ey Christmas farm. Plus, it is cheap. A nice fresh tree (6.5 feet) for 28.50. I don't think you could buy a pine bough in New York for 28.50.

We brought it up and put it up. For the first time, Anna seems to understand Christmas. I think she was a little excited.

She helped me to put up the ornaments:

I caught her giving the tree a big hug and smacking kiss--she announced to the tree "I love you"!

But, try as I might, it was a little more difficult to explain that we had to wait for Santa to bring presents for a full month. Out two year old wants "chocolate and books," and she wants Santa to bring them now!

Hope you enjoyed your all too short break!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've made the cranberry compote, the pumpkin pies, brined the turkey, baked the yams to be pureed... All is well.

I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Felting Galore!

I finished up my little fish this weekend. Here they are pre-felting:

And then they took about a 8 minute swim in the hot water:

Now I am waiting for them to dry so that they can have little eyes added on and then a healthy dose of stuffing. Maybe tonight?

I'm still knitting my Mom's gift, but some progress is being made.

And, I started my last knitted Christmas gift for the year: my friend's Booga Bag. This is a fun knit, super fast, and it should be very pretty.

I have some Kureyon in the stash for a booga bag for me. Maybe when my Christmas knitting is finished?

Friday, November 19, 2004

Friday is For Felting Fishies

Alliteration. I just had to have it. Sorry. So, I am almost finished both of the fish toys that I am working on. I have one completely ready to go in the wash. The other needs to have its fins knitted, then it too is ready. I will take a before and afte rpictures, but it looks like I should finish these on the weekend.

As for my Mom's secret project, it is coming along. The main part of the project is big--60 inches long. I'm at about 45, so progress is being made.

No other news--just looking forward to the weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

New Orleans Part 3

Hey. More New Orleans! I promise this will be it for showing yarn for a while--more to follow later.

Ok. So, the second day I headed to the Garden District Needlework Shop. This was such a great store! It is large and full of all kinds of lovely yarns. I saw Schaeffer yarns for the first time (wow!), Cherry Hill, Koigu, Colinette, Lorna's Laces, Rowan and so much more. Plus, the owner and staff are so friendly and helpful. I plopped myself down at their table, they brought out their lunches and margaritas and we had a lovely chat about Sweden, continental vs. mixed knitting, and more.

Given my lengthy stay at the store, let's just say that I ended up having a few items to bring home with me.

Ok. Here's the run down. I decided that I wanted to make a friend the Booga Bag for Christmas, so I bought some pretty pink Noro Kureyon:

I thought maybe some pretty sock yarn and of course some needles:

And look! The Colinette Mercury that I need to edge my Granada jacket:

Then, I made it to the Rowan. I looked through the new Ribbon Twist book:

and this caught my attention:

Yes, that is a stupid picture, but I love the little capelet. I recently gave up all hope for my poofy capelet, since the bind off just wouldn't end up loose enough. This has potential, though. So, I picked up this pretty grey yarn:

Ok. Enough damage. I thought that should be it. I forgot about this:

This is to make Lisette from the new Rowan book. I feel queasy....

I was thinking that all of my stash should fit in one cupboard:

But with my latest, it doesn't fit! Horrors! I eyeballed additional spots that my husband, Mr. Clutter-Free, wouldn't look. Hmmm.

Hee. Look!

No more. No more. Really! I have to go knit...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

New Orleans, Part 2

I am still trying to recover from my short conference trip to New Orleans. Really.

But, very exciting, I received a call from the owner of the newly launched local yarn store yesterday and, believe it or not, I actually won a door prize from the opening! Yup. I never win anything, and I managed to win the lovely Lost Points Shawl, made from yarn from the South West Trading Company.

This yarn is really interesting--there is a bamboo based yarn (the ribbony looking purple) and a soy product novelty yarn in the kit. I'm looking forward to giving this a try, but it looks like I will put it aside as spring/summer knitting. I have a long list of heavier weight items to take care of first....

So, I did get to go to two yarn stores and a fun restaurant in my whirlwind conference stop in New Orleans. I'll blog about the first today. I went to the Quarter Stitch, which is right in the French Quarter. I must say that I was disappointed with the shop for a couple of reasons--it was very expensive, had a very small selection of yarns, and the one clerk was pretty snotty. Not my idea of a great time. But, the other clerk was very helpful and nice, so I picked up the supplies for two projects. I probably wouldn't have bought anything had I known what the next store had to offer, but I was afraid I would have nothing to show for my trip otherwise!

Here's my cute little package (a little mushed from airline security):

What's inside the fancy mardi gras wrap? Well, I bought some lovely Inca Alpca in green for the leaf scarf in Scarf Style:

The alpaca is SOOOO soft that I just stood there and patted it.

Then, I ended up with the Colinette (again--why do I keep buying this yarn? What is it about the stuff?)

I bought the Engima yarn book:

I decided the Granada jacket would be perfect for summer in Texas in an airconditioned building:

What color of their ribbon yarn did I pick?

That's Popsicle or Poppa sicle as my daughter says.

In the evening I headed over to Herbsaint for dinner. While the dinner was good, it wasn't spectacular, so I was a bit disappointed. The best part of the dinner was the steamed mussels with pommes frites. Yummy salty and garlicky. I enjoyed the Shrimp and Green Chile Grits Cakes with Tasso Cream Sauce--a perfect creamy mix with crunchy hot grits. The Homemade Spaghetti with Fried Poached Egg and Link's Panchetta (a signature dish) was disappointing. The Panchetta, in particular, was not cured well, tasting a bit off. I also had the Banan Brown Butter Tart with Fleur de sel caramel, which was just too sweet. The wine list was good, but I can't say that I would head back to the restaurant when there are so many other great restaurants in New Orleans.

Tomorrow I'll have pictures from the other yarn shop--Garden District Needlework shop and a definate must visit.

Monday, November 15, 2004

New Orleans Trip, Part 1

Well, I made it through my whirlwind trip to New Orleans and back. My presentation went well, with a good number of folks in attendance. My ex-boss said nice things about my presentation, and my final report goes in today. So, officially complete with my previous Honors job!

I will put up pictures of the yarns that I purchased on my trip in a day or so, plus a report of the yarn stores, but I wanted to show my fishies! These soon to be felted fish are from the Knitter's Stash. I was busy on the plane to and from the conference:

These two are destined for Christmas gifts to two great little boys (my best friend's kids--she informed me this past week that we've know each other 20 years! 20 years! My. We are OLD!).

Among the packages awaiting me on my return was the sock yarn that I ordered from an ebayer. The color is geranium. Isn't the yarn pretty?

I'm ready to get started on socks, but I have to clear out a few Christmas gifts first. I'm about half finished my mother's secret knitting gift, which is good because I want it finished to present to her when she visits in December. I'll post pictures upon her receipt! She can model! (hee hee... she reads the blog...You will model, right?)

On Sunday our town inaugurated its first LYS! I went to the grand opening of the Hook and Needles and picked up a few things:

The tape measure and needle point protector were gifts. I hope this yarn store thrives. Just the ability to sit and knit in a place would be great. They had a small selection of needles, books, and yarn, and plan to do some knit ins and classes. Very exciting!

On a final note, it looks like winter (as it is here in Texas) has finally arrived. I changed out my daughter's clothes, and decided we should try on the hand knit hat her Grandma Janet made. It still fits!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Who's the hat for anyway?

Calvin's hat (or is it) is finished. I plunked it down on the rug this morning to get a picture. Here's the best pictures I was able to get without interference:

Then my daughter announced that the hat was actually hers (as is everything these days).

A little tight? I tried to explain that the hat was for the baby. That only means one thing:

Yes, that hat must be for her favorite baby doll. All this discussion was actually fairly uninteresting to Anna:

I'm trying to decide what sort of knitting might make it aboard my flight tomorrow. I'm thinking either socks (small dpns) or fish (dpns and circulars). I like to knit with bamboo needles, so hopefully the security folks will buy into the idea that these toothpicks couldn't do much damage. I'll take my self addressed stamped envelope just in case someone decides the contrary.

Off to New Orleans! Back on Monday with goodies, hopefully!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Big Plans, New Orleans

I made some progress with Calvin's hat--it is ripped and restarted and looks appropriate now. I finished the main body of the hat, and tonight I will finish it. Pictures tomorrow.

I am getting ready to give a talk at a conference in New Orleans. Of course, that means I am planning some yarn store visits. Any suggestions about where I should visit? I'm near the French quarter, so The Quarter Stitch and the Garden District Needlework store look good. I think that they both carry Schaeffer Yarn, which I really want to see in person. I leave Friday, so one more post before the weekend!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Is there an Errata?

So I count and recount the lace hat pattern found in Vanessa-Ann Knitting for the First Time. And I might be an English person, but I can count up to 10. And there is a mistake in the pattern. A major mistake. So, even though this is my first lace attempt I think, "go with your inner knitting goddess voice. Breathe. Feel the lace" (Ok maybe I forgot I was knitting and morphed into my yoga relaxation, but you get the idea). I easily fixed the counting issue, and the lace looks pretty nice. I also remembered to use the little stitch markers at each pattern repeat, which was a huge help. So, I am thinking, I might be moving beyond the beginning knitter stage!

I plunge ahead into my hat, excited to hit the knitting in the round part when, in between watching my daughter dance with the Wiggles, it dawns on me that there is another problem:

Do you see it? The little lace part is supposed to flip up. If so, then the right side needs to switch at the base of the hat. Right now, the flip up part will be the ugly back side of the pattern. Yuck. I did follow the pattern exactly, using my clicker (cache cache) to mark each row. But, nope. I have to frog the whole thing back to the lace. Argh. In disgust I pick up the easy knitting secret project. I click away to salve my nerves. I consider the secret German chocolate stash in my kitchen cupboard.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Knitting? Yes. Thoughts? Maybe.


I have been knitting--in face I made great progress on my Mom's secret progrect while my daughter was charging up and down the sliding board at the playground. And the booties are complete:

Aren't they cute? I really like working with Mission Falls cotton, though I'm not sure how it will hold up over time. Guess we'll see. I cast on the hat and am working on the lace part. I have had to frog it a few times, but it really is my first lace try. I've got to start somewhere!

I was considering what to make my friend's children for Christmas, and here's what I came up with:

I love these little felted fish! They are cute, plus the colorwork will be fun. And, I have a ton of bright colored Nature Spun Brown Sheep in my stash. Perfect.

Look at the lovely yarn that I received in the mail:

This is for the edging of Sursa, the shawl from Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton 2. Klara is so beautiful, that I am anxious to try another Noro project. My Mom is giving me the yarn for my (upcoming, I'm in denial, I'm really only 28) birthday, so I couldn't resist. I'm still waiting for the Silk Garden for the main body of the shaw, but the Cash Iroha continues to amaze me. This bright green was difficult to find, but I snatched the three skeins up when they became available.

And here is what my daughter did all weekend:

Do you see the color theme?


Yes, I have been thinking (Shocking). I have been thinking about some of the issues raised by the flaming war over on Wendy's blog. If you read the entries and comments, then skip on over to The Dishcloth Queen, you will see lots of views on the position of blogs. Are they public, are they private, do you have any responsibility for what you write or to whom you write?

I don't quite know what to make of the flaming (actually I do--see below), but I do think that once you put up a blog, it isn't a private journal anymore. Blogs have been getting much too much attention, particularly from the political situation, to be private anymore. Just by the nature of putting them on line, they become part of the public discourse. Add to that the ability to track down folks electronically, one is fairly exposed. I also know that legally, once you publish on the blog, your writing is public domain, though polite folks quote and attribute.

It is also interesting to see how knitbloggers respond to the public nature of the blog. For example, I see some bloggers who refuse to put any personal details or pictures of their faces on their blog. Others are far more revealing (see the Yarn Harlot's bra discussion! What a hoot!). My own blog has walked the line between these two. Let's just say you never know who might be reading this thing, while I do like to use the blog to ponder more personal issues (such as this--nobody else probably cares for my babble).

The flaming? Maybe I have been living in the South for too long, but I hate to see petty and ugly posts. Flaming just seems rude. But, I realize that lots of folks like blogs because they are a place to vent. I also worry about issues of privacy. I think my experience is impacted by the numerous students I have had over the past 15 years who have been stalked. You never know what people might do with information--I wouldn't want to be responsible for harming a person, no matter how out of hand their comments and behavior might be.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Booties in Progress! Scarf Style A long!

I pulled out this pretty light green Mission Falls 1824 cotton that has been hanging around in my stash to start the baby booties and hat. I am using the patterns from the Vanessa-Ann Knitting for the First Time book. The patterns are cute, with some details, but fast knits. Here's the first bootie:

I haven't sewn it yet, but it gets a cute yellow i cord tie, as well. I should rip through these and have them ready by Calvin's birth!

I also ordered Pam Allen's Scarf Style. I have been considering trying some of the projects in the book, but finally broke down and ordered it. I also joined the Scarf Style Knit a long:

It was time to start a new knitalong, as I have completed the other three I was in. This should be a lot of fun!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Technical Difficulties and Must Read Blog!

Technical Difficulties

I have been having some problems with my RSS feed on the blog. I did manage to switch over the feed to feedburner, which is generating a better automated feed. But I don't know how to switch over (or if it is possible to switch over) the Bloglines subscribers to my last feed, that was generated on Blogstreet. I don't know what was going on at blogstreet, but it isn't working well and is clunky. Feedback seems to be a much better option.

Any suggestions from techno type knitters are welcome!!

Must Read Blog

If you haven't looked at my next door knitting ring neighbor, Sweet Georgia, please do! Not only is Felicia an amazing knitter, but her pictures are professional quality. I like to look at her blog for more than the inspiring knitting content: her food pictures are magnificent. I always turn away from her blog thinking, what should we have for dinner?

Oh, yes, Knitting you ask? I worked on the secret project for a while last night and planned my baby gift project for the soon to arrive Calvin. I have some nice Mission Falls 1824 cotton in a pretty greenish that I will use for booties and a hat. Since Calvin should come in December, he might actually get some wear out of knitted items!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

What's Next?

So what comes next? It is tough to be a Democrat in Texas. Let's just leave it at that!

Today it is 60 degrees in Texas. What does that mean? It means you see tons of students walking around with hats, mittens and sweaters. Yup. We think the arctic blast is here. At least I can now wear my sweaters without sweating! I'm not seeing the need for mittens yet, but hey--it's getting colder!

The other part of the "What's Next" question is about what's the next knitted project. I have finished the felted bag and Klara, and the Poofy capelet needs to be re-bound off as it was too tight my first go around. So, three projects are finished or will be shortly.

I cast on and started Mom's Secret Stealth Christmas Project. It is a long project, but not particularly difficult, so with some steady work, it should be finished by Christmas or before. No pictures, though, as Mom peruses this blog for pictures of her only Grandkid!

Which leads me to a conversation that I had with my husband the other night:

Hubbie: "You need to knit something that is more challenging"

Me: "Are you concerned that I am spending too much money on yarn?"

Hubbie: "Oh, no. It seems like you are getting really good and should try something more difficult and fun."

Hmm. I stick to my suspicions about his concern about the yarn budget, but he does have a point. None of the recent projects have made me really think. And I wouldn't mind having a project that challenges me.

So I started to consider what will increase my skills. I have a few projects that I am excited to work on, but there are some other things that might be fun. I've already decided to try the cabled purse, which will develop a new skill. I think socks might be fun too. Any suggestions for a good beginning sock pattern?

I also want to try some patterned knitting. My poncho has a patterned stitch, but it doesn't seem particularly hard. I would absolutely love to make the Danish Nattrojer in Interweave Knits, but it is probably too much of a jump at this point. So, I'm settling for the lovely Lisette from the Rowan 36.

I also need to add a baby gift to my list. Perhaps a pair of booties and hats? Any thoughts on cute small projects for a little boy to be named Calvin?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Big Day

Yes, it is a big day. Vote! Don't let anyone take away your right to be heard. While I will say that living in Texas is a bit hard on a Democratic voter, I think going to the polls is just something that you have to pencil in on your calendar. Doesn't matter how you vote--just do. If you don't know where to vote, or have problems getting in to the polling places to vote, take a look at My polling place.com.

A side bar to all of this is my disgust with those who are challenging voters at the polls in Ohio. If there is anything that strikes me as un-Democratic about this election (and there are numerous), it is targeting minority district voters with intimidation. I don't buy the "there might be voter fraud" argument. If that was the case, these people would be in the rich white areas going through the same strategy. I just really fear that this is going to be another "in the courts" election. Sigh. (ponders if Chocolate will help with this disgust--maybe a little).

Another high point today--The Klaralund debut! It is actually cold (by Texas standards) and rainy, so I put the finished Klara on and wore her to work. Here are the pictures:

And some small person wanted Daddy to take her picture too:

I made the second small size (s2) in the errata to fit a 38. I used the Noro Silk Garden 8, the same colorway in the original pattern. The sweater only took 7.5 skeins of yarn, so I'm trying to figure out what I could make with the leftovers--something felted? I did end up shortening the arms 1.5 inches, which was a good idea. They are longish, but feel right.

Thanks to all of the Klaralund Knit a longers for their guidance! I appreciate it!

Gallery of Finished Objects

Gallery 2007
Gallery 2006
Gallery 2005
Gallery 2004

On the Needles

Cable Cardigan

Faroe Island Sweater

Rowan Denim Seahorse


Future Knits

Lisette from Rowan

Lorna's Laces Socks

Backyard Leaves Scarf

Eloise from Jane Ellison


The WeatherPixie


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