Thursday, March 31, 2005

One Finished Sleeve!

One sleeve down, one to go.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

There's a Party at our house!

We're having a party at our house! Everyone is having a good time.

Rollins, the cat, is enjoying sharing Anna's new bean bag while they watch Barney together:

I'm hanging out on sleeve island. Coquette has sleeve 1 about half way finished. Let's not talk about my inability to count and frogging about 45 rows. Ahem.

The yarn basket is enjoying a new addition:

No, that isn't yarn. It is an envelope. What does the said envelope contain to make owner and basket overjoyed?

Tickets to see U2 in Houston! Whoopee! Notice they are floor seats. .. I've been a U2 fan since they released their second album, seen them tons of times, and am dragging my poor husband to the show. It is the first time I have had to think about a babysitter rather than a beer run, but eh. Can't wait--I heard the tapes from their first show and it looks to be an awesome concert.

And, to make my life complete, the Barnes and Noble had the Yarn Harlot's book, At Knit's End:

What a funny book and perfect for knitters. It is a fast read, with short sections on knitting. Check it out, please! Of course the Yarn Harlot would be pleased to see that my book has been christened:

That's yarn fiber and coffee stains. What more could a girl want?

Monday, March 28, 2005

Spring Joy!

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. It is turning into spring here, though if you blink you might miss the weather turn (it went from 80 to 45 in a day...)

The field next to our house is covered in spring flowers: Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrushes, daises:

When we went for a walk, they were so beautiful--the best time of the year in Texas.

Of course Anna enjoyed the walk:

But the biggest hit was certainly the Easter bunny. When the first chocolate was spotted, Anna's day was complete:

Who can resist an Easter basket?

What could make the weekend complete? My Secret Pal!


What a great gift! Not only is there a cute bunny and some pretty butterfly markers for flowerpots or my front garden, but there is the yummiest smelling prickly pear soap, made in El Paso by Cactus Mary. I kept smelling this great smell, but didn't find the soap until the end.

Of course, the bunny quickly found a loving friend:

My SP also included a National Geographic Expedition Journal, which just tells you how much SP has figured out about me--I will use it when traveling to keep my notes. And the best part of the gift is two skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca in a pretty black color. Now what to make? Any thoughts/

Thanks a billion SP! Can't wait to get to the big reveal!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I survived!

I survived the TV interview yesterday. I had to go on our local PBS show to do some publicity for a Louisa May Alcott Symposium that we are putting on at the Bush Presidential Library & Conference Center April 22. I don't relish the idea of my face being beamed with Hi-Def TV, but hey--we need the PR.

Here I am in the middle with the interviewer on the left and my boss on the right who is doing a big local reading event:

While this week has not been great for knitting, I did finish my first sock:

Great pattern and yarn, Secret Pal! They are soft and lovely--and I like the twisted ribbing lots. Notice that my daughter thought that her doll, Freddie, needed to show off her socks as well..

Tomorrow I have no daycare, so I won't be able to blog--we are going to a local Easter hoo ha. Have a super weekend!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I do still knit!

Yes, I do still knit. Really. Proof, you ask? Well, I cast on for the front of Anna's now birthday party dress the other day. It is going to be boring old stockinette stitch until I get to the intarsia flower--at 11.5 inches.

And I fished around in my knitting bag to find good old Coquette. Remember her? In cast you don't, here she is:

Well I have the front and back finished and, since I hate to leave projects sit, I decided to get busy with the sleeves. Here's the proof:

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Pt. 2

Our second day at the show/rodeo was a lot of fun, in part because some friends joined us. They recently relocated to Texas from Germany. While our friend John is American, Maia is Danish. It is always fun to hear what others think of American and, in particular, Texas. You know, Texans do believe that we are a country onto ourselves.

We caught a few of the animal shows in the morning. The cattle show was a big favorite:

And of course there was another fun ride on the ferris wheel at the midway--Bruce's turn to ride with the kid:

And Anna had to try another round at roping:

But the highlight of the day was the fiber exhibit. We watched people knit, crochet, weave, and spin--but we were most interested in the drop spindle demos:

I have always sworn that knitting was enough of a fiber obsession, but after seeing a drop spindle in action, I understand the interest.

Here is my feeble attempt to make some grey roving look like yarn:

Maia had some experience with a drop spindle. Apparently she was a girl scout or its equivalent in Denmark a child and learned some fiber crafts. Here is her experienced spindling:

This was such a relaxing and fun trip. Add to that beautiful, warm weather (75 degrees F).... A great end of spring break.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Pt. 1

Off we went to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Friday and Saturday. We had such a great time (and took lots of pictures) that I will take two blogging days to tell you about it (part of this is to fill my lack of knitting--more on that mid week....)

There are several reasons that I love this type of event. First, my daughter is obsessed with animals. She continually asks to ride a horse--and since we have an empty horse barn it makes sense that we might buy her a horse in the future. This is a great way to spend the day for our family. Also, the fairs and shows are a huge cultural event for Texans. You really get a sense of what Texas culture is all about (and about how Texans view themselves). Finally, as a 4-Her I showed animals, crafts, foods, etc. at both my local and state fair. It was the greatest thing that I could have done as a kid--even learned to knit through 4-h! I just love to go to fairs and see kids learning some of the same skills that I learned.

Plus, animal shows are just fun. Proof?

Anna has decided that we should have chickens:

She was very upset when any of the other kids tried to touch "her" chicken. This chicken just sat there sleeping while Anna patted it--the calmest chicken I've ever seen. We also enjoyed watching the chicks hatch in the huge incubators.

Then there was the baby goat:

I vote for getting goats and sheep. Fiber. How can you go wrong?

Do you know the book How are you Peeling? This book is so cute--the artist used veggies, fruits and seeds to make faces with a variety of expressions. The Texas Agriculture commission had a booth set up where kids could make their own faces. Here is our green pepper face:

I think the highlight, though, was the practice roping:

The Aggie Rodeo team members were helping kids learn to rope the cow head positioned on the haybale. Anna thought this was the greatest thing she had ever done... I see the potential for a cowgirl rider in our future...

And no fair would be complete without the midway. What did our kid want to do? See her ear to ear grin? She laughed the entire time on the rollercoaster.

Tomorrow--the fiber escapade....

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Is it break yet?

Is this the face of a child who needs to stay home from school?

Apparently the poor kid has a sinus infection. After yet another trip to the doctors and more antibiotics, she refused to go back to school. So we took the afternoon off. She took a long nap--I cleaned up and worked on finishing this blasted paper. Which I finally sent off today! Whoopee! That means I have accomplished about half of what I wanted to during this spring break. Usual.

I did snap a super fast, not so great picture of my sock as I was dashing out the door to the doctor's appointment:

Yes, I am making some progress. And I still adore the yarn and pattern (thanks again Secret Pal!).

Speaking of my lovely Secret Pal, I received this great picture from SP for St. Patrick's Day:

I just laughed and laughed.

So I am officially calling this my Spring Break, even though I was supposed to have off all week. Add to that our little upcoming trip, well it is going to be a good weekend. We head off to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for 2 days. They are having sheep shows, wool to wear, spinning and weaving demos all weekend. Of course, my daughter wants to see horses and milk the cows--I'm going for the mohair goat demo. I'll have lots of pictures to show with a full report next week! Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Like lots of knitters, I have a great iPod (the 40 MB--bought this past summer). I have tons of music (7842 songs--21.7 days worth, actually). We bought the iPod in part to store our digital pictures on when we traveled in Denmark this past summer. It was super -- we bought a little tiny converter that took our picture card and dumped the images on the pod. When we returned home, we dumped the 1,000 images on our computer. Voila. No heavy laptops to lug around Europe.

I also have a converter in the car--so I always have my music--and a little stereo in the kitchen. I just love the portability of the pod.

The really cool newish thing for your pod is that I was looking at podcasting from a link my husband sent--KCRW I love to listen to public radio--but not just NPR or PRI. I listen to Irish Radio: RTE, UK Radio: BBC, Canadian Radio: CBC, and more online. The possibility of capturing these radio shows (kind of TIVOing the shows) on to my pod, then playing them at home or in the car is so exciting. Since we live in the boonies, we don't have high speed internet--which is too bad, since I always want to listen to the various shows at home--now I can!

And, for all of the knitters out there--a knitting podcast! Check out KnitCast. You don't need to have a pod to listen to the knitting shows. There are three shows to date, all with bloggers.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Spring is here

Spring is certainly here in Texas. It was so warm this weekend that I turned on the air conditioning. Like most springs, we jumped from sort of warm to broiling in a day.

While most of my weekend was spent doing some necessary spring cleaning, I did manage to finish the back of Anna's dress. Notice that I didn't bind off the top--I decided a three needle bind off will hold up better for my daughter, who is tough on the clothes:

Cute, huh? It looks like it will fit with a little extra room. So, off to start the back!

Friday, March 11, 2005


So, I wanted to let you in on my new project: My Secret Pal socks! This is the gift that my SP sent last month that I've been anxious to start. The Mountain Colors yarn is just too soft--it's a so called worsted yarn, but don't believe it. It is far nicer than that.

The color is so nice--my SP picked out a super sock pattern and yarn. Here's a close up of the twist:

These should turn out to be very stable and fitted, which I really like.

I did get a chance to work them up to the heel flap at our local knitting meeting last night. Take a look at all of the happy knitters!:

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Show and Tell

I'm still in recovery from the FBS, but I have a few items to show. Like others, I received my Rowan 37 in the mail:

Usually spring and summer patterns work better for me, since cotton sweaters are usually all that you need for a Texas winter. I didn't find a lot that I thought would work in this edition, though. Here are a couple of items that might be nice:

Chicago: My favorite design in the book:

Elspeth: I'm not sure how this would look on someone more well endowed....but it looks so cute!

Marianne: It has the name as my Mom (and even spelled correctly!!) and is super cute. I don't know how it would wear--would my child destroy it by poking her fingers into the holes when she sits on Mommy's lap?

Now, I've been really, really good about buying yarn lately. I did buy a little sock yarn, but no big purchases. But I've fallen from grace. I was reading Theresa's Blog, Knitting the Blues and saw this page. I had already picked out the pattern as one that I wanted to make. Add to that that I am a sucker for German yarns, that the colorway is Jewel--so no yellow, which suits me fine--, and Theresa was being generous with the price--well, I was sold. I emailed, paid and the package arrived yesterday:

It even came in a cute little bag with a sweet note from Theresa! (notice our old dog, Jessie, hanging out by the sliding glass door--what an awesome dog!).

Here's what the jacket/sweater will look like (in a different colorway):

And the yarn is just so gorgeous. It is Muench Naturwolle--a little like Colinette Point 5, but oh so much softer:

The package even included beautiful buttons:

This one is going to the top of the fall knitting list. I am so pleased that Theresa was destashing!

And, one final picture for Grammy E:

Anna says thanks for the shirt that you bought her on your trip to Florida to see Uncle Ben and Miss Whitney!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A Special Delivery

Yesterday we arrived home to see this at our house:

Yes, that is a furniture truck! We ordered furniture from the Amish Furniture store in town over Christmas. The purchase was my birthday/Christmas present--and a very good one at that! The Furniture store contracts with Amish furniture builders in Indiana. They custom make all of the furniture to specification. I love the idea of Amish furniture for a couples of reasons. The biggest reason to buy this is that it is well made. So much of the furniture that we looked at was not well made. Our idea is that we buy a dining room set that we never replace. And, the other big reason to purchase this furniture is because of my family connections--my family are Mennonite Pennsylvania Dutch. The furniture from my family has the same lineage as this new set--all of the anabaptist tradition!

So, here's the old, cheapo set that Bruce bought in his bachelor days:

I recovered the chairs when we remodeled our kitchen, but the child has trashed them completely. Plus, the table, expanded, only sits 4-6. We wanted at 6-8 people, an average dinner party at our house.

Here is the new set:

Another shot:

There are 6 chairs and the table expands with another two leaves. We don't have a separate dining room, so this does all the dining experience duty!

The wood is maple with a cherry stain--really a hard wood to hold up for years:

Anna is pleased with her matching "big kid" chair:

The chairs are so much more comfortable than the old set and the wood blends in well with our decor (yeah, like I think a lot about decor--call me the reformed Martha). Love it!

FBS Comments:

Thanks to all who commented on my shawl. Tess asked about the pins/wires that I bought. I have a bunch of the fork pins from clover that I normally use for blocking. They work well, but you have to be careful that you get everything nice and straight. The wires are just easier--slip them in, give them a tug, pins them in place and no fiddling. I really think I will use wires for all of my knitting--I can see them making a sweater edge nice and straight in a way that pins just couldn't.

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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