Monday, December 21, 2009

Season's Knitting

Did those of you who saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince catch the scene early in the film where Dumbledore excuses himself to use the loo and comes out with a magazine in his hands? Cracked me up when he asked Slughorn if he could borrow it for a featured knitting pattern.
I guess it's out that we knitters are not mere mortals.
Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Don't Stamp

I'm knitting. Honest. But there has been a lack of enthusiasm. A reduction in mojo if you will. To top it all off, I had a near catastrophe involving a sweater freshly off the blocking table and a bottle of red ink. You may want to sit down for this.
I constructed a plain vanilla cardigan in charcoal grey. Nothing to blog about, nothing to get up about. I finished it and said to self, "eh." (if you check back a blog or two this is the same grey that was frogged for being unloved.) I put said sweater in the soak, gave it a spin in the washer, laid it out to dry and next morning, donned it.
Whilst at work, I went into my desk drawer and picked up the bottle of red ink that I use to replenish my date stamping pad. Before I got to the task I was interrupted, put the bottle down, turned to my computer and clutched my sweater at the waist.
Then I looked down at my hand.
My index finger was red, a large horizontal stripe of red was also on my sweater. The bottle had leaked without my noticing. After a few curse words under my breath I remembered I had soda water in my office. Here's a hint: soda water will not remove ink from wool. So what do you do? You call mom. Mom knows stuff like this when your brain is all crazy because you can't believe you did something so STOOPID. Her response was: hairspray. I tried it, some of it came out. By this time I gathered my senses and googled the situation. She was right of course because alcohol does a pretty good job. I got home, applied more alcohol, soaked and dried and by golly, you have to get pretty close to tell. If you do get that close, I'm pretty much gonna pop you one for invading my space.
So there you go you lucky little devils. The lesson is: don't pick up the red ink bottle. Let that ink pad just dry up.

Monday, November 23, 2009

In My Own Back Yard

We're enjoying incredibly awesome weathah here in New England. I visited one of my favorite walking venues. Old Deerfield, Massachusetts. aka "The Street". The entire street is a museum. Not all of the buildings originated here but the bulk of them stand just where they were built. Back in the 1600's they suffered an attack or two. Ever read "Boy Captive of Deerfield"?
Deerfield Academy. Private coed school. (Yoosta be just boys back in the day. Friday night movies on campus...)
Post Office door.

Post office with it's leaded glass all sparkly.
The store...
The Tavern...
One of several houses to be toured. Actually, this one may be a private residence. Ahh, just knock on the door and see what happens.

Still not having much luck with the gray cardigan. Attempt #2 failed. I'm thinking the wool needs to marinate a little longer since the yarn spirit isn't cooperating. I'm sure I can occupy myself with another project...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cat Logic

Works in progress plus one cat. Poor thing is barely on the couch. Of course there were several other napping venues in the room. None of them had projects. Cat logic.

The grey item is headed for a mulligan. Not loving the design, no, not feeling the love. It looks like one of those big, stiff, scratchy sweaters your grandmother made and you've got to wear it because grandma made it for you. Yeah, it's heading for the frog pond.

The gold item needs a button band. I already have the buttons and unless one of my darling furballs snarfed it out of the bag they should still be there waiting for the button band. After that, a bit of over stitching to hide the fact that I used a ball of a different dye lot at the top and it shows add a fun detail.

I should be making hats and mittens but it's been so gosh darn warm it doesn't feel right.
"You should be doing my bidding never mind that stoopid knitting. In 3 years I've got one knit mouse. It's just not right. You may rub my belly."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Look At The Cat

I've been knitting my fingers to nubs. My "darted" creation came to a crashing halt due to lack of raw materials. OOps. But, oh wait, since I'm designing it, the outcome will be exactly like its supposed to be. I just have to get myself to the LYS (because of course what I want isn't in the stash) to wrap this puppy up! Meanwhile......a chunk of the next project is underway. Did you know I don't have a charcoal grey cardi to go with my charcoal grey slacks? Well, gotta fix that! Thank you, so I will. And some pictures would be nice. In the mean time, look at the cat. He's probably upset because the window insert was put in the door replacing the screen insert he trashed. You can see the wheels spinning in his head. And the nose prints on the glass...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

(knock, knock, knock) Helloooooooooo

Now I don't want you thinking I've been goofing off doing nothing since I last thrilled all of you with my larger than life, er, life.
Took a staycation.
Knitted and frogged the same project. Twice (so far).

Hiked up Mt. Sugarloaf instead of driving up. (How green of me.) I think it's a whopping mile up. I actually broke a sweat.
Sunderland, MA

The usual shot of Sunderland. Very New Englandy, no?Ye Olde Connecticut River. See the walkway on the leftish side that seems to step to the front edge? When I was a kid that was the viewing area. A few people insisted on jumping off due to their recreational drugs making them to think they could fly. Ah, the sixties.
Top of Sugarloaf was loaded with ladybugs. There were some folks that were a wee bit squeamish about that.
The foliage along the path was neon.

Sealed up the foundation--snow in October prompts stuff like that. I could go on and on but it doesn't get any more exciting. Trust me, I was there.
Once I figure out the technical difficulties with the current w.i.p. I'll share. It involves darts for shaping. If I paid more attention to Barbara Walker I wouldn't have to keep frogging it.
And for those paying attention: no, I haven't touched the drop spindle. Nor do I want to.
"Thank goodness she's gone back to work. What a pest!"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The One Where I Walked Around With The Camera

The first stop is the dining room table.

So as I mentioned earlier, I signed up for a drop spindle class. 6 hours of fiber fun. Did it make me want to abandon all other things and people when I got done? No. It was a good group with a good instructor but this is going to take ALOT of practice. Like years worth. I came home with fiber in my eyes, in my...well, all over. We started out with a domestic wool and were able to sample bits of alpaca (ooooooh) and milk fiber which I found next to impossible to control. I wore more of it than I spun. While plying the whole mess we (instructor Amanda and I) came to the conclusion that I spun it in two different directions resulting in, well basically it was a mess. Let's say I won't be investing in a spinning wheel in the near future. But then, I may have better luck with a wheel. Who knows.

Moving from the Dining room to the kitchen we have a sweater in soak mode. Yes, it's been finished for over a week but I've been busy--know what I'm sayin?
It's on the blocking stand. It's probably dry by now. I'll check that later.
Turning around brings me to the stove and a batch of "baked" beans which are not technically baked because I make them in my pressure cooker. It's okay, grandma approved of my method before she left us. One hour vs. four works in my world. Transfer that to the bean pot and no one knows the difference.
Two steps to the back door brings us to Andrew resting on the back porch sunning himself. He had a tough weekend. All those naps to fit in. Poor thing.

Hard to believe but there were SCADS of other mundane things going on around the house that I just didn't want to waste digital space on. I know, you're thanking me.

So until the next post, keep your fiber going in the same direction.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Ah. October in New England. Tourists are touring the fall foliage. The weekends are hopping with festivals in every town large and small.
Conway Festival of the Hills is held the first Sunday of October. The weather was predicted to be iffy at best but as always, "Festival Weather" kicked in and it was a beautiful day.

There is a parade. Go Frontier! An iron skillet toss (don't laugh, this takes SKILL), wood chopping competition, plenty of fun stuff for the kids, craftwares for sale and FOOD. But my favorite part ....

is the Rubber Duck Race. Hundreds of rubber ducks, (numbered and purchased prior to the race), let loose in the river and ride the current to the finish line. Prizes are awarded for first, second, third and last. No winners in our group this year. *sigh* There's always next year.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Now What To Do?

I have to say this is the busiest of falls. Brain busting-can't think straight-from work to home. There'll be a meltdown of some sort.

While I'm waiting for that I have completed my last cotton sweater for the season. I shouldn't say last. That's just setting myself up for smiting when I find some yummy cotton yarn I can't live without. Here we are in the unblocked state and knit as such. That's one skinny neck. My head does fit through. I guess that's all that matters. If it grows as expected after blocking, phffph, nothing to worry about. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

I don't want to make another sweater at this time. I think I'm going back to socks for a while.

"I could use some extra mittens. Here, measure."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not Gonna Show You

I could show you my latest w.i.p. if I had remembered to pick my camera up from the coffee table and brought it with me. You'll just have to wait. I know, the anxiety is overwhelming.

As for Other-Things-I-Did-This-Weekend-You're-Just-Dying-To-Know, I went to FiberTwist where there were gobs and gobs of roving dyed and ready to go. If I knew how to spin I'm sure I would have had a hard time deciding what I wanted. Sigh, that class is in October. Boy, will I be ready NEXT year!

There was another large showing of the rug hooking people. Fascinating to watch. Nothing like the shag rug kit I did as a kid. By the way, it's still hanging in the cellar because that's the only place brown and orange 70's owl designs should be. Just sayin'.

Twist Collective was there and put on a fashion show. You can see the items on the site but first hand was better AND you got to touchy feely.

The place was packed and they couldn't have asked for a better day.

The rest of the weekend was downhill. Fall house cleaning, rain and the Red Sox lost. Too bad about the camera, I knit really, really fast while watching National Parks and became very agitated at how stupid we humans can be. I can't wait for the next installment. Beautiful. And its OURS.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Summer Ends Today

Last summer wedding of the season for the family took place this Saturday past. A bright, cloudless day on top of a mountain. 4 eagles glided high above, it was picture perfect.

Getting to be I'm wearing the finished project as I'm creatin' the next one. Getting to be you're seeing the same pattern over and over. Time for a change. Starting out plain vanilla but hitting the pattern books for inspirational finishes. Still working in Valley Yarns Longmeadow and allow me to forward another tip for those of you who swatch but don't wash/block that swatch: this yarn grows horizontally. What was 5.25 sts per inch after blocking becomes 4 sts per inch. BIG difference. Ribbing patterns saved me from creating sweaters two people could fit into with room to spare. I have adjusted for the new project. I better be right.

The maple outside of my office is just baarrrrely showing yellow leaves. No frost yet but the rosemary and the cayenne peppers are coming in from the garden for protection. For all the rain we had earlier this summer its been a nice finish. See ya next year summer.
"Wake me up for the next wedding. And knit a sock for that foot."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Minimal Edge

Had all the threads been woven and the sweater been blocked, I might have thrown this one on this morning. A deeeelightful 58 degrees and not expected to get any warmer.

Thoughts of the next project are dancing in my head.

"I can see the dancing in your head."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Five Hours of Knitting

There are so many reasons why this is my favorite time of the year. Cooler temps. Football season. U.S. Open. Soups & Stews. Cats shed less. Did I mention it's cooler? And Sunday is the best day of the week. 'Specially this past Sunday. Football AND U.S. Open. Hours and hours of knitting. The occasional feeding interrupted progress but a black cotton pullover emerged from the balls of string. I wasted a perfectly sun-shiny day engrossed in that box with moving pictures. Funny, I don't feel a smidgen guilty.

Ever try to leash train a cat? It's doable, I've seen it. You're asking yourself, "why would I want to?" You may have a point but I like a challenge. Some people get in a fast car and go round and round a track for the heck of it. What does it accomplish other than the soul's need for speed? It's the challenge.
Though it doesn't look like much success is being made in this pic, this is routine. The boys love to roll on the front sidewalk. They will continue on command (most of the time) to continue the walk. Meme was very brave to take both of them at once. (I'm hoping I don't come home to find she's broken a hip as a result. One cat is over 14lbs. He's bigger than the dog next door. He can PULL. We're working on that.)

Back to the U.S. Open. What is up with the bad behavior?! Excuse me? Joint session in Congress, U.S. Open, and the Video Music awards? Come on people. Would you like it done to you? Think before you flap your trap.
With that said, I'm going to go walk my cats. Then I'll cut a steek.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


What happened to being civil? I suspect it went the way of respect. A presidential address to Congress should not include an elected representative from the audience hurling derogatory names at our Commander in Chief. Freedom of speech is a grand right of our United States. I would have listened to the GOP rebuttal after the President finished his address but Mr. Wilson soured the interest with his low class name calling. Shame on him. He owes US an apology. If he feels Mr. Obama is a liar, say it to his face one on one--not for the sensationalized sound bite created for the news. Such acts of cowardice. Sad.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


We have a water main break. Crews are working on the problem. Due to water not being available to the Town Hall, a public building, the Selectboard closed the Town Hall until the problem is resolved. Signs were put on the front and back doors. Simple wording: Town Hall is closed until further notice due to water main break. Big black letters. Right at eye level.
People have yanked on the doors so hard I expect the doors are damaged. They have gone to the store across the street and asked if there was some sort of holiday they were unaware of. The store clerk asked,"did you READ THE SIGN?" No public facilities (read: functioning bathroom)means no public access. That's the rule. Employees are not encouraged to come in. They're not told they can't either. For me, it's great. No answering the phone, no walk-ins. Just uninterrupted time to get stuff done. Full concentration on a project from beginning to end. Ahhhhh.
Advice: If the door you wish to enter doesn't budge, focus and read the sign. Continuing to pull as hard as you can isn't going to change the condition.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

May We Have Some Chilly Weather Please? Thankyou

Ahh, the bestest time of the year is rolling in. Warm days, cool mornings and nights. Sweatah weathah.
Having extended the already long weekend two more days, things got done.
Side of garage needing scraping, sanding, priming & painting-done.
Filthy car washed-done.
Test paint the faux finish for the powder room-done.
Put up curtains and rods on the p0rch-done.
Trim the hedge-done.
Hit a LYS for tent sale-done.
Attain Leader status at Buffalo Wings during Buzztime trivia-oh yeah, done.
Administer dreaded flea potion on cats-done, much to their displeasure.
"I doubt she'll be forgiven anytime soon."

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Why I Love Where I Live

A white heron. Wading in a puddle with ducks. Not my one of my usual sites driving to work.
We have lots of blue herons. We're stinkin' with them. They're like abandoned socks in the middle of the road--everywhere! But this is my first white heron and she very nicely let me photograph her from a distance. Thank goodness for the zoom lens. That's the bike path in the background and just beyond that is the Connecticut river. Made getting up and going to work early worth it.

Monday, August 31, 2009

End Of The Season -Almost

The Summer of Cotton Sweaters is drawing to a close. The result is a bunch of partials and one skeins that I am knitting into a throw NOW instead of putting them away for "sometime".

I'm not even trying to color coordinate--bet you couldn't tell. Each sweater I make this summer is represented. Don't believe me? Go to "Done Stuff" and see. I dare ya.

As with all my other "use up the leftover" blankets it may be a bit jarring to the eye but the first object everyone grabs cuz it's soft and comfy. I had the opportunity to Nap Test it this weekend. Here in Western Massachusetts it cooled to a lovely 70 degrees. With the rain and the funeral of Senator Kennedy--busted into tears more than once--a nap schnuck up on me and fortunately the blanket was big enough to cover the shoulders. This was during the PGA tour. Not even Tiger's zip up the leaderboard could keep the lids from slamming shut. I came back to life on the 14th hole.

I have a finished sweater on the drying rack. There are skeins of black cotton yarn marinating. I'm not quite done with cotton yet but beginning to hear the wool calling me in the storage bins.

"If I wasn't so worried about the dog coming down the street I'd be more worried about that last sentence."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

There's No One Way To Do It

For the past month or so I have been teaching my mom's piano teacher how to knit socks MY WAY. She's doing quite nicely and last night she announced that she understands MY heel turning method. It's true because we prattled on about stuff we've done this summer and what we've got lined up for the fall and she rarely stopped mid-knit to ask a question. She had my written instructions (so professionally scribbled complete with cross outs)on scraps of paper. (As it goes with most, nah, all of my pattern instructions).
One section of MY sock instructions left me going "HuH?" But she was fine. I was merely there for support and chatter.
I have been very diligent to tell her EVERYONE DOES IT DIFFERENTLY. I can't stress that enough. I change my methods constantly either out of boredom or fiddliness. I avoid fiddly knitting. I personally file lace knitting under fiddly and keep it to a minimum. Before my comment section is skewered with Addi Turbo Lace needles from insulted lace knitters let me say this: I am not saying lace knitting as a category is "fiddly". It's fiddly FOR ME. It has something to do with my inability to count, concentrate for more than 5 seconds, and deal with multiple yarn overs. Bless all you lace knitting souls out there. The world is a better and more elegant place because of you.
Now that I am done sucking up to lace knitters and have alienated them from reading this titillating blog again, I'll get back to the subject at hand which, alas, I have lost track of but it had something to do with reassuring all knitters, new and experienced that everyone's methods are different and that is a GOOD THING. Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to Google or YouTube methods for joining new skeins or weaving ends because I'm tired of doing it MY WAY.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Where I Have No Sweat Left

I'm done. Dare I say I miss my air conditioned office when I leave but after 8 hours of filling my day with other activities I've had enough and move on. The whining starts soon after I get out of my air conditioned car. Knitting has been sparse. Knitting with cotton fiber is not a cooler activity. Pick up your cotton sweater. Heavy isn't it? So here's my solution: I'm going to take a class this fall to learn how to use a drop spindle. I guarantee this will lead to a spinning wheel. I have had a fascination with spinning wheels ever since the elementary school field trip to Sturbridge Village more years ago than I want to get into right now. And when I was dragged to the Tunbridge Fair a few years ago, I stayed at the flax/linen demonstration so long I feared they were going to alert security (IF in fact the Tunbridge Fair has security--if you're a local you understand) to remove me because I was creeping the demonstrator out. Fascinating. Nerdy to most folks but I'm SO past the age of caring. Next summer when I'm choking on the humidity I will not sit in front of a fan with three quarters of a long sleeve sweater sitting on my lap. I do not knit hot weather wearables....or I do not wear the ones I HAVE created. Knitting = cold=long sleeves in my world and I've stopped wasting good fiber to make things I don't wear. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I will stand in front of a fan and spin fiber instead. There will still be plenty of whining."Drop spindle sounds like an excellent cat toy to me."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another One Down An Movin' On

The Mulligan is finished and in use due to unseasonal temps. (70's on August--love it!). Continuing my cotton summer sweater extravaganza, I'm whipping up a half zip pullover in a blinding lime green--because I can. I'm rerunning a pattern favorite of mine, 6x2 rib, drop shoulder style. Do I knit in the chaise? No, it's the most uncomfortable seat in the house.
Here's the view from the chaise. Best room in the house. I'll take that back, the most unc0mfortable seat in the house is the fan-back chair to the left of this photo.
Events over the weekend of perfect weather included a stroll down to the 3rd Annual Block Party. Avenue A is blocked off for the fun. There were local food booths, live bands, a fashion show, dog parade and various business booths. I made paper at the Southworth booth. I went for a classic Chanel black and white paper. With red sparkles.

The party ran from 2p to 8p. Fun time on Avenue A.

"I had to stay home and do laundry. Who wants to go to some stupid dog parade anyway."