One Crazy Fiber Lady

The ramblings of a fiber-affected single mother of twins who makes a living as a code monkey

One Crazy Fiber Lady

Entries from August 2005

Single track mind

August 30th, 2005 · 7 Comments

Yeah I knit.  See:

Fish1a The first Opal Rainforest sock in Fish is now complete.  I grafted the toe on the train this morning.   I also got the skein ready for the second sock.  For a change, I made a readable/findable mental note as to where in the color repeats I started this sock in so I could come darn close to duplicating it for the second.  I’m ready to cast on for its mate tonight.  Having made these cuffs shorter than normal, I think I’ll have enough yarn to eek out two pairs of monkey socks.  I think this colorway is okay for Alexander as well.  Hmm.. maybe we have our family Rhinebeck socks.  We all wore matching socks last year, though they weren’t wearing shoes and I spent most of my time retreiving socks from the sidewalks, under the stroller, etc.  Still wish I had a nickle for every kind soul who stopped me to let me know that Alex had lost one of his socks.  I finally gave up and tucked those socks in my pocket.  This year:  shoes (aka Sock Protectors).

Did I knit last night?  Nope.  Spin perhaps?  Nyet.  Any guesses?  DIng ding.  Yup I played with the beads some more.  An addict is born.  I was giddy when I saw my order placed yesterday shipped yesterday.  Woo.  I do hope it will be here before the weekend.  I found I had enough seed beads to work a cuff bracelet that I found in a Winter 2005 magazine I had in stash.  I managed to get halfway done with it last night and should easily finish it tonight.  More beads!  More beads!  More beads!!!!!! 

It really is only a matter of time before the beads and knitting collide into one project.  Elaine showed me some beautiful beaded knitting she’s doing with pearl cotton and seed beads.  I’m visualizing pearls on socks, at the intersections of a diamond pattern.  I might opt for the crochet hook and string bead on as necessary approach rather than days of threading seed beads.  That, naturally, is subject to change if the right pattern comes along.  I do have a load of that crochet cotton thread in a variety of colors thanks to previous flirtations with both thread crochet and tatting.  See, if it involves thread/yarn/cord, I did/do it.  Stash good. 

Wanna bead!  Must work 🙁

Craft on!

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Tags: Beading · Socks

Once bitten

August 29th, 2005 · 8 Comments

A storm named Katrina has my thoughts directed south.  My father’s brother and his wife live in New Orleans.  My very pregnant cousin (their younger daughter) and her husband live there as well.  I got word this morning that the women headed off to Atlanta to stay with my other cousin.  I believe the menfolk are watching the homesteads.  A quiet prayer for them and for all those other in the path of this storm is needed and appreciated.

While I have no pictures, I did finally add the new socks to the WIP list.  While waiting for Elaine to arrive on Tuesday, I cast on using the Opal Rainforest in Fish.  I’m making the leg a bit shorter than normal, but short’s a relative thing.  For a change the ribbing is a 2×2 and I’m using the short row heel instead of the flap thing I normally do.  The more I knit a short row heel, the more I like it.  I hit the toe shaping this morning during my commute it so the first sock is almost done.  Hopefully the first time I post a picture of them, they won’t be FO’s!

Img_0399 I didn’t do a massive amount of knitting this weekend, but I did transfer Birchington to the new, longer Addis.  While knitting onto the new needle, I took advantage of having the extra space and took a picture of the progress.  I love shots like these with the lace clear in the front and that indistinct sac in the back.  I’m planning on doing some 8 inches of the quatrefoil pattern and then moving onto the next.  I like how it is coming out so far.  I’m aiming for this thing to be a 50" square, give or take. I saw in my referrer statistics that someone googled "Birchington Shawl Pattern".  Is there an interest in my putting a pattern together?  Other than a couple of rows on this I did no other knitting and definitely no spinning.  Eris?  Nope.  Girlfriends Swing Coat.  Nope.  Nada.  Three rounds on Birchington all weekend?  Yup.  No, the kids did actually sleep, but I was distracted.  By what you ask? 

By this…

Img_0401 I’ve been bitten by the beading bug.  Hard.  While grabbing a couple of other magazines on Friday during my errands, I hit upon the August/September issue of Beadwork Magazine.  Sitting on the couch Friday night I flipped through my new magazines, and hit this one last.  I was captivated by the whole issue.  When I finally hit page 56 and "Stony Spirals" I lost my mind and will.  I spent the rest of the evening trying to find a local bead store as I had to make it.  Now.  Couldn’t wait for stinkin mail order.  Hell, I couldn’t wait to get back into the city and head to one uptown from the office…(though tempting now …:)  After lunch on Saturday, the twins and I headed to Beads by Blanche in Bergenfield, pretty dangerously close to home.  While not as big as some of the places I visited with Elaine last week, it had a pretty decent selection, even if there was limited stroller parking.  I wasn’t overwhelmed as I had the pattern in the magazine with the requirements listed.  A starting place and roadmap to keep the wandering eyes on course.  A quick chat with the owner confirmed I gathered all the requirements.  Yay me.  She recommended a couple of add-ons, a pair of scissors, a fuzzy matt thing that would keep the beads from scattering to the four winds and a nifty tweezer/scoup double ended dohickey.  The picture shows the results of three hours at the kitchen table after the twins went to bed.  I worked on the second half during nap and bedtime last night.  Wearing it now 🙂 Maybe a picture of it tonight, along with the sock. The pattern is a sprial rope and I did a pretty darn good job for my first threading project, if I do say so myself.

I spent the remainder of last night digging through the magazine (and another Bead mag I bought a while ago) looking for projects I could do with the supplies I had on hand.  I found something and will probably work on that.  It should keep me until my order from AuntiesBeads.com arrives – which I hope will be before the long weekend!  Just what I needed.  It at least is another hobby that involves thread of some kind so it does fit nicely with the rest.  Any guesses as to how long it will be before I start knitting with the beads?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Craft on!

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Tags: Beading · Lace

NYC Crawl – Part Deux – The S.E.X.

August 24th, 2005 · 11 Comments

First let me start off by saying, I’m writing this Wednesday night. It is now 9:30 and I’m TIRED.  My parents, thankfully, kept the short people (aka monkeys) this evening once again so I’m going to call it an early night and get some much need shut eye.  After taking the promised photos of the stash acquired during the wonderful crawl with a certain someone who is maintaining my anonymity to protect my job (thank you!), I figured I’d have a better shot of actually giving the details on the yarn pictured if it were nearby.  There’s also the little added complication of work getting a bit busier for the near future as Marina went out on maternity leave effective today.  Good for her, she’s due Sept 20 and her doctor ordered it after an exam yesterday revealed that she was almost totally effaced.  Good luck Marina!  I’ll be thinking about you.

Anyway.. on to the goods.  The largest purchase was at Seaport Yarn. Starting at the lower right:

Img_0381–Steinbach Wolle Aktiv Color 100.  Eagle eyed readers might be thinking that it is the same as Elaine’s.  They’d be right.  We’re going to see how two knitters, presented with the same yarn, can make totally different socks.  I’ve never seen or heard of this yarn but it looks and feels decent.  I’m always game for a new sock yarn.

–Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Brights.  Elaine actually picked this one out for me in trade for my picking something out of the ordinary for her.  It really is lovely and it does encompass all the colors that I’m been trying to incorporate.  Yup.  Socks again.

–Brittany DPN’s in a size 1 1/2US.  I bought some of the shrimpy 5" Brittany US2 at Maryland.  While I liked the feel of the needle, I don’t like such a short one.  I found the ends burrowing into my hands.  They don’t quite agree with my knitting style.  Just like with the sockotta, I’m up for trade if someone is interested.

–An addi turbo, US4 32".  This is for Birchington who has gotten a little crowded on the 24".  Can never have too many circ needles, right?  Don’t answer that 😉

–Ornaghi Filati Merino Oro.  OH.MY.G-D.  I couldn’t resist this.  I think this was my buy of the day. $13 for 3oz/1375yds of some very fine, soft and beautifully done black laceweight yarn.  I can see a spiral or some other pi related shawl from this glorious yarn.  MmmmMMMmMMMmmm

— Lastly, Cherry Tree Hill Laceweight Possum in the Winterberry colorway.  This is a very yummy blend of 40% merino/40% possum/20% silk at 480 yards/50g.  Elaine gave me a hint that this would be wonderful for the fall EZasPi guest speaker project.  She is the shepherd of that list so I’m going with it. 

The remaining purchases were far smaller:

Img_0382My take from Purl was three skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in color 601 – Rainbow.  Contrary to what you might be thinking, these are not destined to be socks.  Elaine put the idea in my head that they would make wonderful gloves.  She also guided me from the normal comfort zone of colors to these primary brights.  I can always use more gloves and they would look very cool with the navy pea coat!  I tossed in an extra skein to make a hat to go with the gloves.  Any extra over that can be used for monkey mittens!

Img_0390Last purchase of the day was these two skeins of Koigu from Knit NY.  For the curious, the color is 216.  Again, contrary to what I would normally do with two skeins of Koigu, these are going to be either the Victorian Shoulderette or the Diamond Fantasy Scarf by Sivia Harding.  I have both patterns.  I think they’ll be for the shoulderette as I already have the ordered Fleece Artist Merino here (photos eventually) that I ordered for the Diamond Fantasy.  Baron is intently checking out the Koigu for quality, color and overall safety for the family.  Thanks for taking one for the team Bar-Bar.

There you have it.  My take for a day in lower Manhattan.  Not as bad as I would have expected, but then again I did some organization of the stash cabinet overflow on Sunday.  It was fresh in my memory as I fondled skein after skein.  I started a sock, but I’ll post on that tomorrow night, along with the softest addition to the stash.

And now to bed.  To sleep, perchance to dream. o’ yarn no doubt 😉

Craft on!

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Tags: Stash Enhancement

NYC Yarn Crawl

August 24th, 2005 · 6 Comments

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I was having a house guest, just didn’t mention why.  Well, Elaine was going to stay with me after our first yarn crawl through New York City.  Oh man, was it a blast.  I’m exhausted.  Lots of stores, lots of walking, decent amount of buying, and an overwhelming introduction to bead stores.  Today, pictures from our various stops and a quick review of the included stores.  Tomorrow, the stash acquisitions.

Store 1:  Seaport Yarns

Img_0363_1_1 I think I have a new favorite yarn store thanks to this visit and one that is dangerously close to the office.  Not so much as a store, but a stash gone wild 😉  Spread through an office on the 5th floor of a building is this treasure.  Packed with fabulous yarns, both basics and designer, it really is wonderful.  She has a very good selection of sock yarns (a requirement for me to rate this a great store).  The prices were very reasonable and there was even an entire room devoted to sale items.  Nice.  Everywhere you looked was another cache of yarn and a book selection I’ve never seen the like of.  Elaine and I did some damage here.  This place is definitely worth the visit.

Store 2:  P&S Fabrics

Img_0364_2_1After a very yummy sushi lunch around the corner from Seaport Yarns, we walked uptown to P&S Fabrics.  I wouldn’t call this our favorite stop.  They had a decent selection of Lion Brand and Patons yarns at good prices.  There was nothing that I couldn’t get at AC Moore of even Rag Shop.  Now the fabrics and trimmings are a different story but the yarns?  Nope, not worth the trip.  Elaine was a bit freaked out by the "downstairs" in her voyage to their bathroom.  I passed on that experience.  We didn’t spend much time here and quietly left without buying anything.  If you happen to be in the neighborhood, or are looking for fabric, then yes, stop in.  I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit though.

Store 3: Purl

Img_0372_10_1 Deciding to forgo the public transportation system, we walked to our next destination, taking advantage of the glorious weather that was just perfect for a yarn crawl.  Anyway, the next stop was an old favorite of mine, Purl.  They’re in the process of bringing out the fall winter yarns and putting the cottons in the sale bin by the door.  The Rowan 4 ply was making an appearance while we were there.  Purchases were made by both of us after much debate, giggling and yarn fondling.  We sat outside for this picture on the lovely painted bench that matches the telephone stand.  Reluctantly, we eventually stood up and hit the tart place next door for some much needed caffeine in the form of iced coffee.  I’d always recommend a stop here.

Store 4:  Downtown Yarns

Img_0373_11_1 We decided to take advantage of NY’s excellent subway system and made our way to our next stop.  Schlepping out to Avenue A (including hilarity provided by my trying to remember whether even avenues ran uptown or downtown and what the odds were doing) we arrived to find that the darn store was only open Wed thru Sat during the summer.  They neglected to post this on their website which I consulted the previous night in compiling the lists of places to go.  Poo.  Goes without saying that we didn’t buy anything here.  Back to the subway we went for the next stop…

Stop 5:  Knit NY

Img_0374_12_1 I hesitate to mention that once again I got the uptown/downtown avenue running thing wrong and we headed out in the wrong direction when we got out of the subway … twice.  I’ll turn in my New Yorker title immediately.  We got there despite my best effort to head in the wrong direction.  Cute store, bright, helpful staff, decent selection of yarn.  Seriously cute and clean little bathroom.  Purchases were made after more giggling, gabbing and yarn fondling.  We didn’t take advantage of the cafe portion, but it appeared excellent.  This place is one easy subway ride from the office as well.

>Img_0378_16_1This ended the yarn portion of the day.  We then hopped back on the subway and headed towards midtown for some bead browsing.  I’d never been in a true bead store and I have to admit, I was overwhelmed.  Felt like my first visit to Rhinebeck, with a subtle difference of course, I left empty handed.  Within two blocks on Sixth Avenue, we hit 5 different stores with vast tables of beads, findings and tools.  One place had exquisite pearls and I was tempted by some others as potential stitch marker fodder. My eyes just couldn’t differentiate them all.  This Bergen county mall rat cried uncle and Elaine won the shop-till-you-drop contest 🙂

We made our way home.  We had dinner with the short people and my folks.  Elaine gave Yeti a very much needed grooming and then the two of us talked until far too late.  It was an excellent day spent in great company.  I had a fabulous time and would do it again in a heartbeat.   Thanks go to Elaine for a great day!

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Tags: Stash Enhancement

Weekend Update

August 22nd, 2005 · 11 Comments

I enjoy my early Friday during the summer.  While it means that I eat lunch at my desk all week, it does give me a couple of hours to play before having to pick up the monkeys at daycare.  Thanks to the new train schedule, I can actually begin playing earlier!  Last year, the first train home was at 2:30, while I was getting out of work at 1.  Not too much of a hardship as NYC is a place you can easily amuse yourself in.  But still, it is much nicer to have that 1:30 train that gives me an extra hour to play at home.  Not entirely sure what I would do with myself, I popped home for a quick bite and a bathroom break. 

I decided to hit Ikea.  I live within five minutes of the Paramus store and have been ecstatic since it opened.  I have company coming and well she needed a place to sleep.  My apartment is on the small and cluttered side (aren’t all fiber enthusiast’s abodes a little cluttered?) and previous overnight guests have had the disadvantage of an air mattress in the middle of the living room floor, and the fun of watching me fetch every hair dryer in the place to blow it up.  I’m embarrassed by that and well, a little tired of it all.  Not to mention I have an ailing glider/rocker taking up space that the kids have turned into a jungle gym and if it weren’t for the yarn stash behind it, would have knocked the thing over. I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone, get something that converted into a decent occasional sleeping spot and serve as sitting space.  I went to Ikea after checking their website.  I spent an hour wandering around, even picked out a new corner computer desk but passed on adding that just now.  While I had two different chair/beds, I really wanted to get their futon.  I headed down to their self-serve and went about getting all the parts.  Wouldn’t you know it, they had two of the three: the bed, the cover but no damn mattress.  What good is that?  I never can seem to get out of there with all the parts of my first choice.  I’m getting mildly frustrated by that experience.  Faced it last when I bought the cubby bookshelves for the yarn storage last December. Bastards.  Anyway, I went with the second choice.  The Lycksele chair-bed with a very neutral off white cover.  After the monkeys went to bed, I assembled it and put the old glider/rocker out on the curb for some freecycling (it was gone by lunch on Saturday).  I’m very pleased with it and probably more-so than I would have been with the futon.  It is a good height and matches the seat level of my couch.  It is pretty comfy and large enough for a pair of monkeys to sit on it without touching.

Zoo1 Speaking of monkeys, Saturday the monkeys as I went to the zoo!  The Turtleback Zoo in West Orange.  Amazing, tucked behind the South Mountain Arena (where the NJ Devils practice) is this little piece of nature.  I haven’t been to that particular zoo Zoo2 since I was in elementary school and had honestly forgotten about it.  Thanks to Lisa (blogless), I was reminded about it and we met there with our kids.  (I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that I have a reader.. let alone readers!  That’s as much a surprise to me as enjoying writing this thing.  Until blogging, I’d rather write in code than in English.  Makes my current career choice look like a far better fit than my education, eh?.. I digress again).  I had a very lovely time meeting Lisa and spending a few hours with her and her darling daughter Rebecca, who will be starting kindergarten!  The zoo is pretty neat with some big cats (cougars and bobcats), an American alligator and some new black bear cubs, amongst the exhibits.  The grounds are paved, but VERY hilly and a bit of a workout with my huge double stroller.  The twins enjoyed it as I hoped they would.  They do love animals and where better to see them.  While totally not necessary but very much appreciated, Lisa gave me wonderful knitting pattern note cards.  (I forgot to take a picture of them.)  Thank you Lisa!  She also brought along her Eris WIP in the gorgeous orange Jaeger Shetland Aran from our favorite dealer of English Yarns.  I’m going to have to pick up some of that.  Lisa told me that Jannette is hinting that she’s getting more of the yarn in additional colors, like my new found favorites, burgundy and hunter green.  Just what I need, more yarn.  Part of my weekend decluttering for company involved cleaning up the yarn purchases that had not made it to storage yet.  Oy is all I can say.  I got alot of yarn.. and more tomorrow (no details today).  I need me some more knitting time!

While I had a weekend, I didn’t touch any knitting (other than to pull Birchington out of my bad to show Lisa) between Friday’s commute home and this morning’s commute in.  If I wasn’t cleaning, decluttering and generally doing some neglected domestic duties, I just couldn’t knit.  I actually sat on the couch Saturday night and just watched a movie.  I can’t remember the last time I just sat and watched.  I do stop everything I’m doing for one hour on Friday nights to watch Battlestar Galactica on Sci-Fi, but everything is really just listened to (okay House and 24 are also watchers but in reruns or just not on now).  I seriously watched Terminal on cable.  It was cute, missed the first 10 minutes as I was getting the twins in bed.  Nice light hearted movie that was the right thing at the right time.  Last night I had more of the knitting entropy and while what I really wanted to do was to start a new project, I didn’t really feel like working on any of the WIPS.  I decided to spin a bit.  Again there was mental turmoil here.  From the couch, I have a nice clear view of the Tina II sitting next to the TV.  There’s nothing on the Tina’s bobbins right now, nor has there really been anything since I finished that moorit corrie X a while ago.  I have a couple of spinning projects underway and like the knitting was fighting the urge to start something new before finishing something else.  Whatever.  I pulled out the drop spindle with the bunny crack/merino on it and spun for a bit.  I finally have some pictures of it for you….

Blackcherry3Blackcherry4 I put a dime on the desk next to the spindle for some scale.  Since I don’t have the real cooperative spokesmodels that some folk have, I went with the ever cooperative action(-less) figure. I toted this thing with me on Friday and gave spinning on the train another try.  I had done it last years ago when I first took up spinning with some disastrous results.  But then again, my spindle spinning was pretty disastrous overall back then.  I figured it was time to give it another try.  I got in 30 minutes of spinning before I packed it in. 

[Edited to add—-]

Tab1My last post I made mention to trying to find a stash of TaB, thinking that it met its demise when aspartame took over the world.  While I fondly remembered TaB, I too switched to Diet Coke before the nutrasweet badly affected my stomach and I gave up diet soda outright.   For giggles, I google TaB maybe hoping that there was an ancient stash somewhere that I could buy a can or two from.  Much to my surprise, I found out it is still being made, albeit with a minor alteration of adding a smidge of nutrasweet to it.  While I can’t find the numbers at the moment, the level of nutrasweet is miniscule in TaB as compared to Diet Coke.  While I got the impression that TaB was going to be a bear to find, the corner deli a block away from my office has loads of it.  ShopRite also has it as well.  So I’m in a trial with TaB and so far, so good!

[P.S. – found this comparison of aspartame levels in sodas:

  • TaB: 19mg aspartame, 64mg saccharin (per 8oz) (or 28.5mg aspartame, 90.6mg saccharin per 12 oz can)
  • Diet Coke (bottled/canned): 125mg aspartame (per 8oz)
  • Diet Coke (fountain): 23mg aspartame, 47mg saccharin (per 8oz)(or 34.5mg aspartame, 70.5mg saccharin per 12 oz)
  • The tiny bit in the TaB is not enough to trigger as long as I guess I don’t have to many.  My one can a day habit should be okay then.  You’ll be surprised to note that fountain Diet Code has significantly less aspartame and actually contains saccharin.  I’m done now and going back to work 🙂

    Craft on!

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    Tags: Family · Spinning

    Wednesdays are for Spinning

    August 18th, 2005 · 11 Comments

    Wednesdays are for Spinning

    I’m not entirely sure which day I used to set aside as spinning day, but for whichever knitting project waggled its needles in front of me, I sort of dropped the spinning habit. I can’t honestly say the last time I sat at one of my severely neglected wheels. Yes WHEELS. As in way more than one. I did use a drop spindle, what two weeks ago it is now. Nope still haven’t taken a picture of what the glorious bunny crack/merino combo looks like on the cute little Hatchtown spindle.

    After spending some time whipping my bedroom, the most neglected room in my neglected apartment, into some semblance of order, I rewarded myself with some time at the wheel. My Lendrum upright lives in there along with the Kromski stool that I bought from Lea last year. Her husband was a dear and finished it in a clearcoat for me as they come in the other finishes but that one. Which reminds me, at some point I need to pick up one of the floor stands for my Harp Rigid Heddle loom. Amongst the more neglected of the hobbies is weaving. While I enjoy the weaving itself, I totally hate dressing the loom. That’s why my 4-H loom has been sitting in the corner for years untouched. Oh wait, it is dressed. I got bored with the placemats that I had been weaving, what, 3 years ago now? I know it was pre-short people as the loom lived in what would become their room. Hell, the placemats aren’t even the right color anymore as they were styled around the dishes I just pulled out to replace with the Melmac.

    But I digress….

    I sat for about 45 minutes last night and just spun. Why do I let so much time go between spinning sessions? I seem to forget how much I enjoy it until I’m sitting at a wheel. I spun more of that pink and blue Romney roving I got in Maryland from the Barefoot Spinner. The picture is the stuff, but I have to admit that it wasn’t taken last night, or even this morning. Even with the 45 minutes of spinning, it is fine enough and the WW winds it on so evenly that I can’t tell that the level has even changed. I’m even more in love with the Woolee Winder on the Lendrum than I was the last time I used it. I think. Not that I remember the last time I used it too clearly. I just spun and spun and spun. It was so relaxing. The hand hurts not this morning. Though I don’t think one evening off from knitting is what did it. I’m leaning towards toddler weight-lifting as being the cause of the hand problems. Kat was a bit clingy the night before and I spent considerable time toting her around. She ain’t getting any lighter!

    Speaking of pain management, I’m pretty sure I hit on one of my migraine triggers. Artificial sweeteners. I’ve been a diet soda drinker for a couple of years now. I realized that the days I had had a diet coke (pepsi too) that I also had a pretty bad headache. I’d had issues with aspartame years ago, but it had been stomach discomfort and that was back in the early 80’s after it hit the market. I swore it off until the summer of ’01 when I wanted to loose my “quit smoking weight” and began dieting. I didn’t have any problems so I thought I was in the clear. Live and learn. So I did a test about a week or two ago. I started avoiding aspartame. I stopped getting headaches (with the exception of a hormonally induced one). I tried different sweeteners (sucralose – Pepsi One / Diet Rite ) and after a day or two of those, bam headaches again. Since I have the pink stuff in my one cup of morning coffee, I know that I don’t have issues with it. But I do have to give up diet soda… unless of course I can find a stash of Tab somewhere. Anyway, I’m happy to be relatively free of the regular headache and if a few more calories is the tradeoff, I’ll gladly take it.

    That’s it for now… Craft on!

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    Tags: Uncategorized

    More Like It

    August 17th, 2005 · 5 Comments

    More Like It

    Having only two active WIPS at any given time on the needles just really wasn’t me. I don’t really count the idle Birch, sitting there in the WIP category as I don’t intend to touch it until Birchington is done. I was feeling somewhat guilty about working on Eris (for me) and Birchington (for me) while poor little Kat lacks a fall sweater. Remember I finally finished Alexander’s not too terribly long ago.

    So here I was feeling guilty when I was doing a little blog reading during lunch. What I saw was serendipity. Gir lfriend’s Swing Sweater Coat by Wendy. While a cotton sweater isn’t going to cut it here on the east coast for my monkey girl when it gets cooler, the Jaeger Shetland Aran is the right gauge… and in stash, destined to be a sweater for her. After getting the short people down for the night, I pulled out a skein of the stuff, my trusty Denise Needles and went to work. I quickly replaced the Denise needle with the size 8 Bryspun that arrived last week to really get a sense how well they work. Not bad. I do find the yarn sometimes sticks on the shoulder of the points, but it isn’t horrible and I’m still working on it.

    The picture, beyond being a glimpse into my purse/totebag, is where I was this morning half way through my commute. You can also see Birchington wadded up in the front of my bag, my Zen Micro to the left and my Metrocard/NJ Transit passes behind it. Yes Kristen, Birchington is living in the nice blue bag you made for Alexander before Cummington. He loaned it to me as it fit my lace knitting so very well 🙂 The yellow one is on loan from Kathryn for spindles. The pattern is very easy and pretty straightforward. I’m going to do one modification though, I’ll pick up a button band along the front edges, ala Bonne Marie, and add buttonholes. Kat would be better suited that way rather than a loop as the sweater would get more usage. As with the other kid-knitting I’ve done, this is progressing super fast.

    I think I’m going to have to take a short break from knitting outside of the train. I’ve noticed some hand pain in my working hand (left- yes I do knit lefty.. right needle to left – mirror to the rest of you normal knitters). All this knitting might have finally caught up to me. I’m going to try some other activities other than knitting for the next couple of nights. I have some straightening to do, what else is new? I do have company coming next week and need to have the place at least somewhat presentable. Yeti is in dire need of a haircut, so I might just tackle that over the next couple of evenings. Heck, I might even pull out one of the seriously underutilized spinning wheels and give them a go. I just hope the wrist doesn’t complain too much, I ain’t giving up knitting no matter how much it complains.

    Craft on.

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    Tags: Uncategorized

    Dog Days

    August 16th, 2005 · 3 Comments

    Alex_bbsuit_1Dog Days

    The dog days of August are definitely here.  While this week has brought some much needed relief to the three H’s we had of late, this past weekend was more than even this summer lover could handle.  Thank goodness my parents had the good sense to not hide out in their boat for the duration of the weekend and came home instead.  That enabled me to not have to hide out in my apartment all weekend (The ankle, while worlds better, is not up to a day on scorching sands at the public pool.) and get the monkeys out into the fresh, albeit ghastly humid, air.  We spent considerable time frolicking in the pool.  Is it me or does Alex look like a big boy in a regular bathing suit?!  I ran out of those disposable swim diapers and instead pulled out some of the hand-me-down bathing suits they’ve both had stashed in their drawers since the summer started.  With the subtle change from "diaper" to swimsuit they look so much older.  Just not right.  Almost reminds me of the stark change in the way Alex looked after his very first haircut.  He no longer looked like a baby.  They grow far too fast.

    In the category of this next bit being an embarrassment to them as they get older, I have to do my motherly job and go for it.  They both found a huge source of amusement last night in the bath and something new to play with. Care to guess?  Umm.. Alexander’s appendage.  He had been standing in the water next to Kat who I guess got a good look for the first time and reached out and flicked it.  He giggled.  She giggled and fortified with his giggle, flicked again.  Oy.  Nothing more than toddler curiosity and I got a good giggle as well.  He poked her in the butt later.  Toddlers, got to love them.

    I did pull out my Shetland lace book last night (Yes Elaine, good buddy you can borrow my books), but didn’t find anything near what I remembered as to the construction of a Shetland shawl for percentage balance between the center and the border.  I did take a look at the finished measurements of the Hap Shawl and will base my finished size on a square of 52".  Now I wish I measured the center square before I picked up the edges.  I can get a good guestimate from the picture I took of it as I laid it on one of my bath towels and can measure that.  That should give me a good idea of how big and it just doesn’t need to be exact.  I didn’t do much in the way of knitting last night, having decided it was time to do a little exercise and maybe, just maybe, finally take care of the pregnancy induced flabby midsection. I’ve lost just about all the 50lbs I gained when I was pregnant, but gaining 50% of my weight did wreck havoc on the old tummy.  I had a huge 45" waist right before I finally delivered, which when you consider I am only 60" tall, made for one funny looking chick.  I did sit ups and crunches.  Its definitely time and I hope to get it all under control by umm bathing suit weather 😉

    I tried to spend a little extra time with dear sweet Baron last night.  He had a rough day.  He spent it at the Vet’s office taking that step from intact male to nice indoor pet boy cat.  He was quick and groggy when I got him home.  He spent most of the evening laying on the couch, sacked out.  I had to convince Alex to go gentle on the fuzzball because he had a boo-boo. Alex wanted to bring the cat to the water and make him drink.  Back to normal was the little boy this morning.  The vet proclaimed him a gorgeous cat and I have to agree with him.  Now I just need to fax the paperwork to Maggie at Pennyrock and the boy’s registry can be changed along with his official name.

    Danielle asked my opinion on the Walker books in a comment yesterday.  :

    Risa, what do you think of the Walker books?  I have the first treasury (ahem, my mother in law owns it and I keep borrowing it from her). I am going to buy one of the treasuries for myself and I am debating if I should buy the first one since I know I like it, or the second one so that we have twice the resources in the family.  Unfortunately, due to financial resources, I will only be buying one book right now!  What do you think?

    While I haven’t had extensive time with either one of them, I have to admit that I am using stitch patterns from both volumes for Birchington.  If I had to choose only one to buy, I’d definitely get the one my MIL didn’t have, as long as she were open to my continuing to periodically borrow it from her. Definitely go for having twice the resources in the family.  Who knows, she’ll probably be borrowing the second one from you.

    Craft on!

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    Birchington Redux

    August 15th, 2005 · 9 Comments

    Birchington Redux

    Birchington Redux

    Thanks go to Elaine for her excellent suggestions of the Barbara Walker books for stitch patterns. Friday, while waiting for the DBA to do his magic, I made quite a few phone calls to find the Walker books. After exhausting my poor dialing finger, I was able to find the one and only yarn store in Manhattan that still had them in stock. Quite a number of them had them on order and were expecting them in any day now. One had books three and four only in stock. I really wanted either the first or the second. I even went so far as to check {gasp} the library system for them. I did locate both the first and the second at the same library and was planning them into the afternoon. While I had an old library card, I’m pretty sure it isn’t valid anymore and had to factor in a visit to my local library to get a new card before hitting the sharing library to take the book out. When I had all but fully resigned myself to borrowing the books, I made one last phone call to The Yarn Co. to find they had all four books in stock. Armed with my subway map, I headed uptown. Cute little store, quite a bit of high end yarns and as promised all the Walker books. I came out with books one and two. With little time to spare either as I finished the center square of Birchington on the train home.

    Unfortunately, the trip uptown took longer than I expected and I missed my train home. I had to cancel my appointment with the orthopedist because there was no way to get there on time. That is the down side of the commute. I spent the bonus time with the Walker books, and the two other Shetland lace books in my collection, plotting out the borders for Birchington. I downloaded a knitter’s font and worked up a chart for myself of the three different stitches that I’m going to use, and how they can be best worked in a section that grows by two stitches every other row. I’ve started using the Quatrefoil Eyelets and will be doing a decent section of those. I wanted something that wasn’t too open, nor too complicated to compliment the center. The pictures of the two lace patterns in the books looked very nicely together and having finished one repeat already, I must say the pictures didn’t lie. I need to pull out the Shetland Lace book again to get the standard % formula for a square Shetland shawl for the center to the outer.

    Craft on!

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    Back to Birchington

    August 11th, 2005 · 6 Comments

    Ddd1c_1
    Time for a project progress update.  Birchington, having progressed through yet another set of needles, is back on the slippery Addi Turbos.  This time the newbies were the Bryspun Bry-Flex’s.  I must say, they’d be nice needles, except the silk/cashmere yarn that is Birchington is sticking when I try to slide them back on the needle.  The fact they are white with a very light grey yarn didn’t help matters.  I give.  I think there’s only one more somewhat readily available needle out there that I haven’t tried yet:  Inox. Hmmm.  Need to order some of those now.  I’m getting very close to having to worry about the border patterns now.  I’m now 75% of the way through the center square.  I still don’t know what I want the sides to look like.  I’m half tempted to use the same lace pattern.  I’ll have to spend some more time with my lace books and some grid paper.  I am open to suggestions for lace motifs that would compliment the current.

    Just a short post tonight.  I need to do a few things around the house before I jump in the shower.  Not to mention I need me some knitting time! I’m going to pull out Eris for the first time since Sunday.  Tomorrow is another short day at the office though I don’t have the whole afternoon to play.  I have a follow up appointment with the Orthopedist at 4.  I just hope he doesn’t run too late as I need to pick up the monkeys by 5:30.  The ankle overall is much better.  I’m still wearing the McDavid brace, but I’m walking without a limp.. most of the time.  If I sit for a long while, it is a bit tender when I first get up.  The last two nights I’ve actually been walking to the PATH train at my pre-injury pace.  Yee-haw.

    Craft on.

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