Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Now, that's more like it!

***
Remember this debacle and the ensuing saga?

Well, nearly two months after I placed my order, I finally have the right yarns for my "Pound Cake Shawl":


The yarn colors in the above photo are a bit washed out by the flash -- that green hank, 2nd from the left, is a lot darker in reality.



The yarn colors are represented a bit more accurately in the above picture, but the lack of flash does makes it dark and hides some detail -- the green hank is almost too dark.

Anyway, you get the picture. These are the right yarns, finally! Thanks to Joyce Rodriguez at Knit One, Crochet Too! And just in time to start a new project for the New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Wendy's comin' to town!

***
The venerable Wendy Johnson of Wendy Knits will be in the area on Thursday, December 29th, hanging out with Kathy at Holly Spring Homespun in Powhatan and knitting on her lovely Bohus sweater. She's got a book coming out in April, which ought to be a good read.



My family's faux Christmas gathering is Wednesday and there will still be relatives in town on Thursday, so it is iffy whether I'll make the 50-mile roundtrip to Powhatan, but I'll sure try!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

God Bless Us, Everyone!

***
Merry Christmas!

I had a quiet but nice Christmas meal with my parents at their house, and then went over to brother Tommy's house to hang out with his family and his wife Mary's mother and sister. I'm truly blessed with a wonderful family, who are my very best Christmas gifts, year-round.

***
I'm a stereotypical spinster -- I'm single, childless, I live alone, I knit, I garden, I own two cats. In celebration of spinsterhood, let me introduce you to one of my fuzzy children.


This is Ali, (pronounced "alley"), which is short for "Alabaster", since she is solid white. She is seen here sleeping on a pillow on a little table to the left of my desk chair, for, you see, she must be within six inches of me at all times, and so, to keep her from sitting on the desk in my way, I've made her a little pillow bed. She's my little whiney needy baby kitty. Her meows truly sound whiney and demanding to me. I blame this on the fact that she was weaned way too early. I got her when she was six weeks old and plagued by worms, fleas and ear mites. She was already eating solid food, but still craved the comfort of suckling her kitty-mama, so she used to wake me up in the middle of the night to "nurse" on one of my fingertips. I know she now thinks I'm her mama, and that's okay, most of the time, since fuzzy children may be the only children I'll ever have.

But sometimes, sitting six inches to my left is still not close enough. She'll start to pester me by trying to pull open and climb into my zippered hoody sweatshirt, while I'm still wearing it. This is what it looks like, from my point of view, when I give in and let her climb inside:


No, I'm not particularly well-endowed, nor am I pregnant. That bulge underneath my sweatshirt is none other than:


my little baby girl, trying to get just a little bit closer to her mama. I may have to get one of those papoose things in order to get anything done!

I'll introduce my other fuzzy child, Casey, in a future post.

May everyone have sugarplum dreams tonight!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Boss, The Scunci & The 'Skins

***
Merry Christmas Eve to ME! ;-)

I've received three Christmas Eve gifts already today:

Christmas Eve Gift #1: I had a dream this morning that I was standing, front row, at a private house concert by none other than The Boss, who was singing "Backstreets". Woke up in a great mood with that song (and that great piano-playin') still in my head, so I had to hear it! Come to realize that most of my Springsteen library is still stuck in the 80's -- either on scratchy albums or warped cassette tapes. I do have his Greatest Hits on CD, which I've ripped to my PC, but alas, "Backstreets" is not on that album. I've also downloaded quite a few of his songs, but again - not "Backstreets", for some reason. I quickly remedied that situation and started my Christmas Eve morning off right! Had to let Cara know that she's not the only knitter who dreams about Bruce anymore!

Christmas Eve Gift #2: Went to Target yesterday and spent far too much time and money in that store. And pooh on them -- the advertised Scunci steamer was nowhere to be found. It doesn't even look like they ever stocked it -- I didn't see a bare shelf where it once might have been. The only semi-decent steamer they had was made by Shark, so I purchased that. On my way home I stopped in CVS to pick up a prescription, and what do you think they had on their shelves? Yep - Scunci steamers. So I bought one and returned the Shark to Target this morning.

While roaming around Target I happened upon this display of faux hand-knit socks:




Who is Target trying to fool? We know these things were made on knitting machines attended by little Malaysian children forced into slave labor! And I also know that all you sock hand-knitters can do a much neater & nicer job than this! Sad.

Christmas Eve Gift #3: Blocked my dad's scarf with Scunci during the first quarter of the Redskins game, which they WON, by the way, 35-20 against the Giants who shut them out earlier in the season. A fantastic game and an especially sweet win.

(Hail to the Redskins, Hail Victory. Braves on the warpath, Fight for old D.C!)

But I digress....

What was I talking about? Oh yeah - blocking, as in a scarf, not tackles. Anyway, the steamer worked great, although I don't know that the scarf will be as wide as I hoped - that ribbing, you know. As I type this, it is rolled up in towels to dry and be protected from further lint acquisition, which is a real threat in this house. It's got until Tuesday-ish to dry because we're not having the big family gathering until Wednesday.

Here's one end of the scarf, pre-blocking:

where, as you can see, it's about 50 inches long, and about 4 inches wide. I didn't take any pictures during the steaming process because it's hard to hold a camera and a steamer while also trying to keep a wobbly ironing board from falling over, which it did, at one point, dumping steamer and scarf onto the cat-hair-covered floor -- arrgh! Spent the next 5 minutes picking lint and cat hair out of it. I did try to block the scarf's width to be around 6 inches, but I don't think that will "stick". Perhaps the towels will help keep it spread out -- we'll see.

I'll try to remember to take a picture of it once it's dry. Or perhaps a picture of it around dad's neck after he's received it.

Now I need to finish niece Jessica's birthday scarf and all my holiday knitting will be done!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2005

I've got sssssssssss-Steam Heat!

***
Thank you, Suzanne and Eileen for your comments regarding what you use to wash your hand-knits -- I will keep that information in mind!

Woke up this morning with another thought regarding blocking dad's scarf. I think I may follow the lead of Annie Modesitt and Crazy Aunt Purl's Laurie, who both swear by blocking via steaming with a Scunci Steamer.


Target has them right now for $59.99. And there's a new Target not 2 miles from me. I need to run some errands anyway, so I suppose I'll battle the Christmas shoppers and pick me up a steamer. Here's hoping they have some left!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Blockin' 'n Bloggin'

***
Worked some more on dad's scarf last night and I'm pretty close to finishing it. For some reason I've found this scarf particularly slow-going, frustrating and mind-numbingly boring, so I'll be glad to be done with it. My frustration has nothing to do with the design or designer, (what could be more straightforward than 2x2 ribbing?), and more to do with the yarn (very nice but highlights every mistake) and the knitter (who makes lots of mistakes). I think I'm going to stop at 3 balls of the Karabella Aurora Bulky, as it's already about 44 inches long, and I'm going to be washing & blocking it this weekend, so it will no doubt stretch. I know it'll stretch in length; what I'm hoping is it will also stretch a bit in width, (the 2x2 ribbing really draws it in), as well as even out the stitches (and hide the mistakes??? too much to ask of blocking??? Laurie says it's magic, so I'm going to trust that, for now). I'll photo-document that scintillating process, (whoo hoo!), as it will be my very first attempt at blocking.
...
Which leads me to a question -- what do most people use to wash their hand-knits? Is Woolite sufficient, or should I use something special like Eucalan No-Rinse Wool Wash? Clara Parkes at Knitter's Review warns against the former and recommends the latter. I'm all for using the best product, but this will require a trip to my LYS tomorrow, which I hadn't planned on. (Oh, okay, twist my arm).

***

I'm contemplating switching to a different template for this blog. I like this one -- I felt the parchment background of this "Scribe" template would be a good compliment to knitting topics, but the more I blog, the more annoyed I'm getting with the limitations of its narrowness. Perhaps it's just me and my monitor and resolution and browser, but I'd like my main column to be wider and I can't really change that because the template image limits that. There might be a way to widen the image - I haven't figured that out and am not sure I really want to go to all that trouble, so am thinking of switching to a plain white template like:

With a plain white background, I can fiddle with column widths to my heart's content and not have to worry about columns exceeding the borders of the background image. I also think that a cleaner look is more pleasing to the eye and just more enjoyable to read. Anyone who has an opinion please post it in the comments - I'd love to hear it.

***

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Is My Blog a Secret?

***
Kathy, over at Grumperina's knitting blog, tagged her readers yesterday with the following meme:

"How about you? Who knows about your knitting and your knitting blog, and what are your reasons for revealing (or not) its existence to these folks? Don’t just leave me a comment – rather consider this a meme and answer on your own blog ;)."

I've accepted the challenge and will document my response below.

Who knows about my knitting blog? Let's see.... My SIL Jenny knows. She taught me how to knit, and I started this blog so that I would not be harassing her 20 times a day with knitting-related emails and phone calls. (I still harass her, but only 5 times a day now). As a busy mom of three, she doesn't have time to read it regularly, but on occasion I'll forward a post to her if the content is such that I'd like her feedback. I don't think anyone else in my family knows about the blog, (or if they do, they forgot or don't really care), basically because I don't think anyone else is really all that interested in knitting or in reading what I have to say about knitting.

I know my dad probably isn't all that interested, although he might like to read my post about his mother, my Grandmére. I didn't forward that to him because his Christmas gift is also documented on this blog. I may spill the beans after Christmas, but I don't expect him to be a regular reader.

My mom is not a knitter and is not computer literate and never will be, so there's no point in her knowing. I'm not sure she'd remember what "blog" means, anyway.

My sister Anne learned how to knit as a kid, and even taught her daughter -- my niece Rosemarie -- recently, but Anne doesn't knit as an adult. She's too busy to read a knitting blog and frankly isn't particularly computer savvy.

My sister Terry also learned how to knit as a kid but doesn't knit as an adult. Santa is going to give Terry's youngest daughter Leah a knitting kit for Christmas, and so Terry says she'll probably re-learn as she helps Leah learn. Here's hoping she gets hooked -- I would love another addict in the family! If she becomes passionate about knitting, I'll tell her about the blog, and she may end up reading it on occasion.

My sister Julie doesn't knit and I doubt would be interested.

My brothers? Ha! They're men. 'Nuf said.

Basically, everyone in my family is either not interested and/or too busy to read a blog about knitting (or any other subject, for that matter), so there's really no point in shoving it in their face.

I've given a couple friends the link to my blog, and I know at least one has read part of it. They don't knit much or at all, and are very busy folks, so I know it's not of much interest to them either.

I'm guessing some of my friends/family might read it semi-regularly if they had an email subscription, but as far as I can tell, blogger doesn't have that type of functionality except for blog owners. I haven't researched to see if there are any hacks available to set up email subscriptions for readers, but as my readership is quite small, I don't have a need for it, currently. Most knitting blog readers are knitting bloggers themselves who tend to read their blogroll via Bloglines or some other service, rather than wanting to read them via email.

In summary, my blog is not a secret, per se, but I'm not pushing family & friends to read it, either, because I don't know that many (or any) are interested, and frankly, they just might think I'm a little pathetic (if they don't already).

I also have a gardening blog which I don't maintain very regularly because I've not maintained the garden regularly, at least not this year. I'm going to try and be a better gardener and garden blogger next year -- a New Year's resolution! The garden blog is also not a secret and has been mentioned to others on occasion, but there's not a lot of interest from them, and therefore not much traffic.

Was this as boring for you to read as I think it was? If so, my apologies!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Another FO


Christmas knitting is progressing. I don't need to have everything finished until next Wednesday, 12/28, when our family is having the big family celebration. Last night I finished another scarf, made from:


Crystal Palace "Musique" (love the name of that yarn), color: 9364, and GGH "Apart", color: 15.

This scarf was going to be for my sister, but I decided to give it to my mom, instead, and give my sister the scarf originally intended for my mom. This one is warmer, and my mom is tiny and always cold, so I think she needs the warmer version.

Here's the finished object, hanging on my porch railing:


14 stitches, US size 15 needles (bamboo; would have been easier on aluminum), knit every row. It took two balls of "Musique", one of "Apart".

Close-up of the knitting:

Not the most in-focus picture I could have taken, but of all the pictures I took under various light conditions, these colors are the most accurate, (surprisingly, since this is taken in incandescent light with no flash). I wonder why incandescent light seems more accurate to me than natural daylight? I know blues are hard to capture accurately on film - wonder if that's also true with digital.

Only two more UFO's to finish before Christmas/New Year's, and both are well underway. I hope to finish another tonight. If so, pictures tomorrow!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Doggone it...

***


Redskins vs. Cowboys today (right now). I just can't miss that match-up, and I'm guessing the knitting group isn't going to have a tv nearby (or would approve of my distraction). And so, I'm going to skip the knitting group today in favor of watching the game and knitting here at home. Darn.

Next time, for sure!

-------------------

Update:

Washington pounded Dallas, 35-7 -- Hail to the Redskins!!!

This was definitely worth watching! (Game stats here.)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Saturday musings....

***

I have sorta made a deal with myself that I won't catch up on other people's blogs until I post something to mine. But not every day do I have scintillating knitting (or other) topics to document. And so, for today, just a few random musings, and then it's off to see how Alison is doing with her Christmas knitting. (She's first in the list, alphabetically, and is such a good blogger - posts almost every day, and with quality knitting content, no less. A nice way to kick off the blogroll...).

Anyway....

Musing #1 (On Blogging): I borrowed some java script from Johan, a Swedish blogger who won ClustrMaps' November contest. His code adds a nifty new feature to the ClustrMap up there in my left sidebar. If you hover your mouse pointer over it, the big map appears at the top of the browser. (At least it does in MSIE - haven't tested how it looks in Firefox yet. Any Firefox users who want to report the results back to me in the comments, well, I'd truly appreciate that).

You have to scroll up to the top to see it. Go ahead. I'll wait.

You can still click on the ClustrMaps button to launch the stats page for my blog, and in doing so, it seems I've been averaging between 30-40 hits a day, and I've had hits from every continent except Antartica. Which makes me wonder.... (Here's the musing part:) How many of my hits are due to perverts looking for something other than knitting content, based on the title of my blog? I'm guessing probably 10 hits a day, maybe more, are due to the pervert factor. (There's no actual science behind that -- just a gut estimate. One day I had someone, whose first language is not English, post a comment saying that he read the entire blog and found it so boring that he became depressed and suicidal. I got a good chuckle from that, before I deleted the comment -- perverted loser!)

On days when I publish a post, I'm guessing probably at least 10 of my blog hits are from me. And so, that leaves anywhere from 10-20 other hits from folks who have intentionally visited or may have stumbled on the blog by accident. I'm guessing that I get maybe 1-2 legitimate knitter visits a day, (based on my comment stats), which doesn't sound like much, but I don't mind. It's not about traffic for me, at this stage. The whole reason I started this blog was to keep track of knitting projects and progress; (I'm more likely to continue to log my knitting this way than in some paper notebook that I'll misplace or spill a drink on). Other knitters I "meet" due to this blog are just icing on the cake! But, it would be nice to get an idea of how many legitimate knitters actually stop by. I'd really appreciate your leaving a comment here, if you fit that criteria.

Musing #2 (On Knitting): Isn't it amazing how knitting can affect your mood? I have to admit that for a few days I've been avoiding several WIP's, because they were all at a stage where I needed to frog them back a few (or many) rows to fix something. That's always a little disheartening, and I just didn't want to face it. But yesterday, I swallowed hard and picked up my dad's scarf and after some frustrating moments, fixed the problem and went knitting on my merry way. About 30 minutes later I marveled at how calm and happy I felt, when I was anxious and frustrated minutes earlier. Same thing happened today -- the scarf I started for my sister somehow lost not one, but two stitches, (it's so easy to do an unintentional k2tog with this yarn, being carried with GGH's 'Apart' in teal). I ended up frogging the whole thing and starting over, which is no easy task -- it's slow-going, this scarf! But it's worth doing it right. I can feel proud of the finished product, rather than ashamed of glaring mistakes.

***
Tomorrow I think I'll go sit & knit with Pat's knitting group that meets out in the Midlothian/Brandermill area at Countryside Christian Church. I had such a nice time with them last week. They typically meet from 5-7 pm on Sundays. If you're interested in attending and need more information, just leave your question in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Stocking Stuffers for those who have everything

***
One of my many hobbies is calligraphy, and so I sometimes find myself window-shopping for pens and associated supplies. According to those in the know, THE store for fancy pens is Joon of New York. I've never been there, but I do get their catalog. Who knew there were so many fancy pens to be had? There's a whole category of fancy pen collectors, apparently. I picture them as gray-haired men smoking pipes, wearing silk ascots tucked into sweater vests under tweed jackets, sitting in tufted leather chairs at carved mahogany desks in their wood-paneled libraries .

And so, if you have the aforementioned fancy pen collector on your Christmas list and lots of money to burn, you might want to get them this set:


It's a Montegrappa Eternal Bird Limited Edition 18K gold, diamond and ruby fountain pen and ink well.

And you can get them both for a mere $45,350.

(They don't even list the price on their website - you have to call to order. The catalog reveals all, however).

I notice that they give you a choice of nib sizes. It seems to me, if you're shelling out $45K for a pen & inkwell set, they might throw in all three nibs.

I'm just sayin'.

Merry Christmas shopping!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

You made it happen!

***
Thanks to everyone who voted for the Poulos home in the Today Show's "Al Be Home For Christmas" contest. They won!!!

Be sure to watch the Today Show tomorrow (Friday, December 16, 2005), 8-10 am EDT on NBC, to see Al Roker broadcast the weather live from Kill Devil Hills in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. My sister is so proud!

(If the weather wasn't so yukky I just might drive down there myself!)

Einstein - he knew the truth!

***

(Go here to create your own Einstein message.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Packages and Presents

***
Is this acceptable postal carrier behavior?

If the package is too big, just balance it on top of the mailbox? Never mind that it could fall into the ditch or get rained on or be stolen by the next car that drives by! Or that I might be gone for three or four days and this would advertise my absence and again invite theft. Apparently the 10 yard walk to my front porch is just too strenuous for this particular jeep jockey. And this is not the first time this has happened. And so, I called and lodged a complaint yesterday. Which means that from now on I'll probably receive the postal service equivalent of a bad waiter spitting in soup I ask to be reheated. I may never see my mail again. Sigh...

(Perhaps the dying vine and peeling paint on my sorely neglected mailbox made him think I wouldn't mind if my package were damaged or stolen?)

***

Inside the package was a book for my sister for Christmas and something else for me. (Because, you know, you get free shipping if your total purchases exceed a certain amount. Ahem.)

Anyway, this is the something for me:


Something else to tackle in the New Year, because it'll probably be 2006 before I ever finish this.

***

Last night I went to my friend Linda's house for an annual Christmas dinner for four of us who call ourselves the "Babe Chix". We're what is known as a "reunion group" and have been meeting (or trying to meet) weekly, off-and-on, in one form or another, with various members, since 1989, since the very early stages of the Richmond Emmaus community. I've not been very active for the past few years, but I still like seeing my dear friends when I can, when I'm in town.

We had a wonderful evening together and exchanged gifts. The most unusually-shaped gift was a bird feeder Linda & her husband made for each of us, which I just love. Here's a picture of it in action:

(and no, I still haven't raked. I guess it's about time, huh?)


I gave each lady a handknit scarf. I didn't have the forethought to take a picture of them wearing said scarves (duh). But Linda received this, Nancy this, and Myrna this. They seemed to like them, which is all a knitter can ask for! And frankly, it wouldn't matter if they hated them and never wore them -- I still loved making them. :-)

***

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Vote Today!

A house near where my sister lives in Kill Devil Hills, NC is one of three finalists in the Today Show's "Al Be Home for Christmas" contest. I'm trying to help drum up votes for the Poulos home so that Al Roker will broadcast his weather report from North Carolina's Outer Banks on Friday. Vote Today!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Successful Knit-In!

***
(!Warning!: Lengthy post!)

Saturday was the Knit-In for charity, which in my opinion was quite successful!

In preparation, I offered to help spread the word and dropped off some flyers at several yarn stores on Thursday. (Twist my arm -- any excuse for a yarn crawl!)

First on the list was The Yarn Lounge in Carytown. Proof I was there, (my version of proof -- you haven't visited unless you purchase something):



My very first pair of Addi Turbo circulars. It was an impulse buy and methinks they're probably longer than I will ever need (60 inches!), but I figure I might be able to use them for a lengthwise scarf. I think they're still too long for that, so may have to return them for a more reasonable shorter length.

Next was The Knitting Basket at Libby & Grove. Those folks are so nice! Again, proof I was there:


Yummy-licious Crystal Palace "Musique" in my favorite colors (of course). I got their last three balls of this colorway -- score! This is going to be a scarf, carried with GGH "Apart" in a teal green for my sister Julie for Christmas. Pictures of that in a future post.


Finally, I drove out to Powhatan (it's so pretty out there - makes me want to move out to the country, buy a farm, raise some sheep and learn to spin! But I digress...), and stopped by Holly Spring Homespun. Owner Kathy is very nice. If you visit her website, the little knitting dog in the knit-along photo is Scarlet, who is the cutest little thing (pug?) you've ever seen, and wants to play fetch the whole time you're there. Kathy is a spinner & dyer and so has spinning items (rovings, wheels, carders, etc.) for sale in a little room off the main shop. Proof that I visited her shop:

That's Tahki's "Angel" in colorway 9. (Yes, I'm stuck in a color rut, but I don't care!)
***
Fast-forward to Saturday's Knit-In which was held at Countryside Christian Church out near Brandermill. Attending were Pat, (the organizer), Victoria, Catherine, Kim, Laura (a beader, not a knitter), Robin, and myself. It was so great to meet all of them -- everyone was fantastic, and I had a blast knitting and chatting with them. While we were there, one lady stopped by with a huge bag of scarves she's knitted or crocheted while traveling for work. There must have been 30 scarves in that bag! We were blown away! She also dropped off tons of toiletries from various hotels where she's stayed, which Pat & Laura assured us would be welcomed at a local women's shelter. Another lady who saw the flyer at Holly Spring Homespun brought by about 7 scarves she'd knitted. Pat had also been busy prior to the knit-in -- she came with several FO's of her own and was working on another one while we were there. And Catherine, a lovely older woman who lives in the area, had also made several hats & scarves prior to the gathering which she brought with her to donate. Lovely Laura worked on beaded bracelets while we were there, and made each of us one to match our outfits. Fortunately I was wearing my favorite color that day, (three guesses as to what that is), so Laura made me one with alternating teal and silver beads. Yippee! Thanks, Laura! And lovely Pat gave each one of us a lovely-smelling Christmas candle -- thanks, Pat!
***

Without further ado, here are some photos from our Knit-In:

Victoria, (a lovely lady originally from New York - I could listen to that Yankee accent all day!), and Pat helping Victoria with her knitting.

Robin and Laura (the beader)

The beaded bracelet Laura made for me.

This is Kim, who is living my dream life -- she has a farm with sheep and spins her own wool and weaves and knits. Poor thing -- I was throwing questions at her right and left about every aspect of her fiber life. She has a booth at the Montpelier Fall Fiber Festival, the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, and the Spring Fiber Festival, so look for her there -- apparently her weavings are fantastic! Here she is knitting with leftover warp threads from her loom. Very thrifty, and the scarf she made was very cool!

Amazingly enough, the total scarf count from this Knit-In was a whopping 54! And there were so many beautiful ones there, not just utilitarian warm. Who says you can't be warm AND stylish?

The woman who brought the 30+ scarves did a smart thing -- she wrapped the original yarn label around the finished scarf, so the recipient would have the care instructions. Brilliant!

I started my scarf while there and got about 2/3 of the way through before it was time to leave, so I finished at home last night and put it in the mail today to Pat. Here's the finished version -- I made it about 4½' long and about 10-12" wide -- I figured it would go to a man, who might prefer a bit shorter, but wider scarf, which is also why I did not add fringe.

It is knit with Gedifra 'Arica' on size 17 needles, cast-on 18 stitches, knit every row. It made a loose but drapey (and fast-knitted) scarf.

I had such a nice time during this function and really enjoyed meeting all the lovely ladies that I think I'll go back for their regular "knit nights". They typically meet from 5-7 pm on Sunday evenings, which fits perfectly with my schedule. (The weeknight Richmond-area "Stitch 'n Bitch" meetings aren't possible when I'm out of town).

Many thanks to Pat Turner for spear-heading this wonderful event!

***

Update: As of 1/8/06, Pat tells us the total scarf count is 74!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Friday happenings

***
Welp, Wednesday I emailed that !#$%^&*! online retailer regarding the kit with the wrong yarns. I also called and left a voice message, (no mere human answers their phones). I emailed them again. I also emailed the wholesaler who originally created the kit and sold it to the vendor. The wholesaler responded almost immediately and said they, too, would try to reach the retailer. It's now been three days, and neither of us have heard from The Knitting Garden, who are now, officially and permanently on my sh*t list, and are also now officially permanently removed from my sidebar in the "Web-wide Enablers" section. They have a pretty, eye-catching website, but their customer service SUCKS. Interestingly enough, the folks at Knit One, Crochet Too told me that, although I placed my order with The Knitting Garden on November 5th, KOCT did not receive the order from TKG until November 30th. That's 25 days! I didn't get my kit (with the wrong yarns) until December 5th. Yes, that's an entire month. And so, the gracious folks at KOCT are going to work with me outside of this crappy retailer. I shipped the kit back to KOCT today, and they're going to send me the replacement yarns as soon as they get the kit back. And so, on top of the already expensive price of this kit, I had to pay $6 in shipping, and the wholesaler will also have to pay for shipping it to me. It's all very annoying. But I'm so very thankful that KOCT is willing to work with me on this. Let this be a lesson -- buyer beware! The Knitting Garden sucks, and I do not recommend them. (I promised I'd bash them if they made no move to rectify, and I'm keeping my promise). Knit One, Crochet Too, on the other hand, are awesome. I just wish we could order from them directly.

Okay, on a more positive note, I went to the Craft Show tonight, which took place here:



the Bainbridge Art Center. It's in a sorta scary neighborhood in south Richmond, (back in my rescue squad days, we always dreaded the calls in this neighborhood -- they usually involved bullet wounds).

Check out the odd sculpture out front:


Anyway, it was a very small show and a light turnout, and not much there interested me, but I did buy some Sari silk yarn from Baa Baa yarn:


I came home and wound it into a ball -- (by hand - I have no swift or ball winder, yet) -- the process of which turned out to be a bear. "Lots of slubs" she advertises -- no kidding! I had to cut some out, they were so big. No idea what I'll make with this. I know there's a purse pattern in a previous issue of Knitty, but not sure I want to make a purse. She only had one hank for sale and it's about 65 yards, so not sure it's enough to do anything more than a scarf on really big needles. No hurry on a decision -- I've got plenty of other things to work on.

Tomorrow is pretty busy so probably no blog post again until Sunday, when I'll update you on latest yarn crawl, stash-enhancement acquisitions, knitting project progress, my dad's birthday, and tomorrow's charity Knit-In. Whew!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Richmond Craft Mafia - Craft Show Friday

***
Local knitters, crafters & craft-lovers, be sure to stop by here tomorrow night:

There will be at least one local knit-blogger / vendor selling hand-spun, hand-dyed yarns, (which is the sole attraction to me), but I imagine there will be other nice crafts there as well. Maybe I'll see you there!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bait & Switch?


I think I've been the victim of the old "bait & switch" routine.

Let me ask your opinion.

Do these yarns:



look like they will knit up something with these colors?:


I think NOT.

The predominant colors in the kit I thought I purchased is that greenish-blue/teal color. The predominant color in the kit I actually received is NAVY blue. Bleh.

I'm REALLY annoyed now. It has taken an entire MONTH for my (very expensive) order to get to me, and then they send me the wrong yarns.

Grrrrrrrrr.

I just sent them a pointed email with both of the above pictures attached so that they can see for themselves that the colors aren't right. For now I will not bash this particular vendor, but if the situation isn't rectified soon, I will be bashing them all over this blog and anywhere else it's appropriate.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Snow in... winter?

We had a nice little snowstorm yesterday, although "storm" for us means just a couple inches of the white stuff. It still leads to school closings and power outages, thanks to the ice coating roads and power lines. What I find frustrating is that it's December, so, yeah, snow is not totally unexpected or unwelcome, (don't get me wrong - me loves me some snow), but the darn trees still have leaves on them! I haven't even raked yet! Case in point:



Whatevah. It'll probably all be melted by tomorrow. More "wintry mix" on its way for Friday, just in time to ruin lots of weekend plans, including this and this.

In the meantime the kit for this finally arrived today - whoo hoo! UPS got it here after 5 pm so I can't tell in the dim light of my house, but those yarn colors look a LOT darker here than they do in the picture. I'll take a good hard look tomorrow in the daylight, and perhaps take a fo-to or two.

And I blame Grumperina for my latest yarn acquisition. In a post earlier this week she referred to a scarf she made this summer using some incredibly soft yarn. And so, I had to find some for myself. And, so I did. Of course, I had to get it in colors more suited to my taste, which, if you've read some of my previous posts, you'll know it leans to blue-green/teal. So... I ordered a couple balls of this:


That is Berroco Plush Colors # 1958, "Taffy". As Kathy indicated, it is a good, soft, next-to-the-neck yarn, so in the tradition of novice knitters everywhere, (including this one), it will be, yes, you guessed it, a scarf. Garter stitch, no less. Shocking, I know. But I can't wait to knit this up. It should be here by Thursday or Friday, I think. Yay.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Knit-In for Charity this weekend!

***
Pat Turner has asked me to pass along this message:

The ladies of the Soulful Knitting Ministry at Countryside Christian Church cordially invite all knitters to join us for an afternoon of fun, fellowship and food as we knit scarves for the homeless and for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The Knit-In will be held this weekend, on Saturday, December 10 from 1:00 to 5:00 at Countryside Christian Church, 3509 Old Hundred Road, Midlothian VA 23112 (between Genito and Hull Street Road). Bring your own yarn and needles and knit a scarf for a needy adult, teen or child. Seating is limited, please RSVP at 804-722-8236 or knit4soul@hotmail.com. We look forward to seeing you there! **
***
Saturday is my dad's birthday and we're having a "thing" for him that evening, but I will still try to attend this, if possible. I'm looking forward to meeting some local knitters!
---------------
**Update: To see the results of the successful Knit-In, go here.

A follow-up.

***
Another even shorter post to point you to the link for the laugh-until-you-cry Dane Cook "Growing Up Catholic" bit. I've seen this like five times, and I still howl.

-----

Update 12/6/05: You can now view his SNL monologue and the sweater sketch online.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Just a quick Sunday evening post...

...because there's just ten minutes until I'm lured to the boob tube to watch Sunday night must-see tv: West Wing, Desperate Housewives, & Grey's Anatomy.

Watched the Redskins finally win a game (Hail!) earlier today, after three losses in a row. Perhaps we'll get a wildcard slot after all. We can only hope Joe Gibbs' heart-to-heart meeting with the key players earlier this week will stick with them through the next few games.

Watched SNL last night and my favorite comedian, Dane Cook was hosting. What a nice surprise! That guy is pee-in-your-pants funny, and has a new CD out, which I may have to purchase if Santa doesn't bring it. I first saw him a few years ago on Comedy Central Presents, and my favorite bit of his involves what he calls "Christ Chex". So irreverent, but so funny! I think his monologue last night was a hoot, but the "turtleneck sweater" sketch was also hilarious. I've been trying to Google a picture of that, but there are none, thus far. It would have been a stretch, but would have allowed this post to qualify as knitting-related! ;-)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A UFO & 2 FO's

***
UFO: A soon-to-be-completed birthday scarf for niece & goddaughter Jessica, who turns 16 on January 1st and loves pink & orange:



Made with "Dawn" carried with GGH's "Apart"; size 17 needles, 10 stitches, knit every row.
---

FO#1: Green scarf for friend Linda:



Lane Borgogesia's "Tibet", shade #3 carried with Berroco Crystal FX "Cryptonite"; size 15 needles, 10 stitches, knit every row.
---

FO #2: Blue-green/teal scarf for moi:


Berroco Optik Peacock and Crystal FX "Caribe"; size 15 needles, 12 stitches, knit every row (duh).

(I had vowed I wouldn't knit anything for myself until after the holidays, but I just couldn't resist this, and it knitted up so quickly that, before I knew it, it was done. If I find myself short a hand-knitted gift for someone, it may end up going to someone else anyway, but it's a bit scratchy, so I'm not sure someone else would want it. So, Yay - now I have my own hand-knit scarf to wear, now that it's cold!)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Kooky Knits

***
Things I'll never knit:


Spaghetti I-cord

----

Itty-bitty sock earrings

---

A knitted G.I. tract

---

A giant American flag

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Knit for Kids


Traveling home yesterday, I was armed as usual with a variety of weapons of mass distraction entertainment options, (i.e., a knitting project, a newspaper, a magazine, a book, etc.) for the plane rides, (because God forbid I be left to my own thoughts for more than a few minutes).

Which option I choose all depends on how much room I have -- if the seat next to mine is empty, I can spread out a little and read the newspaper or knit. If I'm elbow-to-elbow with other passengers, out of etiquette I usually don't knit, so as not to be continuously bumping them with my thrower's elbow. In those cases, I pull out a book or magazine -- whichever suits my mood at the time.

For my first flight on the tiny turbo-prop, a tiny magazine seemed appropriate, so I pulled out one from my laptop case -- the November issue of Guideposts, with Amy Grant on the cover. And lo and behold, the very first article involved knitting!

Seems there's a project that was started about 10 years ago, called the "Guideposts Sweater Project", (now known as "Knit for Kids"), where volunteers knit sweaters for kids that are then distributed to underprivileged children around the world. This particular article described seeing the reactions of a group of kids in Appalachia as they received their sweaters. I like the fact that they are allowed to pick out whichever sweater they want from the box - that seems to make it all the more personal, that each kid gets one they really like and want.

What a great idea! Guideposts provides the patterns and the shipping information - you knit the sweater and send it to their offices. Maybe that can be my New Year's resolution - to knit my first sweater and give that to the sweater project. Seems like a good way to dive head-first into sweater knitting, since it is for kids and therefore small and should go faster. I guess I have my New Year's knitting cut out for me!

I like to think my Grandmére would be proud.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

No Mo Fo-To?

***
Lately I've been trying to have at least one photo per blog post, because I find blogs are just more interesting than plain text when they include pictures.

However, I'm out of town for work this week, so no home-grown pictures to post on the blog 'til I get home later in the week. I don't typically bring my digital camera on the road with me because I don't check luggage when I travel for work, and there just ain't-no-room for one-more-thing in my two carry-ons, (excuse me -- "ONE carry-on and ONE small personal item, which may be a purse, backpack or computer case"). Plus, I'm afraid it would get damaged with the constant jostling. Which is silly, because the darn thing is already damaged -- the zoom is broken. So, I'm now in a quandary about whether to pay the several hundred dollars it will take to get it fixed, (plus relinquishing it to the vagueries of shipping during the holiday season), or to just throw in the towel and upgrade to a digital SLR.

I used to be a serious photography nut. Took several classes in college -- several black & white darkroom classes, a color darkroom class, a few seminars, a history of photography class, etc., and really enjoyed all of that. That was back before anyone ever heard of digital cameras. My trusty high school graduation gift, a Minolta XG-A, did all the heavy lifting for me. As with every hobby (obsession) of mine, I started buying tons of books and magazines on the subject, and fantasizing about being a professional at it and having my own darkroom. I bought a bunch of lenses, took tons of pictures, and then as has happened with so many of my hobbies and interests, it fell by the wayside. (I often wonder if I have Adult ADD). I think it was all the hassle of dealing with the film, having to buy it, then take it to get developed, then remember to go back sometime later and pick up the prints, (and pay for THAT too), etc. This girl -- who pays all her bills online so she doesn't have to deal with stamps and checks and envelopes and return address labels -- this girl hates unnecessary hassle. (Okay, I'm lazy).

And then I got the digital. I bought the best on the market, (at the time), because I didn't want to have to deal with a piece of junk. I've loved the instant gratification of it, (shocking, I know), and have had a ball with it. But three-and-a-half years later, it's now a piece of junk, compared to what it once was and to what's available now. Perhaps junk is a little harsh, but you get the picture. (No pun intended). It don't work right.

And so, I'm torn. Fix the old one? Or get a snazzy new one with all kinds of new and nifty features? What to do. What to do. Hmmmmmm................

(Could this possibly be the longest ever blog post about photography that contains no photos whatsoever?)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Free Yarn

An early Christmas gift from me, (okay, from Bernat), to you. That's right. That's not a typo. Free. You can thank me later. But this ain't your beloved Noro, or hand-spun cashmere/silk/alpaca:


And keep in mind the terms & conditions of the offer. But who's gonna turn up their nose at the free stuff? Not me, that's for sure! (It's even in the color family I so love!) And if my non-knitter mother just happens to sign up for a ball as well, and then just happens to give me hers, well, who's gonna care? ;-)