Monday, July 31, 2006

If I had known that all it took was a hockey stick...

... I would have started carrying one with me years ago.

So, I'm in Maryland for work, and we're out to dinner at a fantastic sushi place next to the hotel, and we're drinking wine and swapping stories. One of my co-workers tells us about her experience in the BWI airport last week.

This coworker plays ice hockey, and had a hockey stick with her on her flight back home to Toronto. [Don't ask why she had a hockey stick with her while working in Maryland - it lengthens (and is not integral to) the story].

As she walked through the airport, hurrying to her gate, my coworker said she was stopped at various points along the way by at least a dozen different men who went out of their way to cross the terminal and strike up a conversation with her and ask her inane questions about hockey. All this male attention in the airport was new to her, and she's been flying in and out of BWI every week for months. But this was the first time with a hockey stick.

I was generous and gave these fellas the benefit of the doubt, theorizing that it was because she was carrying something sports-related, and men love to talk about sports. Or perhaps seeing someone carrying an ice hockey stick in Baltimore in July is just so unusual that people can't help but ask questions. But all the questions were coming from men, which was the unusual part.

Our male dinner companion had a different theory, which took him all of two seconds to share. "It's a phallic symbol", he said. "Men can't resist that".


I am so naive.

But the scales have now fallen from my eyes.

"Sure -- anything will do. Walk through the airport with one of those tubes that carries blueprints -- that'll work, too."


So, anyone know where I can get one of those tubes that carries blueprints?


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Saturday Sky-lights & Random Sunday Musings


The nice thing about living in a house with skylights -- when it's 90,000ºF outside, you can still take Saturday Sky pictures, but in the relative comfort of the air-conditioned indoors. Loving it.

The dual skylights in my living room

Skylight in the bathroom - can you see the Mimosa blossoms?

When I had my roof replaced a couple years ago I had them also replace the nasty, yellowed, cloudy plastic skylights with glass ones. I've never been happier about money spent on a home improvement -- to actually be able to SEE through them has been marvelous.

Sometimes when I'm sitting at my desk and looking up, I'll see a hummingbird sipping on the Mimosa blossoms - what a thrill! And if I wait to shower until around 2pm, the sun is almost directly overhead and shines right down on me when I'm showering, and I feel like I'm taking an outdoor shower at the beach -- sort of a mini-vacation inside my own home.

I love skylights. I love when it snows and and you can see as each flake hits the skylight and melts, or else stays frozen if it's cold enough, and begins to accumulate on the glass. I love looking up and seeing the trees bend back and forth wildly when a windy storm (or hurricane) is in the area. I love seeing (and hearing) as rain gently taps on the glass. And I know immediately when rain turns to sleet and then back to rain again.



* I'm a winner -- AGAIN!

I've won another blog contest and so have more free yarn coming my way. That's twice in one week! I don't believe in luck or the lottery, but when I found this out yesterday, I ran out and bought a lottery ticket.

I did not win the lottery. But I'm still pretty damn excited about the yarn. ArtYarns SuperMerino -- I love this stuff! Thanks, Courtney! And once again, Happy Blogiversary to you! :-)


* I'm an idiot -- AGAIN!

For the second time in as many months, I've driven off from a gas station without my gas cap. Duh. Thank goodness Advance Auto Parts is just up the street. I wonder if the curbs and ditches around all gas stations are littered with forgotten gas caps, or just the gas stations I frequent....


* In the category of "I wish I was this talented":

Have you seen these?

Aren't these the most fabulous mittens ever?

These were entered by Laurie in the "Bitchin' Mittens" contest, and are sure to win a prize. I would love to knit these for my beach-living sister, although Laurie's indicated that the written pattern will be awhile in coming. I appreciate her thorough-ness in having a test knitter knit it before she makes it readily available. You better know I'll be one of her first customers, once it's ready!

Another fabulously-inspiring knitter/designer is Eunny. Have you seen this stunning design? Or these socks? Or this secret sweater she designed and knit (in five days!!!) for winter Interweave? Here's hoping she gets the cover! Amazing. And she spins, too.

Knitter/designers like that blow this novice away and keep me interested and inspired. I don't presume to think that I could ever do what they do, but I admire the hell out of them for creating such eye-candy and making my heart happy with their designs.

* Richmond is still afire with Elliott fever:

Our favorite son and American Idol Elliott Yamin was in town last night for the Idol concert, was all over the local news, the newspaper, and on the July cover of Richmond magazine. He even had, (but was fashionably late for), a meeting with the President.

We love you, Elliott. Now, do as wise TD music writer Melissa Ruggeiri says and run, run as fast as you can, away from the Idol Machine and put out your own album.

* Stay Cool:

We have a week of triple-digit temps ahead of us, and so in the spirit of keeping cool, I submit the following photos taken this past winter:

* Choo-choo and Boo-Hoo:

I travel for work (via Amtrak, as usual), for the next three weeks, so will miss out on knitting with my peeps at TNK. I'll see them again in late August, and hope to blog a couple times a week in the meantime.

Happy Knitting, and Keep Cool!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Dear Jane,

Once again the Tuesday Night Knitters met without you, Jane, while you frolicked on yet another beach. Somehow we managed, but it just isn't the same without you! I'm sure, though, that you thought about us every minute, and wondered what went on this past Tuesday, and so I'm taking it upon myself once again to document some of the evening here for you:

First of all, Norma was really cute -- she very proudly showed her first ever stash yarn, and it all fit in one nice little bag. She was in Virginia Beach last week and made her first ever foray into a local yarn shop, and picked up some Lorna's Laces and a Yarn Requirements card, which she brought for show-and-tell Tuesday night. She also brought a knitting friend & co-worker named Jo to join us:

Jo, Norma and her stash, and Norma's blue shawl in the foreground


Here's hoping Norma brings Jo back to TNK again!... :-)

Meanwhile, Nancy brought an adorable little purse she's recently finished:

Love the happy little fringes!


And Sheddy worked on her new Mason-Dixon linen bubble curtain:

Patsy checking out Sheddy's curtain-in-progress


But perhaps the most exciting news of the evening, (and you may want to alert the media), was that Sheddy completed her PAIR of flip-flop socks! We knew she could do it! And at least for this pair only, she's not doomed to one-sock-itis.

Ta-da! Aren't they marvelous?


I love those colors and have ordered the exact yarn recommended in that pattern, and it has finally arrived:

The pair made from this yarn will be for my sister who lives at the beach.

Even better, my yarn contest winnings also arrived:

Vesper, Manos & Koigu - oh, my! Thanks again, Tiffany!
And so, as you might imagine, I'm in Yarn Heaven. I feel like Demi Moore, (wish I looked like her, too), in Indecent Proposal -- I want to throw all my fabulous stash yarn on the bed and roll around in it! :-)

But I digress -- back to Tuesday's knit-night happenings. I was a bad photojournalist and didn't get a picture of Issy, Deb or Renny, but they were all there, knitting on the projects you saw during last week's report. Sherry was there, too, for the first time in awhile, and it was great to see her! She's knitting on the second sock with the Socks That Rock I gave here back in May. And I'm still knitting away on about ten different projects -- I seem to keep adding new WIPs to my list and finishing very few of them. The only new item not yet documented here will remain so until it has been given to its recipient sometime in the near future. But a hint -- it will match and can be worn with the items I bought in the shop across the street from the Yarn Lounge that Thursday night when you, Issy and I were there. Think about it....

Alas, I must end this report on a sad note, for I will miss TNK for the next three Tuesdays, as I'll be up in Maryland again for work. Since you'll be back from the beach by then, Jane, I expect a full report from you on your blog! And unless we do something fun over an upcoming weekend, I won't see you again until Tuesday, August 22nd! That seems too far away! (*Sob!*)

Until then, y'all have fun now, ya hear?!


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I'm a convert!

Ever since I conquered my fear of double-pointed needles while taking my beginner sock class at SoXperience 2006, I've become completely enamored with the process of knitting with them. And I especially like the little 5" bamboo ChiaoGoo DPNs they gave us for that sock class, and so have been on a quest to find more in different sizes. Turns out, not many people sell them, not even on the internet.

I did find an internet vendor who had the sizes I wanted, and even offered free shipping on orders over a certain amount. Fellow TNK member Issy also expressed an interest in acquiring some, so we combined our order, but were still a few dollars shy of the free shipping. It then became mandatory for me to find something else to buy to bump up the total, don'tcha know.

So this is what I bought:

Hard shell needle case purchased from Diva Knitting -- loving this!


And inside - a plethora of ChiaoGoo DPNs for Issy and me

The best part of this needle case? Look at what's written on the nameplate:

Lost fans will get the significance of this

By the way - the shipping from Diva Knitting was lightning fast - I placed this order on Friday afternoon and received several informative order and shipping notification emails after that, and it was shipped that same day. The package arrived in today's mail. I definitely recommend them!

Thank you, and Namaste.

Monday, July 24, 2006

I'm a winner!

Sometimes it pays to goof-off surf the internet.

Yesterday, while searching high and low for a review of a potential yarn purchase, I stumbled upon Tiffany's blog with a contest for FREE YARN, and so of course I entered, (free yarn, people!), never expecting to actually win.

Wonder of wonders, I did win, (thanks, Tiffany!!), and here are the yarns she's sending me:

Left to Right:

  1. Koigu KPPPM, P529 (it's TEAL, people!)
  2. Vesper Sock Yarn, Bleu (it's BLUE, people, and it's Vesper!)
  3. Manos del Uruguay, Wildflowers (I can now knit My So-Called Scarf!)

I've been wanting to try ALL of these yarns, so I'm very, VERY excited to have won them! And I'm really loving the colors!

Tiffany, you have made my WEEK!... Thanks again, so much!... :-)


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Blanket Fever

Thanks to the lovely Ann & Kay of Mason-Dixon Knitting and to their recently-published book, there's been a virtual blanket-knitting craze, as of late.

Case in point:

And many, many, many other knitters and knit-bloggers are doing the same.

But perhaps none as prolific as Tilkkusisko from Finland, who has knit and/or pieced together a whopping 107 blankets and counting! Not all are log cabins or mitered squares, but all are unique and beautiful. You can view all 107 blankets, spread across three albums, here. (Warning: to those on dial-up -- her albums & photos load slowwwwwly).

I'm floored. Amazed. If you read her blog you'll see that her profusion of knitted squares and rectangles stemmed from a bout of severe depression from which she has since recovered. Tilkkusisko is a living example that, from great pain can come great beauty. And all those lovely blankets are being donated to charity.

Part of me gets the blanket-knitting craze: it's simple, mindless stockinette or garter stitch. It's a way to use up stash.

Part of me doesn't get it: it's boring, mindless, never-ending, stockinette or garter stitch. And they're blankets. In July. Hhhhhhhhhot.

I think I'll stick with sock-knitting for now.

But, I do want to knit a baby blanket, shawl, or throw sometime in the near future, but perhaps not until fall, when average daily highs are below 80ºF.

I go knit, off and on, with a prayer shawl knitting group at a nearby church, and although I love the idea of it, I really dislike the yarn that they use, which is typically the 100% acrylic, machine-washable, machine-dryable Lion Brand or Red Heart variety. I fully understand why this yarn is used - it's inexpensive, the resulting knitted item is easy-care, and the recipient therefore doesn't have to worry about hand-washing or dry cleaning, which is an unnecessary additional burden if they're ill or grieving. Also, some folks, especially if they're ill and receiving chemotherapy, can be particularly sensitive to animal fibers like wool.

But I hate knitting with acrylic yarns. And so I've been on a quest, for awhile, to find a perfect alternative yarn. My criteria are as follows:
  1. Non-wool
  2. Non-acrylic
  3. Bulky/Super-Bulky (preferably 2.5-3.0 stitches/inch) - for fast knitting
  4. Machine washable & dryable
  5. Reasonably affordable (can cost more than acrylics, but not as much as novelty yarns or cashmere)
A tall order, I know, and probably impossible to fill.

I think I might be on to something, though. KnitPicks has a bulky, 100% pima cotton yarn called Spinnaker that I've been eyeing for awhile. It meets criteria #'s 1 - 3. This week only, it meets requirement #5, as it's on sale for half price. Therefore, my only concern is requirement #4. Does this cotton yarn really require hand washing? Really?

And so, I'm in a quandary. Do I plunge in and buy up a shawl/throw/blanket's worth of that yarn while it's on sale and still available? Do I just buy a hank, knit a swatch, wash and dry it and see what's what? I can't wait too long, as the sale is over on the 28th and the yarn may even be sold out prior to that.

I've been searching the web over for reviews of this yarn. Searches on Google, Google Blog Search, and Knitter's Review, and questions posted to Knitty Coffeeshop and Knitter's Review Forums have yielded nothing. I even posted a question to our local knitting groups' Yahoo forums, also with very little response. Not one person in knitting cyberspace, that I can tell, has knit with this yarn and posted anything to the internet about it. (Perhaps that is why this yarn is on sale and perhaps doomed to discontinuation in the very near future.) Oh, I've found a few opinions, but every single one of those are from folks who have yet to touch or knit with the yarn, and therefore, in my opinion, don't count.

Is this yarn so horrible that no one has even been tempted to try it? Am I still too new a knitter to be able to screen it out via a more mature knitter's novelty-yarn goggles?

I'm just not sure.

Stay tuned - I will make some kind of decision before time runs out and may post it here.

Clara - where are you when I need you?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Happy Knitiversary to Me!

One year and three days ago my sister-in-law Jenny gave me a birthday gift that changed my life. I had been begging her for weeks to teach me how to knit, and at my 40th birthday party, she gave me a beginner knitting book and kit, described here. Three days later, on her birthday, she sat down with me for 15-20 minutes and taught me the knit stitch. And created a monster. And there's been no turning back.

I never would have guessed how a simple craft could change my life.

In the last 365 days:

* I've knit approximately 25-30 items, (I never said I was fast!)

* I've started a knitting blog

* I've joined a knitting group and widened my local circle of friends

* I've attended two fiber festivals

* I've "met" countless other knitters, either virtually, in person, or both

This craft has opened up my world, enriched my life, and I'm still loving it and can't wait to start the next project and learn the next skill.

And speaking of knitting skills, since this is my Knitiversary and since it's also the approximate half-year mark since I made my Knitting Resolutions back in February, (in honor of Chinese New Year, and no, I'm not Chinese), I thought this might be an appropriate time to take a look at that list and see what goals, if any, I've accomplished thus far:

* Learn to knit socks:
YES! - SoXperience 2006!

* Knit a clapotis:

* Knit & felt a purse/bag/tote:

* Knit a hat:

* Learn at least one other "challenging" technique - (cables, intarsia, etc.):

* Go to at least one fiber event:
YES! - Two!: SFF and MSW!

* Take at least one knitting class:
YES! - SoXperience 2006!

* Better organize yarn stash and knitting paraphernalia:
Sorta! (still a work in progress, but better than it was in February. I now have a bin for my yarn and have recently destashed the crap yarn, so definitely a step in the right direction!)

And so, on this my 1-year Knitiversary, I've reached about half of my knitting goals for the calendar year, and I'm pretty happy with that! I look forward to what the rest of the calendar year and the next knitting year brings! More finished items, more fiber festivals, more knitting classes, more new knitting friends, more knitting skills, more knitting fellowship, more stash enhancement and organization.

The sky's the limit! .. :-)


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Tuesday Night Knitters!

Dear Jane,

I know you're having a blast with your sisters down at the beach, but we missed you at TNK last night! So I thought I'd take a few pictures, so you'd know what you missed.

Deb, Rita and Patsy were there:

As you can see, Deb's working on her simple shell with that beautiful aqua yarn. I could stare at that all day. Patsy is working on a poncho for someone in her family, (niece? daughter? daughter-in-law? Sorry, Patsy, I forget who's the lucky recipient), made from her own hand-spun yarn. Very pretty.

And Rita was working on a lovely recycled silk shawl... :

...when not regaling us with stories from her recent mission trip to Chile.

Renny and Robin were also there:

Renny is working on a beautiful baby cardigan. Robin was busy for the first hour writing up more soap orders, but she later worked on her orange sweater, (sorry - no picture taken of that, but you saw that last week, Jane.)

Sheddy, Issy and Norma were also there:

Issy has started that way-cool "hole-y" shawl from Morehouse Merino:

Even unblocked, it's nifty-keen.


Sheddy is making flip-flop socks!

We've started a movement! And like me, she's using the actual yarn (Regia Stretch Color #115 in "Crazy Electra") called for in the pattern. My yarn hasn't arrived yet, but any day now! I just LOVE those colors. I'm even going to use the turquoise the pattern calls for for the ribbed edging, 'cuz I think it's just so pretty that way. So, Jane, do you think we can convince Sheddy, (aka the "One-Sock Wonder"), to knit the second flip-flop sock? ;-)

Norma - forgive me, I didn't take a picture of the prayer shawl you're making. Perhaps next week!

And what have I been knitting, you ask? Well, for me, it seems that the smaller the project, the better chance it has of getting finished in a timely manner:

Two down, ten to go.

Sock-ornament on left was finished last night at TNK and was knit with KnitPicks' Merino Style. Sock-ornament on right is the original prototype in the Lion Brand acrylic. I think I'm sticking with the Merino for the rest of them. And I think I've decided to personalize them for each niece/nephew by getting some kind of pin kit at the craft store and making them each a pin with their name on it, which will then be pinned to the white cuff. I'm still open to suggestions, though.

And if those sock-ornaments aren't small enough for you, how about this?

That's the mini-sock-blocker keychain given to me by the very generous Liz, modeling a teeny-tiny sock I made from some leftover sock yarn (Regia Colors) from the very generous Krista.

Thanks, Liz! Thanks, Krista!

Anyway, Jane, all-in-all it was another night of good knitting fun. And you've now put me in the habit of "shopping" before I leave, so I left with a couple of knitting magazines. One even had a freebie knitting notions case inside the plastic holding the magazine, so, score! :-)

We still missed you, and look forward to your return! Alas, August looks to be a ugly-busy month for me work-wise, which means I may not make it to a single TNK that month! I'm already in mourning!

Speaking of knitting groups - I'm going with my MS&W buddy Suzanne to the Wednesday night knitting group tonight, since we live so close to each other. So, I need to sign off and get ready for that!

Bye now!


Monday, July 17, 2006

July Birthday Girl

Today is my birthday. I'm in my second year of the "F" decades, (or the effing decades as I refer to them, depending on my mood). I now stutter when I have to give my age. "Thirty-nine" used to roll so nicely off my tongue. Not so well with f-f-f-f-f-f-ooo-eeee-ahhh-uhhh-bleh.
But I hold no more illusions of youth. My youthful illusions were dashed when someone at my sister's church mistook me for being the older sister, (I'm seven years her junior). The illusions were further pulverised when a car mechanic recently asked me if I was knitting for my grandchild.


The loss of youth is a painful realization, but once that band-aid has been ripped off, it's not so bad. It's like that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine throws George's toupee out the window, and he later tells Jerry that it was the best thing that ever happened to him -- he was back to his old insecure, neurotic self. I am now fairly content with my frumpy, middle-aged self.

And speaking of July birthdays, of which there are many in my family, (my sister Anne, my sister-in-law Jenny, two nieces and myself), Anne was in town Friday evening for the weekend funeral travel, so I was able to finish her gift and give it to her in person.

Soft drawstring pouch from Last Minute Knitted Gifts

Specs are as follows:

Yarn: Debblie Bliss Cotton Silk Aran (bought at Caroden Farm from their dollar bin during SoXperience 2006. Ran out so had to buy more from This is lovely yarn. A little bit splitty, but still a pleasure to knit with, and makes a lovely fabric. Would definitely use it again. I think it would make a lovely and comfortable garment.

Needles: U.S. Size 6 Bamboo DPNs

Buttons: Glass star buttons purchased at The Yarn Lounge.

Pattern Modifications:

* Cast-on fewer stitches (66) for fear of yarn shortage. (Ran out of yarn anyway.)

* Used DPNs instead of circular needles.

* Used buttons instead of tassels.

Things I'd do differently:

* Cast-on more stitches and make a bigger bag.

* Knit more rounds before knitting the eyelet row, so that it's not completely hidden by the rolled edge.

* Knit a shorter i-cord - I got a little carried away on this one. (A two-stitch i-cord goes really fast when knitting during conference calls!)

In my opinion, a knitted bag is not a gift unless there's something fun inside. I was fortunate enough to score some lovely handmade soap at our last TNK knit night. One of the newer members, Robin, brought a variety to show and sell us last Tuesday, and among them she had one that smelled like carrot cake and is actually made with real carrots. Carrot cake happens to be Anne's favorite flavor, and so -- Eureka! A birthday gift is found!

Handmade soap and matching carved wooden soapdish


Anne seemed to like her gifts. And speaking of gifts, I've had a nice birthday myself. My parents had me over to their house for dinner Friday night and dad grilled steaks - yum! Anne gave me a beautiful hand-painted glass window hanger:

My sister Terry sent me the following:

Whoo hoo! I've been wanting this!

Today my brother Tommy took me to lunch at the best sushi place in Richmond, which made me and my tummy verrry happy. And later my brother Pat's family called and sang "Happy Birthday" to me - so cute!

And, although she didn't intend for this to be a birthday gift, I received a package from Krista in today's mail which contained the following:

Leftover bits of sock yarn for this.


Thanks, Krista! I can't wait to get started! And thanks for (unintentionally) adding something special to my birthday!

One of the best birthday gifts I've ever received was given to me a year ago today. You can read a little more about that here. Thanks a million for that, Jenny. It's been a wonderful, surprisingly life-changing hobby, all started thanks to you.

All in all, it's been a very good day. Thanks everyone!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Saturday Sky and a Tribute

In response to Sandy's "Saturday Sky" meme, I'm posting pictures of last night's beautiful sky at sunset, taken on a beach in Kitty Hawk, NC.

After a long day of driving to OBX, attending a funeral, a graveside service, and a gathering at the home of the bereaved, we decided that, before retiring to our borrowed condo for the evening, and since we were, after all, at the beach, we were by-gosh going to go to the actual beach, walk barefoot in the sand and dip our toes in the ocean. It had been a miserably hot and muggy day, but right at sunset, the breeze shifted, the sky turned miraculous, and the ocean was cool and felt fantastic. A lovely way to end the day.

Here is some of what we saw:


A Tribute

I dedicate last night's sky and this blog post to Vernon Clair Wingenroth, (1928-2006), my sister's father-in-law, and, as one of his sons so eloquently eulogized yesterday, a great man.

An ordained UCC minister, Vernon had a heart for the poor and underprivileged, as was evidenced in many events of his life, which included when he marched for civil rights in the 1960's, delivered food at great personal peril to those displaced by race riots, and was heart-wrenchingly fired by his congregation when he attempted to integrate their church.

But in addition to his public life, Vernon was a fantastic father to his three sons and an equally fantastic husband to his wife, their mother. Vernon was also an accomplished painter, and my own parents are fortunate to own one of his seascapes.

For five of the last seven years of his life, Vernon and his wife displayed tremendous love as they took daily care of their bedridden special-needs son Chris in their Nags Head, NC home, until Chris' death at age 40, in 2004.

Vernon was diagnosed just a month ago with liver cancer which progressed incredibly rapidly, and died in the same room as their beloved son Chris, with family all around. His life is a shining example to many. His funeral, blessedly simple in format, was one of the most beautiful I've ever attended. He leaves behind a heart-broken but resilient and dynamic wife, two sons and their wives, five grandchildren, and many other relatives, friends and acquaintances who admire him. I feel blessed to have known him and to have had the chance to pay my respects to him and his family. My thoughts and prayers are with them now as they continue to grieve their loss.

May we all live such inspirational lives and be loved and admired by so many.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Another get-away

I have so much to blog about and no time in which to do it. What I thought would be a nice, quiet, relaxing weekend at home is not to be. Going to the Outer Banks of NC for the weekend, but not for fun, as you might imagine -- attending a funeral down there.

And so, I will have to resort to one giant blog post on Sunday or Monday.

Here's hoping everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Yarn Swap!

Lovely TNK member and knitting instructor extraordinaire Sangeeta was gracious enough to host a Yarn Swap & Sale this past Sunday. Below are a few photos from the event:

Sheddy and Robin H. perusing Robin's offering of books, magazines and patterns

Various and sundry yarns for sale or swap


Deb and Robin C. peruse another table of great yarns for sale


My contribution: crap yarn (acrylics, fun fur, etc.)

I unloaded all of my "undesirable" yarn at Sunday's event. There weren't many takers, which came as no surprise, so 95% of it went into the donation box. Sangeeta is going to sell Sunday's leftover yarn on ebay to raise money for the Heifer Project. Definitely a worthy cause - thank you so much for your efforts towards it, Sangeeta!

I must say, it was definitely freeing to get rid of my crap yarn. I freed up more room in my yarn bin for more quality stuff, and freed up my psyche from the guilt and clutter of yarn I would probably never use. There's something very Feng Shui about that. Not to mention that if all goes well someone on ebay will love it and have a use for it, and the money then goes to a good cause. Definitely a win-win-win situation.

Speaking of unloading yarn, I have another friend who is taking leftover and scrap yarn donations for another worthy cause, so if you find yourself reading this and wishing for a place to unload yours, please contact Syd - her email and mailing address are in her blog's sidebar. And if you don't have any leftover yarn but are still feeling charitable, Syd is also hosting the Think Pink Challenge, which is looking for knitters, crocheters, weavers, and/or seamstresses to create 1,000 pink scarves by October to support Breast Cancer Awareness.

Oh, and as long as we're discussing unloading yarn, if anyone has any tiny bits of leftover sock yarn that they'd be willing to give me, (or sell me), I'd love to get some to knit for this:

Mini Sock Blocker keychain. Thanks again for this, Liz!


But I digress. Back to the yarn swap festivities:


Sangeeta's pile-o-goodies


Someone else beat me to Sangeeta's alpaca yarns before that picture was taken, but I did score a few other goodies from her pile.

And finally, the best part of any party -- hanging out in the kitchen with the drinks, food, and other party-goers:

Robin C., Susan, Deb, Sheddy and Robin H. And look at those pies!


More knitters, including the Yarn Lounge's Melanie (3rd from Left) and her mom (far Right)


Although I was able to declutter and unload much yarn at the event, don't think I walked away empty-handed:


That's, top-to-bottom:

* ~500 yards of a Cynthia Helene superwash worsted-weight merino in a tealy-jade color. (I'm open to suggestions for a pattern/project for that pretty yarn).

* One ball of Elann's Esprit cotton/elastic sock yarn, (very similar to Cascade's Fixation), in red -- will probably make flip-flop socks with that.

* Three hanks (~280 yds) of Classic Elite "Imagine" cotton/rayon (sportweight? - 5.25 spi) in "Springwater" colorway. (Again, I'm open to suggestions for use).

Here's an extreme close-up of the Imagine:

for your yarn pr0n viewing pleasure


All of the above yarn was acquired for less than $15!

But wait, there's more!

Patterns, Books, Magazines, needle-case - Oh my!

The items on the far right -- needle-case and Stitch 'n Bitch Nation came from Sangeeta's pile. Everything else came from Robin H.'s pile o' goodies. Thanks, Ladies!

Look, Ma - my DPNs!

I have immediately put my needle-case to good use - storing my growing collection of DPNs. In addition to the few sets of larger DPNs I already owned, and thanks to helpful suggestions from both Liz and Grumperina, I recently purchased a set of Susan Bates sock needles in sizes 000, 00, 0 and 1, each size in a different color, (although I have a hard time distinguishing the silver from the gold). Now I'm ready for almost anything!

All in all, it was a fun and worthwhile evening, and so a special thanks goes out, once again, to our lovely hostess Sangeeta! (And shame on me - I didn't get a single picture of Sangeeta on Sunday! I'll try to remedy that if she comes to TNK tonight.)


Monday, July 10, 2006

Post-holiday funk

The great thing about going away for a long holiday weekend?

Views like this:

from deck of my brother's lakehouse

And fun activities like this:

Pontooning our way to view fireworks over the lake




The bad thing about a lovely holiday weekend?

Returning to the real world. Bleh.

I was definitely tired and stressed out prior to last weekend. But since I've returned, add to that a mood I can only describe as post-holiday funk. Or maybe resentment at the universe for my not being independently-wealthy enough to loll around a lake year-round, and instead having to work for a living.

But I cannot let my current mood spoil the memories of the wonderful weekend that it was. Great fun, great food, great family, friends and festivities. And I even got a little (okay, very little) knitting done while down there. All-in-all, a perfect, if short, vacation. Which makes non-vacation life that much harder to face.

I will choose, however, to count my blessings and be thankful. And look eagerly forward to the next time I can get away, which won't be soon enough.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Get the Knitty Gritty

For those who get DIY network, (digital cable or satellite), just a reminder that they begin airing new episodes (Season 4) of Knitty Gritty starting Monday, July 3rd, at 11:30 am. So set those VCRs/DVRs/TiVos or just set yourself on the couch on Mondays at 11:30 am.

Well, I'm off to beautiful Lake Gaston for the extended holiday weekend, so I guess I better get my act in gear so I can leave in the next couple of hours.

Have a great Independence Day holiday, everyone!