Dec 6, 2009

21 Miles to Redemption

Just as cheerleading on the sidelines of football has become its own sport, so too can collecting yarn become a bona fide hobby, distinct from that of knitting. There is so much to the world of yarn. The different weights, colourways, fibres and blends. Once you venture out of the chain stores and into the LYS's, there are so many unique and rare yarns that you have to pounce when you see them.

Then there's the dye-lot issue. You can't risk buying a mere 200 yards of a yarn you like the look of. What if you later decide to make a sweater? A few months from now, you may reach the end of the skein only to find out that your dye-lot is nowhere to be found. Better play it safe and buy ten.

And the chain stores pose their own pitfalls for your wallet. As your husband is rounding in on a straight hour of looking at Guitar Hero games*, you're four aisles over, boredom-talking yourself into buying yet another cone of Lily cotton.

The subject of yarn stashes has been featured in two of my friends' blogs over the last week. EMoaOG decided to put a halt on her yarn purchases until she knits her way through some of her stash. I remember thinking that I too buy faster than I knit, so it may not be the worst idea in the world for me to consider making a similar promise to myself. But that thought proved fleeting as I was passing the time in Joann's while my husband was doing whatever it is that men do at Best Buy. Buy 1, Get 1 50% Off on Patons Merino? Sold!

Then I read Unravel Me's post about her yarn stash. A friend challenged her to calculate her stash yardage. It turned out to be a whopping 19K yards! Hmmm, seems someone's addicted to adopting yarn. I wonder how many yards I have...

I have documented my stash at Ravelry so tried using that information to determine the yardage on a calculator. That proved unsuccessful, so I turned to an Excel spreadsheet and worked it out one row at a time. Some yarns didn't have yardage available and were excluded from the calculation. Similarly, yarns that haven't yet been entered into my Ravelry stash were also omitted. I have one more than one occasion bought 10 skeins at a time (see above for pertinent rationalizations), and each time I came across one on my alphabetically arranged Ravelry stash (the C's were particularly nerve-wracking), I could see the total climbing. I was, however, still taken aback when I typed Sum() and then dragged the cursor over the cells only to find that my stash was 37,868 yards!

Wow! When did that happen? I can, and did in the initial draft of this post, make justifications such as the fact that friends have given me yarn, I picked up a number of skeins in bargain bins and yard sales, a yarn crawl or two have been bankrolled for me as gifts... But none of that explains the ludicrous amount of yarn I have accrued. It wouldn't get to the moon and back, but I could climb it halfway into the stratosphere!

So, I too will enter a vow of woolly poverty until I work through, or donate away most of my stash. Oh, and that Patons deal in Joann's? That brings the total to 38760 yds. Yeah, I got two.


*Yes, Nick. I am directing this at you! It's absolutely ridiculous that you own no less than nine of these fricking cacophony-generating collections, yet you are somehow completely incapable of walking past an electronics department going through their entire collection on the off-chance they have something you don't!!!!!

Dec 4, 2009

Sideline Call: Substitution!



My 10 things challenge has stalled recently. I approached the projects in descending order of preference, and easiness. The unfortunate, yet painfully predictable, consequence of this approach is that, with each successive FO, the projects are becoming less and less appealling.

After finishing the Deborah cardigan, I looked at the remaining books. There was nothing I had any desire to make, nor was there anything with an acceptably low time burden in order to get through the necessary number of projects. It occurred to me to "suck it up" and make the smallest possible size of something I don't like, and for which I would have no foreseeable use. But it occurred to me that this was a self-imposed challenge, and it would be ludicrous to turn my beloved hobby into such an abhorrent chore.

That said, I don't want to give up on my challenge altogether. You may have guessed from the title what my solution to this conundrum is. Instead of admitting to my failure, I am opting to reclassify it as a deferred success. I have four other knitting books from which I am yet to make anything, so I am calling them my alternates. In penance for this light cheating, I promise to sell or donate the books from which I cannot bring myself to make anything.

The Rejects:
The Replacements:

Nov 20, 2009

Pattern: Euphorbic Hat and Mitten Set

Poinsettias, better known as Euphorbia pulcherrima to us botany nerds, are standard fixtures of the Holiday season. Unfortunately, so is bitterly cold weather. This set is designed with heat-retention as a primary goal to keep your little flowers cosy and warm over the Holidays. Smaller needles with worsted weight wool and the use of ribbed cuffs on Nordic-inspired mittens keeps cold air away from little fingers. The mittens are held together by an I-cord that is built into them instead of just being tacked on, so they are unmisplaceable! And the snowflake edging on the cuffs will remind the wearer of the cold they are not feeling!

SIZE
Child [Adult] (shown in size Child)

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Mittens: Hand circumference 6[9] inches.
Hat: Head circumference 18 [22] inches.

MATERIALS
Cascade Yarns Cascade 220, 1[2] skeins of main colour, less than 50 yard of contrast colour #1, less than 10 yards of contrast colours #2 and #3.
Main Colour: Shown in #8010
Contrast Colour #1: Shown in #2413
Contrast Colour #2: Shown in #7270
Contrast Colour #3: Shown in #4002

1 set of 3 US #3/3.25mm double-point needles
1 set of 3 US #2/2.75mm double-point needles
1 US #D/3 / 3.25mm crochet hook

About 6 inches of waste yarn
Tapestry needle

GAUGE
6 sts/8.5 rows = 1" in stockinette stitch

SPECIALISED TECHNIQUES
A step-by-step tutorial of the magic cast on can be found at:
http://knitty.com/ISSUEspring06/FEATmagiccaston.html

Instructions for basic crochet stitches can be found:
http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/?q=node/28

Instructions for the Backward Loop Cast On can be found:
http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall05/FEATfall05TT.html

INTARSIA PATTERN:

PATTERN

HAT
With larger needles, CO 8 sts using the using the backward loop cast on method in MC. (3 sts on each of needles #1 and #2, 2 sts on needle #3)
Round 1 (and all odd rounds): Knit. (8 sts)
Round 2: Kfb eight times (16 sts)
Round 4:[Kfb, Knit 1] eight times (24 sts)
Round 6: [Kfb, Knit 2] eight times (32 sts)
Round 8: [Kfb, Knit 3] eight times (40 sts)
Round 10: [Kfb, Knit 4] eight times (48 sts)
Round 12: [Kfb, Knit 5] eight times (56 sts)
Round 14: [Kfb, Knit 6] eight times (64 sts)
Round 16: [Kfb, Knit 7] eight times (72 sts)
Round 18: [Kfb, Knit 8] eight times (80 sts)
Round 20: [Kfb, Knit 9] eight times (88 sts)
Round 22: [Kfb, Knit 10] eight times (96 sts)
Round 24: [Kfb, Knit 11] eight times (104 sts)

Adult size only:
Round 26: [Kfb, Knit 12] eight times (112 sts)
Round 28: [Kfb, Knit 13] eight times (120 sts)

Both sizes:
Knit next 3.5” (5.5”) even.

Switch to smaller needles, Start Ribbing
Row 1: (K1, P1) repeat around.
Row 2: (K1, P1) repeat around.
Row 3: (K1, P1) repeat around.
Row 4:(K1, P1) repeat around.
Bind off in K1, P1 pattern.

MITTENS
Using the larger needles, CO on 20[28] stitches using magic cast on (10 sts on each of needles #1 and #2).

Round 1 (and all odd rounds): Knit.
Round 2: [Kfb, Knit 8[12], Kfb] twice (24, 32 sts)
Round 4: [Kfb, Knit 10[14], Kfb] twice (28, 36 sts)
Round 6: [Kfb, Knit 12[16], Kfb] twice (32, 40 sts)
Round 8: [Kfb, Knit 14[18], Kfb] twice (36, 44 sts)
Round 10: [Kfb, Knit 16[20], Kfb] twice (40, 48 sts)
Round 12: [Kfb, Knit 18[22], Kfb] twice (44, 52 sts)

Adult size only:
Round 14: [Kfb, Knit 24, kfb] twice (56 sts)

Both sizes:
Knit next 20 [30] rounds even.

Thumb placement:
Knit the 22[28] sts of needle #1. Knit 1 (left mitten) or Knit 14[17] (right mitten). Knit next 7[10] stitches using waste yarn. Move these stitches back to the left needle (assuming right-handedness). Knit the 7[10] stitches again with MC. Continue to end of needle.
Knit next 10[25] rows even.

Cuff:
Switch to smaller needles. Work K1, P1 ribbing for 20[30] rounds.

Left mitten:
BO to last stitch of needle #2. [Kfb] twice into last stitch and first stitch of next round (48, 58 sts).

Right mitten:
Work 21[27] stitches in ribbing pattern. [Kfb] twice. BO 42[54] stitches. Both mittens: Use the remaining 4 stitches to form an (optional) I-cord for 12[30] inches. Keep the 4 live stitches on a holder.

Thumb:
Carefully remove waste yarn. Pick up 7[10] stitches from above and below the thumbhole (14, 20 sts) and knit 12[24] rounds.
Round 13[25]: [SSK, Knit 3[8], K2tog] twice
Round 14[26]: Knit
Round 15[27]: [SSK, Knit 1[6], K2tog] twice

Adult size only:
Round 28: Knit
Round 29: [SSK, Knit 4, K2tog] twice
Round 30: Knit
Round 31: [SSK, Knit 2, K2tog] twice
Graft remaining 6[8] stitches together.

FINISHING
Weave in all loose ends. Graft the two sets of 4 stitches from the I-cords together. Work an optional picot edge around the cuffs as follows: Attach MC, *work sc, ch3, sc in the same stitch. Slip stitch across next 3 stitches. Repeat from * around. At the I-cord, discontinue the picot stitch and instead, work the inner side of the cord in slip stitches.

For the mittens, the poinsettia intarsia is worked by duplicate stitching along needle #1, on rows 14 - 41, between stitches 2 - 20 for the Child size, and on rows 26 -53 between stitches 5 - 23 for the Adult size. It is easier to work it before starting the ribbing on the cuff. For the hat, the intarsia is worked by duplicated stitching along the front of the hat from the 1st row of stockinette above the ribbing to the 28th row.



A PDF of this pattern will be available on Ravelry as soon as possible. In the meantime, please email requests to e.j.hooker@gmail.com

Corrections and comments welcome!

Nov 10, 2009

A Day in September: Home Delivery!

Wow, this one has been sitting in Drafts for a while! We invited our friends -my colleague and his wife -over for dinner back in September. They will probably go down as the best guests we have ever had, on account of their arriving with a big bag of yarn for me. My colleague's mother gave his wife all her left-over yarn, and she passed on they yarns she didn't want. Luckily, she doesn't really care to knit baby stuff, so I inherited a large amount of baby-appropriate yarn. More excitingly, a lot of the yarns seem to be from the 80's, and are completely unavailable now.


The pièce de résistance is this blanket. There are three and a half skeins of the yarn it is being made with remaining. My colleague's wife suggested that I simply frog it and use the yarn for my own project, but I was able to figure out the pattern. I thought it would be fun to finish it out, and to honour the person who indirectly plumped up my yarn stash.


Nov 8, 2009

You Like Me! You Really, Really Like Me!!!

Buttons has been quite standoffish recently. He hates Panthro, so spends most of his time growling at him, glaring at us (for being the "bringers of the grey menace"), and generally being wherever we are not. This obviously saddens me, and I long for any sign that he loves us. Evidently, he does!

For those of you not familiar with cats, being presented with dead vermin is the highest form of affection in the feline world. And Buttons was very eager to get inside the house to give me my treat. So much so that I felt oddly guilty for pretending I hadn't seen him! Worse still, he meowed to get my attention, and in the process dropped the mouse(?), which then scuttled away to, I can only presume, live out a long and happy murine existence.

You're not still vegan, are you?

Oct 21, 2009

That's "Shawl" She Wrote

I know, I'm very droll. Now that I have you roped in with my superior wit, I'll continue with this entry. Despite a relatively long absence, I am going be brief. I blended my thumb and it hurts to type.

The big news is that I finished my first bona fide lace-work project, the Aeolian Shawl from Elizabeth Freeman. I love how it turned out, a myriad of mistakes notwithstanding. My only regret is not discovering the Alternative Narrow Edging option, as that is the only part of the pattern that I didn't care for.


Kitten Approved!

A user on Ravelry, via project comments, basically informed me that my next lace-work project will be Elizabeth Freeman's Laminaria. Instead of being defensive, I thought it was as good a selection method as any for a knitting project.

I bought black Misti Alpaca from Webs and pink from a Ravelry user. Continuing the trend of taking orders on this project, tell me which you think I should use!



Oct 20, 2009

Panthro Does Odd Things Sometimes.


I have no idea what this is. I need a funny caption to send it to Lolcats!

Aug 14, 2009

Dining Etti-cat

Okay, I'm putting up a video of my cats, so I don't think the pun is going to make the situation any worse!

Our cat, Panthro, does a couple of tricks when we give him treats that never cease to entertain me. First, he stands on his hind legs to beg. He often does this whenever we merely enter the kitchen -the home of the treats- in the hopes that we will give him some. When we give the cats treats, Panthro wolfs down his share and then moves to Button's treats. In order to avoid the hissing wrath of Button, Panthro takes a more surreptitious approach...


video


Aug 12, 2009

The Greener Side

"But when it comes to bad for the environment, nothing - literally - compares with eating meat. The business of raising animals for food causes about 40 percent more global warming than all cars, trucks, and planes combined. If you care about the planet, it's actually better to eat a salad in a Hummer than a cheeseburger in a Prius."
-Bill Maher

I have recently begun the process of transitioning from gluttonous omnivore to equally gluttonous vegan. This has garnered me the expected level of ridicule and criticism, both humorous, which I enjoy and participate in, and malicious, which I resent, especially given the sources from which that variety invariably comes. It hasn't evoked quite the level of vitriol that my body art choices of yore did, but it's a spirited second. In my days as a meat-eater, I too looked down my nose at the granola gang, and was frightfully put out by the mere thought of having one to dinner. I get it! My previous views toward vegetarians and vegans have afforded me a some pragmatism for dealing with the reactions my current dietary choice has brought me. Some. Not an infinite measure. My patience for the latter form has pretty much been tapped. So, in favour of losing my temper, I chose instead to vent here, and, hopefully, coherently explain my position. I hope to briefly detail the events that led me to where I am, and assuming I remember to do so, rebut the common criticisms I've been facing.

1. The Build-up
I got engaged. Then I bought my wedding dress. Then I wrote a thesis, and in the process became a little overweight. The wedding dress still fit, but not in a way that I would want to have documented in a wedding album. In particular, my arms had become the size of an average woman's thigh, and my wedding dress was strapless. Not a good combination! It was six months away from the wedding, and while I had a reasonable amount of time to get into a shape other than round, I did need to be more than passive about it.

For me, the classic restrictive diets serve only to remind me of the wonderful cheesecakes and fries I'm not eating to the point that my self-deprivation explodes into a frenzied binge and I end up consuming more calories than I would in a normal day. Exercise works pretty well for me, so I hauled out my The Firm Body Sculpting Systems and set to working out daily. That was great for toning, but for the purpose of reducing my actual mass, some alteration to my diet needed to happen. As I mentioned, I am a gluttonous pig, so reducing the volume of food I eat invariably leads to disaster. To accommodate my big appetite, I decided to aim for high-fibre food (brown rice, lots of pears and celery, etc.). I also decided to cut out dairy, a mixture of my new fun lactose intolerance and a helpful dietary hint I got from talking to a new mother. She was skinny and attributed her slim figure to being forced to go dairy-free so that she could breastfeed her colicky child.

2. The Pesco-Ovo-Vegan
I was reasonably happy with the weight loss I was achieving when I ran into a different problem. I was living in Austin, Minnesota for six months before I got married, and worked beside the Spam factory. Thank you economy, the ration-esque treat was in record demand and the Hormel plant was working overtime trying to fill demand. The town reeked constantly. The air was saturated with the smell of either seasoned pork, which was bad, or raw pig meat, which was rancid. The move to excluding meat from my diet stemmed rather organically from this half-year long olfactory assault. I was at this point still eating eggs and fish.

3. Ready-Steady-Cook!
I'm now married and living in the wonderfully liberal Northeast. I have a colleague, who together with his wife, is a full vegan, and I have found him to be a wonderful source of recipes and information. On their advice, I bought the Uncheese Cookbook, which has exposed me to a whole new battery of cooking techniques. I have learned so many new things about how foods work together in recipes, and I am ceaselessly amazed at what can be replicated in vegan form. The thing I love most is finding new challenges in cooking. I have gotten as good as I plan to for the majority of things I make, so adding a whole set of restrictions has been like advancing to a more difficult level in a computer game. Otherwise, the daily task of making dinner becomes more and more of a chore. Adding to this challenge is the leaps and bounds my multitasking skills have made in catering also for a husband who has no interest in trying vegan food.

I decided to extend the culinary challenge by fully excluding animal products from my diet; basically, to see if I could. This was also prompted by a few other factors. The first was my health. A mixture of my restricted diet and yoga (the exercises in The Firm were too much for my weak knees) have me feeling healthier and happier than I have ever felt in my entire life, and I reasoned by moving further into veganism, I would feel even better. The second factor is my increasing concern was the environment. I'm not getting into that debate here as I have already rambled enough, but there is rock-solid proof that excluding animal products helps.

So that's pretty much it. I am at a point now where I describe myself as transitioning to veganism. I am still working down my supplies of Worcestershire sauce, Fish sauce and cane sugar as I don't feel that the wastefulness of throwing them away helps anything. I am also still unwittingly eating animal products that in foods I assume are vegan (feel free to add to my list in the comments!!!). I also feel that I haven't been vegan long enough to identify myself as one. I would liken it to quitting smoking, and the length of time it took before I felt comfortable calling myself an ex-smoker.

The main criticism I have been getting is that I am being difficult. I can't say that I disagree, as I have felt that of other vegetarians and vegans in the past. That said, I have tried my hardest to minimise that side-effect by agreeing to bring my dinner with me if I were going to someone's house. As mentioned, I have been happy to cook two meals each night, to avoid forcing my husband to engage in my lifestyle decisions. Finally, I have been very careful to not be holier than thou. I have not said word one to anyone about their eating choices, environmental impact or health issues. It's not even that I have been holding back from doing so. This is my personal journey and I have no desire to convert anyone to over to it. I initially made the promise to eat non-vegan options if I were at a restaurant or someone's house where no vegan alternative was available. However, as I have decided to move further into a vegan lifestyle, I have since decided against doing that. I do not feel this is hypocrisy as I was not being disingenuous at the time, so much I see it as a progression in my own personal choices.

Another point some people like to make is that this is just a phase. Maybe. In fact knowing me, I'd go so far as to say probably. It's safe to assume that I won't ever return to dairy as I seem unable to consume it without being in pain, but I may someday return to eating meat. However, for now, I feel happy and healthy with the way I am living, and I really resent that people would try to take something away from me that makes me feel good when it harms no one else. I hope to remain committed to this lifestyle. I think this would have an even better chance if I had people's support, or at least if I lacked their abject disapproval. It's not even a case of committing to this lifestyle per se. I have not missed anything. My favourite food is Thai cuisine, which lends itself to a vegan lifestyle, so I may have it easier than others. I can honestly say that I have experienced no cravings or longings for any of my previous animal-product containing fares, and I can only hope that this will translate to a long-lived success in veganism.

It has been implied that the statements I made in the past about vegetarians should preclude me from being allowed to give up meat. I admit I made derogatory comments about this lifestyle; comments I now understand to have come from a place of ignorance. I do not feel, however, that I have to go down with the ship to speak. I admit now that I was wrong and my opinions changed as I obtained more experience and information. It drives me insane when politicians are accused of flip-flopping, as I feel such an atmosphere inhibits growth and progress, and I no more plan to pander to such accusations in my personal life.

The more ridiculous things that I get asked are why can't I just be normal, or why can't I just eat meat/normal food? Of course I can. I haven't sustained any injury to my lower mandible, nor have I developed a neurological disorder whereby I would forget how to chew! I choose not to. Simple as that. I am still working toward finding my place on the spectra of diets and lifestyles. For instance, I do not plan to rid my house of animal-containing products. As long as I don't eat the bar soap in my shower, I don't see it as an affront to being a vegan. Nor do I feel that stealing honey from bees is exploitation of animals. There are those that are more lax than I am, and there are certainly those that are more extreme than I am. I don't yet know where I am on the normal scale, but with each bit of information I get about the food I eat, and the world I live in, I am slowly figuring it out.

Here are some resources that have been really helpful:
Choose Veg Recipes
Veg Web Recipes
Is It Vegan?

Aug 10, 2009

Humility


Realizing that this novelty T-Shirt applies to you!

Jul 31, 2009

A Day in July: Husband Edition!

My husband and I went to Northampton last weekend. It's a little town North of where we live, and between its lack of chain stores, beautiful architecture and fantastic restaurants (honourable mention to the Thai food), it's fast becoming one of my favourite towns.

We didn't go to Northampton for any particular reason. It was a nice day and Nick had heard on the radio that Northampton was holding its annual Sidewalk Sale, so we wanted to go see what it was all about. It was a lot of fun. There were a lot of people out, and the whole town just had a really great energy. All the vendors along the main street had set up stalls along the pavement, and there were some great deals. We found a place to print off some pictures of our wedding at a really great price.

On our way back toward the car, I decided to stop into Northampton Wools, the place where I picked up my Pom Pom yarn. I loved how my Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ) came out so much, that I decided to see if they had any more on sale to make a hat, or some booties, to go with it. In a $5 bin, there were two skeins of pink and some other colours. I grabbed the pink ones and went to pay. The lady rang them up as only $3 each. I asked if she was sure, and she told me it was an extra reduction, because of the town event. I told her to ring up the rest and grabbed the remaining two skeins.

Now I have four skeins of Pom-Pom yarn. I haven't quite figured out what I am going to do with it, but it will definitely be used to make a set to complement my BSJ. Yippee!


Book Report: Dead in the Wool

Today, I'm going to hijack my own blog to give a book report. For my report, I read Died in the Wool by Mary Kruger, which I bought on-line. I picked it specifically because there's a "Pattern Inside Just for You". Kristine warned me that the patterns from knitting mysteries are riddled with errata. Nonetheless, I was excited. I love murder mysteries, I love knitting and I love free patterns... where's the problem?

When I received the book, there was no inserts or pull-outs, so I reasoned that it may be part of the story. Well, that's kind of fun. So, I set to reading it. As Murder-She-Wrote meets Elizabeth Zimmerman goes, the book was enjoyable! The writing style was pretty mediocre, as is often the case with cheesy murder mysteries. But, it was entertaining enough that you'll suffer through the repetitive and stilted dialogue, as you make your way to finding out just whodunnit.

Alas, as the pages were dwindling, there was no sign of my purchase-prompting pattern. I leafed through the remainder of book and didn't see any pages that looked like a pattern. I thought that maybe it had been lost at the warehouse. In my haste (and procrastination), I wrote a scathing customer review, which I have since edited.

Why the rewrite? The pattern had not been lost. What I had originally perceived to be the last chapter was actually the first chapter of the next book, and the "patterns", all three of which fit on a single page, were sandwiched between this and the final chapter. A flimsy "I'm not a knitting designer" disclaimer precedes the so-called patterns, proving that the author herself felt embarrassed about how lame these offerings were. To her credit, neither of the garter stitch fun fur scarves nor the garter stitch hanger cover had any of the errata of which Kristine had warned.

To say I was a little disappointed would be putting it mildly! Throughout the book, there were numerous descriptive references to a Norwegian Sweater. So many, in fact, that I was convinced that was the pattern we were going to get; maybe even hidden in segments throughout the narrative! It would have tied in nicely with the story, and been worthy of the "Look Inside for an Original Pattern Just for You" teaser on the back cover.

Bringing me to my next point. Fun-fur scarves are not "original" patterns! They are a dime a dozen, and they're not even patterns really. Cast on, knit until you get bored... ooh, can you repeat that?? It's a good bet that someone who is so new to knitting that they need instructions for a garter stitch fun fur scarf probably won't be drawn to a knitting mystery book in the first place!

Never mind! I have five more knitting mysteries to get through (some by different authors). Hopefully, there's a least one CO-worthy project to be found!

10 Things #6: Debbie (Short for ....)

I chose to do the pattern, Deborah, from Hot Knits. On a yarn shopping trip with Faith, I picked up some Cascade Ecological Wool, from under the bulky weight section (as the pattern called for). I thought it looked a little worsted, but who I am to argue with shelf labels? I started knitting, but the gauge seemed completely off. The number of stitches didn't come close to making the measurement predicted, but I was a couple of rows in and it's a drop-shoulder pattern, so I figured I could rework on the fly.

The pattern was originally for a big baggy cardigan, but with all the gauge excitement, I decided to make it hip length, as I was concerned that it being more "form fitting" make make it bunch if I had made it longer. I had to alter the sleeve stitch count, but other than that it was mostly painless. It also flew off my awesome new Addi Click set needles (thanks Faith!).

I then decided to post-CO dye it. It sat in my knitting bureau for a few week, until got a bee in my bonnet one Saturday. Unfortunately, I already had plans which left me about 30 minutes free to get everything set up and do the actual dyeing! In case you were wondering, that is not enough time!

Okay, so it's a little patchy. I prefer to call it "kettle-dyed-esque". It's not quite as garish as it looks here. I took the picture in my lab under fluorescent lighting. I may re-dye it someday, but, for now I am happy with the way it looks!



And more importantly....

That's Six!

Jun 29, 2009

A Day in June

I love yarn shopping weekends! This past weekend, my friend Aubrey drove down from her new home in New Hampshire, and we went to my favourite type of Mom and Pop, the locally owned yarn store. Aubrey actually grew up in the area, so was able to navigate around and come up with suggestions for where we should shop and eat.

We started the day having Thai for lunch at the Siam Square in Northampton. Then we headed off to Webs. Aubrey told me that it was bigger than it looks from the outside, but I had no idea to what extent she meant! The main floor was huge, and had all types of yarn. I was a little overwhelmed, but nothing compared to how in awe I was of the adjoining yarn warehouse, housing all the sale items. It took us about 30 minutes, maybe more, of wandering up and down the warehouse aisles to decide what we wanted.

I finally settled on some undyed Happy Feet sock yarn (guess who found her acid-dying materials!), some worsted weight Araucania and, being inspired by the stole Aubrey wore to my wedding, some Misti Alpaca lace weight yarn. I also picked some Noro Silk Garden sock yarn. I know this is a climbdown on my Noro Sucks position, but I have never used any of their silk-containing products. I also loved the colourway, so decided to keep an open mind.





After Webs, and a quick caffeination pit-stop, we headed back to Northampton. We dropped into Nothampton Wools and Northampton Wools Too. We were a little yarned out at that point, and I wasn't looking for anything in particular, with the exception of perhaps some confettied cotton yarn which I have been in love with ever since I saw how Jessica's dress turned out. They didn't have any so we headed out, after browsing around for a while. On the way out we passed some sale bins on the outside steps, only to spot exactly what I was looking for!!!

We got some ice-cream from Herrell's, where I discovered No-Moo Ice Cream to fit in with my new faux vegan (or "Faux-gan", if you will) lifestyle. After that, we headed to my place where I started a Baby Surprise Jacket with my Pom-Pom yarn, which I am pretty close to finishing now.


Awesome day!

Jun 13, 2009

Collins Go Caribbean

I'm going to be a little out of order here. I got married to my wonderful husband on June 6th and just got back from our honeymoon. The post about the wedding's going to be on hiatus until I get pictures from the photographer, so we'll skip ahead to the fun part.

We flew out of Boston on June 8th and we greeted by our lovely landlady for the week, Mary. She was so helpful and inviting all week that I felt quite guilty for being so strongly reminded of Mrs. Castevet! She gave us a tour of the town, took us grocery shopping and got us home in time to finish the day with a mojito at Morgan's Mango and a stroll around the downtown area.


The next day we picked up some snorkel equipment and take a dip in Frank bay, the beach mere yards from our place. Unfortunately, we didn't get a prescription mask for Nick, so he was unable to see anything, which I would imagine is quite daunting. I saw a lot of neat fish and underwater landscapes but we won't have the underwater camera pictures developed for a while.


We also walked the Lind Trail to Honeymoon Bay, which is a beautiful beach. The trail was also fun and very easy. We finished up with drinks at I-Scream, which I contend makes the best Mango Daiquiri's on the Island!

This is Frank bay. This picture also showcases my new obsession. I was so chuffed with myself for figuring out how to do this. Thanks to the unsecured network provided by our Caribbean neighbours, the Linksys's, I was able to download Windows Live Photo Gallery, which has a neat little "Make Panoramic Picture" feature.

The next day, we picked up a prescription mask for Nick and went to Trunk bay. As the snorkelling went, this was probably my favourite. There is an island in the bay with a massive coral reef trail. The snorkelling fun continued the next day in Cinnamon bay, which was as beautiful as Jessica made it out to be, maybe even more so. That evening, we treated ourselves to dinner at Woody's during their happy hour.




On the Friday, we took a break from snorkelling to visit St. Thomas. We saw a lot of the historic sites, alas from the outside, as nothing seems to open on days when the cruise ships aren't in town. The differences between St. Thomas and St. John reminded me of the parallel universe episodes of Star Trek. Two-thirds of the island of St. John is national park. The population is much smaller than that of St. Thomas and in general, there is a very laid back and easy-going atmosphere. Even the-seemingly lone-homeless person we saw on the island was too laid back to ever approach us. On the other hand, the city of Charlotte Amalia on St. Thomas is much more developed and face-paced. There were far more loud noises, police cars, fast-talking street vendors and other typical features of a city. That's not to say that St. Thomas isn't also beautiful and we enjoyed climbing the 99 steps to Blackbeard's castle, from where we got a great view of the city.




We also met this little guy on the way down.


Then, Nick noticed a ski-lift in the remote distance, and decided that we just had to walk all the way around the harbour to get to it. It was so hot that day and it was torture walking in flip-flops over a mile to get to the ski-lift only to find the thing wasn't in use (which I had predicted before we left).
Even my panoramic photo trick can't fully illustrate just how far we walked.


On a happier note, I spotted a yarn store on the way back to the ferry. While the yarn selection was limited to some bins of Red Heart yarn and the store owner was quite frankly the least friendly person I met on the entire vacation, I did manage to pick up some US 3 double points. This was especially serendipitous as I had tragically packed yarn but no needles for the vacation! I immediately started on a project during the homeward ferry ride (of course I had yarn with me) and had to improvise a pattern, as I obviously didn't have my laptop. (Pattern to come!)

We took this picture of the store on our last day.


Rice-a-Roni, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Husband...
Saturday the 13th started out reasonably well. Nick and I went on the insanely steep hike of Caneel Hill. While it kicked our posteriors, we had a great sense of achievement when we reached the all of 700-foot summit (it felt like much more on the way up), and the view was breathtaking.


Our descent, however, wasn't nearly as idyllic. We couldn't find a signpost to any beach, our intended reward for making it the top of Caneel. We did find what Nick thought was an unmarked trail to the beach, but looked to me more like a ditch, and argued for a little while as to whether we should take it. I, through my powers of whining, prevailed and we stayed on the original trail only to come to a fork. One route would take us up a higher hill, while the other was unmarked. We were exhausted and so, we took the unmarked trail, as it appeared to be a descent, hopefully to a beach! Halfway down the mystery trail we were confronted by a huge spider who had marked his territory by spinning a massive web across our path. We were obviously so scared that we couldn't even use the focus function properly!


We decided to get by him by going through the trees and shrubs to the left of our little arachnid obstacle, only to be stung by a patch of nettles. Worse still, once beyond what I now believed to be a point of no return, we found ourselves in someone's backyard. We trekked what must have been a couple of miles back to town, complete with winding steep roads and a couple of wrong turns.


When we finally got back to town, we decided to pick up some groceries and have a quiet dinner at home. I got some chicken to barbecue on the outdoor grill and a packet of Rice-a-Roni, which could be served as a side without taking my focus off barbecuing. I warmed some oil and stirred in the rice and noodles and then ran outside to deal with the chicken. After a few minutes, I went back inside to stir the browned noodles and rice, only to find what will be etched into my memory forever. Like something out of a horror movie, there were hundreds of little black insects pouring out of the saucepan. I froze in horror, and screamed to Nick to come help me. Like a knight in shining armour, he took the saucepan outside and dealt with it. Ugh, I am getting goose-bumps while typing this. It turns out that these were grain weevils and it's not as uncommon an occurrence as you might hope!

Nick put the browned rice and evil invaders in a trash bag. I wasn't willing to open it for the sake of a photo-op, but maybe you can see some of them through the plastic!


Shudder...

The next day we went snorkelling again. We bought an underwater camera and headed back to honeymoon bay. We took a couple of photos and moved on to Salomon Bay.





Despite snorkelling for a number of hours in two beaches, we didn't come across a single stingray; the one thing I really wanted a picture of. I was all but giving up on the idea when we were packed and ready to head back to our rental home when I noticed something right up by the shore. I grabbed the underwater camera from Nick and dove into the water fully dressed. But I think it was worth it!




Every Breath You Take
The next day we went home. We travelled to St. Thomas by boat and took a cab to the airport after picking up some last minute odds and ends. When we boarded our flight to Charlotte NC, we couldn't believe it but we had managed to bookmark our trip in a rather unusual manner.

On our way to St. John, we met a extremely nice couple from Cape Cod. They were in St. John to celebrate their 30th anniversary; St. John being their original honeymoon destination. We shared a cab with them to the ferry and parted ways when we arrived at St. John. Or so we thought. When we went to Honeymoon bay, who did we run into? Again, when we went to Cinnamon Bay they were there. Every single time we saw them, they were already there when we arrived. We joked that we were stalking them and, thankfully, they had a good sense of humour.

By the time we were leaving, it had been a few days since we'd bumped into them. Before the plane was due to board, I ran to get a drink. When I got back, Nick said, "Look who's here!" I decided we had to get a photo with them. Evidently, honeymoon-based stalking is a very common activity for members of the South Bend Knitwork (you know who you are)!



So, that was our honeymoon. I'm glad to be home, or at least I keep telling myself that. I definitely want to go back there. Nick and I have said that, like our stalking victims, we'll go there for our 30th anniversary too. I can't wait!

Jun 4, 2009

Words from My Mother

Yesterday was a bit of a disaster. I completely broke down twice due to the stress of getting all my immigration papers filled out while remotely planning a wedding and dealing with some hiccups in planning. I also lade myself with guilt by misinforming my bridesmaid as to my location which meant she had to book a hotel, cancel it, find and book another one in a completely different city and then come visit me in my house filled with cats, to which she is allergic. I snapped a few times at my fiancé and let myself get so stressed my back started to spasm!


All in all, a pretty wretched day. However, by the end of the day, I got all the paperwork done. We managed to clear most things from our to-do list for that day and we had fun chatting with my bridesmaid.

The day was also redeemed by getting these kind words from my mother:

"Darling Elizabeth,
The next time I email you it will be as a married woman. I won't be able to say all I want in a five minute speech so I thought I'd just write to let you know how precious you are to me.
My sweetest girl, from the moment you were born we were connected until death. I cannot describe and you cannot know until it happens you yourself, the indissulouble bond of love that is formed at that moment. There are moments that imprinted on our brains forever and one of these was when I held you, my little bundle of paradise, in my arms for the first time. Migraines of joy aside, yours and Ben's births were the most profound, most connected and beautiful moments of my life.
Was it a mistake, naming you after Jane Austen's most self willed heroine?! You were, as you know, self-willed from the very start! How I loved that, although it was frustrating too since I had never experienced in my previous life, a will as strong as yours! What a joy and what a challenge it was having you in our lives. Some moments I will treasure and one or two of which I may mention in my official speech include:

You running away with a boy's pants on Malahide strand aged two.
You trying to go down the up esclator in what was then Roches Stores in Stillorgan.
You refusing to EVER to wear cool kiddy jeans and opting instead for fifties style frilly dresses.
Demanding pate and olives in Superquinn as reported by your Dad.
Informing me (when aged five) that the cat had died when I was in a state of denial about the inert lump of fur at the back door.
You telling me 'have a gin' in Malindi as I worried about your father being mugged or driven off the road on his way back from Mombasa
You asking innocently why is it dangerous to share knitting needles, having misunderstood a poster warning about the dangers of sharing needles.
You shouting out: 'I know what a blow job is' when I mistakenly called my Big Blow hairdryer by the wrong name.
You kissing and cuddling Ben when he was born.
You kissing and cuddling me (yes, you did, the odd time!)
Losing you in Dunnes Stores (often) then finding you in the toy department.
The first Mother's Day card you made for me.
Your face on the platform at Charlbury when your Dad and I returned from Sri Lanka. You were such a brave little girl staying with your grandparents for a month, but when you finally saw us you WERE overjoyed.

Some teen moments - definitely the best time!

You telling me I was a 'slut' when I turned up to collect you from school wearing jeans and a leather jacket. And yes, I can laugh about that now though I wish I still had the figure I had then!
Your excuse when your Dad and I discovered you'd been sleeping in the park all night: 'But if I'd told you, you would have stopped me!' Doh!
Your never explain, never apologise policy with the possible exception of the above 'explanation'!
The fact that you had the gumption to replace the window you broke while we were away, even if all else was chaos.
Your disgust at being told: 'You can't go out in a skirt up to your bum'
The way you could look me straight in the eye and say: 'I haven't been on ANYTHING' and look like you meant it.
The Milk Snake - need I say more.
Tremor (I still have Tremors thinking of him)
Your sense of humour which saved you from death by parent on more than one occasion.
You singing: 'You are the wind beneath my wings'.
The day you got the Leaving Cert.

And later:
Saying goodbye to you as you left for Notre Dame, the pride and the sadness of it.
Seeing you work in the lab at Notre Dame and realising: my daughter is a scientist!
The first time you brought Nick home! You guys are made for each other.
Meeting Buttons.
Your fairness to both me and your Dad when we separated. You played a blinder, even if I didn't see it at the time. I'm so proud of you my darling daughter, not just as a scientist but as a person.
Having you April Fool me that you were a lesbian.
The day you defended your thesis.
Doing water aerobics with you in Powerscourt Leisure Centre.
Eating out at the Olive Tree South Bend with you and Nick.
Showing Nick (and you!) around your native city.
Your famous line: 'I'll go to London with you so long as we don't have to do 'culture' ' This has to rank alongside Gorings famous 'When I hear the word culture I reach for my gun'
The day Nick asked for your hand in marriage (and the hints you'd given me beforehand.....)

Days to come

I hope that these will be as full of joy and laughter as the early days have been. The future is a blank page on which you and your beloved Nick will write. I wish you both all the love and joy, all the sharing and happiness this world can give. Above all may you be kind to each other, finding delight even in your failings and seeing the sweet familiarity of love in all you do.

From: To His Daughter
May she become a flourishing hidden tree
That all her thoughts may like the linnet be,
And have no business but dispensing round
Their magnanimities of sound,
Nor but in merriment begin a chase,
Nor but in merriment a quarrel.
O may she live like some green laurel
Rooted in one dear perpetual place.


And may her bridegroom bring her to a house
Where all's accustomed, ceremonious;
For arrogance and hatred are the wares
Peddled in the thoroughfares.
How but in custom and in ceremony
Are innocence and beauty born?
Ceremony's a name for the rich horn,
And custom for the spreading laurel tree.

-- William Butler Yeats.
With love from
Your Momx"

Jun 1, 2009

What's On Your Mind?

Not much, really. This blog is, at times, a testament to just how little is goes on in my life. You both may recall the less-than-epic tale of a fly landing in my coffee and the monofaceted adventure that was the the time I didn't like how a sock was turning out.

The concept of a blog, aside from being a wretched neologism, is an almost overly manicured snippet of one's existence. I can't speak for everyone, but when I write entries into my blog, I edit multiple times before, and often a few times after, I publish them. Unless there is some time-sensitive content, I may even save a draft, allowing myself to return to it with fresh eyes. It may be the daughter-of-a-writer in me, but I always like to ensure that each entry is a well-structured and witty use of my diction. The problem is that with each successive edit, reality yields a little more to a dramatic or entertaining narrative.

That said, it's hard to write an entire paragraph without letting some element of your personality slip through. While the cold facts you deliver may not mean much, what you leave between the lines might be a candid display of who you are. For instance, forensic linguists were able to prove that an author, other than Jane Austen, completed the novel, Sandition.

But what if you're not writing an entire paragraph? I am of course talking about the increasingly popular hobby (or compulsion) of updating one's Facebook status message. As a moderate narcissist, I can completely understand how someone may think that their entire friend list would want to hear every banal detail of their day. I am drinking coffee. I am done drinking coffee. I am going to the store because I ran out of coffee. I mean, it's boring when it's someone else. But my life is just riveting, and other people obviously feel the same way about it. Solipsism aside, I often wonder if, at the end of a day of keeping our friends apprised of our every little movement, when we then meet one of these friends fin person, have we rid ourselves of everything we could talk about? To be fair, there's a little more to Facebook than status messages. We can show pictures of events in our life, which could represent a graphic novel-style depiction of our existence. We can also lay out, albeit in bullet points, a description of our lives: where we live, who we're dating, favourite quotes, and so on. Best of all, we can link offsite to more in-depth accounts of what we're up to, such as our blogs.

The same is not true for my newest pet peeve: Twitter. Twitter has stripped away all the remotely expressive elements of Facebook and left us with the most self-indulgent and attention-span bereft feature. Twitter is what's wrong with society. It is instant gratification, self-involvement, and anti-social behaviour all rolled into one. And to make matters worse, the parlance associated with it is just plain aggravating. Instead of updating your status, you are now tweeting. And it is everywhere. More so Myspace during its heyday. It seems that every celebrity is tweeting. An astronaut tweeted from space. News of a revolution in Moldova surfaced over Twitter. Worst of all, I just heard that an NPR presenter has a twitter account (and no, I am not telling you who it is!).

I know I sound like a old-aged pensioner reminiscing about the good old days before the newfangled doodads brought about the end of society. I am sure that similar concerns about interpersonal communication were raised during the advent of the telephone or the hand-written letter. I remember the increased availability of the cell-phone evoking such worries, though, at that time, I was youthful enough then to be firmly on the side of the new technology. Maybe twitter, like the many communication technologies that preceded it, will allow for a positive evolution in our interpersonal exchanges. It could be that by clearing out the need to exchange more banal details of our day, we can spend our time together discussing more profound or esoteric issues. Perhaps someone may see your seemingly inconsequential status, which you would never have relayed to them in person, and be prompted to share something amazingly life-altering with you as a result.

It is possible that I am just such a long-winded, gasbag that I could never fathom limiting myself to just 140 characters.

May 22, 2009

Dear Dr. President

Picture Stolen from the Associated Press

You may have heard that President Obama was invited to give the commencement address at Notre Dame, and also to receive an honourary degree. Some felt that his pro-choice voting record was in such stark violation of the Catholic Character that he should not be invited to speak at the school, and should certainly not receive a degree.

This reminded me of President Bush's speech at Notre Dame. His action's were serious violations of the Vatican's anti-death penalty and anti-war stances. So why were pictures of slain Iraqi civilians or electrocuted Texans not flown overhead in the run up to his speech? Are we allowed to cherry-pick our favourite morality issues? Is is because President Obama is a democrat? Is it, dare I suggest, a race issue? Nope. It's remarkably something even more pathetic. It turns out that the big ring leader in the recent protests was none other than Alan Keyes, famed for losing the senatorial race to President Obama back in 2004. So, congratulations to my fellow Notre Dame students. You allowed yourself to be pawns in what can be boiled down to "Mommy, Obama took my seat and he won't give it back!"

I missed the chance to meet President Obama. The reason I missed my graduation ceremony is that I had promised to go see my fiancé's graduation prior to the date and commencement speaker being announced. I had at that point already moved away from South Bend, and I had no intention of returning to Notre Dame for reasons I will not go into here. I just wanted to make it clear that my absence was not some act of one-issue-fanatical boycotting, like this idiot. In fact, missing the chance to be in the same room as a man that I both love and admire will go down as one my biggest regrets in life. Hopefully, I will get my US citizenship in time to vote for his second presidential term, which would be some small consolation to me.

I did, however, learn something interesting at my fiancé's graduation ceremony at the University of Arkansas Medical School. The awarding of degrees occurs in ascending order of importance. The first diplomas are handed out to certificate earners, then to the associate degree candidates and so on. What was of interest to me is that the very last, and therefore most esteemed, group to collect their diplomas are the PhD candidates. Even the dentists, pharmacologists and medical doctors are lower down the list. To really drive home the point that the PhD is the apex of academia, the PhD candidates are the only ones to be hooded on stage.

I am making this point because of my issue with the Associate Press's arbitrary title usage decisions. Yes, I am still on that! It really struck me when I was watching a broadcast of a certain right-leaning 24-hour news station* recently. In the piece, they referred to President Obama as either "Mr. Obama" or "the President", but were careful to avoid using the phrase "President Obama". I am not, by even the loosest definition, a regular viewer of this channel, though I do have specific memories of President Bush being referred to as "President Bush" during his term. I wondered if this was a mistake, or if it were a more sinister effort on the part of the news channel to refuse to identify "Mr. Obama" as the president. My mind wandered further, and it occurred to me that President Obama taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago once upon a time, and was therefore likely to hold a professional doctorate. One trip to Wikipedia later, and yup, he does. So, if the journalists at this news station refuse to refer to him as "President Obama", should they not at least be calling him "Dr. Obama"?

* I can't find the piece in question, so the news channel will remain nameless.

May 10, 2009

Tofini... marinofu... Okay, name to come!

As much as I love the Food Network website, it lacks somewhat in the area of pasta with tofu recipes. As I am in faux-vegan mode until I get married, the ever-succinctly named "meat sauce" is out. In truth, the phrase "meat sauce" has always been enough to make me skip dinner. Yuck! Anyway, I resorted to making it up a tofu-based recipe myself. I have been working on this one for a while, and I have it to a point where I am happy with it. Comments welcome!

4 tbsp olive oil
1 lg onion finely diced
4-5 good-sized garlic cloves, minced
2-3 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 zucchini (courgette) sliced
[Other vegetables by preference]
2 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
1/2 tbsp thyme
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon (not kidding!)
7oz jar whole mantilla olives, drained (only 1/2 jar if you don't love salty foods, and omit black olives)
2.25oz can sliced black olives, drained
1 tub extra firm tofu, frozen overnight, thawed, drained & cubed
24oz crushed tomatoes
1 box whole wheat rotini

On medium heat, warm oil. Add onion and garlic and saute for 3 mins. Add mushrooms, zucchini and sauté for a further 3 mins. Add herbs, as well as olives and tofu and continue to sauté for 10 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and reduce heat to low, reducing sauce for 20 minutes, then season to taste. In meantime cook rotini according to instructions. Serve!

May 1, 2009

Done!

T.G.I. Over! I finally finished the Ben sweater. What an ordeal! I'll spare you the majority of the gripes I had on this one, but suffice it to say, it took ages, everything that could have gone wrong did, I hated every moment of it and I the only person who will like the end product less than me is its intended recipient.


As this sweater took over a year to complete, I decided to do the finishing in a way that wouldn't make it look like I was inebriated for that length of time. So, I returned to the scene of the crime (berroco.com) and found that they have some really neat videos for how to finish your knitting projects. Here are the ones I used, and man, was I off-base before. I think the lesson learned here is that half-reading finishing instructions and wandering off, assuming you know it all, doesn't work so well. Shocking, I know!

Picking up stitches:


Seaming Shoulders:


And my personal favourite, the finishing feature I was so badly hamfisting my way through, I can only assume I invented my own wrong stitch;

The Mattress Stitch



May 4th, 2009: I just found out that the sweater design I used is famous!!! Eveidently, Mo Rocca of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me fame commented that he didn't like knitted sweaters. This mobilized a group of Ravelry knitters to make him a sweater. They chose the Ben pattern and presented it to him!


Apr 29, 2009

A Day in April

I just turned... ahem... let's just say "an age" and leave it at that. I had an awesome time over this year's birthday weekend. My very good friend, Faith, came into town for a yarn shopping trip! We headed out to the Twin Cities at what I would consider the crack of dawn on Saturday, and went to the Three Kittens Yarn store in Mendota Heights, and Borealis Yarn and The Yarnery, both in St. Paul.

I had been to the Three Kittens before, where, for some unknown reason, I decided against buying the yarn made from milk. I had since come to regret that act of woolly thinking, so this time, I picked up two skeins of the 80% milk sock yarn. Our next stop was The Yarnery, where we were delighted to find that everything was discounted by at least 20%. I ran a amok in that store, buying three skeins of Cascade Ecological Wool for a sweater I have wanted to make, a skein of Alpaca Sock yarn and two skeins of black Cascade 220, which, while I have no particular project in mind, is always useful. Finally, we went to Borealis Yarns. I was also able to pick up some Snuggly Bubbly, which I will probably make into a Baby Surprise Jacket. Finally, I found some navy Hempathy, which I will use to make some socks for my fiancé.



My main objectives, other than getting to spend time with Faith, were to pick up yarn for my cardigan pattern, buy yarn made from unusual or interesting fibres, and find some nice baby yarn. All in all, the trip was a complete success! I even found a cute clasp for my Butterfly cardigan, and locking stitch markers to finally finish my Ben sweater!




Despite this bounty of yarn and yarn accessories, the best thing I received this weekend was, instead, an early wedding present from Faith. I was just so grateful that she bought me the Addi Click set! I have been having so much fun with it and repaid her generosity by making silly sound effects every time I switched out the needles. I was so excited to be the proud owner of interchangeable Addi Turbos, that I instantly set them to work on the Deborah cardigan with my new Ecological wool. These needles are truly amazing, and I was able to finish the entire back panel over the weekend! I also finally learned how to do the continental purl stitch!


My only regret from this trip was that I forgot to charge my camera! I had this very wonderful idea of having various pictures of us outside each yarn store, inside the stores staring pensively at potential purchases, beaming gleefully with overflowing bags of wool and cotton.... But alas, it was not to be. Luckily, Faith had more photographic wherewithal than I, and took this picture:

10 Things in 1000 days

I decided to rationalize my impulse purchasing of knitting books by setting myself a personal challenge.
Here's how long I have left:

Quotation of the Day

This Day in History

Is There Anybody Out There?

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