Monday, July 28, 2008

What Carnival Ride are You?

Gotta love Blogthings....

You Are a Roller Coaster

You live for excitement, adventure, and the most intense of thrills.
Nothing is better than feeling you're truly alive, and you're willing to take risks to feel this way.
In relationships, people often feel a bit nervous about what they're getting into...
But generally, everyone enjoys the wild ride you take them on. Unless they stay with you too long - then they're apt to feel a bit nauseous!

Your life has more low points and high points than most people's lives.
But that's okay - you love them. You figure that a smooth ride is boring!
Besides, you know that super high highs only come from knowing super low lows.
You cherish every emotion you feel and feel it fully. Why deny what life is truly about?

At your best, you are loving life and sharing your wild times with everyone you know.
You are able to open your friends up to a whole new world of experiences.
At your worst, you feel extremely disoriented and even a bit dizzy.
There's only so much intensity a human (even you!) can take.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Catch up - The Second

So, wanna hear about my trip to WEBS? I am one of those exceedingly lucky folks whose local yarn store is actually that knitters'/spinners'/weavers' mecca, WEBS. Okay, so it's not local as in "just up the block" but it is local as in "25 minutes away." And, if you've ever been there, you know that folks travel much, much further for a shopping trip at the shrine. To be fair, you can get everything in the store online, and the customer service is amazing. But it sure is cool to be there live!

I didn't really have anything in particular I needed, but I had a tough day at work, and I was dropping Emma at her 2-hour art lesson in a nearby town that put me halfway to WEBS and... well... you know how the rest of this story goes.

What did I get? Well, I got some of this:

To make the Bianca's Jacket from Interweave Knits. The yarn is Shire Silk from Plymouth, it's a gorgeous rustic silk. It drapes like a dream! I've been absolutely freezing in the AC at work, so I'm thinking this will be a nice little sweater to leave on a hook in my office for the days when I wear something short-sleeved.

And I got one of these, just for fun:

(Yeah, I should have taken the plastic off, but I know you know what it is, and I don't know what the kids have done with my camera). It's like Flat Feet, but from Plymouth Yarns, and it's called Happy Choices. I guess the "choice" aspect is that they market it as either a scarf or a source of yarn for socks or mittens.

Two colors of ShiBui...both nice, semi-solid colors that should be great for socks with some kind of intricate lace or stitchwork. Mmmm.

Four skeins of Cascade Cloud 9 in red... stocking up early for the Red Scarf project, some additional red and white yarn to make some "red sox" for a friend who's a big baseball fan, and an absolutely gorgeous skein of Soxie from The Great Adirondack Yarn Company.

Here, look at it close up...don't you just love it!

Oh, and there was one more thing. It wasn't from WEBS, but it was a lovely continuation of my string of good karma. I won this stunningly beautiful and soft alpaca yarn (6.5 oz) from Victory Ranch. It was one of the prizes from Gale Zucker and Joan Tapper, the authors of the fabulous book, Shear Spirit, on their site "Two Shear Spirits".

I'm seriously hoping that the old "good things come in threes" adage is true... so if any of you are planning on running contests where the only requirement to win is dumb luck... please be sure to let me know!

Catch Up - The First

So much has been going on around here, and I've started so many times to post an entry, but it seems that each time I sit down to write an post, there's more that I want to tell you and it will take longer to write the post, and I don't have the pictures I want and... I just talk myself out of it.

So here's my solution... I'll write short-ish posts, each about one thing (or two) and not worry about catching up all at once. So simple, really... just like me, it seems.

So how about a status update on some current projects? The Mystic Meadows Shawl/Stole is coming along nicely. I'm finally up to clue 4 (the last one), and it actually appears that I might finish this!

It's funny for me, working from charts, because everyone always says they love charts because they can "see what the pattern will look like." I actually can't see it. Not really. I mean, I get that there will be rows of YOs, or that the decreases will form a diagonal line here, but I can't really put together what it will look like until I knit it up. Take this little thing, for example:

I was clueless from the chart... it basically looks like a square with an "X" through it. Then I knit it up, and stretched it out, and I was still clueless. But.... then I let go of the blocking and let it bunch up, and I kind of squinted my eyes and I could see:

A butterfly!! How cute is that? I'm still not sure that the picture has captured it, but the pattern has a large section with these darling little butterflies that I absolutely love. I hope they are recognizable when the whole thing is finished and blocked.

I haven't done much on the sidewinder sock since I started it, but I'll share a picture with you anyway. Here's the first sock, about halfway done.

Isn't that the most unusual thing? It's definitely a knit that you have to take on faith. I spent a long time looking at the directions trying to figure out what the heck I was doing (especially on the toe). If you just follow the directions without trying too hard to understand them, it will all work out in the end, I promise!

They do seem like they're going to have a really nice fit, which is the big selling point for these socks. The back 1/4 or so is garter stitch, for some extra stretchiness, and it even has some nice short row shaping for the calf. Not sure if you can actually see it, but here's a pic.

Ok, I'm going to end here... but I will be back! I ran up to WEBS last night while Emma was at art lessons, and I got all kinds of fun and lovely things that I know you'll want to see. Plus I have a couple of weeks worth of SP12 questions to answer at some point and I'll have to fill you in on the (very) local SNB that I found via Ravelry that has kindly adopted me and given me a fun place to spend my Wednesday evenings. So keep an eye out... I'll be back for more.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bats Live in Caves... so I guess it makes sense

So Molly & Austin had a birthday party to go to Saturday at the local multiplex. The kids were going to have their party and then see "Journey to the Center of the Earth." Loads of fun for a bunch of 11 and 12-year-olds. Don and I took a ride over to drop them off, and Emma decided at the last minute to tag along. When we got there, we realized that it was about 10 million degrees outside, away from the air conditioning, and the thought of spending a couple of hours in a movie ourselves sounded pretty good.

So, hubby and eldest and I decided to see "Batman" (what else?). How was it? I thought it was great, and Heath Ledger was astounding as the Joker. No different from what you've already read in the reviews, right? So why am I bothering to blog about this? Oh, it gets better.

As we're walking out to the car, we were all sharing our view that the movie was great. My darling hubby says, "Yeah, that guy who played the Joker was pretty amazing. Who was that?" Emma and I looked at each other, sure that Don was just busting us. But no, he actually had no idea that Heath Ledger had played the role, and had heard nothing of the hype around this.

Now, I realize that perhaps I'm a little bit too plugged into the celeb thing, but really, is it possible to have been functioning in society for the last 6 months without hearing any of this? Well, obviously it's possible, since he had no idea, but how likely is it? Were there others of you who didn't know about the Heath Ledger connection?

I suppose that perhaps I should give him credit for avoiding lemming-like behavior and thinking for himself and all that, but I had to ask, "Have you been living in a cave???"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted...

... as the Go-Gos so famously put it. This week's SP12 questions have to do with vacation (one of my favorite things!). Oh, ok, you caught me... it's actually last week's question (the new one will probably be up today) but once I got into that vacation mindset, things just kind of slo-o-wed down for me (or maybe those Margueritas had something to do with it...)

1) Where is your favorite place to go for vacation/holiday?

For my money, there has to be a beach. I have amazingly fair skin for an Italian gal (you'd swear I was Irish) so you'd think I'd avoid the sun, but I can't help myself when there's a beach involved. Something about the rhythmic crash of waves on a beach, the smell of the salt air, the sound of the gulls... it takes my blood pressure down to nothing, and I could lie there and listen all day (with appropriate sun screen, of course).

I've enjoyed lots of beaches in my day. We grew up going to the Jersey shore, since my mom is from Jersey City. Mostly Seaside Heights or Seaside Park (although I can remember Atlantic City before there were casinos .... ) I've also had the opportunity to enjoy the Southern California beaches, where the Pacific is absolutely stunning. And, I've enjoyed several trips over the years to Bermuda and to the Caribbean. But, I'm Massachusetts born and bred myself, so that means my favorite vacation spot has got to be Cape Cod.

The beaches on the Cape are very different from the other places I've been. Lots of beach grass and dunes, and very different personalities, depending on where you are. You probably know that the Cape is shaped like a bent arm. The "inside" edge of the arm curls around Massachusetts Bay, and the bay side beaches are all warm, calm water and flat. The tide goes out literally for miles, and the beaches are great for kids, or those who actually like to swim. The beaches along the "outside" edge of the arm along the bicep (you know, that part that develops "bat wings" as you get older) is buffered by a sound, since Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island are a little ways out. So you get a little bit of wave action and a little bit colder water, but nothing extreme.

My personal favorite beaches are along the outside edge of the "forearm". This is called the Outer Cape, and the towns out there are my favorites -- Orleans, Eastham, Truro, Wellfleet and Provincetown. This section of beaches has no protection, and it's actually open water pretty much across to England. The waves are big (by east coast standards) and the water is icy cold. Nothing we like better than going down to Nauset Beach after dinner, when the beach is pretty empty and flying kites with the kids.

2) Where is one place you’d like to go?

I love to travel, so it's hard to pick just one, but I think I'd really like to see Italy one of these days. Ideally, I'd like to rent a little apartment somewhere for a few months so I could really get to know the place and the people. Maybe once we get the kids grown and educated that will be a retirement trip for hubby and me...

Well, now that I'm totally thinking of vacation and beaches, it's going to be a real drag to go to work, but I suppose that if I don't, they'll stop paying me, so I'll say bye for now.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Yes, I'm a knitter... how did you know?

Surely it couldn't have been from my blog, because there hasn't been much indication of knitting around here for a while! Sorry for the departure, but summers are crazy in these parts (this summer more than most). But before we head to crazy family land, let's take a break for some knitting, shall we?

Even though the last clue for the Mystic Meadows KAL was released weeks ago, I've been slow to finish this. No real excuse... it's not a difficult pattern. It's beautiful, and original, and fun to knit, and I will be extremely happy to own and use it when it's done, but I can't say that it's taking so long because it's difficult. It's not. Heck, it's even done in fingering weight yarn instead of lace weight. It flies along... when you actually knit on it, that is.

So, here are a few shots of my work in progress (sloppily pinned to the bed). I'm about 10 rows into clue 3, with a total of 4 clues, so I guess I'm roughly halfway.

Pretty, huh? I'm determined to get this one finished, since I still have a half-finished Mystery Stole3 somewhere in the pile of UFOs. Do you remember MS3? It ended up being the Swan Lake stole. It's an absolutely gorgeous pattern, and I LOVE the beading. (I did it in black alpaca with iridescent green beads). I'll have to admit that I kind of lost steam at the halfway point when the "wing" was introduced. I'm kind of funny with asymmetrical things...either it really hits me or it doesn't. And the wing didn't. So, I decided to make a second half to match the first and graft them together... which will be a beautiful, lacy, delicate stole... if I ever finish it.

So what's my excuse for this lack of fiber news? Well, last weekend was my sister's birthday party for her two kids. Yesterday was our party for our three. Emma turned 15 on July 7th, and Molly & Austin turn 12 on the 15th, so we had a big party for all three yesterday. Lots of fun was had by all, but it's a heck of a lot of work to have 20 or 30 people over!

And the fun doesn't end. My other sister is getting married in August, so we have all the activities leading up to and including that (engagement parties, dress shopping, etc.). And, my mom turns 70 a week after that, so we wanted to plan a little something for her. All good and happy events. All lots of fun, but all take time to prepare for and plan. Time which might otherwise be devoted to knitting and spinning.

But there's hope! My occasional spinning evenings with Naomi continue, with one scheduled in a week or two. And, I stumbled on a brand new Rav group, SNB Pioneer Valley, which just happens to be a group of fiber ladies who meet regularly a block from my home. Who knew? I'm going to try and join in this Wednesday, so I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm also looking to start something good with that STR "Knitters Without Borders" that I won. (Yes, I realize I just said that I plan to finish the KAL... I can do two things at once... sort of). I had a suggestion for Monkeys, which seem to be the hot sock pattern at the moment (and very nice with a handpainted yarn), and I had thought of Sidewinders, just 'cause it seems like a neat idea and because I'm one of the three people on earth who actually enjoy grafting (yeah, I like Christmas fruitcake, too... I've given up trying to understand). Anyway, I'm still open to suggestions if you have a great sock pattern that would show off this yarn well.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Usually we think of the concept of karma in a punitive way... you know, "what goes around comes around,".... if you do bad things, bad things happen to you. Of course, it actually works both ways -- if you put goodness out in the world, karma says that good will come back to you. I had a lovely package in the mail today that's living proof of that.

Isn't it gorgeous? It's a skein of lightweight Socks That Rock in the "Knitters Without Borders" colorway. I think I told you that it was on the way... a prize in a contest that Deb on the Web ran to help raise money for the CCFA. So, my beautiful skein of STR and 2mm needles are an example of good karma.

I'm especially thrilled, because (believe it or not) I've never actually knit with STR. I go to the web site regularly and drool, but somehow I never got around to an order. And I'm especially thrilled with the Knitters Without Borders colorway, since Blue Moon makes a charitable donation to Doctors Without Borders with each sale, so it's doing good a second time (kind of "karma squared").

I'd like to try a new pattern for socks... something I haven't done before, and that would show off the STR to best advantage. Anyone have a good idea for a sock pattern with this yarn? I was kind of thinking of trying Sidewinders, but I'm open to ideas. What do you think? What would you do?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Put on Your Party Dress!

I'm headed to a party this afternoon! Not a 4th of July party, although I'm sure there will be plenty of red, white and blue goodies. It's actually a birthday party for my sister's two kids, Taylor and Haley, who are turning 18 and 16. Because their birthdays are within a month of one another, we do one big party. (Actually, my three are a week apart, and their big party will be next weekend).

It's nice in the sense that you start the summer with an excuse to clean up your house and yard really well, and after one big blow-out, you can kick back and enjoy the rest of the summer. However, at my house, we're still in the midst of the "really big clean-up" piece, and it's killing me! I am (truth be told) not much of a housekeeper, and saving it all up to do a few times a year is probably not the recommended approach.

Today, however, Cinderella goes to the ball. I'm heading out to Tracy's, I'll kick back by the pool and enjoy the party, and tomorrow it will be back to slaving away at my place! Enjoy your Sunday!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bits and Pieces

First things first... Let's start with the Secret Pal 12 questions for this week (it's a "2-fer"):

What yarn (that you don’t have/haven’t used) would make your stash “complete”?
If I were choosing something I haven't used (although I can't figure out why I've never bought some) I would have to say Hand Maiden Sea Silk. Actually, just about anything from Hand Maiden or Fleece Artist would thrill me. Come to think of it, I guess that's why I've never bought any... I head over to the web site and I start looking at different yarns and colorways, and I keep saying, "That's the one I love the best!"... until I see the next one. And, since my children probably want to go to college one day (or at the very least eat between now and then), I don't buy any because I'd have to buy 50 or 60! (glad we analyzed that)

What yarn do you never want to be without?
I don't think I'm totally addicted to any one brand (I may be a wee bit fickle in that department) but I do have my fiber preferences (silk, cashmere, alpaca and combinations of the three) and my weight preferences (fingering and lace for stash... worsted is usually bought when I have a project in mind). I also love discovering new yarn and fiber sources (usually online), particularly when it's a small, indy operation.

Wow, that was a lot like sitting around discussing chocolate brownies when you're on a diet... I may have to make this short so I can go out trolling web sites for new yarn!

I sent a package off to my SP12 pal this week, and I'm hoping she enjoys it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. I also understand that my spoiler has one on the way to me shortly... can't wait! This is my first swap... I used to see them on everyone's blog, but since I was blogless at the time, I was also ineligible for most swaps. Fortunately, now I can join in all the reindeer games! I'll be sure to give you a tour when my package arrives.

I'm also expecting a prize that I won in Deb's contest to help raise money for Crohn's & Colitis research. Apparently I had a bit of good luck working for me that day, so there's some STR heading my way.

Hope you all have some fun lined up for the holiday weekend (even if you're not American... I believe we should all take advantage of every holiday that comes up, even if it's not really "ours"!) We're going to a cookout on Sunday, and hoping that the weather on Friday will hold up well enough for the parade and fireworks. Either way, we'll celebrate our "independence" from work for a few days, which will be a very nice treat.

You'll pardon my now, please, as I have to go stalk my postman...
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