Monthly Archives: November 2007

Tidy-Up

Not literally.

(Not that I shouldn’t be doing just that.)

But bits and pieces and fulfilling promises.

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I sent out my ISE 5 scarf and treats today! The box is going to Hong Kong — how cool is that? (Way cool! would be the answer!) No pictures till my pal actually gets her package, though!

And I also sent out my Hand-Dyed Yarn Swap box today, just in the nick of time! Getting the box and the yarn and a couple fun things together was what took the time, not the dyeing. (And getting all of that to the post office too, of course. You know how it is.)

I hope both my pals enjoy their gifts as much as I enjoyed making them. Both were an awful lot of fun.

Now, in the interests of equal time, which I believe is a legal requirement under the Siblings Fairness Act, here’s a photo of one of the Preteen’s dance classes (she did ask me to take pictures!):

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This was a crazy cool move in Jazz Funk, where they crossed one leg over the other while in a semi-bridge position, then rotated 360 degrees to face down and then up again (legs still crossed) — hard to describe, even harder to do, I’m sure. She is so amazing in this dance style; it suits her well. I have a couple other good photos from class, but don’t dare post them without prior authorization.

Tonight starts the Nutcracker Insanity. There will be a rehearsal every day until their first performance a week from yesterday. I’d better stock up on the hair spray, bobby pins and eye liner. And snack bars and emergency tights and, and, and….

But before the rehearsal tonight, we are going out for dinner for my birthday, to continue the natal festivities. (I feel like the girls, when they have their birthday celebrated at school, then at home, then the card with money comes the next day from Grandpa in Florida, and the kid birthday party is on the weekend, and it just keeps on going!) We’re going to a very nice restaurant, even. And I think I can even be done with work on time.

So a bit of knitting. Something you’ve seen before (click to embiggen):

ravelry-scarf-long-view.jpg This is from one skein of the Duchess yarn from Twisted Fiber Arts. It makes a scarf which is (unblocked) 4 1/4 inches by 50 inches (I think it’ll block slightly wider). However, I have a second skein. . . . I want to make the scarf a little longer, but I’m going to play around with a hat to see if I like how the pattern and the yarn work together, so I’ll put the scarf aside, make the hat, then use the leftovers to finish the scarf. But I’m giving you the dimensions for a one-skein scarf in case anyone wanted to make this scarf in that yarn. (Two skeins does get a bit pricey; this yarn is very labor-intensive to make, reflected in the cost, so only someone special would get a two-skein scarf! Which leads to the question of whom this is all for. Which I can’t answer because I don’t know. Maybe it’s yet another birthday present for myself, spoiled person that I am. ) Anyway, I think that if I were making this scarf from only one skein (I believe that will be in my future in a different colorway), I would probably knit it on slightly bigger needles to make it bigger; it would also be looser and drapier, but I think still very fine. As is, on size 4s — and I’m a loose woman knitter — it’s a lovely texture and drape but close-knit enough not to let the wind through. I thought it was about 5 inches when I started, but it’s sproingy, and the stitch pattern draws it in slightly too.

And, since I have no conventional Eye Candy today, I will compensate by showing you a favorite little project I made early this year (pre-blog). I totally made this up as I went along. (Translation? No clue how I did it, so I can’t give you a pattern!) It’s for the Gothlet, whose favorite color was PURPLE with a capital PURP (now her favorite color is black, purple, and green — she can’t decide on just one). She also likes snakes; and she has no body fat and is always cold, so this is knit in Berroco Ultra Alpaca, so soft and warm.

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It’s knit so as to be dimensional, and the tail moves freely; I wanted the snake to look like it was crawling right off the scarf.  (I dislike sewing; I suppose it would have been easier to make the snake and sew it on, as in the Harlot’s cardigan pattern mentioned below, but if I can find a way to knit something in one piece, believe me, I’m there.)

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This was inspired by some cable stitch pattern I saw that reminded me, though not its creator as I recall, of a snake head (I think it’s from one of Barbara Walker’s books again) and also by the little snakes on Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Snake Charmer version of the Daisy baby cardigan (on knitty.com) , and the above-mentioned Gothlet passions. And the yarn was left over from something else and was SO soft and warm. I also made a snake hat, but I have yet to take a picture of it (she’s outgrowing it, all those brains getting bigger). Maybe she’ll pose for me in it tomorrow, in between rehearsals.

So tomorrow, I do have to work in the morning, as I often do. But in the afternoon, while the Rat Party Girl Preteen and the Party Boy Soldier Gothlet are rehearsing, I get to pick out awesome yarn for the birthday blog contest winners! That will be such fun! I’ve been thinking about it all week.

And it gives me an excuse to pet all my yarn.  Mmmm.

Birthday Babbles and Gratitude

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(Exclamation points and circles and rays courtesy of the Gothlet, who claimed today that she and the rest of the family had — no doubt temporarily — forgotten my birthday this morning because I hadn’t written it large enough on the calendar. So she rectified the situation.)

Thank you so much to everyone who left such wonderful words and birthday wishes! I am overwhelmed. And (almost) speechless!

I enjoyed so much reading all the quotations and poems. Such a variety, too! There were no duplicates; and the only ‘sources’ quoted more than once were: Dorothy Parker, Garfield, and the Bible! (Fascinating juxtaposition.) And several original poems were gifted as well.

I have no idea how I’m going to select the ‘best of’. I must ponder on it. So, short term, I took the easy (random) way out, and went to my friendly cyberneighborhood random number generator. (Word to the wise: if you ever really need a random number, don’t ask someone; we humans are non-random in our number selection….) And picked four winners instead of two, because I may not be able to decide, and darn it, it’s my birthday so I can change the rules if I want to! However, there may be a merit award this weekend when I have pondered sufficiently.

So, the random numbers are 62, 71, 21, and 5.

Which would be Elaine (sans blog), Timiae, Janice in GA, and Jennifer (masquerading as xmascountdown). And both the first and the last picked, Elaine and Jennifer, win a double prize for being born in November! (Not only that, Elaine was born on Thanksgiving! My birthday also falls on Thanksgiving often enough, but I was actually born the day before.) And Elaine was also the author of an original Thanksgiving Birthday Poem. Woo-hoo!

I must defer the pleasure of selecting the perfect yarn for the lucky winners to this weekend. I can’t wait; this will be fun!

So, other than the thrill of generating random numbers (aided and abetted by my girls), what was I up to today? Well, in my mind, today started yesterday when I got some fun mail.

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My two sock yarn club yarns o’ the month came last night! Aren’t they wonderful? The Yarn Pirate Booty Club is Blue-Faced Leicester, mmm! Colorway called Solstice, and washable to boot (ar, ar). And the inaugural offering of the Sumptuous Sock Yarn Club is cashmere/silk beauteousness, a little more winey and less pink than the photo. That alone would have been super presents (even if I kind of gave them to myselves). But still, thank you, Georgia the Yarn Pirate, and Roxanne at Zen Yarn Garden!

Anyhoo, then it was an early arising, off to a very busy morning at work, but punctuated with many birthday wishes (my friend Jean puts birthdays in her weekly department email updates), and the best card from a good friend of mine. (I can’t believe there was a totally different cat/knitting/funny birthday card from the one Chris got!)

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(Inside it says, “Take some time to unwind”. Awesome.)

My friend also gave me Naughty Needles. I think my husband might appreciate the future results! Heavens to Betsy!

Time to unwind was in precious short supply today, however. After a noon meeting, I had an eye doctor appointment. Guess what? My eyes are getting old, regardless of what the rest of me is doing! Then only a few free moments before the girls’ dance classes; this week is one of the two times all year that we can observe the classes, and both girls especially asked us, the parents, to come. [When a Preteen actually wants you to be there? You go!] So after a quick bite, my husband and I got to watch Music Theatre Dance I and II, and Ballet III. (I forgot I had my camera for the Music Theatre Dance classes, which were really enjoyable; I was so enthralled! But to prove I’m a good parental unit, here is Ballet III (Gothlet on the far end in the pink skirt, the pinkness of which is way atypical for her; but her black skirt is poufy, so I guess pink is not as bad as poufiness in the Book of Goth):

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And you know what can be done while viewing dance classes, of course.

Before dance (after Dr. appt): ~~ After dance class:

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(I think this yarn is an antidote to gray and brown!)

Unfortunately, I had to skip my own dance class due to a migraine that I also got for my birthday, dang. But instead we all went out for a birthday Cold Stone Creamery treat (more my daughters’ preference than my own when the temperature is well below freezing, but that’s fine! There was no waiting in line, anyway.)

And in the middle of my ice cream, my family gave me something:

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See it? Here’s a close-up:

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Isn’t that the most lovely thing? I love garnets; they are among my very most favorite stones. So rich and deeply colored. (This is, as a matter of fact, my favorite color if I have to be pinned down to one. The color of garnets.)

Apparently The Preteen picked it out. Superb taste she has.

So all in all, though busy, my birthday was wonderful, and thanks again so much to all who shared with me their wonderful words and wishes (she says alliteratively). I get to celebrate again this weekend, when we go out to eat with my parents, since birthday dinner was not in the cards today. And also this weekend, I get to have fun petting my stash and selecting some nice yarn to go out into the world to the fortunate random recipients!

Who could ask for anything more?

There Was Merrily!

Following Beth’s lead, I feel the need to share with you some rather amusing spam this Monday!

I’m not sure this correspondent was actually intending to join in on my birthday poetry and quotation contest. (Don’t forget, if you haven’t entered; deadline is noon tomorrow, Tuesday November 27!) And I don’t know that he (or she, I suppose) is interested in yarn. But some of these are worth passing on.

“I is pleasantly amazed! Thank!!!”

“This simply prodigy!”

“Like! Thank you!”

“The Regard! The Excellent forum! Thank you!”

And my most favorite of all:

“There was merrily!”

So in a merry spirit, let me show you my most recently cast-on project.

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This is slightly washed out from the flash (darn northern latitudes and our short days this time of year!) (and darn the need to work for a living!), but this is a Ravelry scarf! The marvelous and versatile Multidirectional Scarf, being knit using 32 stitches in (again) Twisted Fiber Arts yarn. This is “Duchess”, Meg’s sport/DK weight yarn, in — yes — the Ravelry colorway.

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The artist donates a portion of the proceeds from each yarn sale to support Ravelry.

I am loving this yarn. It is so wonderful to work with, soft, non-splitty, yet sturdy and resilient. Mmm. I don’t know whom this scarf is for yet, but it’s sucking me in to knit and knit, just to see the colors deepen and lighten and blend and shift.

Now There Is Merrily!

Yarn of November

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Not only the November poems that some kind readers have left on the Birthday Blog Contest (still going on! check it out if you haven’t already!),  but also these yarns are making me see November in a new light.

These are both November yarns!

The upper yarn is called “November Muse”, Smooshy superwash merino sock yarn by Dream in Color.

The lower yarn is simply named “November”, Sheepaints Bamboolaine (superwash wool/bamboo sock yarn from Germany). (I found this at The Loopy Ewe; I haven’t seen it anywhere else.)

These do echo November colors of different sorts, as seen in my going-dormant garden, and make them look so wonderful.

Maybe gray and brown November isn’t so bad. . . .

Pavane

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The sun came out in the Saturday Sky for Katie’s funeral this morning.

The north wind dried the tears on my face as I walked home from the church, but it was cold comfort indeed.

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By randomness, this was the coffee mug I grabbed off the shelf without looking, this morning.

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“Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.” Elizabeth Zimmermann.

Advice I take to heart. I needed my needles and yarn in my hand today.

There has been a lack of visible knitting in this blog lately, but today at least I can give you an FO from lovely yarn:

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Arial superwash merino sock yarn from Twisted Fiber Arts, in the Rodney colorway. (Hey, free shipping for the next few weeks if you buy two or more skeins! And Meg just did a shop update!) I love it. I’m not sure who these are for yet; a Christmas present for someone who doesn’t mind fraternal fingerless gloves, given the glorious unpredictability of hand-dyed yarn.

And the stealth knitting that I have been doing for a couple weeks (ever since the Wedding Pi shawl was finished!) is blocking now, but you still can’t see more than a glimpse of it:

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At some point, you will see it all, I promise.

Now to my next project! It’s holiday time, so goal-oriented knitting is on the books.

As others have remarked, it makes for boring blogging, though, as I can’t show you all that I will be up to in the next month. Ah, well, I will find some things I can share.

Thank you for all the wonderful quotes and poems you’ve left on my birthday contest post. I am enjoying every one, many of which I had not read before, and some have extra meaning right now as I re-read them. Thank you.

Eye Candy Friday, Not So Brown edition

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OK, maybe November isn’t all brown and gray. Our Japanese maple last Sunday, in a stray gleam of sun.

Don’t forget to enter the contest before Tuesday noon!

Since We’ve No Place To Go, Let It Snow!

Yep, ’tis the season. Here’s what greeted me when I left work yesterday.

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When I went to college in Minneapolis and came home for Thanksgiving to my parents’ house in Wisconsin, there was always a blizzard going there or back, it seemed. This is just a dusting. However, it’s better than brown and gray.

Also in the parking lot, Helen’s tree.

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This weather is what hand knits were made for!

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When I got home, I just had to check out the view from the Hubble telescope.

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Actually, this was just the Kinneared view out the car window (of my STOPPED car on a side street!) as I drove home. (Because I was being an Extra Good Blogger and had my camera with me.)

See the street sign to the End of the Universe?

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We’re staying home this year since I’m working. (Luckily, despite my rather self-centered title, there’s not enough snow to hamper those who are traveling around here. And it’s all gone today anyway.)

Although of course I am thankful year-round, and try to remember it often, today (Thanksgiving in the United States) is a good time to take a step back and thoughtfully add up your blessings. I am always thankful for all my family; even more so in the light of yesterday’s post. [Hey, if you’re reading this — pass a hug onto a kid or a family member or both.] I am thankful for friends, for that easy flow of companionship, support and laughter back and forth. I am grateful for the blogosphere and this blog! And, boy, am I ever thankful for knitting!

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating it, and to the rest of you all too!

For Kaitlyn

A beautiful young dancer overdosed Monday.

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I had been acquainted with Katie through dance for years, and got to know her better when we danced together in the Reedpipes dance of the Nutcracker Ballet a few years ago.   (You get to know someone’s personality pretty well when it’s just three dancers and the director in one dance studio for hours on end.)  She was so full of life and passion that I cannot conceive of her brightness no longer being with us.  Smart, willowy beautiful, genuinely concerned about other people; she lit up any room.  And any stage she was on.  She was a knitter — I helped her cast on a scarf one Nutcracker.

She was only 20.   She was just trying to make the pain go away.

Katie, we miss you.

Can You Say “Birthday Blog Contest”?

Not long ago, I whined about being born in November. Despite the fact that I share this birth month with some really cool people (like Lisa, Vicki, and Chris right off the top of my head, and many more I’m forgetting or don’t even know about, [ETA:  like Jennifer who left a most entertaining comment] I’m sure!), I’ve always kind of wished I was born in some other month. In this neck of the woods, November is a very gray and brown month. Granted, the grass has not yet turned completely brown as it usually has by now, but it’s working on it. Most of the leaves have fallen, and the ones on the ground have turned — brown. The trees are gray and brown. The sky has been gray.

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Too dark, too rawly cold to do much outdoors, and no real snow to do anything fun with yet. This is good weather to curl up inside with a cup of tea and a book. Or my knitting. Or all of the above. (Not that that’s happened any time recently, but I can dream, can’t I?)

So, since fiber and words are my comfort in this season, I am announcing a birthday blog contest combining the two!

Here’s the scoop:

Please share with me a favorite poem, or a quotation you really like. I love good writing!

Here’s the twist:

I have a sizeable enough stash to open a small shop, I suspect. (My husband threatens to put the yarn out on the front porch with a sign saying, “Free Yarn!” My only reassurance is it wouldn’t all fit. . . .)

So, instead of putting up as prizes some nice yarn that may not, however, be to the winner’s taste — I’d ask you to also tell me what your favorite yarn color/s, weight and type of fiber would be. And I will go into my stash and come up with something that you will like. (Not a lot of cashmere in the stash, though, be advised!)

Here’s the fine print:

Leave a comment on this post with a favorite poem or quotation. Also tell me your yarn preferences (which should be fun reading all by itself!). Deadline is November 27, the Birth Day, at noon US Central Standard Time (I have to work in the morning).

Since I am turning an age which has more than one 4 in it, there will be 4 winners.

  1. Behind Door Number One will be one prize for the funniest poem/quotation.
  2. Behind Door Number Two will be one prize for the Deepest Thought — something touching or thought-provoking. (Jack Handey Deep Thoughts would be good for Door Number One above.)
  3. Behind Door Number Three, will be two prizes to be randomly awarded.

(And if you’re born in November and win a prize, you get a double bonus!)

Judging for Prizes One and Two will be completely subjective and biased, though ties will be broken by applying to junior female family members for their opinion. A random number generator will be enlisted for the prizes behind Door Number Three.

Thank you for helping me celebrate my birthday, even if it is in November!

Here’s one of the good things about November — the November flower, chrysanthemums. They’re both pretty and hardy; a little frost, a little snow, no problem. And lovely colors that say “fall” to me. (I just wish I had some bronze ones right now, but those I did have, didn’t overwinter one cold and snowless year.)

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I took my header photo in my garden this October, of a mum I planted. Mmmm, mums!

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Saturday Sky with Flakes

You can’t see them against this gray November sky:

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But there has been this cold white stuff falling out of the sky.

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Of course, that’s pretty normal for November around here. What’s weird is that the grass is still green due to our mild fall. And the ground’s warm enough that the snow doesn’t stick, in town. There is a dusting of snow on the ridges of the bluffs.

Gray, cold, bits of snow in the air: it was a good day to stay inside, on the couch.

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Unfortunately, I had to work!

But in the late afternoon, while some of our children were at Nutcracker rehearsals, my friends and I went to a LYS, The Country Woolgatherer, to an open house.

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The crush had dissipated after being busy all day, according to the owner, so we had the place (and the yarn and the hot cider and the treats) to ourselves. Here’s another wall of Cascade. Wow.

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Do you see the sign on top?

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Accompanied by a Fiber Squirrel. The Squirrels, they follow me!

I had to buy some Dale Baby Ull to distract the squirrels. Not that I don’t have enough to do; but I saw this hat (“We Call Them Pirates” by Hello Yarn) on a couple blogs, and thought of the Gothlet. I’m hoping that by knitting it in fingering weight instead of sport weight, the size will be about right for a child instead of an adult. Well, I’ll do more than hope; this sort of thing does call for swatching. But I suspect it will work. According to the numbers, if I knit to a gauge of 7 stitches/inch, the hat will be 18″; hats should have negative ease, so this should by all rights work. People on Ravelry have been saying it comes out small, but I think didn’t take note of the fact that stranded colorwork tends to come out tighter; and the needle sizes given are small, leading me to deduce that Adrian is a loose knitter like me (and an experienced colorwork knitter; it’s so easy when beginning to carry yarn a little too tightly). And it has a lining, further decreasing stretchability. But if I can make gauge in a swatch, it should work; otherwise I’ll dig up some other yarn. Of course, the Gothlet, not being your average child, wants it in green and black rather than white and black. Not sure this will be a Christmas present; maybe for her February birthday. (The next five weeks will be a blur, between a busy work schedule, The Nutcracker Ballet, and then Christmas. I think it’s going to be yet another year that I don’t get Christmas cards out….)