Monthly Archives: September 2008

Happy (Oktoberfest) Birthday!

All things come to fruition in their own time.  People — and socks!

Today is my father’s birthday.  He’s special for many reasons.  He bequeathed to me brains, persistence, good hands, and a strong sense of family.  He retired not too long ago from the same institution I work for, and those who have worked with both of us say we have the same smiling eyes, even though there may not be a striking resemblance otherwise.

But, me being a knitter and all, there are also a couple knitterly reasons why he’s special.  I just told you with my last post about The Scarf — my, um, unique first knitted object.  Which he still wears at times, and proudly tells people his daughter made for him.  That’s one reason.

The second has to do with socks.  My first pair of socks, I made for me.  When I’m trying out a new technique for the first time, I will often make the object for myself in case it really bites.  Because I’ll probably still wear it!  My second pair of socks,  I made for my father.  They were pretty good, though not perfect.  I’ve learned some things since then, and also gotten more creative, now that I’ve got the basics down: top down, toe up, circs, magic loop, dpns, short rows, heel flap, throwing stitch patterns in there….

Last year, my father told me he wears those socks every week.  Once a week he wears them, on the weekend he washes them, and then he wears them again.  He loves them!

You know what that means — this man needs more socks!  How can I NOT knit more socks for someone who appreciates them that much?  (Don’t we all like to have our handknits appreciated? And really used?)

So last year I started the Tsock Tsarina‘s amazing Oktoberfest socks, in a manly variation she came up with across the ‘net as we corresponded about them.  I mentioned them and showed you the gorgeous beer-colored yarn, here in a teaser.  But then, last September, a renegade bowl attacked me and the socks did not come to pass.

Then, by the time my hand healed (the second time) enough to knit, I was way late for holiday present-knitting schedules, and had already made my apologies to my father (showing him one half-made sock).  So I concentrated on Christmas knitting, and put the sock to the side.  Oops, tactical error.  My husband tidied up for company.  Sock went one place, directions another, and small skein of white yarn still a third.  It took me MONTHS to reunite it all!  Then mojo had to be regained, plus the modifications The Tsock Tsarina had made (and then I had modified the modifications minimally) had to be remembered (shhh, I goofed up slightly at that point; proving it’s handmade); my first ‘foam’ edging drew in a little, too tight, where I joined the new yarn, so I ripped; the yarn ball got tangled and had to be rewound….it was just an ongoing series of speed bumps.

But for the Ravelympics, I took the second sock with me to Camp, and crossed the finish line!  Note:  Each reverse Irish knot is like knitting 9 stitches for the price of one.  Cool effect, but is it any wonder I usually don’t like bobbles; or that it took a while?

So tonight:  The Oktoberfest Socks were presented, at long last!  They are of course, really last year’s birthday present, so we’ll just say the sock blockers are this year’s present.

Oktoberfest Socks

Oktoberfest Socks (Manly Barleycorn variation)

Jennifer‘s gorgeous yarn, The Tsarina of Tsocks’ wonderful pattern with Manly Barleycorn variation (plus Barleycorn Eyelet as in the original, at the top), and a series of unfortunate events, to coin a phrase, that made them take much longer than they should have to knit.  Finally, presented to the feet that have been waiting for them!

And, continuing the bloggerly theme, I also made my father pickled beets from Norma‘s recipe.  He LOVES pickled beets.  My husband’s usually the cook….hmmm. The recipe didn’t seem hard, though, and I had organic local beets and a good will.  We’ll know in a few weeks, when they’ve sat long enough, how they really turned out.  I’ll take a picture in daylight, maybe, and show you; they are pretty, though not as pretty as Norma’s.

Too bad there was so much work and kid stuff going on; there was not much birthday celebration time, though we did go to brunch this weekend with my brother and his wife, who were in town.  But the socks and the beets will continue the celebration, I hope!  And we can always go get a brat and a beer at Oktoberfest in my father’s honor, eh?

Happy Birthday, Dad!

S is for Scarf

I was musing the other day about Scarves, as I was knitting a garter Stitch Scarf out of necessity (Sore thumb not allowing purling) as well as desire (gorgeous yarn and a pattern to write up).

I thought about the fact that the first project of so many knitters is a Scarf.  (And it’s wonderful that they finish if so: a Scarf is an exercise in persistence, most definitely.)  The RockStar’s first (and only) finished knit project was a one-skein garter Stitch Scarf in some Noroesque yarn.  (Unless you count one fingerless mitt as an FO.)  Ditto for the Gothlet (I should have put her first, because she actually learned to knit and finished her one Scarf first.  She’s Started a Second one….)

A Scarf was my own first knitting project, although Strictly Speaking, it wasn’t HANDknitting; my first knitting project was loom knitting with a Knitting Jenny (some of you may remember!).  I used leftover acrylic yarn from Stashes from the women who crafted in my family — probably mostly my mother’s, but I seem to remember some grandma yarn in there.

Because I have a Sentimental and proud father, that first Scarf, made at about age 7 or 8 (correct me if I’m wrong, Mom) still exists — believe it or not, it still is worn Sometimes, with pride.

Here it is in my parents’ back yard.  Well-worn; apparently well-loved.  Notice particularly the chunky fluorescent orange yarn widening the middle, giving me my first lesson in how yarn weight affects gauge and drape, and (my personal favorite at the time) the Single row of metallic gold right at the top.  I have to say, considering the array of colors I had to choose from, I think I did OK putting one color next to another.  Nothing clashes with its immediate neighbor too terribly.  The overall effect certainly is eye-catching, however.

One thing about acrylic:  it’s bulletproof.  No worries about the moths getting to this Scarf!

So from that loom-knitting beginning, I don’t actually remember knitting again until college, when I hand-knit an (acrylic) seed stitch vest (ARGH!  Now that really was a miracle that I finished it!).  Then my mother gave me “Knitting Without Tears”, and an obsession was born.

And now, 37 years or so after the Scarf above, after knitting and now designing Sweaters, lace, and more: I have just knit a garter stitch Scarf.

: )

A Scarf is quite a linear object.  But given generations of knitters, and cycles of knitting in our lives, it seems to have a circular quality.  Or perhaps Spiral.

In celebration of Scarves, I’ve written up and shared my pattern for that garter stitch Scarf:  the Pioneer Braid Scarf. (Look for it under Free Knitting Patterns, and Soon to be a free Ravelry download, as well.)  It’s inspired by my favorite modular Scarf, Karen Baumer’s Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf, with a twist.  Or should I say, a braid?!  The name “Pioneer Braid Scarf” came from my internet friend Sarah-Hope of whatifknits, whom the Scarf reminded of a quilting pattern by this name.  Any hand-dyed yarn should show to advantage in this Scarf, as the varying row lengths will minimize pooling; commercially dyed short- or long-repeat yarn will also look great.  Written for worsted weight yarn, I’ve put in guidelines for adapting the pattern to heavier or finer yarns.

Scarves can be tedious to knit; but that Same length makes them ever so Satisfying to wear. They can be as Simple as casting on 16 Stitches and knitting every row until you run out of yarn or patience.  They can be amazingly intricate dances and falls of lace.  Hand-made Scarves are love and caring made manifest:  as when I made my first Scarf above, and as every time my father has worn it.  And as in every Scarf, red and otherwise, shared through the Red Scarf Project.  Here in the Frozen North, they are a necessity from October through March.  All of these, excellent reasons why Scarf is often one of the first words in a knitter’s vocabulary.

S is for Scarf.

CityScape Eye Candy Friday

Last week I was gone at an almost week-long educational meeting in Chicago, not a vacation, but it doesn’t matter whether it was work or play when you get back.  There’s still the same amount of catch-up!  It’s been a busy week this week.

I hope to share some highlights, and I will show you my meeting knitting (of course!), but in the meantime, here’s the Sunset Cityscape that I couldn’t show you last week for lack of a camera cable.

Chicago Skyline as seen from the terrace of the Adler Planetarium, September 18, 2008.

A Day Of Peace

I was going to catch you up on all the (garter stitch!) knitting and Chicago happenings, now that I have been reunited with my camera cable at home as of late last night.

But I came home to find there was an event happening this afternoon that I didn’t know about (not unusual, school-related events at our house are often on a need-to-know basis until the last minute, and I was gone).  And I find I need to tell you about that instead.

The Gothlet’s class was participating in a celebration of the International Day of Peace today, September 21.  This is not an anti-war demonstration.  This is a yearly global holiday established in 1982 to mark positive efforts towards peace in our communities and our world.

Her class was part of it at their own request, because of a special project they saw to completion over the span of two school years, and I didn’t know the whole story until I heard it today.

First, some background.  The Gothlet attends, as did her big sister, a Montessori charter school within the public school system, which has been an incredible experience for learning and growth.  (They first attended a Montessori preschool, as many kids do, and that was wonderful.  I’m so glad we had the opportunity to continue in this educational paradigm.)  Montessori stresses children taking responsibility in many ways – for solving interpersonal problems, for cleaning up after themselves, for choosing their work daily from among the different areas they need to master.  And doing it all quietly and respectfully.  Projects initiated by students are welcomed.

Last year, the Gothlet became interested in origami but had trouble following directions from a book when it came to folding paper cranes, which is a bit tricky at one point until you see it.  The RockStar’s good friend, who is Japanese-American, showed her, and suddenly little paper cranes started appearing all over our house!  The RockStar’s friend told the Gothlet the story of Sadako Sasaki and about Japan.

Not long after that, the Gothlet’s multi-age class of 4th and 5th graders read the story Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.  The Gothlet asked her teacher if the class could fold 1000 paper cranes for peace.  Her teacher said they could if the Gothlet organized it.

So the Gothlet taught all the students how to fold cranes.

And, in little bits of time here and there, they folded cranes.

They didn’t finish by the end of the year, though.

So the students begged their teacher to save their cranes over the summer.

This fall, they finished folding the 1000th crane, and assembled all the cranes onto a peace sign platform; some of the 5th graders are now 6th graders, and some new 4th graders helped too.  It was truly a cooperative, student-initiated project that was entirely done by these amazing children, and sparked by my Gothlet.

(She’s in the right front, next to her teacher.)

She and two other students got up and told Sadako’s story to the peaceful assembly.

Wow.  If you had been there, I think you might have had a lump in your throat too.

There were several other speakers, a song, one more picture,

and a short march for peace.  Carrying the cranes!   Talk about cooperative effort…

Then treats at the People’s Food Co-op across the street from the park were necessary!  Well-deserved, beyond a doubt.

I feel lucky to have a venue to share how proud I am of my daughter and her entire class.  Particularly because this was their idea from start to finish.

And if their efforts cause them, or us their parents, or anyone who is there or who sees this, to think of peace as something more than the absence of war: if one more person learns Sadako Sasaki’s story and is touched by it: then those one thousand beautiful cranes will have had an effect beyond this afternoon, and well beyond the year they took to make.

I hope so.

Pirates Like Eye Candy Too

Still in Chicago, and very busy at a very good meeting.

Knitting still limited, but garter stitch is do-able, thank goodness.

Unfortunately, no camera cord has magically materialized!

So ye’ll have to do with older pictures on this Talk Like a Pirate Day!  But actually, ye haven’t seen these before, I don’t think, they just happened to be on my laptop from an earlier upload.  Arrrr!

So first, in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day today:

Sailing like a Pirate at Camp this summer.

(Can you see the sails on the little Sunfish boat at right?  Click to embiggen if not!)

Second, my hoped-for plan is to visit Loopy Yarns tonight.  And I realized I forgot to show you something cool that was outside Loopy Yarns’ old location when I was there in June:

Graffiti knitting!  (Actually, I think it may be Graffiti Crochet?  I don’t remember for sure, but it looks like crochet from here!)

Last, here’s two pretty pictures — also from camp — for Eye Candy Friday, of sunset followed by the moon over Little Boy Lake.  The moon is just past full (some of us know that intimately….).  

Let this substitute for the gorgeous sunset pictures I took tonight from the Adler Planetarium, that I can’t show you until I get home.

R is a very useful letter



Not an official ABC-Along post…

Very astute Readers may have noticed a title change in my Recent RockStar post.  It was originally posted as “R Could Have Been for Rock Star” because I had another R in mind for ABC-Along.

But then I realized I had no appropriate picture of my own for the R I was thinking of.

So shortly thereafter, the post changed to “R IS for Rock Star” because heaven knows, I have RockStar pictures!

Well, what was this mysterious pictureless R, you ask?  (Pretend you asked!)

R coulda been for RHINEBECK!

  • Some may ask, “What(‘s that)?”
  • Others may ask, “Why (do you bring it up)?”

Just a few of you know the answer to both questions already!

Rhinebeck (being of good German stock and a certain degree of literary pretensions, I keep trying to spell it Rheinbeck, like Steinbeck or like der Rhein), is the familiar or cognoscenti form of New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, held the third weekend of October every year in Rhinebeck, New York.  I wasn’t planning on going (I figured I’d used up my knitterly self-indulgence with Sock Camp this spring).  I know ‘internet friends’ who are going, but did not know anyone that I know in real life who was going; didn’t have a place to stay; don’t know New York (this is upstate); and I was scheduled to work.  Then my colleague wanted me to switch that weekend for another weekend (one I didn’t want to switch for, but she had something significant going on, so I did).  Suddenly that weekend was free.  Hmm.   I had frequent flyer miles enough to go, and there were flights available.  Double Hmmm.  Then I mentioned to one of those internet friends that going to Rhinebeck had crossed my mind and she, ahem, actively encouraged me.  Lastly, I found out that another blog acquaintance with whom I have a fair amount in common, and whom I assist in moderating a group on Ravelry, was going to Rhinebeck by herself and was just about to find a hotel Room.  I’m usually not so forward, but I messaged her on Ravelry and asked if she would be interested in a Roommate.  I thought it would be great fun to meet in person, and more fun to go with someone.  Answer: Yes!

OK!  Plane Reservations made!  Hotel Reservations made!


(sorry to shout, but I’m a little excited!)

I’m now finding out that more and more people I know (through the power of the internet) are going; and I’m sure there are many more I don’t know about yet.  Even some of my Sock Camp Bus friends (who are people I’ve actually met in Real life now!)!  It’s going to be like the coolest, most fun knitting meetup!  With bonus incredible yarn and fiber — not to mention sheep!

And book signings of cool books I’ve been waiting for will be happening:  Franklin‘s new book, “It Itches”, and Ann and Kay’s new book, “Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside The Lines”, for sure.  (Speaking of the latter, Today is the Release Day!  And in celebration, Ann & Kay have likewise Released a pattern from the book on their blog, a Reuseable bag (already on my gifting list for the holidays anyway, so very timely).

SOOOO – that was my big R news.  But hard to show an original photo of somewhere you haven’t been yet.

In other R news of the Realm:

I’m on the Road again!

I wRite to you (OK, that was cheating) from a Room high on an upper floor of a Chicago hotel.  I left this morning for a meeting that will last the rest of the week.  As the Kat and I know, meetings are great for knitting.  And the train is great for knitting, too.

Unfortunately, things are not going according to plan so far.

The train was ReRouted due to track work.  They put those in the ReRoute part on a bus instead.  Grrrr.  Not the Same Thing at all.  (Good news:  No psychotic elderly ladies sat next to me this time.  I did borrow my husband’s Bose headphones on purpose, though, both because of bus noise and the visuality element; they shout, Rather Rudely, “I Am Not Interested In Conversing With You”.  When the crazy lady kept talking to me on the last train trip, I just had little headphones on, more easily ignored.

The other part that’s not with the program?

My thumb is still messed up, though the splint I was able to get my hands on (or in, Rather) Right before I left helps a little.  It does mean I can only knit slowly and with difficulty, and not certain stitches.  Plus, there’s a bit of Velcro that likes to eat yarn, though I’ve tried to cover/cut/tape it.  (It’s yarnivorous.)

How frustrating to have knitting time and not be able to make best use of it!  Wahhh!

OK, whine over (for the moment).  The Pioneer Braid scarf is doable when I take care for the Yarn-Eating Velcro.  And, though purling Continental is hard, I can purl English a little more easily, though it seems so slow now in comparison; so I can work on Swan Lake some, though not much or my thumb yells at me (and the whole point is for it to get better, so I can’t make it too mad).  Can’t do small needles right now; can’t do lots of stitches that require tension; but on the other hand, I might just have to start a new suitable project then, once I finish the Pioneer Braid scarf (and I did a lot on the bus even though knitting was intermittent).

New Project?

Well, I brought some gorgeous yarn that I bought at Loopy Yarns last time I was in Chicago: ArtYarns’ Silk Rhapsody Glitter in a heart-stopping Champagne and Gold color (not shown on the linked page); and the pattern I had in mind for it:  Sivia Harding’s Victorian Shoulderette.  (Loopy Yarns just moved to a new, bigger space; and they have open knitting Friday night — I might be forced to check it out.)  The Shoulderette is all in garter stitch, so easier lace.  But it will be a stunning dressy wrap, I think, in this yarn.

Speaking of Loopy Yarns and the Victorian Shoulderette (also, not unRelated to Rhinebeck and Sock Camp); R could have been for Ravelry also, and I seriously considered it.  (I guess I could have taken a picture of my Ravelry button or T-shirt – with me in it – or Rav tote bag.)  Here’s the first Ravelry story:  When I was at Loopy Yarns earlier this year, trying not to drool on the amazing but not inexpensive Silk Rhapsody Glitter and Resolving not to buy it unless I had a specific project in mind (also finding it impossible to justify buying two, but one skein is just 260 yds, 100 g, listed at 4 1/2 stitches per inch); I remembered the pattern I had recently bought at Yarns by Design in Neenah.  But I couldn’t be sure of the designer (though I thought it was Sivia Harding), and I couldn’t remember the name of the pattern exactly, though I was pretty sure it had “Victorian” in it.  The store didn’t have Sivia Harding patterns.  But Loopy Yarns is totally Rav-Savvy!  The employee got me set up on Rav, and shortly thereafter I had tracked down the pattern and found the yardage: 250 yards!  It called for fingering or sport weight, but the Silk Rhapsody’s weight is not as heavy as the suggested gauge makes it sound; it looks like sport weight, actually, in its thicker areas, and the actual gauge of the Victorian Shoulderette in garter stitch is:  4 1/2 stitches per inch!  So I believe it will be fine, and I bought the drool-worthy yarn then in confidence.  One skein, of course.  Sigh.

And, without Ravelry, I seriously doubt I’d be going to Rhinebeck.  And I wouldn’t have been on the Camp Bus or taken the Yarn Crawl before Sock Camp, and therefore probably wouldn’t have had the time to meet Astrid & her husband in person either, as well as my fellow camp bus riders, Cece, Carla, Ariel, MJ, Susan and Sue, Alice and (Miss M)Alice, Sam, Frieda, Marisol, Mya, Rosa and Joan (some were on the yarn crawl, some on the trip to camp and some on both!)  Instant friends before camp even started.  All due to a thread on the Rawkin’ Sock group on Ravelry!  (And Sam‘s MP3 player allowed the infamous knitting ballet to be premiered: without her, it would not have happened!)

So R could have been for Ravelry, too, even though it’s hard to photograph a virtual construct.

Lastly:  My usually fairly mad thesaurus skillz are deserting me:  I need a word starting with R that means: Stupid.  Forgetful.  I-Can’t-Believe-I-Did-It-Again.  Here I am in Chicago with my new P-is-for-Portable MacBook (happy, happy!).  Last time I was in Chicago for a meeting with my husband’s borrowed laptop (the notorious Hard Rock Hotel visit), I had forgotten my camera cable.  I wanted to get a spare anyway, but couldn’t find one to fit my Olympus camera within easy walking distance, so got a card Reader with USB port.  

This trip:  I remembered the cell phone.  And cell phone charger.  (I don’t always carry my cell, so this was a minor victory.)  I remembered the iPod (to foil crazy bus ladies).  And its charger.  Even extra batteries for the Bose headphones.  I remembered the camera.  And the camera charger.  

I forgot the dang camera cable AGAIN.  And the card Reader:  is still tucked in the case with my husband’s laptop.

Rawrr!  (as the RockStar would say!)

Thus: the notable absence of illustrations for this heck of a lot of words.

Well, this is a very time-intensive meeting, so I didn’t expect to have much picture-taking time anyway, but still — Rawrr!

How’s about I dig back through the archives and find a picture or two.  Maybe even unofficial R ones.  Sorry they’re

Recycled.  But it’s something to look at!

The Chicago River, from last summer’s visit to Chicago.

Raindrops, on the Stella D’Oro daylily foliage.

RED Lilies!

Au RevoiR!

Weekend (Mess O’) Knitting Update

It doesn’t feel like I’ve been doing incredibly much knitting — I think, just not that much blogging!

But I have a couple knitting FOs to show and tell.

First, what I was working on at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool last weekend:

The RockStar’s School Colors Mitts!

She wanted them alternating colors instead of matching, so I obliged.  Made from Regia Nations self-striping sock yarn, from my own fingerless mitts pattern, except on 48 stitches (it was seeming a bit tight at 40 stitches, though it probably would have been okay; these are loose.  But I also know these will get abused, i.e. machine washed and dried, so allowing for possible shrinkage seemed wise!)

Secondly, a bad picture of a Twisted baby hat in Kabam yarn base, Braider colorway (had to take the picture at work, immediately after finishing on my lunch break, and before sending the hat off with my husband to pass on to its recipient):

Also my own pattern, knit for a friend’s new grandbaby.

Third, this was the week I received the box from DishRag Tag (The Sequel).  The box took THREE DAYS to get from Chicago area to me, one state over, by Priority Mail, so I felt obliged to do a same day turnaround if possible (aided by the presence of an Automated Postal Center at our post office, open till midnight!).  Our mail gets to our house late (4 – 6 pm), and I got home from work at 5:30 pm in any case.

The box was finally there!

Wonderful dishrag from Katie, a teammate on our DishRag Tag team, “Dishin’ It Out”, as well as yarn to knit another, the most amazing chocolate-and-spice scented soap, and plenty of yummy things, as well as the official DRT pattern & instructions.

Of course there was kid stuff to be done this night: specifically, after dinner, The RockStar had a Nutcracker rehearsal (Chinese!).

I’d already knit the edging by the time I needed to drive her (my husband had a gig in another city).

But the dance studio is right by a Panera.  So I bought a cup of decaf and settled down to knit away for an hour and a half (Gothlet being well ensconced at home).

While reading the book for book club!  (Might account for the odd bit of froggage I had to do.)

Only 8 more rows to do when rehearsal ended; quickly done,

a few treats added to the tiny box, and then a bedtime drive to the Post Office for same day turnaround, for whatever bit of time it makes up.  Whew!

Gradual progress is still being made on Swan Lake; no new pictures.

Ditto for the walking/meeting sock (I should take a picture, I’m almost done with sock # 1).

And a combination of two things have led me to cast on yet another project:

Scrumptious new yarn in the mail, and a sore thumb.

My left thumb has been hurting for a week or so.  I thought it was a flare of some mild hand arthritis I have, though it usually bothers my finger joints (but my mother has had surgery for arthritis in this area of her thumbs, so I wouldn’t be surprised).  It’s been getting more and more sore, though.  Then, yesterday I tried to pick up a half-gallon carton of milk with my left hand and almost dropped it, the pain was so searing.  Yowzah!

That kind of pain reminds me very much of my dealings with hip tendinitis some years ago, so I’m thinking it’s tendinitis and not arthritis.  It would make sense, due to a combination of work activities and small-needle knitting (the speed cotton knitting probably didn’t help).  Purling, inelastic yarn, and stitches requiring more needle tension are all quite painful right now.

So, when this lovely yarn from Twisted came in the mail (Big Needle Club), begging to be something — a special scarf? — I thought of Anne Hanson’s pattern “Boing!” somehow.

But when I obtained the pattern, I realized it called for not only purling, but Purling Two Together Through The Back Loop: not so fun any time, but agony right now, and not designed to allow this left thumb to rest.

Thus, I decided to keep this pattern for another day, another yarn, though I think it would have looked good (here it is pre-frogging, in a bad picture)

Instead, I chose to use this great yarn in my fall-back Multidirectional-type scarf (but a variation I’m working out, which I’ll write up and publish on Ravelry).

The colors are a touch more saturated than this looks, but the photo is pretty close.  They just glow.  This is a light worsted weight tussah silk/wool yarn, currently exclusive to the club, and it’s wonderful to work with.

This is all in garter stitch except a knit-front-and-back at the beginning of each row, and a slip-slip-knit before turning the short rows (which doesn’t seem to bother my thumb too much).  This is MUCH easier on my thumb!  Just knitting does hurt a little, but given that knitting IS my stress relief, I’m happy to find some I can do without seeming to make it worse.

Boy, all this knitting adds up; maybe there’s a very good reason my thumb hurts….

Resting it otherwise, anti-inflammatories, and if I can find an appropriate splint without going to see someone (don’t have time, I leave for a meeting Tuesday, and Monday is just packed) — should help.


Lastly, I was very flattered and pleased to be awarded a Blue Ribbon recently!

Toots aka Sara aka ChickenBetty is someone whose blog I’ve been reading since I started blogging.  And she was kind enough to award me, among others, an “I Love Your Blog” Award Blue Ribbon!  I may not have won any awards at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool, but I’ll happily accept this one!

Of course, Blog Love cries out to be spread around.  The Blue Ribbon ‘rules’:

  1. Post the award on your blog.
  2. Add a link to the person who gave you the award.
  3. Nominate at least 4 other bloggers and add their links.
  4. Leave a comment at the recipients’ blogs so they can pass it on.

Well, that’s easy and fun!

And, though I read a number of blogs and keep them all on my feed aggregator because I love them (I should mention that my blog list over to the side is woefully out of date): there are some I read before others when I come home from vacation and there are a gazillion (OK, hundreds) of unread posts.

So, a selection of 4 from those first-read blogs:

Kmkat and her Kneedles.  Though we live not that far apart in the big scheme of things, I first found her blog through a comment The Kat(tm) left on the Yarn Harlot’s blog, as I recall.  Fun and obscure stuff, a hint of politics (local and national), nature, and some knitting!  I found Lisa’s blog wandering the blogosphere one day, before I had a blog, perhaps even, and misplaced it (before I knew about using Bloglines & similar feed aggregators).   Later found it again for good; apparently in the meantime I won a contest but never claimed my prize (because I hadn’t come back and hadn’t left contact info….)  So, a year or more later, Lisa sent me a consolation prize for a contest I never knew I’d won!  She has great, intermittently photogenic dogs, one of whom lends her name to the blog; she and I are about the same age with the same age kid; and share a love of the outdoors, though she is immersed in it, since it’s her work.  And, yes, knitting!

Yet another K: Knot Much of a Knitter (which title has become false pretences, Nora, my dear!) Another knitter my age with kids my age, located on the other side of my state, with a broad range of interests and well-written, insightful posts.  Newer blogger and newer knitter, It’s also been vicarious fun to see Nora ultra-rapidly gain knitting skills and confidence, egged on by a large peanut gallery!

Breaking away from the Ks (unless you spell creatively) is Cats, Sticks and Books, being the blog of Dale-Harriet, another Wisconsin knitter.  Dale-Harriet’s point of view as recounted with her own unique voice.  I always enjoy her posts, usually stop to think, and learn something to boot.  Knitting is slanted towards reenactors’ knitting, by popular demand!

I didn’t start out to single out Wisconsin (well, OK, Lisa, how about Northern!) knitters, but wanted to share with you some blogs that I really love that maybe not everyone has seen (though some of these do have a pretty wide readership).  I mean, I could have mentioned Stumbling Over Chaos, Norma, Margene, and the Yarn Harlot, among others, also, but many many of you also read those blogs!  So off I go now, to award blue ribbons in person via the comments.

Early Fall Eye Candy Friday

The chrysanthemums are ready.

R is for Rock Star

Probably the Former Preteen’s new nickname.

(Before anyone asks – NOT a real tattoo!)

She and her band performed 7 (!) songs beautifully last night, at the church block party.  Because of Rain, the performance moved indoors, to the large multipurpose-type room (where the small children’s games had also been moved).  I’m not sure the little people or their parents were quite ready for the hard Rock, though any profanity in the songs was cleaned up before singing.  (Actually, I heard reports of small ones dancing to the music!)

This kid has talked and sung into mics at her father’s studio since she was about three, and it shows.  Plus, she definitely got her father’s performer genes.  She introduced the band and each song, and seemed totally comfortable up there, whether talking or singing her heart out.

I didn’t take any videos last night, though others did.  I’ll let you know if any are put up on YouTube.  The band closed with “Holiday” by Green Day, though, which I did film earlier on my camera, when it was their only ready-for-prime-time song.

These guys have worked hard, all on their own, for a year.  It’ll be a challenge keeping it up, as three of the band members are now in high school and even busier with H.S. activities; the RockStar has three roles in the Nutcracker Ballet, which leads to great busy-ness, in addition to volleyball and Show Choir plus dance class and assorted other things; and it’s going to be harder to communicate, coordinate and practice when band members are split between different schools.  But if they want it to happen, it will.

Edited to add:  The RockStar wanted me to put up the ‘other’ band picture instead, so here it is.

Hmm, the RockStar’s School Colors fingerless mitts are virtually done (should be finished today).  (I’ll show them to you when they are finito.)  If the boys in the band are anything like my musician husband, I bet the band members would like fingerless mitts too (basic black, of course) — sized snugly and made short so that one can wear them while playing.  (In fact, at least one or two of the above boys are in HS marching band; those practices can get chilly as they prepare for the big Oktoberfest parade!)

I wish there was a me that could just knit!  (And blog, and be on Ravelry, and go to fiber festivals….) I have so many things I want and need to do in the knitting realm!  Wendy’s Diamonds and Purls shawl has a bit more tinking then I can get back on track, and will soon be to the edging once I recover from my boo-boo.  I want to finish Swan Lake, as I made so much progress on it during the Ravelympics, and now I’m to the more straightforward part, which is very do-able.  And there are Christmas presents in my head wanting to get out and be knit.  Not to mention finishing writing up the Hat with no Name pattern (with names!) once the test knitting phase is done, and writing up the Coulee Shawl pattern after reknitting it with modifications, and still I’ve promised to write up the Wedding Pi shawl (that will take a chunk of time).  Then there are a couple design projects in my head that need to be swatched and worked out.  And I still have promised to knit “Heere Be Dragone” for the Gothlet, though I already warned her I would probably only be able to start it after Christmas (her birthday’s in February….)

And every skein of yarn I fondle triggers another idea, another project in my head.

I need a knitting clone!  Or a different lifestyle.  Or both….

Well, at least I can knit at the RockStar’s concerts!

Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Weekend

Well, and a work weekend, and church block party weekend, and, and…

But I took off after work yesterday and drove most of the way across the state to revel in fibery fashion — and, at least as important, make it to a Ravelry meet-up/afterparty instigated by Beth of Chocolate Sheep!

When I made it to Jefferson County Fair Park, despite map disappearance and still-closed highways (now under construction) after the early summer flooding, here is what greeted my eyes in the vendors’ area:

Yarn and fleece as far as the eye could see, pretty much!

I started wandering, and buying a little here, a little there.  In so doing, I ran into one of my daughters’ preschool teachers — Hi, Miss Donna!  She taught music and also was responsible for a popular excursion to her farm.  That was a pleasant surprise.  Next, one of my newfound friends from BMFA Sock Camp saw my bag — saw my button — saw me! (I was engrossed in yarn…)  So hugs ensued.  Unfortunately, she was on her way back to Illinois, and I had just gotten to the festival.  She mentioned in passing they had just been back to Briar Rose Fibers for the third time.

I’d heard of Briar Rose, but had never seen this amazing handpainted yarn in person.  There is nothing like being able to pet the yarn, and to see the deep, saturated colors.  When I finally worked my way around to the Briar Rose booth, I felt like I had come home.  Now I know why Carla was there three times!

The colors don’t come across in this photo.  Maybe I’ll get a decent picture of the several skeins of Briar Rose yarn that followed me home…. (and by the way, Carla, most of it was blue shades, the dyer even remarked on it.  You’re contagious!)  One (non-blue) skein is earmarked for a reknit of the Coulee Shawl I designed, so that I can publish an updated version of the pattern on Ravelry.

The last surprise encounter was that, rounding a corner, there was one of my (sort of local) LYS! Kathryn from Ewetopia Fiber Shop in Viroqua was there, with her mother who assists her in the shop, with what seemed like half her shop’s wares, as well as her gorgeous knitted wedding dress for her upcoming fall wedding.  She told me that she bought a Blue Faced Leicester ram that morning — cool!  She it was who showed me how to spin on WWKIP Day, and I had not asked her then what kind of wool it was I was spinning for my first and only time.  Now I know, because I remembered to ask.  It’s Border Leicester.

So, anyway, I also bought a little yarn here, a bit there, all for specific projects (boy, I have all sorts of holiday presents in my head, but I have a few things I HAVE to finish first!).  And some great leather handles for knit/felted bags.  And some Addi’s in a size I didn’t have for a design project I’ve been working on (with needles I don’t care for, currently).

Above and below, Creatively Dyed Yarn, huge assortment of different kinds of yarn (and different dye techniques and colors), and a door prize donor for the afterparty!

(Color is not so good on this photo, it was incredibly gorgeous in person.)

I never made it out of the vendor area, really, so didn’t see the sheep and goats, but there were a few fiber animals where I was:

and someone to herd them.

There was so much lovely unspun fiber, that it made me wistful about spinning, though I am resisting now because I have no time for another hobby, and too much yarn anyway.  But there were plenty of spinners, including this less common sight:

Yes, of course there are male spinners, but I’ve never seen a young man spinning.  In public.  Cool.

Lastly, there IS a magazine for everyone.

Not having any Backyard Poultry, I made it fairly briskly around the vendors at the last, as it was time to head east to help set up for the afterparty, dodging closed highways and navigating by the seat of my pants.  But I made it!

(I’m not a sponsor, though I donated door prizes, just copied the poster that Brandy made.  Don’t you love the sheep in party hats?)

I paused to admire the Saturday Sky over Rome (unincorporated, though it just celebrated its sesquicentennial), Wisconsin.

Then to the afterparty, where the Spinners soon set up.

In the foreground is Angie from Purling Oaks (a virtual place, if you haven’t been there — check it out!)  We hadn’t met, but have Nora in common, who had really hoped to come but had a gazillion things going on even without WI S&W.

And there were Spindlers spinning too:

These two were doing very fun-looking things with silk hankies then with spindles.

Before the party, Beth and Jen of Tua Bella were doing last minute preparations in the kitchen:

Beth finally got a chance to sit down later.

(She’s having fun, even though I caught her not looking like it.)

Distributing door prizes and being the Party Minion (and a great emcee) was the inimitable Brandy, Cheesehead with Sticks.

It was so much fun to put a face to these and other Wisconsin Ravelers and bloggers.  We had a great time!  I won roving as a door prize, which is beautiful — ‘cept I don’t spin, of course.  (I haven’t taken pictures of my acquisitions yet, so you’ll just have to imagine pretty reds and purples.)

After a couple unscheduled detours above and beyond the closed-highway detours, on my way to my hotel in yet another city I’ve never been to in this part of Wisconsin, I finally made it to a waiting bed and collapsed.

Because I’d seen the people I wanted to see, and certainly bought, um, everything and more that I’d planned to buy, I decided not to run the construction gauntlet again to go back to the festival, and instead headed straight home this morning, since my help would be useful at the church block party.  But before I left, I took a picture of a yellow flower, unknown to me, growing wild in the field by the hotel.  So I’ll share it with you, a sunny flower on a Sunday morning.

Hope your weekend was — perhaps not so busy, but at least enjoyable!