Sunday, July 27, 2008

Is it a real blog post if it's without pictures?

Last week I had my first vacation, vacation since oh ... I can't remember when.  Either my trip to New Orleans that was pre-Katrina, or my family's last trip to the Outer Banks maybe four years ago.

Generally my vacations include 1) staying home to get caught up on all the things I can't get done in the normal course of life, or 2) going to my parent's house.  Which, while I enjoy visiting, it's not exactly vacation.   (No offense, Mom!)

My sister, niece, and I went to the Stonewall Resort that sits on the Stonewall Jackson Lake.  This lake is the reservoir of the dam built to prevent the annual flooding of Weston, WV.  It was a fabulous break from the daily grind where we hiked, swam, kayaked, paddle-boated, plus a lot of lying around and staring at the clouds, stars, and the back of our eyelids.

I would show you pictures of all the fun we had, but Item No 1 that I accomplished on this vacation was breaking my camera.  

While hiking to an overlook to have a picnic lunch, the trail crossed a meadow that sloped downhill, packed full of wildflowers, and all I could think of was the opening to Little House on the Prairie with Gracie (was it Gracie?) running down the meadow.  I wasn't so committed to the role that I threw myself to the ground, but I did throw my camera to the ground.  

Actually, I lost my grip and it went soaring, remarkably high!, before it came crashing back to Earth.  Something bent in the lens mechanism because it doesn't open/focus anymore.  So sad.  But also exciting camera!  But until then the only pictures I can offer will be those taken with my cell phone.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Still no yarn and only slightly less rain

After I washed the mud off from the previous day's arts and crafting, my sister and I went to the West Virginia State Capitol grounds.

Fun Fact: While growing up in Charleston, WV, my family would often go to the state capitol grounds. I must have seen enough because I've never been to another one. I lived in Raleigh, NC for almost three years I never saw the NC state capitol. Never even drove by. Ditto for the OH state capitol for the six years I've lived in Columbus. Maybe that should be one of my summer places to go. Anybody know where it is? Want to come with me?

The first thing we did was escape the rain (Rain, Rain, Go Away!) into the WV Cultural Center where we poked around and I covertly took pictures of some of the coolest quilts I have ever seen! It makes me want to learn to sew. Because, you know, I don't have enough going on.

These were my two favorites... I love their motion. I wish I hadn't put them in the same picture, covert photography can be tricky. Both were sold. (See red dots.)

Clicky clicky to see bigger. Can you imagine piecing this together? It was Not For Sale. I wouldn't sell it either. I wish they said how long it took to make.

During a brief rain lull, we made our way to the capitol building.  Here Senior Democratic Senator Robert C. Byrd and I reenact a scene from E.T.

Phone home, Sen Byrd, phone home.

Then we went to see State's Attorney General Darrel McGraw, but were frightened off by bears. Seriously.

WTF?  This reminds me of how we used to saran wrap our professor's office doors in college.  Are practical jokes allowed in the state government?

Apparently my sister likes to taunt bears by picking their nose.

Finally there was a wee bit o' sunshine and we got to walk around the grounds.  The magnolia trees were in bloom, and it dawned on me...I don't think we have magnolia trees in Ohio.  Do we?  I can't recall ever seeing one here.  They are my absolutely my favorite, and I'd completely forgotten about them. 
Much prettier than corn.

And certainly more pretty than strip malls.  Ohio, take note.

My sister says I look pregnant in this photo.   I am not.  
Although I do think maybe it's about time I joined a gym.

Rainy Yarn Days

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I visited my fambly in West Virginia.

One of the things I, personally, looked forward to do over the holiday was visit the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair. And I brought my mom and sister along. Did they particularly want to come? Who cares! It's amazingly easy how fast "me" turns into "we".

One of the things I, personally, did not want to do was spend my vacation trudging through the mud and rain. But evidently I do not control the weather.

Evidence of trudging.

There was tons to see and buy and eat (and eat and eat) but surprisingly little in the fiber fields. Or perhaps I've just been to too many fiber festivals that leave me with skewed expectations. 

There was one booth that I made a bee-line towards, perhaps knocking one or two little old ladies out of the way.

You'll notice there is no picture of me fondling yarn or a final yarn line-up after purchase. "Why?" one might ask. "Were you ill?" Well no, I wasn't. It just seemed like the little old ladies got the last laugh.

While holding a hank of particularly pretty greeny-yellow wool, and trying to decide if I should buy one or two, I hear a raspy, old lady voice off to my side, "Well, maybe I should buy her the green since that's the color she has in her living room." And she takes the hank out of my hand - Out! Of! My! Hand! - and walks off.  She walks off!

And you might wonder, "Why did you not throw this old lady yarn stealer to the ground and take it back?" Because generally that would be my first reaction. But see, my mom was right there. And there were so many other pretty yarns, and sometimes you just have to let the old lady walk away, you know? But the yarn buying mood had passed. My mom did score some lovely, just lovely, golden merino that I somehow failed to take a picture of. Perhaps she'll put it on her Ravelry page?

(Mom, now you'll have to update your Ravelry page because everyone will be coming to see. Well, everyone being about three people. One of which is you.)

My mom, putting on a brave face in the rain.

My sister, wondering how long one person could possibly look at yarn.

Dough. Lovely, lovely, dough.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


My whole life has been an exercise in frustration lately. One big, fat, frustrating event after another. I've never particularly handled frustration well, I was one of those children who cried over their homework if I didn't understand, instead of just taking a deep breath and figuring it out.

(Mom, remember when I had to draw the phases of the moon? If I haven't before, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for totally doing that assignment for me.)

I decided to take apart my bird feeder and clean it, which I have never done in the oh...five years I've owned it. It was quite moldy and gross, and I had noticed the birds throwing most of the seed out and about rather than eating it. Maybe because it was moldy and gross? It was very easy to get apart (yay!) and to clean (double yay!) but I couldn't get it back together. It was really frustrating, and I do believe I called my mom at some point, but eventually I muscled it back together.


Maybe that's why I like knitting so much. Things start to go awry, the flush of frustration starts to creep up, just when you're about to FAIL, you do better. You FROG!!1!

P.S. Cath, yes I *do* have a problem with laddering when I knit a sock using magic loop!

I vehemently denied it in knitting group (which sounds like a 12-step program...and well, I guess it kind of is) because I don't have a laddering problem using DPNs and that's how I usually knit socks. But yes, later I realized what you were saying. I should re-try magic loop and rotate the stitches round the bend. I've denied magic loop for a looong time, because it puts so much tension on the stitches on the bend and that bothers me. It must be very frustrating for such a fabulous new technique to be denied.

And P.P.S. I did finally dump all the seed out of the birdfeeder into my new tugtrub and put it back together correctly. It was much easier than the way I did it wrong. I think there's another lesson in there somewhere.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

How Square!

Something I was excited to do while visiting my parents was to go through all my mom's inherited knit and crochet projects and help her frog the ones she didn't want to finish. I think my mom was excited too ... the first thing she said (after hi) was "Did you bring your ball winder?" Of course I did.

I wish I had taken a picture of my mom's yarn room. Yes, room. I have a yarn corner, she has a room. However, I'm not *too* jealous because most of the yarn and UFOs she has are not her own. Some of the projects date from a great aunt who died when I was in high school in the 1990s. They date from the last millennium! Some families pass down jewelry or priceless heirlooms, we pass down yarn. And acrylic yarn at that. Not that there's anything wrong with acrylic ... as long as I don't have to knit with it.

My mom didn't want to complete most of the projects, as most were knitted and she prefers to crochet ... not to mention a lot of them were funky, so they got frogged. Except for one bin, where I hit the jackpot:

110 SQUARES! Already knit! Not by me!

Now I get to do the fun part of blanket planning and plotting without having to knit the squares. I'd like to carry the same shade along diagonal lines with clear warm and cool color sides. I may try an i-cord edge made famous by the Mason-Dixon ladies. Or I may choose another from their fabulous first book. (The second is on its way!)

And if I do need a few more squares, I know where there's a room full of yarn.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I Marched for Babies!

On April 27th, I was one of 4,300 people who marched for babies as part of the March of Dimes March for Babies.  Four thousand three hundred people!  Forty-three hundred people!  That's amazing!  

Thank you so much to everyone who sponsored me.  I set a crazy goal for myself of $500, knowing I could drop it at any time if I wasn't close ... because we all have to meet our goal, right ... but totally not necessary.  I kicked that goal's ass and then some raising $637!  That just amazes me, thank you so much.

And I would also like to say thank you to the other four thousand two hundred and ninety nine people who walked with me to help raise $450,000!

Yay!  Five miles for $637! ... that's more than $100 per mile.  As a matter of fact, I can do basic math (with a calculator) and tell you that's $127.40 per mile.  Yay!

Sorry that picture's blurry ... it was five miles people.  Everything was a little blurry.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happy Birthday to Meeee!

While I was home for my birthday - or I guess I should say at my parent's since I haven't lived there for quite a few years - I went to the LYS, Kanawha City Yarn Co.  They don't have a website, but it's at 310 53rd St in the K.C.  It is an adorable shop, well stocked with lovely yarns and even more lovely people.  

Looky at what I got:

Fall 2006 Knitscene with the Molly Ringwald pattern that mollylouhoo turned me on to.  Mollys Unite!  And enough Classic Elite Yarns Provence in a really pretty grey-brown to make it.

Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn in colors "Life's a Beach", the greens, blues, golds, and "Gypsy Rose", the blues, purples, greys, and maroons.

My sister and niece gave me the book Knitting for Peace by Betty Christiansen for a wonderful, well-rounded knitty birthday.  I also got a big garden flag and other books from my parents, and of course a birthday cake.  

So all in all, with enough gifts, reaching the big Three-Oh-No isn't so bad.  And thankfully I'll never have to do it again.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tech Support

Is there anyone techie out there who knows how to edit the code of this template to give me a little more horizontal room?  I feel my blog is confining.  I want to streeeeetch ooooout!

How fired do you think I would be if I submitted this as an IT Work Order?  I feel it would greatly enhance my work performance if I had a little more room on my personal knit blog ...

Updated:  Aaaaah.  I have streeeeetched.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Storage Solutions

The snow has turned to rain (for the most part) and that can only mean one thing: Spring Cleaning!

Since I started knitting waaay back when, I've stored all my notions in old shoe boxes under my couch.  Classy, right?  I've looked for other storage solutions but never really found anything I liked or wanted to afford.  I came across these while shopping for a friend's birthday at Global Gallery.

They were $8 each (I bought three) and remind me of the grass baskets women wove while waiting for customers at the roadside fruit stands in North Carolina.  They're woven tight and smooth with no snags to grab the yarn, and they even smell a little bit like seagrass!  There were several sizes and shapes, from trashcans to little fingerbowls, and why am I telling you all this? 

Because I was chatting with the manager and business has not been great, which I'm sure is not unique with the downturn in the economy.  But I think stores like the Global Gallery, "a non-profit volunteer run organization dedicated to promoting fair trade and cultural enrichment in the Columbus community" should get our business.  Aside from all the socio-political reasons, which I don't know enough to talk about intelligently, their products are unique, well made, and fairly priced.  In the era of the big box stores, this is rare indeed.

I can dooo eeet! But should I?

While knitting my Noro Striped Scarf I paid a lot of attention to the slipped stitch edges since that's how the color changed for the stripes. Also I thought that little detail made a big difference in the finished look of the scarf, perhaps slightly less homemade. I was very happy with how it turned out!

However, it made me realize I've been knitting the slipped stitch edge on my Trellis scarf wrong. But just one edge.

Here is the correctly slipped edge (shown from the wrong side due to not having blocked yet):

And the other slipped incorrectly: 

And both for comparison (can you see it?):

The pattern instructions "slip first stitch purl-wise with yarn in front on both right side and wrong side" make a nice edge on the wrong side since the following stitch is a purl, but not so much on the right side where the following stitch is a knit, requiring you to wrap the yarn to the back for the knit.  The stitch should have been slipped purl-wise with the yarn in back ready to knit.

And really I don't mind the look of the "wrong edge", it's actually kind of interesting and I'll make a note for future reference, but it bothers me that the two edges don't match.  

So I got to thinking ... always a bad idea, I know ... could I drop the "wrong edge" stitch all the way down, and pick it all the way back up correctly?  Could I?  Is this a crazy idea?  Craz-eee?

The current consensus from the Wed Night Knitting Group is yes, yes this is most definitely a crazy idea.  Do not dooo eeet!  For one the difference in the edging is not very noticeable, and for two with blocking (or lack thereof) I could make the edge stitches sit toward the wrong side of the scarf and let the first row of (matching) knit stitches be the edging.  And for three, after doing all those knit 7 togethers do I really want to mess with this?

But then I keep thinking, if I pin the first row of knit stitches down so they don't stretch out, could I unravel and pull up the edge slip 1, knit 1, all the way up?  Everyone agrees if I am going to try this I need to do a test run on a swatch.  Because I would be inconsolable if all those knit 7's were for nothing. 

Sunday, March 30, 2008

What time is it?

It is the end!  The end of time!

That always freaks me out ...


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Echo gets adopted!

Edited to add: Okay ... maybe not everyone watches as much teee-veee as I do.  Here's the link to the first Echo commercial.

Look at that smile!  Breaks my heart every! time!

Yay ... he's home!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Noro Striped Scarf

I bought the yarn for this project two seconds after I saw this project.  Who could resist?!  
This was a thrill to knit, k1p1 all the way through, but never boring thanks to the magic of Noro!

Tubular cast on and bind off ... 40 cast on and 38 bound off.  On purpose.  

Overall there were 39 stitches allowing for a slipped stitch edging.

 And as always, a kitty to supervise.  

So what's the catch?  

I'm not sure I like it.  The colors just don't speak to me.  They kind of just say blah blah blah. Maybe we just need some time apart.  Noro definitely needs a good soak to soften up a bit and for the stitches mellow into place. 

In like a lion ... RAWR!

I think I'll have my dinner on the lanai ...

Or maybe not.  The birdies won't be getting their dinner at all ...


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I'm lame.

I really hate when bloggers apologize about being too busy to write.  (Hee hee -- the first time I typed that I wrote too busty to write.)  Well, neither of these apply to me ... I just don't feel the urge to blog.   Or I didn't anyway, until I got hooked on the Ravelry.

Now I want to have a blog.  A good blog.  So new content is coming!  You know ... as soon as I knit some.