30 January 2008

What's that White Stuff?!

The other morning, the smallest member of the household came running in to my bedroom yelling about snow! And what do you know? Here's the view down the street. See the white stuff behind the houses? Real, honest snow.

We do sometimes get snow in the hills around here (you can't really call them proper mountains), but this is super super low. I like the effect with the palm tree, don't you? ;)

The snowline must have been down around 500 feet or so.

Many of you from snowy areas are no doubt thinking that this is no big deal. Let me assure you that it does not often happen! I think it was two years ago, though, that there was enough snow up in the hills to play and make snowmen. Which we did. :) But this stuff was completely gone by noon.

And I am very very touched. Bonnie and Cheryl have honored me with a "You Make my Day Award" and in the process have made *my* day! Cheryl tried to sneak it by me, but I caught on to her. ;) Thank you so much! I have already passed it on before, so instead of naming more blogs this time I will just tell you how much I really enjoy all of the blogs I read! And through the really crazy time I've had the past year, I have sorely missed you all when I haven't had time to catch up on the latest! You all rock. :)


27 January 2008

Monday's Musing

"Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them."
- Brendan Francis

Wonderful quote, no? :)

Have a great week, everyone!


25 January 2008

Purple Ice

Breaking news on the pendants and earrings front: 2 pendants and 5 pairs of earrings left (order here - scroll down to the bottom)! Thanks to everyone who has ordered! :)

And yes, I think the Black Currant kidsilk haze Ice Queen was the winner! Although my friend was quite drawn to the Candy Girl. I may end up knitting her both...just because she would look amazing in them!

Here's my start (the color is off!):

I am using my provisional cast-on (which I love with a burning passion) although others have been using a beaded picot cast on with great success. There's a thread on Ravelry about it, if you are interested! I am knitting the stockinette version, but with the bead chart for the garter stitch version.

One thing I wanted to note about Ice Queen: it is very very important to block it; completely submerge it in water and stretch it out. When you finish it, it will look too short. But lace blocks out quite a bit. You needn't use pins or wires, but make sure to stretch it lengthwise and don't worry about the width, as it will snug to your face a bit if you block it long and narrow. Ok, maybe two things to note; you will get different blocking results with different yarns, so be sure to swatch!

And some answers:

Lorraine and Rachel asked where I get my beads. A better question would be where *don't* I get my beads?! ;) The ones shown in my last post were from a couple of local bead stores: Legendary Beads and Ubeadquitous, neither of which have online ordering. But I've ordered seed beads from
Out on a Whim, Fire Mountain Gems and Earthfaire. They all have a nice selection. A word of caution about beads: not all of them are color fast in water! In particular, red beads have issues, and I have used beads (thankfully only for swatches!) that lost all of their color during felting. I don't have a problem using them in Ice Queen because I probably won't be washing it a lot, but it's definitely something to remember: test your beads first!

And Rhonda asked when you use the US 5 needles. It is only for the top edging after you have finished the charts, and the picot bind off on both top and bottom.

I am so excited to see all of your Ice Queens! You all make my day. :)

And thank you all for playing along with my meme!

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23 January 2008

Mohair Madness

The other day, I had coffee with the woman who inspired my design for Ice Queen. I had never told her she was my muse. Perhaps because I was worried that she wouldn't like the pattern? She's not a knitter, and she is quite elegant. I have always wanted to knit her a gift, but I didn't know what. She is very very particular. I can only hope that she likes the pattern that was inspired by her, because I know she is much too gracious ever to tell me if she doesn't! After I forced her to accept offered her an Ice Queen, I put together two colorways for her to choose between, and both would look lovely on her. Because, after all, as I told her, she really needs one.

Colorway #1 is Candy Girl and pomegranate colored beads:

And colorway #2 is Black Currant with amethyst colored beads:

Both would look lovely with her black coat and her complexion.

And, of course, one for me, because the two I knit are in the local yarn store:

Caroline told me today that Ice Queen is in the most active new patterns list on the Ravelry patterns page. I was more than thrilled!

And I've been tagged by Yarnhog! I am to open a book I am currently reading to page 161 and copy the fifth sentence on the page.

In this particular book, there are not 5 sentences on page 161, so I started counting on 161 and continued on page 162. It reads: "Well, of course I do, Mr. Gringe."

The book is "Physik" by Angie Sage. It is my son's, and I would love to say that I only read the Septimus Heap books to be able to discuss them with him, but I will be honest. I love reading his wizard books. :)

Now for my 5 tag-ees: NH Knitting Mama, Lorraine, N. Maria, Turtlegirl, and Ruth.

Have fun!

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20 January 2008

Monday's Musing

For this Monday there's really only one person I could quote: Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.' - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Speech at Civil Rights March on Washington, August 28, 1963

btw, y'all (I can say y'all because I have about a bazillion cousins in the South that I just found - woo!) my life really is fairly humdrum, and it took me a long time to figure out those 10 things that I thought others might not have done! Now this person, whose blog I saw on Yarn-a-GoGo is truly living an amazing life. Wow. Go! Check out her blog. There are some absolutely incredible stories there.

Have a great week!


18 January 2008

Meme, meme, who's got a meme?

Update on earrings and pendants: As of this evening I have 5 sterling silver ball of yarn pendants and 10 pairs of earrings left! Get yours here!
I saw a fun meme over on Fiber Dancer's blog. She listed ten things she has done that others probably haven't, along with the list that got her started. So here I go with my ten things (these were difficult!) and then I think I will officially tag 5 people. :)

1. Worked as part of the live sound crew for a televised democratic presidential debate.

2. Chatted over coffee with Sharon Stone about motherhood, and let her hold my baby (who is now 8) after warning her that he would probably throw up all over her camel coat (he didn't - probably because he was smitten).

3. Toured with Wynton Marsalis (who was soloist) as part of the Eastman Wind Ensemble.

4. Played in Carnegie-Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, and Boston Symphony Hall, among others.

5. Had patterns on the cover of Knitty two times.

6. Went dancing at the Tonga Room in my wedding dress (right after the reception).

7. Stayed in the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco.

8. Did six illustrations that were etched onto bottles of fine wine for a Napa Valley Wine Auction lot.

9. Performed as assistant sound engineer on a jazz recording.

10. Piloted the USS Potomac around San Francisco Bay.

I tag Robin, Steph, Connie, Terri and Maud. Name ten things you have done that others probably have not, and then tag five people, leaving a comment on their blogs to read the instructions on yours. Have fun!

In other news, Punkin has honored me with an award, and I am very touched! Thank you, Punkin!! :)

I am now to pass it on to 10 other bloggers, according to the instructions: "Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times." And in no particular order:

1. The Rainey Sisters
2. A Friend to Knit With
3. yarn spinner
4. Yarnhog
5. Cozy's Place
6. The Shetland Trader
7. Zeneedle
8. Knitting along the River
9. Glassnut
10. Mimknits

And of course Punkin, but it would be weird to turn right around and give it back, don'tcha think? :) That list was even more difficult than the meme! I tried not to name the same people both places, but really? You all totally rock! I love the blogs I read! There were so many more I wanted to add.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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15 January 2008

Look! Real Knitting Content!

Can you believe it? Real live knitting right here on this very blog!

But first, a message from our sponsor! ;) My sterling ball of yarn earrings are back in stock! I have filled the back orders and I have more pairs! See? I can actually be productive! This is what they look like:

They have been featured in Vogue Knitting, Knitty and UK's Knitting, and people have said some very nice things about them.

But wait! There's more! ;) So many people have asked about a pendant, that I actually listened to y'all and here it is!

You can purchase them both on this page. My site is in serious need of upgrade, so while I am working on that, I hope you will bear with me. The page is called "pre-order" but everything is in stock! Woo!

On to knitting! This sweater is actually an older FO that I hated and never wore because it was just too cropped for me.

It started life as a chunky cropped cardigan without buttons (because I wanted to pin it closed!). I don't even remember what pattern I used now (it wasn't Lara though) because I altered it so much. I started on the back and knit over the shoulders, increasing for the sleeves and then I knitted the sides together. It was knit by the seat of the pants, because, believe me, the entire construction was changed and I was experimenting as I went along. But I wore it only once. So yesterday I knitted the bottom together. Hee. I'm still not sure I like it, but I'm more likely to wear it this way. What do you think? It's out of black Rowan Fuzzy Felt from Elann.com.

I like the texture.

And it actually looks halfway decent on me.

Onward to more knitting. Can you believe it?! This is a project using Lisa Souza's mohair in Ruby.

When I got it, it looked very different from what I was expecting (all monitors are different, and mine showed another red). It was so different, in fact, that I had to put it aside and forget what I thought it would be. And then, after Santa gave me Lace Style, I was looking at the cover sweater and thinking it was nice, but not quite what I had in mind. I couldn't figure out what I wanted to change. And then it hit me! It had to be in red mohair. When I pulled the mohair out, it was absolutely perfect! It is a stunning color. Probably better on me than the color I thought it would be. That Lisa is a sneaky one! You know, when I call her asking about a color she tells me whether she thinks it will look good with my coloring? Now that's what I call customer service! :)

So here's the back. It's going super fast on US 11 needles.

I think I'm going to change the collar. It wants to be bigger for this yarn.

In other news, I have a little fun stealth knitting going on. And I'm trying to catch up on everything!

See you soon!

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13 January 2008

Monday's Musing

This made me smile! I hope you like it. :)

"A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties."
- Harry Truman

What do you think?

Have a fabulous week!!


11 January 2008

Back in the Land of the Living

And it feels good. Yes. It. Does.


Thank you all so much for your kind wishes, both about Andy and my long hours working. I wanted to add that, although Andy was the son of my husband's classmate and friend, I was never lucky enough to meet him personally. And, well...it just shouldn't be this way. So much has been lost in Iraq. I will forward your kind wishes on to his family.


Well, all my book materials are in! Wooooooohoooooooooooooo! Although the day I blogged about was a particularly long one, that's about what happens when you try to squish the workload from a book into an already busy life! And like Junie said, that's why I've disappeared.

So, I'm on to the most important past of my post: my kind, patient and wonderful Secret Pal, SpinningJenny, who spoiled me rotten, picked amazingly wonderful gifts, and is a complete sweetheart. Even when I got completely overwhelmed and dropped off the face of the Earth. Thank you Jenny!

And now since I have had the time to fix the camera software finally, here are some pics of a hank of absolutely amazingly gorgeous laceweight she sent me from Cherry Tree Hill.


I might have gone a little overboard to make up for lost time here. :)

And then she sent me a package with my very favorite candy that I completely forgot to mention in the questionnaire (duh) but that she ferreted out of me in an email exchange: Ritter Sport marzipan bars. She sent me two. The second one didn't make it to the photo session. Heh. Or I should say "urp."

And the hank of yarn? Her handspun. Yes!

Is it not delectable? I wish I could do it justice! It has these gorgeous strands of shiny stuff spun in and it is so soft and lofty. I need to come up with the perfect pattern.

Thank you so much Jenny!!! I so enjoyed meeting you!

Next, we have my only holiday knitting: for my little ones. I used Cascade's Eco Wool + (my favorite yarn now for almost three years running!) with the Fiber Trends kids' felted clogs pattern. Here they are before felting.

And after.

I am always amazed at the magic of felting, no matter how many times I do it!

And believe me, I've been doing a LOT of it!

Here is the requisite modeled shot.

And last of all, I wanted to thank everyone who has written me kind notes about Ice Queen (queue it here on Ravelry)! I am so glad you all like it - and you absolutely make my day when I get those notes. It's been a huge (much needed!) energy boost. Thank you thank you!

And now, I have a lot of catching up to do in my life! Have a great weekend y'all!

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08 January 2008

A Day in the Land of the Sleep Deprived

12:00 am: Glance at clock and note that it is midnight and you are still working.
12:30 am: Think about going to bed and realize that your deadline is tomorrow and you have 16 hours to get book projects to FedEx. And that you are emphatically NOT a morning person.
1:00 am: Begin playing "Somewhere over the Rainbow" sung by Iz. Over and over.
2:30 am: Begin to think that you know Iz personally. Decide to play a different song.
2:45 am: Realize that you are unable to see tiny black stitches any longer. Even under light. Drag yourself to bed.
3:00 am: Lie across bed with clothes on.
3:45 am: Wake up still with clothes on. Take them off and get into bed.
8:00 am: Awaken to hugs by 4 year old. Realize that this is the definite high point of the day.
8:05 am: Look in mirror. Scream.
8:15 am: Eat cereal. Drink caffeine.
8:30 am: Bead. Sew. Assemble projects.
12:15 pm: Eat left over curry. Drink caffeine. Thank Powers That Be for wonderful husband, currently with kids upstairs.
12:30 pm: Try to retain concentration when husband and kids come downstairs for lunch.
12:45 pm: Fail.
12:55 pm: Realize you are completely brainless and incapable of working with kids in near vicinity.
1:10 pm: Work.
2:00 pm: Realize you have made same mistake 3 times.
2:30 pm: Become frustrated while looking at misshapen felt ball.
2:35 pm: Lecture felt ball.
2:45 pm: Realize you cannot both bend felted balls to your will and make FedEx deadline. Cry.
3:00 pm: Take pictures of finished projects.
3:30 pm: Pack projects.
3:50 pm: Do FedEx label.
3:55 pm: Realize you have no ink in printer. Curse loudly.
4:00 pm: Make pdf and print label from other printer.
4:10 pm: Work on uncompleted project before going to FedEx.
4:45 pm: Decide to leave for FedEx.
5:00 pm: Realize that Colorado is probably NOT west coast deadline of 6:00, but is EAST COAST DEADLINE AT 5:15!
5:05 pm: Cry.
5:10 pm: Become stuck behind three semi trucks turning left.
5:13 pm: Run through possible ways to convince FedEx personnel to take pity on you.
5:15 pm: Arrive at FedEx.
5:16 pm: Find out for sure that Colorado deadline IS 5:15. Stare in horror at clock.
5:17 pm: Find out that FedEx personnel are Good People.
5:18 pm: Celebrate.
5:45 pm: Return home.
6:00 pm: Eat delicious dinner prepared by aforementioned wonderful husband. Feel very very lucky.
6:30 pm: Work.
7:00 pm: Realize you are making same mistake again.
8:00 pm: Put kids to bed.
8:30 pm: Resume making mistake.
9:00 pm: Begin chanting "Don't screw up, don't screw up, don't screw up."
10:00 pm: Chant. Work.
11:00 pm: Chant. Work.
12:00 am: Collapse.

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06 January 2008

Monday's Musing

On Friday, a Naval Academy classmate of my husband's lost his son Andy in Iraq. You can read Andy's last blog post, left to be published in the event of his death, at the previous link. We're fairly subdued around here right now. Our thoughts are all with Andy's family.

In honor of Andy:

"War does not determine who is right - only who is left."
- Bertrand Russell

And from Andy:

"I'm dead, but if you're reading this, you're not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact."
- Andy Olmsted

Enjoy life and loved ones every day; it is all a gift!


02 January 2008

My Finnish Friend

I have been remiss in blog posting lately; y'all may have noticed. :/ But I really wanted to share one of the coolest things that happened to me all last year. A man emailed me late last year and said that his Finnish girlfriend was coming out to visit, and asked if I had a store, since she had wanted to see my pins in person (my head may have gotten a little big right at that moment). I wrote back to say no, but told him when I would be at my lys (she carries my pins) for our little Saturday morning knitting get-together, and invited them to join us.

Well, they did come!
We had a lovely visit, petted yarn and looked at pins together, and talked about Irma-Riitta's daughter, who is a knitter. I tried to convince Irma-Riitta herself to pick up her needles once again, but my powers of persuasion fell sadly short. :g:

And where do you suppose they were going after their stop in Windsor? Muir Woods! :) I thought it only fitting to show Irma-Riitta in the original Muir, which, I understand, her daughter quite likes.

Happy New Year, Irma-Riitta and Gene! It was wonderful meeting both of you. :)

Edited to add a NEWSFLASH: Saara (Irma-Riitta's knitting daughter) comments that her mother has picked up her needles again! Yay!!! That's excellent! :) Thank you for writing, Saara!

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