Thursday, December 28, 2006

A belated Merry Christmas... you all! (I know, it's been a while. Work, Christmas prep, travelling...) I hope all of you are having a great holiday season so far, despite the hectic-ness of it all. For me, there was a cookie decorating party...

An artist, I'm not, but it was fun. The house cookie is an interpretation of my house.

There was decorating...

...and a little cookie baking.

...and leftovers from Christmas eve dinner at my house...

Lots of leftovers. (I was so busy cooking and serving that I forgot to take a picture of the mounds of food.) And men to feast on the leftovers.

There was even some yarn shopping at Webs--both before and during the big end-of-year sale. If you're in their neck of the woods before January 5th, do yourself a favor and go take a stroll through the store. There's lots more available that isn't listed on their website. I don't have pix of the yarn yet. It's coming.

On the knitting front, I don't have much to show. I finished a hat for Jim's son, but that's about it. I'm working on hats for my nieces, which were possibly going to be Christmas presents but I ran out of time/energy. I'm planning to spend New Year's Eve on knitting projects, so I'll have pictures to show you next post.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Eye candy friday

Not knitting content, but it's mighty purty. This is my orchid (purchased at Ikea, of all places) that's living up in Vermont. It's been in continuous bloom since late May. May! I've never seen an orchid stay in bloom that long. Whatever Jim's doing to it, it clearly seems to like it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

What I've been up to lately...

OK, it's been a while, so here's what I've been up to...

A little knitting. Damn little, actually. Over Thanksgiving weekend, up at the house in Vermont, I managed about five rows on the baby sweater. But I wasn't exactly a slacker either. There were windows. Lots of windows. Cleaning them, insulating them, putting up hardware and drapery on them...

(I don't have any pictures of the saran wrap covered windows, but trust me--there's 17 of them, all wrapped and shrunk.)

And there was a new slipcover for the couch...

(and lots of pillows to cushion the couch)

And a couple of rugs...

(a $20 Black Friday special at Lowes)

And some Christmas decorating...

And I put together a kitchen cabinet for my new range hood, and installed a roller shade that didn't want to be installed (long story, long struggle), and... well, I think you get the idea. I spent my four-day weekend in Vermont making up for all the time I haven't spent in the house since August.

Since Thanksgiving there has been some knitting. I finished up a baby hat for Knit Unto Others.

If it wasn't for the constant work in the house last weekend, I would have had a couple of more items. Oh well, I'll keep at it. After all, I bought this stuff from Webs on Black Friday specifically for charity and gift knitting.

Well, that's it for now. Thank you for the kind comments on my last post. The atmosphere in the office still sucks (and will for a long time to come), but things are settling down a little bit. Through the end of the month a lot of people will be taking time off, so I should be able to get things done without a lot of interuptions. And maybe I'll have time at night to blog!

Good night, all!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Long time, no blogging...

I know. It's been a while...

I had the best of intentions of blogging from Chicago last week (business trip). I planned a yarn crawl on Sunday and maybe a visit to The Fold on Tuesday. Schlepped my notebook on the plane, visited three yarn shops on Sunday--as planned. Took a whole bunch of pictures. Went to my meeting on Monday, then dinner Monday night. Just before the entrees came out I found out that my department was going to have another restructuring. There were going to be layoffs (not right away, but staggered over the next year). I still have a job. My staff still has their jobs. Most of the rest of the department is getting laid off. It all took me by surprise. I'm still a little stunned by it all, and sad--very, very sad--for those who will be leaving.

I've been working on my Chicago blog post for a week now, but I just can't seem to finish it. As much as I really don't want to talk about work in my blog, I think I needed to say all this before I could move on. So, I've got another two days in the office this week, Thanksgiving with my mother and younger sister, and then I'm off to Vermont for a few days to see Jim and work on the house. And a blog entry or two (or more). I'll have some yarn pictures for you. Really neat stuff I bought out in Chicago.

For now, I'll leave you with some sky pictures at 41,000 feet. The colors were so clear, so blue, with a fluffy white cloud carpet below us.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I've fallen off the yarn wagon

I was trying to be really good about not buying yarn. Really, I was. But the last few weeks have been stressful at work and, well, here's what I've done. The Internet just makes it too easy. Let's just call it Eye Crack Candy Friday!

Vesper Sock Yarn (Crew on top; Strange Little Mama on the bottom)

Socks That Rock (Saratoga lightweight on left, County Clare midweight on right)

A Piece of Vermont (Grandma's Attic)

And now, here's the haul from my Portsmouth weekend.

Clockwise from left: Inox needles, Seacoast Handpainted sock yarn in Spring Rain, 2 skeins of Araucania Nature Wool Chunky (#105), 2 balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Alpaca Silk, 2 skeins of Valley Yarns Stockbridge (#161834), Regia Surf sock yarn (#5417), and another skein of Seacoast Handpainted sock yarn in Fresh Air.

Well, at least all this wool will cushion the fall, you think?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Another F.O.

Yup. I've got another one...

It's Thuja! All done! Here are some stats for ya...

Pattern: Thuja from
Yarn: Art Yarns Supermerino
(Color 130, 2 skeins plus a bit of a third skein for the toes),
purchased at Knitting Central

Needles: KnitPicks Options, size 5 (Magic Loop)
Started: September 16, 2006
Finished: November 8, 2006

I love these socks! The colors pool/striped differently on these, but at least the colors matched. Plus the pattern was easy and really a very quick knit. I think I'll be making more of these!

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I can't believe it's been over well over a week since I last posted. I've got all of last weekend to blog about! So here goes what hopefully will be the short version...

I took the day off from work to drive up to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Even rented a car so I wouldn't put gobs of miles on my poor Forester. The original plan was for me to drive straight up with a few stops along the way. After many conversations with Jim, the plan morphed into driving up to Vermont, pick up Jim, and then head over to Portmouth. There were still stops along the way.

Stop #1--Country Yarns in Wallingford, CT. Bigger place than I expected. Lots of yarn. I bought a skein of sock yarn (pictures tomorrow).

Stop #2--Fabric Place in Cromwell, CT. Sadly, their store closing sale is still going on. A decent amount of yarn left, but it was all pretty much frilly scarf stuff. I didn't buy anything here--it was just too depressing.

Stop #3--Webs. Yikes! I haven't been here in a while. They moved stuff. They added stuff. All the pretty fibery things distracted me. I lost track of time, and lost track of everything I was thinking I wanted to buy. Fiber overload, big time! Thankfully, I only walked out of there with a small purchase--eight balls/skeins for $37. Actually rather good for me.

Stop #4--Northampton Wool. A quick stop. Touched the yarns, bought some needles that Webs didn't have.

Proceeded to Vermont. Took a quick look at the house. Put Jim's stuff in the car and drove to Portsmouth. Checked into the hotel. Drank a glass of wine. Fell asleep.

Went to our meeting (the whole reason for the trip to Portsmouth). Finished up early and got to go to The Yarn Basket. It's a tiny little shop, but it's pack with soooo much yarn! Jim barely tollerated my scoping out the yarn basically behaved while I browsed. I bought a skein of sock yarn. Then we left Portsmouth and stopped at the state liquor store on our way back home to Vermont. Once back in Vermont, we stopped for dinner and did a little grocery shopping.

We had Jim's parents over for lunch, we did some work around the house, and I left around 5ish.

It was a really short weekend with lots of driving. Kind of tiring, actually. Sometime soon I really ought to give myself a quiet weekend to recharge. When might that be? Not this weekend. I'm heading out to Chicago on Sunday for business early next week. Oh well...

Time to call it a night. Tomorrow morning I'm taking a two socks on two circs class at The Village Knitter, then it's off to work. However, not a bad way to end the week, yes?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Socktoberfest wrap-up

I was going to call this "Socktoberfest update," but given that today's the 31st, I figured "wrap-up" is more appropriate.

My goal for Soctoberfest was to finish my pink and blue socks, as well as work on other pairs of socks that are in progress. Not a very ambitious goal, but for me it's enough.

The result: pink and blue socks!

These are technically the second pair I made started, and the first pair that I started for myself. (Jim got the first pair I started.) They're on the baggy side and maybe a little too thick to really wear with shoes, but I absolutely love wearing them. They're comfy and I can't help but just wiggle my feet in them.

Project Details
Pattern: Basic Stockinette Socks from
Knit Socks! by Betsey McCarthy
Yarn: Cascade Sierra (1 pink (15) skein, 1 blue (24) skein),
purchased for 40% off at The Point
Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs, size 5 (I think)
Started: Summer 2005
Finished: October 21, 2006

I've got enough yarn left to make blue socks with pink toes, but that's a project for another season.

Aside from my goal of finishing the Cascade Sierra socks, my other sockie goal for the month was to continue working on my other socks that are in progress. I haven't started anything new (well, no new socks, at least). So here's what else I've worked on...

I made some progress on the third red sock while on the Elderhostel trip. Here's the sock enjoying the lovely view of the Potomac at Mount Vernon this month.

I also made a little bit of progress on Jim's Austermann Step sock (picture to come), and I've made quite a bit of progress on the second Thuja.

I'm about ready to start the heel flap. But I want you to compare these two legs...

Look at the color pooling. Striping vs. blocking? Not exactly matching. I'm getting flashbacks to the Claudia Handpaint red socks... Definitely fraternal twins, unless... uh... is there some sort of handpainted dyelot curse when it comes to multiple skeins of sock yarn???

I'll have to see how the foot comes out. I do have a third skein. I hope this doesn't call for a third sock. (Memo to self--maybe I should stick to single skein sock yarns.)

And now for something completely different...

I've jumped on the Fetching bandwagon big time! These completed (and frequently worn) ones are mine, another pair (for my mother) are currently on the needles, and a third pair (for my youngest sister) are in the wings. But I digress...

'Tis the end of Socktoberfest. I hope everyone had a fun, productive month!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

It may not have been Rhinebeck...

My Elderhostel trip with Jim. From Philadelphia down to Virginia and Annapolis. It may not have been Rhinebeck, but there was yarn...

...and sheep...

...and yarn from the sheep!

The yarn in the first picture was from a colonial sutler set up at the Yorktown Victory Center, part of the 225th anniversary of the Battle of Yorktown. I didn't buy yarn here, but I did buy a wooden thingy that you use to make cords (i-cord maker???).

The sheep? They're Leicester Longwool at Colonial Williamsburg. Jim and I drop off the Elderhostelers in the historic area in the afternoon, and then I dragged him around we went off in search of some sheep. After all, I gave up Rhinebeck to join him on this trip. Didn't I deserve to see some sheep?

I dragged him all over the place looking for sheep. We found horses. We ran into reenactors. (With the big anniversary reenactment there were, like, tons of some 2,000 reenactors in the area.) We ran into reenactors we he knew, and even ran into someone we recognized (Henry Liu) from a PBS special on Patriot's Day in Lexington.

As a side note, Jim dressed in colonial attire on our day in
Yorktown/Williamsburg. I didn't, and while we were walking through
Williamsburg I felt really weird. Lots of our reenactor friends who have
been there have dressed in period attire during their visit. I always
thought that was so weird. However, it felt weird to be dressed in modern
attire. Hmmmm... have they assimilated me like the

Anyway, after I found my sheep we went back along Duke of Gloucester Street and stopped in a couple more stores/gift shops. Well, in one of these shops they were selling yarn from their sheep! And after calling Elsie to ask her advice on what I could make out of a single skein of this stuff, I bought one! (And while talking to Elsie on my BlackBerry, Jim and the colonial shopkeeper took great pleasure in making fun of me "talking into a black box" and saying that maybe I should be "taken to the Public Hospital" (a.k.a. insane asylum). Yes, I gave him crap for it.)

All in all we had a good day wondering the streets of Williamsburg. And even after dragging Jim around looking for sheep, he was able to chuckle.

This is what he'd probably like to do to me if I come home with any more yarn.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

On the road again

I really ought to be sleeping right now, but I've just finished packing up my knitting projects for another Elderhostel trip with Jim. He started this program in Philadelphia on Sunday, and I'm going to join him tomorrow evening. Then Thursday morning we head down to Virginia, up to Annapolis on Saturday, and back to Philadelphia--and then New York--on Sunday. Just a little bit of traveling, eh?

And come Monday I'm going to have 2 (count 'em, TWO!) finished objects to show you! I'm looking forward to some good knittin' time this weekend.

However, on this trip, I won't be taking my laptop with me, so there won't be any blogging until Sunday night at the earliest. (I hope I don't go through Bloglines withdrawal.)

So for all of you who are going to Rhinebeck, I hope you have a wonderful time. Please pet some fiber for me! I can't wait to hear all about it next week!!!

For now I'll leave you with some pictures from this past Sunday's finishing class at The Point. Five hours of knitting surrounded by fibery goodness. Nirvana!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday sky... and sock yarn

It was a cool, crisp Saturday here on Long Island.
Here's the sky over Great South Bay.

And now, some sock yarn at the Village Knitter.
I spent some time with Karen and Joy at the shop today. They told me that they've had more customers interested in sock yarn than they had expected, so they're going to be getting more sock yarn. Woo-hoo!!! I'm psyched.

The shop's "husband" chair

Also, Thursday night is going to be their knitting night. Just what I need--incentive to get out of the office at a reasonable hour!
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Tomorrow I'm heading to The Point to heckle hang out with some friends of mine who are taking Barbara Kerr's finishing class. This is the same class that I took a while ago, and when I saw they were offering it again, I pushed it on them like a crack dealer encouraged them to sign up for it and promised them that I'd hang out with them. So, I've got my project bag of tricks packed and I'm ready to go! This ought to be fun.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Village Knitter

Last weekend I took some pictures of my wonderful new LYS. Take a look...

Does this look inviting or what? Wanna see some of the fibery goodness in those cubbies? Of course you do!

There's Debbie Bliss on the left, Blue Sky Alpacas on the right.

Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride, a whole bunch of Cascade 220, and a basket of sock yarn!

Patagonia, Handpaints Originals, Turmalin and Cascade Magnum.

And Karen's getting more yarns. I'm one very happy camper. If you're ever in the area, you should stop by!

The Village Knitter
18 Fire Island Avenue
Babylon, NY 11702
website coming soon