Friday, April 29, 2005

My Night with a Harlot

Ok, not just any harlot but the Harlot. Maribel and I headed down to Lord and Taylor last night to see Stephanie speak and hang out with other knitters... and to see where the hell they kept an auditorium in Lord and Taylor (Bel questioned whether or not they even had an 11th floor).

The "auditorium" in the end looked more like this:

Note the young lady at my table, that's a lovely smaller clapotis around her neck (I didn't catch her name but she says she has read my blog on occasion). The room was full of clapotis and I'm happy to say I got many compliments on mine. Everyone wanted to know what yarn I used so I gave mad props to Brooks Farms last night.

Then of course the reason we were all there, Ms. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee:

Although you could tell she was nervous, she was hilarious as expected. Very cool lady. Bel said she had way more fun than she ever expected to. Although she was kicking herself for not bringing her knitting. There were many bloggers in the house as was evidenced by a show of hands. I had one at my table for five minutes but I forget her blog and she moved to a better vantage point when they opened up more tables.

Cassie has a small list of some of the bloggers who attended last night (and how the hell did I miss you Mindy?).

I did manage to catch up with Stephanie after the Q & A was over:

People were lining up to get more personalized autographs for their books, but I just wanted to introduce myself and lend some moral support. I told her I would see her again in Maryland, next weekend.

Then it was time to go. On the way out we got our goody bags:

A signed copy of the book, a skein (or thing) of Wool Ease chunky donated by Lion Brand and information and patterns for the Dulaan Project. Bel got some plastic Lion Brand needles in her bag, sadly I did not. I'd love them for the kitsch factor alone. All in all it was a lot of fun and really good company, I had a great time.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Well I was hoping to get in a post before vacation, but I am too damn tired. Sorry.

Rinaldo, the kids, cousin Cheyenne and I will be here for the next few days. I'll be back Wednesday.

Have a good start to your week...

Friday, April 22, 2005

Just a quick post so I can complete the circle on the interview meme.

Here are Susie's questions.

You all know the rules by now.

1. When did you first learn to knit, and who taught you?

2. How many kids do you have and how old are they?

3. I know you are a Born Again Christian, do you find knitting to be a spiritual practice for you?

4. If you could take a vacation anywhere, where would it be? By yourself, with the kids, a girlfriend or just your husband? (stolen from Katy's questions, because I liked it!)

5. What made you decide to branch out into dying your yarn? Do you spin?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Well Gidget beat me to it but I'm going to show you all anyway. Check out the Clapotis hat that Amy designed. I think it's pretty cool and I just might actually have enough of my yarn left for it.

I was reading Chris' rant yesterday and it made me realize something (although this is not her point she just mentioned it in passing), the reason everything is boring to me at the moment and progress is so slow is because there is no degree of difficulty in any of my projects. No learning new things, no growth. Ok, Bob has his difficult points but I'm not there yet. In order to keep things fun, at least one project must be challenging in one way or another. Now I am certainly not taking on the Stockinette Avengers as I too love to get lost in a good long piece of stockinette on occasion. It's just that usually it's my mindless project, that offsets a more difficult undertaking. Currently I have a garter stitch blanket (the log cabin, the challenge of picking up stitches gets old fast), the circular baby blanket which is wonderful process knitting but doesn't stretch my brain at all, Bob who is basically just tiny stockinette swatches at this point and the good old ribbed scarf.

I think I need to start something challenging, that will make me long for these mindless objects so I can truly appreciate them when I spend time with them. Haven't figured out what it is yet, I'll get back to you.

Avery had his school overnight yesterday. He comes home tonight at 8. No news is good news. I have to assume all went well since I haven't had any phone calls. He was very excited and I am sure he is having an amazing time.

Only one person volunteered to be interviewed, lucky me. I think this meme has just about run it's course. Susie, I hope to have your questions up tomorrow.

Also for those of you who read the comments on my last post. Maribel said she wanted me to go to England with her, she failed to mention that it is for a Knitting Tour of England! The ad was in a recent issue of Vogue Knitting. That girl dreams big...

Monday, April 18, 2005

Katy put up interview questions for me. I had been seeing the interview thing run around the blogs, but I waited until a blogger I knew fairly well got tagged. Then I volunteered. I love to talk about myself, but I am also interested in what people want to know about me.

Here are the rules:

  1. Leave a comment saying "Interview Me". I will do the first two people who ask.
  2. I will list your questions on THIS blog.
  3. You will give answers on YOUR blog.
  4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. You should ask 5 questions.
Now my answers:

1. Do you have any siblings?

No, just me.

2. Why did you drop out of high school?

No easy answer to this one. I suppose to put it down to one thing I would say that after my parent's marriage fell apart when I was 13 I pretty much had to parent myself and I did a damn poor job of it. There were many factors that contributed though. I see it more and more in hindsight. The biggest factor I think was the fact that I was considered gifted for most of my school career, yet no one ever challenged me. I coasted for grades 1-5. Then in grade 6 I was put into a special program for gifted kids, and my grades shot down. Mostly because I didn't know how to study or do real work. I was used to completing assignments the night before not spending weeks preparing, fact finding and putting together a good presentation. This was no longer acceptable and I never really recovered. I went to an excellent Junior High for 7-9th grades where I did better because I had some wonderful teachers ( and one who was absolutely amazing, Lois Cohen) but then I was sent to Stuyvesant High School. While it's true I did pass the test with flying colors to get in, I wasn't all that interested in Math and Science at that point. It was also a completely different culture than I had ever been in before and I found it difficult to make friends. By this point my home life was a mess, and I took to skipping school and hanging out. Tenth grade was a joke, I was absent more than I attended and they socially promoted me to 11th grade but I didn't do any better. When I was 17, I got a job at Barnes and Noble and started to grow up and life has been much better ever since.

3. Do you think you'll finish your degree? Do you still want to be a school counselor?

I actually just sent in my application to the School of Education here at NYU, to continue my degree. Let's see if they take me. I do want to be a school counselor. As someone who had a difficult adolescence I would love to help a child avoid the traps I fell in, but I love my job right now and I and my kids get to go to NYU for free. That means that I have 8-12 years for Avery to start and finish and 15-19 for Ian. It looks like it will be a change of life career for me.

4. If you could take a vacation anywhere, where would it be? By yourself, with the kids, a girlfriend or just Rinaldo?

I would love to visit Egypt or Greece. I think that both places and the ruins of ancient civilizations that still exist there call my pagan blood. I'd love to go with Rinaldo, maybe even the kids when they're older (over say 14) but I can't deny that I would love to go with Maribel just she and I in many ways. She understands how I feel about those places and we learned to love them together in our sixth grade classroom. She would be the ideal traveling companion for that type of trip for me.

5. What's your budget for Maryland Sheep and Wool?

I did originally have $300 budgeted but I may have to cut that down to $200 as I just got my reservation for Maribel and I to take the Yarn Bus later in May. It's going to be a hell of a month for yarn.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Yet another post with no pictures to show. I did have my knitting group last night, where I plugged away on the log cabin. Still boring (thanks Nancy for letting me know it's not just me) but coming along. It got lots of compliments. Everyone wanted to know how it was done. Even after I explained how it was done and how simple it was everyone still seemed a bit unsure.

I can't deny I am having an issue with the pattern. Not in the execution of it but in the fact that the directions make it seem so complex. I've given up reading them completely. All I do is refer to the picture to see which direction I am going in next. I really do love working with the Sierra. It is so much softer and more giving than pure cotton.

Since I don't have much to share of my own I thought I would share this article I ran into. It's really quite funny and mysterious...

The Night it Rained Knitting Needles

Now if I could only figure out how to forecast when each size would be coming down so I can complete my collection...

Monday, April 11, 2005

A Busy Weekend with Nothing to Show for it

I was complaining to Rinaldo last night that I had nothing to blog about today. I did spend some time on the log cabin blanket, so some progress was made. Sadly I realized the problem is that I get bored with it very easily. When I pick it up, I think, "wow, it's so quick and easy why do I keep putting it back down?". Then after a few "logs" I realized I am bored to tears with the garter stitch, 10 rows, over and over and over. I am so glad I have until June for this one.

The weekend was spent running around. On Saturday I had to take Avery to Fencing and then get him back home so we could drive up to Rockland County where he was going to spend the weekend with his cousins. We were supposed to then go to Tisha's daughter's sweet 16. On the drive back from Rockland we realized there was no way we would make it to the party. Rinaldo's knee was swollen and Ian was feverish so we stayed home once we got there. Then on Sunday we decided to go to Costco but we had to get there and back, put the groceries away and then head back up to Rockland to pick up Avery.

Avery was spending the night at his cousins' as a dry run for a school trip he is taking. The 4th and 5th graders are going on retreat to an environmental science center in a few weeks and Avery hasn't spent a night out of the house, without us, since he was 3 (that's a long story having to do with certain events and a mother's neurosis). It went pretty well, although Avery would want me to tell you that he only slept 5 hours that night. He had quite a problem falling asleep in a bed not his own.

I did go to Naughty Knitters on Friday. They are far from naughty and should really be called the Cool Crocheters as there was only one other knitter. The company was good however so I had fun. They are soliciting yarn donations so if anyone has any acrylic lying around that they don't want let me know. It would be greatly appreciated. We are currently making blankets for the Children's Hope Foundation but they are looking for other charities to donate to as well. I mentioned doing chemo caps for Gilda's Club so next month I will bring some patterns for them.

If you ever see a piece of yarn on the floor and wonder where it came from, read Bliss' tale and think twice before you pick it up...

Tomorrow is the Barnes and Noble knitting group. Oddly enough some people in the Naughty Knitters had heard about it. I guess we are getting a bit of a reputation. Maybe we should be the Bad-Ass B and N Knitters...

Friday, April 08, 2005

Look at me I have an FO:

I really love my mitts (thanks to Rinaldo for the picture). They worked up really fast, a mitt a day, and they show off the yarn really well. Plus they're comfy and my hands are quite toasty today, though my office is cold as usual (except when it's a sauna but that's another story). Finishing these mitts got me excited about my other projects again. There's nothing like a small quick project to remind you why you love knitting.

I do seem to have become a baby blanket making machine though. I have 2 on the needles already for gifts and today in honor of my first meeting with the NYU Naughty Knitters, I cast on for a third. The Naughty Knitters knit items for charity and the current recipients are babies with AIDS. So I cast on for a red and blue striped blanket in the classic dishcloth pattern. Quick and easy but pretty. The coordinator had mentioned on the phone that they were running low on yarn so I raided the stash for some orphan skeins and good sized balls to donate. So I will come bearing gifts.

This weekend I am devoting to the log cabin blanket, as it has been quite neglected. It is difficult to tote around since you are changing colors fairly regularly. Five balls of yarn don't fit in my bag very well. I may actually change the way I've been working on my various projects. I had been devoting all my time to each, one at a time. Once I finished a skein (or a section for Bob and the log cabin) I would switch to another project. I think I may have my cousin's blanket for my commute, the log cabin for evening TV knitting, Fridays will be for the Naughty Knitters blanket and Bob and the ribbed scarf can take turns on the weekends. Maybe then I won't get as bored and all the projects will show progress. We'll see.

The new Knitty is up. For the most part I was not overly excited by anything in. Nothing wrong with the patterns just not my style. I am however completely and hopelessly in love with this bag. Now heres the funny thing. A few years ago I was not a bag person. Really, Rinaldo had more bags than I did, only because he is constantly being given new laptop bags and backpacks at all his tradeshows. Something changed. One of course is knitting. Taking your knitting with you means searching for the perfect bag, it used to just have to fit a book but now it has to accomadate a project as well (in addition to wallet, keys and the like). The other thing is my friend Tisha, who is a Coach fanatic. She has excellent taste and frighteningly it has rubbed off a bit (not much, but a bit) on me. Even when it comes to shoes, but we won't go there. So now I want cute bags as well as functional bags, what the hell happened to me! Tisha and I will both be making Via Diagonale...

If you want to see some really cool pictures, go visit Nancy. She has some shots of her trip to Monterey. I really love the otter and jellyfish shots...

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

We interrupt our regularly scheduled knitting to bring you...

Look at what I won from the wonderfully talented Snooze:

Does that yarn just scream Spring or what (the color looks way more neon than it really is). It's Cascade 220 dyed by Snooze herself. She also made the beautiful stitch markers that accompanied the yarn.

Here's a closer look at them:

Now typically this type of color is not my thing, but I was very intrigued by the different shades in it. I have been trying to decide what I would make with it. I was a bit confused as it is so obviously a Spring color but it's pure wool. That seemed to me to be a contradiction in terms. Yesterday when it was beautiful and warm outside, I sat freezing in my office working on my computer and I was inspired. I am going to make these:

I've been wanting to make them for awhile now and I think it's a good use for this yarn. I can use them at work and for times when I am outside knitting or playing with the boys during the Spring and Fall. So everything else has been put on hold until I finish my mitts. Thanks Snooze for sending a bit of Spring my way...funny how the day after I received it the weather finally warmed up...coincidence, I wonder.

Monday, April 04, 2005

This weekend was oddly busy considering how torrential the rains were on both days. We had a birthday party to attend on Saturday and Sunday was shopping day, plus Avery and I had tickets for the Circus last night. I think I need a weekend to recover from my weekend.

The Circus was fun, more fun than I remembered in fact. I was a bit surprised, happily so, by how amazed my video game playing, mass media devouring near 10 year old was by the whole show. He loved it. The people being shot out of the cannon at the beginning, the tightrope walker jumping over flames, the acrobats jumping through hoops (literally) and the tigers roaring in a menacing way to their trainer, all kept him enthralled for two hours. On the way home he asked if we could go again next year. I'm really happy that he is not so jaded that it seemed hokey to him. They've livened it up enough that I didn't find it too hokey either. Amazing indeed.

I decided to spend some quality time with Bob this weekend. I finished his overall bib as well as one boot. I am about 1/4 of the way through the other boot. I should finish it by tonight. This dude is going to be a bit bigger than I imagined but that's ok. My bigger fear is that Ian seems to be past his obsession with all things Bob the Builder. Will he even care when I finish it? That remains to be seen. He did choose to wear his Bob the Builder shirt yesterday. Maybe he was trying to reassure me.

It looks like I will be going to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival after all. I am almost afraid to admit this, due to the fact that I was commiserating with Ann only a week or so ago because she won't be going. I told her we would both have more money to spend at Rhinebeck. Well I won't have as much. My husband had been planning on going to Florida the following weekend and our family vacation is the week before so I felt that it was just too much traveling in a short period of time. However Rinaldo's trip has been postponed so we decided to go to Maryland for a little grown up alone time. That plus yarn shopping is going to make for a great Mother's Day weekend.

Sorry Ann, I'll be sure to bring you back something pretty...

Friday, April 01, 2005

I seem to be in a bit of a slump knitting-wise. You would think having 4 different projects to choose from I would have no problem finding something I want to work on but it seems not. I have been awfully tired so my evenings in front of the TV have been shorter than usual. We also drove in yesterday and today to accommodate Rinaldo's injury and although I usually enjoy knitting while he drives, Manhattan traffic is so entertaining I never have an urge to pull out my project.

I did do a little work on the log cabin blanket:

I'm a bit further along than this picture now, since my blue yarn finally came in. It's a fun and easy knit. Sierra is great to work with. The softness of cotton with the some of the give of wool. The only issue I had is the number of stitches to pick up. The pattern is very specific in the number it tells you to pick up along each side, but it never worked out right for me. I always had to stretch it over long spaces. Yes, I always have issues with picking up the required number of stitches on any project. That's just me. So I gave up looking for the perfect number. Now I just pick up however many stitches I need to, to get comfortably across the side. It seems to be coming out fine.

Ann discovered a fun new site:

It's pretty cool. There are articles, free patterns, yarn shop reviews and even a crossword, which I have not yet completed. Go visit when you have a chance, it's always good to support new sources of knitting info.

Enjoy the weekend everyone...