Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Always look on the bright side of life...

by Kathleen


Marcia was right... there I was chastising the Universe for all my perceived mistreatment and totally ignoring all the good things that have come my way recently.
Like the afghan of course.

And some lovely birthday gifts last November.

From my MIL. A little china sewing lady that her mother had in the house she grew up in, sometime back in the 40's. I can't tell you how it moved me that she presented me with this. She has the sweetest painted face (very 30's) and she's sitting on a chair with a length of fabric in her lap and scissors in her hand.

Then a big gift that DH and I gave myself (with help from Mom and Dad actually. Thanks guys!) A Louet S75. I found it on craigslist with help from a posting to a Ravelry group. The owner had decided that she wasn't going to spin anymore (she just didn't have time for it and it wasn't that vital to her) and she was selling to move it fast. Less than half price. Wow.
It's a very nice wheel and I'm enjoying it very much so far. It came with four bobbins, several of which had singles still on them. I played with the wheel while I plied them up. I won't post photos of the yarn since she wasn't very pleased with it... but it plied up okay and I think I might knit her mitts from it as a thank you for the wheel.

Then there are some cool ornaments I got as part of a swap hosted by a group on Ravelry...
From Chillyfreetoes I got a really lovely knitted wreath. It's leaf shapes accented with pearls and I think the yarn has some angora in it because of the halo.
And some extra goodies (there was a snickers in the wrapping. But it didn't make it to the photo shoot).

And from Pryorjennie some mistletoe! Immediately after this photo it was hung with care... DH never knew what hit him.

And, as part of a kid's swap, I got this gorgeous tree from Butterfly. With glitter sparkle ornaments on it. I hung it in a window and the light glowed through it.
All in all... some things to turn around a crabby grouchy mood.

Dear Universe,

Sorry. And thanks.
Love (and I mean it this time),
Me again

ps But I'm still not happy about that wasp.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Why yes, I would love some cheeze with this whine...

by Kathleen

I suppose I should feel embarrassed for this... my siblings (including co-blogger Caroline) and a whole host of you all are barely digging out from under a nasty ice storm; and my grandmother is still without power in Massachusetts.

But I wish to complain.

Dear Universe,
In the past two weeks you have chosen to smite me with one fried and one scrambled computer, a corrupted photo software program, one broken down vehicle, a lost filling, a whacky acting gas heater (the only source of heat in our house), resumed an annual Holiday party (by request) and no one came*, two late-night-jump-out-of-bed-horrific-noise-can't-get-back-to-sleep disturbances (courtesy of our cats), and a wasp sting. On. My. Nipple.
What have I done to deserve this?
Please stop. Please?
Thank you very much.

*Okay I exaggerate a smidge. 6 people showed up. And I didn't actually mind eating the whole French Onion dip and chips by myself, but finishing the veggie tray is a drag.

Okay. Got that off my chest (and believe me... the last one definitely hurt my chest. A LOT).

I've done knitting!

The "CanDo" socks are can done! Wool/Bamboo yarn dyed by Sereknitty in a special colorway with proceeds donated to Can Do. Pattern from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Socks.
FlatFeet socks in plain stockinette. Waaaay too big. I wonder if anyone on my Christmas list has size 10 feet and loves neon green...?

All the Lizard Ridge squares are done! Time to sew them together now!

Babies' hats! Finished this October for two little ones born last March/April.
What...? It's not like they needed them earlier.
I've also got the DH's sweater body done and I'm on to the sleeves.
More to come...

Saturday, December 6, 2008


by Kathleen

So... quite a few months ago I made a square for an afghan, The American Aran Afghan, being raffled off by a LYS to support a local Arts Center.

After it's completion we were in the area one weekend day (DH, MIL and I had gone to see a play at a local community theatre). I wanted to see it done so we stopped by the store to take a gander. For knitting a square I was given a raffle ticket, and both my DH and MIL who were with me bought tickets.
Guess what...


I am so pleased!
She says that she never wins anything, and this is a gorgeous way to start! She wants us to keep it, but we're thinking that it might come in handy this winter to help keep her warm. Either way it's in the family.
She's out of town right now, but we'll take her down to pick it up next week.
What a treat for me... that I put a square in, that we saw it together, and that my very dear MIL won.

Christmas has come a little early here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Oh how I know the feeling...

This was sent to me in an email by a friend who got it from a friend... it appears to be "Author Unknown"... though clearly she/he is a knitter (or a knitter's spouse patiently waiting on the sweater started and promised from last Christmas supposedly to be finished for this Christmas maybe... not that I know anyone like that.)

Knitter's Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
There was unfinished knitting not under the tree.
The stockings weren't hung by the chimney with care
'Cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
But I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep---he was no help at all.
And the sweater for him was 6" too small.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my needles to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash.
Tripped over my yarn and fell down in my stash.
The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how far I still had to go.

When out on the lawn I heard such a noise,
I was sure it would wake up both Dad and the boys.
And although I was tired, my brain a bit thick,
I knew in a moment that it must be St Nick.

Yet what I heard left me very perplex-ed
For nothing I heard was what I expect-ed.
"Move Rowan! Move Patons! Move Koigu and Clover!
Move Shelridge! Move Starmore! Move Spinrite!
Move over!

Lopi, don't circle, just stand there in line.
Pay attention, you sheep, and you'll work out just fine!
I know this is hard as it's just your first year
But I'd hate to go back to 8 tiny reindeer."

I peered over the sill. What I saw was amazing:
Eight wooly sheep on my lawn all a-grazing!
And then in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa's big boots stomping on the porch floor.

I rose from my knees and got back on my feet.
As I turned around, St. Nick I did meet.
He was dressed all in wool from his heat to his toe
And his clothes were hand knit from above to below.

A bright Fair Isle sweater he wore on his back,
And his toys were all stuffed in an Aran knit sack.
His hat was a wonder of bobbles and lace
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.

The scarf on his neck must have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.

On the back of his mitts was an intricate cable.
And suddenly on one I spotted a small label:
"S.C." in duplicate on the cuff.
So I asked, "Hey, Nick, did YOU knit all this stuff?"

He proudly replied, "Ho, ho, ho, yes I did.
I learned how to knit back when I was a kid."

He was chubby and plump, a well dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself, for I'd thought up a plan.
I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew, he was tied to a chair!

He spoke not a word, but looked down in his lap
Where I'd laid my needles and yarn for a cap.
He began then to knit, first one cap then two--
For the first time I thought I might really get through.

He put heels in the stockings and toes in some socks,
While I sat back drinking a Scotch on the rocks.
So quickly like magic his needles they flew,
Good Grief! He was finished by quarter to two!

He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me.
I heard him exclaim as he sailed past the moon,
"Next year, start your knitting sometime around JUNE!"

Yeah. June. Or April maybe.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

With many Thanks...

by Kathleen

Thanks for my parents who have always loved and supported me. (My Mom saved canned goods for years so I wouldn't starve in a garret. Sure she may claim now that she was joking, but I think she really did it.)

Thanks for my siblings who I bossed about mercilessly in my know-it-all oldest child manner, but somehow managed to love me anyway. (Of course... I do know it all so maybe that's why.)

Thanks for my DH. A good man who makes me happy. Enough said.

Thanks for the roof over my head, the yarn and fabric in my stash, the sweet kitties who are at home right now laying a fine mist of fur on the aforementioned stash, dear friends, and the yummy food with the welcoming in-laws tomorrow.

Life is feeling good right now. Not perfect (whatever that would be), but truly, deeply good. And for that... I'm thankful.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, love filled Thanksgiving with whoever and whatever you are thankful for.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Welcome Home

by Caroline

If a picture says a thousand words then I certainly don't have to say any more:

Welcome home Jonathan and thank you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Blogiversary to Us!

One year (and a couple of weeks) ago my fellow fiber enthusiast sister Caroline posted the first entry to this our shared creation.
We didn't know how it would go or how well we'd do with it... we're still not sure about that. But since that momentous occasion we have manged to average a post a week! Not that we've posted every week... or even every month... but if you average it out...
We've gone to Fiber Festivals, learned to spin, taught others to spin, taught others to knit, designed and constructed huge period Shakespearean shows...
It's been a busy year.

Now many on the blogosphere have contest and give out prizes on their blogiversary. Uhm... we'll get back to you on that...

In the meantime, Happy Blogiversary Caroline!!! (who is apparently celebrating it by going to Disneyworld this week).
Happy Blogiversary to me!!! (who is celebrating it by... making spaghetti last night. Hey wait a minute...)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day

(The firing of the cannon across the street, followed by taps)

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month...

With gratitude and respect to all veterans every where...

To my dad (in for 20 years, a Retired Navy pilot)

and my Nephew (Army Reserve, back in the states as of this week) (with his team, second from left)

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fall Fiber Festival of VA '08 and more!

by Caroline and Kathleen

I've been so eager for this vacation! Both a chance to visit with my sister and her DH and to return to the Fall Fiber Festival. Last year was the first time Kathleen and I went and it was such a good time, so I was really looking forward to this year. (And I was excited to have Caroline visit! I really enjoy sharing the festival with her. We used to go to a music festival in VT every summer back when I lived in the Northeast. Now I'm in VA and we have the fiber festival!) We had another beautiful weekend, although thankfully, a little cooler than last year. (And a lot less dust!) I didn't sign up for any workshops; I had decided to dedicate Saturday to the Sheepdog Trials. What an amazing animal the border collie is; so eager to be out there that they are turning in circles waiting for their people to catch up to them. They look like they are in motion even when they are standing still! I was able to ask questions as I watched and learned a lot about the trials and the dogs. I think you can click to make bigger. (I had a workshop on Saturday morning... Nalbinding. It was very interesting and I thought our instructor did a fine job with us. I guess I'd describe the technique as a mix of sewing and braiding; it produces a very nice textured cord. Doubt that I'll use it again, but since I'm on a mission to learn everything ever... that's one more technique! Only about a millionbillion to go!
Then I joined Caroline at the dogs...)

The festival food offerings were varied and tasty but I went for a hot dog and chips. (I had chicken teriyaki and LoMein... just okay. Better than starving. I don't know why I didn't get the lamb sandwich... I love lamb! And I happen to like the macabre irony of eating the lamb while admiring cute sheep.) Then, it was time for the highlight of the festival food: fresh apple cider donuts, tossed in cinnamon....mmmmmm! (Yummyummyummy!)

(After lunch, while Caroline continued to watch the dogs, I went browsing with Angie, who used to come to our Knit Night sessions when she lived down here but we never see her anymore now that she's left us and moved far away. Almost two whole hours away! She was looking for a drop spindle, but she bought half-price silk yarn instead... close enough!)

Saturday night we went to a concert, a fundraiser for a local musician who is ill. The music was great! I wish I had a music clip to put up for you all. Unfortunately, we had to leave at intermission so we could get up early for the festival. I have no links ready for these groups, they don't all have one so, in brief: 1. Faster Than Walking, 2. Danny Knicely & Burt Carlson, & 3. Neal Knicely, Steve Parks, & Bob Driver. (I met Steve when I first moved to this town. He's a musician and luthier, a fixture in town here, and a hell of a nice guy who has touched so many people's lives. This is a recurrance of his cancer... and there's not much they can do this time, but manage the pain.
So the community that he has touched so deeply, the huge and spread out group of friends and acquaintances, are pulling together to do what they can for him and his family. Dinners and concerts and CD sales all to try to help with the inevitable mountain of medical costs.)

After the concert, I did something that I thought I would never do:

Kathleen has been spinning for a while and as soon as the fiber fumes got me, she offered a lesson. (Bwahaha) The next day I bought some roving and a spindle (Bwahahaha). I'm extremely inconsistent but really enjoying it (Bwahahahaha).

Sunday I went shopping at the vendor's tents. I was glad to see Dianne ("creative" on Ravelry) from Creatively Dyed Yarn had returned and bought several skeins from her (she has added cashmere to the mix, whoo hoo!). I have a lovely fall-colored, wool & nylon skein from Bransonas (can't get their link to work) and a wonderful green Suri Alpaca (going to grow up to be the Lisha Lace Scarf) from My Favorite Yarn Shop.

And then there was the roving (now that I am a spinner LOL [Bwahahahahahahaha])! I bought several different colors but not a lot of any. Some Marshmallow & Fudge, a blend of corriedale and border leicester from Steam Valley Fiber Farm. I got several strips of corriedale from Carodan Farm Wool Shop.

Leaving the festival, we stopped in at the open house at Lagniappe Farm (another link I couldn't get to work [fixed!]) to view the alpacas. Raveler merianb and her husband raise alpacas and Kathleen and I enjoyed a visit, getting just about every alpaca related question we ever thought of, answered. (Did you know that alpacas don't give birth at night or in bad weather? They just hold it! And that they go into heat triggered by the sound a male makes? They had four pregnant females, two of which should be giving birth any day now... so we talked a lot about alpaca's sex lives...)

Finally, a picture of our combined haul, showing that we had more control this year than last. (Most of that is Caroline's.)

Wait! The spinning isn't done has to be plied:

And now we have yarn:

(Unfortunately the week has slippped by so fast... just like last year we're saying "We need more time!")

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Quick again and it's Caroline's fault...

by Kathleen

This is a very quick post, but I wanted to share this (click for bigger)...

My LYS, On the Lamb, has put together The Great American Aran Afghan. It's going to be raffled off to benefit an arts center in Staunton (and yes I have my ticket, DH has his and MIL hers). It was made with by volunteers using yarn donated by Claudia Handpaint.
Volunteers including yours truly who did this square...

The Tipsy Cable Square! (By the way... check out that gorgeous cabled edging!)
An additional volunteer was Marcia from my Tuesday night knit group who did two squares...

Now, I've got to go home and clean the house because somebody is coming to visit for the weekend so that we can go to the Fall Fiber Festival!

psst... Caroline remember, it's THIS weekend not next!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

OCD much?

by caroline

9 Amanda hats, 4 or 5 Pretty in Pink baby blankets, & 30+ wee tiny socks...yes I'm project obsessive. But for this last swap, September's Back to School theme, I really let go. School colors was the suggestion, either mine or my swap partner's. But I thought school supplies was a little more fun so I knit a pencil:

But the pencil seemed to need an eraser. Remember those half & half erasers that erase pencil & pen?:

Oh, but if you are going to knit a pen & pencil eraser then you need a pen as well:

You know what's next, don't you? Pencil, eraser, just needs paper:

I packed them all up with the real objects and sent them off in a pencil case. I had such a fun time making these (I am so easy to entertain) but I am feeling like I set my bar a little high for the next swap. How will I go back to normal wee tiny socks, now?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Slap and Dash...

by Kathleen

When Caroline and I talked about setting up a blog together we both agreed that we shouldn't feel we had to apologize if we didn't post for a while... to each other or anyone else. (Pretty cocky weren't we? Assuming there would be anyone else reading this... though we knew Mom would.) We never felt that other bloggers needed to apologize to us... they didn't need to feel bad for having a real life.
Funny though... how you do start to feel kind of guilty for going away.

I mentioned (somewhere back there) that I had gotten a spinning wheel from a colleague here. It was an odd wheel made in a four post frame manner with an antique cast iron wheel...
Here it is...

It's beautiful. Really a work of craftsmanship. And heavy as all get out to treadle.
We've fixed a few problems (the bobbin was split and it spun loosely on the spindle without activating the flyer), but have a few more to go before it spins well (the leather belt is too loose and doesn't have a good enough grip on the wheel).
I don't know how much spinning I'll do on it as it's made for making thick yarns. But it sure is pretty.

Then in the "If everyone else jumped off the bridge would you do it too?" category...

Yes, apparently I would. This is "Flat Feet", a different way of dyeing yarn for socks. It's a machine knit blank that is handpainted. Then to knit it you unravel it from one end and knit as you go.

The pattern changes based on the size of your sock and your gauge. It's really just another kind of variegated yarn... but it is kind of fun to see what the pattern as dyed does when it gets knit. However I'm finding it not so much fun knitting with bumpy pre-knit yarn. It's not terrible, but it's not a great feel.
So I'll probably only jump off this bridge just the one time.

Other knitting news... I'm up to 17 of the 20 squares needed for the Lizard Ridge Afghan. The second Can-Do sock is close to finished.
And I'm knitting away on DH's sweater...

I've been working on this for over two years now. It's my first full size sweater and I'm making up the pattern as I go. I also had some issues with basic math and lost a skein of yarn in a port-o-potty (I was NOT going in after it).
It will have a full post of it's own someday. It deserves it.

A while ago my guild had a synthetic dye workshop. We made a colorwheel, mixing the dyes by a percentage based formula, and then immersing the fabrics in cups to get the mottled effect. It was quite fun...

My first few reds are too similar in color, but the yellow to green to blue worked out well.

Our guild had a picnic at the end of July and there was a challenge due to be judged that day. Unfortunately I got really, really, really sick, and couldn't make it. So I can't show my challenge project until the next meeting but here are the ingredients...

By the way... the 4th of July Parade we were in?.. We won first place! We beat out the float with the kids in the pool! Nobody ever beats out floats with kids on them... especially flatbed trucks with a bunch of middle to elderly ladies decked out in red, white and blue while knitting, spinning and weaving. Hmmm... must have been the hooking that did it. (Rug hooking that is!)

And this is why I've been off the blog and am going back off for another few weeks...
I'm doing costumes for a production of Shakespeare's Richard II at the American Shakespeare Center. The show opens in a couple of weeks.

I need to go sew now.


p.s. A big "Thanks!" to all the members of the ManchVegas group who were knitting that night I called Mom about our spaghetti sauce. Adding sugar did the trick (but we boiled a potato in it too just to make sure).

p.p.s. To the left at the bottom of the sidebar you will see a little white egg labeled "My Dragon". If you would not mind clicking on it I sure would appreciate the help getting it to hatch. Thanks!