Friday, April 29, 2005

Yarn: Fascination, Obsession, or Sickness...?

So what is it about yarn?

I love the look of it, the smell of it (even wet!) the touch of it. I spend hours considering my next purchase. I peruse all my catalogues trying to decide what next. Look through the back of every issue of IK to see if there's some shop I've overlooked. Hours, even in the wee ones of the night, I spend cruising online looking for my next catch. I visit yarn. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about...visiting yarn even when you have no intention/need/desire to purchase.

I have yarn guilt too. I'm sure there are things I need far more than yarn, especially when I have so much more than I can knit in any given lifetime. Yarn I own just to fondle. Yarn I own just to say I own it. Yarn I own for the delight of gazing upon it. Yarn I actually make up into something.

I've visited this subject very recently, as recently as the last "Flash Your Stash" meme. And yet I feel compelled to talk about this issue, this thing, this captivation. And here's why:

I have been buying yarn faster and more frequently than I change my oil/change my sheets/brush my teeth....

Take today, f'rinstance. I woke up late, not an unusual thing given my bedtime of 3:15am, and went to the kitchen to make coffee. On the way to the kitchen I fired up my laptop. And before I finished stirring my coffee, I had spent $67.43 on yarn and books from Knitpicks. This would not be so bad but I had just (the evening prior) received my order from KnitHappens, and am already anxiously awaiting some yarn (Silk!) I purchased at a stashbusting sale ~and~ an order from Elann. Why, oh why am I so driven?

Okay, the truth is that every single thing I bought already has a pattern and a plan to it. I only bought one small skein just for lust's sake. And I feel justified in spending a few dollars an enormous amount of money on yarn, books and patterns because we have just sold the business and because dh is now on a salary which means that soon we will have to adhere to a much stricter budget (have I justified/rationalized/excused myself sufficiently here?)

Here's the latest, my goodies from KnitHappens (notice the bag next to the yarn...I love it! It makes me feel so special! So cosmopolitan!)

New books:
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Scottie's sweater-to-be:
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Socks for me...Lorna's Laces in 'Bittersweet'
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Obsession? Fascination? or Sickness? Only my Mastercard knows for sure. And honestly, who really cares?

So bring it on! I can't wait for the next yarn to show up!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Questions for Marianne...

Dearest Marianne,

Grrrrrl, you gotta get yourself a Bloglines button so people can find you! I just subscribed to your blog and noticed that I am only the second person to do so. Do you have any idea how many people would be interested in what you have to say? Well, you'll never find out until you get yourself a Bloglines button. Bloglines dot com. Do it. Do it NOW!

Now that I've said my piece (I really like your blog and I think others should have easy access to it too...) will you still answer the questions? Please?

  1. You are quite an accomplished knitter from what I can see. What's the most favorite thing you've ever knit? The yarn you like the most? Bamboo, birch or metal?
  2. I noticed that you like to dye yarn too. You have some beauties on your blog.. But I also noticed that some of the yarn that you dyed and knitted up, you actually sheared the sheep yourself. Would you care to elaborate on that?
  3. You dream of yarn. Does this lead to anything other than disappointment upon waking? I mean, do you find yourself online surfing the yarn shops even before you have your coffee? (I think this is what happened to me the other day. In fact I'm sure of it. Really.)
  4. You seem to have a Noro addiction. True or false? Did you ever remake the Noro fingerless gloves?
  5. If I pleaded and whimpered and begged and offered to pay you, would you make me a dpn roll like the one you made for yourself? I am so impressed!
  6. Number 5 wasn't exactly a question, so here's one more: You have absolutely no real bio about yourself, and other than what I've been able to glean from your blog, (going all the way back to your first post), I know almost nothing about you. Are you a knitterly fugitive from justice, or just a particularly private person?
I look forward to seeing your answers (especially to number 5) (that was really selfish, right? Sorry.) and your new "Subscribe/Bloglines" button!

"Raindrops on roses and..."

I wandered over to see what my new blogging friend Rox had to say today. She apparently had a little bit of The Sound of Music on her mind, and it got her to thinking about a few of her favorite things, and she went ahead and made a list and then challenged anyone who read the post to make a list of their top ten fave things. (I'm feeling run-on-sentence-y today. Grammar avengers please avert your eyes.)

So anyway, I thought this might make for a good 'tag, you're it' meme because it's about the things in our lives that make us happy, and happy should lead to gratitude, and gratitude leads to contentment with life. Well, my life, in any event. Let's see what I can come up with.

  1. My family. I have a fabulous husband who rubs my feet (this should actually qualify by itself) and two kids who have never given me the sort of heartache I gave my parents. (Sorry, Dad...)
  2. Maggie, my dog. I was never a dog person before her, and may never have another once she's gone, but she is my favorite non-human being. Unqualified love is not to be taken lightly.
  3. Yarn. Everything yarn related. I am enamoured of every sort of yarn.
  4. When I hit the send button and don't experience any choking fear that I may have just insulted someone, hurt someone's feelings, opened myself up to a libel suit...(we ADHD people seem to *live* with our feet in our mouths. I lack an internal censor most of the time. I just apologize a lot.)
  5. Shultz's Pretzel Factory Double-Baked Pretzel Balls. The bomb. Best snack food ever made. Or maybe wasabi peas. I can't pick.
  6. Fresh coffee exactly the way I like it made in my favorite mug.
  7. Logging on and finding comments at the bottom of my posts. (I think this is a universal favorite I right?)
  8. Mendelsohn's Italian Symphony in C. It got me through every exam I ever took in college.
  9. Fresh cut flowers appearing on the counter, brought by my thoughtful honey. His timing is impeccable usually.
  10. My relationship with my God. More than the first half of my life was spent as an atheist. Reason and logic led to faith. This should actually be at the top of the list, now that I think about it, because it informs everything else in my life, and all the other things on the list
So, how about it? Anyone else have a few favorite things they'd like to share? I think I'm gonna sent this off to Marguerite because I've just "met" her and would like to know more about her; to Vicki who always has something nice to say to me, and to Atouria who has become so dear to me. I think if I could be indulged to have a number 11. it would be all the new and interesting people I've come to know here in the knitblogging world.

That's all the news that fits this morning, folks...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Five questions and lovely sock yarn

First, the yarn. I love a good yarn. And this dyed up so nicely. I might be getting better at this...
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...and the swatch from a little bit I drew off at the end of winding just for this purpose. I think it'll make some very bright socks, eh? So, Heather, send me an address and there will be bright hand-dyed socks on your end of the state! (Okay, there prolly already are, but I'm trying to take credit and make a point here...duh.) I will be ordering more of this yarn now that I've gotten a clue.
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And now,

Questions for Annie:

1. Just exactly how many mini pretzel sticks can you shove into your mouth at one time (without know what I mean...)

2. When you left for college you were planning on majoring in some esoteric field..I don't remember exactly, but it was something like medical bioengineering or biomedical engineering or some such. Then you got married. Now I hear talk of lawyerdom. Here's the question: (just hang on a sec! You knew I would get around to it!) Just exactly (or inexactly, as you wish) what is the correlation between the change in major and marriage? And will it change again with a change in location? Or a change of season? Or pocket change?

3. What is airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

4. You have been known to be a bit (ha!) of a daredevil. Name the daring sports-like things you have done in your life. What daring sport have you never participated in but plan to at some future time? Motherhood does not count.

5. Books. Anything you want to say on the subject.

And remember that you have to email your answers to me as well as post them on your LiveJournal, because some of us do not have access to it...but I love you anyway.

Katy, you'll just have to wait in line. Sorry. Because I'd be asking stuff like:

1. Have you emptied the dishwasher yet?
2. et cetera

and we all know the answer to that.

Kayla, I have something for you...I'll be sending it your way imminently. Be on the lookout.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Dyeing sock yarn: Take #2

I spent the day working on the aforementioned baby sweater and hat (now with booties!) and finally the acrylic became more than I could handle.

Therefore, I spent an incredible amount of money buying yarn online to compensate. Elann has my MasterCard number, that is. And I happened to be one of the few, the privileged, the first, even, to be a test orderer online with KnitHappens, which will be up and open extremely soon! (It went flawlessly, for those who need to know. And once the yarn arrives, I will be so completely assured of its perfection that I may need to order more. And more! Mwwwwwwahahahah!)

In case that wasn't enough, I grabbed the other skein of KnitPicks yarn and dyed it...I think this one came out a little better. It's laid out here on the washer (the only place in the house I can use a flash without waking someone...) in all its damp glory. The colors, while digitally rectified, are almost spot on. I have offered this to Heather of the exotic yarn buying habits (go's true!) to whom I have also given the right to decline gracefully and without hurting my feelings (but this will make some killer socks, I'm bettin'!) We'll see who makes the socks. Please stand by.
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And now, although I actually asked, nay, volunteered to be interviewed, then had the audacity to dilly-dally around about it, I have finally ceased my procrastination and will thus answer the questions posed to me by Nancy (and as she says, y'all know the rules) (but here they are because one of the rules is that you hafta post the rules):

Here are the rules:

  1. Leave a comment saying "Interview Me". I will do the first two people anyone who asks.
  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.
1. When did you first learn to knit, and who taught you? Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a land, far, far wait, that's Cinderella...umm...left-handed, impatient mom, no talent for knitting. I picked it up by myself in November 2003 when I saw someone wearing a pair of socks made out of self-striping yarn and found out that I couldn't buy the socks, but I could buy the yarn and make them. And it's been expensive ever since. And they lived happily everafter.

2. How many kids do you have and how old are they? Kids? Kids? I have kids?!? (just kidding!) Katy's almost 19 and getting married in July to the man of her dreams (see previous post wherein she's wearing a glorious, tres cher white gown which she deserves to because she has waited. Actually. Really. Thank God.) Nick is 16 and an Eagle Scout (ditto previous posts.) They've always been homeschooled. They're wonderful. I could not have been more blessed.

3. I know you are a Born Again Christian, do you find knitting to be a spiritual practice for you? Ummm, I'm not sure how to answer this one. I mean, there are times I'm knitting for someone and I find myself praying for that person. Sometimes I sit and listen to Scripture on cd while I knit. And sometimes it's so relaxing that it just takes me to that pink place in my head...

4. If you could take a vacation anywhere, where would it be? By yourself, with the kids, a girlfriend or just your husband? This is harder than the last one! Well, I live in the woods, in an area where people come to vacation, so I think that the thing I'd most like to do is take a 50 state LYS crawl with anyone who had enough stamina and/or money. Okay...that was the fantasy answer. In reality, I think I'd like to take my family to Manhattan. I used to work in the garment district. I love New York City. It is the antithesis of my current existence yet it's still in my blood. And there are some rockin' yarn shops there too...

5. What made you decide to branch out into dying your yarn? Do you spin? Curiousity. Plain and simple. Fascination with handpainted, hand-dyed yarns has led me to experiment. See all over the blog...I'm plain eat up with dyeing yarn.

I do circles. Honest.

Once the kids are gone and there is a room for my burgeoning yarn habit to move to, there will be a spinning wheel and lessons. Curiously, my DO has a small farm on which he has beefalo, and this summer he is driving clear to Minnesota for a yak. We have already discussed the question of yak fiber and its potential profitability (but I get my cut off the top...pun intended.) I think he should leave doctoring and farm llamas and alpacas. I could be his fiber agent...

Thanks once again for stopping by and putting up with my ramblings. If you have any intention of having me interview you, speak now or forever hold your peace. I can come up with some deep, searching questions...or not. We'll see.


Monday, April 25, 2005

Dyeing Yarn and April Snow

Like every other Michigan knitblogger, here I am posting photos of the snow...the first is from last night, my deck in back. Snow looks so cool when you photograph it.
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And this morning when I let the dog out (poor Maggie. She hates the cold. It aggravates her arthritis.) Note the thermometer...18F. Toasty.
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This is not angel hair pasta. This is the Dye Your Own sock yarn from Knitpicks that I mentioned yesterday.
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I photographed every step of the process and I will not bore you with it. Let's just cut to the chase:
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Lots of skinny yarn drying in the hall bathroom shower. We're getting ready to ball it up and I will post that as an edit once it's done.

Stay warm and cozy...

Edited in later: two little yarn muffins of sock yarn. This was a learning experience. I actually swatched up a little bit on size 3s and it looks a faded chambray shirt sort of way (Note to self: it needed more time in the microwave.) Katy loves it though, and even offered me the Koigu back in exchange for it. No dice. She gets the Koigu too. I wanna see her make socks before she leaves for Okinawa!
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I have another skein waiting for another try. I learned some things from this and will do it a little differently next time...

'Night, all.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Saturday Stuff

I will be posting this post on my new HPPavilion assuming I can get it out of dh's hands (note that it is his lap on which it currently rests...the wallpaper he took from one of my stash photos. Clever guy.) In all fairness, I have to say that he is making this machine do things I didn't know a computer could do...or that I even wanted it to do! We have security cameras around the property (we live in the woods, but our company designs and installs security, and we have info that needs protecting. Plus, it's really cool to spy on the kids when they're playing basketball) and I can now view all of the cameras from here. My laptop can access files in every other computer in the house, print on the printer in the office, play music, dust and do dishes (wishful thinking)...stuff I'd never think of having it do, but will probably wonder how I did without before long.
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In other news, here's the first swatch of yarn dyed with my new Gaywool dyes. They're bright, easy to use, but drop even one tiny crystal and there's color everywhere! Today I dyed a skein of Knitpick's Color Your Own sock yarn in some very interesting colors. I'd love to say that it was a smashing success, but I've still got a lot to learn. Photos will be posted soon. I hope.
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So here's what we woke up to. You can't actually see it because light snow doesn't photograph well when it's in the air, but indeed, it is snowing. And cold. There's a fire in the woodstove and the daffodils, which are just budding, are in danger of freezing. Boo. Hiss. Michigan in April. This is normal.
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And because it's cold again, I am finishing up my lovely blue sweater. All I have left is 8 rows on the sleeves and I can put it together. I have already done a 3-needle bind-off on the shoulders (this was a neat trick too, given that I was using bound-off stitches. I picked up stitches just outside of the bindoff and put them on needles, and...well, it worked.) With any luck it'll stay cold long enough for me to finish and take the requisite headless photo without severe sweating.
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It showed up by UPS yesterday...the Summer Tweed patterns! Royal Yarns had it for less than anyone else, and they shipped it express for not too much money. Here and I'm thinkin' I've got summer knitting to do...hah! Summer will have to wait. There's snow today.
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This is the odds-on favorite for a summer top. There are several other terrific ones and because I have so much yarn (I did get greedy) there is enough to make a skinny tank for Katy. She's thrilled...I'm just glad she likes the color.
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In the meantime, there are numerous baby showers, and this is what I'm doing for my friend Kellie. See, Kellie has 3 boys. And she lost a pregnancy at 5 months that almost killed her (no, really. Put her in a coma for about a week. Very scary.) And by God's grace, she is almost ready to have another baby, this time for sure a girl. Here is my knitting contribution, a raglan sweater and hat (both in process) with a little bit of fun fur, in pink pink pink.
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Katy, meanwhile, is on her way to a shower for her friend Christin with this crocheted blankie she finished very late the other night (seen here ready for a bath) and the hat and socks (shown in a previous post.)
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I have questions awaiting me on Nancy's blog but they'll wait until tomorrow, as this post has gotten quite long and if you're still with me you're probably hoping I'll shut up soon. So I will. Until tomorrow then....

Friday, April 22, 2005

But can it do this...?

For reasons I cannot comprehend, Blogger has suddenly decided to right itself and point my address back to my blog instead of to the dashboard. So now, it works with and without the www. part. Go figure.

Dh went shopping for milk and came home with a mondo laptop for me. In case there weren't enough computers in this house. No, really. There is a server, two desktops, an Ipaq and three laptops. Obviously, we're short one, because that leaves one of the four people and four animals without some way of getting online. Really.

I am simply blown away. And in the dark, mainly because I have to learn how to use a new machine. The old one really is old (simpler, I guess I should say) and this one has functions the old one couldn't even imagine. Thank you, my Scottie. I love it.

It has a new logo. Another button...that makes two! See here:
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I feel so rich. And now it needs a name.

Thanks to everybody who responded to my plea for new bloghost info. (Did you notice that the word bloghost has the word ghost in it? All the problems and issues are beginning to become clear to me.) As soon as I can get my head around the enormity of the task, I will be moving. I will leave a forwarding address. I hope.

So now I'm gonna go play with my new laptop and customize all the cool stuff on it. You'll be hearing more from me now that it's easier to do (and now that Blogger is being agreeable again...)

Thanks again, sweetie. I can't believe you gave me this!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Am I losing my mind? or simply my posts?

Just a quick note to express my extraordinary frustration at what may be some ugly synergy between Blogger and...Netscape? For reasons I can't account for, when I try to open my blog, it immediately redirects me to the Dashboard part of the site. I've tried viewing other Blogger accounts and some of them load just fine...others :::redirect me back to my own Dashboard:::: This is weird beyond words and annoying beyond comprehension.

Here's one other little piece of weirdness: if I input the address as, it brings up the current page with no problem. If I attempt to reload the page, it sends me back to square one, the Blogger Dashboard. Whaaaat's goin' on? Anyone?

I've been toying with the idea of moving my blog and this about cements it for me. What I'd like to ask from anyone who reads this and doesn't use Blogger: (and please send your answers to my email as I can't get into the comments at this point. Oh...did I mention that...?)

  1. What do you use?
  2. What does it cost/year (I've steeled myself to the fact that it'll cost me. Ya get whatcha pay for...)
  3. Are you happy with it?
  4. What is the ease of use?
  5. What features does it have that you like most?
  6. If you were in my position, would you choose your blog host again? Or would you move?
  7. If you'd move, why? And where would you go?

As you can tell, I'm ready. I haven't said any bad words yet, but it's getting close, so I'd like to move before I say anythnig I'll have to repent of...

Thanks in advance to all who respond. Please email your answers to: sgrougan at alarmguy dot net

Wedding dress picture...Mike, don't look!

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This is my beautiful first child and her betrothed, mid-December, just a day or so after he proposed and put a diamond on her left hand. Shortly after Christmas he left for Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, from whence he shall return just in time for the wedding in July. Katy is chronically lonely and sad, but makes the most of it, spending as much time as she humanly can online talking with Mike. (He's pretty cute, eh?) They are about perfect for one another and I am praying for a long, blessed and happy life together. (And yes, those curls are all natural. She fights with them every!)

As promised, here is a shot of the wedding dress. If you could look closer you'd see all the pins up the side where they have to alter it. Nonetheless, she looks (and feels!) like a fairy princess in it. There almost were no pictures as I managed to forget the digital camera and wound up screaming across the highway to WalM*rt to buy a tossable camera. The photo quality as transferred onto a cd at the local RiteAid is lousy...but at least I could show dh what he is paying for...

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Long day, time to rest. Knitting content tomorrow.
Blessings, to all...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Yarn Ho!

So we spent Monday in Traverse City doing the stuff that requires a real city/town to do...see doctors, shop at major stores (Target, Sam's Club) and buy yarn in vast amounts.

Yep. Imagine that. I bought yarn. Who'd'a thunk?

We have this wonderful store called Yarn Quest (Abby, if you're coming to TC and have never been there, allow me to highly recommend this lys...) After searching diligently for baby yarn (dd found what she needed...I didn't get to photograph it b/c it's already on the needles) I came across Rowan's Summer Tweed. Now, I'm not really a Rowanette, but I am a sucker for silk, and this silk/cotton blend (the color is called Summer Berries) is wonderful to the touch and fabulous to look at. I'm waiting on a book of Rowan patterns for it now, but I may wind up making it up into something else entirely (heretical? I think not. Back, back! all you snarling Rowanettes! It's MY yarn now...) The photo color isn't quite true, but the size of the pile is...1180 yards of deliciousness, just waiting for me to finish the lovely blue sweater (I know...I've been saying that for 3 months, but actually, I'm only 8 short rows from finishing the sleeves, the shoulders are already sewn...I'm getting there just in time for the 80F weather we're having. Alpaca and wool are nice in the summer...not.)

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I also snagged some of the brightest hot pink sock yarn I've ever seen. I will never lose my feet in this...I think. And thanks to the wizardry of Photoshop, the color is actually true, at least on my monitor. Hot pink. Yup. Boy howdy!
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So in case that wasn't enough, I arrived home to find a package from Patternworks in the mail. This purchase was one of those "...we won't send you any more catalogues unless you make a purchase soon," types of buys. So I bought this lovely Koigu for dd's first pair of adult-sized socks (she likes making socks for babies b/c they go so quickly, but I wanted her to make a full sized pair before she leaves for Okinawa, when I won't be readily available to help...and she'd been stalling, so the Koigu's luciousness convinced her...) The photo is blurry because I was feeling that way by then. Sorry. Colorway #122.
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Along with the yarn was this patternbook that holds several I'd been wanting to try.
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In fact, I may actually use the Rowan Summer Tweed for this:
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And this pattern is definitely in my radar. It's simple, but I love the detailing on the front and the sleeves.
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So there you have it, yarnfans. My day in TC was made almost complete (complete would have included stops purchases at Baa, Baa Black Sheep and Lost Arts Yarns, too...) by the acquisition of large amounts of beautiful yarn. And buttons. I forgot the buttons. Translucent little hearts for the baby raglan sweater I'm making for a friend's shower (pictures will follow when I'm done. Shower's too close for knitting comfort...)

Yarn Ho!

Monday, April 18, 2005

"Where, oh where has my internet gone...?"

For a multitude of reasons, including, but not limited to: Blogger, Bloglines and the sudden loss of my highspeed internet, I am at a loss to post much. Hopefully those things will all right themselves soon and I can blather more quickly out into space.

I am, however, off to the post office where I will be sending Abby Melanie Falick's Knitting in America as a token of my appreciation for her creativity in producing me a real, live, brandy-new (go look at the top of the sidebar!) button for my blog! Emy out in Singapore (go say "Hi, Emy!" to her this morning's night there, but, well...just stop by, 'k?) has the Bernat book coming, and some stitchmarkers she never showed up to claim from before. And y'all must have wanted Vicki to have the rest of the books, so off they go to her (congrats on smelling so sweet, Miss Vic!)

Before I attempt to make Blogger actually post this I want to leave you with a photo of what we were doing yesterday:
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This is my son Nick, one of over 65 boys in the Lake Huron Area Council Eagle Scout graduating class of 2004, who, at the regional Court of Honor, was one of only 4 Scouts chosen to speak on the program. And his topic, fittingly, was "A Tribute to My Parents." I was not only proud and moved, I was amused, as he was the only one in the entire two hours to make everyone laugh! Great job, Nick! Your parents love you so much and are very, very proud.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Giveaway: vintage knitting books....

...Now that I have your attention, see, you have to actually read the post to find these things out...

Scroll down a day or two and you'll see the post wherein I listed the things I found and would be delighted to send out to people who would use and appreciate them. So far I've heard from Vicki. She's gonna get them all unless I hear from a few other interested parties by Sunday evening. I hope to mail them out on Monday morning.

Do drop me an email (see sidebar for addy) if you're wanting one of the books. Otherwise, Vicki gets 'em all. And since she's now 4+ weeks non-smoking, maybe she deserves them all...

You decide. I await your requests.


I am usually only vaguely aware of events that happen outside of my immediate environment because something forces me to be aware. That goes double for something further afield of my line of vision. The event in question is The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Although I have spotted the mounting excitement on the blogs of other knitters, I really have no idea what all the shouting is about. And given that I am in Michigan and it is very unlikely that I will make it to Maryland any time in the (near or distant) future, I've pretty much ignored all the brouhaha.

Now as I was perusing all the updates in Blogger, I came across one of my faves,
The Knitlette , who spoke briefly but movingly about the festival in question. In fact, she went so far as to make a button up to indicate that although she would not be there, she is not in any way, envious of those who will be going (see the button in the sidebar --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->) The button tickled my fancy with all those letters (an unpronounceable acronym if ever I saw one) that stand for I'm Not Going To Maryland Sheep And Wool Festival But I Am NOT Bitter. I'm with her...I'm not bitter either. Perhaps if I actually knew what was going on I would be very bitter. But I'm not. And neither is she. Just go ask her. Go on...see for yourself.

That's all I had to say tonight. Tomorrow I'll tell you the tale of the wedding dress fitting and why there were But I'm not going to humiliate myself about it tonight, for I am not bitter about anything. Almost. But I am tired.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I'm so over it...

Am I the only one who has of late been distressed and confounded by Blogger? I realize that this is a free service, and for that I am appreciative. But frequent incidents over the course of the past few weeks have been infuriating. I have wasted more time trying to post/edit/etc. than any one person of good sense oughta. Perhaps this is a ploy by Blogger to get us to purchase upgraded service? (Does Blogger offer a paid upgrade? I dunno...) On the other hand (and there's always an other hand...) I have learned more about html than I ever had any intention of learning. In fact, through a little bit of intelligent source viewing, I managed to recover my lost archives! (But where did they go for so long? How and why did they disappear? Anyone?)

So anyway, I was running errands in town w/dd when I spotted the local thrift shop. I commented to Katy, "Ya never know when you just might score some great yarn in there!" She cynically replied, "Mom, this is Grayling. No one here knits with anything but Red Heart, present company excluded." Even so, I decided to stop. And to my great delight there was.... yarn. But there were some fabulous books! This represents 4/6ths of the total. Two books are on my shelf: Melanie Falick's Knitting in America and another one of the Vogue books that has 30+ patterns with cables, which are my present passion.

This first one was printed in 1954 and has Stitchy McYarnpants' name on it, if she wants it and sends me her addy to mail it. I've emailed her, and if I don't hear back, or she declines, it'll be up for grabs.
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Here are three books which I would like to see given, free, to good homes...
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This is a page spread shot out of the Design Knitting book:

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This is a page spread out of the Vogue book:

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And this is out of the Fashion Knitting for Children book:

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Send me your request (email addy on the sidebar) and mailing address. One per customer, unless I only have one customer, then you get the whole lot. And if there are multiple requests for the same book, I'll random draw it. These are surprisingly cool books...dated, but then, everything old is new again, eh?

And one more photo for the fans (that's you, Mike): dd Katy, sitting in front of the woodstove (in which there, yes, is a fire currently) working diligently on the previously mentioned fiance sweater. Those sleeves are coming along just fine, thanks for asking. (I wish mine were as quick to knit. Bah.) She goes today to have her wedding gown tomorrow. (Mike, this is the last post you can read until April archives. Really.)
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I'd like to get the books mailed out no later than the 20th of April, so if you'd like one, please let me know.

And now I'm heading back to raking the woods.....

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Whoo hoo!

The new IK just arrived in the mail. I'm gonna go make a cuppa coffee and see what looks good!

It's a beeyooteefull day in the neighborhood...

...and I was awakened at the crack of dawn, not shafts of light beaming through the slats in the window, not the delightful chirping of birdies returning to this part of the, not even by the barking of my fearless and intrepid watchdog Maggie (see previous posts for evidence of her watchful guarddog-like abilities.)

Instead, I was awakened by the sound of many huge dumptrucks passing through this quiet part of the woods. WTH? (That's "what the heck" for those of us who try not to use profanity. This is a G-rated blog...) More downstaters building huge "cottages" here in the woods. No clue that some of us actually like the bucolic nature of underdeveloped areas. Ah well...wish me luck in purchasing the property immediately next door...that way I can put a few more acres between me and civilization.

See, here's a little photo clip of what it looked like outside my window this morning.

Yep, folks, I realize that many of you may find it hard to believe, but it's only 31F here in the woods at 9am, April 12th. We're hoping for spring, any day now. Here's a peek through my kitchen window:
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And I walked outside to take a photo of a little piece of my front yard. The sun streaming through the trees almost made up for the rude dump truck awakening.
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In knitting news, I have none. I have been too busy (too busy to knit? That's almost blasphemy!) doing the rest of life to participate in my second favorite indoor sport. However, dd has been needling up a storm. Herewith, a picture of the hat and socks (her first! ) she made for a friend who's due shortly.
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And yes, Mike (Katy's Mike, not the unhappy brother Mike referred to in an earlier post) here is your sweater in progress. The pattern comes from Melanie Falick's Weekend Knitting and she's sped through it. No matter that Mike is stationed in Okinawa where he may not actually get to wear this for the duration of his time there (I am sure, for Katy's sake he will wear it, even if he has to stay in the a/c.) Katy assures me that it actually gets down to 45F in the winter there (I don't wear sweaters until it's in the 20sF...) and that he will indeed wear it outside. Or she will.
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Before I go any further, I need to wish some people a very happy birthday: Atouria turned 26 yesterday (I left b'day greetings in her comments, noting duly that she is almost exactly half as old as I and should never feel old because some of us really are older than her and are still alive.) If you haven't already done so, go wish her a belated happy birthday...

And today marks the 20th birthday of the child woman who should actually have been born to me because she's so much like me, my beloved Annibellini! Happy birthday, sweetie! :::sounds of loud singing to you:::

I am frustrated with this Blogger thing. And my highspeed has issues with G**gle and anything even remotely associated with it. I have been trying to put this post together for over 4 hours (can you believe that I have squandered this much time? I should have been knitting!) (Now I know why I haven't gotten any knitting done...duh!)

And now it's too late. More to do besides knit. Wedding stuff. Transcripts. Scout stuff. Gardening stuff. Stuff stuff.

I need a nap.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Sunny Sundays Send Spirits Soaring....

How's that for alliteration for you!?

Thanks for suffering me kindly through Friday's sadness. The problem has not only not resolved, but escalated as Michael has seen fit to email dh with some of the most awful invective, full of untruths and painful lying accusations. I think the boy has some real issues. We've decided that the best way to deal is to simply love him with the love of the Lord and ignore the ugliness spewing forth from him, as we know the source.

This afternoon we spent doing wedding invites. Whew! If anyone had ever given me the 411 on what this takes I would have hired a bunch of teenaged girls to help! So many pieces to pull together. And since most of the people coming have no idea where they're going I had to pull together a map. Duh. Dd had already addressed and sealed a dozen. So I made maps and she sealed them again. We will not be able to have a shower for her due to many issues (we're planning a housewarming shower when they get back from Okinawa in 3 years...) so we had to put the stuff in for the places where she has registered.

New envelopes, all around. Again. Glad I ordered extras.

She goes to get fitted for her dress on Thursday. I will likely post a photo as it is simply lovely (and I'm sure y'all want to see, riiight...) and she feels like a fairy princess in it. For the price, I think she oughta feel like Queen Elizabeth (just kidding...she's decades younger than Queen Liz.) Hopefully this will only take one or two fittings. She keeps going outside in the (still very weak, northern) sun to try to get some color. There'll be pictures. I promise. Her fiance doesn't read this. I don't think.

In outdoor news, I have crocuses (crocii?) I took pictures earlier when they were opened, but I guess I got too close because they were blurry. So herewith, nighttime posies. I planted these babies in a perennial garden bed three years ago and have had only greenery until this year, when I have been favored with flowers. I am tickled!

The other fun thing that's happening is that my strawberry patch is greening up again. Last year we had concrete replaced and they tore out more than half of my 5 year old patch. But these guys are one of the few plants that really like the sandy soil up here. They thrive. We have berries all summer, except if we get beaten to them by the chipmunks.

Knitting. Ah, yes, knitting. I remember it well. I have sat down no less than 9 times this weekend to knit and never got further than 1 or 2 rows before something else demanded my attention. Once I hit 'publish' on this post I'm gonna go knit and not let anything else disrupt me. I hope.

Atouria, dear, thanks for the encouragement! I have knit a bit on the sleeves...they actually are on size 8s also, it's just that there are 95 stitches on each sleeve with a cable in the middle of each, so each row tales a looong time, especially when I'm purling back. But there is progress, see? Sleevage.


I'm off to knit some more. Thanks to each and all who stood with me in prayer for my brother. I'm so blessed to know that there are people who are generous enough to put themselves out lay down their lives for someone they don't know.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Feeling outta and stuff

***Christian content*** (If this offends you, please pass on this post tonight...thanks.)

Can we talk? I mean, not knitting, or yarn, or anything like that...just for an evening?

I got an ugly email from one of my brothers today. I have four of them...brothers, I mean...I have two sisters, too. And if I may digress, it was kinda nice growing up in a large family (most of the time) because you could be at odds with three people and still have three friends. As we've grown older and established in our lives (I am the oldest at 51; the youngest is 40) many of us have chosen to remain close, to be friends. Some have moved (geographically) far away, some have stayed nearby. Some are loving, some combative. It's this last that brings me to this post tonight.

See, it seems like there's always got to be one in the family who feels like the red-headed stepchild. (No offence to redheads...I was one for a while...purple too, as I recall.) And that's what's got me feeling sad melancholy. This sibling has spent so much of his adulthood angrily lashing out at other family members. And while I don't pretend to understand the 'psychology' of it all, I really think it stems from a lack of self worth. He exhibits deep envy toward his own twin, because she's well-off and a real class act. He attempts to flog the Christians in the family by misusing Scripture against us. He has not spoken to our father in almost four months for a totally unacceptable reason.

He's hurting desperately and he wants the rest of us to hurt too, so he's made it his mission to wreak pain into the family. I feel so sorry for him and all I can do is pray. His name is Michael, and if you pray, please remember him to the Lord. Thanks.

In other news, there is very little knitting news other than to say that I yanked out the sock I had started and got down to the business of finishing the sleeves of the lovely blue sweater, at least, that is, until the computer died, Blogger crashed, the laundry mountains tripped me every time I walked through the kitchen, and the sunshine drew me inexorably into the yard to see what little thing has erupted through the frozen tundra I call grass. I am going to post this and then I will knit sleeves until my eyelids drift south. And then, I will sleep.

This is the only photo I could find on my harddrive tonight that really represented to me what I want my heart to feel like: rested and at peace. Boy, this dog isn't spoiled...much.

Michael, I love you. I pray that someday you'll realize that, and that I'm not the only one who does.

Thanks for listening, friends. We'll talk knitting tomorrow...and about the cute new labels I ordered for dd for her knitting FO's.


Spring...and a confession...

This is what spring time looks like out in the woods of northern Michigan. These are tulips, (really!) photo taken at 7:25pm this evening. Yesterday there was ice surrounding the buds. These are tough little fellas. By mid-May they'll have beautiful red flowers on them. I hope. Assuming the gophers or the deer don't see them.

Yesterday Atouria told me that it'd be our little secret if I decided to knit a little bit of the new Knitpicks yarn I received, even though I vowed to finish the sleeves of the lovely blue sweater before I started one more thing. She swore no one would know.

Notice the sleeves, all 13.5" of them (I need 18.5" to finish) sitting and waiting patiently...and sadly. I have only knit three measly rows in two days.

I have a confession to make...I couldn't keep my hands off the sock yarn. But socks don't really count, right? I'm sure that they don't. I mean, Stephanie always has a pair or three going at any given time. (I fail to take into account that she probably knits at a rate triple or more of mine and can accomplish more in a day than I do in it works for the Harlot, it might pass as an excuse for me...)

Herewith, the evidence of my failure. K1P1 ribbing on 2.5mm dpns. I am happy. These will be fun to wear this spring. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Hello. My name is Susie and I have a problem...

What a gray, overcast day this started out to be. Threats of thundershowers. All the kids off doing their own thing. Dh miles away on the road, coming home from an out-of-town job. Nothing but laundry and housecleaning facing me.

Maggie started barking. This could mean almost anything because she barks at wind, birds, rustling leaves, cars passing by...but this time my highly efficient and alert canine spotted the presence of the UPS truck bringing me this:

My very first Knitpicks order! And what an order it is. Most of what I bought was for the 'trying out' of the new yarns. But see that gorgeous blue and white stripe-y stuff in the corner of the box? That's a Flower Basket Shawl whole passel of Shimmer, the laceweight baby alpaca/silk blend. Gorgeous. I also bought a little bit of many different yarns so I could try them out for future projects.

I'm itching to put some needles to this stuff, but, in case you haven't been following the saga of my lovely blue sweater which had only 12" of sleeves left to be done and which I firmly stated would be done last Friday and which is sitting next to my chair with only 6" left to sleeve...welll...I can't rightly start anything else until I'm Done. Capital D Done.'m.DONE. (Through gritted teeth, that one.)

On the other hand, here's something that you couldn't see pictured in the box above because it was hiding under yarn (and I have NO such compunction about dyeing as I do about starting new knitting projects before finishing the one I've dragged out forever much longer than I should have):

Ain't no guessin' what's gonna be happenin' here, eh?

My name is Susie and I have a problem...but I'm not looking for help!