Wednesday, November 26, 2008

just enough...

Ruffles, that is.


I finished the Just Enough Ruffles scarf this week - love. Loved every stitch of Malabrigo - gosh, that stuff is like crack. This was inspired by this pretty version - thanks Kim, for another winner! I must admit the silly thing was tedious - I mean bind off 600 stitches? That's insane. I relish the instant gratification project of course - and while this was kind of a quick one - egads, 600 stitches - insane. It is blocking as I type - it's going in the holiday gift pile...I'm really not sure if I can part with it.


I just had to show two pictures - isn't my model just a sweetie? I think I may be growing a *Through-the-Loops-worthy model*. Her daughters (and son for that matter) are knit model rockstars. My eldest was only too happy to "not look at the camera" for an artsy shot. She also asked, "can you teach me to knit, again?" Oh my word, why yes. I. can. She really caught on quickly last time we tried but kind of pooped out - however her third grade teacher is tempting her by starting a "crochet club" at school - so she wants to take the show on the road, I am pretty stoked about it. I think I love this teacher - she has moved up to #1 on my "who-will-get-a-knitted-treat-for Christmas list". Hey, I know a ruffled scarf I could give her...

Also got some MadelineTosh silk lace as part of the Magnolia Society - I am not a lace knitter - but oh, a Hanami from this, swoon. (and I complained about binding off 600 stitches, I should be ashamed...)

Friday, November 21, 2008

I could (almost) be his mother...

but whatever.

and look, I have a pair of endpapers!

Today was the day, Twilight opened in theaters. My sister, my mom, and I took the afternoon off to meet Edward. It is unanimous, he is dreamy. I mean, he is a vampire, so he is not really 17!

My sister and I got so hooked on the books we decided in September to take off today and see the movie - which got my mom kind of interested. I have never been able to inspire her to read a book before but when we offered the carrot - "if you read the book, you can come..." SHE READ THE BOOK! and liked it! We had such a good time, not just the movie, though believe me, I will go to bed with visions of Edward and his sugarplums in my head, em...anyways, we also enjoyed dinner and some power shopping. We never have time for such frivolity as a trio, so it was an especially spectacular day. The only thing that could have made it better was if Hot Topic would have had some "Team Edward" shirts for us - I felt a hundred going into what felt like a gothy-teenager-store - but what won't we do for vampires?


And seriously, I have been knitting too. I finished my endpapers and have started a holiday gifty scarf...I really hope to start this advent calendar this weekend, perhaps using my Wollmeise sample skeins...hmm.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

the best day

First, a little backstory - yesterday, I had a chance to meet my long-time "knitting penpal", Christine and her friend, Carolyn. Christine and I "met" when she was my partner for a mitt kit swap almost two years ago. She lives outside of Boston. Carolyn was almost her neighbor in MA and since has moved back to her hometown near Chicago. Chicago is a train ride away for when Christine planned to visit Carolyn, a deal was struck.

nutshell chicago

I hopped the Metra in Harvard and met Christine and Carolyn in a suburb of Chicago. I felt instantly like I had known them, the conversation was fast and furious and the trip was fabulous. We went for a late breakfast at the Southport Grocery and Cafe. Check out this menu. When I took my first bite of the bread pudding pancakes, I think I could have wept. And Carolyn's steak and eggs - I had to take a closer look because it was gorgeous. Next time I must have the allegedly infamous cupcake that I missed - but since I couldn't finish my pancakes... Thankfully we later went to Sarah's Pastries and Candies and had the most delightful cupcakes, em, Martha Stewart even thinks so. The cupcake of the month was a light tasting pumkin with pretty frosting, that tasted as good as it looked - no easy feat. It was probably a good thing a line had formed while I ate my cupcake, because that was the only discouragment I needed to not go back and blow the motherlode on the cookies and candies I had admired. (I was considering a Chicago Bears cookie for my mom but it's Bears vs. Packers today - I'm somewhat relieved that I did not bring that bad ju-ju into the house, whew.)

Of course, we are knitters - so food was merely the icing on the cake - pun intended. We hit 4 knitshops. We started in the Wrigleyville area (eep - edited - actually kind of nearish to Wrigley Field, I'm a huge Cub fan, but I stand corrected and would hate to offend anyone!:) at knit1. We got there a few minutes early and the neighboring cafe owner, who I am thinking might have been the spouse of the knitshop owner, invited us out of the cold to wait in his shop. We decided to tough it out - diehard knitters are just like that, right? But then the Moroccan rug shop owner from the other side invited us in to "watch" her shop while we waited, she went to the cafe to get coffee and we watched the colorful rugs. To the most non-suburban me, it seemed like a kitschy neighborhood where shop people knew and watched out for one another - I loved that. I was happy to discover the Malabrigo worsted I needed to make the Just Enough Ruffles Scarf at knit1. It turned out that those were the only two skeins of natural Malabrigo I saw all day - it was karma.

Then, onto nina. The Plucky Knitter had suggested this shop when I sqee'd about my trip to her recently, and it had already made the short-list! What a zen shop, so organized. The colors and textures were fabulous. We all walked out with the fixings for a scarf - I foolishly resisted some yummy ingredients, while C & C lived on the edge - I should have, dammit. The shop had samples of the most simple and delightful chunky ribbed scarves made from a combination of things things like suri, kidsilk haze, other softy things - the squishable scarves were singing like a siren to us. It was fun to try to wander the shop and guess what yarns were in each yummy scarf. I think the shopkeeper mistaked us for newbie knitters given our mild giddiness and went about pointing out exactly what we needed. I can't wait to see my new "in person" friends' finished scarves. What a lovely souvenier of the Chicago yarn haul. I may just have to get the other pieces yet - just like me to initially have the "strength" (as if) not to buy something only to then scour on-line and spend more money finding the same thing.

Downtown, we went to Loopy, ADD Knitter recently got some gorgeous things there. This was the most utilitatian shop we went to - filled to the brim with everything possible. I am guessing that this is the go-to shop for many Chicago knitters - you can't not find anything here. I took a second to knit on the community scarf, while Christine styled a photo. It was extra charming that a lanky, casually dressed man asked me if I was finding everything alright. A man that knits (Joe-Six-Pack, perhaps?) - yay! And they have a men's knit night. My brother-in-law lives in Chicago...hmmm. Okay, I know - it aint happening.

The last place we shopped was truly near the heart of downtown, it was exciting to my somewhat country mousified self. It was walking distance from the magnificent mile, and should remain unnamed. Very dated, and the parking, egads. But then, it was like magic and just like the adage "when one door opens, another one opens", because there was Sarah's pastries. It was as though angels were singing, we somehow traded a "meh" yarn shop for eternal cupcake-dom. This area, including a quick jaunt onto Michigan Avenue, held a wonderful vibe for me - crazy, busy is not usually my thing but somehow this day was so pleasant, I kind of enjoyed the bustle along with the comraderie of new friends.

Carolyn has a knack for navigating the city - I was quite awed, her driving rocked and she never seemed harried, not once! I would have surely cursed. a lot.

We ended at Starbucks near the train station. (warning, tangent ahead) Somehow on the way to the coffee shop I posed in a picture as part of a human pyramid for an excited family doing a scavenger hunt - I love a good stranger interaction. Somehow re-fuels my tank, it seems to me that this time of year people can be kind of in their own world - focused and anonymous. I am a true believer in the random acts of niceness (kindness is a whole nother tier of this phenomenon), a smile from a new person can make my whole day. I must remember that when I am shopping with my head down...

So anyways, finally, at Starbucks the knitters knit. I took so few pictures I could kick myself. I kind of hate having my picture taken so I am not aggressive, hell, I'm not even assertive with my camera. So I have no close-up "Look - Knitters!" pictures, aw. Somehow though, I am confident that there will be a next time. Thank you both!

Monday, November 10, 2008

What day is it?

Was today a vacation day or a sick day? Gosh, you'd never know if you peeked in my windows today that I took a vacation day today. Why? Because I stayed in my jammies, watched 7 episodes of True Blood while knitting an endpaper mitt. Today I was a sloth. I got up to refill my soda glass.

But I have this pretty mitt...

Hazel Knits Artisan sock in Beachglass and Chocolatier

Other than a Central Square hat I tried this spring, this is my first stranding project. I found it quite addictive, sheesh. It's not without mistakes but I am pleased with it. And I learned a number of other new skills, such as the tubular cast on and kitchener cast off. I love the kitchener. Really. I am pleased with my first mitt and hope to even cast on a second today so I can keep at it and have a pair. Though, I expect the next mitt to take me more than a day. And then, I hope my stranding it worthy of the Fiddlehead...

OMG, my other new fascination, shamedly, is more vampires.
true blood Good grief. I am quite caught up in True Blood, having now watched all 10 episodes On Demand, today. This show is absolutely not child friendly so I have to cram to get it in with any other of my grown-up shows - I admit that I was a little giddy today glued to the lewdness of it all. I was distracted with the mitt, but I am sure I got the gist of it all. I am so drawn into these stories, which surprises me - because I have tried to read Anne Rice in the past - didn't like it. I fought off the Twilight excitement as long as a could - but now I am counting the days til the film is released (that would be 11). Freaky indeed.

Anyways, my day alone ended with running around throwing in laundry, scrubbing my face, putting on "street clothes" on, thawing chicken and putting countless Halloween candy wrappers in the garbage - quite reminiscent of being home in the summer when I was 13 and mom was expected home in 15 minutes, only I didn't have a written list of chores sick day, vacation day - ah, semantics.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

penelope's birthday cowl


A Birthday Cowl quickly came off the needles this morning, so came said photoshoot. It started with me outside alone but then my little one pointed and shouted "nelope"! What? Ah. Clever kid.


Then we all had a crack as "Penelope" posers. We recently saw this quirky movie together. I enjoyed it but I think the critics were kind of hard on it. The underlying meaning was good - very fairy tale.

Now the cowl shall go to the blocking board and then onto the holiday gift pile, if I can bear it. What a fun, fast project. In Malabrigo (and I have almost half of a skein to spare), divine!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

frog and toad


I started the Twisted Tweed socks on vacation after admireing Emily's. It is knit up in Sundara Mossy. I love this yarn, it has so much depth. Because I love this yarn, the sock must be perfect. I think my socks will be too baggy with the #2 needles I am using, waa. I don't want to look like a droopy socked hobo, so darnit, I think I need to frog. At least seeing this little bit has convinced me that this pattern and yarn can be a good marriage for me too. Not just Emily - or Elin for that matter:) Actually, Elin just had a Socktoberfest like nobody's business, go look at all of her socks!

And frogging reminded me of Frog and Toad - remember them? Aw. I remember checking thier books out from my elementary school library - tucking them into my army green messenger bag for the bus ride home, Frog and Toad were the best of friends - the model of cooperation for a child. I wonder if kids still read about their adventures? I admit I bought my daughter one and she was less than thrilled, this made me sad - I created a non-frog/toad lover? My friend and I had a silly chat about them the other day - how they would ride bikes and climb trees together when we were kids - we sadly agreed that they probably just e-mail and text each other now. Not much material for a sequel. Our kids are really missing out...


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Agatha Christie I'm not...

But I have finished the Mystery Sock for Socktober Fest designed by Kirsten of Through the Loops. Thank you Kirsten, you rocked it again!

mystery KAL
Mama Blue Simple Merino in Bramble

The only regret is that I chose a shaded yarn, it seems to have obscured my cables. I was thinking it was more semi-solid (whatever that really means). Oh well, I love them anyways. I have come to the conclusion - "one can never go wrong with purple".

Daylight savings today - yay, an extra hour of sleep - or knitting, or reading, or whatever. I feel like it truly marks fall for me. We had a cold snap recently and I was already beginning to feel the heaviness of winter - but fortunately, we have been blessed with some warmer temperatures the last few days - a trick-or-treat without jackets even. (which reminds me, Susan mentioned Betz's roasted Pumpkin Seed trick on her blog - I have never been able to decently roast a seed, til now - it's a winner.) Anyways, I dread winter after last year's epic, repeated snowfall - and then the farmer's almanac is predicting more for this year. egads.

Ah, but isn't that what knitting is for? To warm toes, hands and heads during the chilly days? How's that for turning a frown upside-down? I am thinking ahead of holiday knits - cowls seems to be showing up on my list more than ever. And fingerless mitts, some cabley hats - and my Fiddlehead Mitten kit - that so needs to be knit up - but I am such a stranding learner, I'm afraid to sacrifice this sought after kit. I had better practice, maybe on the Inga. But how about after November? It's NaKniSweMo - knit a sweater of 50,000 stitches in November. Crazy. Right?