Thursday, April 26, 2007


Okay, I promised pictures last time. And a slight update.

So the other day I was a bit down. I was expecting a package or two from Amazon, and was not really paying attention to what I was doing. I assumed the package I was opening was the Pur Minerals makeup I had ordered (been wanting to try it for a long time, and it's much, much cheaper online!)

Well, let me just tell you, I was not at all upset to see yarn come tumbling out of that package instead of makeup! And it literally did come falling out - it was choc-full of goodies! See:

The package had a "red" theme. There was a lovely card with a sweet message, 4 yummy skeins of Goddess Yarns "Ellen" - a cotton and wool blend in "Brick," plus some markers specially made just for me with lovely red beads! They're gorgeous! I've already put one to good use:
It's being used as the round starter/end for the socks I'm knitting for my Hogwarts Sock Swap pal! That's a whole different story altogether, one for which I won't go into now.

So, lovely package, Pal - thanks a bunch! You ROCK!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Thanks, Pal

Hi, SP10 Pal - I got your package yesterday, and let me tell you - it was right on time! I SO needed some yarn-y goodness yesterday! Thank you so, so, so, so much! I wish I could convey how your package touched me. Maybe in time.

Everyone else - will post pics and details later - gotta run!


Saturday, April 21, 2007

It's All About The Atmosphere

The other day I went to the greatest Starbucks ever. Now, truly, I just plain love coffee. It didn't have to be the S-word, but there aren't many coffee houses in this area, so a chain like Starbucks was a good option, I thought. But this place was really amazing. The best one I've been in, and I've been in a lot of em!

To start with, it was in the hood. And don't tell me that's not a big deal, or not something that gives the place bonus points, cause about 5 years ago, there were NO Starbucks coffee houses in anyplace of color. Period. This may be a slightly jaded point of view, but since I live in a pretty diverse area (Courney - hush), and in a pretty metropolitain (Washington, D.C.) area, I think I'm a pretty good reference for this fact.

I had about 30 minutes to kill before picking up my son from school, so I decided I deserved a cup of coffee. I knew this place was there, but had never been in before - I usually only pass by it on the way to Target, and then wind up going - oh yeah, there's a Starbucks here!

Anyway, this place was really amazing. Very clean, nice music, not too loud, not freezing cold like the one near my own house (also in a "colorful" area), and contained - get this, friendly, intelligent, community-minded people! OMG I think this is my new chillout spot!!

To begin with, there were two friends relaxing and talking at a table. One guy busily working at a small table by himself (it actually turns out he was doing a marker-type paint-by-numbers, so he turned out to be a bit odd, but hey, he was relaxed and happy, drinking coffee, so he's kin to me no matter!), two tables with pairs of men playing chess, and a sista workin' it on her laptop. Up by the barista there were a set of grandparents out with their very young grandchild, doting on her while enjoying coffee and reading the paper, and, uh, well, I'll just say it - a pretty good looking guy finishing up a cup of cofee, only to moments later grab his helmet and jump on his motorcycle.

Pretty diverse group, but everyone was relaxed and respectful, and it made for a very relaxing, safe, friendly place that I want to go back to. Even the staff members seemed happy to be there, not angry that they made coffee all day everyday, and not bored out of their minds. This is not the norm, in my experience. Usually, I find the coffee houses to be a bit unfriendly. The staff is either complaining about being at work, complaining about their coworkers, or acting as if the customers do not know what they are talking about, or what to ask for (the latter would be more of a manageable attitude only if they didn't sell a bazillion different possibilities for beverages). And then there's the people in them. They're just not usually all of one accord like this place. And I usually either feel like 1) I'm sitting too close to someone - like they really don't WANT anyone sitting at the table next to their table, or 2) like I'm being watched and judged for what I'm doing.

But not here. And here, just like most places I'm sitting for a period of time, I was knitting. So there I was, knitting, drinking coffee, and enjoying the atmosphere, barely able to believe that I had to go to the hood to get such good atmosphere. While I was there, the laptop woman kindly asked me (trusted me) to watch her computer while she ran back out to the car to get something she had forgotten. And the chess-playing guys? One guy was trying to get out of playing, and kindly asked if either myself or the laptop lady wanted to take his place. Seems he was trying to get to the "market" (grocery store), and didn't want to be any later, but his chess buddies were too tempting. Nothing leechy or invasive, just one question, we both said no, and they all went back to playing. Oh, and the guy who wanted to go to the market? He wound up staying and playing another game because the first game wound up in a "draw." Go figure.

I was very pleasantly surprised. The Target in that neighborhood irks me to no end. Usually messy, the customers walk the aisles cursing like sailors, and the staff can't be bothered to help you. Lovely. I'm really glad I "discovered" this Starbucks, and plan to visit more often.

Oh, and by the way - the Starbucks I'm referring to is located in Forrestville, MD. Check it out if you are local - I'll be there knitting occasionally!!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Harry Potter, Socks, and a swap! Yay!

Whew - talk about under the wire. I decided to actually check my subscription e-mail messages today (I joined several monthly swaps last summer, and really only somewhat keep up with them nowadays.) I can never remember which month we are on for the Six-Socks KAL (they get a new pattern every other month), so decided to check it out. In the messages, I saw the word "Horcrux" in a title. Um, that's HP, isn't it? YEP, U bet! So I dug a little deeper, found a link to TillyNoodle's blog, where she had info on this the Hogwarts Sock Swap posted. And, it looked like there might still be time to sign up. The swap was to include 100 participants, there was a post marked with a time only (I guess because it was posted TODAY at a certain time, as opposed to a different date. . . I'm a very novice blogger) saying something about "today" being the last day probably, etc, etc. So, I took one of the quizzes (I'd actually taken one before - surprise, surprise - results are posted here a couple months back), got sorted into Gryffindor (Yay again), and e-mailed to be included.

Remember I said the swap was only taking 100 participants? I was number 99! Yay. AGAIN! I am really looking forward to it!

So, without anymore babbling, here's my questionnaire:

Hogwarts Sock Swap Questionnaire

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into? Gryffindor!

2. Shoe size? US Women’s 9.

3. Foot Length? 10 inches (25.5 cm)

4. Foot Circumference? 9 ¼ inches (23.5 cm)

5. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length.
a. Bryspun size 2’s (5 inch length)
b. Clover/Takumi size 2
c. OK - I know this is not a DP listing, but my personal FAVORITE to knit socks on is a size 3, 12” addi turbo – this is for my basic sock pattern that I first learned to knit socks with, and is my most comfortable/familiar pattern!

6. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length? I would really like to try the “magic loop”/two-at-a-time, double circular needle method. Isn't it Addi Turbos that are called for in this method? Either way, I like knitting socks on size 2’s at the SMALLEST!!! Size 1’s just extend the torture – I'm not that patient, I just want my socks already!!!

7. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference? Sorry – sorted into Gryffindor (not really sorry about that!)

8. Are you willing to have an international Hogwarts Sock Pal? Sure!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Sasha progress

Whew - I almost titled this post - "Not Smart Enough." As in, I'm NOT smart enough to knit this stinkin' skirt!!! Last weekend I entertained Courtney by swearing like a sailor while I finished kntting in the hem on this skirt. I think my knitting skills were expanded by about 50% with that! I have no idea what I did, but somehow I did it, and now I'm working on the body of the skirt. See?

But, getting there? That was such a struggle. I tried it, cursed, undid my try. Tried it again. Looked at the diagram. Cursed. Undid that try. Put the knitting down. Looked at the diagram. Tried it again. Cursed LOUDER, undid my try. Then, I finally got it! I made the knitting look like the knitting in the picture, juggled the bazillion needles (I'm not kidding - look at the pictures!) , and s-l-o-w-l-y knit the hem! It was amazing.

First, I had to get the knitting right:

Then, I had to organize the needles,

Then knit through the first stitch on each needle (I know, funky):

And knit those two stitches together!

Whew. Now, repeat that 205 times! OMG. I am so much smarter now that I finished this!

It was a struggle, but I'm done and I'm knitting like a feind to get the underskirt knit now so that I can begin the lace panels. I can't wait until this skirt is finished, although since I need to be at my good "fighting weight" to fit into it, I guess I'll have to be patient!