Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mr. Wonderful Is Playing My Number

Some of you may know this already, but "my man" is Jason Taylor. I was thrilled that he was on Dancing With The Stars (would have been overjoyed if he'd have actually won me some stinkin' yarn!), and just happen to think he's gorgeous, talented, and is using his star status for good, not evil. Anyone out there NOT with me on these points?

Another thing you may, or may not, know is - my favorite number is and always has been 5.

So, very recently Jason Taylor was traded by the Miami Dolphins to the Washington Redskins. My home-town team. What's his number? 55.

Hail to the freakin' Redskins!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yellow Jersey

Well, in honor of meeting (exceeding) my goal, I'm posting my yellow jersey for Le Tour de Fleece.

My goal was to spin a braided roving I had (@ 4oz of a merino/tencel blend) to use it for a small project.

I spun said roving, AND used it for a project. THEN I spun another bunch of roving (this time 4 ozs of superwash merino from Lisa Souza)! I had so much fun! The colors on the Lisa Souza roving was just amazing. It's "Bird of Paradise" and I'm telling myself, really loudly, that I cannot go over to her site and buy more of it!! Here's the rundown:

Pre-spun (sorry, forgot to take a pic when it was all together)! Here it is when I got to the point of splitting the roving in half, then in half again (note that I've already broken the length of it in half once - that was the first round of spinning!)

I spun what, I hope, is a DK-ish weight singles yarn out of it. Here it is on the hangar, drying after being soaked. EXTREME close-up!)

What it looked like in a hank after I wound it out and measured it (about 55 yards in this one - about 125 in the first). This has not been soaked, yet - so it's still very kinky in places!!

I am immensely pleased, and plan to knit this scarf with the yarn.

In other knitting news, I am literally flying on my Leilani cardigan. I have finished both fronts, both sleeves, and got about 2 inches done on the back - the final piece, if you're keeping track!

That means, this will NOT be a good project to take on the cruise with me! GAH! Soooooooo, I plan to get my Sasha skirt out again, and knit on that.

The new-and-improved plan for vacation knitting is this:

1. Sasha
2. Lizard Ridge squares
3. Pi Shawl
4. A sock (or two) - these will be my knit-anywhere's. I'll probably take them on the train and keep them in my bag for by the pool, etc.

I'm getting very excited to get on that cruise ship already! Going to try to take my mind off it by getting some things done in my classroom this week. That way, I won't be so crunched when it comes to be honest-to-goodness time to go back!!

Wish me luck!


Friday, July 25, 2008

Belated "Thank You!"

I am a very bad blogger/Secret Pal! I neglected to give a bit THANKS to my SP12 partner, who sent along this great pattern book last week!

It is full of lovely, classic knits. I'm seriously considering two.

1. This great, cabled cowl. Lovely. I can see this being my Winter sweater this year - I'll probably try to use some KP yarn from my stash for this - have to check that gauge!!

2. This off the shoulder T. I will wear it like the model in this picture, though, since I'm not really an off-the-shoulder kinda gal!

I'll have to really consider the other patterns. Maybe once the cold weather hits, I'll be more in the mood to look at things like jackets with gorgeous cables. Right now, it makes me break out in a sweat!!

Right now, I'm plugging along on my current WIPs - the Berrocco cardigan, and some spinning, and I'm to the point in Tulip where I really, really have to make sure I understand the directions, cause there's multiple things going on at one time. My brain doesn't work like that in the Summertime!

Hope everyone is keeping cool!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

SP12 Question #7

What is(are) your favorite place(s) to knit?

I can knit anywhere, but my favorite place to knit - where I'm most comfortable and can really settle in, is in my bed, watching a movie. I usually prop myself up with a few pillows, or sit on the floor, cross legged, leaning against the bed, with my DVD playing a movie, and knit away! Then I feel like I can get some good knitting done. Otherwise, I feel like I'll be disturbed or get uncomfortable.

What supplies (besides yarn & needles) make the setting perfect for knitting?
The "others" I like to have (besides the movie?) are a drink - coffee or water, and those pillows to make sure I'm comfortable. A snack, like Junior Mints might be nice, too, but not necessary - this is one time I can actually NOT eat and be fine. (Maybe I should do this more often!!)

Lately, Tulip has been my "in bed" knit. That's her up there, with my quilt as background - I was knitting in bed! I've gotten to the reverse stockinette (which, forgive me for being late, but I JUST realized that, since I'm knitting in the round, means I am PURLING for the next zillion and ten rows!). I'm hoping, hoping, hoping to get this done before my cruise so I can wear it. Cross your fingers, cause purl is not my speediest stitch!!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bringing Home Baby

Heh. Not really, but since we're talking about a Standard Poodle, well, yeah - you get the idea!!!

Yesterday, I played chauffer so my mother could go pick up the latest addition to our family.

That's Molly!

We got Molly from a wonderful woman who breeds standard poodles. Check out Molly's sisters and brothers here. She is the one with the pink collar - all the way at the bottom of the page on the right. She is very cute.

She just should have been brown, and a male!! ')

Here she is playing with Casey, who belongs to my auntie (Muffett).


Friday, July 18, 2008

New Round of Quidditch

1. When Hagrid returns to Hogwarts after being sent to see the giants with Madame Maxime, Professor Umbridge questions him on his late return to school. She suspects that Hagrid had been to the mountains, but where does he tell her he has been?
d. South of France

2. Professor Umbridge comes to Hagrid's Hut and searches his cabin one evening (as she believes Harry, Ron and Hermione are there visiting him at night when they are not supposed to). When she walks past the place where Harry, Ron and Hermione are hiding under the Invisibility Cloak, Harry holds his breath. True or false?
a. True

3. A stately-looking witch in an emerald green shawl is one of the members of the Advance Guard who rescues Harry from Privet Drive. What is her name?
a. Emmeline Vance

4. What is the name of the witch who was killed two weeks after the photo of the original Order of the Phoenix was taken?
b. Marlene McKinnon

5. Which two fifth year Ravenclaw students does Dumbledore choose to be prefects?
d. Anthony Goldstein and Padma Patil

6. Which house was Rose Zeller sorted into?
d. Hufflepuff

7. What is the color of Murtlap's essence?
c. Yellow

8. Name the Ravenclaw girl who became prefect in Harry's fifth year.
b. Padma Patil

9. According to a healer's portrait at St. Mungo's hospital, which disease was Ron suffering from?
d. Spattergroit

10. Which book did Harry give Hermione for Christmas?
a. "New Theory of Numberology"

Picture Scavenger Hunt

Padma Patil

Hannah Abott

Percy (Weasley)

Dumbledore's Army

Cedric Diggory
(Isn't this a great picture of him?)

(Extra 5 pts - What movie will Robert Patterson star in this December?) – That would be “Twilight” as long as we're talking about Robert Pattinson, the cutie above who played Cedric in the HP movies!



When the Tour de Fleece (coincides with the Tour de France, for those non-knit/spin people reading this - are there any??) started, I set as my goal the challenge of spinning up 4oz of a merino/tencel top that I'd purchased two years ago at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Yep, two years ago. Bought it on the same trip that I bought my Golding Tsunami spindle. Quite obviously, I've been spinning my brains out, right? Heh.

So, I am enormously pleased to say that I not only met my first challenge - to get that 4oz spun up, but I've actually knit it up into a finished object!!!

I present my first Calorimetry, knit with my very first handspun (well, USEABLE handspun!!):

I actually had waaaaaaayyyyy less than the 250 yards I thought I did. So the original plan - for the Unoriginal Hat - did not work at all! It might have started out as 250 yards, but then I made a 2-ply out of it - so now there's less. By half, right?? ;)

So, I used a bit of my stash of Louisa Harding Kashmir along with it, and I think it looks lovely.

Oh, and before, I said it was my first Calorimetry? Yeah, I've cast on again for a second in Noro Iro, Color #5, which has pinks and blues and a bit of green. I'll let you know what other colors pop out as I knit. You know Noro!!

While I'm posting, lemme answer Question 6 for Secret Pal 12!

What is your favorite type of project to take along on holiday/vacation?

What a coincidence that I'm building up for a vacation as we speak! The Boy and I are going on a 5-day cruise to Canada soon. Normally, when I'm on vacation, I like to take along a no-brainer project like something in stockinette, or some socks, as well as a more complex project, like some lace knitting or something involved like that.

On the cruise, I plan to take: The Leilani cardigan I'm knitting. It's a Berrocco cardigan pattern, and just what I need this Fall at school/work, so I'm happy to take that along. That's my basic stockinette project - I only have to worry about decreases to get the shaping right, so hey, I can do that! I also will be taking my Pi Shawl for times when I have a bit more time to settle in and knit. Since it's just The Boy and myself going, I really don't see that much getting done on this unless he's sleeping and I'm out on the balcony knitting by myself. I'll have to keep track of the actual number of rows I get to knit on this - I'm betting it's NOT MANY!! I'm up to the 4th section on this one, which means about 400 stitches per row, right? Yeah.

I might also take along a Calorimetry for an extremely portable project. The sweater will get a bit bulky after a while, but a headband is much more manageable!

I don't think I've EVER been stuck without my knitting at opportune times. I always take some knitting with me. I'm sure that the one time I don't have it with me, I'll get a 10 hour delay with nothing to do. If I don't have knitting, I have a book.

Oh, and since - again - it's just me and The Boy on this trip (we're building up our travel skills in preparation for an overseas trip to visit my sister next Summer), I've broken down and purchased some EXTRA insurance by indulging The Boy in his desire to have a hand-held gaming device. It's not the ultra-expensive and sleek PSP, but a good, old-fashioned Game Boy. My ulterior motive (other than having a calm child in train stations and airports?) is to get him reading more. Taking the advice of a good friend who's an awesome father, he's got some reading goals to meet before he can play! How clever is that? Hopefully, this won't backfire!!! Wish me luck!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Moving Right Along

That's the way things seem to be going these days. The Summer is going right on by, and I want it to slow down!

I have been getting a ton accomplished, although since I'm doing a lot of spinning, the finished objects are hanks of yarn, not completed garments to wear or give!!

I've finished spinning the bit that I set out to accomplish in the TDF challenge. Now it's sitting in my knitting bag with the pattern for the Unoriginal Hat, waiting to be knit up. I will probably work on that today while waiting for my doctor's appointment. It's actually with my nurse/midwife that I see instead of an OB/GYN.

I've been seeing a midwife since I got pregnant with The Boy, and I love it. They seem to take so much more time than a regular doctor - and to really care more about your total health in general. Having a baby with a midwife was wonderful - the first time I went in (to be induced), the midwife on duty (there were 3 in the practice at that time) sat and knit with me! I made a hat for The Boy, and she worked on a sweater she always carried with her on her hospital days. I'm sure there's lots of sitting around, waiting for babies when you're the midwife on duty! They're all wonderful women, true sweethearts, and always have kind and encouraging words for me. Just what I need on appointments like these, since I truly HATE the annual exam!!

Okay, enough with my feminine parts, and back to the knitting content!

Since it's Summer, and I have so much free time (not really, just less-pressing obligations than 25 busy first-graders), I have approximately 1 zillion projects on the needles. And I cast on again yesterday!

Over on Ravelry, the BlackPurl group has been talking about famous designers who just happen to be black. We were noticing the apparent lack of black designers - since even the book of African Knits is by a caucasian woman. So, many black designers have been mentioned - Shirley Paden, Nik, Amanda Reed, and Lisa Shobhana Mason (by the way, stop by here, 'cause she's got her patterns on SALE!!!). As soon as I heard Lisa's name, I remembered that I'd been meaning to knit Tulip for about two years now. Seriously, I bought the pattern when it first came out, and it has a 2006 date on it!

Shame on me!

So I cast on yesterday. Tee hee!

I'm using some 2nd Time Cotton that I got from Cloverhill last year. It's color 231, and I have 5 skeins. I'm making the size M/36 and I doubt I'll need all this yarn, so close your eyes and don't be surprised if you get a washcloth or two out of this in your Christmas stocking!!

Let's recap - so far, on the needles (or being cast on today at the doctor's) is:
-Various socks in different stages of completion (this is a given, right?)
-An Unoriginal Hat
-Berocco's Leilani
-Pi Shawl (pretty much following the Goddess Knits Anniversary KAL)
-Spinning for the Tour de Fleece (I'm using a Lisa Souza fiber dyed in a colorway called Bird of Paradise, and it's LOVELY!! - got my first 37 yards the other day!)

Hmm, I wonder if Robyn still has more than me on the needles? Probably! So I can cast on more, right?

Oh, and I found this on sale at Michael's for $1.00 a skein yesterday! Select colors only - the rest are still $4.99.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Challenge Met, Package Recieved, and A Question Answered!

Challenge Met:

OMG - I'm way, way behind on my posting!

But I've made lots of yarn!!!


I've been having lots and lots of fun spinning. Needless to say, I feel much more confident with my spinning skills. Not perfect, mind you - I did have a nasty tangle when I was plying the two balls of singles together, but nothing I couldn't get over. I wound up wasting a wee bit (we'll just ignore that), and now have four hanks of 2-ply yarn in a wonderful green drying on coat hangers in my bathroom. I'd say I probably have about 250 yards and I'm thinking the final, knitting project will be the Unoriginal Hat. Since the Yarn Harlot is responsible for getting me into this spinning madness, I might as well knit one of her creations with my creation!

I'm also about to go upstairs and spin MORE stash fiber! Now that I'm feeling all confident and stuff, I think I need to see how my Lisa Souza Superwash Merino Top will spin up. The colorway is Bird of Paradise, and I've got 4 ounces of it as well (I started with 4 ounces of the above-mentioned green, but wasted A LOT with my newbie spinning skills!). I'm betting I can get at least 300 yards. I'm even going to go for a bit of a finer yarn this time, so maybe I'll get even more yardage out of it!!!

Package Received:
This week, my lovely Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap (5) pal, Andrea/Fleur sent an owl with my package. It is, of course, to DIE for!! I absolutely LOVE the bag(s) and all the goodies she put in!

Here's the overall shot of the package, unwrapped and already drooled on (sorry):

And here's a closeup of the star - the bag!!!

I plan to be very careful with my lunches, and use this as my lunchbox! I love the shaping of the front tab, and those gorgeous glass buttons! I also love that she made me two little trinket bags as well. One even has turtles (yay!) on it! They're perfect and I'm definitely going to be using the bigger one (which, by the way, has gorgeous glass beads on the handle) to carry my obligatory sock project when The Boy and I go on our cruise next month!

Also included were some Clover size 3's (2 of them for the Socks on 2 Circulars trick I find so amusing), a teacher's apple paperweight, some teacher post-its, TWO sock patterns and a Patons sock pattern BOOK, a knitting magnet, a bumble-bee tape measure, and TWO kinds of sock yarn - a Patons in traditional Ravenclaw colors - very much like some Regia I used to make socks for a previous pal. Needless to say, I love it! And also a honkin' skein of LionBrand Sock-Ease in pretty-much Ravenclaw colors. Who knew there were so many colorways out there with HP-themed color schemes???!!! Oh, and the cutest little bobble-headed turtle you ever wanted to see!! I do love turtles!

Thanks so much, Andrea - you did a great package!

And finally - A Question Answered:

This is the 4th or 5th installment of the Secret Pal 12 questions, of which, I've answered pitifully few. Sorry. I've been pre-occupied!

1) Where is your favorite place to go for vacation/holiday? I must have water of some sort nearby. Preferrably the beach, and I need to be able to see it often - preferably from my bed! I do go to the Outer Banks each year, but really love water I can actually get into (the ocean is a bit rough where we go in Avon, so we usually don't do much more than get our feet wet!), so Miami Beach was a really nice treat, as are the beaches on the islands. YUM!

2) Where is one place you’d like to go? I've been wanting to go back to Italy very badly lately. Right now, my sister's current living situation has me wanting to visit places I'd never have thought I'd be interested in going (think Russia), and I will probably make the trek over there next Spring Break or Summer. I'm also getting very anxious for our trip to Canada. Even though it's the same continent, I'm anxious to see the rocky nature of the ports and places there, compared to the more sandy nature of our water towns here in the mid-Atlantic. I've had a bit of a taste of this in my life, since my grandmother's house was on Lake Champlain in Vermont, but it will be different being on the actual coast and waaaaaaay up there!


Monday, July 07, 2008

Day 2 Tour Progress

Well, something hit me yesterday, and I spun like a mad woman! I can probably finish spinning the fiber I've challenged myself with for the Tour de Fleece by the end of the evening tonight! (Gotta watch who Deanna chooses tonight, right???)

Here's where I am as of the end of my spinning on Day 2:

Considering that I also cleaned and gutted my bedroom yesterday, I'm very proud of my progress! I also worked a bit more on my Pi Mystery shawl, and finished the knitting on my funky tank-top from OneSkein. It's blocking now, and I'm praying I got the two halves exactly even. It's weird to block pieces like this, and I swear I couldn't get the same measurements out of each side, even though I counted rows and even re-knit the shoulder straps on the second half! Argh. I am SO wanting this to be a usable, wearable tank, so I can't wait until I can seam it together (Gah! Did I just say that?) so I can see the final fit. Each piece seemed like a good fit individually when I was knitting, so cross your fingers!

Also on the agenda is finishing my bag for my Hogwarts pal. I think I was a bit overambitious, because now I have to seam IT together, too. Mental note - for at least the next 10 projects, knit ONLY IN THE ROUND!!!!!!


Saturday, July 05, 2008

And So, It Begins

So, this morning, I began my spinning life. Again.

I went to my LYS (not really, but I love that store, even though it's an hour away!) for a beginning to spin class. A refresher for me, but definitely well worth it. I had been getting pretty comfortable with the spinning part, and maybe needed a bit of a pat on the back to say that I'd been doing it right. What I REALLY needed help with was getting the stuff off the spindle and into a usable format. When the instructor said "That's the EASY part!" I was much more at ease!

Today, I did quite a bit, which always looks like so much less when you wind it up!

The brown with the punch of color in the middle was what was provided by the class. I wasn't that great with the brown - it was 100% wool. Period. No nothing fluffy or smooth or "soft" about it. It took a long time for me to get that into a spin I liked. I hope that's the right term for it. Then I moved on to some that was a bit more prepared, in a colorway called "Melted Crayons." That was fun to spin up - I think that's half the fun - seeing how the colors wind up when spun!

After a while, I was ready to get back to my own fiber - what I'm using for my Tour de Fleece challenge. I'll be spinning the whole of a 3.2oz roving full of "Spruce" colored merino. I'll post pictures later - my computer and camera have been bickering back and forth, and I can't even get my phone to send a photo message so I can post my progress, but soon, I promise!

In all, I wound one small ball (probably 25 yards??) of the brown/crayon, and a teeny-tiny ball of the spruce merino. I plan to wind all my spruce singles into two separate balls to then ply together for a 2-ply yarn to knit with.

I do plan to knit a little something with all this when I've finished, probably a little headband - possibly a Calorimetry or Dream Swatch. We'll see how tired I am of the Dream Swatch pattern by the time the yarn is ready!

Oh, and I couldn't leave the place without enhancing the stash by a slight, slight bit, could I? Here's some black/whit pencil roving that I'm imagining will make a lovely tweed-y yarn. Hope I'm right!


Thursday, July 03, 2008


Originally uploaded by bkwrm1012002
I'm stash diving today, but this time into my fiber to see what I can come up with for my Tour de Fleece challenge! I do believe there's still time to sign up, although the participant's list doubled (at least) overnight, when a certain someone mentioned the challenge on her blog.

I was one of those who took the bait, since the starting of this challenge just HAPPENS to coincide with my refresher drop spindle class at Cloverhill Yarns this weekend. I though that maybe if I took a class again, I'd perfect my skills and be happier with my spinning, thereby wanting to spin some more! Lord knows I have enough fiber to spin up, so I figured it couldn't hurt to take the class again. You gotta love your LYS for classes - $20 for a 2-hour class, and probably more individualized instruction than you'd expect at the big events!

I'm excited and can't wait for class. An added bonus is that Chris, the former owner of the shop will be teaching the class. She's such a nice lady, and I can't wait till she tells me what she knows about spinning!

As soon as I figure out how to load this button, I'm going diving! Wish me luck!