Thursday, July 31, 2008

what i learned from my lace ribbbon

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  • I am no longer lace impaired. Bring it on!
  • Blocking lace on a white towel is good for the spirit. And for the photo.
  • Judy's dye artistry? Wonderful. I wish I could offer touch-a-vision and a better capture of the subtle colors. Earlier this summer I had some daylilies that matched exactly. When I'm hungry, I think the colorway might be lox.
(And wow, isn't the photo on that wiki page revolting? There, this is better)

I do not have the patience to make a decent self portrait of it on me. I'm no Cindy Sherman.
pattern: Lace Ribbon by Veronik Avery
yarn: Tashi yarn from Ball & Skein - a wool/silk/bamboo blend. Dreamy & drapey.
2 full skeins= 390 yards. This is less yardage than the pattern called for , my scarf is 8" wide x 74ish" long , so no problem. And I could have , maybe should have, blocked it open more vigorously.
needles: size3US
notes: my stockinette "ribbons" look wider in relationship to the open strands across on the pattern, so do most of the 1633 (!) Lace Ribbon scarves on ravelry. But they are all so pretty, who cares. The sample must have been knit at a tighter gauge. I didn't check mine. Yeeah, I know, but it's a scarf for crying out loud!
final thought: I'd like to knit something else with this stitch pattern, maybe in a heavier yarn. Maybe a shawl. Maybe on a sweater. Let me know if you see one on the internets.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

think red wednesday v2

If there's two, it must be a series.
Wednesdays are for the Red Scarf Project. A quick reminder to cast on a scarf , hit the donate button for the scholarship fund, or throw a few coins into a jar to donate later. More preachiness here.

This week's red is my water bottle. I love my water bottle. When I was traveling around the country working on Shear Spirit, I was scolded by strangers repeatedly that I should STOP carrying around beat up refilled plastic water bottles (the kind you buy by the 6 pack) because I would DIE. The first time I thought the info came from a particularly neurotic person, but then, it became an almost daily thing, no matter where I went. I mentioned it to a friend who hustled us off to buy Siggs.

Best twenty bucks I ever spent. I've saved about $ 300. in bottled water not purchased this year, and no more dealing with the empties. More bottle talk here.

Looks like I strayed from red to green. Back to scarf talk next Wednesday.

Monday, July 28, 2008

on the sidewalks of NY

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You never know who you'll run into on the street.

Naw. It was pre-arranged. We met , but I refused to let her show me the book until we got to a setting with better lighting. Plus iced coffee and fresh sandwiches as well, at a clean table.

Then.. OK, I'm not unbiased, that's my name credited on the cover below Ann & Kay's, for the photography (nice things said about me here) . And with great power comes great responsibility, so I really shouldn't preview it....

Naw. This book ROCKS!!! I will be totally immodest here and say it is knockdown gorgeous. How could it not be, these two authors put together a collection of remarkable projects to knit, wonderful ideas, with their unique combination of smart writing and joyful experimentation. The knits are shown in the spirit in which they were created: clever, original, down-to-earth, and bursting with life in the real settings that Kay & Ann talk about on their blog. Yup, not only was I in Kay's kitchen but this Yankee stayed at Monteagle, pass the pimento cheese, ma'am! Bless your heart.

Seriously, Kay had to watch me page through the complete volume, while I , with no humility at all, said things like '"oh, this looks great! oooh, I love that coat! ohhhh, remember how hard it was to get that to hang right and we NAILED it! OH! She looks gorgeous, we were worried about whether we'd find the right model? And.OH! I hope tons of people knit that one, I LOVE it" etc etc. I'm not sure that particular cafe has recovered yet from my oooh-a-thon.
0708GZUCKERfv_  1023I can't wait till this comes out. I'll get to knit some of the projects from it without worrying about leaking info. Plus, I get to dish. Stay tuned. Y'all.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

the lost & found dept

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I was gifted with this wonderful skein, it's Sock Hop from Dancing Leaf Farm . Not to be confused with the other Sock Hop, which I hear is also quite nice. Funny, I thought one of them would have bunny hair in 'em, am I just too literal?0708GZUCKERfv_  1047
Anyway, my Sock Hop colorway has no name but it should be called Beach Chair. I was heading down the street to do me some beach knitting but couldn't locate my size1 US needles. I found three circualr and one set of dpn US2's. damn. I decided the missing needle must be in a knitting tote from when I finished these.

Rooting around, I found a special button I'd misplaced

catbutton ---but then the button tin wasn't where it should have been. I found a little ziplock with the remaining yarns from 2 other sock pairs on top of a filing cabinet in my office. No needles. The button tin then showed up balanced on an old scanner...but I noticed a missing started project I wanted to reassess, last seen hanging around my office.

Added that to the search list, rooting through the bags in the
ad hoc store everything area, this house has no freakin' closets guest room, and the overflowing Official Knitting Stuff bookcase further upstairs. This went on for over an hour.

I bagged the whole beach idea and decided to vacuum, I'd noticed all the dog fluff and sand I'd been ignoring. Bright side, dumping out so many knitting totes reminded me I have red yarn I can use for this year's
Red Scarf project, and that I was soooo close to finishing the Montana Tunic (or ravelry link) I might just as well get on with it. Tomorrow, to a yarn shop for new size 1's. Unless they turn up -- or I misplace the skein of yarn.

Friday, July 25, 2008

last Sunday

Returning from the Virginia spinners, a visit with NJ friends. Our friend Iano is in the kitchen 6 days a week at his place, Ianos Rosticerria in Princeton (GREAT pizza, go eat there). Guess what he & his wife, my BFF since childhood do on their day off?
Warning: proceed at your own risk if feeling a little hungry.
Here's where Gabe, my younger son, decided he made the right choice to ride shotgun for the trip.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

think red Wednesday v1

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There are so many shades of red. Enough to post one each week for inspiration.

Wednesdays are a good day to work on a red scarf for this year's collection, due by mid-October. If you don't have the time or the mojo, Wednesdays are a fine day to hit the donation button over at the Red Scarf Fund for Foster Youth. That link takes you to the blog with all the scarf and fund specifics, and some behind-the-scenes look at the kids it benefits.

The fund is the brainchild of the very wonderful Norma ,who has many physical charms as well as being talented and caring and generous. She's supported this project by the Orphan Foundation of America since the beginning, and with her help, drove it from 3500 scarves to over 15,000.

So. Here's my take on it: from now till October, work on a scarf on Wednesdays. Maybe knit a few lines a week if you find scarves mind-numbing. Or hit the donation button. Or skip the overpriced takeout coffee beverage for the day and save that money in a jar, in a few weeks you'll have some nice change to send in.

Or just help spread the word about kids who have aged out of foster care and head to college without support.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •
ps up top are a plate of tiny heirloom tomatoes served at a meal last weekend. I despise fresh tomatoes in my mouth , but are they not gorgeous to behold?
(Please fresh tomato lovers, do not flame me. Just cook the damn things, or sun dry them, and I'll eat'em.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

summertiiiime, & the spinning is eaaaaaasy

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If you want to learn to spin, and you have the good fortune to be in the Washington DC/northern VA area, make sure you meet Caroline from Uniquities in Vienna VA.0708GZUCKERfv_  09720708GZUCKERfv_  0991
She organized this event , on Saturday. I was invited to speak, and agreed, while on a fiber-induced high at MD Sheep & Wool.

Anyhoo, as you might expect, by the time I was roadtripping sitting in hideously slow I95 traffic enroute south on Friday, I was wondering why I'd said yes, and if anyone would haul a wheel and a pile of woolly fleece in the blazing heat to rejoice in warm fuzzy animals as the pavement melted outside.
I shouldn't have wondered. What a gathering. There were new spinners, mother & daughter spinners, fingering weight wizards, piles of fleece that Caroline had arranged from Dancing Leaf Farm, the LFF-local fiber farm. And lunch. I did my best to blab their ears off during the meal but I think they all survived it OK. In fact, they were every bit as enthusiastic about alpacas and Icelandics and Churro as I am when you wind me up and point me at knitters.
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Caroline has that magic touch when teaching others craft. Everyone had technique down by mid afternoon as the bobbins were filling. It is really not fair to wave beautiful handspun under the nose of one who is not a spinner. Repeat. Not. A. Spinnn..oooh pretty...

Monday, July 21, 2008

and, also, the dog ate it....

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So, like, I went on this road trip? To, like, do a talk and book signing with some really cool spinners in Virginia? And, like, the place I was staying? I couldn't get on the internet? I mean...does it LOOK like their wireless worked ?
And then, like, I went to visit these friends? Who own a restaurant? And, like, they like to cook on their day off? And, like, I didn't ask if they'd put in wireless because I was, um, too full? And then, we went to their friend's house, and she's a chef too? And, like, she made more food for us? And then I found out their was wireless but we were REALLY too full to think about the blog? We were barely able to knit? And had to drive home?
Details when fully digested.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

saturday's forecast: spinning


Nope I haven't taken up a new sport or figured out how to sit still long enough to create yarn. But I'm always glad to see others plying around.

If you're a spinner within roving's throw of Vienna, VA this Saturday, you ought to stop by the Spinners Day Out organized by the folks at Uniquities, the LYS on Church Street. It's a two part day- I'm going to be there- at the store from 11-noon signing books, sort of a Shear Spirit, yarn store, pre-spin gathering. Then, at 1 pm I'll be at the community center, where a flock of spinners will be doing their twisty thing.
I'll be admiring and blabbing about photos and farms and yarn and fiber animals and signing books and having a good time. You don't need to be a spinner, either. Just come by & say hi. More info by calling Uniquities at (703) 242-0520.

There'll be more spin coming into my life further north on Saturday, while I'm down in the VA/DC area. We've had one of those months when almost everything with a motor gets uppity: one car, then the other car, then the washing machine decides that instead of spinning, it'll bonk around loudly, finishing with a spew of water into the increasingly dank basement . It'll be departing as a more efficient, bonkless new machine arrives. This spewer was the first washer we bought, twenty years ago, our first appliance purchase . and I remember feeling like it symbolized some sort of joining of the rooted, acquisitive class, it was an appliance. Weighted with larger meaning. Oh, please. Glad I got over myself .

Here in the present I've been avoiding laundry and opting to wear the second (or um, maybe third) string clothing choices for a couple of weeks, so
this is some spinning I can't wait to embrace.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

beets on the grill

Since Vicki (and Cathy R who has no blog I can find) asked, from the last photo in this post:
peel some fresh beets, cut them into thick slices, toss with olive oil and put on the grill. I like them very crispy on the outside so I leave them for about 10 minutes per side.

They taste great with salt and pepper but add some crumbled goat cheese on top? Heaven.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

there's no knitting on an airboat

0708GZUCKERfv_  0151It's too fast and windy.
Wanna see something trippy from my trip?
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The everglades, as seen from
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this airboat.
Yes, we saw alligators. Many and large. And a 'gator nest with a guarding mama. Our guide was an excessively sunscorched dude named Regis. He had about six teeth, an eye for finding huge cranes and water hyacinth hidden in the grasses while zipping along , and all kinds of alligator facts.0708GZUCKERfv_  0134 Like, if you figure out the inches between an alligator's eyes and nostrils, and multiply by ten, that's the length of the beast. He knows because he's checked. With a tape measure. I asked if he was one of those guys who wrestles alligators and he answered: "Naw, I'm not crazy, I just get in the water and lay on top of them ."

Another of his talents? Pulling skid turns hovering on the water, just like they did on Gentle Ben. Or do on CSI Miami. So cool.
While other 17 year olds, told that we have 6 hours to kill in Miami, whatdya wanna do might have said shopping or South Beach, this son who shares my appreciation for a good roadside attraction said, let's quick go check out the everglades. He even ate some 'gator while we sat on a dock watching some of them watch us eating them. Creepy, yes?
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I love a warning with good vocabulary.
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Monday, July 14, 2008

this pot shall remain lidless

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The second
Couvercle was more successful than the first, but , on me? Not so much. The very round shape was still wrong fitwise and the brim wrong for my nose face. Worst of all, when I looked in the mirror, I saw my Hassidic Aunt Chaya from Brooklyn looking back at me.
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Back to the needles for this yardage. It was fun to knit, even if it didn't work out.

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Way more successful: grilled zucchini and beet slices on our new grill. yay, we're cooking with gas!

PS : go enter our Shear Spirit yarn contest till midnight tonight!

PPS: If you're in the shoreline CT area (or want to daytrip), I'm talking at RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison tomorrow evening, there's a LYS Madison Wool raffle for a $50. gift certificate. Bring your knitting & say hi!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

things i like about miami

(no knitting today, maybe tomorrow.....)
You learn all kinds of things because of being a parent. There's patience (ahem, still workin' on it), flexibility, the ability to love deeply yet want to throttle. There's other stuff. From my older son, I've an encyclopedic knowledge of animals and their environments. Go ahead, quiz me on tapirs, komodo dragons or frigates. I know sea chanteys (a phase that passed, yo ho) and I listen to hiphop (and reggae, but he learned that from us).
There's more but to get to the point, last week I learned I really really like Miami and south Florida. It's not going to be so bad having a college kid to visit there.
Green and juicy all year round, coconuts growing right in your motel room balcony, the crazy color palette , vernacular architecture, the beach.
And in September, on more thing I really really like will be there, too.
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Ok, I'd better go, getting a little teary. This is like that kindergarten bus feeling all over again.

Friday, July 11, 2008

fly by posting

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Or close to it, waiting to board the plane home. Here's where my son'll be going to school. I've always thought Miami was OK but this trip converted me .Totally. Details later.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

couvercle, part duh

I was ready to walk away from this pattern after my unhappy experience , when I received this in a comment from Kelly:
Yup, coo-VER-cluh. Forever in my brain after studying a thoroughly depressing Baudelaire poem in 10th grade which describes a sky as oppressive as a pot lid:
Quand la cielle base et lourde pese comme une couvercle....
Suddenly , the name was charming , the project endearing. The knitting of a new potlid was imperative! A speedy swing though a yarn store before leaving for Miami to get some Araucania Nature Cotton, had me realizing the difference from what I tried last time and this suggested yarn . And oh! the colors. The store had only the Patagonia line of handpainteds (it also comes solid dyed). All beautiful but one skein really spoke to me.0708GZUCKERfv_  0078
I love me some tertiary colors. That shade where the acid/mustardy yelllow hits the dark aqua blue and turns an odd mossy/olivey green ? Perfect.
Anyway, I didn't just like the colorway, it made me way happy to look at it. I could have just left it in a skein unknit and been happy. The next morning, on my flight to Florida I cast on and noticed something. My purse. That I carry all the time. 0708GZUCKERfv_  0080
Too funny! Here' another view
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and here's the yarn with the clothing I was wearing while knitting it on the plane
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Talk about predictable (yet oblivious)
It's knitting up promisingly, 0708GZUCKERfv_  0079
we may have a successful potlid soon.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

things are peachy in miami beachy

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Seriously, this blogging every day is a challenge when you're here there & everywhere. I started knitting something new on the plane down this morning and was all set to tell about it but time's running out , the internet connection in my hotel is iffy so....tomorrow.

I'm here for a quick 3 days with my older son for his college orientation. Cheers, fears , tears--and we're just talking about me-- but that's a whole other blog entry.

hey though, psst , go over to the Shear Spirit blog, we've got a contest giveaway going on.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

in which we learn that two mouths are better than one

Especially if the mouth joining me is my Shear Spirit co-author & friend, the wonderful writer Joan Tapper.
You can hear us interviewed together (um, except for the 3000 miles and 3 hour time difference) at CraftCast with Alison Lee.
at Old Mill Farm in Mendocino, hopefully not too smokey this week
fyi: this is an all crafts podcast so the questions were less about knitting and more about sheep, and goats and fiber and what we found out about farm life, it's a nice change of pace. Joan's clear brain kept us on topic, something that eludes me when speaking alone. None of us knew how a two-at-a-time phone call would work but somehow it did. I guess it's my week to blab-a-lot!

Monday, July 07, 2008

pronounce it tra-jeeek

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Couvercle turned out not so tres bon . Whose fault? That'd be moi.
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I bypassed a gauge swatch because I'm lazy wasn't sure what size I needed, in its utter pinkness I knew it wasn't staying with me. I figured it'd wind up fitting someone in my orbit. I hadn't counted on just how far off I was from the average head. Perhaps I'll try a wash and a hot dryer.

The pattern is written for Araucania Cotton, a thick & thin yarn that's 14 st to 4", and I used Cascade Luna, which claims 18 st to 4". I went down to a size 8 needles from the pattern's suggested 9US but I'm a loose knitter anyway, and cotton you do the math. Obviously I didn't.

On the bright side, I totally enjoyed knitting it, and I rawwwked the crochet. I haven't crocheted in earnest (read that as according to any instructions) since my high school days when epic length treble crochet stitch scarves were my oevre. You know, to go with our maxi coats.

To sum up: hat too large, pattern a thumbs up, must get more cotton yarn in non-pink & try again.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

3 from the 5th

I fixed the links from yesterday's hasty post,and added one more, this posting every day is harder than I thought

Inspired by Norma's post, which I accidentally read as "185 things I did on the 4th".
Geez, I thought, will that woman take a rest?!!

Here're 182 less:
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- enjoyed knitting the Couvercle, shown here cast on the night before. The operative word here: ENJOYED. Consider that I don't love knitting cotton, the seed/moss stitch is my least favorite combo of k's & p's and I am not sure why I chose pink because I love the hat but will never wear it in this hue.
Yet I am having a great time with it. It was the perfect almost mindless knit for an evening quaffing homemade sangria on the porch, waiting for fireworks, with this view.
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2. sat by the waves and read a good book

3. sadly returned my beach bike, one of those flat land, no speed, pedal backwards to brake cruisers. I rent it every time I'm there, with a big old fashioned basket in the front for running errands. Sadly because returning the bike is always my last act before heading back here to the real world

Which is where you'll find me today, tackling preparations for a hectic week ahead.

Not to mention bellying up to the challenge of crocheting the edges and brim on the Couvercle . How do you pronounce it , anyway? coo-vehr-kill? cou-vay-clay? coo-vehr-clay? This is worse than clapotis for those of us in Layz Etaz Oooni.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

blabfest link

So, a few weeks ago I had a chat with Kelley Petkun from KnitPicks. And here's what happened:
episode 55 on her podcast (!).
I kind of forgot it was supposed to be an interview, can you tell? I had a great time and Kelley, I think , got miniature sheep & some tattoos.
A gratuitous babydoll lamb image here. You can't tell me that little one is not smiling.

Warning: that link offers a breeding pair of miniature sheep at a very reasonable price. Proceed at your own risk. You can't get cute lawn mowers at the big box stores, you know.

Friday, July 04, 2008

colors of the day

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The expected.

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The less expected. I crossed paths with some Cascade Luna on sale , and watched my hand shoot past the nice drab green and subdued blue, right to pink. For this hat.
Freedom to choose whatever damn color I want. Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

in situ

The mitered square afghan, in the place we aimed for when we began it oh so long ago.
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I'm almost ready to do another. Almost.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

gotta go, gotta blog

Running out the door for that long haul to my fave beach in Delaware. Always worth the drive. What's packed so far? Clothes? Nope. Sunscreen. uh uh. You guessed it. Three knitting projects. Because I'm going for three days and you never know what I might feel like working on.
Car knitting, here I come.
(and btw? thanks for the birthday wishes, you all made my day)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

it's my party and i'll blog if i want to

While others ponder impending death (or whatever) of the knitblog I decide this: it's my birthday and time to shake things up, I will try to blog every day. For a while at least. A little challenge is good. It is going to be a year of change , why not mess around immediately?
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And since I haven't any new knitting to share, a rare look at my posse, out at a lobster shack for one of the 1,818 things we celebrated recently: graduation fr 8th grade! graduation fr high school! fathers day! birthday! 'nother birthday! visiting parents! visiting sibs! enough with the eating out! All good. Not to complain.
0608GZUCKERfv_  027 Steamers, also good.