Sunday, April 30, 2006

Getting the KnitGroove back.

I seem to have stumbled upon the perfect cure for a knitting dry spell. Simply go to a Fiber Festival!!! Yesterday Pea and I headed up to Vernon, Connecticut to do just that.

I was excited about going because this was my first ever fiber fest. But I was extra excited because I had plans to meet up with two other bloggers!!

JessaluElizabethI was lucky enough to share the festival with Jessalu Knits Jessica and Random Fibers Elizabeth. I was so thrilled to meet each of these ladies, along with Elizabeth's friend (in the center of the photo on the right) who's name I've already forgotten. (I am notoriously bad at remembering names.) Meeting Jess was like hooking up with an old friend, since I've been reading her blog for quite some time. She was just as sweet and fun as I knew she'd be. Elizabeth is a fairly new blogger (so go over and show her some blog-love, okay?), but I had already known we'd get along just fine as well. We all had similar tastes in yarn (sock!!!!) and it was so much fun to share my first fiber fest with other knitters. Don't get me wrong, Pea does a wonderful job of humoring my knitting obsession and can do pretty well in a fiber conversation (love ya, Sweetpea). But it's even more fun to be shopping with your girlfriends, and that's exactly how I felt yesterday.

And boy oh boy, did we ever shop!!

One of the first things I said, when asking the first vendor about the differences between drop spindle spinning and wheel spinning, was that I had no desire to become a spinner. So how did that drop spindle and roving end up coming home with me? Well, at only $5 for the whole kit, it would be silly not to at least try it, right? That first vendor was so helpful and nice in answering our spinning questions - speed and price are the main differences, but he said you can spin the same quality yarn using either method. After that great explanation, it would seem rude if I didn't buy some of his sock yarn, right? And when you can't decide between two colorways, you have no choice but to buy them both!!

Up next is some beautiful Brittany Birch needles that, at a price less than bamboos from Jo-Ann's, were just screaming to come home with me. I also got my arm twisted into some Opal sock yarn (thanks Jess - I would have regretting not buying this!!!!). And to the right, some lovely soft fingering weight alpaca at a steal!! I think this will become my first lace shawl . . . and is also part of a little contest I'll tell you about at the end of the post!!

All that shopping left our feet and wallets sore (although the bargains were great, so our feet were in much worse shape then our wallets). We took a little break at the Knit Bloggers Picnic.

If you spin it, they will come!!! I wish I could link you to everyone who was there, but the only blog I caught was sweet and funny Carole's. We had a great time hanging on the sun with all the knit bloggers!!

Okay, I know, you want to hear more about that contest I mentioned. Well, another blogger I was happy to meet was Lauren, and she mentioned on her blog that the Still River stall was fabulous but the lighting was terrible. I can certainly attest to that! The Times Remembered stall where I bought my fingering yarn was just as bad, and they also encouraged us to take their yarn outside to see the true color before buying it. After running back and forth about a dozen times, I picked up the yarn I finally bought.

The color is beautiful, but here was the true sign that I was meant to buy this yarn. The colorway has the same name as my DH, although spelled differently. So, up for grabs is a pretty 190 yard skein of Steadfast Fibers Wonderful Wool in the Boysenberry colorway (it's not pictured in the link, but it's lovely purple shades). Leave me a comment now through Wednesday and tell me the name of my fingering weight yarn. On Thursday I'll randomly draw a winner from all correct answers. (Sorry Jess and Elizabeth, you're not allowed to answer since you already know the color!!)

Friday, April 28, 2006

What's getting in the way of my knitting?

I feel like I haven't been getting much knitting done lately. I'm not quite sure why. Last week I felt like I was making tons of progress. The left side of my Sunrise Circle Jacket is done. The first Fields of Gold sock is done. And my Orange Reverse-Bloom Washcloth is more than half finished. But for the past of couple days . . . . nothing. No knitting progress to report or show. I think I go through Knitting Dry Spells. Small chunks of time when none of my projects seem interesting and nothing seems to get done. Why is that? Is it just me, or do you go through this too? How do you end the Dry Spell?? I fear the easiest fix is to find a great new pattern that excites me and cast on for it. I really don't want to resort to that. I want to finish what I have on the sticks because I really like these projects and can't wait to wear or use them.

I have been fiddling around with my template quite a bit lately, so I know that's part of what's been keeping me from knitting. I was able to find PSP9 at a great price on E-bay, so I've been playing around with that quite a bit. I also spent a whole day trying to figure out how to put a drop-down menu in my side-bar. I managed to get it built, but I've noticed unless my blog loads completely in my browser the menu doesn't work correctly. What I mean is, I have to see the word "Done" in the lower left status bar . . . if it says "Opening page . . . " it will not work. I have to hit the refresh button until the page loads completely. Do any of you want to take a look and tell me your thoughts? Look over in the sidebar way down in the KAL section. Under my Show Your FO button are two links - "23 FOs Done" and "KALs Past". If you hold your mouse over them (but don't click!!), a menu should pop out to the right. Does it work for you? Anyone use a Mac, and does it work there? Anyone have web-building and/or Suckerfish Drop Down experience and know something I've done wrong to cause this blip? Or is it just my browser (Internet Explorer)? Any thoughts or suggestions (or even gentle criticisms) would be greatly appreciated.

On to Project Spectrum. I can't believe we only have three days left in the Yellow / Orange month. I've loved seeing these bright cheery colors all over everyone's blogs, and I think this will be my favorite of all the months. For my contribution today, we need to go back a couple of years. Pea and I were engaged and it was time to think about registering. I knew I didn't want "good china", but I was anxious to pick out our "every day" dishes. I'd never really liked Pfaltzgraff that much, until I saw this and immediately fell in love. So, I present to you, my entire umm, most of my Pistoulet collection. Yikes, I didn't realize I had so much of this!!!

Pfaltzgraff Pistoulet

  1. Spoon rest, soup tureen, salad servers
  2. Small pitcher, large salad bowl, oval bowl
  3. Soup bowl, dinner plate, sandwich plate
  4. Nesting mixing bowls, HUGE platter, cereal bowls, coffee mug
  5. Big sunflower platter
  6. Chip and dip set
  7. Oil & vinegar cruets, olive dish
  8. Butter dish, vase, cake platter, teapot
I thought I had gotten pictures of everything, but now I'm remembering more!!! Placemats, another platter, a serving plate, a cutting board, a roasting pan and a pie plate. It was all either received as gifts or bought at outlet stores. I'm in big trouble if I ever get sick of this pattern, but since the pieces vary somewhat in color and design, I don't think I will!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Come on in for a visit.

Today I would like to invite you to spend some time in my Craft Room. When I bought my house almost 7 years ago (!!), one of the many things I loved about it was the sun porch in the back. It needed some work, but I always envisioned it as my craft room. Then the break-in happened. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while may remember I mentioned once that my house had been robbed. They came in through the sun porch window and it was there that I realized someone had been in my house. For a long time after, I didn't like to go into that room. Pea moved in quickly, and we piled a lot of his junk belongings in there. It was a huge mess for a long time.

Last spring I finally got over my aversion to the sun porch, and one weekend Pea and I Clean Sweeped it and my craft room was born. It is now one of my favorite rooms in the house. I wish I had thought to take some Before pictures . . . but I never think of it until half-way through any project. But here are the after pictures.

Come on in and look around!

Click on any picture for a larger view

It's a very tiny room so it was hard to get pictures, but this is a basic look around. I had planned to paint clouds on the ceiling, but I'm not really sure how! I always knew I wanted the room to be bright. I tend to gravitate toward neutral colors (as you may have noticed from my knitting spot picture) but the little sun porch seemed like a great place to "go wild" and use some fun color. I thought about colors at the seaside . . . the bright yellow sun, the blues and greens of the water, and a sandy colored carpet for the floor. The curtains and all of the furniture is recycled from Pea's old apartment, except for the table with the lamp on it. That is actually my mom's old sewing machine, which no longer works. It was neat to use it as a table though, and fits right in with the crafting theme. I can't tell you how therapeutic it was to take back my room - it's no longer "the place where the bad men broke in". It's now my knitting and crafting sanctuary, and I think it almost looks like a room from one of those decorating magazines. So that's my Project Spectrum yellow (and orange on the bench pillows) for today!!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A meme . . . and some GOLD

Angie over at Dipsy Doodle tagged me with a meme a few days ago. I figure a dark, rainy Sunday is a great day to reflect, so here goes. (These are all in no particular order.)

Seven Things To Do Before I Die:

  • become a mother
  • learn to speak Italian
  • travel to Italy
  • make a family tree
  • dance with my husband at the Eiffel Tower
  • go to Russia or China (or heck, both!!)
  • figure out what I want to be "when I grow up" . . .

Seven Things I Cannot Do:
  • a cartwheel
  • give a good massage
  • say "parenthesis
  • be patient
  • have a messy house
  • spend a lot of money on something I can make myself
  • stop worrying about EVERYTHING

Seven Things That Attract Me To My Man:
  • his big heart
  • his silly sense of humor
  • his manors
  • how cute he is
  • how responsible he is
  • how he makes me feel
  • well . . . EVERYTHING about him!!!

Seven Books I Love:
  • Gone with the Wind
  • The Godfather
  • Bridget Jones' Diary
  • Jane Eyre
  • Anna Karenina
  • My Sergei
  • Angela's Ashes

Seven Things I Say:
  • "like"
  • Dumb ass
  • I know
  • gggrrrrr
  • I love you
  • (insert skater's name here) skates to this song
  • just one more row

Seven Movies I've Loved :
  • Gone with the Wind
  • The Godfather
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • Sense and Sensibility
  • White Nights
  • Braveheart
  • Corrina Corrina

Seven lovely ladies I'm gonna tag: Okay, I never know who to tag for these things. If you don't like doing these (or have done it already and I've forgotten), don't feel obligated. But if you do - here's who I'm tagging: Marie, Ragan, Katt, MelissaJoon, Heidi, Karyn and Zonda.

Okay, on to Project Spectrum. I don't have any pictures for you today, because it's been too dim to get good pictures. So I'll tell you about some gold . . .Olympic gold . . . on Friday night. We had front row seats to Champions on Ice!!! Front row is wonderful not only because you are practically right on the ice with them, but also because at the end of the show they skate around the perimeter and smack our hands as they skate by!! Unfortunately, not all of the Olympic Gold medalists were in the show this year, but Tatiana and Maxim were there and "smacked" us. And then there's Evgeni. I will admit to having a soft spot for Russian skaters. And maybe I get a little loud when a skater I like comes out. And maybe . . . just maybe . . . . I screamed so loud that he looked me straight in the eye and pointed at me!! And at the end, he looked for me again and blew a kiss. Pea didn't think it was all that funny, but hey, I"m not about to run away with a Russian skater . . . . even if he wasn't already married.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The flower post

What better way to wrap up a warm spring day than with some flowers!! First up, my pink Project Spectrum March washcloth.

pink washclothThe pattern is from Weekend Knitting, and this is a very fun knit! I knit the entire cloth on DPNs and had a few small problems joining the petals together. It might be easier doing all the petals on a circular needle and joining them before switching to DPNs. I'll probably still do my next one all on DPNs though - just because I'm stubborn. I'll do the complete write up when I finish the orange Project Spectrum April washcloth.

And now, some PS Yellow flowers around the (mostly) self-taught knitter house.

flowers everywhere!!!The flowers on each end are growing in my yard, but the beautiful bouquet in the middle is from Pea. I'm a lucky girl, he brings me flowers quite often. There's kind of a story behind that though.

Sometime during our first year of marriage, Pea went out one day to do the grocery shopping. It was around the time when things were getting REALLY BAD at work, so I made the list but he said he'd go do the shopping. When he got home, he said "I got you flowers". I was so thrilled that he wanted to cheer me up and was sweet enough to pick up some flowers knowing that would do the trick. I ran into the living room to see the flowers . . . . and the table was empty. Hmmm, maybe he left them in the kitchen.

As I walked into the kitchen, I realized that old clique was true . . . the honeymoon was over. There on the counter were the "flowers". The bread flour and the self-rising flour I had put on the shopping list. What I had heard as "I got you flowers" was actually "I got your flours". He said it with pride because he hadn't know different types of flours existed and had successfully chosen the right ones.

From then on, the "flours" have been a running joke around here. And I will say, he has more then redeemed himself with all the pretty flowers he's brought home since then.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Feeling much better

Fear not, the blue mood that took over my last post seems to have passed. I attribute it to all the wonderful thoughts, hugs and positive energies you guys sent out to me. Thank you so much - sometimes just knowing people all across the WORLD are thinking of you really does work wonders. Easter turned out okay. Pea stayed here with us, and it seems the rift with his parents is on it's way to being resolved, so we are all hopeful. It's quite a complex situation that I won't get into here, but we are hoping to help them get the help they need.

A quiet Easter with my parents turned out to be really nice and very relaxing, and I think we were all ready for that.

Aunt Mandy and Uncle Tom were here from Friday night until early Sunday morning, and we had the best time!! Saturday was also my mom's birthday, and having her "baby" sister here to celebrate with her made the day even better. We went up to the Native American museum and had a wonderful time. (Like a good blogger I snuck my camera in and took the bootleg pictures you see on the left!!) We then headed over the other casino to show them the great atmosphere there. I even managed to finagle a half hour on the nickel slots, and came away $20 richer!! Who needs a job when you can make $40 an hour playing slots . . . tee hee!!

We're already more than half-way through April, and my Project Spectrum content has been non-existent. I have a lot of yellow around here, so instead of doing one HUGE post, I think I'll add a little PS Content to each post until I've shown you everything I have. Up first is my Project Spectrum Knitting content - my socks and another washcloth. The washcloth will be cast on as soon as the pink one is finished, which may very well be today!!

Project Spectrum KnittingBlurry picture = too much coffee?

The sock is also knitting up very quickly - thanks to the Instant Gratification sock yarn and the size 5 needles! At first, I wasn't crazy about the color of this yarn - the gold in it didn't really appeal to me. But it's growing on me . . although I'm a bit disappointed with the pooling where I began the instep. I had a hard time settling on a name for this sock. Pea suggested Mellow Yellow . . . but that seemed too obvious to me. I was partial to That '70s Sock, because the colors just screamed '70s decor to me. But in the end, my heart belongs true to my man, so I've named them the Fields of Gold socks. The future may hold other socks with musically inspired names as well. I've already got a few other Sting socks floating around in my head!!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I'm still here.

I know I kind of dropped out of sight after creating my new banner on Saturday, but I'm here and I'm okay. Thank you so much to everyone who left such nice comments about the banner. I still managed to find a few things I would like to fix on it (my OCD is jumping in again), but I'll probably just leave it as it is. Especially since the Paint Shop Pro Police must have read my blog - sure enough my trial edition no longer works. I should have kept my mouth shut!!! I'm looking to purchase one off E-Bay if the price is right (cheap).

Before you read any further, I should probably give you fair warning that this will probably be one of those whiney, disjointed, rambling posts that everyone loves to read (not). I've been feeling really blue, and haven't been much interested in blogging, e-mailing or even knitting (I didn't knit a single stitch yesterday, can't remember the last time that happened). I think my problem is three-fold. Family problems - on the in-law side. PMS - self explanatory. Total lack of Easter enthusiasm - my brother moved to CA in January, so this will be our first holiday without him, and Pea may end up going to LI to be with his parents (who turned down an invite from my parents to come here) so I'll be missing him too. In fact, our Easter dinner will probably consist of me, my Mom, my Dad . . . and an 8 lb. Prime Rib. My aunt and uncle will be here tomorrow (remember their recently side-lined visit???) and we're hoping to talk them into staying for Easter dinner. That would help us all feel a bit better, I think.

Okay, enough of this pity party . . . . I know I do have so much to be thankful for and should stop being such a nudge. I have a wonderful family and a warm home and plenty of food for an Easter feast, and there are so many people out there who don't have any of that.

On to brighter, fun things. My new friend Jodi had a brilliant knitting organization idea, and was kind enough to give me a sneak preview. To the left is her Gettin' Knit Together Kit, which includes everything you need to organize your stash and your knitting life as a whole. The Yarn Minder ensures you will never have to play "What yarn is this and where did I buy it" again. I know I always try to keep the yarn label with the ball in my stash, but the Yarn Gremlins seem to get in there and mix them all up. The kit also includes the best needle inventory card I've ever seen, brilliant forms for keeping track of all your project notes and details, a sheet to record all your measurements so you don't have to whip out the tape measure every time you start a new project, and a bag that's actually big enough to hold your whole project with all the yarn while providing easy access to it. All in one pretty pink kit!!! Best of all, she has them put together and ready for sale now. Check out how you can get your own here! Only another knitter could come up with a kit this complete.

My new neighbors are all moved in, and while I haven't met them yet, I did "meet" their dog. I'm not sure what kind he is, but it's one of those scary, mean, bite-you-hard looking breeds. Looks can be deceiving though, and I get the idea he's the sweetest little doggie. They leave him outside in the yard all day, and he barks at me a bit when I go out to hang the laundry. I talk to him a little, and he settles right now. But by the end of the day, I think he gets pretty lonely, because he sits by his ball, looks at their house, and just barks and cries. It breaks my heart. This morning they put him out at 5:30 am and he barked and cried for an hour. Poor little guy, it was still dark out there. In fact, he's crying right now. It's killing me.

I know I owe a lot of you some e-mails, and I promise to snap out of my mood and get to that today or tomorrow. I've also been guilty of doing some major lurking, but have tried to start leaving some comments on your blogs again today. I also need to do a Project Spectrum post - I have tons of Yellow & Orange around my house to show you. I didn't realize how much I loved those colors (especially the yellow) until I started looking around and seeing how much yellow I actually have!! Thanks Lolly, for opening up my eyes!!! (And yes, you're comment is correct - I chose the Sunflower mouse-pointer for PS and plan to changed it each month!!)

Saturday, April 08, 2006


I've been unhappy with my banner and button for quite some time. I used the free trial of Adobe Photoshop to build them, and since my trial period has long since run out, I figured there was nothing I could do unless I shelled out some big bucks for new Photoshop software.

It's funny what you'll find if you actually root around in your computer. I have a program called Jasc Paint Shop Pro. It tells me I am on day 141 of my 30 day trail period, and after 60 days the program will not run. I'm not sure what that's all about, but let me assure you the program runs fine!! So I set up my books and yarn, snapped a few pictures, and whipped up this new banner and button!!! I think they look much nicer than the "amateurish" ones I had before.

Yeah, it's going to take me forever to get that yarn all put away, but I think it was worth it . . . if I do say so myself!!!

Oh, and by the way, Katt has a little sock competition going on over at her blog. Go check it out . . . if enough of us play she'll raise the stakes to TWO prizes instead of one!!

Friday, April 07, 2006


When I wrote yesterday's post, I had no idea I was starting my own pregnancy rumor!!!! While Pea and I would be thrilled if that were the case, I must assure you that I was just fending off that bug that's been making the rounds. A day on the couch and some chicken soup brimming with garlic and spinach have set me right again. For now, the only additions to our little family will be of the fibery nature.

Speaking of which, look what the stork brought yesterday!!!

The latest addition to our family.

Bestus Buddy Socks
Conceived: March 21, 2006
Born: April 6, 2006
DNA:Knit Picks Parade in Checkers

It's twins!!!The labor with this pair wasn't too bad. The only time I was crying for something to numb the pain was during the short-row heels. Although the picture on the left doesn't show it very well, these twins are almost identical.

Non-matching birth-marksThe only distinguishing feature is the non-matching birth-marks on their heels. I knew this was the case early in the birthing process, but in the interest of saving yarn decided I would be okay with it. The new arrivals are resting quite comfortably on "mama's" feet as I type.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Oh sure, after days and days of gray skies and rain, we finally have a beautiful sunny day . . . and I'm sick. Not major sick, but I've been feeling off since Tuesday. Very dizzy, very tired, and this morning I woke up feeling extremely queasy. When I don't want coffee immediately upon waking, you know there is something wrong. So much for my walk with my friend and her daughter outside in the sunshine.

I also still have no FO to post. I am SO CLOSE to finishing my Bestus Buddy sock. Only about half an inch to go. But I just haven't felt up to knitting for the past few days - which, of course, is another huge indicator that something is wrong. No coffee and no knitting - yeah, I must be sick. Anyway, I think I'll finish them up today and post them tomorrow, since I plan to spent today on the couch. I may try to crank out the Reverse-Bloom Washcloth too. I haven't touched it since the day I cast on, so I really should pick that up again. And Sunrise Circle is coming along slowly. I have a feeling I won't be wearing it for Easter though.

I've been so remiss is posting this week because I've been feeling so icky. I should have posted this much much sooner, but look what came in the mail late Saturday!!!

I won, I won!!!My prize yarn from Jill's contest over at You Know You Knit Too Much When . . . My name came out in the mid-contest random drawing. Isn't it pretty???? This is a yarn I certainly would have picked out myself - I just love the colors, and of course, sock yarn is my thing lately. And look at the cute card and precious little stitch markers she sent along with it!!! So cute.

During Flash Your Stash, I noticed someone (I don't remember who) counted their sock yarn to see how many pairs they could make. Since I seem to have become the worst kind of Yarn Floozy . . . a Sock Yarn Ho . . . I thought it might be interesting to see where my Sock Yarn Stash stands.

No such thing as too much sock yarnWhat you see there in that overflowing basket of sock yarn is enough yarn to make 22 pairs of socks. TWENTY TWO!!!!! Okay, some would be ankle socks . . . .but still! Yikes.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

I'm so sorry, Uncle Tommy

I fear that I may have inadvertently put a hex on my uncle. I got a call from my mom this morning. Their visit has been postponed because Uncle Tommy has the flu. Remember I complained on Thursday about my social life interfering with my knitting? I think I made my poor uncle sick!!!! My punishment was that I didn't find out in time to make it to SnLive at Jennifer's. I did, however, sit and knit most of the morning and have gotten through the short-row heel on my second Bestus Buddy sock. I wouldn't say it came out good, but it's better than the first one.

We spent Thursday night and all of yesterday at what I consider to be Disney World for grown-ups, Mohegan Sun Casino. We took advantage of a mid-week special to book three discount rooms, and six of us went up to have some fun!!! The hotel is gorgeous, but usually WAY out of our price-range.

I promised Christine that I would take pictures. Of course, I forgot to get one of our room in it's pristine state when we arrived . . .and couldn't bear to take any once the bed was slept in and the towels unfolded. (OCD never takes a vacation . . . but I draw the line at making my own bed in a hotel room just to take pictures!!) I did take a couple near the shops and by the Taughannick Falls.

Fishies are the store window.This picture is a store called Odyssea. The windows and door are comprised of a huge aquarium full of tropical fish.

I should probably explain that we have two casinos in Connecticut, but they are only allowed on Native American property. The Mashantucket Pequot tribe has Foxwoods and the Mohegan Tribe has Mohegan Sun. It is a beautiful casino heavily influenced by their Native American heritage. The martini bar is nestled in a huge crystal mountain called Wombi Rock in the Casino of the Sky section. Taughannick Falls is a huge indoor waterfall that houses Todd English's Tuscany restaurant. This glass sculpture stands right in front of the waterfall.

A glas sculpture near the indoor waterfall.Aside from seeing the sights and eating some good food, the nickel slot machines are my favorite part of any trip to Mohegan. (Okay, I'm not exactly a high roller!!!) For most of the trip, Lady Luck was not with me. I was down to my last $20 when she finally caught up with me and I won most of it back on one very generous machine!! Alas, no yarn spree for me - instead I choose to keep my winnings in an envelope for the next time we make the trip to Mohegan Sun. This way, I'm always playing with their money!

I promise my next post will have actual knitting content again. Maybe I'll even have that other sock done and be planning my next pair . . . . and there is a good possibility my April Project Spectrum sock yarn will have arrived. For now, why don't you head over to meet my new blog-pal and fellow Connecticut girl Mari, who has made it through the struggle with HTML and Blogger bugs and gotten her new blog all set up and customized. I'm sure she'd love to hear from you!