Friday, December 4, 2009

What? It's December? WHAT?

For crying out loud, why didn't someone tell me it's December and PRECISELY three weeks until Christmas Day? That means there is less than three weeks to get "everything" done.

Luckily "everything" does not really encompass cleaning the house or trying to find the guest room. Been there, done that. My parents were here over Thanksgiving so the flurry of cleaning took place a couple weeks ago. A little dusting, a little vacuuming and I should be in good shape. Well, maybe it won't be that simple. I did have a little "stash panic" last Sunday and pretty much dumped all my yarn into the middle of the guest room. I guess it was probably a big stash panic. I couldn't find my last two hanks of Shepherd's Wool that I needed to finish my February Lady Cardigan. I knew I stashed them somewhere terribly clever. Somewhere out in the open because I knew I'd be needing them soon (ready to start the sleeves). I searched every nook and cranny in that guest room, and in a fit of disgust, I gave up. I'll show that yarn who's the boss.

It was on the vanity in my bedroom. In plain sight. Out in the open. Ready to be wound into tidy center-pull balls. It sucks when you out-clever yourself. Now I have to deal with the guest room....again.

Is there a lesson here? I don't think so.

* * * * * * * * *

As for what's on my needles at the moment:
  1. As mentioned above, the February Lady cardigan. I'm ready to tackle the sleeves, but I fear it must be put on hold until Christmas.
  2. Intarsia Santa sock that I'm knitting along with the class I'm teaching at Haus of Yarn. I need to get cranking on this one. The last class is Tuesday and I need to be ready to show them how to do the afterthought heel.
  3. Gauge swatch for a pair of Berocco Suede slippers in the holiday issue of Interweave Knits--I'm not if this project will get past the swatch.
  4. Gauge swatch for a shop model I'm knitting for Haus of Yarn out of Ella Rae Silk Bamboo (yarngasmic!)
  5. And another little trifle of a project that shall go without further mention (because it's December).

Plus I'm doing the finishing work for Haus of Yarn customers. I'm seriously doubting my sanity, but I enjoy the work. The project I'm working on now is a sweater knit out of some of the most scrumptious yarns on the market! So, while I can't afford the yarn myself (yet) I can work with it in the finishing process and get a feel for how it handles. It's a win-win!

Purchased stockings. I added the duplicate stitch names.

Sweater knit by Carolyn. I finished the button band. Knit out of Koigu.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thank you, Murfreesboro!

A big THANKS to everyone who stopped by my booth at the fiber festival today in Murfreesboro! This was the first time I've sold "face to face" in a booth at a festival, and it went surprisingly well. I had a great time, saw a lot of old friends, met new friends and was able to connect faces to Ravelry names. I was really nervous and everyone was wonderful and supportive. Thanks for stopping by!

If you have any suggestions on what you'd like me to sell, please let me know. The silk hankies were a huge hit and I apologize for not having more. I've got another batch on order and will post them in my Etsy shop.

I'll have photos to post tomorrow. I can't find my camera. Hopefully, it's in one of the boxes that's still in the car. Unpacking will happen tomorrow. I hear a glass or two of Chianti calling my name.

And for those who didn't make it (you know who you are), Carol and I talked about you. Ha!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fiber Festival Alert!

This Saturday (10/24) is the Harvest Days and Fiber Festival at Cannonsburgh Village in Murfreesboro. Bring your friends! Bring your family!

It starts at 10 and goes until 5. Come early, stay late!

p.s. Did I mention I'm a vendor this year? EEEK!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

For your prayer list

Please keep Alan, Vicki, Melissa and John in your prayers. They live in my neighborhood, and their house burned down tonight. Luckily, everyone, including Coco, is safe. I don't know what to do for them right now other than send prayers their way and ask you to do the same.

I've never seen a house burn down before and I'm shocked at how fast it can happen. This is a good reminder to check smoke detectors. Make sure you have both kind...the kind that detect a slow smoldering fire (lots of smoke) and the kind that detect a quick burst of heat (flash flames).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Be gentle, it's my first time

My first paid Ravelry advertisement! How's that for just too darn cool?

Not typing much tonight. I smooshed my finger in a car door today. Yes, it hurt like hell. I have this lovely little black spot under my finger nail. If I lose this nail I'm probably going to vomit a little every time I look at my hand. (I lost a toe nail once and let me tell you, it was totally nasty! After the nail fell off (gag) I opened a door and my toe was in the way...right over the toe...a whole new level of pain and uglyness. I couldn't get a pedicure for a year for fear that I would freak out everyone in the nail salon and be banned for pure grossness.) At least with a toe I could hide it in a shoe, but my right index finger? I may have to knit some gloves...or a finger condom.

(That last comment will probably hurl this innocuous little knitting blog right into adult content land! HA!)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tulips in October

Tulips Cardigan by Lindsay Pekny is finished and ready for delivery! Yes, it's just as sweet and cute in person! I purchased the kit for the cardigan at Stitches Midwest last month at the Elegant Ewe booth. A friend's daughter had a baby last month and this cardigan was on my shopping list. As my sister was admiring a baby sweater at the Stitches Market, a fellow shopper said, "How darling! Doesn't it make you want to ovulate?"

Yes, the sweater is very cute and I'm sure it will look very sweet on Avery, but it does NOT make me want to ovulate! As if!

In other case the new banner isn't obvious enough...I've taken the plunge and started advertising my Etsy shop on Ravelry in the group forums. (If you're a knitter/crocheter/spinner and not a member of Ravelry, you need to be. Go. Join.) I have been hesitant about the advertising because I'm not typically one to call attention to myself. And advertising is the epitome of yelling, "hey! look at me!" into a crowd of people. I'm nervous.

And finally, my latest investment (the shorter one on the right). I like to call this Lawn Boy x2.

I seriously considered buying a couple sheep to tend the lawn, but there's that whole poop issue. I realize the one on the left poops too, but he's toilet trained. (I'm so dead if he reads of the reasons he won't "friend" me on Facebook!)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Any resemblance to actual events...

Let's examine the concept of making certain items of a personal nature "gratis" after a certain time of night.

Gratis: out of kindness, free, charitable

For example, let's say a woman enters a grocery store at a very brisk pace at, say, 11:20pm, heads straight to the feminine products aisle (purely an example) and seconds later approaches the checkout lane with a big extra OMG large package of products from said aisle. In my opinion, the woman should be able to head straight home and bypass the entire checkout process. Especially if register 1 is closed (even though the light is on) and the surly young man lounging by register 1 says, "he'll get you at register 5." The woman knows the clock is ticking and register 5 might as well be in Chattanooga...and where in the hell is the cashier for register 5? Oh, he's at the front desk making a "I'll be right there" gesture. (Again, just a "for instance".) Shopper discount cards need not be scanned, item(s) need not be bagged, debit card need not be swiped. No need for chit chat. No need for the pleasant "did you find everything you were looking for?" (As freakin' if!) Time is of the essence here!

But like I said, I'm just presenting the subject for debate.

Any similarities to actual persons, surly, living or dead, or any resemblance to actual events, past, present or future is purely coincidental.

Other items to consider as "gratis" after 11pm:
Baby diapers, formula, pacifier, etc.
Preparation H
Pepto Bismol
Dark chocolate

On a serious note, here's my feedback to the cashier: Dude, DO NOT ask a woman who has just plunked down a massive package of feminine products on your checkout lane at 11:20pm if 1) she is having a pleasant night and 2) if she found everything she was looking for. The proper greeting is, "Good evening, ma'am. There is no charge for your purchase tonight. May I offer you this complimentary slab of dark chocolate as well? Would you like to hit me? Please...if it will take the edge off."

Just sayin'...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oh Fabio!

My latest finished object!

Drop Stitch Scarf
Knit with my superwash hand-dyed in "Oh Fabio!"
Pattern by Laura Bryant
Published in Spring 2009 Vogue Knitting

Initially, the pattern comes off as rather fussy. A lot of "Row 9 as Row 2" then "Row 16 as Row 9", but once you get the hang of the pattern repeat you can pretty much go on your own.

As for the name of the's named after Fabio, a gorgeous peacock who struts his stuff around Three Creeks Farm.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Festival Preparation

It's tough to photograph yarn and get the true color. Really tough. My camera isn't all that great. I bought it 8 years ago when 2 mega pixels was that cat's meow. About a month later 3 mega pixel cameras hit the market. What are they up to now? 12? But my camera does a pretty good job and it has taken thousands of photos.

Sugar Maple hand-dyed sock yarn. 460 yards of 75/25 blend of wool and nylon. This is a very durable sock yarn. The nylon gives added strength and it can be machine washed.

This is one of my latest handspun yarns. It's an 80/20 blend of merino wool and possum. Yes, possum. You see, there is a terrible possum problem in New Zealand. A long time ago someone brought a possum to the islands (I guess it would have been two possums). They are considered an invasive non-native species and have been causing major problems for decades. An erradication project was established (I don't want the details) and the result is more fiber to spin.
Possum "down" is a very short fiber so it needs to be blended with a longer staple, such as merino wool. The wool holds everything together and the possum adds a lovely bloom. It's also a very warm fiber. I think this batch of 4 ounces wants to be mittens or maybe wrist warmers.

I purchased the fiber for this yarn from the Fiber Denn about a year ago. It's 100% corriedale wool. I'm thinking nice thick socks.

I'm getting my inventory in shape for the Cannonsburgh Village Harvest Days and Fiber Festival on October 24th. I'm planning on selling hand-dyed sock yarn, hand-dyed fiber, hand spun yarn, and maybe a few other items. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

No fleece for me!

As luck would have it, I'm sick. Not flu sick, but a nasty cold coupled with an ear infection. Sick enough to stay home and forego the spinning competition and fleece auction tonight at the Tennessee State Fair. It sucks. I tried to talk myself into going several times, but each time I whimped out. I just don't feel well, and, as I said, it sucks. So much for getting a fleece at a great price.

However, I suppose I shouldn't whine too loudly. Did I mention that I just got back from a weekend in Chicago with my sister? We went to Stitches Midwest and the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. Fun!

Stitches Midwest Day 1
I arrived at Chicago's Midway airport mid-morning and took the train to the Rosemont station where my sister picked me up. On to Schaumburg!

After a quick lunch we checked in for our first class, "Mastering Yarn Substitutions" by Kelly Nuss. What a great session (even though a few classmates were determined to take the class off-topic and discuss the meaning of "drape". Seriously.) When she explained that you could knit in a tighter gauge but use the stitch count for a larger size and come out pretty darn close, I thought my sister was going to stand up and applaud. It was a lot of math, but it wasn't as scary as I anticipated.

Then it was on to the Market preview! I'd love to name all the vendors we visited, but I know I would leave someone out. I wasn't going to buy anything. Ha! That ended when I saw the possum blend Zealana Rimu yarn. Cha-ching! We shopped until the Market closed and then the real mission began. The hunt for wine. And a grocery store.

One would think that there would be a grocery store on the main thoroughfare through Schaumburg. No Kroger. No Publix. We drove for what felt like miles (probably only a mile or two) and finally saw a sign for the "Shop and Save." After the first aisle my sister whispered, "where are we?" I hadn't noticed the non-English audio playing in the background. I was entranced with the cool packaging and didn't realize the colorful labels were in POLISH. Not that there's anything wrong with Polish, it's just that it took a few minutes for us to realize that we were in a Polish grocery store. In the middle of Schaumburg. And no one was speaking English. So, we bought Polish ketchup, polish pickles, polish chocolate, polish hummus, polish wine, and triscuits. Ok, the pickles and ketchup were for my nephews because one likes ketchup and the other likes pickles and we knew they'd get a kick out of the cool labels.

Stitches Midwest Day 2
At the last minute I decided to take a quick market session on intarsia taught by Beth Whiteside. It was a whim and I mainly took it to hear what tkind of questions people would have about intarsia so I can be better prepared for the class I'm teaching next month. It was money well spent.

After the class we hopped on the train at the Roselle Metra Station and went to Chicago!

Union Station

View of Chicago River from the Water Taxi (notice the trains under the bridge)

View of Chicago from the Water Taxi
Check out the parking garage! Those are some serious parking skills! I wonder how many cars have backed into the river.

We walked and shopped Michigan Avenue and then hit Giordano's on Rush Street for stuffed pizza. We walked and shopped some more, then caught the bus back to Union Station for the train ride home.

When we got back to the hotel it was wine and Polish (and other terribly insensitive and off-color) jokes. We still hadn't gotten over the Polish grocery had to be there. When my sister reads this she'll start laughing all over again. Especially when she thinks about "Skip." (I'll bet that made her snort.)

Stitches Midwest/Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival Day 3
On Saturday we drove a couple hours north and went to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival in Jefferson, Wi. It's a great festival! We got there a little later than we planned (slept in...too many Polish jokes the night before) but we still had plenty of time to browse through the barns of vendors, sheep and babies. Love the babies!

Gun show! Sheep shearing demo. Lots of ladies at this demonstration. Hmm, wonder why.

We bought fiber--Romney, CVM, silk. Karen bought an Ashford spindle. I bought more than I could fit in my suitcase so Karen agreed to ship it to Nashville for me. We spent Saturday night playing with the drop spindle and teaching/learning to spin. She thinks her first yarn is too thick, I think her first yarn would make a killer edging on mittens!

Stitches Midwest Day 4
Sunday was our last day. We went back to the Market for one last looky-loo, bought a few more goodies, and then Karen headed north and I headed south.

The trip was great, and we're contemplating our destination for next year. Stitches and the wool festival were fun but we may opt for poolside umbrella drinks and cabana boys. Cozumel anyone?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hyp-no-tize me!

I'm still finding it difficult to believe in hypnosis. (This isn't just a random thought on a Sunday night.) Some friends and I went to the Wilson County Fair recently happened across a hypnosis show. The show was about half-way through and there were about a dozen people on stage all flopped over like ragdolls. I was intrigued enough to make a note of the next showtime, so I could watch the "antics" from the beginning.

It seems that the hypnotist is quite popular because we arrived about 15 minutes prior to the start of the show, yet there were no seats left. We were relegated to propping ourselves up next to the TN Lottery trailer. It wasn't a chair, but at least we could lean (we'd been on our feet for hours, literally!) Next to us stood a man and his son. I'd say the boy was probably 10 or 11 years old. The hypnotist got on stage and asked everyone in the audience to participate...close your eyes, put your arms out in front of you palms up, deep breath. Ok, so I did it and felt totally goofy. The hypnotist then told us that in our left hand is a very heavy bucket of sand. Oh, crap. Which one is my left hand? I totally can't tell with my eyes closed. Seriously. I have to look at my hand and check which one makes an L with the thumb and forefinger. (It's one of my more endearing qualities.) This left-hand-holding-a-bucket-of-sand suggestion clearly isn't going to work, so I open my eyes to look at my hands. You have got to be kidding...the boy next to me is struggling with the weight of the bucket of sand. Obviously he knows his left from his right. AND the same goes for about 30% of the audience. Fake fake fake! Then hypnotist dude says that your right hand is holding a bunch of helium balloons and wouldn't you know it--the kid next to me and bucket wielding audience members raise their right hands. What is up with that? (Some people will do anything to get on stage.)

I figure that's how he gauges who in the audience will "work" for his show. So he gets volunteers to come up on stage and sits them down in front of everyone. Then he puts them in deep relaxation. So deep that the boy next to me falls to the ground. Yes, reader(s), he FALLS TO THE GROUND! He's out. Limp. Totally hypnotized. Oh, it gets better.

I should probably mention that the hypnotist very clearly stated that his show was copyrighted and all videos were completely prohibited, against the law, etc. He didn't mention anything about writing about the sequence of events. So I feel it's safe to continue...since no names are being mentioned.

At this point there are quite a few people in the audience, besides the people on stage, who are completely out. They are slumpped forward, leaning on their neighbors, or in the case of the boy next to me, laying flat on the ground. It's really strange. The hypnotist then addresses the audience and tells them that they will no longer receive suggestion, they would be awake, alert and ready to enjoy the show. The boy next to me woke up...until the hypnotist told the volunteers that the ground was very hot. I looked to my left (yes, he was on my left...L...) and he was picking up his feet to keep them off the ground. He was still hypnotized!

Some of the people around us thought he was faking, but you could see it in his eyes. This kid was totally gone. Here's what I want to know. Is there a hypnosis that will work on a 15 year old who doesn't want to do homework, clean his room, empty the dishwasher, mow the lawn? Actually the possibilities are endless! Which brings up another question...has the guy ever hypnotized his wife? And would she know if he did??? I'm totally creeped out by that thought. All this stuff is going through my head as the boy next to me is doing everything the hypnotist suggests. He's watching a funny movie, he's 3 years old (and sucking his thumb!), he's singing along with Barney, he's watching a sad movie, he's on a roller coaster. The boy was much more entertaining than the show on stage. I was crying I was laughing so hard. The boy's dad was enjoying it also!

I'm not sure what triggered the boy to "wake up" but he just popped out of it, as did another woman on stage at about the same time. The boy had no clue why he was on the ground, had no recollection of the hypnotist show. Nothing.

So, how does that work? I mean, the hypnotist literally told everyone to close their eyes, put their arms in front of them and take a deep breath....that was it. The next thing you know a woman is running through the audience speaking in Chinese and trying to get everyone to quit laughing. One thought she was on The Price is Right. A guy told everyone he was wearing women's underwear. Another girl went to a concession stand and ordered 20,000 grilled cheese sandwiches and told them to charge it because the aliens just landed. I don't get it. I can't say that I don't believe it because the boy next to me was clearly in a trance. (No 11 year old boy is going to suck his thumb in front of strangers at a county fair.) I just don't think I could ever get hypnotized, even if the hypnotist didn't start out with something really hard like right hand, left hand. I was doomed from the start.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Space Shuttles and Santa

The Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to launch tonight in a few more hours. I turned on the news as they were showing the Discovery on the launch pad. No matter how many times I see prelaunch photos and videos I'm always impressed. What the photos don't adequately portray is the magnitude of all that equipment.

In August 2001, I hit the shuttle jackpot and scored a VIP tour that took us to the base of the launch pad the night before takeoff. It was a rare opportunity even in the days prior to 9/11, and I doubt any civilians have been that close to a shuttle since.

It is important that I mention that the Commander for tonight's flight, Rick Sturckow, and the Mission Specialist, Patrick Forrester, were part of the crew for the STS-105 Discovery mission in 2001. How cool is that?

Reader(s), I proudly present a few of my personal STS-105 Discovery photos:

Definitely one of the coolest things I've experienced.

Here's a quick glimpse of the stocking I'm knitting for the intarsia class I'm teaching at Haus of Yarn. As many knitters will say as they begin to tell you about the pattern--I have made some changes.

I didn't really care for the beard in the pattern. It was too symetrical and perfect. C'mon folks, Santa is a busy man. He doesn't have time to coif the beard. I recharted it and added some wayward locks. Much better.

The next stumbling block was the heel. The pattern calls for a basic heel flap, turned heel, picked up stitches and gusset. Picking up the stitches along the heel just wasn't working for me. I knit it that way twice. I ripped it out twice. It was not giving me great joy. I was knitting yesterday while sitting at the ball pack so I didn't have any pattern books with me. I couldn't decide what to do for the heel and didn't have anything at hand for a reference. Then I remembered something I read by the Yarn Harlot about Elizabeth Zimmerman...and the afterthought heel. (Go read it.) I didn't do it exactly like she explains it. Again, I made some changes. Only one change actually. Instead of snipping the actual sock yarn, I used a bit of scrap yarn to mark the spot for the heel. That way, when I come back to work the heel I just have to pull out the scrap yarn and put the live stitches back on my DPNs. Pretty much the same way you work a thumb in a mitten---knit a tube, add another tube.

The heel and toe decreases will match, and the sock "should" have a good balance to it. I think I can get this done by tonight. Maybe more photos tomorrow.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

This Just In!

I'm teaching a couple classes at Haus of Yarn this fall!

Intarsia Santa Stocking
Session 1: Sept 15, 29 and Oct 13, 5:30-7:30
Session 2: Nov 11, 24 and Dec 8, 5:30-7:30
Experience: Must be able to knit, purl, cast on, bind off, follow a simple patternTechniques learned: Learn intarsia knitting and following a pattern chart, turned hem with picot edge, simple two color Fair Isle knitting, weaving in ends, basic sock construction, duplicate stitch, I cord, mattress seam stitch.
Materials: Ann Norling sock pattern, appropriate yarn and needles as stated in pattern, stitch markers, stitch holders, intarsia bobbins (optional), extra pair of size 7 or 8 needles for swatches, 10-20 yards worsted weight yarn in two or three different colors for swatches, darning needle, creative embellishments—bells, buttons for eyes, etc.

Some Assembly Required
Session 1: Aug 25 and Sept 1, 5:30-7:30
Session 2: October 6 and 27, 5:30-7:30
Experience: Must be able to knit, purl, cast on, bind off, follow a simple patternTechniques learned: Quick and painless finishing techniques! Invisible side and shoulder seams, picking up stitches for button bands and necklines, button holes, weaving in ends. If you have a finishing problem, bring your project and we’ll figure it out.
Materials: Swatch yarns in worsted weight preferably wool or wool blend, 26” or longer circular needle 2 sizes smaller than the needles used for swatches, tapestry needle, scissors, assorted buttons
Homework: Please have these swatches finished prior to class time. Use a smooth, light colored, worsted weight yarn, gauge approximately 4-5 sts/inch. Swatches 1 and 2: Cast on 30 sts and work in stockinette stitch for 8 inches. Bind off. Swatch 3: Cast on 30 sts and work in stockinette stitch for 5″ (imagine the neckline of a sweater), bind off center 6 sts then dec 1 st each neck edge every other row 3 times as follows: RS row, K to last 3 sts before bind off K2TOG, K1; on RS after bind off edge K1, SSK, K to end of row. (Do not decrease right next to neck edge.) Purl WS rows. Work one side at a time or both at the same time with two balls of yarn. Work even until 8″. Bind off. Do not block swatches, it’s ok if they are curly.

Check out the Haus of Yarn website for more info!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

We're home!

Zack and I have both arrived home safely!

It sounds like Zack's trip to Glacier National Park was fantastic. There was an encounter with a baby and momma bear. Luckily there was no bear-human contact! He got to scratch a baby mountain goat behind the ears. And he peed off the side of a mountain. Too funny!

My trip to Quebec City was incredible! We ate, shopped, drank, ate, laughed, walked, marveled, drank, ate, wandered, and drank some more. I'm in the process of uploading, tagging and organizing all my photos. Check They're in the 2009 Canada folder.

I did find a yarn shop. Lovely stuff! I bought yarn for a shawl and the pattern is in French. Nothing like a challenge! But what a great souvenir. I'll post the yarn and info to Ravelry in the coming days. As you can imagine I have a lot of stuff to go in L-A-U-N-D-R-Y.

There are also a lot of stories that need telling. I'll call it the "what you need to know when you go to Canada" series. It's some good stuff!

Other quick news--look for class info from the Haus of Yarn. I'll be teaching a couple classes this fall. Finishing, intarsia and ear flap hats. I haven't worked out the details yet. Visit their website and sign up for the newsletter. I'm just a bit excited!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Strike? This is not good!

So. This morning I got an e-mail from ViaRail saying that our train from Quebec to Montreal on Saturday has been canceled. Great.

We spent most of the day trying to figure out alternate transportation. No rental cars available. Bus schedules all in French. We had no choice but to venture down to the train station and get the scoop. This is all because of a pending strike. If the train folks don't reach an agreement by noon tomorrow, all rail travel is canceled (but they will happily refund the price of our ticket). If they do reach an agreement, then there's no problem. So we asked the girl at the ticket counter what she thought would happen. She thinks they'll strike and pointed us in the direction of the bus counter.

The lady at the bus counter assured us that they can get us to Montreal in case of a rail strike. We inquired about what happens when the bus sells out. Here's a concept, they just pull up another bus. It sounds like we're covered. I'd much rather take the train, but at this point I'll settle for any mode of transportation to Montreal.

Dog sled anyone?

If you're curious about our situation, here's the website for via rail:

A bientot!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bon Jour!

Originally uploaded by KnittyBits

Hello from Canada!

This was the view from our hotel in Montreal. The Basilique-Cathedrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde et Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur. We didn't have much time to explore the city, but I'm glad we had a chance to see the inside of this cathedral. It was breathtaking!

We arrived in Quebec City yesterday (by train!) and explored a bit of the town last night. With all this walking I'm probably going to have to buy another pair of walking shoes.

I was surprised at the amount of activity on a Sunday night. Nearly all the stores were open and people were everywhere. The language thing isn't really a thing. Most people greet you with "bon jour hi" and if you answer with "bon jour" you receive a flurry of French. If you respond with "hi" they flip the switch and it's all in English. I'd love to be able to do that!

The weather is absolutely perfect! Yesterday our cab driver told us that "for the last 20 days is nothing but the rains."

I'm not sure what adventures we'll stumble across today. Becky is at the convention center trying to iron out something to do with her exhibit booth so I'm on my own for a bit. I can see an intriguing looking neighborhood from my hotel window, so I may go explore for a bit.

A bientot!

(p.s. I'll try to post my photos to each night.)

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Yes, it's as soft as it looks. No soft-focus lens, no trick lighting, just 1200 yards of pure cashmere. I'll give you a moment alone.

Then there's this little unlabeled ball of wonder. I think it's also cashmere or some exotic blend. It's just as soft as the white cashmere, but a wee bit finer and silkier. Darn the previous owner for just tossing it in a box and discarding the label!

This is the token odd ball. It's probably DK weight or light worsted. Not very soft at all. Pink, purple, green shades of a boucle-type yarn. Odd. This one is going to be added to the prayer shawl stash at church. Mixed with other yarn, it just might be ok.

Berroco ChaCha...5 hanks and 1 center pull ball.

Berroco Pleasure...10 balls (enough for a sweater!!)

This is only a tiny portion of the contents of the yarn I bought at that sale last week. It took me most of this week to get it organized, counted and in bags. Untangling the sock yarn took two nights (Liana, I did it for you!) I'll post more photos as I take them.

My passport finally arrived the other day! Whee! Now I just have to figure out what knitting project(s) I'm going to take with me to Quebec. Suggestions?

And, a bit of self-promotion. Punchy is now available on Etsy! Only two available. Get 'em while they last!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Grail

I have a weakness. Ok, so I have "another" weakness. Besides yarn. I have a weakness for estate sales. I don't know what it is about going through other people's discarded stuff. Now that I put it that way, it does seem rather...icky. But I do it anyway because it's fun.

I'm always on the lookout for a bargain and last weekend there were a few sales that caught my eye. For a few bucks and a little bit of time spent digging, I walked away from the first one with a huge enamel tray for dying fiber, a couple thousand yards of slubby lace weight cotton linen blend yarn and some purple aluminum knitting needles. I do love the old aluminum needles...and PURPLE.

I had very little time for the second sale, but they specifically listed yarn in the advertisement. Would anything be left by the time I got there? Would it be green variegated acrylic? Like I said, I didn't have much time so when I spotted three boxes and a basket piled up in a corner, I pulled them out, stacked them up and asked, "how much?" I did do a little poking about before asking what she wanted for the lot and had a hunch that I wouldn't be disappointed. Was that Koigu? Did I see a Rowan label? Addi turbos? Seriously? $30. For all of it.

Now, mind you, a lot of the yarn was a tangled mess. There were about 6 UFOs still on the needles, 4 socks in progress and several other bits of abandoned swatches that had been ripped off the needles and tossed in a heap. (Remind me to tidy up my stash and swatches.) Even though some of the yarn was tangled beyond comprehension, it was surprisingly clean. No funky smells. No chewed up pieces. Clean. I set the tangles aside and concentrated on the intact skeins with labels.

Berroco, Rowan, Debbie Bliss, Lorna's Laces, Blue Sky Alpaca. Each time I pulled a handful of yarn out of the box it was a new treat. Then I dug a bit deeper and my hand touched the Holy Grail. Cashmere. Oh. My. God. Cashmere. So much for pulling skeins out one at a time. I dumped the box on the floor and out rolled two more hanks of the same creamy lace weight 100% cashmere. 1200 yards total. I had to take a shower.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Etsy Update: Peacock Superwash Wool Hand-Dyed

Originally uploaded by

New sock yarn just listed!
460 yards
75% superwash wool / 25% nylon
Chrysalis Fibers

Monday, June 8, 2009

Done with Terra Firma

Originally uploaded by KnittyBits

I've finally finished the Terra Firma Socks That took forever Rock. The yarn did not give me joy while knitting because I'm just not a fan of hard twist sock yarn. It felt "hard" and wasn't all that springy. But then I blocked the socks. I soaked them in warm water with a drop of shampoo, and the yarn relaxed and bloomed! I could almost hear the yarn sighing with joy and release! There was a bit of color bleed in the water, but nothing terrible. Now, the socks are just lovely! I'm quite pleased with the way the yarn pattened at the top of the foot right below the cuff. It's the same pattern on each sock but it happened in a different part of the skein. I'm not one who needs her socks all matchy matchy but I do like them to be a pair...and these socks are a lovely pair.

The pattern was rather simple.
Cast on 64 stitches (or any increment of 4).
K1 P1 rib for however long it pleases you.
Then switch to the pattern:
Row 1: K3 P1 for the entire round
Row 2: K1 P1 for the entire round
Could it be any simpler?
The heel flap is a basic slip stitch heel. Nothing fancy on the gussets either. The foot only has 32 stitches of pattern on the top and is plain stockinette on the bottom. Simple toe decrease. I just used other sock patterns to figure out the heel calculations. If you've knit socks before this one should be a breeze. I really like the rib like stretchyness. I'm looking forward to the next cold day so I can wear may be a while!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A treasure within a treasure

This past spring, Randy and I hooked up the camper and headed to northern Alabama. We didn't really have an agenda other than to go somewhere neither of us had been before that was within a couple hours from home. We decided on Joe Wheeler State Park.

We drove around the area and did some dam exploring (couldn't resist) and hiking. A little research before the trip put us on the trail of a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Florence--the Rosenbaum House.

I'm not going to go on about Frank's Usonian architecture or all the details of the house. For those that want to know more, see the website: It's wonderfully simple and elegant.

As we entered one of the bedrooms, I believe I gave a little yelp...or maybe it was a loud yelp. You see, Mrs. Rosenbaum was a fiber artist, and an entire bedroom was dedicated to her STASH!

The photo on the desk is of Mrs. Rosenbaum at one of her looms.
Table runner woven by Mrs. Rosenbaum
How delightfully unexpected!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My new addition

Originally uploaded by KnittyBits

Here it is!!

Beaman Automotive really worked hard to get me into this car. I had to walk away a couple times, but I drove away in this last night.

Oh what a feeling!!!

A place for my stash

Originally uploaded by KnittyBits

This showed up in my garage the other day (for free!!!). Eventually, it will house my stash (well...a good portion of my stash). It's not a true Hoosier cupboard, and it's not terribly old. I haven't scraped any paint away, but I can tell that the wood is of the plywood variety. If I had to guess, I would say that it's probably from the 60s or so. The green paint and strawberry stickers are probably vintage are the hammered copper-like handles. When I'm done with it the stickers will be gone and the color will be more pleasing. The enamel counter is in tremendous condition. The upper left-hand cupboard is the flour bin and tilts out. I may reconfigure that. If it was a true Hoosier, I'd leave it intact, but I really don't think I'm going to devalue this peice by ripping out a flour bin. The only thing that's missing is the right-hand bracket that holds the upper and lower pieces together. The white drawer on the right is an aborted attempt by a previous owner to scrap off the green paint.

I'm not sure if I'll strip the paint entirely. Should I stain it or paint it? The drawer pulls and handles should probably be either glass or enamel, I think. And then, once it's done, where should I put it? Den? Guest room? So many things to consider.

I'll post photos of the progress. Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A litte ketchup with my blog

I've put off blogging for the one reason I should blog. So much has happened this month that I should have been writing about it. Yet to write about it would mean reliving it, and it was exhausting enough the first time around.

  • I totaled my car.
  • I turned 45.
  • I taught my first knitting class.
  • I got a passport.
  • I was strong enough to walk away from a car deal that would have put me in big debt.
  • I learned to weave on a rigid heddle loom (and loved it!)
  • I ripped out the heel on my second sock...again.
  • I started spinning a lovely mohair/sparkle blend batt on my drop spindle (it's like visiting an old friend!)
  • I went camping and made beer pancakes.
  • I survived my son surviving finals.
  • And, the best part--I have had lunch, dinner or drinks with all my friends!

I still don't have a car, but that's ok. Maybe it will happen this weekend. I'll post photos of the beautiful batt I'm spinning and the gorgeous sample I made on the Ashford Knitter's Loom. So, while there are no photos this time, I do hope that this is enough to catch up!

A busy summer full of blog-worth events is on the horizon! Have I mentioned I'm going to Quebec? On a train? Pinch me!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

La Petite Corolla: A Eulogy

[insert sound of bugle playing Taps]

How can I put into words this feeling of tremendous loss? Haiku, of course!

The squealing of brakes.
"Oh, s**t is that a Beemer?"
Metal on metal.

Is anyone hurt?
What in the hell just happened?
(It was a Volvo.)

No one was injured.
Broken headlights on the street.
Cars blocking traffic.

I watch with sadness.
As the tow truck hoists my car,
The Corolla limps

They called with the news.
Too much damage to repair.
The car is totaled.

A tremendous loss.
Hearts and head lights are broken.
It was much too soon.

I recall the days
Such a dependable ride.
Good times, yes...good times.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

So long, 44!

That pretty much says it all! Tomorrow is the big 4-5. Eeeee!

Rather than whine about the fact that I'm getting older, I shall celebrate the added gray hairs, the reading glasses, the extra few pounds. Bring on the birthday and many more!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Yarn Shop Crawl 2009: A Blogumentary

You didn't think that was all that I got while at Stitches, did you?

On Saturday, we took a break from the Stitches South classes/market and embarked on a local yarn shop crawl. If you look up local yarn shops in the Atlanta area, the list is rather daunting. My suggestion to you, should you decided to crawl, is to call each shop you plan on visiting. You'll save precious time by calling ahead for shop location and hours--some shops had extended hours because of Stitches.

The weather was perfect!
Yarn Crawl

Liana took to the helm and guided us about town in style.
Yarn Crawl

Stop 1: Strings and Strands
This was a nice little shop, but was a bit hard to find. She had a great selection in her sale bins and had some lovely custom yarn that appeared to be dyed/spun specially for her shop.
Yarn Crawl

Stop 2: Only Ewe and Cotton Too!
The bonus here was that the yarn shop was also a bead shop. Two evils under one roof!
Yarn Crawl

Purchase: Shibui sock yarn for socks from the "Knit 1 Below" book.
This shop also had a booth at the market. Even so, a couple skiens of ShiBui sock yarn reached out and grabbed ahold of me. What's a girl to do? This yarn is going to make KILLER socks!

Stop 3: LUNCH! Azio's
By this time we were all getting a bit hungry. We asked the guy at Only Ewe for a lunch recommendation and he directed us down the street to this little place. We never would have found it on our own. The food was inexpensive, plentiful and best of all, delicious! I recommend the pesto and penne. So good!
Yarn Crawl

Stop 4: Cast On Cottage
After lunch we were energized once again and made our way to the Cast on Cottage. What an amazing shop! It really is a cottage. And it's not just yarn. They also carry needlepoint supplies. Walking around the shop made me weak! Every time I turned a corner there was another little room filled with fiber wonders. Heaven!
Yarn Crawl

Stop 5: Knitch
I've found that you could have two yarn shops side by side (wouldn't that totally rock?) and they would be completely different. You'd think that after visiting 3 yarn shops that we would have seen it all. Au contraire. Knitch is more like a yarn boutique. It's tucked away in an alley and you could very well miss it if you're not paying attention. Just make sure you don't miss it! This yarn shop is an experience!
Yarn Crawl

As I was walking around absorbing all the colors and textures, I heard the door open and the clicking of dainty toe nails on hard wood flooring. Could it be? Yarn shop dogs? Yep! Meet Tank and Olive! What an added bonus!
Yarn Crawl (Tank and Olive)

Purchase: Shepherd's wool for the February Lady Cardigan
Have you ever touched this yarn? For the love of everything wooly, go find some and rub on it! It's life-changing...well, that may be a bit of a stretch. It will, however, change how you feel about wool. Oh...and it's shockingly inexpensive. I don't recall what I paid, but it was very reasonable.

Purchase: Alpaca silk blend fiber
Since the Shepherd's wool was so reasonable, I couldn't resist snatching up a couple ounces of this to-die-for alpaca silk blend combed top. This is another good "rub on it" fiber. But what's not to love about alpaca and silk? Completely yummy. I have no idea what it will become after it becomes yarn, but I can guarantee that it will be soft enough to wear next to the skin. Undies, perhaps? (Ok, seriously, it's late, I'm getting punchy.)

Stop 6: Dinner at Pozole's
The kind folks at Knitch offered a couple suggestions for dinner and we voted for Mexican. We had no idea that we were in for "REAL" Mexican. Delicious! What a great spot to hang out. If I lived in that neighborhood, Pozole's would be my regular hang out. Good food, cold beer, great prices.
Yarn Crawl

By the time we finished dinner we were pretty fried. It was a long, but fun day of exploring. We got back to the hotel, admired our purchases, and CRASHED! The day was a complete success.

Have I mentioned that Karen and I are meeting in Chicago for Stitches Midwest in September? What have I done?