"Whatever shall we do in that remote spot? Well, we'll write our memoirs. Work is the scythe of time." --Napoleon Bonaparte, on his way into exile.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

How cool is YOUR hometown parade?

Ours had LLAMAS!

Lllama llama no duck Posted by Hello

Mmm...all that luxury fiber... Posted by Hello

Last llama Posted by Hello

And I don't have any tattoos, but I might just consider the Knitting Triangle (sorry if you're adverse to body art; you'll have to scroll down a bit to see it: third row, far right column).

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hats & Washcloths

A friend of mine in Finland had a baby (back in March), so I figured it was time to get one of my hats from the bottom of my knitting bag and finish it up. It took me all of a half-hour of serious knitting; all I had to do was the decreases at the top. Tess loves modeling these, unfinished. Perhaps I'll send the photo along with the gift.

knitting model Posted by Hello

It's way too small for her, and she kept poking her finger in the top, saying "There's a hole in it!" like it was some kind of design flaw. I can't wait to teach her to knit.

I just love these little hats. This was my first knitting project last summer, when I took up knitting again after a 15-year absence (being as I produced nothing 15 years ago, except 5 inches of a seed stitch cardigan that drove me over the edge, I should perhaps just say this hat was my "first-ever knitting project," and leave it at that).

It's the project I was working on when I discovered I could knit in the car. As long as the project is in the round, and I don't have to keep looking up and down, I don't get carsick. Reading, crocheting, most anything else: carsick.

I love the yarn for these hats, and everyone at Knit In Tuesday night was admiring it. Adrafil Jumping, from Italy (grr), impossible to find, except for a store up north where I originally got the yarn and hat pattern together. When I take Tess up north next week, I've made plans to go back to that store and stock up. Some compare it to Rowan's Calmer; I wouldn't know, except that I HAVE to have more of it. The red is just gorgeous.

washcloths Posted by Hello

I finished up my washcloth for Lynne's donation to Project Scrubbie at Knit-In. Sorry, Emily, this was the third attempt at a photo and you still had your eyes somewhat closed.

Yes, we both automatically pulled off our glasses for the picture. One thing I've noticed going back through old albums and "re-" scrapbooking things, I really wish I had done this more often. Remember oversized frames with "upside down" arms? Freshman year of high school, I was all over that. Ugh.

I haven't tortured you with scrapbook pages in a while, so, be afraid. Be very afraid. I have a week off while Tess is up north, and I've got some scannin' to do...

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Spring Fiber Day

What a haul. The directions calculated one and a half hours, it was more like two, with a very brief pit stop at MacDonald's. I have determined they sprinkle crack on their fries. That is the only explanation I can come up with for being able to consume so many of those in one sitting. And I didn't even sprinkle extra salt on them like I used to. Terrible.

We (Tess soldiered out Mom's fiber obsession, yet again) got there around 1:30p and left at 4p. I signed up for the Learn to Spin class at 2p when I got there, and had just enough time to go over to the angora rabbits and discover it was Wiley's Woolies, from Chelsea. They go to my church (the one I belong to, not necessarily the one I go to...not lately). ANYWAY, it was good to see them again and Tess sure enjoyed those angora rabbits. Me, I just coveted their yarn. Mmm.

Now, why didn't I get a picture of the cute bunnies?! The cute, HUGE bunnies? Clueless.

unspun, dropped, and spun (sorta) Posted by Hello

There's the roving, which I twisted in my attempt to pre-draft, there's a bit of bunny fluff that fell off of one as he walked/waddled by, and there is my small beginner's attempt at spinning.

Not frustrated, but fascinated. Darn that Debra (of Maple Row Stock & Wool, in Sherwood), she got me hooked in just one hour. Now I just have to wait for my budget to come around to get a spindle and some roving. I won't have money for a wheel for a long, long time.

One tired toddler. Posted by Hello

Tess found another bored little girl who was a bit older and, unfortunately, really really wanted to show Tess her new underwear. Tess was immediately hypnotized but, between the girl's mother and I, we managed to distract the both of them and get them out from behind a tree. That's why my wool is so twisted, yeah, that's it. I was distracted. Uh-huh.

One mesmerized sheep. Posted by Hello

At first I thought they drugged the sheep for shearing but later we saw them bring out a rather anxious sheep (we walked in on the middle of this demonstration, above), and it was amazing how the shearer was able to sit the sheep on her bottom and position her with enough authority for her to totally relax. Kinda mesmerizing it itself, actually.

The shearer said he'd only been doing it for five years, did it for the first time when he was 11, then got into on his own after his grandfather, another shearer, passed away. He decided he wanted to keep the family tradition and "didn't want to work for anybody else." He looked about 5 foot tall and worked like the Tasmanian Devil. Tough gig but obviously he loves it.

Best of all, I picked up a magazine for the Michigan Fiber Festival and am now planning a (child-free, hopefully) day out in Allegan. Perhaps even for my birthday, which falls right after the festival. That's a sign, I say.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

So much to learn...

Quite a week. We started off with our playgroup's visit to a local sheep farm to see the lambs. Emily, sheep farmer/shearer/woolgatherer/felter extraordinaire, noted right away that Tess is bound to be a farmer. See the double fence keeping this ram in?

Future Farmer of America Posted by Hello

See how he's pawing at it? He's dying to give Tess a good head butt, despite the fact that she's offering a (forsythia) branch of peace. She ran after every lamb and sheep, even the big ones, once we got into the pasture (the ram, known as Big Fella, stayed behind his double fence) while all the other playgroup kids clung to their mothers' legs. That's my girl! Not shy at all. And the bleating was deafening. I had no idea sheep were so loud.

Actually, the week started off with my forgetting to send my mom any kind of card or gift for Mother's Day. Out of the 4 of us siblings, I'm usually the only one that remembers (okay, my brother Ken also scrambles to remember...the other two? Forget it.)

Now, as an only child, my Dear Husband doesn't understand the fuss. "Just call her and apologize!" Ah, no, honey. Not unless I want a 3-hour lecture about the ungratefulness of all her children. I called Sunday morning and wished her a happy Mother's Day (she was in church) and left it at that.

When I didn't hear from her Sunday, I got nervous. Monday morning I called around the cow town she lives in (the streets roll up tight at 4:59 p.m.) and found a florist, open at 8:30 a.m. (the one benefit of cow towns - they may close up early, but they are open early). I knew it would be far cheaper to talk to a florist directly than to use the internet. Plus, I had something specific and silly for the card ("If I only had a brain..." trust me, my mom would be ever-so-slightly humored by that) and I wanted it written right (handwriting is nice, too). I was promised delivery Monday afternoon "after the truck gets here; we are cleaned out," the florist told me. She also reassured me I was not the first to call that morning.

When I hadn't heard from mom as of yesterday, I bit the bullet and called first thing this morning. She was in pretty good spirits but did give me a brief lecture (and sent me an email, which I hadn't read yet this morning: "Next year start a week ahead of the event and you won't run into the delay of delivery. Besides it's nice for me to get a memento before the event. Even a card would be nice ahead of time." The shortest of lectures I could hope for. E read it and was highly offended, but I took it in stride).

This is not all *my* stash!!! Posted by Hello

My mom told me she had received an email from The Gathering Basket, a yarn shop in Chelsea, which sent out a notice a few weeks ago that they would be closing their doors "after three short years." Sad, especially considering I had received an email a week before the notice, talking about their spring classes. At the time of the first notice they were only offering 20% off their inventory. As of yesterday, they started offering 40% off. I headed over there today around 2:00 p.m.

Not everything pictured above was purchased today. The green bag at the upper left was the cool bag from Japan (I took a better picture of the silk yarn my Secret Pal #2 sent along, and replaced the photo at the top of my previous entry. Natural light makes all the difference...)

At the upper right is a book I've been wanting for a long, long time - The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. Below it are three skeins of Rowan's Summer Tweed in Blueberry - I only need one skein of it to make the Kaffe Fassett afghan (patterned pictured with Summer Tweed) in the Rowan Magazine #37 (bought a couple of weeks ago at Flying Sheep), but I'm sure I'll find use for the "extra" two skeins.

I have been obsessed with making this afghan ever since I saw it in Magazine #37. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson after The Afghan (made for my inlaws "for Christmas," gifted on Valentine's Day), but I like the idea of getting bits of Summer Tweed here & there as only 1 or 2 skeins of each color are needed (except for the background color, of which you need 5).

The blue Suede and Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook are for mom (see, I do treat her nice, all year round). The strips of wool felt, originally for rug hooking, are for these adorable dolls. I've had Salley's book a while, but wool felt is usually expensive, so I was happy to find small strips for $1 each (they were consignment items, and so not on sale, but the price still couldn't be beat).

Finally, to the left of my Summer Tweed, is a little tool I used to discover (I think) that my Japanese silk yarn is worsted weight...interesting. I got 9-10 wraps around this little tool, so I will have to rethink what I'd like to make with it. Still gotta figure out how much I have...!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Another BIG SP4 thank-you!! (and: NSD)

I've decided it's going to be impossible to get a picture of the true color of this yarn. It's a very dark eggplant with bits of lighter purple and dark blue in it. Gorgeous! Best of all, it's 100% silk! Yum! From Japan!! Way, way, cool. It looks like lace or fingering weight, which I have been wanting to try. My Secret Pal #2, who has chosen to remain secret, suggested working three strands together, but I think I will work with it as a single strand and treat it as fingering weight. I have been wanting an excuse (like we knitters need one, right?!) to get Folk Shawls...

Yarn from Japan Posted by Hello

My only trouble is figuring out exactly how much I have here. There are no labels, for which my SP#2 apologized, so I have to do some calculating, perhaps by weight? Any suggestions?

Thanks again, SP#2. She packaged it in a very cool bag, too. And did I mention it came all the way from Japan?! Exciting.

Paper bag album - had a flash shot with better colors,
but I like that this shows the mess my scraproom is in... Posted by Hello

I was poo-pooing these just a few weeks ago, but I remembered to take my camera with me to Kindermusik last Thursday, and got some great shots of the kids.'s my first attempt at a Paper Bag Album.

I am SUCH A DORK when it comes to following instructions. I didn't get to crop until 8p last night, and my LSS (Local Scrapbook Store) closes at 11p, so I didn't have much time to figure this out, either. I am going to crop tomorrow, and I should be able to finish it up to give to our Kindermusik instructor at our end-of-the-year party on Monday afternoon.

It's basically 4 paper bags folded in half, with the very bottom cut off and a fancy "Japanese stab binding" technique on the spine (explained at length, with photos, at the above link). Not a whole lot of room. I had another way figured out (read: I made a big mistake at first, and cut off the whole bottom of the paper bags), but it works much better folded. I have tags tucked into the "top" of the bags (every other page) in different colors and I'm using up a bunch of scraps from a Close To My Heart paper pack.

Speaking of CTMH, I went to Mega Meet today. It was National Scrapbooking Day (NSD) today (first Saturday in May), so I got online first thing at the Creating Keepsakes message board (I'm Motown Lady), got some sale items at the CK store, chatted a bit, then watched Lisa Bearnson on QVC. It inspired me to get out to Novi today, and I did it just in the nick of time.

I didn't sign up for any classes but my buddy Lisa T. was there (dang, I know too many Lisas) so I called ahead and caught up with her as she got out of her last class. I've found the classes are all about selling you product, plus the show runs Thurs-Fri-Sat, so unless I get a babysitter, I'm out of luck on classes anyway. But I did score some specials: a $10 black linen album (8x8) for my Book of Me, a $7 board book I'm curious to try out, some cheap bottle caps and twill tape, and $1 laser die cuts from Deluxe Cuts. The biggest expense was the $10 admission charge (ugh) and the $5 parking charge (double ugh).

I'm saving my dough for the Auntie Amy show (dang, again with the rhyming!) in August.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Clean Up Song

Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere...
Clean up, clean up, everybody do their share.

And just to compare (gah, can't help rhyming)...

Posted by Hello

Wow! You can see the bookcase in our living room (and the carpet, and the flooring...) And I could back up and out of the playroom! Yay me.

Too bad I didn't read what I was signing at OUAC Friday night, and didn't realize unless I got my butt back there within 3 days, they would give away ("donate") what they didn't want, and give me store credit (ugh) for what they *did* want. Which must not have been much, considering I only got $16 in credit for 3 bags of (clean and sorted by size) clothes, 2 bags of loose toys, an electric toddler's piano, and a baseball stool. Grrr. I'll try Children's Orchard next time.

On a (possibly) lighter note, I've finished three more book reviews over at Creative Books: Louisa May (you'll note I have a new "Reading" book --> in my sidebar, check it out, it's a good one), Wideacre, and Horse Heaven. Those comments sections are looking lonely, people! Let me know if there's anything there you've read!

And now, in the words of Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery: I'm spent. G'nite.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Bail out

My secret pal bailed on me, but Jacqueline kindly called on 3 other SPs to help out (and break up the costs). I've already received an email from one of them, who is mailing a package today, and to my surprise (and delight), a packaged arrived today from Secret Pal #1:

Thanks, CeCe! Posted by Hello

The cheery package was wrapped in cherry paper and included a wide variety of sour candies, yay! I am now on a serious sugar high and have introduced my daughter to the joys of Sour Patch Kids (oy).

Dude!..................................................Sweet! Posted by Hello

I also discovered a (HUGE!) bar of Cadbury's DARK chocolate as I was rearranging the box for its photo-op. Mmm...and some very yummy purple-blue yarn! Hooray! As you can imagine, I'm getting a little tired of pink.

I DID clean up Tess's toys before she got home -- pictures to come. I still have to get back to Once Upon A Child to pick up my $$$ (more like, my $). Since I have to take Tess with me, I'll probably take her over to the Toys R Us across the street and let her buy something new. Just one thing, unless she spots her old light-up piano still sitting up front at OUAC. Then I'm in trouble.

Finally, I'm plugging away on the sleeves for Tess's Pink Fluffy Cloud Sweater. Just finished all the increases at the Ann Arbor Knit In last night. Man, I have never "un-"knit so many times in my life. Increasing on the purl side was a new technique for me, and I kept screwing it up.

Oh, and I learned that I shouldn't drink my sister-in-law's father's homemade wine (he's Italian, his wine is wicked powerful) and knit. On the up side, I faced and defeated my worst fear in knitting (for the first time, can you believe it?): picking up a running dropped stitch. Once I was sober, of course.