Check Out the New Digs

October 2, 2008 at 8:35 pm (knitting) (, )

I haven’t posted in a long, long time. I could blame my chum blogging, craftiness, podcasting, but really, it was my old blog. I didn’t like the actual interface for posting, and I hated not having good archives with a page for each old post. After Amber told me about wordpress, I decided to check it out. So far, so awesome.

I’ll be adding copies of my old posts to this blog, so I can have everything in one place.  Don’t worry if there are suddenly posts from two years ago.  As a nice preview, here’s a shot of clue 1 and 2 of my MS4 from two weeks ago. I’m still pretty behind, but I love how it is knitting up.
Mystery Stole 4

Pattern:  Mystery Stole 4 by Georgina Bow Creations
Yarn:  Knit Picks’ Shadow Midnight Heather
Needles: Sz 5 Harmony circs from Knit Picks
Beads:  Blue Iris from the Beadcottage

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Crafts and Craft Mentality

July 25, 2008 at 10:18 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Pile o'spinning

I had these wonderful intentions to post at the beginning of the Tour de Fleece. It began on July 5 and ends on Sunday July 27.  Better late than never, I guess.  I’ve decided to spin at least 15 minutes a day on my McKenna Lee spindle from Greensleeves. So far, those 15 minutes keep expanding. I’ve improved so much since July 5. Instead of inchworming along, I’m actually dropping the spindle and keeping the twist out of my fiber. It’s amazing how much easier the spinning is when you do that.

Next up on the sewing queue is the It’s a Wrap skirt by Indygo Junction. I just have to turn up the hem and then add the waistband.  I love how the skirt drapes.  Now I just need to find (or maybe make?) the perfect little top to go with it.

In addition to all this craftiness, Amber and I have recorded our first podcast.  The podcast is called Craft Mentality.  We cover our crafty lives and pretty much anything else that might have inspired us.  The blog and first ‘cast are here, so come check us out.  I had tons of fun chatting with Amber, and I can’t wait for next week.

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My Inner Farmgirl

July 2, 2008 at 11:10 am (farmgirl) ()

I grew up in a small town in NC.  My grandparents would take me “to the country” just about every weekend.  We’d visit family all over the county.  I remember wandering in the woods with Granddaddy looking for grapevines to make wreaths.  Granddaddy also had the greenest thumb around.  We didn’t have a lot of room for gardening, but we always had cherry tomatoes or tommy toes and the occasional cucumber.  He spent most of his time growing flowers and plants to sell at the local flea marcket.  I learned to cook with my grandmother and even sewed a bit as a kid.  

My return to my inner farmgirl began with learning to knit in grad school.  Crochet followed a few years later.  This spring, I’ve taken sewing classes.  All with an aim to make my time meaningful for myself and my family.  I like to stay busy and have something I love at the end of the day.  

Having two girls of my own, I want to make sure I’m teaching them the right things.  Fruits and veggies aren’t magically grown in those bins at the grocery store.  Playing in the mud and digging for earthworms is fun.  Making something with your own two hands is one of the most satisfying things you can do.  

Miss Violet of Lime and Violet has created the Plurkette Hencircle, a chapter of the Farmgirl Sisterhood.  The goal is to create a supportive community that shares ideas, projects, and even works for merit badges.  The inner Farmgirl is delighted to know I have more fun ways to learn new things and keep creating.

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Books, how I love thee

June 26, 2008 at 11:11 am (books) ()

But apparently not enough of the “classics.”  

Swiped from Miss Violet:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Take meme if you want.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen 
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien  (never made it through Return of the King)
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte 
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling 
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee 
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte 
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell 
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens 
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy 
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier 
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger 
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot 
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens 
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy 
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh 
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky 
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll 
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame 
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy 
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens 
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen 
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell 
42 The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins 
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood 
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan 
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons 
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen 
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens 
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon 
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt 
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold 
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy 
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoke
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson 
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath 
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens 
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro 
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert 
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad 
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks 
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole 
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

I really need to get started on Jane Austen.  In my spare time.  When I’m not knitting, sewing, crocheting, gaming or learning two foreign languages.  Maybe I need to stop sleeping?

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School’s Out For Summer

June 17, 2008 at 11:38 am (knitting) ()

So what’s a mama to do when school is out and camp hasn’t started yet?  When you figure it out, let me know.  So far, we’ve got babysitting at the gym so mom can swim.  Then lots of errands.  We’ll probably hit the pool later in the week with some school buddies.

Last week, Husband was off work.  What a blissful week.  We even found time to do some furniture shopping.  Sadly, the new dresser arrives Friday while the old dresser was hauled away last Sunday.  Let’s just say the guest room looks like a clothing rack exploded.

I met up with Sassenach, Laura,  and Linda for  Worldwide Knit in Public Day.  I have to say it was the fastest two and a half hours ever.  Lots of socks were knit on.  I worked on the neverending Pi Shawl.  I suppose it is neverending because I keep working on other things.  Like sewing or Lego Star Wars.  Or interviewing Jordana Paige for the Lime and Violet Daily Chum.  Squee!  She was so sweet. 

To add to WWKIP excitement, some dude in a BMW convertible hit my minivan.  In the parking lot.  And my van was parked.  He was trying to miss the curb.  Yeah.  Luckily, my van had a tiny scratch on the wheel well and the rim is scraped.  His poor BMW fender looks like crap.  Let’s hear it for mommy mobiles!

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Meme Time

May 27, 2008 at 1:40 pm (Uncategorized)

From Sassenach:


The rules: Posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer. Play nice, children.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago:  Just finishing my first year of grad school, and rapidly realizing it was not for me.  Nightmares about the lab mice, nuff said.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today:  Go to gym, hang out with the charity knitting group at the J, read my new Anita Blake novel, and really that will take the rest of the day.  🙂

3. Snacks I enjoy: chocolate (dark, especially), macchiatos, ice cream (chunky monkey), and Chocolate Cream Cheese Pound Cake (grandmother’s recipe)

4. Places I’ve lived: Hickory, NC; Maiden, NC; Durham, NC; Norfolk, VA; Chesapeake, VA; and Virginia Beach, VA 

5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Travel to Ireland and go back to Scotland, Travel to Australia and New Zealand, take care of my family, take them all to Disneyworld (yes, just like the old commercials)

6. Tag 6 people:  I’m not sure who reads this anyway, so take this meme if you want it!

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The Month that Wasn’t

May 27, 2008 at 11:42 am (knitting, sewing) (, , , )

So, where did May go?  MDS&W was fantastic.  But somehow I never quite recovered from the adventure.

Prime Alpaca

As far as the fest haul, I got 2 skeins of Prime Alpaca at the Misty Mountain Farms booth.  These are so soft and cozy.  I can’t wait to find the perfect wrap pattern (not clapotis, but something else).  I also got two braids of roving, but I haven’t posed them for their close-up.

The rest of May I spent making this:

Crafty tote

I’ve been learning to sew in my already busy week.  The pockets took forever!  But I love my new crafty tote and find excuses to use it everywhere.  The fabric is a home dec and the pocket linings are a coordinating purple.  The colors just spoke to me.

If you had any doubts about that, check out my new project:

Separated at birth?

Pattern:  Mockery Socks from Live2Knit
Yarn:  Tasha from Ruby’s Daughter
Mods:  CO 60 (and managed to mess up the ribbing by doing a 1×1 rather than a 2×2, but I don’t like to think about it)

This yarn was ordered for me by a secret pal when I sent her my fave colors.  That was almost a year ago.  And here are the same colors in my new bag.  At least I’m consistent.

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Knitting Fantasy Life

April 29, 2008 at 3:28 pm (knitting) (, )

 Icelandic Turtle(no more)neck

What is it about impending deadlines that makes a knitter or crocheter take leave of her senses and begin to imagine the impossible?  Nutmeg and I are hitting the road on Friday for Maryland Sheep and Wool.  It’s my first trip to a fiber festival.  Naturally, I ripped and restarted my Icelandic Turtleneck.  And some crazed portion of my brain thinks it will be done by Friday.  Yeah.  Not in this lifetime, baby.  The yarn is Rowan 4-ply cotton.  I decided to forego the turtleneck for a more flattering (for me) neckline.  I simply began the pattern at the first increase round after the turtleneck section.  So far, so good, but I haven’t finished the yoke yet.  Thus, finishing by Friday is probably out of the question.  On the other hand, hope still flickers because I did this much in two days.

I also find myself bargaining on how long it will take me to finish my second summer of luuuuuve sock.  I haven’t started it, but hey, I could finish by Friday, right?  

Another portion of the crafty brain is whispering, “Spin!  You know you want to.”  Aaaaarrrrrgghh!  Too many crafts and not enough time.  BTW I finished Mass Effect.  All this, and I saved the universe, too.

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Bad Blogger, No Cookies

April 23, 2008 at 3:32 pm (crochet, family, knitting) (, , )

So it’s been almost two weeks.  It took me awhile to figure out why I was feeling blue.  The 15th would have been my grandmother’s 88th birthday.  I spent the whole weekend before dreading it, remembering last year when she had a big party.  Remembering all the other birthdays and special things that made it her day.

The rest of the week went in a blur.  The kids and I went to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens on Thursday.  The weather was cool but sunny.  The gardens are gorgeous.  We live about ten minutes away from them, and yet, we’d never been.  Just a few minutes into our walk, I saw the pair of nesting bald eagles.  Then, as I looked down the path, I saw a good friend with whom I’d lost touch.  After much hugging and introducing her to my girls, we set off down the path to find more blossoms, trees, and fountains.

Girls at play

"Earth" Fountain
Fountain

Bald Eagle Nest
Bald Eagle nest (the first I’ve ever seen)
Fiberjinx and I hit the Norfolk Zoo on Friday. Sadly, the rest of the Tidewater community did, too. I counted five different school systems. And it was hot. On the upside, I got to cuddle Fiberjinx’s babysaur. That made it all worthwhile.

And then, suddenly, it was Passover. (Amazing how it can sneak up on one like that) We celebrated our first seder at my in-laws and the second at home. Rosebud does a great version of the two questions (I suppose she’ll learn the last two next year.) And we had more kiddo artwork and sederware than we could display.

We’re halfway through the holiday now. So far we’ve finished Granola-1 batch and Vegetable Kugel (aka Muffins if you are in the preschool set)-2 batches, in addition to other things. The biggest kid hit so far were cottage cheese pancakes. I just made up another batch of granola. No cookies, though.

Knitting Gamer Girl
Knitting Gamer Grrrrl

Old School versus New School
Old and New School Gaming

Long before the holiday, I got this adorable notebook and cute magnets from Greenbeanbaby. It sums up what’s been going on lately: knitting and Xbox. My game of choice is Mass Effect. Sure, Husband bought it for himself. But I’m hooked. I’m level 40 or so Vanguard.

Pi Shawl

The Pi Shawl is coming along nicely. I finally got a shot that is close to the actual color. I have 288 stitches on the needles, and I’m halfway to the next increase section. I love how easy and quick the project is (for lace).

Flower for Rosebud
Pattern: Flower from Dream Toys by Claire Garland
Yarn: Valley Yarns Longmeadow

These are the pieces of the Flower from Dream Toys. Rosebud has picked the colors, and I think I’ll let her decide how to put the petals together.

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Eggs and Pi

April 11, 2008 at 8:00 pm (7 cities crafters, knitting) (, , )

Last weekend, the Norfolk Craft Mafia held some Spring workshops.  I ran a knitted egg workshop.  I whipped up this little guy in about an hour:

Curly Purly Egg
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Eggs and Pis
Last weekend, the Norfolk Craft Mafia held some Spring workshops. I ran a knitted egg workshop. I whipped up this little guy in about an hour:
[IMG_0051]
Pattern: Curly Purly Egg
Yarn: Wooly Wonders by Nada in Paques and Lavender
Needles: Sz 8 bamboo DPNs

So sweet. And perfect for the girls to put on their seder plates next week.

Right before above workshop, Husband and I went to the opera. We saw Lucia di Lammermoor. What a sad story, but a fantastic opera. The soprano had an incredible range. The set and lighting design were fascinating. I may even have convinced Husband to get more tickets for next year.

Since Project Spectrum’s theme for April and May is Earth, several lace projects are clamoring for my attention. I swatched some silk from Sunshine Yarns in Chestnut. I want to make Scheherezade by Pink Lemon Twist. After fiddling with a provisional cast on and screwing up within three rows, I threw in the towel. I keep having the same sorts of problems with lace. My stitch counts are always off. I think the problem is the yarnovers creeping next to a regular stitch on the purl rows. Then, I unwittingly knit the two together.

Rather than sit in a puddle and cry about the perfect lace project and yarn not working for me, I decided to try a very easy lace project. I cast on for EZ’s Pi Shawl. I’m using Knit Picks Shadow in Redwood Forest. I have about 288 sts right now. I think I’m going to be increasing several more times before I get the suggested 70-72 inches across. I belatedly remembered that EZ uses a fingering weight yarn. Ah well. I love the delicate stitches and the gorgeous color. The light was fading when I snapped this shot, so the colors aren’t as rich as they are in real life.

Pi Shawl

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