Friday, September 29, 2006


I was supposed to be answering emails when I began wandering around the net and found this hysterically funny story on this most gorgeous blog...

Violets are Blue.

Ok, back to work for me...

Have you any wool?

Cassandra, my buddy for this swap emailed me to say she received her package.

This is what I sent her -

I put it in a bowl for a "yarn tasting" idea.

It was a one time exchange and she seemed happy with her surprise. Don't ask me why we do these swaps. I think for me as a new blogger, it sounded like a great idea to learn about the knitting blogging community.

Have a great weekend!

The Last Knit

I saw this video over at Heather Bailey's, site.

Does anyone know what yarn girlfriend is using??

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Field Trip - Montclair

Yesterday I went on a field trip to Modern Yarn in Montclair, NJ. I wanted to get something different for my Have You Any Wool swap partner. I found out about Modern Yarn quite by accident. Some months ago, my family went on a random drive one Sunday and we decided to stop in Montclair. As we were walking around enjoying the shops - restaurants, book stores (yes, plural), novelty shops, antique shops, YARN STORE!! I couldn't believe my good luck. I sent the others along and I went inside. They carry a full line of Morehouse Farm wool and I bought a kit to make a felted tam - I haven't started that project yet :o

This visit was very much intentional. After going inside, I meet Kristine -

who was knitting and helping some customers. After we all exchanged oohs and ahhs about our various finished projects we were wearing or working on, I noticed that one of the women is from my town! That was funny. We knitters get around! As more shoppers arrived, I decided to meander and shop myself -

I couldn't help but to overhear another customer talking about her new line of stitch markers. She even pulled down Vogue's Knit 1 magazine where they feature some of her stuff! Her name is Debra Richlin, go to her web site and check out her stuff! Aren't these clever!
After a while, everyone clears out and Kristine and I began talking about socks. There was a beautiful colorway called Passion Fruit by Claudia's Hand Painted Yarns that I decide to try as my first foray back into sock knitting. Kristine finds me some size 2 needles. After she winds my skeins, we sit down where she kindly demonstrates her starting methods. Whew, look at her hands go!

I had a nice afternoon at Modern Yarn and I've met yet another kindly knitter!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The last rose of summer...

So many of us northeasterners are enjoying the last breaths of our gardens. I'm noticing so many knitters' posts dedicated to the beauty of their gardens as the season comes to a close. The hydrangea flower has concentrated its colors in paper like petals, some almost lace like.

Each year, I have a personal debate with some plants over whether I should let them go to seed or not. This 'conversation' is usually with my herbs. While oregano produces beautiful tiny flowers, mint becomes wooden and their leaves too small to harvest.

Rose season is over for most of us. Especially those of us who fight to keep them healthy all summer, it is usually late august that we lose the battle. I don't have much luck with roses. I used to plant a new bush each year but it became a depressing affair. After their initial profusion in June, it was down hill from there. I don't like using pesticides in my garden. If you grow roses, you almost always have to use fungicides and so much more. Three years ago, I planted my first climbing yellow rose. The first year it was nearly defoliated by aphids. Its second year the summer was very wet - black spot nearly killed it. This summer it was neglect - I nearly killed it by not feeding it or spraying it with my kitchen made soapy wash.

Today, however, she gifted me with these beautiful last sun washed flowers, it will be her last before she goes off to sleep for the winter -

I also have a lot of Russian sage and this is when she is most vibrant and prolific -

Monday, September 25, 2006

Am I crazy or what?

This morning, after I got ready to head off to lend a hand with the town's library gardens, I realized that I should maybe reconsider that. My first day back on my feet and I'm back to the source of all of my pain - gardening.

Instead, I sat out in my garden and saw how wild it had become in the two weeks that I wasn't feeling well. I sat there and didn't get up to fix anything either. Obediently sitting and listening to the quiet and the hum of bees -

I've fallen lin love with dahlias again, how can one little tuber produce such color and beauty?

Ahh, there in the background, was a pool that had become a pond...

Oh well, another day perhaps, I'll take care of that, maybe. In the meanwhile, I'll just wait and 'ponder' the color green. If I concentrate, do you think I can get some lilies to take root that will conjure up some frogs?

There were some things that I was able to finish. It is packed and off to Brazil. Gee, I sure hope she sends me some Jobim (hint, hint).

Busy Monday Morning

Well, I'm back on my feet. I still feel a bit sore about the midsection, the doc suggests that I take alleve. I've never taken that before, I hope it doesn't give me heart valve problems! Next week I go for more nureological tests before they decide what to do with me.

This morning my gardening group will pull out all of the summer flowers over at our town's library and put in mums. While change of seasons can be joyful, I always find this activity - pulling summer flowers- to be a bit sad. The mums are a nice consolation but saying goodbye to the delicate petals of petunias and impatients makes me a bit melancholic.

In my garden, I wait until the very last opportunity, when after the season sends messages to the flowers and they willingly go to bed themselves, slowing fading and falling off to sleep..

After that I zoom over to a library committee meeting to discuss the programs for the upcoming year. In previous years we planned an American Girl fashion show, March Madness basketball festival featuring games and sports authors, poetry readings, film festivals, Harry Potter breakfasts and many other book related activities.

This afternoon, I race off to the post office to mail off my aqua/red swap that I finished overnight (yes I found my double pointed needles!). Pictures coming. I've also gone and registered with several other swaps - Secret Sister Swap, What's in a Purse swap... these are the inexpensive and effortless fun aspects to being part of this crafty blogging community! You should join one, go to and check out the choices and sign up!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hung out to dry...

I wish I could put the bag outside to dry, if only the dang sun would come out.

I'm not 100% happy with how the bag came out, colors don't always blend the way we felters like. Noro's Kureyon does this the best. I learned from some folks in the Bagaholic KAL group that Patons has a new line called SWS and the colorways blend nicely. There were some mixed reviews on it but maybe I'll try it out for myself on a little project. (Notice how I'm already thinking of buying more yarn in the middle of a zillion other projects I've got going!)

Ok, back to the task at hand, the entire felting process took maybe 30 minutes. This is the result after about 10 minutes in the machine (please pardon the washed out pictures, my laundry room is in the basement and the lighting is pretty stark down there).

To speed the process up I added some boiling water. I also took the bag out of the pillowcase so it could get more agitation. This yarn doesn't have much mohair in it so it shouldn't shed too much more.

Its getting close but it still needs about 10 more minutes. I've been at this now for 20 minutes.

After 30 minutes of agitation with lots of checking in beween, its about as felted as I want. I'll rinse it with cold water so that I can cool it down to wring out the water.

I'm using the jug from my dress steamer as a form (the form should be a bit larger than the project so you'll have to stretch and tug to get it to fit). Drying will take any where from 24-48 hours. I've still got to find my double pointed needles to do the icord. I can dry it in the dryer.

I'm going to need some help from Nikki Epstein, I think I'll knit up a few flowers to make me feel better about this bag. I'll felt the flowers with the icord.

Making up for lost time...

...knitting time that is, I've had plenty of other time since my driving, cooking, cleaning and other tasks done in the 'vertical' position have been put on hold. I've missed messing over my gazillion knitting projects though. But, I've kept on schedule with my aqua/red swap bag.
Here's were I am -

Finished this portion around 9pm.

Added the ruffled top at about 11pm (It's Friday night, no John Stewart to divert my attention). It's now ready for felting but I don't think the weather will cooperate, cold and damp today - I might have to take a bit of a risk and put it in the dryer for a spell.

I couldn't finish the icord strap, I couldn't find my double pointed needles anywhere. Bummer. So I did this instead...

This washcloth thing is really addictive. My photographs of them aren't as nice as Dish Cloths Galore or as I mentioned before, Knitn Fool's but they are instant gratification projects that you get to use immediately and everyday.

At about 12:30, I decided to read. These are the two books I'm enjoying right now.

Barbara's book reads like a conversation. Taking pictures for the blog is only one of the challenges with maintaining this thing, being able to write somewhat cogently (am I??) requires lots of practice.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Thank you Marce, for the great video!

Red and Aqua Swap

I'm a little late with mailing out my swap, I hadn't planned for this back thing. But I was way ahead of schedule because when I signed up for the swap I was so excited about having an excuse to buy stuff I wouldn't ordinarily buy, I got it done and boxed and was just waiting for where to send it.

Then, I get my swap buddy - she's Brazilian (cool) and likes felted stuff and clothes. Is there anything in that box that resembles any of that? No! So, I've decided to do this for my buddy -

A small bag that I'll felt. As you can see I'm using Patons Classic Wool and a little bit of Karabella Gossamer leftover from a shawl I made, this will give it a little glitz. I hope it stays sunny outside so I can dry it all day tomorrow. That's right the goal is to finish it today, dry it on Saturday and mail it on Monday. I hope the swap fairies are kind to me when I get my rating! As for the original swap box, I'll have to gift that to someone else. Any takers??

Thursday, September 21, 2006

MRI - been there done that...

This was not my first MRI it's actually my second. The first MRI I had was after I dropped the 5 balls I was juggling. I was making after school snacks, answering a 5th grade homework question, listening to a ringing telephone, denying an outrageous request by my then 13 year old and wondering where was my 15 year old who hadn't come home from school. As I was yelling, "NO" to my 13 year old, something other than the word 'no' came out. I tried it again, and something sounding like gibberish came out. Lesson? Mothers should not juggle, we are not clowns.

The only thing that worried me this time with the MRI was if something got sucked into the machine with me this time...

I find out the results today, hopefully. Meanwhile I can't take any more of those oxylimbaugh drugs so I'm not feeling too good as I sit here writing. Oh, and any suggestions on how to tell my doctor that I went to see a neurologist rather than an orthopedist?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Baby don't got back....

Hey kids, I'm back, minus my back. I pulled something somehow or the earth's barometric pressure is at 'vacuum'. I didn't go to the New York City Knitout that I was obsessing over in previous posts because I wasn't sure if my back would behave on the train. It really hurts when I sit down, stand up or walk which leaves horizontal and mothers know that we are only allowed to be horizontal... well, you get the idea.

Monday I felt worse but I could function. After I got the children off to school, I called my doctor. He suggested steroids, only the second course this month. I thought about a day at the spa instead, except I wondered if I could thoroughly enjoy it feeling this badly so I decided against it. I finally did what any smart knitter would do, I talked it over with the owner of my favorite LYS. As serendipity would have it, she knows a good nerve guy and gave me the name of her neurologist. Oh man, this is the best part where it was confirmed that this was a true celestine prophesy thing - his practice is across the street from the yarn studio where the knit master genius who has my sweater pattern in her head has her store! And, if that's not good enough for you cynics out there who are all rolling your eyes, it is also across the street from this weaving place Loop of the Loom that I've been trying to visit for months now. They boast being able to teach you to weave after 1 session and you get to bring your masterpiece home!

Ok, ok so in my shape all of this is fairly moot since I can barely walk, sit or stand without wanting to scream except screaming would involve expanding my diaphram which would hurt like hell so we don't scream, we just whimper which I hate because mothers are not wimps!

I drive to Englewood to see this neurologist worried now that I might piss off my doctor because I haven't called him to let him know that I'm seeing another man. After a bunch of probing and kneading and reflexing, he prescribes these:

I should have called Cindi, my way cool pharmacist friend and fellow knitter before I took those pills because I gotta tell you, I don't know how Russ gets out of bed on this crap (but it does explain why he doesn't have a clue). Ain't no way anybody can function the day after and the day during you are on these drugs. If this is what I have to feel like just to get rid of excruciating pain, I'll take the pain.

Well, I'm off to get my MRI - film at 11.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A serious dilemma

My 15 year old came home last night with these -

His friend couldn't go because of a soccer make up game so he gave it to my son (why don't I have friends with season tickets??)

My husband hadn't come in from work and I had to decide whether to even tell him about these. Imagine my Saturday, I'd get to sit at Yankee Stadium with at least a 2 hour window of knitting! Plenty of sunshine, excitement... But I did the right thing, I gave them to dad.

This is how my soon to be 12 year old felt about it. He so wanted to go too.

... and by the way, this is my September KAL, you are supposed to see an oak leaf in the center. My dishcloths aren't as nice as the ones over at Knitnfool.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday knit fest

Despite the torrential rains here in New Jersey, I drove to Englewood to see the Knit Master genius who has my sweater coat pattern in her head. With the back and one front panel completed, she seemed less skeptical about my knitting prowess. "You knit fast." "Let's measure." But her skepticism was reserved for the precision with which I knit not my speed. She folded and turned my work several times looking for irregularities in the stitches, not believing that my gauge remained true. After she flipped and turned the panels, she proclaimed, "It's good." "Now we do sleeves and you finish other panel at home." She drew out the sleeve pattern and told me to get to work. I stayed a while longer, chatting with two other women - twins. They were both making cream colored bulky wool long coats mixed with mohair. They were stunning and the coats were too!

Knitting with heavy worsted boucle feels like you are weaving pelts. The individual stitches are barely visible. The Knit Master genius took the 'pelts' and basted them together and motioned for me to try it on. She made some adjustments to my "pattern" and told me that, "because you have a drape, we make some places shorter."

Then, out of no where she saw that I had knitted two rows of garter stitch not stockinette. "No, no, this is wrong, you must rip out." So there I was frogging and I knew that I would never be able to find my way back again. But patience and many years of tearful corrections paid off. I successfully took out 4 rows and put back my needles without losing any stitches (Heidi, you would be proud). Take a lesson kids, frogging is good experience, sometimes the only way to learn is by getting it wrong and having to fix it yourself.

After I knitted up from where I made my mistake, I did my bind off careful not to make it too lose and certainly not too tight. Feeling inspired, I pulled out my FO silk/wool boucle scarf. I bought the yarn there a few days ago. I made some adjustments to the Knit Master's recommendation, she suggested that I use 10 1/2 needles, CO 25 stitches and do the whole scarf in garter stitch. She said, "the beauty of the wool is enough, you don't need fancy stitch competing with boucle." But oh no, miss know-it-all-wanna-be-designer me, decided to CO only 15. Then in an attempt to add flourish, I crocheted a lightly ruffled border. You should have seen her face! The look of incredulity as I opened up the scarf gave me no doubt as to what she would say, and she said it - "there is not balance in that scarf, it look homemade."

Dayum, was all I could say, in my head. This is what it looked like before I frogged.

Ok, so it does look so so, but I hadn't blocked it yet and... yeah it does look homemade.

After that I decided it was time to leave. For my trip back home. I have to take 2 highways. But, you know what the consolation is - I must pass by a giant AC Moore. I don't know what the thrill is with these craft supermarkets but I do love looking at all the crazy crafts I could do if I had 9 more hours of leisure time. As I meandered through the yarn section I see this -

And this

So, you know what that means. I must do this -

Need a closer look, check out all of those colors!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dinner diversions, part 2

Ok, so here I am at the supermarket, I only brought $20 bucks with me because one cannot ever go to the supermarket and just get the one thing you went there for. Twenty dollars will force me to limit what I buy. Why $20 dollars, because butter in this part of the world costs nearly 5 bucks!!

As I rush in, I'm in the produce section and what do I see? Plaintains!! It is nearly impossible to get plaintains here, I usually have to go to an ethnic/Caribbean neighborhood which is way far from me soooooo I throw them in my basket. Notice, it's a basket not a cart, more insurance that I won't buy too much stuff.

I know, I know, you see something else in there. Well, that's to deglaze the pan for gravy of course!

I trot over to the dairy section to get the butter and before I get to the butter, there's milk, nope don't need that, there's, there's my favorite yogurt! This stuff is unbelievably smooth and nobody else carries this brand. Gotta get some.

So in the basket they go.

Ok, so now I find the stuff I came here for, butter. The only problem is I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY EVERYTHING IN MY BASKET. I'm looking around waiting for Bob Barker to show up from the Price is Right. Geez, what to put back now, wine costs $12, yogurts are $.99 each and I have how many... butter is $4.99, wait would somebody tell me why organic butter is more expensive? Those cows don't take drugs and we all know how much prescription drugs costs so this butter should be way cheaper than regular butter, right?? What a racket.

Well, looks like I don't have enough, I'll have to put something back. Wait, I look inside my little drivers license pouch and there's $20! I now have $40. My friends over at taught me that trick, to always put $20 in there because you never know when you'll need a little extra dough and we all have had situations when we change purses and forget to put the wallet (with money in it) in the new purse. Oh man, I'm loaded. I can get everything!

I return home, add the butter to my yams and Voila! I have a most delicious candied yams souffle.