Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Blogger

Well guys, I've converted. It took me a couple of days. For awhile, I had no idea what I was doing. Now it seems pretty easy. I especially like how easy it is to change the sidebar. Pardon all the "graffiti" there but I sort of went ga ga.

My basketball knitting has been cut in half. Jonathan, my youngest, says that knitting at his games is like, "worse than not coming at all." Well excuuuuuussssss me.

Some of you have asked what I knitted while I was stuck at Night Court. Well, to humor myself, I brought along some orange yarn in solidarity with the guys who were forced to wear orange jumpsuits (those things are so tacky).

But, after hearing some of the sad, sad stories of the prisoners, I realized that my idea was tacky and there was no trivializing what happens to people. Now, what do I do with this hat?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Yesterday I had the privilege of being a principle actor in a perennial sitcom, Night Court - and you thought it was canceled, right? Nope. The role only cost me $450. It plays every night in a township near you. Allow me to introduce you to the characters -

In New Jersey, Atlantic City isn't the only place where they have casinos.

The prosecutor, look familiar?? Come on people! Look it up.

The bailiff

After watching this guy plead his case, I knew it was pointless for me to do the same.

Next time, I bring my lawyers!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Playdate with Phyllis

A few weeks before Christmas, I had a play date with my knitting buddy, Phyllis. She invited me over for a felting extravaganza. She was finishing up a pair of clogs and she wanted to transform an old sweater of hers into a bag.

I was reminded of our fun afternoon together when I visited my local LYS the other day and there she was wearing her beautiful bag with this amazing leather strap she had sewn on. She mentioned that the straps were not just any old leather straps, they were formerly used as carriage reins. She had them cut down for her bag.

I'll have to talk her into modeling it for me so I can snap a picture for you guys.

The first cut is the hardest! Phyllis is cutting off the sweater's sleeves!

In the foreground are the clogs.

Phyllis' cat loves to craft too. He inspected everything.

Seaming up the clogs before they are felted.

Cutting off extra fuzzies after felting

I think everyone who felts stuff should watch a friend do theirs. I don't know about you but sometimes I feel that the wool and my washing machine sometime conspire to sabotage my projects. Once, it took me nearly an hour to felt one small bag. I never got it to felt. In that case, the wool HAD sabotaged me. Out of all the hundreds of yarn at junky craft store, I managed to buy the one bag of mislabeled wool yarn IT WAS ACTUALLY ACRYLIC. That crap wasn't gonna felt no way. Had I continued with an idea to stick it in a pot of boiling water over a rolling flame, it would have probably melted!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Vintage browsing

This is Milli. She runs a quaint little vintage shop in the next town, Midland Park.

She's holding a parasol that I'll be buying to donate to my town's art in school program ,TICTOC (To Introduce Culture To Our Children).

Sometimes I encounter statutes like this painful visual evidence that life for black people during this period was, for most of us, a life of burden. I thought of my sons and how would it have been to have children during this period. Appreciating the beauty from an era of horrible terror for my ancestors is a serious dilemma for me and it makes me question my consciousness.

The final item I saw on my short vintage shopping spree was this great king sized crochet afghan - $8! What was to be a fun little shopping trip stopped me cold after seeing that statue. This blankie was a warm, symbolic comfort so I bought it as I went home.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Knitting and photo editing

I finished a few projects this weekend. I was not happy with the pictures. I looked tired, haggard and, and, well, 48. My birthday is next month, I'll be 48. It's ok really. No, no it's not, I'm scared to death.

I started this hat at Jonathan's 2nd basketball game on Sunday. I finished it watching the football marathon on TV. I don't know what came over my hubby, but he cooked dinner Sunday so I had a lot of unexpected time on my hands. It's a stash hat made with Crystal Palace Fling novelty yarn, Jo Sharp Silkroad and something else I've long lost the label for. I kept fussing with the photo editor trying to get the light right so that you could see the yarn better when I discovered these fun filters that let me do this -

Wow, what an improvement on the nearly 50 face! I used a colored pencil filter.

This is more Fling yarn in blue along with some mohair and Jo Sharp Silkroad - 4 strands in all. My oldest son says it looks like a synchronized swimming hat. Whatevah!

I finished that Aura hat worn by the really gorgeous model in the Rowan book. I decided to take some more liberties with my photo editor -

I did the hat with 70 stitches on a 7 circular needle. I also left off a few rounds of filler between the decrease rounds. I should do a better job with taking notes.

I am really happy to report that I redid the picot edge on the truffle clutch and now it's all ready to be lined. My friend Phyllis had promised to help me gain some skillz with sewing so I hope she'll help me do the lining. I haven't found the fabric yet and I guess I'll have to buy a cute vintage like pin for the front.

This is my version

Jo Sharp's version

Finally, this is a sweet hat done with Lisa Souza yarn. It's from my Knitters' Coffee Swap pal, LaVerna.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Vintage Swap

I learned about a fun swap called Vintage Swaps. I did it as a whim really because I love visiting vintage stores and I have some nice vintage sewing and knitting notions. I also have some pictures, postcards, linens, jewelry... well you get the idea, lotso stuff. I thought if I did the swap I'd find a nice home for some really nice things.

Unfortunately, I didn't include much of my own things. My vintage books and other stuff, I found too hard to part with. This meant that I had to go look for new/old stuff! I have some terrific pictures of what I found that I'll share after my swap buddy gets her package!

Here's what I received from Meegan. She has been patiently awaiting my package which is regrettably late. So sorry Meegan :(

This book is my favorite thing that Meegan sent me. It is Wuthering Heights! Isn't it beautiful. I love the art deco binder. The linen napkin was also in my box, so sweet.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I be back

It's a new year and I had plans to do fun stuff. You remember - cook from a favorite cookbook, knit several projects from a favorite knitting book...

Well, it seems that folks are lining up early to throw me curve balls. Exhibit A -

Who needed a furnace when the temperature here in New Jersey has been so balmy? But, last night we got some ominous news by way of a power outage - the dang cold front that has iced over nearly everything past the Mason Dixon line was coming this way. When the lights came back on at 4am, I tested the furnace because the temperature is supposed to drop below the 20s. Furnace comes on ok but with an awful sound. After the furnace guy shows up, he took one listen and said, "hey, lady, youse guys are lucky, sounds like your pump is cooked." Two hours later, he fixes my 'cooked' pump and my house is hot again! One curve ball for a base hit (sorry for the sports analogies, I live with all men remember).

The curve ball before the busted furnace was with both of my cars. Two flat tires on one car, 1 flat tire on another and an expired AAA membership! You don't want to know what it cost to get out of that fix. Now I'm below the count (it's another baseball thing, look it up).

Before the 3 flat tires, it's college application deadline time for my senior in high school. I should be a drinking woman by now but, I manage to trick the pitcher into a full count and I squeeze out a walk. My son sent off his gajillion applications via a wonderful invention called the online, Common Application! I'm too dizzy to tell you what that cost me.

Before the college application deadline night, there was Martin Luther King Day speech writing marathon. My same high school senior was one of the youth keynotes. I hadn't seen his speech. I won't tell you what ensued but it was similar to college application deadline night. He wrote a wonderful speech and delivered it as if nothing ugly happened the night before...

Before the Martin Luther King Day speech marathon, I thought I'd have some knitting progress

Lovely, right?? WRONG. This is the Jo Sharpe Truffle bag I've been working on forever now. I thought I had finished it. Instead I realize that I knit the picot edge ON THE WRONG SIDE. I'll have to rip that some day but not now...

Here's the Rowan hat I modified for knitting in the round.

Something is wrong, I don't know what it is exactly. I must have mentally wandered off at some point. It will have to be ripped back too.

Lastly, my final report on how I had spent the most miserable last two weeks of this new year has to do with my middle school son. He comes home from school and announces that he needed a food item to take to Spanish class. The food item had to be an authentic Spanish dish that he can share with the class (read enough for 25 kids!)

"Hey mom, can you make a Tres Leches cake?"

So, 7am the next morning, I was up to my elbows in milk and flour and Karo syrup -

Oh, and aside from the cheers that the class gave me upon seeing my Tres Leches cake, I did have another delightful surprise -

This cheerful young lady arrived to my house for theatre practice (it seems my college application/speech writing son is directing a play this month). She is wearing a hat that I knitted last year for him. She said that it fit her better than it does the college application/speech writing/theatre directing dread head! I think she is right!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm not big headed

Nope that's not me. It's a picture from the Rowan Calmer book, the Aura hat. I just finished it. It only took 2 basketball games!

That is not the fit I was hoping for.

I had such high hopes that it would be perfect. While knitting it (and as with all lace projects), I only had to rip it once. Here it is, right off the needles -

Why I did it flat the way the instructions said, I don't know. That should have been my first bad sign. Who wants to sew a dopey seam in the back of any hat??

I was so mad, I popped out my box of travel mints. Have you tried these? Yummy!

I think I ate a dozen or so before I got to thinking about how I could fix the hat.

I pulled it back just to see if I at least got the pattern stitch right. Looks ok... Whelp, looks like back to the drawing board. I'll have to cancel my SOS call to my genius buddy Phyllis about sewing the seam. I'll knit this again, in the round on smaller needles and perhaps take out one repeat. Stay tuned...