October 30, 2009

All Over the Place

There's always a lot to do at my house, but it's all housework so instead of coming home from work and going for the laundry basket, I went for Audra's Baltic Sea Stole and took it for a bath. Here it is looking like a bowl of oatmeal:

After the bath I laid it out on the blocks I bought from Toys R Us. I would guess it's a little over 6' long which should be long enough. Here's a sideways shot of that:

I think it's going to be more than enough shawl to wear with her wedding dress, and it's sheer enough not to take anything away from the dress (I hope). I'll include the details when I get the final pictures.

And then Christmas came early at my house! Look what my mother got me (thanks Mom!):

Yep, my very own Kindle! Nothing says you don't know squat about technology than when you get yourself something like a Kindle that you don't know how to operate. I'm only a techno-genius in my mind, and I'm known for saying things like, "All you have to do is ...", and "You just need to ..." - like I would know. NOT! I'm still fighting with my digital camera!

I called Amazon to find out why the Kindle I have isn't the smaller version I saw online. The guy who took my call (God bless his heart) said he didn't understand the question.

For a minute there I thought I was the smart one in the conversation because I knew exactly what I was talking about. "Why is my Kindle so big?" I asked. "I thought it was supposed to be the same size as a paperback book".

"Ma'am", (I hate it when they call me that), "according to the paperwork you have the latest version which is the same size as a book - not a paperback - and it's smaller than the bigger original version which you probably saw online. The latest version is smaller than the original, and it has different capabilities".

"Oh." (Was that a flash of light? ... That was my brain turning on for the first time today.) "Well OK then ... call me when you start making the Kindle in blue, and have a nice day." That guy probably thought I was an idiot!

So I called my friend Sojourn Knitter and asked: "Is sleep mode different than turning the Kindle off?" The answer is yes - and she told me how to turn it off and how to let it go into sleep mode.

I don't deserve a Kindle. I should pack it up and send it back to Amazon with an apology note. But I'm going to keep it, never read the instructions and I'm going to keep Amazon on speed dial.

Meanwhile, I wanted to know which credit card the books I was ordering were being billed to, so instead of editing my information on Amazon, I found a book online that cost $0.00. After I clicked download, I worried that I might have got the book free with access to something I didn't want, but no, the book arrived safely (minus fine print with links to porno) and it went to the right credit card.

Finally, I decided to make another pair of booties from one of my baby knitting books and when I opened the book, I found the circular needles (in the package!) that I'd been looking for since forever (months!). Apparently I was using it as a bookmark.

OK, the phone is ringing and I'm sure it's MENSA wanting me to become a member.

Happy knitting to you.

October 29, 2009

It Was a Good Day

My niece is about to have a baby any day now, so my mom said she's sending a box and wanted to know what I had to add to it.

Well, I had a mountain of Bernat Baby in lilac which had been hanging around here forEVER, so I made a sweater from the label on the yarn. I've made this sweater so many times I almost know it by heart. I told Mom I made a sweater.

"That's it?" she asked in her inimitable way. "Go to the store and get something else. What about a hat, at least?"

"Knitted hats are bad for babies." I told her. I made that up. Why? Because that's my story, that's why. So I made booties.

Lately I'm quite pleased with my 'zero mistakes' knitted goods. The sweater is really cute too. To add to my happiness, I only had this much yarn left over:

I could throw it away, but knowing how much Little Miss Kitty loves to steal (and eat) my yarn, I thought I'd offer it to her.

Wake up, Miss Kitty, I have a treat for you. Here's some yarn you can have and eat if you want to. Wake up!

She had absolutely NO interest. I bet she'd have taken it if it was attached to some needles. I have chased her, my yarn and my WIP down the stairs plenty of times.

Yarn: Baby Bernat in lilac, 2 skeins
Size: 0-3 months
Needles: US #3

I made a second pair of booties in another color, but I "put them up" so I'll probably find them later. (In about a year, I bet.) I've also got Knitty's Seascape on the needles which I cast on yesterday, so now I am officially behind in my holiday knitting.

I'm not surprised.

October 20, 2009

Rhinebeck Loot

As you know, Rhinebeck did not disappoint this year. The ladies and I had a wonderful time, and I made out like a bandit! Here's a what I got:

Some lovely baby alpaca/tussah in brown from Misty Mountain Farm which is so rich in color and so soft to the touch it's almost impossible to believe:

And then I got the obligatory batt, which I only bought because of the color (since I don't like working with batts so much) which is gray with a kind of grape color. It's BFL from Moose Manor Hand Paints. BFL doesn't feel so good to the touch, but after it's spun - look out! It's so soft and sproingy (is that a word?) that you can make anything and it feels good.

And then there's this lovely braid from Cloverleaf Farms. The label says wool/silk which I take to mean merino and silk (80/20) in my new favorite color - red.

I also bought a small packet of silk caps because I've always wanted to work with them and never had the nerve. I got them at Misty Mountain Farm and when I figure out how they work then I'll have the nerve to work with the silk hankies gifted to me by my friend Sojourn Knitter.

It's going to surprise me when they're all spun up, I'm sure. Take a good look at them now because if I screw up the drafting or spinning, then you'll never see them again!

Also from Cloverleaf Farms is this braid of merino/tussah (70/30) in silver shot with black which I saw last year and didn't buy (I bought some Signature needles instead). I'm glad I found it again this year!

Cloverleaf Farms also provided me with this merino top in Primrose. I would have bought all of their braids, but I controlled myself. This colorway is so pretty that I think I'll keep it around just to look at for a while:

Now, you might be wondering why I bought this chocolate bundle of softness, but all I can tell you was that it's 8 ounces and I thought I'd have a better chance of spinning most of it without ruining it. It comes from The Sheep Shed:

Last, but certainly not least, is this beautiful braid of Polwarth from Gnomespun Yarn. I'm going to try not to gush and slobber all over myself, but I got it because I've heard so many wonderful things about Polwarth, and the colors in this fiber are so delicious it makes me drool!

So that's it. That's all I could afford and I did really well trying to buy wisely.

I did put myself on the list for one other purchase. While I was at Rhinebeck, I went to a couple of booths where they were letting us commoners try out wheels, and in my travels, I found Gilbert Gonsalves, the manufacturer of Robin wheels and quite possibly the nicest man in the world.

He let me sit and try the wheel and I was IN LOVE! The wheel spins like butter. Not only that, it was as pretty as all get out.
I pedaled once or twice and put my name on the list for a wheel.

Maybe it was because he was so nice, maybe it was because the other wheels weren't in the style I liked. Or maybe it was because I wanted a wheel that was compact enough to fit in my small house, pretty as a picture and reminds me of floating on water. You can see a picture of it here.

The downside is that Mr. Gonsalves makes the wheels himself and it takes up to 2 years to get a wheel, signed and numbered by him. He said he recently got an apprentice and hopes to cut the time it takes to make a wheel to 1 year. I hope so too! With that hope in mind, I tried not to burst into tears when he told me that there are 75 people in front of me waiting for a wheel.

How could I express my instant love for the wheel and that I can't wait a whole year? I can't!

But I will.

October 19, 2009

Oh Rhinebeck!

The ladies from the knitting group and I went to Rhinebeck again this year and even though every news station predicted rain/snow and freezing cold temperatures, but it ended up a warm, but muggy day. We were all overdressed.

This is only my second time going to Rhinebeck, but I must have learned the ropes because I came home with an armful of beautiful fiber (which I don't need, but wanted) and pockets full of no money! I was never so happy to see my money go! Of course, I may have second thoughts about that when I'm eating mayonnaise sandwiches for the rest of the year. And I had the nerve to actually order a wheel! So I might be writing to you from debtor's prison one of these days.

I was tickled at how the sheep just looked at me when I called "Hey, sheepy, sheepy, sheep". They looked right at me! This year's featured sheep was this little lady, a Leicester Longwool:

Cute, right? But not as cute as my new favorite sheep. This little lady was the cutest sheep on the block:

I think it's a Scottish Black Face sheep, and she looked right at the camera while the baby in front of here was just bleating away. I'm not sure if the Mama was being friendly and photogenic or if she thought I was going to steal her baby and she was preparing to head butt me, but she sure was cute.

The colors on the way up were beautiful, but the bus was going so fast, all I could do was hang my camera out the window and snap away. I erased all the green tree pictures and hoped that I caught some of the colors along the highway which were primarily oranges and reds. I love the changing of the trees along I-95.

We left the Bronx at 7:30a and spent the day overdressed and walking up and down the hills at the festival. We left at 2p and everyone had a bag of something that they were happy with, but the day took it's toll on us and we were so tired that the mitten contest was kind of a bust.

All of my cheating was for naught! Instead, we had a raffle and I hope to be able to get a picture of the prize and the winner, Amparo. But all was not lost. I ended up with 2 mittens and a hat. It was my plan to keep them for myself, but someone asked for them and if you know me, I just can't say no.

That's it for now.

I have got to get back to my holiday knitting or else a lot of folks are not going to get the things they asked for!

October 15, 2009

OK, So I Cheated

The Rivendell socks are done and they are lovely and perfect and minus even the most minor flaw:

These socks are too cute! I just wish they fit me, but they don't. I knew that halfway through. Still, they're going to my neighbor, Amanda and even though I finished them on her birthday (yesterday), they weren't dry from blocking until the today.

Pattern: Rivendell from The Eclectic Sole by Janel Laidman
Yarn: Fleece Artist - basic sock yarn
Needles: US #1 DPNs
I used less than one skein and I have one left. If I make these socks again (and I probably will), it won't be with this yarn.

And now about the cheating.

The ladies from the knitting group and I are going to Rhinebeck on Saturday. I asked them all to pack a small project that they could knit on the way there - if they wanted to. We agreed that we would all make mittens. So, I offered a prize to the person that had gotten the farthest on their project by the end of the trip. The prize - a whopping 25 cents. (Don't be jealous!)

I asked them to cast on before the trip began so that they could get right to the knitting, but I asked them not to start until we were on the bus. I also informed them that I would be cheating so that I could win the 25 cents.

True to my word, I got this far:

These mittens are ridiculously easy to make. They match absolutely nothing I own. Are gloves/mittens supposed to match anything? But they are as comfortable as any pair of socks I've made. Of course, I could always dye them, I guess.

The other mitten will be done by tomorrow and I've already started. This is sooo cheating, but hey, that's 25 cents less I'll have paid for my entrance fee into Rhinebeck, so it's worth it. I am such a cheater!

Pattern: Feminine Mittens by Amanda Berka from Knitting Daily (you have to be a member to get the pattern)
Yarn: Oceana from Sock Pixie (sock yarn)
Needles: US #3 DPNs

I'm sorry about cheating (no I'm not) and I won't do it again (maybe) and the ladies shouldn't feel bad about being cheated out of 25 cents. Besides, after my grand announcement that I would be cheating in the first place - I'm not sure if anyone else cheated - which is just plain wrong.

There should only be ONE cheater per group (me).

October 14, 2009

Thank You So Much!

I would like to thank everyone so much, from the bottom of my heart, for the expressions of sympathy for my loss.

Today I received these gifts from my coworkers, and honestly, it's kind gestures like this that mean so very much.

To everyone else who has waited until I finished with my meltdowns, crying jags and temporary bouts of deafness due to numbness, thank you. I'm getting a better every day.

Knitting helps, so I'm going to get back to it.

October 10, 2009


This Rivendell sock is going so well that I might make another pair - a pair that actually fits me.

Originally, I thought to make these socks for myself, but halfway through I realized I was using a US #1 instead of a US #2 so the fit is kind of snug at my calf (which is as sturdy as a Redwood tree).

No worries, though. I promised my neighbor Amanda a pair of socks and since she's got skinny ankles and calves, they are a perfect fit. She's already in love with the socks, so all that knitting is not wasted effort. Whew, I thought I was going to have to rip them back.

The yarn is soft and pretty, but not really to my taste. I liked it better in the skein because it didn't look so yellow/beige. I prefer 'sassy' colors for my socks, and I've got just the color in mind.

Anyway, knitting has been therapeutic, so I'm going to get back to it. Meanwhile I'm going to start dreaming up my next project which will have to be a holiday gift or else I'm going to fall behind.

Happy knitting to you.

October 09, 2009

Saying Good Bye

I've been away awhile, but I'm back - again. This time I was away for a very sad occasion.

This week I had to say good bye to my 'other' mother Vernoica Lunga. She passed away quietly in her sleep last Thursday night. She was a beautiful woman who, with her husband Joe, met me when I was only 5 years old. I lived with them until I was 22 years old.

It all started with 'Friendly Town', a summer program sponsored by the Fresh Air Fund. The program was designed to send inner city children from ages 5-14 to the 'country'. For some, that meant summer camp while others (me, in particular) went to host families. I spent my summers, and eventually my winter recesses with Joe (Big Joe), Veronica (Aunt Ron) and their two children, Cyndy and Joe (Joey to me then, but Joe now).

At 14 I was too old for Friendly Town, and my visits to the Lunga home sadly came to an end. Or so I thought. The Lungas had different ideas, and after some discussion with my mother I went to live with the them. Those were fun packed times.

Part of my summer vacation was spent picking (and eating) the cherries from the tree in Gege and Pop's back yard, and I ate ice cream from the 'world famous' Pat Mitchell's Ice Cream Parlor and family vacations spent at Sylvan Beach in a cottage in Utica, New York.

Dobrenoc, sol i pieprz, widelec, jak sie masz, and Szczesliwego Bozego Narodzenia are just a few words and phrases I learned living with the Lungas - and pardon my spelling if you are a polish speaking person. Polish, while not my second language, was the fun one I learned during my summers with them.

It was with Cyndy and Joey that I made my first snow angels, ate donuts from Elk's Bakery and drank hot chocolate after ice skating, which I learned there. I even had my own tricycle which I would have had to share with my sister and brother at home.

During those years I went from city urchin to 'country bumpkin', walking outside with no shoes on, had my own inflatable swimming pool (filled with bubbles) in the back yard, and played dress up with my new best friends, Melody and Tina. It was there with the Lungas that I saw the 'real' Santa Claus. All firsts for me.

Every morning before she left for work, she would put a bowl of cereal (minus the milk, of course) and a cup of orange juice on the kitchen table for me. I always put the cereal back in the box and drank the juice.

So it is with a heavy, heavy heart that I had to say good bye to Aunt Ron this week. She passed away quietly and peacefully in her sleep this past Thursday night. I had to say good bye to my 'other' mother. The one who combed my hair, put band aids on my boo-boos, taught me how to say my prayers.

She loved me during my teen aged years with my angst and crankiness. She loved me even though I missed curfew a few (hundred) times, introduced me to new foods, and told me stories about 'the old country' (Poland). She always had a story to tell and all the stories had a moral.

I will miss her and everything about her, and I am thankful to have known her and Big Joe and to still have the extended family they provided me.

I love you all.

October 01, 2009

50 Rows

I'm nearing the end of the Baltic Sea Stole. It is a pile of ivory goodness and the fact that I'm near the end has given me renewed strength. I can go on.

With only 50 rows to go and still a half box of Madeleines to eat, I'd say I'm going to survive the great wedding stole caper. By my figuring (and you know how bad I am with math), I'll be done in 5 days. Yes, a deadline will do the trick nicely.

After this it's going to be socks, mittens and more socks and mittens. Maybe even a hat. I've got lots of plans for small things that go quickly and require one skein or less of yarn. I won't be picky, but I will be quick.

And I will contemplate carefully before I take on another big project. I'm going to give myself time to grow back the clumps of hair I pulled out making this stole.

Audra, if you're reading this, I hope your marriage lasts one year for each of the 3,570 stitches in the stole, every single one of them knit with love. And some of my hair.