Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Truth Is Here

Last night Paul and I stayed out past our usual turn-into-a-pumpkin-bedtime to see Brother Ali play at the Middle East. As is the way with Rhymesayers concerts there were 3-4 hours of performances ahead of Brother Ali. We stuck it out to the end despite our frequent bouts of old folk yawning. The energy in the room definitely reflected the 18+ show that it was. There were lots of hands in the air waving around like they just don't care.

I am totally in love with his new album. It is a solid album with music that makes me want to dance and lyrics that say something. This album is guilty of making me dance to my ipod while folding laundry at the laundromat. It's that good.

Last night was the second time I have seen Brother Ali perform. The first time I saw him he was one of the first performers in a long Rhymesayers line-up at First Avenue. I think I was working there at the time, so it had to have been around 2000 or 2001. He has come a long way since then. When I saw him years ago he was just borrowing the stage for a while, but last night he owned it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Keep your eye on the ball.

Apparently Fanny is a sports fan.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fanny The Destroyer

1, 2, 3, DEAD!

Fanny may look cute and cuddly but don't let that innocent exterior fool you. She is a destroyer!

On her first night home I knitted her a mouse. She quickly became obsessed with it. There are many other toys for her to play with including some with catnip but the mouse is her favorite. She chases it down, grabs it in her front claws and takes a big ol' bite out of it. Basically in attempt to rip it open and eat it. It wasn't long before she succeeded.

Behold a series of pictures to illustrate the rapid demise of the mouse.

First Night (Fanny was still recovering from the spaying surgery she had that day).

One Week (looking a wee bit ragged)

Two Weeks (notice the mouse has been blinded)

Three Weeks (the innards are on the outside)

We finally had to take the mouse away. She had created three gaping holes and we kept finding the stuffing all over the house.

Mouseless, she has now turned her focus on bug hunting. Paul and I heard her making noise in my closet so we went in to see what she was doing. We saw her reaching towards something. When we looked closer we saw that she had tracked down a millipede. We watched her reach for it as it was just outside of her reach, follow it as it moved around and, as soon as she had the opportunity, she scooped it up and ate it! Yup. She surprised us. We expected that she would bat it around a little for fun, but nope, she just went CHOMP CHOMP and it was gone. That is, she ate it all except one disembodied wiggling leg that landed on the floor. Was that too much information?

Tanglewood and some WIPs

Finally! Something is finished, photographed and eligible to be posted on the blog. I present to you the Tanglewood Cascading Cardigan by Valley Yarns knit in Lenox yarn.

After these photographs were taken the clasp above broke. I've emailed the company because they told me it would be unbreakable. Hopefully they can give me a new stick.

Since the baby knitting is pretty well covered, I've also started on the Kotan Poncho. So far I am not pleased with the pattern writing. There are lots of mistakes in the pattern. So far I have been able to make modifications to keep the knitting on track, but, really, how many mistakes should a one page pattern contain?!

Also, upon receiving the news that my grandma is going to need chemo treatment, I started a hat for her. I am knitting up the Foliage hat from Knitty in Malabrigo. This is a top-down hat, which is fun for me, because, I've always knit them from the brim up in the past. The buttery soft merino wool should be soft enough for her to wear if she loses her hair.

Special thanks to Paul for being my sweater photographer. I tried it on my own and found out it is a two person job to photograph bigger projects.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Kristin Knits

I had a great experience last weekend and am a bit slow to post about it. I've been thinking about it all week though, so maybe it isn't so out of date to write about it.

On Saturday Becky and I went to a knitting event hosted by a yarn store she used to frequent. The Black Sheep along with Wellesley Booksmith hosted a knit-in at the bookstore. The knitters took over the basement and knit together while listening to and watching presentations from various knitters/designers. We attended the second session about color in knitting. Kristin Nicholas was there with a mounding table of knitting samples of her designs and a slide show of photographs. She has recently published book that she used as the anchor of her presentation:

She talked to us about her love for colorwork and the various techniques that she uses in her color designs. She uses a lot of embellishments to add extra color to her designs. For example, rather than knitting with 3 or 4 colors, she knits with 2 colors and adds 2 accent colors by embroidering or crocheting them on to the finished pieces. I found her colors and designs to be so much fun. Even Becky, the lover of solid, neutral color knitted items was taken by her work, so much so that she bought the book and got it autographed.

She also showed us photographs of her home, which I totally want to move into, and photographs of things in nature that have inspired some of her color combinations. She also had photographs of the same items against various color backgrounds to illustrate the color relationships. I was pretty amazed at the effect the colors had on each other.

The scarf in the picture below is one of the patterns in her book. I am interested in making this because of the clever design. It is knit in the round and then steeked to turn it into a scarf. The steeked ends become the fringe. Genius! This design would give me a chance to try out steeking without the stress of messing up a whole sweater.

All of Kristin's designs are knit using Julia, the yarn she created and is distributing through Nashua Handknits. The yarn comes in an array of colors that were all chosen to be used in combinations together. You can basically chose any combination of Julia colors and Kristin says it should look good together.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Not Quite Done Knitting Update

My knitting has been so anti-climactic lately. I finish a project and then have to stow it away until babies are born. It is great that I am getting things done in advance, but it doesn't feel the same to only post little peaks at what I have knitted. I guess I'd rather hold out on the blog reveal and preserve the present opening surprise for the moms to be. I have been knitting up a storm, but for now, here is what I have to show for it.

A recently finished baby thing:

An in-progress baby thing:

Besides baby knitting, I've started on some other projects. I need to felt these bowls before I post finished objects:

Plus, I recently started a new gift project:

I finally blocked my Cascading Cardigan so there will soon be some finished object photos of that.

Makeout with a Typing Pool

Dang Blogger has been erroring all weekend, which prevented me from posting in a timely manner. Anyway, it seems to back on track and now I can post about an excellent show I got to see on Friday night.

Beth invited the veggie dining folks to a show we couldn't resist, not with a billing that included The Boston Typewriter Orchestra and The East Boston Make-Out Club Band. For real.

The Typewriter Orchestra consisted of a "typing pool" of people who found creative ways to make percussive music with their old school typewriters. I especially love the person who was typing on the typewriter pictured below because he had to keep time with the other typists while also continually unjamming the keys. You know what I'm talking about, when you push two keys in quick succession and the metal things get all stuck together... he even did a solo on this badass machine.

The ladies of The East Boston Make-Out Band were so much fun. Their songs were so absurd that I couldn't help but laugh. Their opening song was an original about how you can't be an effective stalker without binoculars. They also did a sing-along version of End of the Road. The generation gap in the room during that song was evident. Half of the room was singing their hearts out while the other half of the room was baffled.

If you ever have the chance to see either of these bands, you totally should go. They are worth it, even on a rainy Friday night in East Boston.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sticky and Swirly

Ever since I saw Flour bakery competing for the best sticky rolls on the Food Network, I've been wanting to go sample one for myself.

It was worth getting up on a Sunday morning and tolerating the crying kids with grandparents waiting for the nearby Children's Museum to open up. This was a seriously sticky sticky bun. Delicious.

I've also been having cravings for a sweet thing that my mom baked when I was little: Marble Swirl Bundt Cake. Since mom is hundreds of miles away, I had to bake my own.

Sometimes my mom even let my sister and I eat this for breakfast. Having cake for breakfast seriously thrilled me then and it STILL DOES!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Skirmish at Deerfield

It just so happened that my trip out "west" coincided with the 304th anniversary of a skirmish at Deerfield. After breakfast, I headed further north and west to Historic Deerfield.

Historic Deerfield is a functioning street with residents and a school intermixed with homes that have been preserved for people to tour. It was neat to be walking down a street and be allowed to walk into homes and snoop around. The houses represented the lives of people of varying levels of wealth and spanned a good amount of years.

The surrounding land was picturesque especially with all of the snow.

In one of the buildings, they were demonstrating open hearth cooking. Notice the dangling chicken spinning on a strip of leather.

The skirmish was reenacted by people in costume. It was far less engaging than I had hoped, so I cut out a little early.

While touring the houses, I met a lot of interesting people. Despite it being a special event weekend, there were not a lot of people touring each of the houses so I got a lot of one on one time with the guides. I could tell they really felt connected to the people and the time periods that they were there to talk about.

Like I Needed More

The bad news of the weekend was that Jamie couldn't fly out to spend the weekend with me as planned. She wasn't feeling well and had to cancel her trip. The good news of the weekend was that I went ahead with our planned trip to western Massachusetts anyways.

Shortly after getting off the highway, I made a wrong turn and encountered this ominous road sign. Luckily it didn't set the tone for my solo weekend. I turned right around and found my way to Webs. Oh, how I love Webs. They have the greatest deals and the hugest selection. Hours tick by unnoticed when I am in that place. With the aid of the awesome shopping list function of Ravelry, I was a well prepared and focused shopper. Almost everything I bought was for a specific pattern or was for a specific purpose.

After a short yarn sensory overload recovery period at the hotel, I headed out to downtown Northampton for some shop browsing, wine purchasing and dinner eating. I finished up the night drinking wine, eating an amazing slice of raspberry chocolate cheesecake and knitting in my hotel room (king size bed with down pillows!).

The next morning, I woke up to about 8 inches of new snowfall. I checked out of the hotel and after burning mega calories trying to unearth my car, I headed out to breakfast. I had scoped out the breakfast menu at the Haymarket Cafe when I bought my dessert the night before, so I knew I was in for a treat.

It amazes me how the price of things adjusts when you get outside of the Boston area. This delicious french toast breakfast with a fresh-pressed apple juice was just over $8!

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