Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Heart Baby Goats

I have to confess. I've turned into a stalker. I've been stalking this amazing new idea launched by Susan Gibbs of Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm. She is selling her second round of Yarn CSAs.

Finances have been pretty tight for me lately with recent vet bills, my trip home to MN and acupuncture treatments consuming what little extra money I have each month. So, I've been watching the Yarn CSA on Etsy as the number of shares has dropped steadily for weeks waiting for my checkbook to have a little money in it. I've been sharing my excitement about the CSA with friends and cheered as they bought their shares. Well, when the number of available shares recently plunged, due in part to the Martha's Vineyard Fiber Festival and in part to recent publicity, I snatched one up.

Why would I buy something I can't exactly afford at the moment? If you ask Paul, he'd tell you he is really glad I did because now I don't have to keep updating him on how many shares are left. Based on how often I felt the need to share those numbers with him, I knew I would be sad if I missed my chance to participate in this opportunity. It isn't just the yarn that is of interest to me, although I am excited about that too. It is really about the idea of participating in the success of the CSA business model. If Susan succeeds at this, she will be paving the way for other small fiber farmers to offer Yarn CSAs. I want to be able to knit with yarn that I know is from animals that are loved and well cared for and I like feeling a connection to the creature my fiber comes from.

Plus, baby goats are so dang cute! Don't believe me? Then check out one of Susan's blog posts.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

MN Tidbits

When it rains, it pours. No posts from me for a long time and then whammo! Three posts in one day. That is how I roll, I guess. Here are the last tidbits from my MN trip. After this post, I should be caught up to the present.

My mom's birthday was in February, but since I knew I'd be visiting her in April, I decided to take her out for high tea to celebrate belatedly. She thought we should wear hats or really, it seems she thought I should wear a hat and she should laugh at me and my silly hat!

We left the hats in the car and went in for tea at The St. Paul Hotel. It was delicious and I loved having that much time to sit still and talk with my mom. We were both a bit jittery from all that tea and had to switch to chamomile in the middle! We both talk fast to begin with but put caffeine in us and we can cover a lot of content in a short amount of time.

Jamie and I treated ourselves to a little time at a nail salon. Jamie thought it would be a good idea to get a pedicure before she loses the ability to see her toenails! I got a manicure so that I would have nice looking nails for the high tea I had with my mom. We can both count the number of times we have had our nails done on one hand, so it was a special little something we could do together.

Jamie and I also had time to cook dinner. We shopped at the Wedge for the ingredients to make some new recipes from the Vegetarian Times magazine that arrived right before I left home. I read it on the plane and was set on making some of the recipes the first chance I had. Luckily Jamie was willing to go along with my plan. We made a fig, goat cheese, caramelized onion and rosemary spread, a vegetable soup, and a baguette. We also made rosemary, lemon, butter cookies for dessert. Don't worry, the wine was for me!

Also, I am sorry I didn't take any pictures, but I also enjoyed the company of Sally and Mike over a tasty Mexican Lasagna dinner one evening. And, I had a good bit of time to get caught up with my dad. He fed me delicious homemade pizza with mushrooms that he had foraged for and then sent me on my trip home with leftovers.

Ever notice how much I talk about food? I like good food and it seems I like people who like good food. (Jessy, I still like you even though you like to eat ramen noodles :) There has to be an exception to every rule.)

Lastly, here are some words of wisdom from the bathroom wall at the Seward Cafe.

Grandma Bonanza

The reason for the trip to MN, besides visiting friends and family, was that my Grandma Rose was turning 90! My mom's side of the family had a big birthday party for her at the assisted living home she lives at. It was a big day for Grandma!

She got showered with cards and gifts and hugs and smiles AND she even got taken to Subway for lunch. It was a big day, indeed.

The feather boa Grandma is wearing in the pictures was a gift from my sister Jessy. My mom thought it would be fun to dress Grandma up. Before I travelled to MN, I had attempted to knit a crown for her from a pattern in AlterKnits. It was a bad bad bad idea. I gave up after laboring through about six torturous rows. It was good that Jessy pulled through with the boa to help add a little more fun to the day.

Crepe Paper + Knitting = Hand Cramps and Grumpiness

I mostly took photos of Grandma that day, but I also made sure to capture the newest baby in the family and the family baby tamer.

Taylor and Jessy

I am really glad I was able to be there for Grandma's birthday party. I witnessed lots of special little moments, like seeing her face when she saw the photos from her past that had been put into a DVD photo album. I also thought it was really neat that one of the resident's of the home brought her autograph book to show my grandma. The book had a note that my grandma had written to her in German when they worked together at the local hospital soon after my grandma's immigration. The woman doesn't know German and was hoping my grandma could translate the note for her. When my grandma came to the US from Germany she didn't speak English. She had formed some sort of friendship with this woman despite the language barrier and that note has been there as a hidden message of friendship throughout the past 70 years.

My other grandma, Grandma Shirley, is currently going through chemo treatment for breast cancer. I wasn't able to make it to her house in Wisconsin during my visit, but I spent time with my dad who sees her regularly, so I passed on some love for her in the form of knitted hats.

Remember this hat?

It turned out too big after I blocked it, so I had to rip back and shorten it a bit.

I also wanted to make her a really soft hat in case the soft wool was still a little too much for her. This is Odessa (pattern was on MagKnits). I've been wanting to make this hat forever. It was a lot of fun to make and I think I'll make one for myself at some point. The yarn is Classic Elite's Premiere which is a pima cotton and tencel blend.

Gifts Given

Some of the many exciting things that I got to do on my visit to MN was to give people gifts that I had been saving for them. The gift giving extravaganza means that I can now post some of these projects that I had only been able to post sneak peaks of before. It also means that I can stop talking about "pregnant friends" because I have photos and names and stories to share.

In no particular order...

Mark and Jerri are pregnant! Jerri was in the last day of her 7th month when I got together with them to see their new apartment and have a great dinner at the French Meadow Bakery. Dinner was delicious and the company was excellent as always. I got a chance to witness Jerri satisfying her ongoing pregnancy cravings of hot water at the restaurant.

There little one is due July 4th, but I wanted to give them a little something in anticipation so I made them my version of the Bib O' Love from Mason Dixon Knitting and the GRRR! washcloth from Knitty.

I'm hoping the tie will be more washable and more secure than the button closure the pattern called for.

Next up, due only three days later is Jamie and Adam! Adam hightailed it out of town to allow for lots of girl time at his house. That's why he isn't pictured. Jamie bought some yarn on her first visit to visit me in MA. She hadn't figured out what to knit with it and had been holding on to it for 4 years. When she found out she was pregnant shortly before my last birthday, she sent the yarn to me with a baby hat pattern as her way of telling me her good news. It was an amazing birthday present.

The hat pattern she sent was a pretty simple one and I thought this special yarn (Dancing Leaf Mohair/Wool) deserved a special pattern. After lots of research on Ravelry, I settled on the Sweet Baby Cap.

After I finished the hat, I had some extra yarn left so I was also able to make some little booties. The leftover yarn wasn't enough, so I had to get creative and use another yarn to make it work. I ended up using every bit of the skein of yarn from Jamie.

Next up is Joanne. She isn't pregnant but thanks to her pregnancy nearly 30 years ago, I have my husband Paul. Also, thanks to Joanne, I have nearly doubled my yarn stash. She has been really generous with gift certificates to local yarn stores around Massachusetts. I figured that she more than deserved a random knitted gift. I got to give it to her when we met up for lunch at the yummy Cafe Brenda.

I made Joanne the Friday scarf from the now defunct MagKnits website. It is knit out of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Knits that Fit

I am way out of date with my blogging. I got back into town last night from a whirlwind trip to Minnesota. I'll try my best to get caught up this week on the recent goings-on but first I have to backtrack a little bit.

The weekend before my trip, I attended a workshop with Joan McGowan-Michael through the MetroWest Knitting Guild.

The workshop was held at the New Art Center in Newtonville.

There were various workshops offered throughout the weekend. I took the workshop that was focused on learning sweater shaping. We started off by sticking masking tape on key measurement points on our bodies. Myself and many of the other attendees thought it was quite amusing to be amongst a room full of women all sporting tape on their busts.

The most exciting things that I came away from was learning how to apply short row shaping to the bust of a garment, knowing all of my upper body measurements, and inspiration to knit some flirty little knitted things. Joan had a sample there that may have inspired me to knit a skirt!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


When the weather is nice, Tchazo goes to the park.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Nightly News

I became aware of some knitting drama yesterday. It's been brewing for a while but I was unaware of it until I went to check out the latest issue of MagKnits and this hit me in the face. As many knitters have been expressing, it was a total shock to have a fairly significant resource disappear in an instant. For the non-Ravelry members who are interested in the series of events, this blog has a good summary.

Many, many bloggers have covered this event and hundreds of comments have been posted in multiple threads on Ravelry, so I am not posting in attempt to add a new perspective. I was totally hooked on what everyone else had to say about it and read lots and lots of posts throughout the day yesterday. I think I may have been trying to piece together the big picture of what happened and why. Needless to say it was on my mind throughout the day.

Knitting is such a huge part of my existence, my community and my life that when something like this happens it is BIG NEWS to me. The funny thing about that is that many of you reading this probably don't care. That is, if you are still kind enough to be reading something I've written despite not caring about it. However, I am so invested in the well being of the knitting community that it matters to me when stuff like this happens.

When I got home last night I turned the news on in the background while I was doing some stuff around the house. I had this fleeting thought as I was listening to the newscasters and the thought was something like this, "I wonder what they will say about this whole MagKnits thing." Ha! My semi-subconscious mind actually thought that this was such major news that they would have to mention it. Of course, I realized nearly as soon as I had the thought that it was a totally ridiculous thought because yesterday was home opener day for the Red Sox. Nearly the entire newscast was all about the "home team." Wouldn't it be a better world if knitting got some airtime on the news?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Foliage, P's PSP Pouch

I've got a bundle of recently finished objects. Here is the update:

This is the hat that was intended for my grandma but it seems that the blocking has resulted in more growth than I had expected and is now too big to fit her. I may end up keeping this one for myself and making her a new one. I'm still thinking on that puzzle.

This hat is the Foliage pattern from Knitty and is knit with worsted weight Malabrigo. I love this yarn and the pattern was a lot of fun. It was my first top down hat. Hmmm. Top down means I could potentially rip back and reknit the brim to be tighter...I hate to rip back, but I might have to.

Paul recently made one of his presto, change-o electronics purchases where he sells something he has become bored with and spends the money on a new toy. He sold his Wii and bought a PSP. He requested a pouch so that the screen will be protected when he puts it in his bag.

I took sock yarn leftovers and adapted a sock pattern to make this pouch.

I also finished and blocked a gift. This will be given away in a few weeks, but for now, I will just post a picture of the many, many pins that were required to block it.

An exciting addition to the blog! If you look to the right, you'll see that I added a project update sidebar courtesy of Ravelry. It shows you the projects I am currently working on and my progress. I was a little intimidated about doing stuff that required html code, but they supplied the code and the instructions so it was manageable.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Higgins Armory Museum

After breakfast with Arturo and Sam at Sound Bites Paul and I headed to Worcester to visit the Higgins Armory Museum. While looking at all of the weapons in the museum, I found out that Paul knows way more about weapons than I would have guessed. I think the video game playing has provided him with knowledge that I don't have. Before today I had never heard of maces, pikes or war-hammers.

The outside of the building was pretty impressive. It looks like a fortress with rivets but also has a very decorative entrance.

The armor in the center of this photo had a hole in it. It looked the person wearing it had been shot.

The museum has a hands-on area where Paul and I got to try on all sorts of armored helmets. They are heavy!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

March Resolution Recipes

My year of new recipes is still going strong. My goal of 3-a-month has been a reasonable one. Having an attainable resolution is important to me. I don't want my resolution to rob me of the fun I have when I cook plus it allows me to exceed the goal on the months that I am really into trying new recipes. March was one of those months. I was primarily inspired by a big bag of cumin seeds that were sent to me by Jamie. I've cooked with cumin powder, but cumin seeds were a new ingredient to me.

Here are the recipes I tried in March:

Red Pepper and Broccoli Stir-Fry with Thai Peanut Sauce from The Best Vegetable Recipes

Maple Oatmeal Scones

Cabbage, Tomato and Onion Salad (This was a surprisingly good recipe. Paul, who turned up his nose when I described it, ended up really liking it.)

Indian Peas and Cauliflower

Cold Chinese Sesame Noodles

Friday, April 4, 2008


Last weekend, Bonnie organized a private hammered jewelry class with instructor and hammerer extraordinaire Marissa at her apartment.

The ladies who learned

The stuff we used

(Thanks to Bonnie for the two photos above.)

We learned how to make a variety of hammered jewelry. My favorite were these die cut, hammered coins.

We worked mostly in copper but also did one pair of silver wire earrings. The bottom right is a shawl pin. I have yet to test its functionality.

I enjoyed the class but this doesn't float my boat as much as knitting and beadworking do. My Year of Honesty rears its head again! When presented with the opportunity to buy the supplies to make these on my own, I had a moment of internal debate. I concluded that I would rather spend my limited crafting time working through my sizable yarn and bead stash. I do not need to add a new craft to my "to-make" list. That list is already big enough! However, the mimosa drinking, aggressive hammering and creative time with the group was still a great way to spend a Sunday.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lost and Not Found

Some people go through life leaving little Hansel and Gretel trails of things behind them: a lost hairband on the bus, a sock at the laundromat, a book at a friend's house, an umbrella at a restaurant, a sweatshirt at the gym. I am not one of those people. I generally keep good track of my things. When I get up from my seat on the subway, I tend to look back just to make sure I didn't leave anything behind. When I am leaving somewhere where I've put my things down, I tend to take mental stock of what I came with and compare that to what is in my possession as I am leaving.

However, I am not perfect nor is my system of check and double check. No matter how careful I am, sometimes things disappear. On the rare occasion that I lose something, it eats at my mind. I usually run down the list of finding-lost-stuff steps that my mom taught me. Step one: think where you last had it. Step two: retrace your steps. Step three (I added this one, mom is not to blame for step three): repeat the statement "how could I have lost it?!?!" until ready to move on to step four. Step four: conclude the process by declaring "It'll turn up eventually."

Almost a month ago, somewhere between the Harvard Square T stop and my work, I lost something. I lost the mate to this:

Folks, that is a sad lost. That is a handknitted mitten within a handknitted, felted mitten. I thought back to where I last remembered having it, retraced my steps, checked various lost and founds, cursed myself for losing it and then hoped that it would turn up. It hasn't.

When it was chilly, I wore those mittens every day. Once I accepted that they were probably not going to reappear, I moved on to deciding on a replacement pair. Here is what I made:

They are thrummed mittens. The thrums are made with cotton roving. I suspect they won't be nearly as warm and nice as wool roving would have been but they are Trinity friendly and that was my goal.

By making the new mittens, I've taken steps towards accepting the loss. Though, I have to admit that I still have my eye out for the lost mitten during my daily commute because sometimes things really do turn up later.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...