I knit. And I cook, write, take pictures. All for one low price.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


I saw it coming, but it feels like a slap in the face nonetheless.

The huge huge profits.

We were going to move out of Albany this year, partly to be in a different schooldistrict for our daughter. We were looking at houses for a few months before we realized: these gas prices are going to take the joy out of living in the country. My husband and I would have to commute about 15 miles each day each way. While that is not a big commute by a lot of standards, it was going to be too much for us.

Right now, we live close enough to our workplaces to bike and even walk if we have enough time in the morning. Our daughter will be able to walk to her new middle school. How much sense does it make to move out of the city, when we have everything right here?

Sure, I had dreams of a vegetable garden and a compost heap. More open sky. Country roads to ride our bikes on. But then I started thinking about what I'd lose: a great neighborhood where everyone watches out for each other. The guy with the snowblower keeps going right down the street and cleans up 3 driveways. If you're going on vacation and your fish needs feeding, the kid across the street will do it.

Just last Saturday, we had a graduation party for Tall Son for our friends and neighbors, and it felt like a mini block party. We all hung out, ate good food and talked for a few hours. Even neighbors that used to live here came.

So we are staying in the city for now. We do have a nice big garden, I just can't grow vegetable in it. (It's too shady. It floods. It is owned by squirrels.) We are waiting to see how Crafty Girl's schoolyear is going, and by February we will re-evaluate and see what we want to do.

Meanwhile, we have one car, which gets decent mileage. Dear Husband bikes to work during the summer session he is teaching, and when we have errands to run, we try to combine them into one day.

How are you trying to save on gas?

Monday, July 28, 2008


I'm here.

I'm knitting, every day.

I'm buying Twin XL sheets and toothpaste. And tylenol, because I am assuming that a college freshman will have a headache at some point. We are getting a new phone plan.

I've revamped my list of favorite reads, and hopefully fixed some dead-end links.

Go check what's going on over there!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


You know how I have to ship my firstborn off to college in about a month? And how my second child will be in middle school, and my husband will also be back to teaching in September?

I'm thinking, the usual September loneliness will hit me especially hard this year. I'll need to keep very very busy. Aside from going to work, which means alternating weeks of 19 and 32 hours, and no freelance knitting job lined up right at the moment...I'll need a major goal of getting some major knitting done.

So I've decided something. I'll tell you in a minute.

I am the administrator of a group I started on ravelry last November, called the great Stash Knit Down of 2008. It's an awesome group, if I may say so myself. Very inspiring and supportive. People have been knitting from stash all year, but we are not on a yarn diet. No guilt allowed if you end up buying more yarn. One person actually completely busted her stash already, and is buying for a few projects at a time only.

I digress. September. I should say that we have monthly goals in that group, and races, and knitting from sock yarn stash only, what have you. It varies from month to month, while some challenges are ongoing, like knitting an afghan by the end of the year.

September. It's after the Olympics (read ravelympics), after summer travel knitting, before high stakes holiday knitting. It's kids go back to school knitting.

September. I'll need to keep busy. I'm going to try and knit up 10,000 yards of yarn.

I've been hauling bins of yarn up from the basement and counting yardages. Every time I hit the final sum button on the calculator, I am stunned. I counted 2 bins yesterday, and they had 7,590 and 8,263 yards in them respectively. Then I stopped counting. It's only 2 bins of yarn out of 18 or so....some of which (2) contain only sock yarn and one of which contains fingering and lace weight...trying not to hyperventilate....I am shocked all over again at my total and complete love of yarn.

10,000 yards. September has 30 days, I would have to knit up 333.33 yards of yarn every day on average. I'll give you a few days to talk amongst yourselves so you can discuss how utterly crazy that notion is.

My ravelry group is already divided into cheerleaders, and fellow racers...and one of them is pleading with me to reconsider, to bring it down to a 5 km race...

Do you think it can be done?

PS: My ravelry ID is KarinMT.

Monday, July 21, 2008

a re/treat

This past weekend, I got to take 3 workshops at Margaret Klein Wilson's house, with Beth Brown Reinsel as the teacher.

Margaret owns Mostly Merino, and authored the Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting book.

Beth is most famous for her book Knitting Ganseys. She is working on a book about Scandinavian Knitting, and I for one can't wait for it to be finished!

On Saturday, there were two workshops. One on Swedish Cast Ons, and one on the Norwegian Purl.

I must tell you that I did not take a lot of pictures, as I wasn't taking the classes "for the blog"...I was fully engaged in the class, learned a lot, and thoroughly enjoyed the company of the knitters present.

Here, Beth is showing a 100 year old jacket from Sweden. The sleeves were knitted and fulled, and then attached to a sewn jacket with embellished placket and cuffs. It was stunning.

Even the lining was amazing.

Here are some examples of Beth's Twined Knitting. We learned a bit of twined knitting during the Swedish Cast Ons class. The mittens and socks made with this technique are extremely warm and durable because they are knitted with two alternating strands throughout. Two-color and tone-on-tone patterns are possible. Beth's website has the patterns available, which are like mini courses on the techniques and worth every penny.

In this picture, Beth is showing her sweater from the book The Natural Knitter, by the late Barbara Albright. This sweater is a tour de force of knitting techniques, as it includes twined knitting, stranded knitting, and intarsia in the round...

With these two samples, Beth is demonstrating the importance of color dominance in stranded knitting. In the (sleeveless) sample on the right, black was the dominant color. The sample knitter didn't like the result and decided to reverse the dominance. On the little sweater on the left, the pattern is much better visible. They are both knitted from the same chart!

During the Norwegian Purl class, we learned how to strand and weave our 2 color knitting with both yarns held in the left hand while knitting and purling! Whew.

Yes I had a headache at the end of the day, but it was a testament to how much we learned.

Sunday was reserved for a 6 hour Latvian Mitten class. These mittens incorporate 2 color cast on, braids, lace scallops, knitted in fringe, and colorwork.

Beth had a whole collection of authentic mittens with her, but my brain was foggy (or something) and I plumb forgot to take pictures of them....

This is how far I got before I getting picked up after lunch and a visit to the sheep pasture.

I must tell you about Kip. He is Margaret's Border Collie and the sweetest dog...he always made sure we were staying together.

Here's Margaret, bringing carrot peels as a treat for the sheep and her guard llama.

She has 17 sheep, among them merino, cormo, and bluefaced leicester. Truly a handsome flock! Oh and the yarn that comes from them...

Make sure you go see Margaret at the NYS sheep and wool fest in October this year.

I know I will.

Friday, July 18, 2008

the traveling germans

Today I'd like to finish telling you about the time my parents were here and the daytrips we went on.

July 8: Olana.
Crafty Girl and I went there together last year, and we have been saying ever since that we have to take Oma and Opa here. I did not take a lot of pictures this time around, but I'll let you go to their website if you want to find out more. It's definitely one of my most favorite places to visit simply because of the color schemes inside the house...I took copious color notes again this time. I can't wait to try some combinations on yarn soon.

July 10: Grafton Peace Pagoda

which is on the way to Williamstown, MA and The Clark. We decided to just walk the grounds this time around, as my parents were more interested in the modern art of MassMoCa.

View of the Berkshires from the hill above The Clark.

Our next stop, after a picnic, was this: a fascinating place.
MassMoCa is an old factory building that was restored and turned into a contemporary art museum. We spent nearly 4 hours in there!

Naturally, taking pictures of the exhibitions is prohibited, but we were OK here: biospheres for visitors to become part of.

Before heading home, we had dinner in North Adams. Definitely a place to go visit.
Please remember to watch the little video I took; it can be found at the end of the post. (That's where blogger put it for me--don't know how to change that.) It was an experiment for me, see what you think.

On July 11, we stocked up on groceries and ran errands, but made it downtown to the Hudson River to go for a walk.

July 12: I went on a guided Wildflower Walk with my parents,

before meeting the rest of the family up at Thacher Park for a picnic and a hike.

On the last day of my parents' stay, July 14, we went to a local diner that makes its own ice cream. I can't have any dairy, so I enjoyed an iced tea.

Afterwards, we went to Five Rivers one more time. My parents (both 70 years young) are avid hikers and get itchy if they don't get to walk a lot!

Here's saying good-bye....

I hope this video link works for you.

This weekend, Dear Husband, Crafty Girl and I are headed to Brattleboro, Vermont, where I'll be taking 3 knitting workshops with Beth Brown-Reinsel. Hubby and daughter will be exploring the area and the hotel pool...while I get to learn about Norwegian Purl, Swedish Cast-ons, and Latvian Mittens!
I'll be bringing my laptop, so feel free to visit and write to me.
Otherwise, I'll see you on Monday!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Saratoga Springs

My parents left yesterday, arrived in Germany this morning, and were safely brought back to their house by my sister.

I did take my nap yesterday, then brought my daughter to her track practice, had dinner and promptly went to sleep.

Here now is an attempt to catch you all up on the couple of daytrips I took my folks on, after the graduation party on the 4th of July weekend.

On Sunday, July 6th, we went to Saratoga Springs. Just to give you a heads up, Saratoga is most famous for two things: horse racing, and water. As in mineral water, springs, spa.

Also, apparently they have Smart people up there:

This building comes with its own resident horse:

A toy store window decorated with nothing but kites:

The famous landmark The Adelphi Hotel:

The restored carousel in Old Congress Park: you can ride on it for a quarter.

These tourists are my parents, fascinated by a huge hibiscus plant.

Away from the main beat, we found Beekman Street, an arts community that is restoring old houses and putting galleries and restaurants in them. Of course I could not take any pictures of all the original art, but these horses didn't mind.

Flowers were everywhere, making this part of the city a very nice place to live.

In a sculpture garden:

Inside one of the galleries, the leftovers of an art opening from the night before - my dad spotted these. Instant art.

In Saratoga State Park, people come up to this spring with carloads of water bottles and fill up.

The Roosevelt Baths, half of which are intact. I was fascinated by the half that was falling apart. I do hope that they get restored to their original splendor.

This next part completely took us by surprise. We came upon the preparations for a wedding reception. I asked a waiter, and it turned out that this was an Indian wedding with about 1500 guests.
The table flower arrangements were absolutely stunning. I firmly believe that 2 of them would pay my mortgage.

We almost felt like paparazzi when we hung around to get some photos...this was a huge event.

The bride and groom were off to the side getting their picture taken for about an hour. I caught a glimpse of what I could swear was a princess:

The scent of delicious Indian food was wafting over the grounds.

We did finally have to leave...and never found out who it was that got married on a gorgeous summer day in Saratoga, in such grand style.

Monday, July 14, 2008

2 pairs done

Random Monday.
Visitors in the garden:

A kindred spirit at Five Rivers :

Two pairs of socks done and finally photographed:

These are for you, Doris! (That's my sister.) They're going into mom's suitcase and will be hand delivered on Wednesday: