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

Friday, November 28, 2008

black friday??

Your Autumn Test Results

You are a dynamic, vibrant person. You aren't afraid to pursue your passions.

When you are happiest, you are calm. You appreciate tradition and family. You enjoy feeling cozy.

You prefer change to come slowly. You need a long transition period when your life changes.

You find abundance to be the most comforting thing in the world. You love shopping and having nice things.

Your ideal day is active and full. You like to keep busy with your favorite things, and you appreciate a routine.

You tend to live in the moment. You enjoy whatever is going on, and you don't obsess over the past or future.

http://www.blogthings.com/theautumnquiz/">The Autumn Test
Ok I lifted this from a friend's blog, for something silly to do on the so-called Black Friday.
Funny thing is, if I truly were to love shopping like it tells me, I'd be out there, shopping, wouldn't I?? Ha! Instead, I am home, knitting Christmas presents, and visiting blogs while I listen to my kids talking to each other upstairs. My next to most favorite day other than Thanksgiving is the day after, when all the work is done, the house still reasonably clean, and leftovers allow you to cut yourself some slack with the cooking.
I hope you are all able to enjoy the day.
The weather here is nice but cool, and I might be tempted to go for a walk in a little while.
PS: I am really bad with the html and I am not sure where the link went to the autumn quiz.
The blog I found it on is here: Our Wee Farm .

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who are celebrating this holiday today. Since living in the United States, it has always been my most favorite holiday: good food, family, friends, warmth, pies, and no gifts! Safe travels to everyone who is out there going from one place to another.

I'll be making an apple pie in a little while. Since we have been vegetarians for the last 20 years, there is no turkey in our oven, which frees the oven up for all kinds of other goodies! Here's our menu:

Mashed Potatoes
Vegetarian Gravy
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Green Beans with Garlic and Olive Oil
Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Syrup
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Corn Casserole
Apple Pie
An abundant table for which we are extremely grateful.
Here's a link to some artwork : food for thought : for you, if you like.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday update

Go here to see a short animated knitted film. Very cleverly done.

In other news, Tall Son will be home from college Wednesday night, for Thanksgiving break. We are all looking forward to seeing him!

Crafty Girl got her first report card in middle school and got a 95.33 average. We took her out to lunch yesterday, and tomorrow morning I will be attending the honor roll breakfast.

I am knitting a thousand things at once right now...mostly gifts, but also trying to get ready for a couple of handcraft fairs in December. As soon as I know all the details re: time and venue, I will let you know. Meanwhile, you can go here to see what I am talking about!

Gotta go to work now, I'll talk to you all later! Have a great Monday.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'll have homefries with that, please!

As you may or may not know, Abi has chickens. Very friendly chickens that come over to you and greet you when you pull into the driveway. These chickens lay the most wonderful eggs, and I was given a whole dozen the other day when I visited.

Also, I was given yarn. Dyed in Vermont, delicious sock yarn, dyed in the colorway "Cream of Mushroom".

Eggs, mushrooms, omelette. Good enough to eat, I tell you.

To some this might not be the most eggciting colorway, but I LOVE it. Just up my alley. There are hints of rose in it, and sage, and many shades of brown I didn't even know anybody could put on a skein of yarn.

I've eaten some of the eggs, the yarn remains untouched, yet.
After the holidays, it'll be something I'll savor knitting up.
Thank you, Abi.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

meeting Alison Hyde

Last Friday, after I left Bennington, Vermont, I went on to drive up to Burlington. I had plenty of snacks in the car for the 3 hour drive, I found the Vermont Public Radio station, and I was good to go. Every once in a while I would exclaim loudly to myself, "another white church! Oh and look, sheep! Cows! Countryside! So much Countryside!" and finally: "Lake Champlain! I can't believe I am looking at Lake Champlain!!" That's when I knew I wasn't far.

Kaleidoscope Yarns in Essex Junction, a little northeast of Burlington, did a very fine job hosting Alison. There were cookies for everyone, and we sat in the bulky wool room (which is a bit ironic because Alison just about never touches anything but fine weight yarns).

I walked in and got the best hug. We both started crying. You see, Alison and I have been email friends for many years, first getting to know each other through the yahoogroup KnitList, and then later its spin off, KnitTalk. She has sent me yarn, I sent her yarn, and the rest is history. You start talking about the kids and all kinds of other things.

Alison grew up in the east but moved to Palo Alto, California many years ago, with her husband and 4 kids. I knew I was probably never going to make it to the west coast, and when the opportunity presented itself to meet her in Burlington, I jumped at the chance and told my family that I was going to drive 155 miles to see a friend I had never physically laid eyes on.

Alison brought her Kaffe Fassett coat that she made many moons ago. I think it has 89 colors in it.

She also brought her husband. (They were in town to visit their daugher and son-in-law. Go to Alison's blog, if you're not reading it already, to find out more.)

I knew from reading her blog and book that her husband was very tall. Here he is, filling out a doorway. Paula, in front with the blue shawl, looks stunned. I am not sure if it was Richard that stunned her. (Paula, if you're reading, can you please give me your blog address again? I want to link you.)

Kristine brought baby Lucy, a child with a lot of spark and spunk.

Paula donned the Blue Jay shawl from Alison's book, for which she spindle spun the yarn!!

Alison had brought a veritable trunk show of her shawls, and we were even allowed to try them on. Would the sneaky photographer who snapped this picture please come forward? I tried on the Wanda's Flowers shawl.

Here is a portrait of two friends. Thank you so much for making this possible, Alison! (But help me out here, I can't for the life of me remember which shawl you had on. Is it a Monterey??)
(And also? I promise, I do have a waist. That vest is getting so stretched out...must snip and re-knit that ribbing.) I am wearing a white lace scarf that Alison gifted me with a while back.

Thank you Kaleidoscope Yarns, for hosting this booksigning. What a most beautiful shop.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

she's OK

There is a lot to write about, but I need to break it down into a couple of different posts.

First off, I have to tell you that I made it to Bennington, VT on Friday morning on the way to Burlington, where more cool things ended up happening.

This is the friend who's been having such a bad time the last few months. I finally had to go see for myself how she was doing. She had missed the NYS sheep and wool festival, so I brought her a piece of it and made her pick out a few of my skeins. Also, she just had a birthday. (She only wanted some yarn to knit for her little boy, and I had to twist her arm real bad until she finally picked out two skeins for herself! See where her right hand is? Those are the ones. I knew she wanted them.)

She also finally had a good night's sleep for the first time in months, and that always makes it easier to smile again.
Hope you keep feeling better, Abi, so you can put on a few pounds and catch up! And guess what! Obama is still president-elect!
More about what else happened that day, tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

who do I thank?

Yesterday, I looked up my statcounter to see what's been going on. To my big surprise, this blog had over 1800 visitors on Saturday, November 8th.

I got curious, because I was sure it wasn't anything I had posted that would draw so many hits.

But go here, and go to the November 8th entry: it's a link to my Solstice Socks pattern!

Now I need to know how I received the honor of getting posted on a free pattern site? Who put me on the Daily Knitter?

Who do I thank?

Monday, November 10, 2008

do me a favor, will ya?

I have a friend who needs a hug. And some TLC. And assurances that she and the baby will be fine.

I am going to see her on Friday morning to give her a hug in person, but in the meantime, could you please do me a huge favor and stop by this blog and say hi, and say something nice?


Sunday, November 9, 2008

so much to say

Let me begin by saying that I am not as eloquent as I'd like to be.

It is now 5 days after an historic election, and I am still so thrilled with the result and how the result came about. I think we will never fully comprehend how much effort it took to get to that result...so much footwork, so many phonecalls, knocking on doors, shuttling people to their polling places. Donations.

I did not vote because I cannot. I have never come out and said it, mostly because I didn't dare. I am permanent resident. I can live here, own a house, own a business, go to work, raise my children, pay my mortgage and my taxes, but I cannot vote. Which is my own choice, and I am not lamenting anything, except this time around, I really would have liked to go vote.

25 years ago, when I came here for the first time as an exchange student from Germany, I felt free to talk politics with whomever. Over the years, the climate changed so much that it was very palpable for me: you had to feel people out to see where they stood, especially during the last couple of years. It got scary. Friends from other European countries were saying the same thing. It was beginning to feel like the old eastern Germany, where you had to be very careful choosing your friends and who you were saying what to. (I had visited there one time. I saw it with my own eyes.)

Up until Tuesday night, I didn't dare trust the polls that were saying that Obama was ahead...I needed to stay up until the very end of his acceptance speech to believe it. And then to see people celebrating in the streets. I was so glad to lose sleep that night.

All week, friends and co-workers and I have been talking. One guy said, "Well, it's kind of too late for all of that now, isn't it? 8 years too late." (I think he is a pessimist.)

That gave me pause. Obviously, 8 years ago, this country wasn't ready to vote the way it voted now. Maybe we (and I am taking the liberty to include myself, because I am prouder than ever to be able to live here) had to go through horrible 8 years in order to be ready for change. To realize what we are capable of.

I am hoping very much that the momentum can be kept up for a while. The momentum of peaceful community organizing, resistance to ignorance and stupidity, warmongering and belligerence. The momentum of being able to talk to each other, of people of all colors and walks of life talking to each other. I want to keep the hope that a good life is possible where we get along with each other and other nations, where we really try and save the environment, and where I don't have to be afraid to voice my dissent.

And you know what else? I am probably not going to completely agree with every single thing Barack Obama does. Time will tell, but for now, I am getting very excited about January 20th, 2009.

Ed.: Permanent Resident. Not citizen. (I corrected it in the text above). Or, as Dear Husband likes to tell the kids: your mother is an alien!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

a day with Norah Gaughan

A Post in which many words shall be Capitalized.

On Saturday, November 1st, I made my way to Lenox, MA, where a yarn shop called Colorful Stitches was hosting a workshop with Norah Gaughan.

Norah Gaughan is one of the most prolific designers I have ever had the fortune to meet. She is now the Design Director of Berroco, was previously the Design Director for JCA Reynolds, and published the book Knitting Nature. In which she tells us that she has published over a thousand sweater patterns. And it just goes on and on from here, because she puts out seasonal booklets with her patterns for Berroco that leave us knitters breathless.

The first 90 minutes of the day were spent presenting all the garments and items that incorporate hexagons and pentagons.

Here is the Hexagon Coat from Knitting Nature, modeled by a workshop participant.
The hexagons from the edging of that coat are the very same ones that I extracted from the pattern for my Ode to Norah Hexagon Coat, with the goal to make the entire piece from nothing but hexagons.

Next up (I did not take pictures of all the garments. You'll have to take a peek at Knitting Nature yourself), the Mosaic Shrug, an example of pentagons attached to each other. It is made from Reynold's Odyssey, a gorgeous merino yarn that Norah brought into the line-up of that company at the time. I remember it flying off the shelves in my shop back then.

Here's a bag made from 2 strands of Berroco's Suede held together. If I remember correctly, it is a pattern put out by Berroco, and not included in the book.

Here is the backside (may Norah forgive me! I sat so close that I only got this partial view...) of one of her most famous sweaters, Manon, from Norah Gaughan Vol.1. I tried that sweater on at the end of the day and yes I Want It, badly. I may even spring for the yarn it calls for, something I rarely do, mostly due to budget constraints.

Here it is on another workshop participant. By the end of the day, everyone had tried it on, and it looked good on all of us. I think somewhere in a corner they were placing bets on who would walk out with it.

And here, my dear readers, Norah's actual knitting-in-progress on my lap. She is working on a Manon herself, but this time decided to close the horizontal band and have the cardi be closed permanently.
I touched a knitting genius' knitting.
I was good though and didn't drool on it.

Norah has a lot of fun with her geometric shapes.
Observe the dodecahedron object:

The one above was made with worsted weight yarn.
The one below, with fingering weight.
I secretly call this one the tittieball.
Again, may Norah forgive me.
(The word "breast" did openly make the rounds. A room full of women know how to have fun with their knitting, believe me.)

After a brief lunch break, we moved on to the actual knitting. We were all given a ball of Berroco's Pure Merino yarn, and oh yes it was a brilliant marketing ploy. My hands and the yarn on the needles melted together. We made ribbed hexagons.

Unfortunately, many knitters in the room had trouble with handling their double-pointed needles, and we did not have time to move on the the pentagons.

Here's Norah during a teaching moment.

I love this picture:

Norah showed around my hexagons and graciously agreed to hold them up for me.
She then explained a really neat trick to us that has to do with joining two separate hexagons, but I'll leave that for another day. Let me just say that I am now ready to put a shoulder into my coat and have the amorphous mass evolve halfway to being a garment.

Here, then, is the result of my knitting that day.

These ribbed hexagons are 3.25 inches across.

Here's final proof that I was in the same room as Norah Gaughan.

Though I walked away with very little knitting, I was a happy camper, filled with inspiration.
PS: I only bought 3 buttons and a magazine at the yarn shop. Just so you know.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

we're off to see the wizard

This morning, the hexagons and I are off to see the wizard, Ms Norah Gaughan herself.

We'll see if I'm still coherent when I come back, I might be terribly star-struck...