Thursday, January 25, 2007

Goodbyes are the hardestest things

We're leaving in the morning for North Carolina - Chris' Grandmother has passed. We're so very sad and it is with very heavy hearts that we pilgrimage to say goodbye to such a wonderful woman. I owe her so much, for she shaped Chris' life and helped make him exactly who he is. I am fortunate enough to know her and to have spent time with her. I will always smile when I think of her cheating during a rowdy game of bingo at the retirement home three years ago. I totally helped her and we won a ton of money. I always like to think of that day that she and I giggled a bit over being a little naughty. A proper southern woman, a strong Presbyterian, a woman of faith, a mother of four and a grandmother of many. We love her very, very much and will be pleased as punch when we see her again in heaven.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Baron Von Teddy - Beary Cute!

Meet Baron Von Teddy -
the cute little bear that I knitted. He was an inexpensive kit that I picked up in a bargain bin at a discount store. He was too cute to pass up! I've saved the pattern and plan to make some more Teddy Bears in the future. I think he needs a friend!

This is a completed scarf for my friend Jenn's mom (click the picture for a better view). The pattern is actually from Odd Ball Knitting and I love, love, love the diamond lace patterns. I had plenty of yarn left over from the skein to make her a hat to match and enough yarn to make another hat - maybe for me. How can it be that a knitter, who has made a crap load of hats in her lifetime, not have a hat for herself in the winter? We're taking care of business as we speak.

I have another scarf that I made from yarn farm yarn, but I've been wearing it so much, that I haven't had a chance to take a picture of it. It's from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and was a true pleasure to knit.

There's a tried a true fact of life, knitting with pure wool, the good stuff, is a pleasure unlike any other for me. I just love the feeling of it in my hands, the way the stitches are so defined. I love to colors of wool I chose. I love everything about this haul. It's making the whole yarn diet thing a lot easier. My advice: if you're planning to stash diet, buy a heap of the good stuff for your stash - it makes all the difference.

That's all the news that's fit to print.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

On The Band Wagon

Have you read about this? Or this one (the original) Well, I'm on board! The general idea is that acquiring yarn has now, at our house anyway, insured that should our apartment run out of insulation - we'll be fine...the wool will keep us warm. I used to laugh when I read stories about people who had wool in every single room of their houses. for the bathroom, we're "one of those people" now. You know, when you begin knitting, it all starts so innocently and then something happens - some wave of insanity washes over you. I blame the Internet. The easy access to patterns and pictures of things that I find myself obsessed with knitting would be no temptation without this here Internet. And then you're online and there are the Knit Picks yarns at such a good price or the webs or the Elann...or, well, you get the picture. Here in New York City you have access to a ton of amazing knitting shops (I try to stay away from those).

I moved to NYC in January of 2001 and Chris was busy with a show. I'd be home alone in the apartment (he did not have cable - he needed me so badly back then...) and I decided that I needed a nice quiet hobby to occupy my lonely hours. So, I bought a knitting video/kit and a book and taught myself. It wasn't easy - but thankfully Chris did have a working VCR, so I was able to rewind the tape to the point of wearing it out and get down the basics. And then, I started ordering yarn and wouldn't you know it, I needed needles I didn't have to make the next pattern and whoooo boy, isn't that a lovely shade of pink? I think I'll get ten balls of that yarn ('cause the girl down the aisle is looking kind of interested in this here bin and I'll tell you what, she's not worthy of this beauty - it must live at my house. I'll find a pattern for it, I know it). And that's how the infection grows.

And then one day you start to look around your house and realize that you MUST start to knit with this yarn you have. I've started to tighten the purse straps for this new year and frankly, it feels good. With my last trip to the yarn farm, I think this idea of Knitting From Your Stash for 2007 is a good one. Here are the rules:

1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months.

2. We will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:
2.a. Sock yarn does not count. What? You think we are made of stone?
2.b. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that we really and truly do not have the yarn
for, we may buy yarn to knit that gift.
2.c. If we are knitting something and run out of yarn, we may purchase enough to complete
the project.
2.d. We each get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- we are each allowed to fall off the wagon
one time.

3. We are allowed to receive gifts of yarn.

4. Trading stash is allowed.

5. Spinning fiber of any sort is exempt.

So, I'm all in. I'm doing it. I'm On The Band Wagon. If you bump into me in July or so, you might take pity on me and give me some yarn (see #3) 'cause I have a feeling that this is going to get a bit hard half way through.

Oh! And Chris got me the Knit Picks options needles for Christmas, so this challenge includes most needles for me too.

Pictures that I owe - My Teddy Bear, The Needles, The new scarf knit from the first skein of Yarn Farm yarn and the new scarf that I'm knitting for Jenn's mom (I'm sooooo thrilled with the pattern!).

Tonight: The Continental Congress of the 2006 Class of The Academy! Can't wait to see my pals.

That's all the news that's fit to print.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Follow Up

The haul...

Go ahead, just take a minute to click on the picture and view it in all its beauty. I will wait for you.
That, my friends, is happiness in a bag. You want to see more? Ok, you know that I can not resist you...

The blue verigated on the top, sat on my lap during the drive home. I am particularly fond of it and am afraid that I can not knit it up, but will rather keep it as a pet and represent it to guests as piece of art work in our home. This is unusual to non-knitters, but I know that the knitters who are reading this blog understand and do not find this thought the least bit odd. I thank you for that, dear knitters!

Not such a great picture and not all of the yarn, but I began to feel light headed and had to stop taking pictures... I am now knitting up one beautiful skein into a scarf (pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts)
Next, I'll share pictures of a dear bear that I've finished knitting (I've sadly lost his pre-cut, felt face and am now forced to learn how to embroider a face on the poor fellow. Neither of us are looking forward to it).
Also coming to the blog, the finished scarf from this haul. I believe the knitting will be completed tomorrow night. Then - I take on a new pair of socks, I think from one of the sock yarns pictured in this last picture. And see the lovely hank of purple yarn on the far left? That's a shawl for Jen's mom - I think I'm going to knit her one from the Shall knitting Ministry book. Lovely.
Till then!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Yarn Farm

Who did I spend the day with? Oh yeah - it wasn't a baaaad day at all! Hanging out at a place that I am lovingly calling the "Yarn Farm" and browsing through the fruits of this guy's (and several of his friends) labor. Doesn't look like he has a hard life, does it? Trust me, this little guy and his pals are doing all right.

My friend Jen called me a few weeks ago to tell me that she had secured an invitation to a private yarn sale and asked if I'd like to go.

Would I? Oh yeah. So we packed up the men and headed to the super-secret location to a once a year only private yarn sale. I went into sensory overload when I came in contact with these yards and yards of hand spun, hand dyed wool happiness. Knitters of the world, just take a moment to close your eyes and picture yourself in a field that is absolutely packed with bins like these, full of wool and cotton and silk and brillant colors and you're given a bag to fill as full as you want for one very, very, very low price. I can't tell you how happy I am that I bought that station wagon two weeks ago. So much room for yarn!

So here I am - on this wonderful farm, with the sheep looking sleepy and completely unconcerned that their old coats have been spun up and dyed and are being carted off by delirious and light headed knitters - who have developed odd and glossy stares as they walk away from the yarn farm with a filled bag of goodness (truth be known, some knitters walked away with several bags of happiness. Who needs therapy when places like this exist?)

Me and Jen down on the farm:

Blogger is being a pain in the ass again and only giving me three picture uploads. Later tonight, I'll upload pictures of my personal haul (it's a thing of beauty). And for the record, I did ride home with skein of handpainted yarn in my lap and I do think that's normal. :)

P.S. See that bag I'm holding? It got a lot fuller than that before then end of the day! So check back for pictures.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy New Year!

Hello friends! I know we've been lacking in knitting content lately and that continues with this post, but I am knitting on something (a cute teddy bear and a pair of socks) and I'm off on a trip to a sheep farm for a yarn sale this weekend, so pictures are coming your way (as is that knitting content we've been so absent of).

So why don't we have any knitting content? Well, because I've been so busy with the holidays that I haven't done a lot of knitting. I flew home to Pittsburgh last week and spent some time with the family. It was wonderful. I wanted to go back for another round of hugs more than I can tell you. This was possibly the best Christmas since 1995 ( during 96 & 97 we lost three major members of the family and it's taken awhile to bounce back). But this year, we really partied down. We started off with a family party at mom's house that included a bunch of the family where we had our gift exchange and many, many cocktails and a ton of laughs and stories and lots of hugs and memories and great music. We followed that with church Christmas Eve at my brother's church (whose minister used to be the minister at our family's church when I was young). We followed church with the great doughnut caper of 2006 where my SIL and I wrestled another family for the last doughnuts in Pittsburgh (all in good fun...though we did leave the doughnut aisle with a strange sheen of white doughnut powder in front of the bakery counter). We ended that evening with a party with some friends during which we dined on more wine and cocktails and everyone's favorite hors d oeuvers.

Christmas morning we watched my too-cute niece and nephew rip open a pile of gifts and exclaim with joy. It was brilliant. We followed that up with more visits to the family and an amazing turkey dinner that my Aunt Carol seriously rocked this year. We met the newest member of our family, Ben and there was even more gift opening.

I had lunch with my good friend Darren and his wife (even though I'd caught a Christmas cold -- and missed my dear friend Pat at that lunch as he too was stricken with a holiday flu). I also spent a visit with our neighbors at my mom's that was just too much fun and followed it up seeing my bestest girlfriends, Dani and Kelly and Kelly's new baby Molly (who really is the cutest little thing ever and who I suspect absolutely loves her Auntie Kris). I got to rub Dani's belly and talk to my future honorary niece or nephew who I love so much! Dani - what do we knit for your little one? OH! The possibilities!

Leaving was so hard. All of that love - all of that welcome - all of those laughs... how rich we are in each other's love and in God's love. It was so amazing and I wish with all of my heart that I could do it all over again. I just miss them all so much.

The secret of my life is that I've been blessed by the most amazing people. They take excellent care of me and nurture my quirks and my shortcomings in the most gentle of ways. You couldn't meet a more lucky girl.

And I'm trying to upload Christmas pictures to show you and blogger is issuing the smack down. We'll try again later.

I wish you all the best luck and good health for 2007 and I truly hope you get to meet some of these folks I've told you about - that would make you REALLY lucky.