A Good Yarn

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

For my secret pal....

I know I said I'd re-post my Secret Pal questionnaire this weekend, but I was having too much fun posting about my fun weekend. Alas, the free time is over, so here it is. I did update it for this go around.

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high-end/natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?

I have yarn snob tendencies, but I've used Lion Brand yarns quite a bit. I don't like something that feels really plasticky, which most of the Red Heart yarns do to me.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

Neither. I have very basic crochet skills, so I've occasionally added crochet trim to a knitted piece, but I don't regularly crochet. And no matter how hard you people try, I'm not going to spin! :-)

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)

As I sit here at my desk and look out the window, I see all manner of stuff falling off the trees and floating in the air, which drives my allergies crazy. Therefore I'm on allergy medication a lot, which takes care of any other allergies. I am allergic to pets, but I have two dogs, so it's all under control.

4. How long have you been knitting?

9 years

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes, I do.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

Lilac is my favorite. I also like lily of the valley, rose, peony, gardenia and hydrangea. I tend toward florals (obviously) and try to stay away from food scents because they just make me hungry :-) And I love candles and soaps, by the way.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?

Yeah. I LOVE anything sweet. Like most girls, I'm addicted to chocolate, but really, anything sweet is right up my ally. I'm like an 8 year old when it comes to junk food.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

As you can see from this blog, I like crafty things in general. I do a lot of paper crafts (scrapbooking, card making, rubberstamping, etc.). I also do a lot of beading. I love to cook. I used to do a lot of cake decorating, but there are so many local bakeries that I want to support, I've sort of stopped doing that much. I have done some quilting, but I'm not that good at it. I did a lot of counted cross stitch before I started knitting. I like to do glass etching for gifts. Get me into a craft store like Michael's or Hobby Lobby and I can be happy for hours.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if you want to make her a CD)

Yes, my computer plays MP3s. I'm all over the place when it comes to music - I have very eclectic tastes. I'd say my favorites are modern rock, 80s new wave, 70s soul, classic rock. However, I really listen to most anything. I'd love a "mix tape" type of thing introducing me to your favorite music.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer?

My favorite color by far is purple. I'm crazy about purple and wear purple probably 4-5 days per week. I also am crazy about lime green and bright pink right now. I tend to like bright, jewel colors and stay away from pastels.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Single gal. I have two doggies, which are prominently featured on the blog.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)

I've got the big dreams - world peace, elimination of poverty, protect children from abuse or neglect, etc.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

I'm really a slut when it comes to yarn - as long as it's not too plasticky or too scratchy, I'll knit with it. My all time favorite yarn to knit with was a cashmere I knit a scarf and gloves with - man was that soft! I tend to be attracted to soft yarns and bright colors. I really love 1824 Wool, most of the Berroco yarns, Noro, K1C2. I like cottons because they are so pretty and feel so nice. I like the fluffy/eyelashy type of yarns. Yarns without give don't bother me the way they do some people - I even knit with wire. When I went to MDSW in May, I gravitated towards the really soft, luxurious fibers - silk, merino wool, cashmere.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

The only thing I don't like is the plasticky acrylic types.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

I tend to be influenced by the trends in the knitting world, so whatever everyone else is knitting, I want to knit too. Right this minute I'm really into tank top patterns, because it's hot out and I want to knit a tank top out of the ribbon I got from Tess' Designer Yarns. I'm also sort of obsessed with beaded stitch markers. Love them! Any kind of little knitting tool makes me happy!

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I guess sweaters, since that's what I knit the most of. I'd try most anything, though.

17. What are you knitting right now?

I'm having a bit of a problem finishing anything lately. I'm usually only actively working on three things at a time, but after running out of yarn for a cabled cotton sweater (Florentine Flattery), I put it down and worked on trying to find a good substitute or dying some yarn to match or something. I didn't have much luck, so I decided to just finish it off with the non-matching yarn I have and live with it. The other things I was already working on when I made that decision were:

1. Mariah from Knitty - another pink cabled sweater, but this time in merino wool with a zipper up the front! Fun!!

2. Hearts Sweater from the cover of Tadpoles and Tiddlers. I am knitting this up for a friend's granddaughter. It's really big, so she'll be able to wear it for a while!

3. Lucky Clover Lace Wrap Sweater from SNB Nation. This is knit on very small needles with thin yarn, so it's taking me a while.

Both Mariah and Lucky are knit alongs, so you see what I mean about wanting to knit what everyone else is knitting....

Technically, I've been working on the Knitters Magazine Great American Aran Afghan off and on for a couple of years now. I work squares in between other projects when I'm not exactly sure what to cast on next. I also always have a pair of socks stashed in my trunk as "car knitting" - for when I'm stuck in line somewhere or waiting for someone, etc.

18. What do you think about ponchos?

I tried on a bunch of ponchos at Nordstrom and they didn't look good on me because I'm so big - it's just a big expanse of fabric. Plus, I feel like the poncho craze is pretty much played out. However, I'm knitting a poncho now (oh yeah, add that to the in-progress knitting), so I'm not opposed to them. I knit half of that poncho for my niece and then realized it was too small for her. So, I bought her a poncho instead (which I hear she wore like crazy) and this poncho will be for another little girl I know, as soon as I knit up the other half.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

Circular, by far. Although I prefer double pointed needles to the magic loop or 2 circular needle method.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Ebony is my preference. I use Addi Turbos quite a bit too. For DPNs I prefer bamboo.

21. Are you a sock knitter?

I guess technically you'd have to say yes. I have knit socks and I intend to knit more socks. However, when I hear "sock knitter", I think of those folks who are obssessed about knitting socks and knit lots and lots of pairs, and that isn't me.

22. How did you learn to knit?

A Community Ed class.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

I guess that GAAA would be it, but I don't really consider it a UFO because I'm still working on it periodically. I also have a scarf made of unspun silk which is very time consuming, so I've been working on that for a couple of years too, but again, I'm not sure it qualifies as a UFO, because I only work on it periodically on purpose. I consider a UFO a project that gets set aside so you can work on something else - I never intended to make this as a regular project.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

Wallace & Gromit:

My favorite animal is obviously the Shetland Sheepdog, since I have two of them!

25. What is your favorite holiday?

I like them all. I don't really have a favorite. The best, I guess is Christmas because of all the good will, the great food, getting together with friends and family and keeping in touch with cards, and of course buying and receiving gifts! I also love Valentine's Day because I love candy and there's lots of stuff with hearts on it and I love hearts. I love St. Patrick's Day because I'm Irish and love to celebrate it. 4th of July is great because I love fireworks and summer is a very precious commodity in Minnesota. I love Halloween because I love candy (again) and I like the images - witches, ghosts, black cats, etc.

26. Is there anything that you collect?

The biggest thing I collect these days is Yarn. Although it's not really a collection since I'm not trying to fulfill certain categories or anything - I just get what I like. I do have a collection of small tape measures. These days you can find so many different designs of measuring tapes. They're super cute and of course you always need them with knitting.

I have a little collection of Wallace & Gromit stuff. I have a lot of stuff with the Vikings logo on it. I like hedgehogs a lot, so I have a few of those. I used to work with hedgehogs at the zoo, so I sort of collected them at that point. At various times I've collected gorillas, pigs and penguins. Collections are really big in my family, so I've dabbled in collecting.

Oh, I used to collect stuff with Mickey Mouse on it too, so I've got some Mickey Mouse stuff. I have a lot of posters for "The Godfather". I have a pretty good collection of action figures - most of them from The X Files, but other various movies I like too. I have a lot of wreaths around the house, so I guess that's sort of a collection too. Gosh, I think I have a sickness! I had to move into a much smaller office last year, so a lot of my "collections" got boxed up.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

At one time or another I think I've subscribed to them all. I think right now I just have a subscription to Vogue Knitting and Family Circle Easy Knits. Oh, and Cast On because I belong to the TKGA.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?

I love books and I've got a lot them! I do have some of my most wanted on my Amazon wish list.

Anyway, that's me. Generally, I like most anything girly. Love anything sparkly, shiny, beaded, etc. Love candy, candles, soaps. I have an obsession with office supplies, so cool pens or paper or stuff is great. And, of course, I'm a dedicated knitter. Anything that is from your particular part of the country would be cool. Thanks for being my secret pal!!!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

Thanks to all those veterans who gave their lives serving this country. When we were in Washington earlier this month, we got to see this memorial:

Yesterday, Kerry and I went to Sydney's for brunch and then walked over to The Yarnery. They closed for renovations earlier this month, so they look at spiffed up. They laid new carpet and painted the walls a brighter yellow, so it's a little brighter in there and just generally newer looking. This yarn store is in an old house, so it tends to have some problems with good lighting to look at the yarn colors. I didn't buy any yarn (twice in one week - I am good or what?), but I did buy this super cute bag from Lantern Moon:

Isn't it cute? There's a better picture on the Lantern Moon website. All of my other bags are big enough to carry a whole project, but a lot of times when I knit with someone, I just carry along the piece I'm working on. I usually put it into a small handled gift bag or shopping bag, but this is much cuter! The silk lining is really nice and luxurious. I love Lantern Moon products!

After the yarn store we went over to Bound to Be Read to see what knitting books they have left, since everything is on clearance now that they're closing. So sad to see another independent bookseller closing, but I suppose I'm just as guilty as anyone for this. I've bought books there, but I've also bought books at Amazon, Border's, Barnes & Noble, half.com and overstock.com. I wish I put my money where my mouth is, but sometimes convenience or price wins out - especially when it comes to knitting books. Why do they have to be so ridiculously expensive? I managed to get out of the store without buying anything. We walked down to Caffe Con Amore and sat in comfy chairs, knitting. Such a relaxing, fun afternoon.

Today is absolutely glorious! This is the spring we've all been waiting for around here. I'll definitely be mowing the lawn today and I think I'll pick some rhubarb and make a crisp or maybe a bread.

Sunday, May 29, 2005


I love a long weekend! I like the work that I do, and if I won that monster lottery (of course you have to buy a ticket to win, don't you?) I'd still probably work part time, but I love free time! The greatest feeling was Friday, knowing I had the whole long weekend stretched in front of me and there were so many things I could do.

Unlike most weekends, I've actually gotten a few things checked off that list already. I need to finish up the June Project for the Beaded Knitting Club and I'm pretty much all done. I've got a website put up to provide kits, if people want them. I wrote out the pattern by long hand, but I need to type it up and then that's completely done.

I wanted to see my brother and nephew this weekend. In part just because I like to spend time with them, but in part because I bought my brother some beef jerkey at Forster's Meats and wanted to give it to him. He called me on Friday afternoon and said he was having a bad day and wanted to get together for some steak and "adult beverages", so I got that taken care of right away. We went over to Billabong because they have Guinness on tap and it's pretty close to his house. The waiter was so annoying though - you know the type. The guy who tries to make a lot of jokes and be charming and your buddy. After dinner I went over to Hancock Fabrics, since I was in the neighborhood, because they carry the Lion Brand Kool Wool and Cotton-ease, which are being discontinued. They were both 30% off, but in the end I didn't buy anything. Aren't you proud of me :-)

I got a digital photo frame for my dad for Christmas and I wanted to FINALLY get more pictures scanned and downloaded into it. When I was in Sioux Falls for Christmas, my sister's mom gave me a couple of boxes of her pictures, so I went through them and scanned a bunch in. I was thinking about posting a few of those old pictures here. One of them was a picture of Finbar when he was a little puppy, sitting on my lap. I was all nostalgic of those days and then last night he jumped up and sat on my lap - all 50 pounds of him. That boy is so intuitive! I've got 40 pictures in there now, which is probably enough if I want to send it off. I think I'll go through my newer pictures, though, and see if there's any more that I want to add of us as we look now. I did do a bunch from last Christmas, when my sister was home on leave from Iraq.

I also needed to make some cards, so that's what I worked on last night. I did a "wedding" card for a reception I'm going to next weekend:

It was my first time using chalks, and I really like them. I bought a couple of different kinds to experiment with. The yellow is VersaMagic chalk ink pad. It comes in awesome colors and makes a nice, definite impression on the paper, but still looks like chalk. If you wanted to stamp an image to look chalky, this would be perfect. I was just using a q-tip and coloring like regular chalk and that was a little more difficult. Sometimes I thought the lines were too distinct and bold, not soft enough. The blue is Colorbox Chalk Inkpad. This was very similar to the Versamagic Inkpad, but was much smaller, so it was only $1.99 vs. $5.99 for the VersaMagic pad. This was easier to use a q-tip with, but still made a pretty distinct line. I used it to make a stamp on the back and it worked perfectly. So either one would be great for stamping a "chalk" image. They're both much cleaner than regular chalk, too. The ink stays put and there's no dust. The rest of the hearts were just Decorating Chalk. These gave the most pure, chalky effect, but were pretty messy. When you apply them with a q-tip, there's all sort of left over chalk dust you need to blow away. Plus the image is easy to smudge, so there's a big chalk smudge in the middle of the card, that I don't really like. However, they definitely worked the best with the image. I also used a technique I just heard about. I don't like to sew on cards (although if I get one of those tiny little sewing machines, maybe I'll start), so I took a pattern tracing wheel and ran it through some ink, then ran it across the paper. It gives you the nice, even, serrated edge without having to drag out a sewing machine. Love it!

I also made a birthday card for a friend:

I also managed to get some billing done so that I can actually pay for some of these adventures!

I really enjoyed all the flower photos that were on everyone's blogs last week. It's been gray and rainy here most of the month, so there's not a lot of pretties to look at. I don't have many perennials, but I usually have my annuals in by Memorial Day. I don't think I'll be planting this weekend because it's too chilly at night and it's too messy when you get a little rain every day. However, I do have some of these:

They're sitting right next to my monitor, so I enjoy the aroma every time I sit down at the computer. That and lilacs (I got my annual boquet of lilacs from Bill and Red last week) make spring the sweetest smelling season of all!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Knitting and Feminism Revisited

The local alternative press newspaper has a story this week about the knitting/crafting and feminism subject we discussed last month. It's an interesting read. I liked this statement from the article:

If being successful means devoting oneself solely to "man's work," then what does that say about women?

Speaking of women's work, I don't have much to show yet for my efforts. I'm putting together the June beaded knitting kits and knitting up samples. I think I've got everything figured out, but I'm debating one more sample with my final counts. It's probably not necessary, so I'll probably move on to my regular knitting.

Renee's Reviews - the literary edition

I finished up "Curious Incident...". I really, really liked the book a lot. The first half I just adored. I found the narrator charming and funny and engaging. The second half I started to get annoyed with him and it got really depressing. I really can't imagine how difficult it must be to parent a child with autism. However, I thought it ended on a very positive note and while I don't require a happy ending, in this case, I quite enjoyed it. This is a quick little read and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Next I'm going to start our next Book Club selection, just so I can make sure I have it done on time:

We haven't read a graphic novel for Book Club yet, so I'm looking forward to switching things up a bit.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

How about that...

the sun is out! It's actually a lovely spring day, for a change! Of course, I've got so much to do around the house, I probably won't be spending much of the day outside. I definitely spent a little time with the dogs out there this morning, though. They're loving it!

I forgot to show you what I made on Wednesday night while I was waiting to go to the theater:

I'm calling it my Sith bracelet. I love it! The beads are a really nice glass with a opalescent coating. Very pretty and goes with everything!

Friday night was movie night with my law school chums. We saw this film:

I really liked it a lot. It's a film about racism and is structured like Magnolia or an Altman film. The huge cast is immensely talented - really there wasn't a bad performance in the bunch. I've read a few bad reviews and my personal opinion is that those people are taking the film a little bit too literally. The characters in the film all express their thoughts and feelings about others without any of the filters that we all put on ourselves everyday. People are "too polite" to say what they mean, but that doesn't mean that those feelings aren't there. And all of the characters' lives intersect each other, sometimes in ways that aren't very realistic. But again, I think the point of the film is to make a statement about society and people - the coincidences make sense within the context of telling this story, even if it's unlikely it wouldn't really happen that way in a large city like Los Angeles. Last weekend we had a discussion about coincidence and when it's believable and when it's not in a book. I think the same thing can be said for film. If it serves the story and makes sense, you go along with it. At some point it just becomes too pat, too unbelievable. For me, this movie did not cross that line. The other thing is that every person in the film was both good and bad - they did things that made you disgusted with them and angry, but then did things that made you understand why they are acting the way they do and sympathize. That is realistic. No one is all good and no one is all bad. When someone behaves badly, there's usually a reason. That doesn't excuse the behavior, but perhaps you can find a little compassion when you understand the reasons. I find that to be true in all of my cases.

Saturday was a busy day! The monthly Twin Cities AK Get together was at Yarn Cafe. Since the last month was so busy, it felt like a long time since I had seen everyone. It was nice to get together and knit and chat. The great thing about Yarn Cafe is that I had a nice glass of pinot noir and a cheese plate while we were doing it. They were not very busy for a Saturday. Hopefully it's just a function of the lovely weather and not because people are already bored with knitting and/or Yarn Cafe. Once it gets nice out, Minnesotans do tend to like to stay outside as much as possible, at least until the high heat and humidity kicks in mid-summer.

After knitting I went out for dinner with Bill and Beth and the boys. Then we took the boys to see Star Wars. It was much more enjoyable the second time - we got there early and got fantastic seats right in the middle of the theater and the temperature in the theater was perfect. I was able to enjoy the special effects more this time since I already knew the story line.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I'm So Confused...

I'm really out of sorts, because I've messed up my schedule.

Tuesday I met up with Melissa and went to the Knitter's Guild monthly meeting. The topic this month was on designing and we saw some lovely examples. I didn't have time to go home after work to pick up some knitting to bring to the meeting, so I started my new car knitting project:

Yep, another pair of socks. That's the yarn I got at Yarn Cafe last month. I love the pretty stripes! It's not especially soft yarn, but I'll bet it will wear very well. Melissa was working on the cutest fish blanket, using Shine, from Knit Picks. OH my GOODNESS! I LOVE this yarn. It's so soft and has a lovely hand. And it comes in lovely colors with a nice bit of shine. I wish I didn't already have so much yarn and could buy a bunch of this.

I did buy one skein of yarn yesterday. I wanted to stop by Bead Monkey to pick up a few beads for some earrings that a friend requested. Since I was in the neighborhood, I thought I'd stop by Needlework Unlimited. I'm doing a kit for the Beaded Knitting Group in June and was looking for kit materials at Bead Monkey and needles at NU. I picked up a couple of patterns, the new Knitters, and this "kit"

I didn't really consider this a regular purchase, though. It's only one skein and proceeds from the sale of this yarn go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. This kit and a scarf kit are available from 7 local shops involved in the Knit for the Cure group. This is a very nice, soft yarn and I think it'll be a really cute purse.

I got off my schedule because I was up late watching this:

Yeah, I'm a geek and proud of it. Unfortunately, I'm not geeky enough to stand in line for hours, so we ended up with crappy seats way in the front and to the side, so half the screen wasn't in focus for me. It was also EXTREMELY hot in the theater. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the film. Lots of action and less of the stilted exposition of Episodes I and II. Really fits in nicely between Ep II and IV. The acting and dialog still sucked. But, that's not what you go to a Star Wars movie for, right? The light saber fights were awesome. The completion of the mythology made sense and was very satisfying.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

More Knitting

I've also been working on Lucky:

I love this Elann yarn. I probably should have knit something in stockinette stitch because it's so soft and smooth, but this will be a nice sweater. I was having trouble with the lucky clover lace, but I did my SSKs the normal way (slipping each one as if to knit, instead of the first as if to knit and the second as if to purl) and it looks much better. I tried to take a close up of the lace, but I guess it was too dark (another cloudy, rainy day here) and my camera wouldn't take the picture. So I turned around and took a picture of this guy, who WILL NOT leave me alone this morning:

Monday, May 16, 2005

This is novel

Actual knitting content, instead of just yarn. I haven't just been photographing and cataloging yarn, I have been knitting too. I finished up the back of Mariah:

I decided to shorten the cabled ribbing a couple of inches because I'm so short waisted. I figured it would make me look even more short and squatty to have a long ribbing section.

I had a much needed day of rest and relaxation at home yesterday with this guy:

After sleeping in late, reading email, mowing and blogging, I managed to do a little dishes, laundry and knitted and watched the special features on my latest selection from Netflix - Touching the Void. This is an outstanding movie - it's so inspiring. I also knitted and watched the Survivor finale. Best season since Outback. I also spent 2 hours ironing clothes. I hate ironing, so when I do laundry I just throw the clothes that need to be ironed in a pile. It was past a pile to a mountain. After two hours, I made a dent, but there's still a big pile. Argh.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

And Finally...

My final purchases of the day last week at MDS&W:

These are from Springwater Fiber Workshop. They are 85% wool and 15% mohair. I got 3 skeins of each. I'm thinking of felted bags.

I finally took care of this:

I didn't have time to mow before we left for Maryland and then it rained almost all week this week, so it was completely out of hand. Even though it was all wet and kept clumping up in the mower, I had to cut the grass before one of the dogs got lost in the backyard.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

We're Gonna Win, Twins!

Or maybe not. I went to the Twins v. Rangers game last night. We had lots of fun even though the Twins lost in the 11th inning. We had seats in the upper deck, but they were right behind home plate, which I really liked.

Today I had book club, where we discussed "The Kite Runner". I think it's the first book we've read that everyone really liked. I loved it. It started a little slow for me, but I really ended up loving it. I highly recommend it. On the flight home from Maryland, I started reading this book:

I LOVE it. It is so funny and touching and interesting. The narrator is a young boy with Autism, and the voice is so genuine and believable. I highly, highly recommend this one, even though I'm only 1/2 way through the book.

More from MDSW:

This is Primero from Brooks Farm Yarn. If you've read other bloggers' accounts of MDSW you've probably already heard how wonderful their yarns were. This is 100% mohair. The color is darker than I'm showing here. I guess it's over-exposed since it's so cloudy out today. I got enough for a sweater - I'm thinking something very simple to really show off the yarn.

This may look familiar to many of you - it's Koigu. Yes, I can get Koigu at many of the stores near me. However, it's pretty hard to find the solid colors around here, so I picked up these three skeins at The Mannings. One of the sock patterns I got calls for one skein of solid colored yarn and one skein of handpaint, so I thought I'd try one of these with one my new yarns.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday the 13th

I'm not really superstitious, but I always feel a little uneasy on Friday the 13th. Nothing too terrible has ever happened to me though.

Yesterday I came across a new bead store, Bead All About It. They have a nice selection of beads. Since I don't really need any more beads, I managed to pick up just a few things. I've been looking for really small jump rings so that I could make rings with drop seed beads, and they had some. So, that's what I worked on last night:

They turned out pretty well. I really wanted to put a few more rings on the middle section, but I just couldn't get the jump rings closed well enough. It was really difficult to work with these little jump rings after you have a couple of rings on the base.

I also got a couple of accent beads. They had yarn there too, but I managed to pass. All yarned up for now! Here's a few more purchases from MDSW:

This is 50% silk/50% wool from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. By the time we got to the Spirit Trail booth, they were really, really picked over. I love this girly pink, though, so I may make a baby sweater out of this. Based on our experience with Spirit Trail, I would imagine it was pretty frustrating to go to the Festival on Sunday only.

This is a Superwash Merino Sock Yarn from Blue Ridge Yarns. It's very similar to Koigu or Cherry Tree Hill. Loved the purple and green, though.

Speaking of Cherry Tree Hill, that's what this is - Supersock in the Tropical Storm colorway. This is the only yarn I could have easily gotten here at home, but for the last couple of months, I've been wanting to buy some CTH but I've resisted because they were going to be at MDSW. Despite the many other yarns I bought, I really wanted to scratch that CTH itch!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

More of the Bounty

Well, it's cold and rainy today (I could see my breath), so I can't go outside to photograph these yarns, so I'll just do one batch. I apologize for the "soft focus" - I got a fingerprint on the lens and am too lazy to re-take the photos.

These are from Tess' Designer Yarns. This was probably my favorite vendor. The colors were absolutely gorgeous and hard to choose from. I have seen Tess' booth at Stitches Midwest and always wanted some of the ribbon yarn, so I decided beforehand that I would be some ribbon at MDSW. I fell in love with some of their other yarns too.

This is 80% Wool and 20% Nylon. I skein is enough for either a pair of socks or a baby sweater. Really, really nice stuff. I helped Kerry wind a skein that she bought and just having it wrapped around my wrists was a delight. It comes in so many gorgeous colors that I really wanted to buy one of each, but I knew there were so many other vendors I wanted to visit I limited myself to this one skein.

50% Cultivated Silk and 50% Merino Wool. Big surprise - it's amazingly soft and cuddly. I wear black more than any other color, so I thought this black/gray/white colorway would be different and cool. I wish I had bought enough for a sweater. I will next time.

The aforementioned ribbon. So shiny and beautiful! I'm planning on a tank top/shell with this stuff.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I Believe in a Promised Land

No, I'm not talking about MDSW. I'm quoting the finale of this show last night:

Wow. What an outstanding show! It was Bruce, a guitar, a harmonica and a piano. Occasionally you could hear a synthesizer piped in, but it was pretty subtle. It was a really powerful show. I love how Bruce can be so powerful and rockin (as he was at the Act for Change show last fall) and so powerful and intimate in a show like this. My favorite song was Youngstown. Here's the setlist if you're interested.

But, back to MDSW. Here's some more of my purchases.

This is some lovely red cashmere from Hunt Valley Cashmere. They have a lot of really pretty kits, too, if you're interested in knitting a whole sweater in cashmere. Their yarn is very reasonably priced and quite nice.

This is the first yarn I bought, from Persimmon Tree Farm. It's 100% silk and so soft and lofty. It was very reasonably priced. The two skeins looked more closely matched in the tent, but outside they clearly are different, so I will be knitting them up into two separate projects or perhaps I'll gift one of them to a friend.

Great colors, eh? It's called "Fandango", 80% tencel and 20% silk from A Touch of Twist. It's laceweight, so I'm planning on a feather and fan scarf with it.

Busy day today, so I better get going. Stay tuned for more yarn purchases from my endless cavalcade.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Recovering Nicely

I decided to take another day off yesterday. After so much walking and early mornings, I needed a little extra time off. Plus, I wanted to spend some time with the pups after leaving them at the kennel for so long. They were very quiet yesterday, so perhaps they didn't get much sleep either, being with so many other dogs. After a long nap and spending the day in my new fleece-lined slippers, I feel much better!

So, on to the good stuff - my purchases! Besides the aforementioned slippers, I also bought some jewelry and some MDSW swag - all with that cute sheep logo on it. The line for the Festival stuff was super long all day long, so we waited until just before we left. I'm not sure what was already sold out, but I got plenty of good stuff anyway. I also picked up with Lantern Moon double pointed needles (size 1 Rosewoods and Size 3 Ebonies. Although one of the size 3 is actually a really dark rosewood upon further inspection). I also found a 000 circular needle, which I'm going to try next time I do some bead knitting. I bought a handful of patterns too. Most of them I probably could have purchased here, but since they were right there, it was easier just to pick them up. Plus they're small and light. And then, there was yarn.

I didn't go with any particular plans. There were a few vendors I was familiar with from Stitches, but I didn't do any research on the other vendors. I didn't have any particular projects to buy for. I just went and picked out what I liked. For the most part, I felt like if I liked something, I better buy it otherwise it would be gone. And I got a lot, but so far I don't regret any of the purchases. They're all really beautiful and colorful. There were only a couple of skeins I could have purchased anywhere else. So, for today, I start with one of my favorites.

Ellen's Half-Pint Farm

I bought a big skein of yarn from Ellen's at Stitches Midwest several years ago and loved it, so I knew I'd be checking them out. They've expanded their line of yarn and I bought a few different skeins from Ellen's.

Two skeins of 100% cashmere. I'm thinking either a lacy scarf or some wristers. Something that will be directly against my skin.

100% Alpaca. Very soft. The one project I thought I might buy for was Clapotis. I may be the last knitter in the world to knit one, but I'm succombing to the pressure. This is enough for a sweater, so I may make a sweater instead.

100% Bombyx Silk. This reminds me a lot of Fiesta La Luz. I may knit myself a Ruffles scarf from this.

This is 100% Alpaca I got from the Three Farms Alpaca booth. This one was made from Hill Home Alpacas. I like the great colors on this. Maybe another scarf?

Ok, more to come. I've decided that instead of incorporating this yarn into the rest of my stash (I put yarns of the same weight together), I'm going to have a box of just stuff from MDSW. Seems like it'll be easy to find the stuff that way.

Monday, May 09, 2005


But vacations are over way too early.

Before I left, I managed to finish my bead crocheted bracelet:

I like how it looks and I really like bead crocheting. However, I don't like how thick this is. I used 6 beads per row and size 8 beads. Good for a beginner, but I think I'll try some size 10 beads next time.


Thursday, Kerry and I left for Washington/Maryland. Unbelievably, everything went according to Hoyle. I had a few tense moments when we ran into traffic getting back to the airport and then there was an unbelievably long line for security, but we had plenty of time. After a drink and some nibbles at the Hotel Manager's Reception, we drove into Baltimore. The Inner Harbor has changed so much since I was last there, over a decade ago! The Bay was beautiful and we decided to have dinner in Little Italy. There were so many cute looking restaurants that we just randomly chose Rocco's Capriccio, which turned out very well. It was a really lovely restaurant - very romantic. I had a nice gnocchi and got a cannoli to go, but I was so stuffed every day when we returned to the hotel, I only ate one bite.


We got up early and headed into Washington to tour the International Spy Museum.

This is really a fun museum! You adopt a spy identity when you walk in and get quizzed on your ability to keep your story straight at little kiosks. There are objects of spycraft throughout history and lots of good tips for lock picking, surveillence, disguise, etc. I think this would be a fun museum for kids, too.

We ate lunch at Zola (named for Emile Zola), which is attached to the museum. It's an absolutely gorgeous restaurant! We didn't have reservations, so we sat at the bar to eat, which you can see on the website, if you want to click on the link. I was glad to sit at the bar because most of the patrons were in business dress, so we were a bit under-dressed. The food was pretty good as well. I had a hamburger, which was gigantic and tried Kerry's ham and gouda, which was fantastic.

After we felt well-rested and well-fed, we walked over to the Mall. We stopped a spell at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. I love Sculpture Gardens and this is a good one! My favorite was the Lichtenstein that I linked above.

The rest of the afternoon was spent at the National Museum of the American Indian.

What a beautiful museum! The architecture of the building is stunning - all flowing curves and gorgeous colors. The outside walls are made of Kasota stone from Minnesota. There are numerous displays of different tribes, told by members of those tribes. I was happy to see the Lakota and Anishinabe tribes represented. There was an exhibition of modern art by George Morrison (a Minnesota native) and Allan Houser. I wasn't familiar with Allan Houser before and really enjoyed his sculpture. I think The Smithsonian has done a wonderful job with this one.

After so much walking, we were pretty tuckered out, so we hired a cab driver to drive us around downtown for an hour and saw the Monuments, Capitol and Supreme Court, Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, etc. The World War II Memorial is new since my last time in D.C. and is very nice. Our driver was in D.C. on 9/11 and talked about it a little. I can't even imagine how surreal that day must have been for people in Washington. After our tour we had dinner at what is now one of my all-time favorite restaurants, The Bombay Club. It is a gorgeous, elegant restaurant. It is designed like a colonial British officer's club (I know, colonialism is gross, but they did know how to live it up). The food was unbelievably good. The naan was heavenly! I wanted to bring some more back with us, but managed not to make a pig of myself. I had a chicken curry and ate every speck of it. Our server recommended a chocolate dessert that was perfect. Speaking of the service - impeccable. Our server was very attentive, but not at all annoying. The manager checked on us and the maitre d' was charming. As the Washington Post wrote, "...What accounts for the Bombay Club's success is the sense of well being it imparts, as if you have had the good luck to be assigned to a foreign post where every need is attended to by an extensive staff." I can't wait to go back and try the Salmon Tandoori. We finished up the evening by walking over to the White House and checking things out, since the current occupant was out of town.

On Sunday, we headed back into D.C. to tour the U.S. Holocaust Museum. Wow. What an impactful experience. I've studied the Holocaust quite a bit, but actually seeing things like the patches and measurement tools for eye color and nose size were really moving. I really lost it in a room with a huge pile of shoes from one of the camps. I wish we had more time - I sort of booked through the last floor.

My Babies

I had my dogs kenneled while I was gone and had them groomed for me. They're so beautiful and soft!

Fiona in particular looks so good!

Finbar is always beautiful!

Hmmmm.... I feel like I'm forgetting something. Oh yeah! We went to Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival on Saturday!

I had a fantastic time! We got up nice and early so we got a great parking spot! There was so much beautiful, lovely, soft yarn! I bought more than my fair share. We walked and walked and walked. We were there from about 8:30 to 5:00. We were late getting to the bloggers meet up at 12:30, so we missed everyone. We didn't see The Yarn Harlot, either. Turns out that we were right where she was meeting up with people, but didn't realize it. Oh well, it was such a great day anyway! Afterwards, we met up with some of Kerry's friends from the Fiber Traditions list. They were super, super nice to me even though I'm not on the list. After such a long day, we were pretty tired, so we headed back to the hotel early and ate some more Italian food at the restaurant next to the hotel. Such a great day!

I'm photographing and entering all of my yarn purchases in the stash inventory, so I'll share a little bit each day with y'all.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

2 More Days!

The sun is out and it's warming up, so it should be spring-like again by tomorrow. And the day after I'm leaving for MDS&W.

Yesterday I finally had a chance to go back to Michael's and see if they still had any of the Katrina in brown. All the clearance stuff was now 70% off, so I got some brown for a mere $1.20 per skein. How awesome is that?

I also picked up some vellum cards and envelopes for mere pennies. I love a sale!

Yesterday I got my Maryland Sheep and Wool Bloggers tote bag:

So if you see me, say hi!

Monday, May 02, 2005

This is May?

It is LITERALLY freezing outside, so I guess I'll delay getting myself out the door and post to the blog. It's been a while, so I'll just update you on the happenings around Chez Renee

NFL Draft

As promised, the return of football content to the blog! Last Saturday was the draft, so Greg and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the first round. They have Wifi access there, so we brought laptops and scouted the players and I read emails and Greg was chatting on a board during the draft. Too absolutely cool! I love WiFi. What I don't love is that the draft is so freaking long. The laptop batteries died long before the first round was done.

I have mixed feelings about the Vikings draft. What with trading away Randy Moss and trying to focus on defense, I really wanted them to take a defensive player with the #7 overall pick. All of the good RBs were already gone, plus I haven't given up on Michael Bennett, so I guess that's ok. I did prefer Mike Williams over Troy Williamson though. It's all a big crapshoot, so we'll see in 3 years which player has had the better career. Since they went offense with the first pick, I'm glad they went defense with the other first rounder. My preference would have been to trade down a few spots and get another second round pick. Then we could have taken Derrick James and Mark Clayton, still getting a defensive player and a WR in the first round. Then, we could have hopefully gotten the kicker, Nugent. I REALLY wanted us to get a kicker. But, this OL sounds pretty darn good and the last kicker I really wanted the Vikings to draft turned out to be a bust, so maybe it's all for the best. Can't wait for August though!

Saturday night Greg and I and Jessica went out for sushi at Kabuki. I hadn't been there in a while and was kind of disappointed. The service was awful and the sushi was just so-so. They have Teppanyaki there too, so I think we'll try that next time. I gave Jessica the bracelet and earrings I made for her prom and she loved them. She put them on immediately and wore them all night.

Going to the Zoo, zoo, zoo

Sunday morning I went to the Como Zoo with a friend and her toddler. I used to be a docent there, so I always enjoy seeing the animals again and seeing the changes to the place. This time there was a big change - they have a new Visitor Center, which is very nice!

After the zoo, I met my friend Alissa at Lucia's for brunch. It was really good. I had a small fruit plate, which included a wide variety of fruits and was quite delicious. Then I had an omlette with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and sausage. Yummy! It's a nice atmosphere, too. I'd like to return for dinner some night. I finally gave Alissa the orange and green beaded jewelry I made for her birthday and she quite enjoyed them. She also immediately took off the cuff she was wearing and put on the wire wrapped cuff I made. She's moving to Boston this summer, so we had a good chat about her plans and I'll definitely be going out to visit this fall - I'm thinking maybe October.

A Night on the Town

Thursday was Dining Out for Life, so Greg and I went to Pizza Luce, which is one of my favorite pizza places. We had a pizza with smoked gouda, which was delightful! try it!! Afterward, we went to see this:

Really good movie. It really laid out pretty clearly what Enron was doing and what the impact was on the investors and the power consumers in California. It's depressing. The way that everyone just turned a blind eye to what was going on because they were benefitting too and how responsiblity was diffused so much that no one took personal responsibility. Taped phone calls of the traders are just chilling. I also loved how the whole thing started falling apart after a young woman who was completely disregarded by the Enron guys wrote an article in Fortune Magazine and later the book this movie is based on. Watch out for smart young women! Plus the major whistleblower was a woman. Enron was definitely a "boys club" mentality with extreme sports excursions and strippers in the board room so a little female payback suits me just fine. The thing missing from the film is any sort of insight by the main players. Obviously they're not going to talk before they go to trial, but I would love to hear the real story from Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. Kind of like Robert McNamara in "The Fog of War". Perhaps in time.

Road Trip

Friday I had to do a home visit in Northern Minnesota, so I always treat myself to a little shopping trip on the way home. It's 8 hours in the car in one day, so there's gotta be some sort of reward, right? Sometimes I go to the Outlet Mall and buy shoes and maybe clothes. Last time I found this great craft store in St. Cloud called Crafts Direct. It's a general craft store, but it's got the best selection I've ever seen. Any kind of craft you'd like to do, they have the supplies, I'm sure. And a big selection. They have a full aisle - both sides - of just stickers for scrapbooking and stamping. And this is a big store. They have macrame cord. Who still does macrame? I picked up some RAOK gifts, some stickers, some charms for beading, a stencil for glass etching. Of course, they also have a yarn section. They have the usual craft store stuff - Red Heart, Lion Brand, Patons, etc. But they also have stuff like Classic Elite, Brown Sheep, etc. They have a good selection of pattern leaflets and books too. I picked up a couple of things:

Hard to see because it's cloudy today, but this is a really nice dark green. I just really liked that color.

Probably will make some socks from Lucy Neatby's book with these.

This is the first Vermont Designs leaflet I've purchased, but this looks like a nice, basic v neck pattern. And a couple of fiber trends purse patterns. I'll probably use that Lamb's Pride for one of these.

Show a Little Faith...

Saturday night I went out for dinner at an old favorite, Carmelo's. I haven't been there in a while and quite enjoyed it. I love their parmesan peppercorn salad dressing and the bread. The pasta is quite enjoyable as well. Afterwards, we went to O'Gara's for the "Rock for the Cure". The band was Lucky Town, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band. They were really fun and played some other fun rock music too.