A Good Yarn

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


I did finish up Mariah and it's an FO! I sewed in the zipper, doing most of the work at SNB last week. It was very time consuming, so I'm glad I was somewhat distracted while working on it. I'm pretty happy with how it came out - especially considering I'd never put in a zipper before. I want to thank Stephanie for the awesome instructions for installing a zipper. I don't think I could have done this without them. The color on this is hideous - I'm not sure what happened, but here's what it looks like:

It was not that bright on the camera or in photoshop, but when I posted it to the web, all of a sudden I need sunglasses. I'm too lazy to adjust the picture, so you'll have to deal with it. As you can see, the zipper is pretty much invisible in the seam. When it's zipped closed, you don't see it at all. When it's open, you just see the edges of the teeth. It's fairly straight up the line of stitches too, but not perfect. Here's a goofy picture I took of myself wearing it:

I'll get another picture of me wearing it sometime soon.

Friday night I saw this movie:

I liked it, but didn't love it. It's very well put together and the acting is really good. I'm a huge Ralph Fiennes fan and he does a great job here. He starts as your typical, tightly controlled Englishman and ends up being passionate and making the ultimate sacrifice for love. He is a diplomat in Africa and his wife is an activist, working in the medical field with the indigenous population. The film follows Fiennes' investigation into his wife's death after she starts looking into the pharmaceutical industry's activities in Africa. The mystery isn't all that surprising, but it is interesting. Definitely worth seeing.

Since I finished up TWO big projects, I decided to work on some small stuff. I knit up a basic garter stitch scarf with the Great Adirondack Fluff I bought a couple of months ago:

I first came across this yarn in 1998 when I was on vacation on Cape Cod. I bought a skein for a friend and knit her up the scarf during the trip, so it was a nice souvenir of our time together. I bought another skein for myself later because I fell in love with how soft and lovely this yarn is. After good wear, last winter it started looking pretty matted and ratty. So, I decided I needed a new one. Here's another incredibly goofy picture I took of myself wearing the scarf:

It was the end of the day, so I guess that's why my face is so incredibly shiny. I know it looks weird, but I like that I captured my very bad habit of looking over the top of my glasses.

I'll fill you in with the rest of my weekend later. I gotta get going to court for a hearing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

To my Secret Pal

I have plenty of material for a blog post, but I don't have much time. Here's my Secret Pal info, updated 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.)

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 is purple. I also am crazy about lime green and bright pink right now. I also am drawn to a deep red. I tend to like bright, jewel colors and stay away from pastels. I used to hate brown, but I'm really into brown right now.

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 most of the Berroco yarns, Noro, K1C2, Rowan. 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. 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 finally on a finishing roll after three huge projects. I'm usually only actively working on three things at a time. Right now my only big project is 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. I just finished a quick scarf, which you'll see a picture of shortly. I am also trying to use up the leftovers from the Hearts sweater, so I'm making a small hat.

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. 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'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.

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another?? There are a couple of books on my wishlist that are pattern books. As far as loose patterns, maybe Eris. I'm thinking about the Kimono pattern from Knit Picks. I've had my eye on Casual Cables for a while too.

ETA: 30. What are your foot measurements, and what kind of socks do you like? My feet are 9" long. My ankle is about 10.5" around. I have really thick calves, so I don't like knee high socks.

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!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Rockstar: INXS spoiler ahead

If you taped Rockstar and haven't watched it, stop reading now and come back later.

I am so excited!! I loved J.D. and am so glad he won! I've had Pretty Vegas in my head so much over the last two weeks. I thought he had the best voice and most talent. I also thought his style most closely matched INXS too. I have to admit, I thought they'd pick MiG because he's an Aussie and is so nice and attractive and is a good singer. I hate to admit how much I loved this show. If INXS stops by the Twin Cities, I'll definitely be there.

Red and Ben had Boy Scouts last night, so I went to the Knitter's Guild meeting instead of our usual Tuesday night get together. It was the annual State Fair showcase. People who entered knitted items in the fair brought them for show and tell and shared the comments they received from the judges. There was some gorgeous stuff there. I think my favorite was the linen cabled sweater knit on size 0 needles - I admire that level of masochism. The comments, as always were interesting. They always are very focused on buttons. Also as usual, there doesn't always seem to be rhyme or reason to what gets ribbons and what doesn't. One woman admitted that there were major mistakes on two of her items that got ribbons. One ribbon for "best use of color" went to a felted bag knit in purple and red for a Red Hat Lady. That's like choosing best use of color for a Christmas stocking in red and green. This is why I don't enter things in the State Fair.

I brought along the Hearts & Flowers sweater and finished the seaming at the Guild Meeting. Then I picked up and knit the neckband at home while watching INXS, Bones, House and L&O: SVU. Yes, I'm a tv junkie and the fall season has started - yeah!! I don't like Bones that much and may stop watching that one already. Anyway, here it is - the finished sweater:

It looks so much better with the correct proportions on the sleeves. Here's the particulars, from my knitting website:

Project Name: Hearts and Flowers
Designer: Kim Hargreaves
Pattern Source: Tadpoles & Tiddlers
Yarn: Rowan RYC Cashcotton DK
Yarn Source: The Yarnery
Date Started: 4/4/05
Date Completed: 9/20/05

Comments: I knit this sweater for Saralee's granddaughter. She picked out the pattern and the yarn and bought the yarn. I had a ton of yarn left. I made the first sleeve a size too small, so I ripped down and re-knit it correctly. I duplicate stitched the patterns on some of the hearts. The vertical striped hearts were done stranded and pull in a little bit. The sweater is designed to be oversized, but I ended up a little off gauge and the sweater is a little big.

I'm not sure why it took me so long to knit this thing. I guess it's just the colorwork. I'm really slow working with all those different colors. If I have time, I'm going to make a hat to match with some of the leftover yarn.

As you can see in the background, fall has arrived here in Minnesota. Actually, the change of seasons are always odd here. Today's the last day of summer, and it feels like summer - it's supposed to get up to the upper 80s. But it looks like fall outside, with lots of leaves falling off the trees:

The leaves are changing too, but I haven't seen anything spectacular enough to post on the blog, yet. Tomorrow the temps are supposed to fall again and be more like autumn.

I received the zippers for Mariah. I ordered 3 different zippers because I didn't trust the colors on my monitor. One is really pink, one is more of a purple and the one in the middle matches best. I think I'll take it with me to SNB tonight and try sewing it in. I now have 4 extra zippers left over, so if someone is looking for a zipper, let me know.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Rainy Days and Mondays

Let's start with the positive. It was a great weekend! I took a class at Archivers called "Hip Christmas Cards". I know, it seems too early, but if you're going to make your own Christmas Cards, it's going to be time to start soon. Here's what we made:

These were mostly stamped and then watercolored. The two cards with long lines of words were these cool stamps that come without a handle. You take a block of plastic and put whichever rubber stamp you want to use on it and the whole thing is clear, so you can easily see where you're stamping. They're so cool and pretty, so I definitely picked those up. I may make that Christmas tree card, but I'm not a huge fan of watercoloring, so I'm still going to keep my eyes open.

Saturday night the local AK group got together at Needlework Unlimited for our monthly knit together. NU offered their store to us after hours and we took them up on it. It was so much fun!! Being locked into a yarn store is a dream come true! They were so nice to us - allowing us free roam of the store, allowing us to bring food in for dinner and then giving us Dove ice cream nuggets - yum!! Everyone had a great time. I liked get together on Saturday night instead of afternoon, too. There have been a lot of times when I have gone out on Saturday night after AK, so maybe I wouldn't always like it, but I liked having the day to get stuff done and then getting together with friends to knit and talk non-stop in the evening. I didn't get much knitting done, but the store kept the register open so I picked up a few pretties:

Schaeffer Anne. As you can see, it's dyed pretty regularly, so I'm going to try making the pooling colors scarf with it. We've been talking about it again at my SNB group and it's got me itching to make it again. I've gotta find my magazine though - I think it's with my other skein of Anne.

Some more Trekking XXL. This is the colorway and effect that I was looking for. I'm trying to decide whether to take that other skein back or just add it to the stash. I also bought a new sock book, ">Sensational Knitted Socks, which is really awesome.

I don't have much to say about the Vikings game. It sucked. Daunte is killing me. I love Pep and I've defended him so vociferously. But he was awful yesterday. I don't know how a guy can look so lights out in the pre-season and then so awful in the regular season. This is going to be a long season.

On the plus side, I did get a lot of knitting done. I finished the sleeves on the heart sweater:

After I ripped out the sleeves and then re-knit them, I realized I hadn't messed them up after all and had to rip again and knit again. Argh! I'm so happy to be done with intarsia for a while. I have a love/hate relationship with intarsia. I just have to put sew the sleeves in and then do the neckband and I'm done. I was hoping to finish up today, but my mistakes with the sleeve took me off schedule. An FO to come soon!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Secret Pal 5

As many of you know, Secret Pal 5 has wrapped up. For me, it was another fantastic experience. I was Secret Pal to Josephine, who was an awesome pal to have. She gave me some great ideas and we have very similar tastes, so it was easy to figure out what to send her. Josephine was a secret pal to another Twin Cities knitter, so packages were going back and forth between here and Canada pretty regularly!

My Secret Pal was Wendy. Frequent readers of this blog already know she's a whiz at sculpy clay - take a look at her latest creations - so cute!!! Wendy well and truly spoiled me and I loved the fun and pretty gifts she sent. The last package arrived after quite a long delay - I'm not sure what happened to it, but it did look rather beat up.

There are some beautiful red beads, which I think I'm going to mix with some wooden beads - I think that'll look awesome. A very large pallette of chalks for my card making and other paper crafts. A super cute sheepy rubber stamp. And some tasty treats - tootsie rolls and chocolate covered macadamia nuts. She also indulged my lust for red yarn. Red is so hard to photograph, but trust me when I tell you these are gorgeous deep beautiful reds.

A fun novelty yarn with a nice metallic sparkle too.

Some of one of my favorite yarns - Berroco Glace. Love this stuff and this is a gorgeous red!

I had never seen this yarn before, but I fell in love with it. It's so very soft! I'll definitely be making a lacy scarf with this one.

Wendy, thanks again for everything and also for your awesome comments on my blog - it's been so fun talking with you and getting to know you. I feel so lucky!

Friday night Jessica and I saw these guys again:

Before the concert, we went to Fuji-Ya in St. Paul. When Fuji-Ya took over Katsu Sushi, they did a complete remodel, and it looks much better. It's very modern and sleek, with lots of stainless steel and interesting light fixtures. It seems like the menu is different, but I think it's the same food, just printed up differently. The sushi was as excellent as the Minneapolis location. I decided to get a bowl of Soba Noodles with vegetables and sauted ribeye. It was ok. It's a huge bowl, so I doubt anyone would be able to finish it. I'm not a huge fan of ribeye steak, but I wanted more than just veggies. Next time I'll probably just stick with the sushi only , as usual.

The concert was good. The music was excellent - especially "When September Ends". The band was a little more upbeat and manic this time, so there wasn't the mournful quality to songs like "Good Riddance". I appreciated Billie Joe's singing on songs like "Stand By Me" and "We Are the Champions". After watching Rockstar: INXS this summer, I understand better how hard it is to sing that song. Billie Joe can rock but he's also a very good vocalist. On the negative side, this show had way too much audience interaction. He did a ton of stuff like leading the wave, or having one side clap or sing and then the other side, going back and forth. A little of that is fine, but there was just too much. He also said "Minneapolis", "st. Paul", or "Minnesota" during almost every single song. And the crowd cheered every single time. So lame and pandering. I enjoyed their usual deal where they bring up 3 guys from the audience and let them play. The guitarist they picked was only 10 years old, so he was pretty darn cute, although not such a great guitarist. The bassist they picked smashed the guitar at the end. He was immediately hauled offstage by security - a true rock n roller! As always, Billie Joe looked super sexy!

Friday, September 16, 2005


This week went just as fast as last week - and I didn't even have a day off!

I received another set of stitch markers in the Stich Marker Swap:

Not a great photo. I have trouble taking pictures of stitch markers. These are a very beautiful purple with gold swirls. So pretty!!!

Last Saturday I had a very odd evening. My brother and I decided to go to Triple Rock Social Club and catch comedian Doug Stanhope. I saw him in The Aristocrats and thought he was pretty funny, so I thought, what the hell. He's pretty "blue" as they say, but I figured it wouldn't be too bad. Well, the show started with a burlesque show. It was pretty entertaining, but also made me uncomfortable, because of the sexism. I'm always torn on stuff like that. There was also an opening band. I have no idea what they were called, but they were hilarious. The lead singer had this fake Russian accent and the songs were very funny - like one called "Shiny Crack Whore". Finally Stanhope took the stage. It's odd to watch a comedian in a nightclub setting - no seats or anything. Plus it was something like 12:30 by the time he took the stage, so people were pretty juiced. It was extremely informal and a lot of interplay between the audience and comedian. There were a few really sexist jokes, but overall I wasn't uncomfortable with the show. I was more embarrased by some of the idiotic actions of drunk guys. It was really funny to watch the young men and women interacting with each other too. I'm so glad I'm not 22 any more.

After a really long, late night, I had to get up fairly early to go to the Vikings game. First game of the season. It started out well, but turned ugly. So cranky! I took the train to the game and despite the fact that most of the crowd left the game early, there was still a huge crowd around the train stop. So I decided to hoof it over to one of the local yarn stores and check things out and wait for the crowds to thin out. Since I was so depressed about the Vikings loss, I decided to make myself feel better with a couple of balls of yarn.

I've admired the many Trekking XXL socks I've seen in blogland and decided to buy a skein for myself. I am not sure I like the red, white and blue colorway, but maybe I'll make a pair of socks for my sister the soldier or her mom.

I bought this skein of cotton yarn for a dishcloth, just because I love this colorway. I'd like this photo for a card, too.

This is SWTC Karaoke. I'd never seen it before, but really liked it so I bought a couple of skeins to make a hat with. It's similar to Silk Garden, but it's soy silk and wool. It's really soft.

I felt much better with yarn in hand and headed to another train stop - there was only a few people on the train, so I got to sit and read the paper on the ride home. Ah, much better.

I haven't had a lot of time to knit this week since I've been away from home every night until last night. I did go to SNB and worked on Lucky on Wednesday night. Last night I almost finished the second sleeve for the hearts sweater and then realized I had missed one row in the chart. So I had to rip back and re-knit. Of course, I had already worked in the ends, so I had to loosen up the ends again and I don't have enough yarn left to knit it correctly. I knit what I could and I'm going to do the rest in white and just duplicate stitch the correct colors. What a moron I am!

Secret Pal 5 has wrapped up. I got my last package and revealed myself. I've gotta get working, so I'll post those photos tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Busy, Busy, Busy

I've been keeping myself very busy, which has allowed me to shake the melancholy I was feeling. I still feel badly about the same things in the world, but I'm pretty satisfied with my own, day to day life. I was glad to hear this from our President:

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, and to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility."

It's nice for the President to finally act like a leader and acknowledge reality rather than trying to push some fantasy. Too bad it came after 2 weeks of a quite different message and plunging popularity polls - makes you question the sincerity.

I have a couple more pictures from the Fair to share. Here's Bill, Red and Michael on the shuttle bus - they look pretty excited about our day to come, eh?

The first place we visited was the "Wonders of Birth" barn. It was a little too real to be wonderful for me, but I did enjoy this cutie-pie:

Here's the mommy - she's a beauty, isn't she?

A display they had in the "Wonders of Technology" building was called an Art Poll on the President's Performance. You got to add one brush stroke to a painting - blue paint if you are dissatisfied with the President's performance, red paint if you are satisfied with it and white paint if you are in the middle.

I'm very happy to live in a blue state and added my bold blue stroke to one of the few remaining blank spots on the paper.

Last Wednesday night, I saw this guy in concert:

It was a solid show, as usual. A nice mix of blues, jazz, country and rock. It's so great to see that huge band backing him up. As always, Lyle was dry humor and wit was obvious in his comments between songs. The crowd was a bit restless, shouting comments at him, which I don't enjoy.

I've been knitting a bit, too. I am almost finished with Mariah. All that's left is sewing in the zipper. I ended up with a longer sweater than the pattern, somehow. So, I need a 22" zipper. I bought a white one and a cream one and decided neither was ideal. So, now I've ordered some pink zippers and when I get them in the mail, I'll figure out which works best and sew it in. It's really hard to find 22" separating zippers in colors. The sleeves also ended up slightly too long, even though I knitted them smaller than the pattern calls for. I don't mind folding up the cuffs, though. So, here's the back view:

I look pretty dorky with the hood up, so no pictures of that. I'll probably only wear it that way if I'm really cold. Here's the front, with the front basted together, ready for the zipper to be sewn in.

I didn't modify the neckline and I'm glad - I really like the square neck. Here's a better view of the best part of it - the sleeves:

The only other modification I made was to decrease the length of the cabled ribbing on the bottom. I'm so short waisted that the long ribbing would just make me look even shorter and fatter.

Friday night was Movie Night with the law school buddies. We saw a really good movie:

Such a smart, literary movie. It was a little slow at first, but I eventually really got into it and liked it. I like Bill Murray, but this is another take on the guy he plays in "Lost in Translation". I described it to a friend as that character 5 years later if he never met Scarlett Johannsen. He's just really sad and lonely and disconnected. It was just a little bit too low-key for me. The character's name is Don Johnston and he's described several times as an aging Don Juan, but you never really see why the ladies would love him. He receives an anonymous letter stating that he fathered a child 20 years ago and now this son may be trying to contact him. He visits all of his girlfriends from that time who could have possibly been the mother, not only to try to figure out who is the mother (or if it's even true that he has a son), but also I think to see what he missed all those years. I think he's visiting the lives he might have had if he had stayed with each woman. Really interesting and very well written. All of the women give impressive performances, but my favorite character in the film was Don's neighbor and perhaps only friend, Winston, played by Jeffrey Wright. Loved him! Wanted more of him in the movie.

This post is getting rather long, so I'll stop now. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have time to post the rest of my weekend and my recent fiber purchases - yes, I bought more yarn!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

It's the Little Things

Things can be overwhelmingly depressing sometimes (Katrina, the war, 40 years with John Roberts as Chief Justice...), so you have to take comfort and joy in the little things. Like my clean kitchen. I see the clean floors, the clean countertops, the sparkling shelves in the fridge, and I just feel happy. Or a day at the State Fair. I thought I'd post some of Bill's photos:

Me and Michael. I'm so glad that Bill waited until my hair was wet to take a picture....

The boys had a great time with this big crane. You had to try to scoop up some gravel/sand and then release it into the back of a dump truck. When you successfully completed the task, you got a mini frisbee. There was a 30 year old guy who took forever while all the kids were lining up for a try.

Red at the parade. As you can see, Bill made "rain coats" for the boys with plastic bags that they were handing out at the fair. The purple bag was also a freebie and the boys filled it up with other swag.

Red and Michael in the MN-DOT booth. Don't they look like they're having fun? They chased each other around in the rain in this big display while Bill and I rested under the shelter.

Love this one. Shows how wet and bedraggled we all got. And yet, Red looks so game for more. This was a farming display the boys loved. You put on an apron and grabbed a basket. Then you go from barn to barn or field to do farming tasks - you gather some grain, then go feed the chickens and gather an egg, then you pick some "fresh" veggies, then you feed some sheep and gather some wool, then you feed some cows and "milk" them. Finally you bring all your goods to a market and sell them. You can then take your money to a little store. Both Red and Michael chose a nice red apple for their money - very impressed with the healthy choice!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day to everyone! I'm so excited to have a day off to just hang around the house and do chores and knit.

Thursday I volunteered at the library booth at the State Fair. It was pretty fun, but the time moved so slowly. We also walked around the fair and looked at the knitting and other creative activity entries. I was impressed with the quality of the entries and the ribbon winners. It looks like a lot of the people who entered garter stitch scarves last year have really learned a lot in the last year - and the judging has improved. Even 5 years ago I was amazed at the beautiful work that was overlooked while more simple things were rewarded. I also bought a few goodies. From the Alpaca booth, some lovely soft alpaca from animals right here in Minnesota:

I also picked up a few things in the MN Wool Growers booth, including this yarn:

and some gorgeous roving for needle felting:

I wish I had that bright yellow when I did my buttonhole bag! Maybe I'll add a little to the center of the flower....

We had some yummy food and walked our feet off. I was so tired the next day! I did manage to do a little shopping on Friday though. Now that it's fall, I'm starting to be interested in the fall clothes in the stores again - and picked up a few additions to the wardrobe. I also got some stitch markers in the mail on Friday - for the September marker swap:

cute, aren't they? I love stuff with words on it. I'll definitely be using these. Thanks pal!

My nephew, Michael spent the night at my house so we could get an early start at the fair on Saturday. We met up with Bill and his family and again walked and walked and walked and ate lots of yummy stuff. I love the State Fair! The day ended up on a rather dreary note, though. It rained off and on through the afternoon and eventually we realized it just wasn't going to stop so Michael and I decided to take off. After 10 hours we were tired anyway. In fact, Michael fell asleep on the bus back to the park and ride. It was a good day, though.

Yesterday was a day to rest and relax. After a nice afternoon of chatting and knitting, Kerry and I went to this movie:

It's very sweet. I would highly recommend it for animal lovers. If you like birds, you must see this. The parrots are so beautiful and you really can see their individual personalities. San Francisco seems like such a lovely, interesting place to live in the film, too.

I managed to finish the knitting on my Mariah. I got half of it seamed up - here's an incredibly lame and unflattering picture:

I had to crop out the hood (and my head) because the expression on my face was incredibly frightening. I'll hopefully finish up the seaming and sew in a zipper over the next week and post a good photo.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Stitch Marker Swap Revisited

Here's my SMS Questionnaire again, so my swapees don't have to go looking for it:

Do you prefer shorter or more dangling type of markers?

I think I like the shorter ones better, but the dangly ones are ok too.

Is there any kind of markers that you would absolutely NOT want to recieve?

I wouldn't say absolutely not, but I do prefer markers that are attached to a split ring instead of the ones that are all one big piece of wire. I think they hang better.

Colors you like most?

Purple, fuscia, lime green. Those are the favorites, but I really like pretty much anything.

Colors you like least?

I used to say brown, but I'm totally into chocolate brown right now. So, I don't know that there is a color I like least. Maybe pastels? But pastel beads are cute, so probably not even that.

Would you prefer markers for smaller or larger sized needles?

I use smaller needles more than big needles, but I can use them all.

Do you want your sender to reveil themselves when there shipped or at a later date?
and How would you like to find out if at all?

I guess Michelle has something fun planned for reveals, so this question probably doesn't matter any more. I'm up for whatever, though.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


I appreciate all the feedback I received on my buttonhole bag. It was nearly unanimous to leave it with one flower, so that's what I'm going to do. Hopefully the recipient of the bag will like it.

I was going to let off a little steam about how my allergies are kicking my ass right now, but Carrieoke's latest post really put that into perspective. My heart is broken over the devastation in the gulf coast area. I've been meaning to visit New Orleans for a long time and now it'll never be the same. I feel so badly for everyone's losses. Frequent readers of this blog may remember my posts about one of my favorite bands, Cowboy Mouth. They are based in NOLA and I'd love to know how they're doing and give a word of encouragement. Unfortunately, their website is down. Their server is probably located in NOLA. I'm sure you've heard by now that Susan and Margene are coordinating a drive for donations from knitters. Please do what you can.

On a happier note, I stopped by Target after court on Tuesday. I always like to browse their "Dollar Spot" section for RAOKs and my eyes got big when I found an entire section of knitting supplies. I picked up some of the stuff:

The knitting booklet has 4 patterns designed for the Target yarn. There are 4 different booklets. The tubes are knitting needles and crochet hooks. They're listed as bamboo, but they seem like some sort of cheap wood. I'm gonna try to wax them up and see if they're usable. The pink yarn is a boucle. The lavendar yarn is a fluffy novelty - reminds me to Whisper. The multi-color one is a railroad yarn. They also had a line of acrylics, but I don't need any more acrylic yarn. I don't really need any of this stuff, but for $1, I couldn't resist. And I want to encourage Target to carry cool knitting stuff. This yarn is much nicer than the cotton yarn they had in their knitting kits.

I had lunch with Saralee yesterday and showed her the hearts sweater. To my great relief, she loved it. She wasn't worried at all that it's pretty big for a toddler. The pattern is meant to be oversized and she said I'd be surprised by how large her granddaughter is. I started sewing the pieces together so she would have a good idea of what the sweater will look like when done. When I sewed the sleeve onto the body, it became obvious that it was way too short. I looked more closely at the chart (this is all charted out) and realized at one point the second size expands more quickly than the smallest size and I had continued to follow size 1. Luckily, the first row of hearts is the same, other than a couple of edge stitches that I'm going to fudge, so I don't need to re-do any intarsia. It'll look much better once I knit the 2nd size.

Last night I set it aside, though, and knit up my Elann samples for September. All of the offerings this month will be bulky yarns, which I don't really knit with much. Probably good, though, since I don't need any more yarn.