A Good Yarn

Monday, January 31, 2005

WHAT date is it?

I'm shocked it's already the last day of January. I swear Christmas was just a week ago, wasn't it?

Renee's Restaurant Reviews

Yesterday completed the busy weekend. I met my friend Alissa at Bakery on Grand for brunch. It was my first time there and I really liked it. I had the brioche french toast and it was delicious. The restaurant is very pretty, but it's pretty crowded. We shared a big table with another couple. The other thing I didn't like is that not everything is on the menu. Alissa asked if the omelette came with potatoes and the server said no, but you could order some on the side - potatoes are not on the menu. Also, I noticed that they had cappucino, but that's not on the menu either, so I already had ordered regular coffee. I'd definitely go back though.

Alissa is thinking about moving to Boston, so we talked about that most of the time. Boston is my favorite city and if I had a chance at a good paying job there, I'd probably move to Boston. My dream would be to live on Cape Cod. I'd hate to see her leave, but it's an awesome opportunity for her. And I'd definitely be visiting.

More Shopping

I was wearing the beaded cuff with wire wrapping that I made a few months ago and Alissa loved it. So, I'm going to make one for her - her birthday is 4/1, so I may just make it for her birthday. She likes really bright colors, so I decided on orange and green. Since I was in the neighborhood, I stopped by Bobby Bead to buy some orange and green beads and the other supplies. They also had 28 Gauge Artistic Wire there, so I snapped up a couple of spools. 28 gauge is really hard to find and that's the best gauge for the Wyr Knittr. In my rant yesterday, I forgot to mention that part of the reason I don't have time to do all the projects I want to, is because I spend so much time in bead stores, yarn stores, book stores, etc. buying more projects. It's a vicious cycle, I tell you!

Family Time

I spent the rest of the afternoon at my grandfather's home. He lives in Wisconsin, about 45 - 60 minutes away from my house. I really should go see him more often because he enjoys the company so much. I also enjoy hearing his stories about his life, which he never talked about when I was younger. Now that my grandmother has passed, I think he thinks about his younger days much more.

New Project

When I got home, I cast on for "Ruffles" for the Red Scarf Project. Isn't it pretty?

This yarn is unbelievably soft. It's an unplied silk and very fragile. The label suggest putting the ball of yarn in a baggie while you're knitting. I can see that it would get worn and pilled very easily. Hopefully this is the type of scarf that wouldn't get a lot of friction. I've gotta stop petting it though!


I woke up to a nice light snow coming down. It's so pretty! This is what I see when I look out the window, sitting here at the computer:

I wanted to get a picture of Fiona eating snow, which is her favorite thing to do outside, or Finbar rolling around in the snow, which is his favorite thing to do outside, but neither dog would cooperate with my photography attempts. They both look pretty darn cute with snow all over their faces, though!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Time Flies...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I wish there were more hours in the day. This is going to be one of those weekends that flies by and I find myself back at my desk before I know it.

Beading with the Girls

Last week when I went to The Yarnery, I also stopped by The Bead Monkey and picked up a few things. The Yarnery is the closest store to my house and I pretty much know what they carry, so I tend to go there quite a bit. The evil thing is, the easiest place to park is the parking lot behind The Bead Monkey and so I end up stopping there too most of the time. This time, it must have been fate, because later that day my friend Nikki invited me to come to her house on Saturday for beading and vino.

So, that's how I spent the afternoon yesterday. Here's Nikki and Pam:

and my "BFF", Florence:

Nikki, Florence, my friend Michael and I started our book club 4 years ago. I went to law school with Michael. He used to work with Nikki and Nikki and Florence work together now (the book club has expanded beyond just lawyers now, but it took some arm twisting at first - we're really not that bad!) Over the 4 years we've gotten pretty close and obviously spend time together outside of book club too. It was so much fun to sit and chat with them and bead together. Another book club mate, Teresa, was supposed to be there too, but she had to give her parents a ride to the airport, so it didn't work out. Here's what I made:

Stash Anxiety

After beading, I went over to my brother's because he's come down with the flu that's going around. His kids were gone for the weekend, so he was all by himself. Afterwards I decided to check out the Michael's by his house. They have a lot more stuff than the Michael's by my office, so I had a great time just cruising through, picking up this and that. This is how I end up with so much crap.

My pals were astounded by the number of seed beads that I have. It's a sickness, really. Nikki exclaimed, "You have hundreds of dollars of beads here". Florence has previously witnessed my rubberstamping/scrapbooking madness. Of course, the true sickness lies in my yarn stash. Pam said she waits until she's really low on beads before she buys more. I wish I could say the same, but I know that if you don't buy the beads or paper or rubberstamp or yarn that you like right now, it's probably going to be gone when you get around to needing it. And I love being able to just go grab whatever I need in my stash. However, it would be great to have a little more money in my retirement account or for vacations, too.

More Beading

Anyway, when I got home, I was unhappy with that necklace I made because it didn't look like the picture you see above. It was more like a choker, which isn't very attractive on someone with a giant neck like myself. So I re-did it to make it longer, as you see above. Since I was in a beading mode, I made these rings, which Susan showed me how to make at our friend Kerry's birthday party:

They're made with heishis, crystals and stretchy cord. I think they're cute. I also picked up some heart beads made from freshwater pearls, so I made some Valentine's Day earrings:

Of course, I love hearts, so I'll wear them year-round. Finally, I got out my stash of green beads and made a bunch of beaded stitch markers to replenish that stash:

I like to send beaded stitch markers as RAOKs and little gifties in exchanges, etc. I also wound that ball of La Luz yarn and it was heavenly soft. I can't wait to cast on!

Saturday, January 29, 2005


I've posted every day for the last week. That's the first time that's happened. Can you tell that I had a relatively light day at work this week? Plus football season is over, so I always have more time on my hands after that.

Stacey emailed me that she received the scarf I knit her for the RAOK Scarf Exchange. Check out how beautiful she looks with it on!

Renee's Reviews

As I said, it was a relatively light week at work, so I was able to sneak out a little early on Friday and catch a matinee - that's something I used to do regularly, but it's been harder to do so over the last few years. This is what I saw:

It's really good. Really disturbing, obviously, but really good. When I was in law school, I was really into gorillas and my dream was to go to Rwanda and see the gorillas. So when the genocide occurred, I was vaguely aware of it and knew that it was no longer safe to travel to Rwanda, but I really had no idea.

There's a scene where an American photographer is getting on a bus to leave the country and he says "I'm so ashamed". I knew exactly how he felt. I'm so ashamed that this country does nothing to aid the people of Africa from famine, AIDS and civil wars. I'm so ashamed that we did nothing to help the Tutsis in Rwanda. I've heard President Clinton say the US should have done more to help. In Senator Clinton's book (which she wrong long before this movie came out), she also says that the President wishes he had done more. That's the difference between our former President and our current President - he's not afraid to admit a mistake and not delusional enough to think he's never made one. And he's reflective enough to think about things and figure out what he could have done better. But I digress.

Don Cheadle is amazing. It's not a showy role, because his character is just a quiet, competant man. There are a couple of scenes where he finally realizes what's happening to the people of his country and it's just gripping.

New Project

Last night I started the "Ugg" booties for Saralee's granddaughter. I'm using the traditional colors:

As you can see, they're knit flat, which I'm not all that crazy about. The pattern comes from diynetwork.com, so I'm sure it's aimed at relatively new knitters. I do like the Suede yarn, though. I was warned to use metal needles because it sticks, so I'm using my Addi Turbos and having no problems. I do have to lotion up pretty good, though, because it sticks to any little rough spot on your hands. It doesn't have a lot of give, but that doesn't really bother me. I'm used to knitting with ribbons and chenilles and cottons. The fabric is really nice and soft and does look and feel very much like Suede.

Next I'm going to be casting on for the "Ruffles" scarf for the Red Scarf Project using this yarn:

Gorgeous isn't it? And it's so soft!

Friday, January 28, 2005

Ding! Ding! Ding! FO!!

As promised, I finished the Joan Jett doll and here's the proof:

Once again, my embroidery sucks. It's really hard to embroider the face because the head is picked up and knit in the round, so it's like you're trying to embroider on the heel of a sock, knit a worsted weight yarn. Plus I don't work in the ends because they're just going to be sewn up anyway, so I had a bunch of yarn to work around too. I was going to make a Billie Joe Armstrong for Jessica too, but I've already got a bunch of other projects lined up, so I think I'm going to wait a bit on that. I'm getting annoyed at dealing with all the little fiddly parts, so I need a break anyway. I'm definitely still going to do it for her though.

Stash Enhancement

I went to The Yarnery to pick up the yarn for those projects that are lined up next. I'll show those purchases once I cast on, but I also picked up two skeins in the sale room:

I love Lamb's Pride Worsted for felting, so I figured a skein of white wouldn't be bad to add to the stash. The purple is Mountain Colors Mountain Goat. I picked up a skein of this a couple of months ago and just loved it, so I couldn't pass up another skein at 25% off. Here's a closeup of the colors:

Last night I knit up the Elann samples. There's some nice cotton coming up for sale in February!

Doggy Time

Despite the fact that the dogs started barking and woke me up again, I'm less annoyed with them today. I guess it's because they let me sleep in a bit longer before they started begging me to let them out. As usual, Finbar was close when I was taking the photos. I was going to take a picture of him with one of his toys. I said "Go get your toy." He looked very alert:

He loves to play catch. Then he started sniffing around his toy basket, looking for just the right toy:

No, he's not spoiled. Fiona doesn't play with toys, so every toy in that huge basket is Finbar's. I have no idea what he's sniffing for in trying to choose just the right toy, but he usually does that when I tell him to get a toy. Apparently he didn't find it, because he came back without a toy and just wanted belly-scratches and love.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Secret Pal 4

I had such a blast being a Secret Pal and receiving so many great goodies, I decided to join Secret Pal 4. So, I'm reposting my Secret pal questionnaire so my new Pal doesn't have to reach back into the archives to find it.

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, but I'm using a novelty yarn I got at Michael's for a poncho right now.

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.

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

I have seasonal allergies which drive me crazy, so 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?

Not really. I have a wishlist on half.com, but I don't think anyone but me can view it. If you want me to set one up, I can probably do that.

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

Lilac is my favorite. I also like 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 right now. I tend to like bright, jewel colors and stay away from pastels, although I love lavendar.

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

Single gal. I have two doggies, which are prominently featured on the blog. I'm totally annoyed with them for keeping me up with their barking last night and then waking me up bright and early this morning to go outside. It'll pass though and they'll be my little furbabies again soon.

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

That's way too deep for me to answer here. I've got the big dreams - world peace, elimination of poverty, protect children from abuse 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.

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?

Knitting with beads, probably. I tend to be influenced by the trends in the knitting world, so I'm still felting, knitting scarves and loving Noro Kureyon. More on that later.

I also love ebony knitting needles, so I guess you could call that an obsession. Oh, and 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 always keep 3 things going at once so I can switch between them and not get bored. However, I just happened to finish all three projects at once. Here's my plan, though:

1. I just cast on a fluffy pink poncho for my 7 year old niece. You can see pictures below.
2. Tonight, I'll probably cast on for the Ugg-style booties and hat for a friend's granddaughter.
3. I think the next thing I'll cast on is a scarf for the Red Scarf project. I just bought some gorgeous red silk yarn for it that I'm dying to start.

And 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. And technically I'm still working on Florentine Flattery, a pink cotton cabled sweater. I ran out of yarn, though, and it's been discontinued, so I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with the project. It's been on hold for a month or so.

18. What do you think about ponchos? (this is really a curiousity question for us)

This goes back to the earlier question where I referred to the "hot" knitting objects. Ponchos are super hot right now and I love them and reallly want to make one. However, 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 going to go away soon. However, I'm knitting a poncho for my niece now, so I'm not opposed to them.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

Circular, by far.

20. How did you learn to knit?

A Community Ed class.

21. 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.

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

Wallace & Gromit:

I'm also a huge Vikings fan, so I like most anything with the logo on it:

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

23. 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.

24. 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 small collection of small tape measures. 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 Vikings logo on it. I have quite a few bobbleheads, but I don't really consider it a collection. 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.

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, January 26, 2005


Blocking FOs

The blocking on Sexie worked really well. This yarn blocks beautifully. The edges are not turning in at all. Unfortunately, the Coca-cola splatter did not wash out. I washed it on gentle in the washer. Maybe when Jessica throws it in the regular wash as I'm sure she'll do, that'll work. This is a very slippery yarn, so I tacked down all the ends with a little thread. I hope that keeps the ends from coming loose. The very ends are poking through to the front, though.

Knitting for Friends

I met with my first Guardian ad Litem supervisor for lunch at Muffaletta yesterday. She taught me so much about being a good advocate for children and is a real mentor to me. We've remained close even after her retirement, so I was so glad to see her and catch up!! We also talked about knitting - she had a case with kids living in Wabasha, which is a pretty long drive from St. Paul, so I used to ride along with her when she did home visits and I always knit in the car. Her daughter recently had a baby, so she wanted me to bring along some patterns so she could pick out a sweater for me to knit for her grandbaby. The baby also wears a lot of hats, so I suggested a pumpkin hat because her birthday is in September. She also was interested in a sweater with a hood. I immediately thought of the Wonderful Wallaby. Then I remembered I already had knit a hooded cardigan in Plush and had a pumpkin hat in my stash. That was easy!! Here they are:

I also thought of the little Ugg booties and hat that I've been wanting to knit. Saralee grew up in a very affluent, east coast family, so "Uggs" would be perfect and so cute. So that's my next project to knit. She also picked out the heart sweater on the cover of Tadpoles & Tiddlers.

New Project

Yesterday I cast on for Alexis' poncho. Here's how far I got:

Here's a close up of the point:

The beaded stitch marker is one of the Goddess markers I bought from Susan, which she's selling as a fundraiser for Care International for Tsunami Relief. Isn't it beautiful? I like this yarn - it's really, really soft. It's made of one strand of rayon chenille and one strand of eyelash.


Thanks, Senator Dayton, for speaking up against the nomination of Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State and representing me.

"My vote against this nomination is my statement that this administration's lying must stop now," Dayton said on the Senate floor. "I don't like to impugn anyone's integrity, but I really don't like being lied to repeatedly, flagrantly, intentionally," he said. "It's wrong. It's undemocratic, it's un-American, and it's dangerous.

"And it is occurring far too frequently in this administration. And this Congress, this Senate must demand that it stop now."

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Why Privatizing Social Security is Bad


1. Today’s insurance to protect workers and their families against death and disability would be threatened.

2. Creating private accounts would make Social Security’s financing problem worse, not better.

3.Creating private accounts could dampen economic growth, which would further weaken Social Security’s future finances.

4. Privatization has not worked elsewhere.

5. The odds are against individuals investing successfully.

6. What you get will depend on whether you retire when the market is up or down.

7. Wall Street would reap windfalls from your taxes.

8. Private accounts would require a new government bureaucracy.

9. Young people would be worse off.

10. Women stand to lose the most.

11. African Americans and Hispanic Americans also would become more vulnerable under privatization.

Source: The Century Foundation (Click Link for a full explanation of these points)

Monday, January 24, 2005

I Love Mondays!

But only when I have an FO to show!! I finished up Sexie yesterday while watching the Eagles - Falcons game. Here's the front:

and here's the back:

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. It looks tiny, but Jessica is a size 3/5 so she's pretty tiny too. I want to wash it because Fiona spilled a glass of coke, which splashed on the yarn, so it has little brown spots all around it. Plus, I'd really like to try blocking the top part with the black - it has a tendency to curl in. I blocked the bottom ribbing which was flipping up and it worked like a charm, so I'm hoping the same will be true of the top.

Fun time watching football yesterday. I was very happy about the Eagles winning but really wanted the Steelers to win. My brother and I went to Outback Steakhouse to watch the Steelers - Pats game. We were sitting in the bar and had a great seat, but after we finished eating, our server practically shoved us out the door. Bad idea, Mr. Waiter. If you have a couple of Irish folk sitting in the bar, you probably want to keep them around as much as possible, particularly in Minnesota where the next customers are likely to be a couple of very moderate Norwegians. We moved over to the bar on the other side of the highway at half time and had fun watching the game and chatting.

This is a pretty slow week, work-wise, but I do have a few lunches scheduled with friends. I also have to clean out the old car and turn it over to the new owner. There's so much crap in there, I'm not looking forward to it. Look for another FO picture for Joan Jett later this week!

Sunday, January 23, 2005


I've blogged before about how I was planning on going to Sioux Falls Christmas weekend, but couldn't because of car trouble. I got sick that weekend, so I was really glad I didn't go - it would have been really hard driving back feeling so sick. Then it took me a couple of weeks to feel better and finally get the car issue resolved. I had a couple of other things planned for last weekend, but I decided to go to Sioux Falls because I had promised to go as soon as possible and because my brother was also going. So it ended up that we were all together for Christmas, so that was even better. Now it turns out if I had tried to go this weekend, it would have been impossible because of the snow. Thus reaffirming my basic philosophy of life - things turn out the way they're supposed to in the end.

I love snow, but I had driving in it. My new car is the same model as my old one, but it's a couple of years newer, so it has smaller, more sporty tires. Which is great most of the time, but they don't have good traction in the snow. Now, we didn't get as much snow as they got on the east coast, but it was still a pretty good snowfall. Being hearty Minnesotans, my group of friends from law school decided to still have our bi-monthly movie night. Unfortunately, I didn't get to the movie on time because traffic was moving so slowly. My friends were seeing "A Very Long Engagement". I decided to just go to a later, shorter movie and still meet them for dinner afterwards. I saw this:

It was ok. Because of my job, child sexual abuse isn't really something entertaining to me. Still, that doesn't preclude me from enjoying a movie with that theme. Like "Mystic River", which I loved. I thought Kevin Bacon did a great job of acting and was very believable as a child molester trying to become "normal", but gripped with strong urges. I guess because the movie approaches him neither as a sympathetic character or a demon, it was a little cool and hard to connect with. I also didn't really buy the coincidence in the key scene, which maybe isn't a coincidence, but nevertheless, I just didn't buy it. So, it's worth seeing, but I didn't love it.

I really enjoyed dinner with my friends at Campiello. I had the hangar steak, which was excellent. We ended up sitting and talking for quite a while, so it was about 1:00 a.m. by the time I was driving home. It was so weird how deserted St. Paul was. Minneapolis was pretty busy, but by the time I got to St. Paul, the streets were empty - which actually was pretty nice because I could pick up the pace and drive at a good clip. Snelling Avenue is a pretty major street in St. Paul and the only other cars I saw on it for the 3-4 miles I had to drive home were 2 police cars.

I didn't get much sleep that night because after I had a glass of wine with dinner I started really yawning, so I switched to coffee. The waitstaff kept refilling my cup and I kept just drinking it and I really had trouble falling asleep, despite the fact it was after 2:00 a.m. I got up at 6:00 to move both of the cars, so I was pretty wide awake after that too.

Saturday was a very busy day. I started out the day with a class at Archivers - "Paper Crafting for Valentine's Day". Here are the projects we made:

At the top left is a mini-photo album. That was my favorite project. Top right is a card. We lined the envelope with patterned paper. The froggie is stamped and the flower is a brad. Bottom left is a tag with a heart eyelet at the top. The pattern is stamped with paint. I don't really like the paint stamping look, but it's really hot right now. Bottom right is a card. The hearts are acrylic embellishments and we made the vellum envelope from a template. She also showed us a number of other project ideas. It was a really fun class!

After class, I met my friend Claire for lunch and then we saw this movie:

I liked it. I didn't know anything about Bobby Darin before I saw this movie. I was familiar with the music, of course, and "Beyond the Sea" is one of my favorite songs, but that's about it. I didn't realize how popular he was back in the day. I didn't know he had done movies too, including being nominated for an Academy Award. I do think Kevin Spacey is too old to play Bobby Darin, but they sort of address that in the movie. Nevertheless, when he first meets and courts Sandra Dee, it's creepy because she is such a baby and he's a middle-aged man. I had no idea Kevin Spacey was such a good singer - I really enjoyed his singing in the film. Unfortunately, this movie has a very similar structure as "De-Lovely", the biopic of Cole Porter. I liked it the first time, but I felt like "been there, done that, it's not fresh" this time. They probably were making the movies at the same time, so it's too bad that it happened that way.

After the movie I went back to Archivers to pick up the stuff from class I wanted to buy, but didn't have time to shop because I had to meet Claire. I bought the tools to make those little photo books. I always get doubles of my pictures and give them to the people I was with. I think it'll be really nice to put them together into a mini album before I give them to my friends or family. I wanted to buy this really cute stamp that they showed on another card, but I couldn't find it. I'm hoping they'll order more in since they're giving this class several times a week up until Valentine's Day. I then went to Michael's to see if they had the stamp, which they didn't, and to pick up some yarn for Alexis' poncho. She wanted a pink furry poncho. Michael's was having a pretty good sale on a lot of their novelty type yarns, but the one I liked best was not on sale:

I've never seen or heard of this yarn before, but it's really soft, so that's what I'm going to use. That'll probably be the next project I cast on. I was working on my Joan Jett doll last night. I went over to my friend's house for some lovely Bean Soup and Rosemary Bread. After we ate, we watched a DVD and knit. I got surprisingly little done - I guess I was too caught up in one of my favorite movies, "Love, Actually".

I'll finish off this monster post with a couple of puppy pictures:

This is Fiona saying, "Come on, let's go inside." You can see the snow on her face - she loves to eat the snow.

That's Finbar on the lookout - he heard something and was very attentive to listening. As you can see, they've worn one path in the backyard and are not straying from it, which leaves a nice pretty blanket of snow around the rest of the yard. We'll see how long that lasts.

Now I'm off to shovel some more. I shoveled a path yesterday, but I think I'd better shovel out the rest of the sidewalks and steps. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Friday, January 21, 2005

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

It's finally looking like winter around here. We got some snow yesterday and we're getting quite a bit today. Yeah! I hate the cold we had we had last week, but I love the snow!

I've been productive with the knitting this week. I'm almost done with Sexie:

I've got to finish the other top tie, then make a long tie for cinching up the back. I hope this fits Jessica, because I ended up using much less yarn than called for in the pattern. Of course, this yarn tends to stretch, so if it's small at first, it'll fit eventually. Jess is tiny, so it's probably fine.

I also finally finished the scarf for the scarf exchange. No picture here though in case the recipient reads this blog. I'd like it to be a surprise. I hope she likes it. She sent two different yarns and I wasn't exactly sure what the yardage was on one of them so I started a pattern using both equally. Turns out I had a lot more of one of them, so I had to stop when I ran out of the other yarn. It definitely could have been longer, but it's not unusable.

Yesterday I didn't knit because I was busy shopping and card making. I'm going to see the bride from the wedding I went to at the Zoo at the end of November and I'd like to give her a wedding gift. So, I went shopping for the gift and decided to make a card for her and the groom:

I stole the design from my Mother's Card design last year, but it seemed appropriate since she had butterflies on her invitations and on the wedding cake.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Inauguration Day

The War President, created by Joe at the American Leftist.

Please remember those that have lost their lives in this war.
Washington Post's Faces of the Fallen.

Masters of War
- Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Drought Has Ended

Those who have read this blog for a while know that it often features pictures of my new yarn purchases. Often. It's very difficult for me to enter a yarn store and not buy yarn. However, it's been around two months since I last bought yarn - or at least more than just a skein or two I needed to finish a project. The yarn diet was primarily because I was broke. I hadn't done my billing for three months, so money wasn't coming in. When I finally did have cash, I had to buy Christmas presents and I was sick, so I wasn't really going out anywhere. I also decided to be a bit more circumspect about my yarn purchasing. I've already got so much yarn and so little time to knit it, it's getting out of control. I want to knit the great stuff I've already got.

However, I did go the Yarn Knit while I was in Sioux Falls. I mostly was still in the low purchase mode, though. I had my sister, Laura, pick out a sweater pattern she wanted last Christmas and then knit up the sweater using some alpaca I had in my stash. The yarn felt pretty nice to the hand, but when I tried on the sweater, it was really, really scratchy. So I decided that the loose turtleneck should be knit in a softer yarn. The pattern calls for a bulky weight of the same yarn, so it's at a different gauge than the sweater anyway. So last time I was in Sioux Falls I went to Yarn Knit (their only yarn store) and bought one ball of each gray yarn that was nice and soft. But then I didn't see Laura. So I've been carrying around this bag of gray yarn in my trunk for months. This weekend I finally got to show her the sweater and have her pick out a yarn for the neck:

She picked out some Berroco Pronto. Of course, in true Berroco fashion, this yarn is now discontinued. I'm afraid one skein is not going to be enough. I did find some on eBay, so I'm buying 10 skeins. Oh well, this is a nice yarn and I'll figure out something else to make with it.

Laura also asked if I would knit her another hat and scarf set. Of course I said yes. I asked what color she wanted - she said gray and black. I asked if any of the gray yarns I had suggested for the sweater would work. She said sure, so I went back to Yarn Knit and was able to find additional skeins in the same dye lot several months later - amazing. So I got this:

An additional skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky. This is a much softer alpaca. Love Blue Sky Alpaca - a Minnesota company! I'll make a hat out of this bulky yarn and it shouldn't take long.

I also picked up this:

2 more skeins of Karabella Aurora Merino. I'll make a scarf from this yarn. I'm thinking a classic ribbed scarf. This is a really nice and soft wool.

I had also bought a novelty yarn called Baby Monkey which she was not interested in for the sweater - I thought it might look cute - like she was wearing a boa or something. Anyway, she said it would be ok for a scarf, but they didn't have any more gray there. I may try to find more of this yarn online because it's really soft and yummy and make her another scarf too.

Going off my "yarn diet", I purchased this too:

I'm thinking of making the cabled wrist warmers from Stitch N Bitch Nation, but I bought 3 skeins in case I decide to make a Booga Bag instead. I just really loved this colorway.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

It's a Heat Wave!

Not only are we above zero again, but it's a balmy 17 degrees today. Yeah! Yesterday it got to -54 in Tower, MN. That was not a record, though. The record was -60 in 1996. I very clearly remember that day, because that was the year I got Finbar for myself, using the money I received for Christmas. I wasn't in Tower, but even down here in the Twin Cities it was really, really, really cold. And I was housebreaking my little pup. Which meant standing outside waiting for him to go potty several times a day. It was COLD! And I will never get a puppy in the winter again. He was such a little cutie-pie though.

I'm back from the trip to Sioux Falls. A good time was had by all and it was really good to see my family members. I do feel like a weight has been lifted, though. I originally planned on going the day after Christmas. But my car wasn't working properly and then I got really sick. I'm finally feeling well enough to go out of town and I ended up buying a different car. So, Christmas has finally been celebrated. I finally finished up the baking on Friday night. Wrapped up all the presents too. Yes, I waited until the last minute on a lot of this stuff.

The bad part of traveling this weekend was that I couldn't watch most of the football games. This is the greatest weekend of football in the season because you've got 4 games with good teams and there's so much on the line. Saturday I missed most of the first game because I was in the car and then we were eating dinner. We were opening presents and such for the second game. My brother and I decided to go have a couple of drinks after the kids were in bed, but by that time, the game was pretty much over. Our sister Laura met us at the bar, so we still had a pretty good time.

Unfortunately, the one game that I did see all the way through was the Vikings game and I didn't enjoy that one so much. Ah well, it wasn't exactly shocking. Definitely not as bad as in 2001 and not even in the same league as 1999.

I missed the second game on Sunday because I took Laura and my two nieces shopping. I wanted to buy Laura new eyeglasses for Christmas, so she picked out some cute wire rim frames. I wanted to buy my two nieces some clothes for Christmas, but it's much easier to let them pick them out themselves, so we went to Hot Topic for Jessica and Express Too for Alexis. Alexis loved this pink furry poncho in the store, so I'll be knitting one of those up for her next. I took a snapshot of Laura wearing the long, multi-colored scarf I knit her last winter:

Isn't it cute? It was the scarf on the cover of Knit It Magazine last year. It's made with Lion Kool Wool, which I really liked. The skeins are very small, though, so it would probably be a hassle to knit a sweater. I forgot to post a finished picture of the Punk Rock dolls I knit Greg for Christmas:

I'm almost finished with Joan Jett as well. Even though it's after Christmas, I'm still making her for him. I've just got to finish up the head, knit one more leg and then stuff it, sew the legs on and embroider the face and hair.

I finished reading "The Shop on Blossom Street" before I left town too. Not my cup of tea. I didn't care for the writing and thought the plot was pretty predictable. I did finish it though. I started our next book club selection over the weekend:

So far, I'm enjoying it. It's about a college student during the early 60s who becomes involved with an exiled Russian poet. There's all sorts of mysterious references to her father working with computers and her brother dying after joining the military and her being pregnant. The back cover says that the Cuban Missile Crisis also plays a role. Should be pretty interesting.

Friday, January 14, 2005

We Love it Here!

You can't read a blog originating from Minnesota and not hear about how cold it is. If we have to suffer through it, at least we can brag about how sturdy we are. It is currently -2 with a wind chill of -15. It's supposed to get to -14 tonight, I'm not sure what the wind chill will be. Luckily for me, I got this for Christmas this year. Yesterday I was wearing my thrummed mittens - they're very nice and warm!!

I had grand plans to knit a half dozen hats for the school kids in St. Paul that my friend Kerry is collecting. With my lack of knitting production down due to my sickness, I only managed to knit one:

To make up for it, I went to Target last night and picked up a bunch of hats and gloves on clearance.

I went to The Yarnery this afternoon to pick up a couple of skeins of Cotton Classic so that I can finish up the Joan Jett doll. I was very good and didn't buy any other yarn, though I did look around.

When I got back to the office I was happy to see this:

It's the SSRP Alpha Box!! Yeah! It was coming to me from Roswell, GA, which is where Panasonic has a repair center, so I thought it was some sort of telephone equipment. When I finally opened the box and saw all the yarn, I was pretty excited! Here's another look at some of the bounty:

Here's what I picked out for myself. Some pink cotton:

A nice pink and blue cotton:

My favorite cotton, Cotton Classic, in some different colors:

Fiber Trends felted purse pattern and some yarn to make a purse:

Some Alchemy Bamboo and a couple of skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport:

Finally, some Berroco Glace with a leaflet:

Some pretty good stuff, huh? I had originally contributed 5 skeins of K1C2 Doceur et Soie. Now I have to put together some other stuff to contribute. I've already put in 3 skeins of Rowan Denim. I'll go through the stash this weekend and get the box out next week. I'm thinking I'd like to put in some larger lots because it's hard to figure out to do with the small lots. We'll see what I've got to give, though.

I'm finally going to SoDak to visit the family this weekend for Christmas. I've been so sick I haven't been able to travel. Plus, I was having trouble with my transmission, so now I bought a friend's car from her and have new to me wheels!