A Good Yarn

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Ok, I'm not going to cry

I had completed almost all of this post and then IE crashed and I lost the whole thing. Well, here it is again, probably not as well written:

The extremely talented and charming Cara posted these interview questions for me:

1. So, thanks to Rock Chick, we know Bruce is a knitter. What's Bono doing in his spare time, craft-wise, while he's not rocking out with Koffi or waiting for that call from Stockholm?

We all know that knitting is perfect for those long international flights or trips on the tour bus, so perhaps he could be found knitting an Aran. He'd definitely be using either Peace Fleece, "A yarn company committed to helping historic enemies cooperate and prosper through trade. Peace Fleece offers knitting yarn made from a blend of Russian/American, Israeli and Palestinian wools", or Frog Tree Alpaca, a yarn made by a non-profit Co-op in Bolivia "to supply meaningful and continuous work to various artisans. Funds from the sale of Frog Tree Yarns support their families and worthy educational causes."

I'm sure he's wondering, "What should I cast on next?"

2. Who do you prefer: Ebert or Roeper?

Excellent question. I've been a religious view of Siskel & Ebert and now Ebert & Roeper for years. I've always loved Ebert and usually agreed with his views more than any other critic. I always read his review after I see a film and think is writing is excellent. When he had a series of guest hosts, my favorite was Michaela Periera. I also really like Elvis Mitchell. So, I wasn't very happy with the move to Richard Roeper as a full time co-host. However, he's really grown on me. I think the quality of his reviews has improved quite a lot and now I agree with him about as much as I do Ebert. If Ebert were to retire and Roeper continued the show, I probably would continue to watch it.

3. You've seen A LOT of movies - favorites? What should I see that I probably haven't? Do you ever watch movies more than once?

I'm an inveterate list maker, so here's my list of my favorite movies:

1. The Godfather and Godfather II (I know, that's cheating but it's too hard to chose one over the othe and they would be my first and second choice anyway).
2. Schindler's List
3. Blade Runner
4. Three Colors Trilogy (this is cheating too, but they really are part of a whole)
5. Gone With The Wind
6. The Usual Suspects
7. Pulp Fiction
8. Rear Window
9. Unforgiven
10. Casablanca

You should see all of these movies if you haven't, but if I had to chose one that you probably haven't seen, it's the Three Colors Trilogy (Blue, White, Red). Do see them, they're excellent and you won't regret it!

I love seeing movies more than once, if they're good. When I watch a film the first time, I'm really wrapped up in the plot and the overall effect of it. Repeated viewings allow me to focus more on the individual elements of the film. I've seen most of the films listed above dozens of times. I prefer to see films on the big screen and used to haunt the local Revival House. I think having my dogs made me want to be home more now and the internet and blogging has taken a lot of the time I used to spend there away.

4. How many Vikings have had their numbers retired? Can you name them?

There are 6. It was when I was checking my answer to this question that I crashed my computer, but I was able to name Korey Stringer, Cris Carter, Alan Page, Fran Tarkenton, Mick Tingelhoff and Jim Marshall. I thought Carl Eller's was also retired, but I guess he's just in the ring of honor, but did not have his number retired.

5. When it's super cold in the winter, is it true that you can walk underground in Minneapolis and never have to come up to ground level?

Not so much underground, but high above ground. There are some tunnels in both downtowns and at the U of M, but what people really use are the Skyways.

According to the Star Tribune, "Here's how the Minneapolis skyway numbers add up: If you walked the whole system, you'd go 5 miles, cross 62 bridges and pass almost 200 stores, 34 restaurants and dozens of coffee shops and ma-and-pa operations. From the skyways you can get to 1,500 apartments or condominiums, 4,000 hotel rooms, almost 200 million square feet of office space and about 2.5 million square feet of retail space - all without touching the ground."

I'm sure there are people who live in the suburbs who drive to work in downtown Minneapolis, park their car in a garage and walk through the skyways to their office, eat lunch and do any shopping or errands within the skyway system and at the end of the day get back in their car and drive home, all without ever breathing a breath of fresh air. Happily for me, I don't work downtown and get plenty of bone-chilling air every winter.

Back in the early 90s, Minneapolis was home to the Super Bowl. In selling our city in late January, the city promised that people would be able to get from their hotel in downtown to the Metrodome, which is right on the edge of downtown, through the skyway system, without ever having to go outside. Well, almost. The skyway still doesn't go all the way to Metrodome. However, we now have a light rail train which you can take from the heart of downtown to right outside metrodome for the grand price of $2 round trip on game days. It's only 50 cents if you're just downtown shopping.

Money's no option, skill level's no option - what's your dream knitting project?

Definitely a cashmere cabled sweater.

Friday, March 25, 2005

I'm not as young as I once was

Last night I saw my favorite live band at The Cabooze

If you have the chance to see this band whereever you live, I highly recommend it. It's a great show and you'll leave just feeling on top of the world. The guys are incredibly nice and cool, too.

Johnny Clueless opened, so Cowboy Mouth didn't start until 11:00. Which means I didn't get home until about 2:00. I'm too old for such nonsense on a school night, but it was worth it and I'd do it again!

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Just in time for beautiful, sunny days, I finished the scarf for my sister, Laura:

You can see the different pattern stitches on each side - the front is a mock cable and the back looks like a regular ribbing. It's a little shorter than I would wear, but I think my sister likes shorter scarves than I do. It's very soft and very warm, so hopefully she'll get some good wear from it next year.

I also did a little stash enhancement this week:

I got this cute hat kit at Yarn Cafe. I really wanted the cotton in the colors shown in the shop model when I was at the shop last weekend, but they didn't have those colors in the store. I just happened to be mere blocks away from Yarn Cafe on Tuesday with about 25 minutes to burn, so I decided to stop by and buy the wool felted kit instead. It's an expensive kit, but it is really nice. You can see the colors I chose peeking out the side. I had a better chance to look around the shop since it was much less crowded.

I also was pretty excited to see knitting kits at Target this week. They were very reasonably priced at $10 for a small kit, $15 for a little bigger one and $20 to the biggest ones. They were for things like a halter top, pet bed, bikini, baby set, bag, etc. Each kit contained the yarn, needles, pattern and a how to knit DVD. If I wanted to learn to knit, I would definitely buy one of these kits, so hopefully it'll spread the knitting fun. Target also has really expanded it's scrapbooking section, including some Making Memories stuff. I remember when I first learned to knit how much I wished Target carried crafty stuff, so I'm glad to see they're expanding into that market.

I also finally got a book with the Amazon gift certificate my Secret Pal sent me:

I checked this out from the library first and it looks very handy, so thanks Secret Pal!!

I threw another book into the shopping cart so I could get free shipping. I've been wanting this one for a while and it was pretty reasonably priced:

This should also be handy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Too Many Thoughts

First, let's start with the positivity. I've made a little progress on Lucky:

I love this yarn. It's so soft and supple. I'll definitely need to block this lace to even out the clover pattern. This is hard to photograph because the yarn is so dark, so I probably won't post a ton of pictures of this one.

On a more negative note, I'm sure you've heard about the school shooting on the Red Lake Reservation. I have so many thoughts about this that it's hard to even know what to say. Since I mostly work with Native American youth, this one really hits home with me. This child clearly was very disturbed. This incident brings to mind the many challenges facing Native American people - the high unemployment rate, the chemical dependency and mental health issues, the lack of resources to address these issues. And the general lack of attention to children and the emphasis on not raising taxes, regardless of the impact of those decisions.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Do I HAVE to Go Back to Work?

I enjoyed my time at home yesterday a lot. I didn't get enough housework done and I didn't knit much, but I did do that necklace I posted yesterday and then I made these rings:

They had similar ones at Insomniac Beads, so I made some for myself. Ignore the long tails - I need to put a little super glue on the knots before I cut the tails and my glue is in the office.

The thing about beading that's different than knitting is that it's quicker. Unless you're doing something very complicated, you can usually finish something in a few hours. And that's great. However, it also makes it hard to step away until you finish, because you always have only a little bit more. With knitting, I can generally just set it down whenever is convenient and take care of business. With that necklace, I kept re-arranging things and adding things and it ended up taking about 2.5 - 3 hours to make. And I didn't want to stop and do housework because I knew I was close to done.

I did do some knitting with beads, but no pictures because it may be my kit for our BeadKnitting Club knitalong.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I Heart Home

A rare day at home today for me. I love it. I should probably go outside and enjoy the sunny weather, which is melting all of the snow from Friday's "blizzard", but I have so much to get done around here. The state of my housekeeping is truly shocking.

Renee's Restaurant Reviews

On Friday night we were supposed to have our bi-monthly movie night, but because of the snow, we decided to skip the movie and just have dinner. We went to Pad Thai on Grand Avenue, which I had never been to before. It's a very nice, casual restaurant. I love Thai food and this place has a huge menu. I had Drunken Noodles, which is a noodle dish (obviously) served in a wine and basil sauce. Delicious! I also tried the red curry which was very tasty. The food was not quite as spicy as other Thai restaurants I've been to, so feel free to order it hot.

On Saturday night I tried another new restaurant, this time Italian. Maggiano's in Southdale Center. This is a chain restaurant, but seems to be a little better than The Olive Garden. It's decorated to look like an Italian restaurant in New York pre-World War II, which is fun. They had a flat bread with Parmesan in the bread basket that I loved - I would go back just for that bread. The dishes are HUGE. We each order half-orders and ate less than half. You could definitely share a half order. I had the Gnocchi in a vodka marinara sauce. It was good.

Matinees with Renee

OK, it wasn't a matinee, but before dinner, we saw this movie:

I liked it alot. It's a family drama about a woman (Joan Allen) and her four daughters who are abandoned by the man of the house. Mom becomes very anger and bitter and retreats into vodka. She soon gains a drinking buddy in the ex-baseball player (Kevin Costner) who has a little crush on her for years. The acting is stellar - so believable in portraying alcoholics with all the good and bad that we all have. Everything about the film is so real - it just tells the story of these people's lives in such a normal, real, non-movie-like way. There's been some debate about the ending, but I think I agree with Roger Ebert that it gives new and deeper meaning to what the film is saying.


Earlier in the day, I tried to get U2 tickets for their tour stop here in the Twin Cities in September. Unfortunately, one thing after another went wrong in a very freakish way and they ended up selling out while there were still three other people in front of me. I was so disappointed I actually started to cry. Throughout the day when I walked into a store or a gas station, I would hear U2 playing on the radio. And today I watched their induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Yeah, I'm disappointed. The day before and day after the Minneapolis dates are both open, so it's possible they could add a second show. Please, please add a second show, guys. Otherwise, I'll probably try eBay. There's a lot on there right now. I hate scalpers. Almost as much as I hate Ticketmaster. One of the reasons I was shut out was there was a scalper at the beginning of the line with his 4 kids so they could each buy 8 tickets. It took quite a while to purchase 40 tickets. And of course, the kids don't have credit cards so they paid cash and wanted receipts (for his taxes, don't you know) and it all became a big muck up. No, I'm not bitter.

After that disappointment I went over to the makeup counter to pick up some foundation and "my" makeup woman was there, so she offered to clean up my eyebrows for me. Saved me $15 and a trip to the waxing salon. But of course then I felt obligated to buy more makeup. Oh well, I like to feel pretty. I met up with a friend for brunch and then we went to the Twin Cities Ample Knitters Get-together. A good time was had by all, I think, and we tried a new location, Minnehaha Coffee. This seems to be centrally located and more acceptable to more people, so we'll probably head there again. I left a little early and headed up to Yarn Cafe to check the place out. I liked it. Great concept - a coffee shop and yarn store all in one. I was still full from brunch, so I didn't eat anything, but the food looked delicious. There's a pretty good amount of seating for eating and/or knitting. There was a huge flat screen tv in the coffee shop area. The yarn selection was good. Pretty much the full selection of Debbie Bliss, some Noro, Berroco, Schaeffer, Cherry Tree Hill, some acrylic/wool blends. So a good, wide variety. For me, it was a little too geared to the novelty, hand-dyed, type yarns and not enough of your plain basic wools, cottons, sock yarns, etc. But, it's definitely worth checking out. Too bad it's so far away from me. I managed to restrain myself and didn't buy anything, but I would have bought a hat kit if they had it in the same colors as the shop model.


Unfortunately (or fortunately, really), I wasn't so restrained at our next stop, a new bead store. Insomniac Beads is my new favorite bead store. Unfortunately, it's in Plymouth so it's not exactly convenient to me, but it's definitely worth going to and I'll make a point in stopping by at every chance. They have a great variety of different beads - it's a very large store. They have the usual work room and classes, but they also have a studio which you can use to work with glass and metal. How cool is that? They also had a little area set up with a couch and some comfy chairs and a table, so you could sit and chat with friends - I've never seen that in a bead store before. They also had a couple of workstations set up nearby with small tables and a chair with the basic tools and some instruction cards for basic beading - so it seems like you could easily sit down and work on your project at any time and get help, even if there's a class going on in the work room. The staff were incredibly nice and helpful to us. Please, check them out and give them your support! I decided to make today a bead day and made a necklace and earrings to match the cuff I made for my friend's birthday:

As you can see, I added a few drop beads to the ends of the cuff too.

Friday, March 18, 2005

I'm a regular Barbara Walters

I'm finally ready to post interview questions to those who expressed any interest whatsoever in the interview. Friends, please don't feel obligated to answer these questions if you chose not to. Here they are:

1. Thanks for starting the Lucky Clover Knitalong - I'm so happy to have finally started!! So, do you believe in luck?
2. I covet your beautiful brooch collection. Where is the best place to look for brooches?
3. Who have you lost contact with that you wish you could re-connect with?
4. I'm excited to meet you at Maryland Sheep & Wool. What is the #1 thing I have to do on my trip to Maryland/Washington?
5. You also have a great scarf collection and look great in them - what is your favorite scarf?

1. I see you're taking some vacation days - I'm so jealous! For a dream road trip - who would you go with and where would you go?
2. You asked someone else about their favorite board game. Do you like board games too? What is your favorite board or card game?
3. What book do you think I must read?
4. Do you have any phobias? If not, how about a pet peeve?
5. Are you always honest when someone asks how you like their hair or clothes or whatever?

Renee (the other one)
1. What have you found most surprising about being a mommy?
2. I see you share my love of funky glasses. Is there anyone whose glasses you really like?
3. I think I'll continue our tv vibe - One of my friends had this question on his group blog. Create your ultimate prime time lineup - they required sitcoms for 2 hours, then 1 hour of drama, but I'll just say at least one hour each of sitcoms and drama. If you need help, here's a website. What late night chat show would follow your prime time lineup?
4. Aside from knitting, what is your favorite crafting activity?
5. It sounds like you're pretty happy with your most recent yarn store purchases, but what is the last thing you regret purchasing?

1. Today I finished off the last of the candy you sent me last month :-( What is your most vivid memory about candy?
2. You've been blogging for a long time. What advise would you pass along to a new blogger?
3. If money were no object, what would be your dream vacation?
4. One of the greatest things about having kids is you get to play with toys again - are there any toys from your own childhood that you want(ed) to make sure your kids have too?
5. Is there any food you've wanted to try but haven't?

String Scrubbie Project

I've been meaning to post about this for a long time, but keep forgetting. I knit a couple of faceclothes for the String Scrubbie Project.

Would you like to contribute too?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day is usually a pretty big one in my family, being that we're Irish and all. I'm not doing anything today for the first time in years, though. Too busy and it was too cold to stand outside for the parade. Plus, now that Red is in school, it's not quite the same. He did ask if I could go to the parade and get candy for him, though. :-)

There was a column in the Pioneer Press this week about being Irish and some of it rang very true to me.

"Basically, I grew up in a very Irish, very tribal environment, and the people I sprung from possessed what I believe are the distinguishing characteristics of the clan: a love and aptitude for language (doubtless borne of the British attempts to kill their written history), an expansive and generous nature; an ability to embrace life to excess; and, though some of the brethren may find this offensive, a dark and moody dimension (what my late friend and colleague Eugene C. Harrington of Madison, formerly of Philadelphia, referred to as the "inherent madness of the Irish.")"

The author is Steve Hannah, and in writing about his father's family, said:

"They were full of opinions, occasionally full of alcohol and partial to marathon bouts of arguing subjects such as politics, labor unions, baseball and the forces of genetics versus environment in shaping a person's character."

Substitute football for baseball and that's my family, especially my brother and me.

My Secret Pal remembered me on St. Paddy's and sent a couple of really cool goodies:

Isn't that cool? I love hedgehogs and have a collection, so that's why she chose the hedgehog and anyone who's read this blog for any amount of time knows that I love this color.

She also sent these:

I love these window gels and the window in my office is covered with them:

I put up the shamrocks and those will stay up year round since I always celebrate my Celtic heritage. As you can see, it's pretty gray and we still have snow on the ground. We're supposed to get a boatload of it tomorrow. We've only had 1.5 inches so far this month and we usually have 10.5" in March, so I shouldn't complain, but March is always the hardest month for me - I'm always just sick to death of cold weather, my winter clothes, the ugly landscape, etc. I love to travel down south in March and I planned to see my Dad in Florida next week, but I got too busy in February and didn't book the tickets. Ah well.

Sue, the artist I wrote about in my last post, took some pictures of our class and gave me permission to post them on my blog. Here's one of me on the left and my friend Florence on the right, working hard on our art:

Here's one of the back of my head (you can see my natural blond streak). You can also see the ugly striped vase I posted about. Across the table is our friend Sue, working on a vase that turned out much better than mine.

I've been doing some knitting, but nothing really worth photographing. I am finally back on track with the Mariah sleeve. I cast on for the Lucky Clover wrap and am loving the Elann Baby Silk. It's very small yarn knitted on small needles, though, so it'll take a while. I'll post a picture when I have more knitted.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

I Have Nothing....

I hate coming up with those titles. I have nothing - one of Greg's and my favorite inside jokes. I love my brother!

I haven't been knitting so much over the last few days, so I have nothing to show you, either (I guess that title is very appropriate). I swatched for the Lucky Clover Knitalong with my Elann Baby Alpaca. I didn't make a full 4" swatch and I didn't block it, so I may be totally off, but I think I got gauge on the first try. I'll check the gauge frequently while I'm knitting to be sure I don't run into any nasty surprises at the end. This yarn is so very nice and soft. I probably should use it in something all stockinette, but I think it'll be good for this sweater and I really wanted to use something from stash.

The stash documentation is ongoing. One of the diskettes I had pictures on somehow went bad, though, so I'll have to re-take another batch of pictures. Once I have the database done, it won't be so time consuming to go through all my boxes and figure out if I have something with the right gauge. Of course, I'll have to go through them all to actually FIND the yarn I want....

I saw this movie this weekend:

I really liked it. The animation was amazing. There's a really cool scene where the robots on the poster are being transported around the Robot City in this big ball cage through a series of Rube Goldberg type devices. So awesome! I know Robin Williams has played this type of character a million times before, but I still find it highly amusing. The boys just loved the movie.

Painting - Not my Forte

Yesterday I took a glassware painting class with some friends from a really cool artist. She had some glass pieces we could use or we could bring our own, so I made a vase from her collection because I liked the shape, and a set of porcelin bowls that I brought. My vase doesn't look so hot, but I liked my bowls. She gave us a nice tutorial on the paint and supplies and showed us a number of things she had done as well as some pieces others had made in classes. We also enjoyed some nice cheese and crackers and wine, so it was a really fun, low-hassle day. She is going to cure our pieces for us, which is really nice, so after I get them back, I'll post a picture. If you're looking for a fun afternoon activity with some friends, I highly recommend this class. Everyone's pieces looked great, regardless of the person's level of painting expertise.

Renee's Restaurant Reviews

Afterwards, I dropped by Scott Ja-Mama's to pick up some ribs for dinner. Minneapolis/St. Paul magazine's cover story this month is about the best barbeque in the Twin Cities. Greg and I love barbeque, so since I was in the neighborhood, I figured it would be a great time to try this place out. Greg's had them before and really liked them, but I never had. I liked the sauce a lot, but the meat was a lot chewier than I like. I prefer the fall off the bone type of cooking. They were super busy - I think the magazine article has increased the business a lot right now - so perhaps it was drier than they usually are. Greg said they're usually more succulant. We also tried the steak sandwich and that was outstanding.

While I was waiting for the food, I just walked down the street and found myself standing in front of a beadstore. It's call Beadhive. Very nice store with a good selection. They have some nice African beads, which you can't find at every store in town. I was very good and only picked up some findings so I can make a necklace of the leftover beads to match Alissa's bracelet.

I've got an apheresis donation scheduled at the Red Cross this morning, so I'd better hop in the shower and get ready.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Interview, anyone?

I saw this fun blog game on Natalie's blog and decided to play along. If you want to play along, I'll interview whoever responds to this post. These are the rules:

1. Leave me a comment or email me saying “interview me.” If you leave a comment, make sure you leave your blog address because bloggers comments suck and I haven't upgraded yet.

2. I will respond by asking you five questions here. They will be different questions than the ones below.

3. You will update YOUR blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Ok…here are the questions that Natalie asked of me:

1. You’re obviously a NFL fan, have you ever played Fantasy Football? (My husband plays, and I’m the “commissioner” of their league…maybe we should have a KnitBloggers League? )

I've played fantasy football for 6 years now, I think. I usually play in 4-5 different leagues. My favorite league has been one that my friend, Michael, invited me to join. His twin brother, his roommate from college and various other friends of theirs are in the league. I invited my brother and he invited a couple of his friends over the years, so it's pretty fun with the smack talk and all. I am the only girl in the league, which adds a little fun for me. I won the championship for two years and last year I won the consolation bracket. I also usually join at least one league that is all women. A KnitBloggers League would be awesome!

2. What do you think will happen in the final season of The Sopranos?

I have no idea. It's not coming for another year, so I guess we have plenty of time to come up with theories. Last season was probably my favorite, mostly because I thought Gandolfini did such a masterful job throughout the season. The Test Dream is my all time favorite episode. I figure that A.J. will get involved in the business next season, showing the continuation of the family business. Maybe the family will go to war with the Russian mafia. I think it'll end with Tony and Carm still together and Tony happy, but maybe he'll be arrested by the Feds.

3. Quick! Your house is on fire and you can rescue ONE skein of yarn from your stash. Which do you take?

This is an evil, evil question. Like Sophie's Choice. Ok, not that bad, but still...
I can't think of anything that is totally irreplacable, at least not in a single skein. I can't think of anything that was really, really expensive that I haven't already knit up either. So I guess I would go with the skein of Silk yarn I got for the "Violets by the River" shawl. It's 560 yards of sport weight, which would give me a good amount of knitting time while I replaced what I could in my stash.

4. Show us your bead stash!

Compared to my yarn stash, my bead stash is pretty tame. Of course, it's also much smaller and easier to store. I mostly have a ton of seed beads:

As you can see, I have most of my beads in a zippered bag, with plastic pages with a lot of pockets. I also have that cool little box with jars, which I love and will probably buy more of those. I also have the plastic handled carrying case. Under that blue tray is my collection of Size 8 Perle Cotton.

5. The last movie I saw in the theater was Shrek 2. Recommend a movie to me (that is available on video right now) that I MUST see, and tell me why. Preferably one that I can knit during, of course (meaning no subtitles)!

"Sideways" was my favorite movie last year and it's out on DVD in a couple of weeks. I HIGHLY recommend it. It's funny and sad at the same time. The acting is outstanding all around. If you can't wait that long, my second favorite movie of the year was "Before Sunset". Make it a double feature and see "Before Sunrise" too. Very sweet movies. Almost exclusive both films are a man and a woman talking, getting to know each other, reconnecting. Excellent scripts.

Ok, that's my interview. Excellent questions Natalie!!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

We're Counting!

Fiona woke me up early this morning, so I was only about half awake when I opened the door - and jumped when I saw all white. So much for the lovely spring day we had on Sunday. It's just a light coating, though, so it should disappear shortly. The dogs sure loved it!

Stash Documentation

The Great Stash Documentation Project (inspired by Norma) has begun! The server problems seem to have been solved, so I finally was able to set up my inventory page. My hope is to have a central place where I can easily find out what I already have in stash that will work for a project I'm interested in.

It should also keep me from buying too much more yarn. Being able to see what I've already got and the time spent going through the boxes and bags, taking pictures, putting them in the database...should be satisfying, right? Didn't work very well last night when I started knitting up my Elann samples. The letter carrier put my samples envelope into an unused mailbox on the outside of our office building, so it wasn't discovered until yesterday. Luckily, the yarn I fell in love with was already sold out, so I was saved from myself.

Stash History

Back when I first learned to knit, I only worked on one project at a time. I bought the yarn for that project right when I was ready to cast on. Seemed sensible because I didn't really know what I was doing so I was satisfied with just figuring out that one project. Plus, I didn't have much money back then so buying yarn I wasn't going to be able to knit wasn't as attractive as buying food or paying rent. I caught the knitting bug and really loved. I figured out the basics and felt confident in my projects. Then the turning point arrived.

We used to have this store called Bank's. They sold overstocks and such. They took in the stock of a yarn store that had caught on fire. The insurance company dumped all of the remaining stock at Bank's. There was tons and tons of great stuff and everything was 1/2 the pricetag. This was before knitting was so popular - something like that would probably sell out in one or two days now. I went one day and bought a bunch of kits and bags of yarn. So exciting! Went back again and bought some more stuff. Still exciting! Went back a couple more times. A stash was born. It was very exciting to have so many possibilities. I figured I'd now have yarn on hand if I wanted to start a new project and didn't have any cash to buy new yarn. I still have some of that yarn in my stash.

Turning Point #2. The internet blows up and I join the knit list. Every day I read about other people's projects and fantastic yarn they've bought. I'm very susceptible to advertising and trends. So I gotta hop on the bandwagon and get me some of that good stuff! I also started attending knitting events like Yarnover and Stitches and having so many yarn stores all in one place is so convenient and it's so great to have something that reminds you of the event. So, now I've got a huge stash and I'll probably never be able to knit everything up. But, I keep on buying and having a hard time selling or giving away stuff.

Speaking of Yarnover, I got my class assignment - I'll be taking a class on knitting 2 socks on 2 circulars. And shopping at the market :-)

Newest Additions

Here's the last bit I bought at Elann last month:

I loved this yarn, which I used to knit the neck on my sister Laura's sweater, so I picked up some teal for a sweater for me. I'm not that fond of such bulky yarn, but I think it'll be ok for a shell type sweater.

I also bought some more Muskoka on ebay:

This is one of my old favorites and it's been discontinued, so when I see good colors on eBay, I pick it up. I have a big credit on paypal because an auction I won a while ago was cancelled, so I got my money back. Since it's already long gone from my checking account, I don't count it :-)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Thanks, Miss Finch!

Laura was nice enough to send me a couple of her beaded stitch markers as a Valentine's Day present (check out the cool heart made of stitch markers on her Valentine's Day post).

Super cute, eh? They're very sparkly and pretty. I love beaded stitch markers - as I move them from one needle to the next, it always makes me happy! The markers are sitting on top of the envelope that Laura sent them in. She made it and the card out of a topographical map. Bill was in my office when the mail came and he couldn't have cared less about the markers, but he was fascinated with the envelope. So much so, that he deconstructed it to see how he could make one. Science geeks! Laura also sent some Dove dark chocolate hearts, but they didn't last long enough to be photographed - I love me some dark chocolate!!!

Finished Object

I finished the ear flap hat for my sister, Laura. I thought it would be a better photo if I could find a head to put it on. I hadn't showered yet, so my head was out of the question. There are only two other heads around this place:

Too funny! He was very quick at getting the hat off again, so it was hard to get a picture. I didn't try with Fiona. Not a good view, so I tried the swift instead:

I really like it. I don't know if Laura will like an earflap hat and it's starting to get warm already, but I'm gonna pop it in the mail today. It's cold in the morning still (22 right now) so maybe she'll wear it to work in the morning.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Back on Track

Much better knitting day on Sunday. I finally got caught up on my sleep, so it was a short day, but I did manage to get a little housework done and talked to my sister, Kerry, which I enjoyed. I also cast on for a scarf for my sister, Laura. I'm using Karabella Aurora 8 - 100% merino that is very soft and nice, nice, nice to knit. I'm using the mock-cable pattern in Stitch n Bitch Nation:

The other side looks like 1 x 2 ribbing, so it's reversible. I like it and hope she does too! I finished up one skein already.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


Let's start things off on a positive note. I finished the Rainbow Sampler Bag for the Beaded Knitting Club Knitalong:

I knit it exactly as written in the pattern except I chose to use the other side for the flap and joined one row later than the pattern calls for. I used a button that looks like a knot on the flap rather than the faux button with beads that the kit comes with. I had a great time going through my buttons to find one - I forgot how many cool buttons I have.

Renee's Reviews

Friday I had to tour a facility for possible placement of a client. We met with the staff and took about half a day. Afterwards, Jackie and I went to Origami in Ridgedale for a late lunch. I felt like the downtown location had the best sushi in town, but this one was good, but not the best. The sushi we had at Fuji-Ya a couple of weeks ago was far superior. I don't know if it is just the different location or if Origami has just slipped a bit. My favorite of all now, though, is Nami. The dinner combination with sushi and teriyaki chicken is my favorite!

Since it was so late in the day, we decided not to head back to our offices, so we got a coffee at Caribou and chatted some more about our cases. Since I was in the western suburbs, I decided to head over to the Edina and check out this Academy Award winner:

Wow. So good. This movie was incredibly depressing, but uplifting at times as well. It's about this photographer who goes to Calcutta's red light district to photograph the prostitutes. She immediately makes a connection with some of the children living there and starts a photography class for them. She lives there most of the time for 2 years and starts trying to find boarding schools where the children can live and get a good education and hopefully escape "the line" - prostitution. The photographs the children take are incredible. You get just a glimpse of what their lives are like and it's heartbreaking. I highly recommend seeing it. This will move into my Top Ten List for 2004.


Again, since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to check out the western version of The Bead Monkey. I know, I'm supposed to be saving my money for the trip to Maryland. However, I hadn't been to this store since they moved into their nice, big space and I did have a "Maria's Cuff" planned for a birthday present for my friend Alissa. The store is very nice and includes a lot of non-beading stuff - a gift shop. I did very well and didn't spend very much. Of course, I had already purchased most of the beads I needed for this project. I decided to finally make it when I got home:

As I was getting this ready for photography, I noticed that I wrapped one of the strands in the opposite direction as the other two. Damn! That's why it was looking so weird. I think I'll try cutting off just that one strand of wire and trying to re-wrap it and see how it looks. I'm also going to put a few charms and drops off the jump rings on the ends, but it was really late by the time I finished wrapping it. I really struggled with this - I kept pushing the beads down so they weren't centered. As you can see, my wire wrapping leads much to be desired. This project was humbling - hubris part 1.

Girl Culture

On Saturday I went with some friends to see the "Girl Culture" photography exhibit at the Minnesota Center for Photography. Like "Born into Brothels", it was really depressing and very powerful. So many of the photos and stories left such an impression on me - like the 6 year old girl shopping where Britney Spears shops and wishing she was a teenager. Or the 15 year old girl who is shaving her arms because she doesn't want any hair anywhere on her body - except the false eyelashes she puts on every morning. Or the three very slim girls at "fat camp" who are the cool girls because they are the thinnest. Check out more of the photographer, Lauren Greenfield's, work. Afterwards we went out for a nice cup of coffee and some chatting and another customer told us about a gallery nearby that had a showing in the same theme. The Frank Stone Gallery show was called "Young Voices: photographs of/by girls/teens/women." There was a really cool series of portraits of girls with words about their hopes and fears handwritten around them. Another cool show and highly recommended.


I've also been working on Mariah:

Those who pay close attention to this blog may notice that the sleeve is shorter than it was in my last post. The designer of Mariah, Jodi Green, let me know in the nicest, most gentle way possible that I had failed to cross the cable at the bottom of the first knot. She was even nice enough to suggest that I could just leave it that way and make it a design element, because I'd done the same thing on the start of the second knot. No, I wanted it to look like it looks in the pattern - much better. That cross is a 5 stitch cross with most maneuvering of stitches, so I figured I must have done it incorrectly without a cable needle.

So, I ripped down and fixed the cross, using a cable needle to make that cross. I spent a good part of yesterday knitting away. I got up to the second knot and realized it wasn't crossing again. So I ripped down and did those rows again. Still no cross. Finally figured out the problem. Jodi emailed me that it looked like I was having a problem with Row 13. No, it couldn't be row 13 because that cross isn't on Row 13. So I started from Row 25. Yeah, well, I'm a moron. Note to self: when the designer of a pattern gives you information, listen to it. She's much more familiar with the pattern because SHE DESIGNED IT, plus, she's obviously extremely talented and knows her stuff. Turns out, I messed up the chart. Here's how I do cable charts:

I color code each cable so i can just glance down and say, "oh, now I need a blue cable" and not have to figure out the symbols or read the directions because my mind integrates the color and the motion better. Well, the chart didn't print out very well on my printer and I thought the middle of row 13 was a blue cable followed by 2 knits, not the 5 stitch pink cable. So, I really was doing row 13 wrong and I had made the first knot with only 2 middle crosses instead of the required 3. Ok, rip again. That explains why I had so much yarn "left over" when I thought I was back where I had started when I ripped the first time. Hubris #2. Maybe I should stay away from cabled project in bright pink yarn - they seem to be cursed for me.

Speaking of bright pink, it seems the Quechua looks pink on my blog, but it's actually a true red color. I was going to try to steal the swatch from elann, but they're out of this color already. Those who REALLY pay attention may notice that I took photos outside today - it's a gorgeous, sunny day. I could try to photograph the Quechua outside and get a true color, but I think I'm just going to go enjoy the day! The dogs agree and would like to take a walk:

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Got Yarn?

I've been mulling over Norma's yarn database and thinking it's probably a good idea for me too. I have a database of patterns from knitting magazines so I can find a pattern based on gauge or a certain yarn or technique. It's deadly dull to enter the data, though. I organized my yarn into boxes by gauge and put labels on the outside of the box last year. However, I haven't kept it up with newer yarns and I find I still have to look through multiple boxes to try to figure out what I have that might work for a certain project. The idea of a yarn database is very tempting to me, but I wasn't looking forward to the data entry. A picture-based database sounds like a good way to do it. Plus, then I can look at my stash any time I want without leaving my computer! So, I'm gonna start with all new yarns I buy and try to make up the old stuff as I go.

I'll start with this yarn from my last Elann purchase.

It's an alpaca and tencel mix. Very soft and lovely.


I cast on for a hat for my sister, Laura. Her birthday is Friday, so I'll send it off with a gift certificate.

It's Blue Sky Alpaca Bulky, an alpaca wool mix. It's nice and soft and I don't think it will be scratchy on her head. Blue Sky is a Minnesota company, so I like to support them and they have great yarns. I'm not fond of knitting such bulky yarn. It's fast, though, that's for sure. The pattern I'm using (from Lion Brand) calls for picking up and knitting flaps on the sides, but I haven't decided whether I will do that or not. I think she'd like ear flaps, but I'm not sure.

I've also made a little progress on my Mariah sleeve:

I'm loving it! I finished one repeat of the knotwork and have started the second. This is interesting to knit because it's so thickly cabled, but it's mostly the same twists, so it's easy to remember.


I know I shouldn't feel this way because we've had the easiest winter ever, but I'm really struggling with cabin fever. I'm sick of wearing a big heavy coat and I want to switch over to my summer clothes! As you can see, Finbar is still enjoying the snow:

He's shaking off the snow because he just finished rolling around in it.